Especially for those who know all the cultural and historical background behind Route 66, driving along even a short stretch of the Mother Road is an experience that is very hard to forget. And we also know that today, no one is content with telling a story on the way home: you have to document everything with selfies and photos that make it all more “real and experienced”. That’s why, in the case of a road, it becomes a bit difficult to say: “Hey, this piece of asphalt you can see is Route 66!”. Only those who have traveled it know that – even if there was no one there or there was a shortage of kitschy bars and monuments so typical of the road – the emotion of being on that “piece of asphalt” was priceless. So how can you take that excitement back home with you? How can you tell everyone that you weren’t driving on just any road?
This is where a peculiar characteristic of Route 66 comes to our aid: the symbols painted on the asphalt! These signs are called “Route 66 shields” and are one of the most distinctive signs of the famous road that connects California and Illinois (just one of the reasons why Route 66 is so popular). To make a record of all of them is a really impossible task: some of the oldest have been worn out under car wheels, others are freshly painted, and perhaps while I’m writing this article one of the National Historic Route 66 Federation associations is planning to create new ones to stop the myth of Route 66 being erased like paint from the asphalt.
Map of Route 66 Signs on Road
In brief, one of the most frequent activities done on Route 66 is to set out in search of one of these shields, park your car on the side of the roadway and take that fateful picture. Only it’s not as easy as it sounds: not everyone has the chance to find so many of them along the whole Route 66. Most of the classic West Coast itineraries cover only a small part of the Mother Road, usually in Arizona and California.
Since you’ve often asked us for help on where to find these symbols during your itinerary, we thought we’d post a map (updated October 2019) showing where they are. There are 35 of them spread through all the states crossed by Route 66, with a special focus on the ones in Arizona (Flagstaff, Kingman, Oatman etc.) and California (Amboy, Needles, Barstow etc.). We hope you’ll find it useful!