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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

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Growing up on the Mojave Desert, and having relatives on my father's side in a small town on the Kansas / Oklahoma border, Amboy was passed through pretty much each summer on our family vacations to visit them. Riding through the hot desert in the old Nash and various Ramblers in the 1950s and 1960s was the norm (the last time I went was by myself on a Greyhound bus in 1970).

Now my parents are near 90 but still living near Twenty Nine Palms on their large parcel of acerage of creosote and Joshua trees. It is my usual practice to head due south and pass through Amboy coming in from the north from Baker and Kelso. By the time I pass through Amboy, I've already put pretty much a dozen hours behind the wheel and it is a landmark that about an hour is left until I pull into their drive.

amboy.jpg

Amboy.

66-e-of-amboy.jpg

Some of the lonely country a few miles east of Amboy on old U.S. 66.

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I built a rail head for windmill blades in new berry spring cal. in Aug of 2010 and got to see a lot of the old ghost town on route 66 including amboy. I toke a long, long dinner break one day at the Baghdad cafe, that was interesting to say the lest, at the best don't eat there unless you have lots of time and like bad food, but nice for a short visit. I was staying in barstow and i really did not take any pictures that i can remember, might been the 117 in the shade if you could find one.

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I remember going to Amboy in the 1970's when we were doing a lot of exploring of the Joshua Tree National Monument and the Dale Mining District. The cafe was open then and they still had the soda and malt machines working on the counter. In April I took a day and drove old Route 66 from Barstow to Arrowhead Junction at highway 95.  Here is a photo from the April 2013 trip...

 

IMG_2894_5_6HDR1-L.jpg

 

The other images from that day are photos 1 through 14 on this link...

 

http://www.overlandphotography.us/Mojave-Desert/Mojave-Towns/14366966_2fLTdq

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Bob,  Thanks for the compliments on the photos.  That was a fun day just taking my time and exploring all those old towns.  I even made a side trip out to Cadiz.  I have a friend who managed the schools bewteen Amboy and Needles for a while.  Here is what he had to say about when the schools closed...

 

"Amboy closed around 1994-1995 and Essex closed around 2001-2002. Those were the only ones left open when I went to work for Needles.  Goffs closed before I got there. John."

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I checked back with my friend John and he was with the Needles School District from July 1992 to July 2004.  That's 12 years of driving up and down Route 66.  And he even got paid to do that!

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I have quite few pictures from Amboy sitting around from visits in 2011 and 12, I'll have to get around to editing a few.

 

As an appetizer, here's a mangled early 70's Monte Carlo found at an abandoned mine just to the east of Amboy, just before the road to Kelso. It's visible from Route 66, to the north, if you keep your eyes peeled.

 

6095493354_394d66a194_z.jpg

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I have not drove the entire route 66,but I have been on it in every state that it crossed and I have been on most of the old highway,  believe it or not it was not done on purpose, just working and traveling in the areas it was in.

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Cindy if you ride the entire route on a bike it might be fun but when I was downtown Chicago and did not have a gun 15 years ago when I saw the sign that said this is  the start of route 66 by grand central station, it was scary in a pickup loaded with men,. There is some places it goes through  like st Louis your going to wish you were in a car or truck. Joplin mo. can even be a payne on a bike.

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cindy I think you should go ahead and see the ghost towns in texas on route 66. there is one right on the texas new mexico border on route 66. then your not far from amarillo,texas and route 66 has or had some places that was interesting to say the least. agin route 66 in amarillo is not in the best part of town with all the illegals, but it is safe during the day.

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Hi there!

Cindy, I'm sorry it took me so long to get over here. Thanks for posting the link to my blog. I appreciate it!

I spent the early part of my life in the desert with my grandmother, who was a dedicated "desert rat." She knew people all across the Mojave and along Route 66. I have memories of many of these places. I rediscovered the desert several years ago and now spend a lot of time there.

My granny took many photos back then and also a lot of notes. Unfortunately, she died about 30 years ago and all of those notes and photos disappeared. If I had that stuff, I could answer a lot of the questions people have about the Mojave and Route 66.  I have some memories, but I sure wish I had more.  I've been doing posts relating to Route 66 on my blog. I'm just about done with the Amboy to Kingman stretch. Soon, I'll start on the stretch Barstow to Amboy segment. My last post was about Ed's Camp (on Route 66 in Arizona). My granny met her last husband through Ed. I remember running around there as a kid.

