Top 5 attractions along Route 66

If you've seen Billy Connolly's new 6-part TV series, "Billy Connolly's Route 66" you'll no doubt be ready to feel the wind in your hair and the tarmac whizzing along under your tyres in the USA.

Connolly's a brilliant host, with a unique way of connecting with the locals. His journey starts in Chicago, where he revisits the bootlegging of the roaring 20s, rides to the top of America's tallest building and goes to the birthplace of rock 'n' roll.

The '60s gospel and rock soundtrack is a highlight, and combined with Connolly's endearing personality, you'll be inspired before the first episde is over. If you decide to go and get your kicks, here's five sights not to miss:

The Railsplitter Covered Wagon
Drop into the town of Lincoln and visit the World's Largest Covered Wagon. Don't forget to tip your har and say hi to its driver, a larger-than-life Abe Lincoln. Built by (self titled) visionary Dave Bentley this hand-made creation is 12m long and over 7m high.

Lincoln got its name in 1853 when Abraham Lincoln helped plant the town, before he became President of the United States. You'll find this icon at the Best Western Lincoln Inn.

The World's Largest Catsup Bottle
Catsup is more commonly known as ketchup, tomato sauce or dead 'orse (for the Aussies). The World's Largest Catsup Bottle stands proudly next to Route 159, just south of downtown Collinsville, Illinois. At over 50m high, this water tower was built in 1949 by the W.E. Caldwell Company.

In 1995, the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group (yes, this is a real group!) saved the landmark roadside attraction from demolition and it was beautifully restored to its original appearance. It's now recognised the world over as an excellent example of 20th century roadside Americana. 

Gemini giant
This big icon stands out the front of the Launching Pad Restaurant in Wilmington, Illinois. Muffler Men were a collection of  twenty-plus-foot-tall figures which used to be common on American roadsides in the early '60s. They generally stood outside automotive shops holding oversized car mufflers in their two outstretched hands.

Over the years, some Muffler Men were re-purposed for duty in other settings, including the Gemini Giant. He wears a pointed helmet and holds a small rocket—as befits a representative of a cafe calling itself the Launching Pad. This Route 66 icon cost the owners $3,500 in the mid-1960s.

World's largest rocking chair
Unveiled on April Fool's Day 2008, the World's Largest Rocking Chair stands over 12m tall and sits outside the Fanning Outpost General Store. Owners, Dan and Carolyn Sanazaro, grew up in Cuba and built the chair to draw visitors to their businesses. These include an archery range, a taxidermy shop and a general store selling Route 66 mementos. 

A press release from the opening says the chair is the work of "three men with a dream" and an example of "American ingenuity." Why not stop in and decide for yourself?

Oh, but forget about climbing up for a photo opportunity. Tourists aren't allowed on the chair, and besides, it doesn't rock.

The big blue whale
The Blue Whale has become one of the most recognisable attractions on old Route 66 in Oklahoma. It was built in the early '70s by Hugh Davis as an anniversary gift to his wife, Zelta. The Blue Whale and its pond became a favorite stop and swimming hole for both locals and travellers alike.

But old Hugh didn't stop there. He also expanded the property to include picnic tables, concessions, a couple of boats and a wonderful zoo housed in a wooden ark. 

What was your favourite attraction along Route 66? Tell us about it in the comments section below. Or head to twitter and Facebook to share stories and images.

If you'd like to check out these big icons for yourself, why not take a look at our 14-day Historic Route 66 trip. 

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