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Sunday June 16th 2024

Joy Ride (Roadkill) | 2001

Joy Ride filming location: Owl Motel, Battle Mountain, Nevada
Joy Ride film location: Lewis and Fuller realise 'Rusty Nail' has caught up with them: Owl Motel, Battle Mountain, Nevada | Photograph: Google Maps

Filmed around Nevada, Utah and California, though the geography doesn’t make a lot of sense. This tense, fast-moving thriller owes more than a nod to Steven Spielberg’s 1971 debut feature Duel, as brothers Fuller (Steve Zahn) and Lewis (Paul Walker) are menaced by an unseen trucker after a practical joke goes very wrong.

Lewis rashly offers to drive his friend, and secret crush,Venna (Leelee Sobieski) from Boulder, Colorado. Even buying an old Chrysler Newport for the trip.

Joy Ride filming location: Hazen Market, Reno Highway, Fernley, Nevada
Joy Ride film location: Lewis makes a stop to phone Venna: Hazen Market, Reno Highway, Fernley, Nevada | Photograph: Wikimedia / William Hoffknecht

On the road, when he stops to call Venna from a phone box, it's at the Hazen Store, 600 Reno Highway, Fernley, Nevada. The store, built in 1944, closed in 2008 but is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

After being obliged to make a detour to bail his wayward brother Fuller out of jail, he finds himself with an extra passenger.

They make a brief stop for Lewis to call Venna, and Fuller takes this opportunity to get an old-style CB radio fitted. Big mistake.

This stop was the disused State Line Truck Stop, now the Pilot Travel Center, 5625 West Winnemucca Boulevard (I-80), southwest of the city of Winnemucca, Humboldt County in northern Nevada. The stop's cafe crops up later in a much more memorable scene.

He talks Lewis into pranking a truck-driver, going by the handle 'Rusty Nail' (voiced by an uncredited Ted Levine), into believing he's a hot chick called 'Candy Cane'.

The prank backfires horribly when they decide to punish the obnoxious guy in the next motel room by hooking up 'Rusty Nail' with him.

Joy Ride filming location: Lone Star Motel, Wells, Nevada
Joy Ride film location: Lewis and Fuller send 'Rusty Nail' to visit their obnoxious neighbour: Lone Star Motel, Wells, Nevada | Photograph: Google Maps

Supposedly in ‘Table Rock, Colorado’, the motel where 'Rusty' expresses his displeasure at discovering ‘Candy’ is not quite what he was expecting is the Lone Star Motel, 676 6th Street, Wells, on I-80 northeast Nevada.

Joy Ride filming location: Delle, Tooele County, Utah
Joy Ride film location: Lewis is spooked by the ice-truck driver: Delle, Tooele County, Utah | Photograph: Google Maps

Back on the road, it's not long before Lewis and Fuller realise that the enraged trucker is on their tail.

The gas station where Lewis gets spooked while trying to phone the sheriff, is at the tiny, now disused, stop of Delle (“a two-pump gas station and a café”), 44 miles of Salt Lake City, in Tooele County, Utah.

Joy Ride filming location: University of Redlands, California
Joy Ride film location: picking up Venna at the 'University of Colorado': University of Redlands, Redlands, California | Photograph: Shutterstock / Kit Long

Still no 'Colorado' – The 'Boulder' campus, where the pair pick up Venna, is the University of Redlands, 1200 East Colton Avenue, Redlands, on I-10, east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County. The University has also been seen in 1981 slasher Hell Night, 2002 comedy Slackers and Roger Avary's The Rules of Attraction.

And there's no 'Nebraska' either. The gas station, where Fuller crassly interrupts a little moment between Lewis and Venna, was Z Stop, now Flying J Dealer, 650 West Front Street in Battle Mountain on I-80 northern Nevada.

Staying at the nearby Owl Motel, they're horrified to realise 'Rusty' has caught up with them. The establishment seems to have thrived. It's now the Owl Club Casino Restaurant & Motel, 72 East Front Street.

The film's most famous scene, as Fuller and Lewis are ordered by 'Rusty' to buy “six cheeseburgers each – naked”, was back at the State Line Truck Stop near Winnemucca, Nevada.

Joy Ride filming location: Ruben's Bar & Grill, Lancaster, California
Joy Ride film location: Fuller has to hotwire a stolen motor: Ruben's Bar & Grill, Lancaster, California | Photograph: Google Maps

With the upper hand, 'Rusty' orders the brothers to meet him at the motel in 'Medford'. With the Newport having gone up in flames, Fuller uses his specialist skills to hotwire a motor from the lot at 'Beau's'. This is now Ruben's Bar & Grill, 255 East Avenue M at Sierra Highway, in Lancaster, California.

Joy Ride filming location: Town House Motel, Sierra Highway, Lancaster, California
Joy Ride film location: the brothers search the 'Medford' motels: Town House Motel, Sierra Highway, Lancaster, California | Photograph: Google Maps

We're staying in Lancaster, but just a little to the north, for the strip of 'Medford' motels where the brothers discover their assignment isn't as simple as they thought.

Still recognisable, the first motel they try here is the Town House Motel, 44125 Sierra Highway (though the 'Covered Wagon Motel' remains elusive).

The climactic scenes were filmed on sets built inside the huge Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach, south Los Angeles. Built in 1983 as the ‘Spruce Goose Dome’, to house Howard Hughes’s famous ’plane, but after the 'Goose' was whisked off to Seattle, the vast space was frequently used as a film studio. It’s now a cruise terminal.