The iconic "ROY'S MOTEL CAFE" sign on Route 66 in the desert oasis of Amboy CA has been freshly painted, and custom neon tubing has been delivered for installation. Before the year is over, this towering landmark with its dynamic arrow should be lit up like 1959.
The 60-year-old sign has long been one of the best-known symbols of Route 66 even though the neon was broken or missing, and underlying metal had rust, and peeling or faded paint.
An Italian snapshooter caught the painting crew at work in mid-August and posted the image on Roy's unofficial Facebook page. On August 22, I photographed the sign's fresh paint and new neon tubes carefully laid out on the motel's office floor.
The site manager says a re-lighting ceremony will be held on Saturday November 16. Plans are to keep the sign glowing all night from then on, recalling the glory days of Route 66 through Amboy. That era ended in 1973 when I-40 opened on a distant alignment, leaving Roy's bypassed and hidden across miles of desert and mountains.
Eventually, other parts of the Roy's complex should re-open. The motel may begin taking guests next year. Only gas, snacks and souvenirs are available now (along with rest rooms and shade under the pump canopy).
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My trip also included a brief stop in the near-ghost town of Glenrio TX/NM. In an earlier posting here ("Increasing Vandalism on Route 66") I detailed a spree of physical destruction and graffiti along this key section of Route 66.
Since then, the concrete block "First/Last" Phillips 66 gas station and cafe has had ten or so graffiti scrawls on the front and side carefully blotted out by white paint. The benefactor is unknown.
Unfortunately, vandals have also broken the windows, and nature is destroying the roof. But overall this building has been upgraded from an eyesore and graffiti-magnet to a ruin. It now appears comparable to, say, five-years ago.
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August 22/23 images of both scenes are on my site at: http://www.rt66pix.com/theblog
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