Amboy is a ghost town reminding tourists traveling Route 66 of what it once used to be. Yet the shade the canopy of the gas station offers is a welcome break from the relentless sun for the motorcyclists riding through the desert.
Scenes around Amboy:
Situated in the Mojave desert some 30 miles east from Ludlow, about 80 km west from Needles, and about 50 miles north of Twentynine Palms, the town was founded as a mining site which became active before the railroad gave it a stop. The chloride works where salt is extracted from the dry lake are located just south of town.
Water, food, gas, all had to be brought in by train. Amboy used to be a train stop on the Railroad and had a small depot. Though the depot is now gone, even today there is still a busy railroad running right through town.
Currently Amboy is owned by Albert Okura, who also owns the Juan Pollo restaurant chain. Fortunately he is dedicated to preserving Amboy in a 1950’s look and feel and will try to restore the site to it’s former glory. This is not Mr. Okura’s first project as a preservationist. He also owns the very first McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino and operates it as a museum.
Amboy has three main attractions from a tourist point of view:
- Roy’s Cafe: Roy’s is a landmark on 66 and attracts many photographers and visitors. Part of the lure is the huge sign, but it also provides the only gas formany miles as well as snacks and cool drinks.
- Amboy crater: An intact volcanic crater that went dormant about 600 years ago. The crater is a not to be underestimated walk in the desert from a rest area just west of town.
- Railroad: Amboy has a level crossing of the rails and the line allows speeds up to 70 MPH. Railroad photographers enjoy the ability to park and get close to the rails.