Travel Photo Thursday: Kofa Cafe

Sometimes a road-trip discovery is just too perfect to believe. That is how I felt when I first saw the subject of today’s Travel Photo Thursday.  Ken found it first, along the long, boring road from Tucson into southern California.

Travel Photo of the road from Arizona into California
The road from Arizona into California

On a short cut between major highways, he stopped for lunch at the Kofa Cafe. Like a mirage in the desert, an old-west style building beckoned him in for a burger and a piece of home-made pie.

travel picture of roadside cafe
On the road, a byway cafe in Arizona

Next time I was with him and we stopped there again.  The years have gone by, the owners have changed, it closed for a while but came back to life in its improbable isolated place out there in the desert.

The first time we visited, I asked in wonder how a restaurant could make a living in such a remote place. It turns out that motorcyclists were the first to discover it as they found a way to avoid going through Phoenix on their way from the east to L.A.  From Tucson on US 10, to avoid Phoenix, take U.S. 8 and then 85 north from Gila Bend where you join back up with US 10. Then we go north from Rt. 10 on the little Vicksburg Road to find the Kofa Cafe. (From there we are heading west on 72 toward Parker to continue into California).

The motorcyclists and truckers found it and then the word just got around. It REALLY got around, as you’ll see on their map of visitors. At first there was this U.S. map, which is a marvel in itself when you think how many people from all over the country have been to the Kofa Cafe.

Travel Photo of map at Kofa Cafe
Two boys mark their place on map at Kofa Cafe. Note the tin ceiling visible above the door.

But it turns out that a map of the United States is totally inadequate for the road trip traffic that stops at the Kofa Cafe, as you will see in our travel photos.  Just look at the additions that people have made.

Would you believe so many people could find their way to a remote cafe in the western desert of Arizona? Ah, yes. It is a SMALL world.

This has been my contribution to Travel Photo Thursday. For more travel photos and wonders from around the world, be sure to visit Budget Traveler’s Sandbox. I must admit to having mentioned Kofa Cafe once before, and I even had a small slide show, so if you want to take a look at that, click over here.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

12 thoughts on “Travel Photo Thursday: Kofa Cafe

  1. The Southwest is such a beautiful place to go driving. At one small town I got into a conversation with a fellow about Indian artifacts and he told me about a nearby cave. The way there took me off road (and I was not driving one of those kind of cars) and I eventually had to leave the car and go about a mile on foot, but I found the cave in a lava outcrop and the ground was strewn with obsidian flakes and you could tell exactly where Indians had sat as they were making tools.

  2. Fantastic! I love hearing about places like these.
    Kofa Cafe brought to mind a seafood restaurant I used to go to in Silver Spring about 20 years ago. It wasn’t in a remote area like Kofa but they did everything the old timey way. It was always crowded at lunch and dinner times. They had a wall with photos of all the well-known people who had dined there – from politicians to sports figures.

    1. Yep! Last time I was there, it was delicious. However, no guarantees, since it’s since an out of the way place, one of the problems is keeping consistent help in the kitchen!

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