Merely breezing on by on the high speed interstate highway through the Mojave Desert will provide little satisfaction, while on the other hand, touring old historic Route 66 through this desolate expanse will certainly enhance the journey. Long sections of the old two lane highway still exists and the timeless nature of driving the road less traveled certainly will allow nostalgia to creep into the picture. Soon the relics of the past become the main attraction and the natural wonders discovered along the way become as exciting as they did way back when overloaded family station wagons ruled the open road.
Route 66 in southern California has a lot to offer and there are plenty of somber memories from the past that are well worth checking out. Because of the nature of the Mojave Desert terrain, there are plenty of wide open spaces to cruise through too. A good spot to jump off the mind numbing interstate highway onto old Route 66 is historic Ludlow, California. Ludlow is the last vestige of civilization going east toward Amboy and there are several unique scenic areas to explore in between.
The town of Ludlow originally was established in the 1880s as a watering stop for steam locomotives. Later in history when the horseless carriage came to be, the National Trails Highway was constructed along the railroad lines, which was renamed as Route 66 in the 1920s. By the 1940s, Route 66 became the all American vacationland travel pathway and the little town of Ludlow was well positioned to enter the tourism market. This was a fortunate turn of events, because the local mining operations petered out in the 1940s and steam engines became relics of the past, so the newfound economic driver guaranteed that Ludlow would remain on the map. Soon a sophisticated motor court, service station and restaurant were constructed and this town found a niche in the Route 66 cultural scene.
After Interstate Highway 40 completely bypassed Route 66 in the 1960s, the economy of Ludlow took a nose dive, just like so many other Mother Road towns. Much of Ludlow was abandoned and only the shell of many of the old buildings remain. The modern contemporary style restaurant and motor court remained open and these landmarks have nearly been restored to their former glory, so the spirit of Route 66 is alive in this old railroad stop.
Ludlow is the starting point for a very lengthy trek on old original Route 66 through the wide open spaces of the Mojave Desert and the first natural wonder to discover is literally located next door. The Lavic Lake Volcanic Field has drawn the attention Route 66 tourists for nearly an entire century and the towering Pisgah Crater is the primary attraction. Hours can be spent taking in the sights at this picturesque black lava field, then it is nothing but open road touring through the desert to the next stop, which happens to be yet another famous volcanic cinder cone. No tour of Route 66 California would be complete without touring the Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark, so be sure to set ample time aside. The abandoned stopover town of Amboy features the iconic old original Roy's Café and bungalow motor inn complex, which is like the icing on the cake when touring this long stretch of the Mother Road. Pisgah Crater, Amboy and Amboy Crater have been featured in previous articles, so be sure to have a look. The long drive from Ludlow to Amboy certainly is worth taking on and there are even more nostalgic wonders to discover following old Route 66 heading east!
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