Road Runner’s Retreat mulls full sign restoration after brief and partial relighting

A whim on the night Roy’s neon sign in Amboy, California, was relighted led a successful partial relighting a portion of the nearby Road Runner’s Retreat sign and considering a full restoration.

The Facebook page for the long-closed Route 66 restaurant posted this Wednesday:

I asked Ryan Anderson, owner of the property and administrator of its Facebook page, whether the sign would be relighted nightly, even if just partially:

Unfortunately not. A little more work will need to be done to get proper electrical installed and the inside of the sign cleaned out as there is a lot of debris (old bird’s nests and such). We had to roll up the three 500+ feet rolls of wire prior to leaving. Was more of a test to see what if anything was still viable.
We made our first attempt during the cleanup but couldn’t draw enough electricity from a generator. We came back out the weekend of November 16 for the Roy’s relighting ceremony. We pretty much had the lines run and ready to flip the switch prior to leaving for the festivities at Roy’s, had a great time there and what a sight it was to see that sign light up the desert. We headed back to the Road Runner’s Retreat made a couple last-minute adjustments and flipped the switch. Hooting and hollering with tears in my eyes we must have woken everyone up within 3 miles from the excitement.

Anderson in the last few years has organized volunteer cleanups at the site during the late fall. Anderson is the grandson of the restaurant’s last owner.

A well-meaning roadie worried about vandalism if the sign is fully restored. However, the sophistication and relatively low cost of remote video cameras, plus warnings about them, would reduce that risk considerably.

Roy and Helen Tull built Road Runner’s Retreat along Route 66 near Chambless, California, in the early 1960s. The business closed in the mid-1970s after Interstate 40 bypassed the area, choking off traffic. Bill Ross Murphy purchased the property after it had been closed for some time, with the intent of never reopening but maintaining it as much as possible due to its Route 66 significance.

(Image of a partially relighted Road Runner’s Retreat sign near Chambless, California, via Facebook)

4 thoughts on “Road Runner’s Retreat mulls full sign restoration after brief and partial relighting

  1. Amazing even that much of the neon could be reactivated. I was at the fantastic Roy’s relighting and met the whole RR contingent. Apparently according to one, the road runner itself had running neon.

    Meanwhile your news from Tucumcari was disheartening. It was in 1991 and seeing all the neon still there at that time and staying in the El Rancho on return to CA from Carlsbad Caverns that I became a 66 roadie.

  2. This is fantastic news. I’d love to see that sign restored. Someone please set up a GoFundMe or something.

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