Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

Walking through Amboy on Route 66 – Going Alone

Amboy, California is a Route 66 desert ghost town which refuses to die. I’ve been passing through this lonely stop in the middle-of-nowhere since the 1970’s, and it seems as on-the-brink today as it did when my brother and I played beside the highway while dad gassed up the van at the market. Amboy will likely never fully die, though this is alright given the vacuous fact of empty which is all that remains of her sister towns of Bagdad, Cadiz, Archer, Chubbuck and Siberia.

The desert “ghost town” of Amboy received its strange name by way of convenience for 19th century workers on the Atlantic and Pacific railroad. While surveying the East Mojave for a track route, a railroad planner identified several places where water stops would be needed for steam locomotives climbing the long Mojave Grade from Needles to Barstow. The stops were named alphabetically: Amboy, Bolo, Cadiz, Danby, Essex, Fenner, Goffs, Homer, Ibis, Java, and Klinefelter running west to east. The fact of alphabetical ordering made it easy for railroad workers to know where they were, and what was coming next, and the simple lettering (Klinefelter is an interesting exception) was easy on the fingers of busy telegraph operators. Amboy grew into a real town due to its strategic positioning between the railroad sidings and Route 66, allowing it to service both; as well as the fact that it is also located at the crossroads of Route 66 and Sheephole Mountain Road, which connected this area of the East Mojave with Twentynine Palms and the major municipalities beyond. Today, there’s little left of this town’s old life and livelihood, save some eclectic desert dwellers and a few individuals who prefer the unique solitude only deep deserts can offer. On second thought, maybe things haven’t changed much here after all…

Amboy California Mojave Desert ghost town cemetery - Going Alone

The old church at Amboy, California


My name is Kurt Bell and I am delighted that you have taken some time to share a little of The Good Life with me. I’m available on social media at the links below and can be reached via email at softypapa@gmail.com

My book is available here:

Going Alone by Kurt Bell

Going Alone is an independent approach to living, uncovering what is real, and making peace with the facts of what is true no matter how the truth makes us feel. I upload at least one video a week for this series on my YouTube channel.

The Good Life is a formulated plan of objectives and principals designed to help us live a more virtuous life in accord with sound reasoning. I upload at least one video a month for this series.

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