Rt 66 - Chambless, Cal

Heading east out of Amboy, I tried to remember that the “66” didn’t mean 66 mph.  I passed Kelbaker Road and continued on towards the ghost town of Chambless, Cal., even though signs warned me that the road was closed ahead.

James Albert Chambless, formerly of Arkansas, established a homestead at the intersection of Cadiz Road and the National Trails Road sometime in the early 1920s. His small homestead grew into a small community that took his name and as travel along Route 66 increased, so did the town’s prosperity. By 1939 a post office, café, gas station, motel, store and tourist cabins were all happily in business.

About a mile and a half before reaching Chambless proper, I pulled over at a classic Route 66 stop, the former Road Runner’s Retreat Restaurant and Gas Station. There must have been hundreds of such places along Route 66 during the road’s glory days. The tall sign could be seen at a great distance, alerting travelers that a place to stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat and fill up the gas tank was just ahead. Sadly, it has been many years since anyone stopped here, other than for taking pictures.  But these ghosts of the road are an attraction all to themselves as they slowly fade into the grass and weeds and disrepair.

A service station and "Official Garage" sits nearby the Roadrunner Retreat. It's not providing much service anymore though.


Some remnants of the days when the old gas station serviced travelers along Route 66.

At the intersection of 66 and Cadiz, I found several old buildings, a Route 66 Monument, and travel farther east blocked by “Road Closed” signs. The large building surrounded by the metal fence was once the hub of business in Chambless. It was a market, café and gas station all in one. At one time it had a wide porch, offering a shady spot to rest a bit; it apparently blew away in a severe windstorm years ago. A close look at the walls surrounding the front door and windows on each side show that the original portion of the building was constructed with adobe bricks. They provided excellent insulation during the hot summers and cold winters. Small tourist cabins out back were available to stay the night; they are still standing and look to be in good condition.

Small cabins are located out behind the market. Travelers could rent one of these to spend the night, and get an early start on their journey the following day. 

 After taking a few photos and deciding not to try to slip past this particular "Road Closed" barricade, I deployed a Munzee and then got back into Old Blue to backtrack to I-40. I'd take that a bit east and then head northeast on Goffs Road to my last stop on Day One.