J and L often think that all we need to do is to look in our own backyards for new adventures and exploration. We truly believe this, and a recent weekend outing proved that assertion to be true.
On the way home from Bullhead City, Arizona, J and L decided to venture off Interstate 40 westbound and strike out along a portion of old Route 66, near Amboy. Amboy was once a famous, or perhaps infamous, little burg that was once the stopping place for weary travelers traveling west toward California from places to the east - way east.
A relaxing respite from day and night travel; what better place to spend a few minutes, a few hours or even a night to catch up on energy spent on the road?
|Harrison Ford cruising Amboy|
On a lighter note, the area served as the backdrop for Enrique Iglesias' music video Hero, as well as the cover art in 2008 for Rush's album Snakes & Arrows Live. And, local legend has it (and autographed photos in the diner tend to add credence) that Harrison Ford is a frequent visitor, landing his personal place at a nearby strip -- the oldest in California.
|This story is about that - the Amboy Crater, let's go|
|Middle of nowhere - not quite - a lot happening in this part of Route 66|
That little volcanic area that erupted in the Mojave Desert is what placed Amboy on the historical map. While ten thousand years in geologic time is like yesterday, we are glad it wasn't yesterday since J and L live in the Mojave Desert; and that would be awkward and potentially life threatening. Seriously though, Southern California is known for earthquakes but not so much for the volcanic activity which once proliferated all around the Golden State. With tectonic plate shifting comes the chance of volcanoes erupting here and there and Southern California just happens to be in the 'here' area.
|This baby isn't going to blow any time soon - we hope!|
Of course, most if not all volcanoes in the Mojave Desert are inactive - which is simply a geologist's way of saying: "I don't think anything will blow up soon around here. Oh wait, I have a plane to catch."
Hundreds if not thousands of visitors come to this remote area to walk, hike, and explore the area which is like stepping back into time.
|There is a short area of smooth walking but most is over level rocky trails|
This basaltic lava has a smooth, billowy, undulating or ropy surface. That happens when the lava below the surface is still very fluid, like molasses, but the top is quickly congealing so the lava path has a chance to stretch out and become smoother, often forming tunnels. The temperatures at the time of formation are a cooling two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. No matter what, the surface around the crater is crammed with hardened rock that, to the naked eye, may not appear to be particularly smooth. But J and L aren't geologists and only look at things as they appear. Smooth and billowy - nope. Hardened and at one time dangerous to walk on - yep.
|This looks pretty hard for both bipedal and quadrupedal creatures.|
|The moon, right?|
brought you to where the past meets the future.
|Pretty steep walls - makes the place quiet|
As we've said many times, we relish the thought of seeing things in your own backyard. It can be fascinating as we found out by simply getting off of the state highway and taking a two lane road home.
|Sit a spell and learn about the area of Amboy|
A little time consuming? Perhaps, absolutely worth it when we realized we've experienced something thousands of drivers will never see driving westbound on Interstate 40 heading to the Pacific. Taking a philosophical page from Miriam Beard: "Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."
That is the human spirit - go to the mountain and learn what is there to be learned. Just the experience is worth the travel.
|Midnight, what better place to be than here?|