Internet Culture

Google Video Doodle Lets You Get Your Kicks on Route 66

An artist shares images he created chronicling a recent road trip west on the beloved highway.

Google's video Doodle takes you on a ride along Route 66.
Google

For many Americans, Route 66 holds a special place in their heart, evoking memories of days gone by. The highway, which stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles in its glory days, helped desperate families uprooted by the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression move west in search of a fresh start, earning it the affectionate nickname of the Mother Road.

On Saturday -- the 96th anniversary of US Route 66 being assigned its numeric designation -- Google Doodle will highlight a video featuring artwork of sites one can still encounter in the eight states where the decommissioned highway winds through on its way from the Windy City to the Pacific Ocean.

Its position as Main Street of America was cemented by the hit 1946 song (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66, as well as in the '60s TV show Route 66. Although Route 66 was retired as a US highway in 1985, more than 85% of the original 2,448-mile highway is still drivable, giving thousands of tourists each year the chance to take their own trip back in time.

One of those tourists was Google Doodle artist Matthew Cruickshank, who made the journey west in his 1972 Chevy Chevelle. A video Doodle, released Friday, is his creation, essentially an animated sketchbook of the various historic sites he encountered along the way. In all, he sketched or painted more than 100 images from the side of the road during his journey.

The video is a slice of Americana, featuring classic cars with big tails gliding through exciting urban landscapes, peaceful prairies and magnificent deserts, with stops along the way at small-town roadside attractions mostly associated with a bygone era. And providing the soundtrack for your journey are the dulcet tones of that famous song performed by its author, Bobby Troup, over your push-button car radio.