Joy Ride movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Joy Ride filmed?


City Locations

Battle Mountain, Fernely, Wells, Delle, Redlands, Long Beach

Location Types

Naturescapes, Hotels/Motels, Retail, Schools/Colleges

Location Styles

Motel, School, Truck Style

About Joy Ride

J.J. Abrams collaborated with Clay Tarver on the Joy Ride script. The 2001 road thriller, produced by Chris Moore and J.J. Abrams, stars Paul Walker as Lewis Thomas and Steven Zahn as his brother, Fuller.

The plot centers on Lewis making a cross-country trip to get his teen sweetheart, Venna Wilcox (Leelee Sobieski), in Colorado so that they can journey east for the holidays. His trip starts in California, and when he makes a pit stop at Salt Lake City, he learns that his estranged brother is in jail.

Lewis bails Fuller out and his older brother decides to join him on the trip. While at a gas station, Fuller gets Lewis’s new car, a 1971 Chrysler Newport, fitted with a citizens band radio (CB Radio). The pair starts eavesdropping on truckers’ chatter via the radio, and then Fuller convinces his brother to pull a prank on a trucker by the nickname Rusty Nail.

Pretending to be a woman called Candy Cane, Lewis sets up a rendezvous with Rusty Nail at a Wyoming motel. It happens to be where the duo plans to turn in for the night, and they tell Rusty Nail to meet Candy Cane in room 17. They pick the room because it’s where an irritable businessman, who they had an unpleasant exchange with during check-in, is staying.

The brothers have checked themselves into room 18, and they listen in when Rusty Nail arrives. An argument ensues between the trucker and businessman, followed by a brief scuffle. In the morning, Fuller and Lewis learn that the police found the businessman’s body on the highway.

Lewis confesses to the prank he pulled off, and Sheriff Ritter, who is investigating the incident, detains them for their involvement. However, he eventually lets the brothers go and they get back on the road.

Joy Ride Locations

Roger Ebert gave the Joy Ride production a huge nod, with three and a half out of four stars. He summed it up as a first-rate pure thriller that takes audiences on a ride filled with laughs, without having their intelligence insulted.

That in itself should tell you that the filmmakers pulled all stops to make sure that the movie is a cinematic masterpiece. Filmed under the working title “Squelch,” the selection of Joy Ride filming locations undoubtedly gave the overall production an immersive and chilling boost.

Filming took place at various locations around Nevada, California, and Utah. In Utah, Battle Mountain, Fernley, Delle, Wells, Skull Valley, and Hazen were some of the production locations. The team filmed around Lancaster, Arvin, Redlands, Santa Clarita, and Long Beach in California.

Being a road film, several interstates, gas stations, and truck stops also appeared in the thriller. Let us revisit some of the best scenes from the film, and dive into their respective filming locations.

Fun Fact:

During the Joy Ride production process, the filmmakers replaced the vehicle headlights with aircraft landing lights. It provides the extra brightness needed while filming nighttime scenes.

Lewis buys a 1971 Chrysler Newport scene in Joy Ride

Marina Auto Sales & Upholstery, 1628 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA

Venna explains that she isn’t in the mood to go home, but if she had a car, the road trip would give her the opportunity to decompress. When Lewis says driving to Jersey would be a haul, she responds, “So what? If you had a car, you could come through Colorado. Pick me up, we could have an adventure.”

The scene cuts with Lewis looking at the plane ticket he had booked for the trip back home, and there is the word “refundable” on it. Next, we see him at a used car lot where he settles for a 1971 Chrysler Newport.

The property at 1628 Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, California provided the setting for the Joy Ride scene. The Marina Auto Sales & Upholstery, a car dealership, currently sits on the lot. Rusty Nail drives a Peterbilt 359 in the movie. Later, when he kidnaps Venna’s roommate Charlotte (Jessica Bowman), she is driving a 2000 BMW M Roadster (E36/7).

Mr. Jones (Satch Huizenga) drives a 1973 International Harvester Cargostar while Ronald Ellinghouse (Kenneth White) cruises in a 1983 Ford LTD Crown Victoria. A nod to Dahl’s former flick, “Red West,” is when Lewis looks at a map in his car. His finger trails the road starting from Red Rock Green River running all the way down Southwest.

An ice truck spooks Lewis and Fuller scene in Joy Ride

State Line Truck Stop (Pilot Travel Center), 5625 W Winnemucca Blvd, Winnemucca, NV

Back on the road, Rusty Nail’s voice comes through the CB radio looking for Candy Cane. Lewis admits to playing the cruel joke on the trucker, and he demands an apology.

Fuller insults him instead, “you’re not getting anything from me. Know why? Because I have something that’s more powerful than your psychosis. It’s called a volume knob, and the only thing I have to do to make you go away turns it counterclockwise.

The trucker who doesn’t enjoy jokes made at his expense makes it known that he is trailing them. After mentioning that their taillight needs fixing, the two are spooked and quickly pull over at a nearby gas station. The duo tries, unsuccessfully, to reach Sheriff Ritter, and an ice truck stops over at the station.

