Ghost Town, part 1

W. S. Bodey and his companions discovered gold high in the hills at the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1859. After almost twenty years of small scale mining by a few prospectors, in 1877 industrial scale mining on the site brought about the boomtown of Bodie, named—inaccurately—after the deceased W. S. By 1879 Bodie had approximately 8500 inhabitants and 2000 buildings, with more than 60 saloons, dance halls, and houses of ill repute. According to one resident, it was “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion.” By 1881, the gold was mostly gone and the town shrank as fast as it had grown. The last few folks departed in the 1940s, leaving the surviving buildings more or less intact. The ghost town became a state park in 1962, and it currently exists in a condition of “arrested decay.” Maintenance is only performed to prevent the old buildings from deteriorating further.

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They call me Old Grumble-Face. I have no idea why they do that....

8 response to "Ghost Town, part 1"

  1. By: gregblood Posted: June 17, 2019

    Wow! The ghost town is something else. And so is UnNormal Mark. That guy is definitely UnNormal, and it takes an UnNormal guy like that to make a guy like me feel much more normal.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: June 18, 2019

      Based on Mark’s Facebook page, he has accomplished some unnormal and extreme escapades. As to bicycling over Towne Pass and through Death Valley this time of year, just the water I would need to carry would outweigh his total coast-to-coast gear. He didn’t even have a Camelback for crossing the long, hot stretches with no water, services, or habitation. Good luck to him!

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 17, 2019

    Looking forward to Part II

  3. By: Lah Posted: June 17, 2019

    Bodie is my favorite ghost town. Was there years ago when our kids were young. The five of us were the only people around the entire time we were checking it out. Love seeing the pictures you took. Over the years, my memories are foggy.

  4. By: NancyG Posted: June 18, 2019

    I have time right not to only read part 1 of Ghost Town Bodie, and will be sure to read part 2 soon. What a great place that I have never heard of. Wonderful photos do give a real feel of being there alongside the rusting tin can, the torn curtains and the withering buildings. I wonder — the the paved road a good one to ride into the town by bike?

    Thanks for the post Bill, very interesting.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: June 18, 2019

      the paved road a good one to ride into the town by bike?

      Not bad. Had I been unable to catch a ride, my plan was to pedal up the paved road, starting at sunrise in order to get to Bodie early enough to have ample time to explore, then ride back via the dirt road.

      From Bridgeport, Highway 395 is the main north-south route on the eastern side of the Sierra. Total of two lanes. Not extremely busy, but plenty of high speed traffic including big rigs. High proportion of RVs and cars/pickups with campers, boats, etc. At least some shoulder most of the way, but a couple of short narrow squeezes. Optimal to ride this early in the morning in order to avoid traffic. Seven miles with 350 feet elevation gain.

      Then turn left on Route 270, also known as Bodie Road, which is well marked. Only traffic on this is going up to Bodie, so not many cars and no big rigs. Few RVs do it. Paved except for the last three miles. No shoulder. Pleasant enough with some good views toward Mono Lake and the high Sierra, but definitely uphill. 13 miles with about 1900 feet elevation gain.

      • By: NancyG Posted: June 18, 2019

        Sounds pretty do-able. But is there parking somewhere Bodie Road (270) if one wanted to avoid all of what sounds like horrendous traffic on 395? I have no idea if I/we will ever get anywhere close to doing this, but like to have options on my wish lists ;’-)

        • By: Bill Stone Posted: June 18, 2019

          I think “horrendous” would be too strong. Plenty of long-distance bicyclists ride 395. Not great, but do-able. In any event, I’m sure you could find a place to pull off Bodie Road and leave your car. Worst case — if you’re planning an out-and-back ride — you could drive up to Bodie, park there, bike down as far as you want, turn around, and ride back up to your car in Bodie.

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