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The town of Amboy was established in 1883 as the first of a series of alphabetical railroad stations and towns that were to stretch across the gigantic Mojave Desert in Southern California. After the construction of Route 66 through the town in 1926, Amboy's glory days commenced. In 1938 Roy's Motel and Cafe opened. It did very well because there was nothing else for MANY miles in any direction. I don't think the population of Amboy ever came anywhere close to 100 people and there appears to be only a few in the area these days. In 1973 a new highway (Interstate 40) was constructed that bypassed the town and started it's demise. The good news is that the place has been purchased and they are pumping gas again! I'm pretty sure the motel and cottages will never be opened again, but it's a start. To read more: http://patricktillett.blogspot.com/2013/04/amboy-ca-ghost-town-roys-motel-and-cafe.html
I've run across a lot of odd things in the desert, right? Today's installment isn't just one of the oddest, it is one of my all time favorites as well. It's called "The Shaffer Fish Bowl." I've spoken to many people who know a great deal about Route 66 and very few had ever heard of it, and not a single one of them had actually seen it. We went there in late March. I knew that photos wouldn't reflect just how isolated this place is. So, If you don't mind, please watch this very short video. I apologize in advance for my nasal sounding and spontaneous narration. I hope the feeling of pure solitude and isolation comes through for you in this video. https://picasaweb.google.com/115893260639092994154/PatrickTillett04#5922211896425413282 Nothing as far as the eye can see. It's that way in the other direction as well. Kingman Arizona is on the other side of the far mountain range. The Shaffer Fish Bowl Moss grows in the tank, the fish eat the moss and the spring keeps the tank full. Add to that the fact that goldfish can live for up to and beyond 20 years under the right conditions. The can even survive under ice. I'm still thinking that somebody replaces the fish if they die. The hike up to the spring is short, but kind of steep. After checking out the fish bowl, I noticed that there was another trail leading around the rocks. I'm no geologist, but I'm pretty sure that there aren't any square caves in nature. I'm thinking that maybe this was going to be a mine shaft and was carved out by the same person who created the tank to catch water from the natural spring. It might have been Shaffer, or maybe he came along later. It's a mystery to me (for the time being anyway). I always have to do this to show you how steep a drop off is. The trail abruptly ends at that large rock. Another mystery.