What? : On one hand Amboy,
California is nothing more than a gas station in the middle of nowhere on the
old Route 66 highway. On the other hand, this place remind me the song “Calling
You” (words: Bob Telson) that got famous with the movie “Bagdad Cafe” (was not
filmed in this location):
When? : Whenever you
are driving through here… Late fall, winter and spring is the preferred time to
visit the Mojave desert, summer can probably be too hot.
Due note 1: If you are
driving from Mojave National Preserve, Kelso Dunes
South to Joshua
Tree NP that the shortest route is passing through Amboy.
Due note 2: When I visit here
(Jan 2022) Route 66 was close to driving 6 miles east of Amboy, at the junction
with Kelbaker Rd.. when driving west to east from Amboy on route 66 you must
turn left and drive to I-40 to progress east.
My thoughts: As I wrote, on
one hand, it is just a gas station with nothing to do here, on the other hand this
is an interesting place to stop at. Located in the “middle of nowhere”, stop
and absorbed the atmosphere of a town with only 4 residence and learn about the
history of old Route 66. See how the “new” I-40 interstate that does not go
through here change this town forever … the same as the story of the Pixar animation movie "Cars" (2006).
National Preserve is the last place you would want to get lost and it’s the
last place you want to run out of gas. At Amboy you can fill up you gas and
have a short break on your road trip.
Amboy is an
unincorporated community in San Bernardino County, in California's Mojave
Desert, west of Needles and east of Ludlow on historic Route 66.
Once, a major
stop along the famous Route 66, but since the opening of Interstate 40 to the
north in 1973 the town decline to a semi-deserted place with about only 4
Amboy is home
to Roy's Motel and Café, a Route 66 landmark.
1883 by Lewis Kingman for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad as the first of a
series of alphabetical railroad stations that were to be constructed across the
Mojave Desert. In 1926, Amboy became a boom town after the opening of U.S.
Route 66. In 1938, Roy's Motel and Café opened and prospered due to its
isolated location on the route. By 1940, Amboy's population had increased supporting
the tourists and the Santa Fe Railroad.
of Interstate 40 it declines almost to a deserted place.
Amboy was purchased
in 2005 by the “Chicken Man” also known as Albert Okura, owner of the Juan
Pollo restaurant chain.
deal included about 490 acres, the town as well as Amboy and Route 66 landmark,
Roy's Motel and Café, the church, post office, close school, three gas pumps,
two dirt airstrips and all other buildings in the town.
Guardian Lions of Route 66:
A pair of large
white marble lions weighing thousands of pounds guard this stretch of the Mojave
Desert road, and it is mystery how they got there.
Where: Located east
of Amboy on Route 66, from Amboy drive 4 miles east and look right for the
first statue, placed few hundred feet south of the road. The second statue is
located a quarter of a mile down the road to the east. You can clearly see both
statues from the road.
“Foo Dogs”, Chinese guardian lions always found in pairs, one statue is male
(symbolizing yang) and the other is female (symbolizing yin).
According to what
I manage to find online it is unknown how the lions statues got there.
five feet high and elevated on cinder block pedestals, they were first sighted
in late 2013, and whoever placed them there has never stepped forward to claim
In October 2018
Only one of the Guardian Lions was visible. The other statue has been removed. And
as of January 2020, the missing lion has returned, and both are now (Jan. 2022)
visible from the road.
Just east of
Amboy is Bristol Lake a dry lakebed and an old mining site that produced table
salt (Sodium Chloride) and other minerals.
Every time it
rains in Amboy, sodium chloride dissolved from the rocks into the underground
water, making it several times saltier than the ocean and undrinkable.
You can see
some of the salt mine diggings trenches when driving south on Amboy Rd. to Twentynine
Amboy Volcanoes Crater (I did not
Amboy Crater is
a dormant cinder cone volcano that rises above a 70-square-kilometer lava field,
formed around 80,000 years ago.
It is now under
the BLM ownership. A steep and rocky hiking trail total of 4 miles out and back
will lead you to the crater rim.
The trailhead provides
shaded and open picnic tables and public restrooms.
Where: Drive 2 miles on
Route 66 west of gas station (after crossing the railroad track) you will see
the turnout leading to the trailhead on your left (south of the road).