Old Route 66: Arrowhead Junction – Goffs – Essex – Amboy


Day 6 began in Laughlin, and it needed to end in Las Vegas by mid-afternoon, in order for me to catch my flight home.  This left me with the dilemma of where to go, during those final few hours of my vacation.

In 2005, I had driven part of an old stretch of Route 66, from Ludlow to Amboy.  But then, I turned south, headed to Joshua Tree National Park.  The eastern half of the old road, from Amboy back to I-40, remained unseen.  I calculated that I’d have just enough time to add this stretch of road to my Route 66 log.

West of Needles, Old Route 66 breaks away from I-40 at US 95.  A few miles later, it turns west at Arrowhead Junction (aka Goffs Road) and arches west, then south, crossing I-40, then passing through Essex and Chambless, before arriving at Amboy.

There’s little exciting to see along the stretch of old 66 known as Goffs Road.  That’s okay, because simply driving over a surviving fragment of the Mother Road is thrilling enough.  You’ll probably end up taking a few pictures of these Route 66 shields, painted on the road.  You’ll find them every few miles.

As you cross the railroad tracks at Goffs, you’ll also see a sign for the Goffs General Store and Country Kitchen.  The store is in about as good a shape as the sign: both look long-forgotten, and the store is out of business.

Down the road in Essex, there’s another relic of the road’s glory days.  The Essex Cafe and Market looks abandoned, but a dog ran out and barked at me as I explored, so someone must be living here.

Another building in Essex.

Beyond Essex, the old road tops out at Cadiz Summit, providing a great view of the miles and miles of straight-as-an-arrow pavement that lie ahead.  Amboy is just slightly farther than you can see, somewhere near the foot of those mountains on the right.

As you head down the hill from Cadiz Summit, you’ll notice some all-natural graffiti.  Travelers have stopped to arrange rocks on the hills at the side of the road, forming their names and other messages.

Next up is Chambless, where you’ll find a very brief green oasis, and according to one email I received, a friendly RV park with full hookups.

And speaking of facilities, you’ll find this rest area (hope you’re not bashful!) just west of Chambless, along with several old buildings…

… that long ago made up the Road Runner Restaurant complex.  The buildings have seen better days…

… and so has the beautiful old neon sign, that could benefit from a little restoration.

Shoe Tree Near Amboy

There’s a very good chance that you’ll be walking around Amboy barefoot, because just before you arrive there, you’ll be tempted to toss your old shoes into this shoe tree, at the side of old Route 66.  Dozens of old kicks, donated by people getting their kicks on old 66, now dangle from the branches.

Roy’s Cafe and Motel, Amboy

At Amboy, the Mother Road arrives at one of its most classic desert waysides.

If you’re interested in reading much more about Amboy, Roy’s, and the effort to save this classic Route 66 town, I’d strongly suggest you check out my 2005 Visit To Amboy and 2016 visit to Amboy.  I’ve included many of my 2007 pictures and update information on the 2005 page. I’ll include the pictures here, too, but you’ll find much more information on the other Amboy pages.

The Old Roy’s Motel & Cafe sign.

The old motel cottages, freshly painted as of my 2007 visit.

A look inside one of the cottages.  Some vintage furniture and a very old heating system remain.

The Cafe.  Although the Plexiglas sign is almost completely destroyed, the cafe is now open (although as of November 2007, only serving water and t-shirts).

And finally, the old Amboy Church, across the street from the motel.

Once again, please check out my other Road Trip to Amboy, Route 66 page for much more.

Once you’re done exploring Amboy, backtrack east a few miles to Kelbaker Road, and head north.  This will take you back to I-40, and if you continue north, you’ll drive through the Mojave National Preserve (which I’ve covered on the next page).

Note: This trip was first published in 2007.

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