When touring the wide open spaces of the Mojave Desert the driving distances can be extreme and there are few signs of civilization between destinations. Sheer desolation is what can be expected, yet for an entrepreneur the thought of having no competition for hundreds of miles around is quite appealing. This was basically the formula for success that put Amboy, California on the map way back in the late 1930s when the Route 66 scene was exciting and new.
Amboy originally was a Route 66 boom town that catered to travelers on the newly converted National Trails Highway. This town survived many years of hard times, simply because there was no other competition in this entire region. Route 66 Amboy was a little dot on a map where travelers could fuel up and top off the radiator while crossing the vast desert expanse between the Los Angeles and the border of Arizona. Enterprising individuals realized the potential and Amboy eventually turned into a tourist trap stopover with all amenities included.
The 1950s was when Amboy really was immortalized in the hip Route 66 culture and by this time, Roy's Café was practically world famous. Amboy still had a population of less than 100, mostly because the the existing businesses were all that was needed for the Route 66 tourism trade. Roy's Café evolved through the years and in the 1950s the theme took on a classic futuristic look, which has lasted into modern times.
After Interstate Highway 40 bypassed Amboy in the early 1970s, the economic structure of this Route 66 boom town came to a screeching halt. It was as if the lights were turned off all at once, because most travelers stuck to the high speed freeway. Roy's Café and the original Route 66 motor inn were finally boarded up and Amboy pretty much turned into a ghost town. In recent years, the entire town of Amboy has been tossed around in a few real estate deals that have focused upon Route 66 preservation. It looks as if the Roy's Café Motor Inn complex will eventually be preserved as a museum or historic site, so this classic Route 66 boom town will never fade away.
When touring the local Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark, Mojave Trails National Monument or Death Valley National Park, it is easy to catch Route 66 and do a quick tour of Amboy. The towering Roy's Café sign still presents good selfie photo opportunities, which can be compared to Polaroid photos in the past. The mysterious Guardian Lions Of Route 66 are located just outside of town and they still provides plenty to ponder over while cruising on Route 66 through the seemingly endless Mojave Desert!
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