Wilderness of the Mojave Desert in the western US. With the impressive cafe & motel sign in the background, I am healed by the silence of the deserted landscape.
This is the town along the “Route-66” located in the southern California, USA. It is surrounded by the wilderness/wasteland. It is “Non-Daily” space. It is approx. 100km to the nearest big town. People to live here is very limited and it is understood as “Ghost Town”, but it is not appropriate since one shop here is in operation. Personally, I have visited here nearly 10 times, and would like to come back here again and again.
My first visit of this town was in 1995. My purpose was not this “Amboy”, but “Bagdad” located a little west of “Amboy”. I drove a car from the west on the “Route-66”, and passing “Bagdad” without knowing, then arrived to “Amboy”. I got burned in my eyes of the landscape of “Amboy” at that time.
One of the famous landmarks here is “Roy’s Motel & Cafe” located in the center of this town. Cafe has the trademark of the signboard of “CAFE” in red letter with white background, motel has six small huts along the Route 66. There are a big symbolic sign board of “Roy’s Motel＆Cafe” in front of the huts, and this symbolic sign board was utilized in the advertisement on the media. In addition, this place is used for the location for movies. The famous movie is “The Hitcher” (1986) and “Kalifornia” (1993).
When I have come this town at the first time in 1995, cafe and motel was in operation, and I have stayed in one of the huts in this motel at the second time of visit in 1995. In 1995, person in cafe had the issue not to trust the visitors. According to the information, many youngsters who just be here only with the interests affected by the movies etc. had bad manners.
At that time, I was treated by the person in the shop in the same way. At the second time of visit in 1995, when I have arrived this town, sun has already gone down and neon of the “Motel & Café” already gone off. Then one person in the shop just appeared in front of me and I have asked “Can I stay at the motel?”. He has looked at me and said “It’s OK, since you do not look like a bad guy”, then I could stay. I have talked with that Mexican looking person in the next morning and I got the story mentioned above. It is my good memory.
Afterwards, motel was closed and cafe is in operation, but no function as restaurant. In some period, cafe was all closed. On my visit in 2018, cafe is in operation, but only with the function as shop selling drink, snack and souvenirs. According to the person in cafe, there is a plan to open the cafe with restaurant function, however, there is one issue that water facility is difficult to have, and therefore, there is no concrete plan at the moment. Person in cafe has told me, currently, there are four people living in this town, two people is for maintenance of this town, other two people is as the railway worker.
This place is really quiet. Sometimes, people driving the “Route-66” stops, and walking around this town, however, basically no one is in this town. I can be relaxed very well just sitting down at the place in front of the closed motel office, by seeing the landscape of this town, without thinking of anything. I can reset my mind just be here, without any sounds, with the impressive landscape of this town. During this process, I hear the engine sound by car far away, then its car is passing by in front of me, without decreasing the speed, it is really comfortable.
This is in a very inconvenient place, but recommend you to stop by, on the way to Las Vegas from Los Angeles.
In the end, I introduce the video with Amboy Road, including a part of this town (at the very last shot), please check this. You can understand this area.
Visited in 1995年, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2010, 2018
■ Name of Place：Amboy, California, USA
■ Homepage : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amboy,_California
■How to get here / Input
- This place must be accessed by car, either Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Interstate 40 is the nearest Interstate. In case of accessing this town on the way to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, it is detoured.
- I recommend very much going to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, by car, not by air, since desert extended between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is the amazing landscape which can feel “America West”.
- It is recommended to cross “Mojave National Preserve” located between Interstate 40 and 15. In this “Mojave National Preserve”, there are amazing viewpoint including ghost town.
・200mile / 320km, 4 hours by car from Los Angeles
・150mile / 240km, 2.5 hours by car from Las Vegas
There is called “Amboy Road” extending to south, starting from 1 km west of Route 66 in front of Amboy. Bristol Lake is a dry lake on either side of this road. There is no water since this is dry lake, but going approx 10km south, there is a place where the calcium chloride that can be obtained from this dry lake is refined, and can see an emerald-colored water surface nearby.
This Bristol Lake is a place where dry mud spreads, but only in this place there is a trench-like place dug in the dry lake, and can see the sight of water. The color of the surface of the water is the same as that seen in the hot spring pools in Yellowstone National Park, and it is surprising that it exists in this empty place.
This crater is located approx 3km inland from the place where is 4km west on Route 66 in front of Amboy. This is the crater of a dormant volcano. The site is a registered National Natural Landmark and has a paved parking lot where the trail begins.
From the parking lot to the crater is less than 3 km one way. The trail is unpaved. There are marks on the way, and therefore it will not be lost. To get into the crater, accessing from the right hand side of the trail, climb up to the edge of the crater and go around it. The view from the top of the crater is spectacular. Town of Amboy to the northeast, Bristol Lake to the east, and the solidified lava from this crater to the south. It is worth to experience this vast scenery. It is very rare place where can walk on the crater. The crater is 500m in diameter and 80m in height.
(described on May 10 2019)
(updated on Aug 11 2023)