Claims of "gracious hospitality" on Amboy Roy's own website::
"Two great guys bought the entire town of Amboy from a guy named Buster some years back and set about breathing life back into this desolate rest stop... The owners display a gracious hospitality to passing motorists and tourists."
Doesn't match your experience of Roy's? Didn't match ours, either -- or the experiences of many others...
"However, we only stay a short time at Roy's Cafe in Amboy, because Roy - or whoever serves us the juice - is remarkably unfriendly and charges us twice the price for our drinks."
Amboy is a scruffy scratch in the desert. Only twenty people live there. The town consists of ten buildings, the most dominant of which is Roy's Cafe & Motel. There is also a gas station, an elementary school, a church, a graveyard, a railroad station, and an airstrip with an old hangar. Most visitors to Amboy fill the tanks of their motor vehicles and promptly leave town. I stayed to eat and sleep there.
I rented a small adobe cabin painted white with a blue trim. The cabin contained two double beds, a bathroom with a shower, a small table and three chairs. At $57 including tax it was the dirtiest and most expensive room on my Route 66 journey. I removed the filthy sheets from one of the beds, showed them to the employee in charge, and demanded clean sheets, pillow case, and towel. Reluctantly he furnished a clean towel and partially-clean sheets, but no soap. "Take it or leave it," he said and walked brusquely away.
I fared better at Roy's classic late-1940s roadside cafe. I ordered a strawberry milkshake and a Route 66 Burger that consisted of a bun filled with two huge hamburger patties smothered with cheese, a layer of lettuce, and a slice of large onion and tomato. Although a bit pricey (a glass of tap water at Roy's costs $1), both food items were delicious.
"I last left you in Amboy where we hung out waiting for it to cool off, in the only shade we could find at Roy's Motel & Cafe which had recently changed. The Motel was not open and the Cafe was open but run by a surly character and the new owner was not very friendly. We ended up parked in the desert that night."
"We rode to Amboy, here we found the first sun shelter for 40 miles it was called Roy's Cafe and we spent several hours here avoiding the hottest part of the day. Several lots of tourists came while we were there and some road repairs were being done with the police guiding the traffic round the section of road where the earlier rain had made a hole the size of a large van. While waiting for the day to cool a little we asked the café owner for drinking water, his reply was that the next town up the road had a bore hole and the water would be better than his that was delivered by train."
"I'm beginning to think that getting chased out of "Roy's" in Amboy on old Route 66 has become a rite of passage for night photographers. The owner must be getting tired of chasing us away. He doesn't even bring his shotgun anymore!"
"Since traffic dropped with the building of I-40, the whole town - complete with a classic late-1940s roadside cafe called Roy's, a disused motel, and a set of gas pumps - was for sale for decades, until Buster finally upped sticks in 1996. Still photogenic, Amboy is well worth a stop, but the new owners haven't made many friends with their high prices and lack of hospitality - charging $1 for a glass of water, for example."
Amboy, population 20, home of Roy's Motel & Café, and the only gas station for miles in both directions! Having gassed-up I went in for a Coke® and burger. I can't say that I was impressed by the friendliness, I eventually got the guy to discuss the weather and was told that it was only 108°F and that it had been 125° the previous week. Perhaps I won't go back again after all, not in summer anyway!
My advice is, if you're looking for an old-timey sort of Route 66 experience, don't even stop in Amboy. Just cruise right past. Wave, if you like. Then, once you reach Seligman, Arizona (on the longest remaining stretch of Route 66), stop in at Juan Delgadillo's Snow Cap drive-in. Juan knows how to welcome his customers. Boy-o, does he.
Update (apr2003): Timothy White and Walt Wilson tried to sell Amboy on eBay. They wanted $1.9 million. The highest bid was $995,900. Too bad. When it does sell, hope it sells to kind people.