Oasis in the Desert, Amboy, California

oasis-in-the-desert-mary-anne-erickson

Oasis in the Desert, Amboy, California

When I planned our one day Route 66 road trip from Phoenix, Arizona to Palm Desert, California in 2012, I hadn’t stopped to carefully think it through. That was a heck of a lot of mileage to cover in one day! The sun was setting as we drove across the Arizona-California state line, and we still had a long stretch of desert to go before arriving at our destination. We could see on the map that there was a small road that cut south from highway #40 that would take us to Joshua Tree and then around to Palm Springs. We also hadn’t anticipated that we were close to out of gas entering the completely desolate desert, with no gas stations in sight! I had visions of us walking with a gas can for miles, under the full moon, in search of an oasis.

Then all of a sudden, after 17 hours of straight driving, boom! There it was! A distant light and the hope for much needed fuel to make the last tired leg of our journey! As we got closer, I recognized the now dark neon sign of Roy’s, on Route 66 in Amboy, California, a famous roadside attraction ! Wow! Not only were we going to be able to get gas, but I could get some great pictures of a classic #66 sign.

The painting of the sign never panned out. But this Hopper-esque gas station, this beacon of hope, really called to me. I made the building small with lots of blackness around it to help emphasize how vast the darkness was in every direction. This small outpost of hope in the middle of nowhere was truly a miracle in every way!

Oil on canvas, 60×36″

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