Our first day-trip from Needles was west to Amboy, an old Route 66 rest stop in a desolate area of the Mojave Desert. It comprises little more than a motel, a restaurant , a gas station, and a population of 4. But it has some interesting attractions: a unique volcanic crater with several concentric cinder cones, two Chinese guardian lions in the middle of the desert, a funky Route 66 motel and diner circa 1950s, and an international art exhibit!
The art exhibit, housed in the Roy Motel cabins, is a part of a larger art project originating in Switzerland: Matza Amboy explores in rather esoteric ways the issue of water scarcity and how its unequal distribution “becomes an instrument of power and profit”. The dry Mojave is contrasted with the abundance of water in the Swiss Alps, and makes reference to the Aletsch Glacier. I took a photograph of it on a trip to Switzerland in 2006, which I’ve included here.