A big shout out and a military salute to Albert Okura, founder and CEO of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain. Albert is our clubs benefactor and long time friend. By club I am referring to the Inland Empire Military Vehicle’s Preservation Association – IEMVPA
WANTED NEW MEMBERS – the old ones are Vietnam war era and before we start losing them we need replacements. Must have a military vehicle or be in the process of procuring one.
Unless you are into Route 66 history, a private airplane owner and pilot, Route 66 history buff or into WWII era military vehicles or even knowledgeable about the McDonald’s hamburger museum in San Bernardino then you may not know about the annual fly in or some some of the following:
This past weekend we rocked out with a camp over at Roy’s Cafe with the one of the highlights being the relighting of the neon sign that has sat silent for decades since the decline of traffic on Route 66. Roy’s Cafe and Diner is located in a town called Amboy and is owned by Albert Okura.
Yes Albert now owns this town; formerly a water stop for the Pacific Railway. It was told to me that back when trains were powered by steam they needed lots of water to make steam. With steam they could run all day so water stops were spread out every 30 miles.
Water stop towns such as Amboy were created. The next town I believe started with a B and the following one with with a C and the next one with a D; to keep things simple for the train engineers.
Today all that remains available from Amboy is Rose Café a restaurant a motel a gas station a gift shop and right across the street is the Amboy post office.
Several miles away is the Amboy crater. Yes a crater to hike on, estimated to be 79,000 years old. Lava flows as old as Amboy Crater itself now blanket the surrounding area. The most recent eruption was approximately 10,000 years ago and the next probably by the time we get to Mars.
The volcanic crater is 944 ft (288 m) above sea level, about 250 ft (76 m) above the surrounding basalt lava plains. So go climb yourselves a volcano and then stop in at Roy’s Cafe.
The scenic and solitary Amboy Crater was a popular sight and stop for travelers on Route 66 before the opening of Route 40 in 1973 just one year before my teenage road trip across America in a new VW beetle. I have no idea if we ever made it this far but, we did reach Flagstaff and hiked the Grand Canyon.
Okura is just one of many along Route 66 from Santa Monica to Chicago that is working to preserve and restore a vital part of Americana auto history. Just one town at a time. The Japanese when asked why they want to visit Route 66 responded by saying that they want to see what young (200 years old) America was able to build in such a short time. Others from even the Czech Republic Route 66 club have visited Roy’s as their club poster is proudly displayed.
Our vintage military vehicles club was invited to partake in the fly in and the lighting ceremony that may become an annual event. See the flyer below. And if you get a chance buy his book and read how Albert did it.
Thankfully for all of us on the ground airplanes have a way better maintenance schedule that is not taken for granted unlike some military jeeps on our convoy.
Our delay started out with a starter issue on an MB jeep that evolved into a battery issue that ended up resolved with a new regulator. Five auto part stores in Barstow within a five mile radius and no one seemed to have any jeep parts we needed.
With our first vehicles problem resolved and the start of our return trip on the mother of all roads Route 66; the second MB military jeep problem reared its ugly head. This time a lose driveline on account of badly worn u joints.
U–joints connect yokes that also allow drive shafts to move fore and aft as vehicles go over bumps or dips in the road, which effectively shortens or lengthens the shaft.
Since military vehicles are four wheel drive we have front and rear drivelines. Only problem was this 1944 MB jeep was modified so that a new front driveline was never installed. If it was then he could’ve just driven it home as a front wheel drive vehicle.
Several pilots roamed into our fire circle the first night. The first pilot was an older gentleman wearing a cowboy hat. On his way to a pilot group get together he brought us a box full of chocolates. He began by saying that “life was like a box of chocolates”.
Just kidding. I will not now go down the path of making fun of any of these pilots for they truly earned it on this fly in. Some even landed on the mother road. Most slept in or out of a tent right by or even under their personal airplanes.
The second pilot that wandered into our fire ring circle was a 24-year-old female carrying an unopened box of Oreos. This girl should make her parents or grandparents proud. She said bought her airplane for $24,000 is an engineer by trade works for NASA and on top of that owns two airplanes which she stores in a hangar in Mojave. I know. I know. My two airplane junkies nephews are probably thinking not if she is single and available but, wondering what the second plane looks is. WANTED WOMAN WITH PLANE. Please send pictures of plane.
The convoy stopped at the Route 66 museum in Victorville. Definitely worth a visit. More memorabilia than you can find for hundreds, if not a thousand miles on Route 66.
Now go get your kicks on Route 66.
Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” is a popular rhythm and blues song composed in 1946 by American songwriter Bobby Troup.