After visiting the Grand Canyon (more on this later) we continued making our way West from Arizona to California, weaving in and out along the historic Route 66. Passing through the vast Mojave Desert evoked imagery of a bygone era in American history that I had only seen in old movies or read about in books. We were definitely California bound now and we felt like characters in an old Steinbeck novel (minus all of the dire events and the unfortunate ending…) We were facing adventure head on and discovering unique places along the way. Countless new opportunities lay ahead, as extensive as the open road itself.
Originally running from Chicago to Santa Monica, Route 66 served as the main artery across the country giving way to booming roadside attractions and towns. With the completion of the Interstate Highway System in the late ‘50s however, sections of “The Mother Road” were slowly bypassed. This resulted in the decommission of Route 66 altogether leaving behind interesting opportunities to “get your kicks” …
One such nostalgic epicenter is located in Goffs, California, a “not so ghostly” ghost town along the route. With a current population of 23 caring folks, this town has made a name for itself with their dedication to preservation. Through the work of the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association they were able to restore the Goffs Schoolhouse originally built in 1914. This historic building which now houses a museum complete with interesting artifacts from the region is where you will begin your tour of the area. It is here that you will also meet Dennis and his trusty sidekick (pictured below) who will be happy to share noteworthy historic tidbits with you.
While making your way through the property you’ll find some unique artifacts that are a real treat to photograph. In addition to worn road signs, rusty gas pumps and vintage cars you’ll find a functioning stamp mill that is used for demonstrations from time to time. Goffs is a truly special place that has been frozen in time just like Route 66 itself.
- Heading West towards Twentynine palms? While there be sure to stop by Amboy along Route 66 for an even more “ghost town” feel.
- Another cool site is a visit to the nearby Amboy Crater.
- Hungry while driving along Route 66? For a hearty and classic american meal visit Calico’s in Kingman, AZ.