Driving along a section of Route 66 from Joshua Tree to Grand Canyon last April, we stopped at Roy’s Motel and Cafe in Amboy, CA, hoping to get a bite to eat. Unfortunately the once motel-cafe-gas station-auto repair shop only operates nowadays as a gas station. With its iconic road sign, Roy’s is a reminder of a pre-interstate US. Roy’s opened in 1938 as a gas station along Route 66 – then the primary route for anyone traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles. The complex grew over the years and by the 1950s employed over 70 people (in a town of 700 at the time). When I-40 opened in 1972 – bypassing the area – business declined, turning Amboy into a ghost town (current pop. 4). In 2005 preservationist Albert Okura bought the entire town, promising to restore Roy’s to its former glory. Here’s hoping.
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