They flee, thinking that it’s Rusty Nail, with the truck chasing them down. Cornered at a dead end, the driver returns a credit card Lewis left behind in the panicked rush. Shortly after, Rusty Nail’s enormous semi turns up and slowly crushes Lewis’s vehicle against a tree. Fuller apologizes hysterically, and Rusty Nail drives away after claiming that he was simply paying them back for their earlier prank.

The State Line Truck Stop at 5625 W. Winnemucca Boulevard in Winnemucca, Nevada served as one of the Joy Ride film sets. Currently, the address is where you’ll find the Pilot Travel Center, a gas station, and a convenience store.

The duo picks up Venna scene in Joy Ride

University of Redlands, 1200 E Colton Ave, Redlands, CA

After the lighthearted encounter with Rusty Nail, the duo thinks that they are out of the woods. They continue on to the University of Colorado where they pick Venna. Inspecting the vehicle, she asks if they’ve named it yet. Fuller says, “Not yet, but we were thinking about "Tad or Lewis's s***ty Newport.” After meeting Venna’s roommate Charlotte, the trio gets back on the road.

The University of Redlands in California stood in for the University of Colorado. Besides the Joy Ride production team, the learning institution has also hosted several other filming crews on its campus. That includes teams that worked on “Slackers,” “The Rules of Attraction,” “Hell Night,” and “Unwavering.”

Notable personalities who are University of Redlands alumni include attorney David Boies, the former Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The trio flees their motel scene in Joy Ride

Emigrant Pass, Interstate 80, NV

After picking up Venna, they turn in for the day at a motel. Lewis falls asleep just when Rusty Nail phones their room. He reveals that he has noticed they have company. Spooked, the trio flees the motel, and as they drive off, they spot several messages the vengeful trucker has spray painted along the way. The messages instruct them to check their trunk.

After mustering the courage, they find the CB radio, which they had previously tossed out of the vehicle after the eventful encounter with Rusty Nail. Venna doesn’t understand why the radio has the pair freaked out, asking “how afraid should I be?”

The trucker soon reaches out via the radio and tells them that he has Venna’s friend, Charlotte. He instructs them to get to a cornfield, where the three split up as the ominous semi pursues them. Rusty Nail kidnaps Venna.

I-80 was one of the Joy Ride filming locations. Passing through Fernley, Wells, Battle Mountain, and other towns, the freeway serves the Reno metropolitan area.

Rusty Nail traps Venna in a motel room scene in Joy Ride

Lone Star Motel, 676 6th St, Wells, NV

After grabbing Venna at the cornfield, Rusty Nail sets a meet-up with the brothers at a nearby motel. Just like their initial prank on him, the trucker tells them to find him in room 17.

Rusty Nail tells them, “now they know what it feels like... to be the butt-end of the joke. Your palms sweating, and your face burning up. Now they know what it's like... to be the fucking punch line.”

He has rigged the room in such a way that anyone who tries to enter and save Venna ends up sealing her fate. Fuller tries to circumvent the trap by going through the back window but Rusty Nail injures him. Stuck through the window, Lewis tries to tree his brother and the cops eventually arrive to help.

The Lone Star Motel at 676 6th Street in Wells, Nevada served as one of the Joy Ride locations. At 72 E. Front Street in Battle Mountain, Nevada, the Owl Motel is also another film shoot location featured in the movie.

The final scene in Joy Ride

Hazen Market, 600 Reno Highway, Fernley, NV

As the team is in a frenzy trying to free Venna from the rigged room, Rusty Nail’s truck comes barreling down the hill charging straight for the motel. Thankfully, the brothers freed Venna on time before the vehicle crashed into the motel.

As the police check out the truck, they find Charlotte alive and a dead body on the driver’s seat. The brothers recognize the driver as the kind stranger who had returned Lewis’s credit card.

When they think that they have dodged a bullet while riding in an ambulance, Rusty Nail’s voice thunders through the CB radio letting them know that he’s alive.

Worth noting is that there are several endings, and an alternate one sees the trio return home. Rusty Nail shows up at Venna’s house and kidnaps her as she showers. The cops inform Lewis that the trucker is still alive and on the loose, and he drives to Venna’s house just after the kidnap.

He chases the truck down and stops him by crashing into the trailer, leaving Lewis badly injured. Sometime later, the three attend a funeral, and Fuller comments “well, that was the best psycho funeral I’ve ever been to.”

The Hazen Market at 600 Reno Highway in Fernley, Nevada is listed as another Joy Ride location. Located on Highway 50, roughly 40 miles east of Reno, the Hazen Market closed down in 2008 after changes to the highway made it inaccessible to travelers.


Several other Joy Ride filming locations are worth a visit if you do choose to go on an inspired tour. For the scene where Venna buys Lewis a hat, the crew set up a shot at 650 W. Front Street in Battle Mountain.

When the brothers listen in on Rusty Nail’s conversation through the motel wall, the dialogue was actually recorded at a film set constructed within a former aircraft hangar. It’s the same hangar where Howard Hughes constructed the Spruce Goose.

The Queen Mary Dome on1126 Queens Highway and Delle Exit Thoroughfare in Grantsville (where the brothers stop for gas) are other places where filming took place.