Several miles on, I stopped to photograph an abandoned home on the side of the road.
A few minutes later I came to another abandoned home near the corner of an unpaved side road. The neighboring lot appeared abandoned too.
It didn't take me long to realize that there were so many vacant homes along Amboy Road, if I stopped at each one I’d never get to Amboy before dark. So I made quick stops at the most interesting ones and snapped pictures of some of the others from the car.
I had to get a photo of this strange sign that stood in front of what appeared to be an abandoned ranch.
|This house was on its last legs.|
I pulled over at a soduim facility, National Chloride Co. which wasn't abandoned, but looked too interesting to pass by. The land was scarred by evaporation ponds of clear aqua beside snake-like mounds of earth.
The salt was so ubiquitous it could have been mistaken for frost and chunks of ice, had it not been a scorching hot day.
The iconic sign for Roy's Cafe welcomed me as I finally pulled into Amboy.
Adrenaline shot through my veins. I'd been meaning to explore the unique little ghost town ever since I first read about it a year earlier.
Originally settled in 1858, Amboy did not officially became a town until 1883, when a railroad station was built there. The opening of Route 66 in 1926 brought quite a bit of tourism and traffic to Amboy, which became an important stopping point for travelers across the Mojave. In 1938, Roy Crowl, the owner of the town, opened Roy's Motel and Café, which thrived as the only gas station and lodging in the area.
The opening of Interstate 40 in 1973 diverted the majority of traffic away from Amboy, resulting in the town's decline. Amboy was bought by investors and changed hands several times over the years before Albert Okura purchased it in 2005 with the intention of preserving the town and opening a museum.
I was ecstatic to find that Roy’s Cafe had indeed reopened. I pictured myself sitting at the lunch counter, sipping a vanilla malt and enjoying a burger and fries, like so many a traveler had during the heyday of Route 66. Unfortunately in its new incarnation, Roy's Cafe no longer had a functioning kitchen and served only as a gift shop.
The dozen or so little white buildings that comprise Amboy are situated around a short segment of the highway. Nearly all of them stand vacant.
There is even a tiny airstrip that Harrison Ford supposedly used to fly into before grabbing lunch at Roy’s.
The old motel rooms were the only buildings fenced off with keep out signs. Several old cars were parked in the fenced off area, and a maintenance man was working nearby. There were so many other great places to explore in the town that I didn't feel like I was missing much by not getting inside the motel.
The cottages, however, were open and still contained props from the 2010 movie "Beneath The Dark", which had been filmed there.
Behind Roy's is a little neighborhood of 4 houses, which have been thoroughly vandalized and torn apart by scavengers in search of copper.
A work shed contained old tools and decaying junk.
Across the highway stood a little church and rectory mostly untouched by vandals.
Daylight was waning, so I had to hurry to explore everything before sunset. I explored the school last because it was so dark inside, the precious daylight wouldn’t have made a difference. My flashlight and headlamp worked very well, but the pictures still turned out quite grainy and unevenly lit.
Feeling incredibly fulfilled at having explored the amazing ghost town, I got back on the highway and continued on through the darkness toward the dying town of Needles.
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