Amboy: Signs of Life

On our long road back from Las Vegas, we stopped for a few minutes in Amboy, on the “shore” of Bristol Dry Lake. In past years, I jokingly referred to Amboy as California’s equivalent of Tolkien’s Mordor. This time, the café was actually open; gas was being sold; and beverages and snacks were available.

One has to consider that Amboy is no longer really on the road to anywhere. It is where Old Route 66, the “Mother Road,” meets the road to Twentynine Palms. You can take Route 66 east from Barstow, but the road is closed past Kelbaker Road, which goes north to Kelso and ends up in Baker. That’s the way Martine and I took, staying on 66 only as far as the turnoff to Twentynine Palms, where Martine used to work as a civilian employee at the Twentynine Palms Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC).

Although there was some human activity visible at Amboy, including a post office across the highway (?!), the desert heat is incredibly fierce. I can’t see anybody being comfortable there except for a few minutes around dawn or dusk. So I doubt you’ll see a McDonald’s or a Starbuck’s there any time soon.