Tag Archives: Amboy
From Ludlow we continued down what is an extremely desolate section of Route 66. Once you get past Ludlow, I-4o and Route 66 separate from each other for nearly 75 miles.
A few miles before reaching Amboy you come across the Amboy Crater National Landmark. We’ve stopped here on a couple of additional occasions, we’ve never taken the hike out to the crater as it’s always been summer and extremely hot when we’ve been here. From the parking lot to the crater and back you are looking at a good 3 hour hike according to other sources. The way I figure, when it’s 110 degrees outside, the view from the area around the parking lot is fine for me.
The Amboy Crater was made a National Landmark in 1973. The 6,000 year old volcanic cinder cone stands at 250-feet-high. The area around the crater is covered for 24 square miles in lava flow containing lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones and massive flows of basalt.
Just a few miles from the Amboy Crater site you approach the town of Amboy. Amboy was first settled in 1858, however it wasn’t established as an actual town until 1883. Like most of the towns along Route 66, Amboy began as a stop along the railroad. In 1926, the town became a “boom town”because of the opening of Route 66. In 1938, Roy’s Cafe & Hotel opened to serve the many visitors that the highway brought with it. With the opening of I-40 in the 1970′s, Amboy began it’s great decline into the ghost town it is today.
Today, in Amboy you will find a couple of scattered residences, the abandoned Amboy School (closed in 1999), Roy’s Cafe & Gas Station, a church, and a post office. Roy’s had closed in 1995 when the owner sold the town, but has since reopened in 2008 under again, new ownership. It’s unclear as to whether or not the hotel has ever been reopened. At the time of this writing, it doesn’t appear that it has been open for many years. You can see the lobby from the front windows, and the lobby is clearly a throw back to the 1950′s.
As you are leaving town, along side the right hand side of the highway, there was a palo verde tree that had been used as a “shoe tree”. A “shoe tree” is a tree that passers-by have thrown their shoes into. Just a couple of years back when I made this trip I brought a pair of old sneakers along to add to the tree’s “collection”. Sadly, the shoe tree is no longer. Yes, the tree and the shoes remain, however, the tree has tumbled and is no longer standing. I’m guessing that this likely has something to do with the weight of the shoes on the tree.
From Amboy we continue further into what seems like a vast land of nothing. Next stop: Chambless, which is roughly a 28 mile trek. From Chambless, we had planned to find our way out to the remains of the town of Bagdad.
The first thing that we came across headed into Chambless was the abandoned Roadrunner’s Retreat Restaurant (closed in 1995), and the remains of an auto garage. The small town doesn’t consist of much with the exception of some trailers (currently occupied) and an old general store (not in operation). From Chambless, we headed out towards Cadiz in search of the route to Bagdad. Like earlier in our trip, we came up empty handed.
From Chambless, we headed 24 more miles to the town of Essex. By this point in the trip we’re getting tired, and a little disappointed that all of our side trips haven’t happened. But it’s all good, from Essex we’re going to find the town of Providence; after all, I’ve seen pictures of Providence online, so it can’t be all that difficult.
Essex was once a major stop along Route 66, as it offered free water to travelers thanks to a well that was installed by the Automobile Club of Southern California. Essex is listed as being established as 1915 on Wikipedia, but I can’t find anything else confirming that online. It was founded, allegedly, when a motorist suffered a flat tire, and discovered that there wasn’t a garage for over 100 miles, so they just stayed. An interesting fact about Essex is that they didn’t have television service until 1977. Upon the installation of television service the entire population of the town was invited and attended a taping of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Today, Essex serves as the Caltrans maintenance yard, a post office, and an auto garage (guess you can get yourself a new tire in Essex now!). A number of old businesses and houses are still standing around the town site as well, some inhabited, most hopefully not based on the conditions. We spoke with the owner of the garage. He was extremely friendly, and gave some information on the area and how much of the older towns are now impossible to get to, and even if you managed to get to them there really isn’t any ruins remaining. This served as an incredible let down as we had hoped to make it out to Providence, but the information given was that there was nothing there any longer.
From Essex we decided to jump on I-40 and make our 3 1/2 hour trip back home. It was a great day, we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to see but it was an adventure no less.