Monday, April 29, 2013

Cool Springs Camp AZ - Route 66 Ghost Towns

Although this place probably never qualified as an actual town, it was a desert oasis on the original Old Trails Highway (later renamed Route 66) until it was bypassed by a new alignment of the road that took most of the traffic elsewhere.  It consisted of a gas station, cafe and a few cabins. In 1965 the place caught fire and all that remained was the stone work. A guy named Ned Leuchtner bought the property and using the original stones, rebuilt the gas station and cafe.  The gas station doesn't pump gas and the cafe doesn't serve food, but they do offer up cold drinks, snacks and some awesome history.  Like most ghost towns and abandoned places on Route 66, Cool Springs is in the middle of desert and is very isolated.

I found the old photos on the internet and I'd love to attribute them to somebody, but was unable to find out who that would be. I took all the other photos last month.

Circa 1940

Thimble Mountain in the background. I believe this photo was taken in the early 1920s. As you can see, this is desolate and blazing hot desert. Cars in the old days couldn't stand up the desert temperatures like they can today and many people perished in the desert heat. These little outposts of civilization were literally life savers.

Thimble mountain last month 

 Another photo of Thimble Mountain I took through the window of one of the many old wrecks around the place.

Speaking of wrecks, you know I was happy to see all these old cars and trucks. 

 This may have been one of the original cabins, but I don't really know. However, I'm pretty sure that they didn't offer satellite TV back then.

What jaunt into the desert is complete without a desert oddity?  Yes, it's a Class A RV and EVERY inch is covered with paint.

It may be in the middle of nowhere, but if you've been limping across the desert trailing a plume of steam from an overheated engine, its an oasis...
While the new alignment of Route 66 led to the demise of Cool Springs and many other places; those along the new alignment, like Yucca Arizona, prospered. Eventually, a new Interstate Highway (I-40) bypassed them as well (including Yucca).  As we were on the trail of history, we went there . Yucca will be the subject of a soon to come blog post.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Amboy, Ca. Route 66 Ghost Towns

The town of Amboy was established in 1883 as the first of a series of alphabetical railroad stations and towns that were to stretch across the gigantic Mojave Desert in Southern California.  After the construction of Route 66 through the town in 1926, Amboy's glory days commenced.  In 1938 Roy's Motel and Cafe opened. It did very well because there was nothing else for MANY miles in any direction. I don't think the population of Amboy ever came anywhere close to 100 people and there appears to be only a few in the area these days. In 1973 a new highway (Interstate 40) was constructed that bypassed the town and started it's demise.  The good news is that the place has been purchased and they are pumping gas again! I'm pretty sure the motel and cottages will never be opened again, but it's a start.
Public domain USGS Ariel Photo
All of the photos below were taken in the boxed area in the upper right corner of this photo. Route 66 is the barely seen road passing in front of the buildings. The Atlantic and Pacific RR tracks cut through the middle of this photo.  The new I-40 is several miles out of this photo.  As you can see, this is pure desert.

Bender's One Stop Super Service Station and Cottages

In 1938 Roy and Velma Crow bought the place and  installed the now famous "Roy's" sign. The also added one of the first "modern" style motels behind the cottages and the futuristic looking motel lobby.

 Another older photo of the gas station and cafe.

 A better photo of the derelict motel.

The original abandoned cottages
 Have you seen the movie Cars? This place
 was the inspiration for part of it.
 We noticed this old church across the highway
 It appeared to be in better shape from afar
Back across the street again, we noticed the Amboy School.  Apparently it was still being used as recently as 25 years ago. It is said to be VERY haunted. We really wanted to get in there...

 I got closer and stood on a piece of concrete to take this photo over the fence. When I turned to walk away away, I saw...

This! I have no idea how old it is, but it's clearly hand prints of former students. It makes me wonder what's become of these kids.

This was between the school and the motel. you know it was the old truck that caught my eye. Right? 

Amboy even had an airport! Judging by the windsock, it still does. 

These next few were taken inside of the old cottages.

I wonder how long this has been hanging there? 

There are several of these "shoe sculptures" in the SoCal deserts.  Some of them are miles away from anything. People drive by and hang a shoe and then others spot it and do the same.  This one is just outside of Amboy.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

no phone or internet

we are in a very isolated place for the next two weeks. usually no cell phone signal at all. no phone equals no internet for me. I may be able  to post something eventually.  It is a beautiful place though so I'm not complaining.