April 30, 1926 was the day Route 66 got its name.
The highway connected small towns across a huge stretch of the U.S. to both Chicago and Los Angeles, and in doing so, brought us some of the most unforgettable roadside attractions of all times.
Towns of every shape and size have put up museums, diners, statues and oddities to attract travelers.
Like the Muffler Men, giant fiberglass statues that tended to advertise things like mufflers (hence the name).
Wilmington, Illinois has the 28 foot tall Gemini Giant, an astronaut Muffler Man holding a rocket ship outside a diner known as the Launching Pad.
There are lumberjacks holding axes, and dudes holding giant hot dogs, all the way to the Chicken Boy statue in LA, 22 feet high with the body of a person and the head of a chicken.
Less known but just as important as the Muffler Men are the Uniroyal Gals, giant fiberglass women who the sculptor reportedly modeled after First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Some are super-heroines, others hold tires, one in California held a hubcap for decades but now just waves at people driving by.
It’s nice to know that even though there are interstate highways all over the country now, the original Route 66 attractions are still classics.
There’s a big online event this weekend at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum: the Honey, I Shrunk The Kinetic Sculpture Race!
Participants will put their 3D “Dream Machine” sculptures through obstacles through mud and sand obstacles.
And hopefully the winner will be immortalized in a 25 foot tall fiberglass sculpture.
Cruise through the Land of Lincoln on IL’s Route 66 (Roadtrippers)
Giant Women: The Uniroyal Gal (Roadside America)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kinetic Sculpture Race (American Visionary Art Museum)
Hot dog man photo by JymPoiranges via Flickr/Creative Commons