Thursday, October 31, 2013


I completely forgot about this place. An abandoned whistle-stop, a former ghost town, made up of the deserted Roy’s Motel and Café, an airport (where Harrison Ford sometimes lands his plane), a gas station, a garage, a school, a graveyard, and, after a treacherous hike in the desert, a volcanic crater. 

Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ll recognize the Roy’s sign from the movies. For years the former mining town was the only place to stop for miles, until the Interstate opened up nearby in 1973, bypassing Route 66 and driving most of the family-owned motel and diners out of business, and in the process the little towns that had established themselves around these businesses. Amboy recalls a bygone of travelling along Route 66. The whole town was owned by Roy Crowl and his wife Velma in the late 1930s – a town consisting of just a dinky service station. Over the next decade he expanded the town with his son-in-law, Buster. 


In 1995 Buster sold the town, to investors who used it as a movie set. In 2005 California-native Albert Okura, owner of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain and collector of Route 66 memorabilia, acquired the site of Amboy for $425,000 with plans to restore it through the help of donations. 

He reopened the gas station in 2008, after $100,000 worth of renovations to the building housing the gas station, diner, and café. Counting on the traffic from a renewed interest in travelling Route 66, the gas station, which is stocked with candy and souvenirs, is still worth a stop to stretch your legs and peer into the windows of a diner frozen in the glory days of America’s most famous highway. 


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