It’s no secret that I am a fan of roadside Americana. While I love to see these 50-plus year old businesses alive and well, my real passion is photographing the abandoned Americana. I love seeing what time and nature does to man-made structures and objects. So when my dad said he wanted to drive down the less traveled Californian portion of Route 66 (west from Needles to Victorville) I was all for it. Camera in hand, Ghost Towns of Route 66 as a guide, we got in the car and drove on a clear and sunny day.
We started in Amboy, which is in the middle between Needles and Victorville, but directly north of Palm Springs, worked our way east on Route 66, then after arriving in Needles, we took I-40 west to Amboy, and dropped back down to 66 headed west, so if these photos seem out of order, in a manner of speaking, that’s why! I originally shot over 600 photos for this post, but of course with the glory of digital one can shoot as much as they please, and I often take two to six shots of the same exact frame, as well as multiple angles of the same object. I have narrowed this down to 30, and boy was that difficult. Most of these images are of long forgotten buildings and signs that dotted the Mother Road, but there are a few images of places that are still in business, because their signage was just too great, and, the sad truth is, you never know when a place might close. And just for fun, I have included a quirky roadside attraction that was just too amazing not to photograph. I hope you enjoy.
For those wishing to take a similar trip, I highly recommend Ghost Towns of Route 66 as a guidebook. It offers directions to get off of I-40 if you feel like taking the freeway and getting on and off. For those more hard-core Route 66 enthusiasts who wish to take 66 the whole way, it’s important to make sure you’re car is in good shape. There is a stretch of road roughly 20 miles in length that is very rough, so rough there were signs reading “Rough Road”, and it is unlikely much of the more desolate stretches will be repaved any time soon. Additionally I would recommend dedicating an entire day to the journey, as we were gone from 8:30 in the morning and didn’t return to our hotel until 8:30 at the night.