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I've found that some of the most interesting things on Route 66 are the ones that most people don't know about, or don't take the time to seek out. 

Most of us (who like route 66) have stopped at Roy's Cafe in Amboy, or at least taken a photo while breezing by through the desert. I wonder how many people have seen this in Amboy?

 

09+DSC_7310.JPG

These hand prints in once fresh cement belonged to students of the long closed Amboy School.

This thing just filled me with questions and melancholy. 

 

Just as interesting is this isolated spot between Goldroad and Cool Springs, on route 66 out of Oatman, Arizona. 

It's called the Shaffer Fish Bowl. It's in one of the most isolated spots of Route 66 through the Arizona desert.  People don't know about it. 

If they do know about it, it's too steep a hike for many of them to see it. It's RIGHT off road.  I couldn't get the video to post here,

so you'll have to follow the link to my blog to see it. (I'm really NOT using this to pimp my blog). If you do follow the link, please watch my little video while you are there.

 

http://patricktillett.blogspot.com/2013/06/desert-oddity-shaffer-fish-bowl-route-66.html

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Something new in the works for Cadiz on Route 66...

 

STEAM TRAIN ATTRACTION PLANNED FOR EAST OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

The Cadiz Company, located near Amboy, east of Twentynine Palms, announced it has entered into an agreement with the Arizona & California Railroad Company to develop steam train excursions through the Mojave Desert between Cadiz and Parker, Arizona. The attraction, using historic steam locomotives and vintage passenger railcars, would be would be one of the longest steam train excursion routes in the United States. The proposed new steam train operation, named the Cadiz Southeastern Railway, will operate on 85 miles of existing tracks with water stops in desert locales of Milligan, Chubbuck, Rice and Vidal. A Cadiz spokesman said this Mojave Desert Route, which is located just off historic Route-66, will provide sweeping views of the vast desert wilderness, mountainous terrain and the Colorado River. The museum and cultural center planned for Cadiz will serve as the operation's educational hub.

 

http://kcdzfm.com/news/fullstory092013.html#a01

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I checked with a friend that lives in that part of the desert and they said that the train deal may be more complicated that it appears.  Here are a couple links from Cadiz Inc. on their train proposal…

 

http://cadizinc.com/community/

 

http://cadizinc.com/cadiz-railway-kickoff/

 

And here is an issue with the water dealings of Cadiz Inc...

 

http://www.vvdailypress.com/articles/cadiz-35731-water-company.html

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Another article in the news today out of Joshua Tree.  Oh well, it sounded good at first...

 

CADIZ STEAM TRAIN CALLED A RUSE TO GET AROUND FEDERAL REVIEW

The plan by Cadiz, inc. to put in a steam train from Cadiz to Parker, Arizona, as a tourist attraction called "Cadiz Southeastern Railway," announced by Z107.7 News Friday, is being called a superficial ruse by environmentalists. The National Parks Conservation Association said, "It is the latest in a series of attempts by Cadiz to avoid federal review of its proposed water mining project. They say the proposal is the latest attempt by the company to meet one of the criteria stated by the Department of Interior, that the company's proposed 43-mile pipeline along the railroad right-of-way must have a direct impact to the rail system, in order to avoid a comprehensive federal review and involvement of the United States Geological Survey." Both Senator Feinstein and Representative Cook, along with a host of local businesses, ranchers, and elected officials, have expressed concerns about the project's anticipated impacts on the Mojave National Preserve and its aquifer, and have called for federal review. The Desert Senior Representative for the National Parks Conservation Association, Seth Shteir, said, "The announcement by Cadiz Inc. to create the Cadiz Southeastern Railway is as big of a mirage as the company's use of the word 'sustainable' in its plans to drain 16 billion gallons of water per year from the Mojave desert to send to southern Orange County." "Cadiz Inc. states its steam train excursions would provide views of Mojave National Preserve and desert wilderness areas; yet, the Cadiz Water Project stands to forever damage these very landscapes. What's more, the town of Cadiz itself it located more than two hours away from Palm Springs or other desert destinations; essentially requiring travelers to drive out of their way, to take a ride on a train to nowhere."

 

http://kcdzfm.com/news/fullstory092313.html#a01

 

Sounds like another one of those “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting” stories.

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