The ghost of Amboy, California
West of Needles and east of Ludlow along my favorite section of Route 66, you can find the remains of what America has lost… The ghost of Amboy, Ca.
“Amboy was once an oasis for desert travelers”
Silhouetted on the horizon to the west, sits an ominous volcano known as the Amboy Crater. The 6000 year-old cinder cone, though now extinct, is the perfect backdrop for the story of this ruin – that once thrived as an oasis for desert travelers. The town was first settled in 1858 and later established by Lewis Kingman in 1883 for the Atlantic and Pacific railroad. Amboy being the first in a series of alphabetical railroad stops throughout the Mohave Desert… along with Bagdad, Chambless, Dandy and so on.
“Amboy is always a gamble … but definitely worth it”
In 1926 Amboy became a boomtown after the opening of U.S. Route 66. Then in 1938, Roy’s Motel and Café opened and prospered for decades, even through WWII, being the only gasoline, food and lodging stop for miles in that part of the eastern Mohave. Then sadly the town fell off the map when Interstate 40 was constructed in 1973 and bypassed the little oasis of Amboy. I’ve slept at the foot of its volcano, tramped through its surrounding salt swamps and explored nearly all of its abandoned buildings and still it feels like a new planet every time I visit. Amboy is always a gamble… Will there be gas? Will there be water? If for some reason the only pump in town is dry, or the gas station is closed, you’ll have a long way to go before 29 Palms. So go prepared. But definitely go.
Todd Blubaugh was born and raised in McPherson, Kansas. His earliest interests were in art and motorbikes and since the age of 12, Todd has been pursuing these two passions. He currently works in film, writes, shoots, and pursues collaborations with his roommates at The Chun, a motorcycle warehouse and art space in Los Angeles. The free-spirit artist shares his passion for open roads through aspirational imagery and poetic travel notes that resonate with Serengeti’s DNA.