3.9 Amboy

Amboy is ”The ghost town that ain’t dead yet”.   So says the newspaper, preserved in a clear plastic laminate, was standing on the counter of Roy’s Café.   The town came into view at the end of 29 miles of old route 66—29 miles without a recent human mark save some guardrails at the dry washes that crossed the highway.

I was set to pull into town an hour-and-a-half before when I saw a sign for the Amboy Crater.  I stopped to eye the volcanic cinder cone but was soon mesmerized by the sunset and moonrise.

After the changing of the guard between the sun and the moon, it was still early enough to go into the town of Amboy in the hope of finding a ghost.  The café turned out to have no kitchen.  I asked for coffee and was offered instant.  No thanks.

“How about tea?’ I asked.

“Sure pick a bag from one of those boxes,” the manager said while he filled a styrofoam cup with hot water.

When he turned away to walk back to the cash register, I saw the pistol holstered behind his right hp.   It was a 45, not your most bashful sidearm.

There was another couple in the café engaged in animated conversation so I sipped my tea and studied the 50’s memorabilia.   I had decided to go back to the parking lot of the crater and camp for the night.  As I was leaving the woman asked where I was from.  The conversation revealed she was accompanying her mother who was walking across the county bound for Washington, D.C

The café was closing, but I decided I would come back to Roy’s Café in the morning and see what story went with that 45 and the woman’s walk.

The day was over for me save that I needed to write some notes of the Borax mine in Boron and my first impressions of route 66.

It was not long before I fell into a satisfying slumber hourly stirred by a little night music—the distant rumble of freight cars stampeding across rails of iron.

6 Responses to 3.9 Amboy

  1. David Pierce says:

    Al, the next time we meet I need to show you a DVD produced by my friend Wally Hampton titled The Mother Road(Historic Route 66).


  2. Priscilla Ross says:

    When we drove through Arizona, we too, say young men with guns and holsters. They wore it for all to see. Ben thought they may be miners coming into town. Being that we were from California, it was a bit disturbing. I later learned that in Arizona you are allowed to show you guns. I enjoy reading your stories.

  3. karen wittgraf says:

    Just seeing the gun would have my palms sweating- and I definitely wouldn’t go back to view it and sip on bad tea in a styrofoam cup. However, I might wait outside in hopes of finding out about the cross country walkers- and what their mission was. Route 66 is engrained in my memories of our many summer trips to California to visit my relatives that were scattered across the coast. I was always excited to see the next “wonder of the world” along the highway.. all scams, of course.

  4. A cafe with no kitchen. Interesting. I’ve been catching up on my reading so I already know the story behind the .45.

  5. Linda Brown says:

    Al, I see your writing improving with every mile. Enjoy both the miles and the pen.


  6. Linda Brown says:

    Al-(I see your writing improving with each mile.

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