Road trips can be incredibly fun… or altogether boring. One major determining factor for which one you’ll experience is the playlist you pick for your drive.
But along a specific stretch of Route 66, you don’t even need music. A quick detour onto Highway 333, a.k.a. Old Route 66, and you’ll find signs to a roadside attraction of sorts — although it’s not really a thing you can stop and take photos of… the road itself plays a tune!
Roadtrippers who drive along the quarter-mile stretch between Albuquerque and Tijeras, in central New Mexico, will recognize the 20-second segment as “America The Beautiful.”
Officials with the New Mexico Department of Transportation unveiled the attraction several years ago by installing rumble strips at exactly 2.4 inches apart. Of course, there’s a catch: The song will only play for drivers who maintain the 45 mph speed limit.
Anything that vibrates 330 times in one second will produce an E note, explained Matt Kennicott, the agency’s communications director.
Once they had the mathematical equation for the E notes, it was just a matter of “breaking down the music into exact chunks of time and applying the same technique to each space depending on what note is needed and for how long.”
The only other “musical highway” in the United States — that we’re aware of, anyway – is just north of Los Angeles in Lancaster.
Motorists traveling at 55 mph will hear a segment of the William Tell Overture that they’ll recognize from “The Lone Ranger.” Those rumble strips were put in place about 10 years ago as part of a Honda ad campaign.
Watch the clip below to hear the road sing “America The Beautiful,” and share to spread this wonderful road trip attraction.