Saturday, September 5, 2009
Day 2 Visiting Bodie
Photos of Bodie are here:
Deciding on an early breakfast of coffee and little powdered sugar baby donuts, we planned an early start for our adventure to Bodie. We gassed up in Bridgeport, at 3.99 per gallon for regular gas, in the midst of motorcycle rallies, a big rodeo, art shows on the courthouse lawn, and general busy-ness. Once we left Bridgeport, however, things quieted down again, even on 395. The road to Bodie from the highway is only 13 miles, 10 of it paved, and was a bit curvy but not a problem at all.
We have often traveled past the HWY 270 sign to Bodie, thinking we should go there, and for one reason or another never made it. Initially we thought we might boondock along this road, after receiving some correspondence from the BLM saying it was ok to do so. But even though there were some possible wide places in the road, it still is much less private and at this time of year we wouldn't be able to have a fire in the evening, which we can do back at our forest service campground.
Bodie was wonderful, and a bit sad. I first saw this piece of old western history in 1971 when my children were small, and there were no people around then, and no fees. Today it costs 5 bucks per person to enter the park, with an extra 2 bucks for a really nice self guided tour book, well worth the price. We wandered the town with lots of other people, marveling at the history, and the fact that Main Street was once a mile long bordered on both sides by buildings, bars, hotels, and restaurants.
I haven't included any more photos of the town because they are all so interesting that it is impossible to choose particular photos that really catch the feeling of the place. At one time Bodie boasted 10,000 people and 68 bars. The state of California has managed to preserve things as they were left when the town finally gave up in the 1930's in a way that doesn't detract from the originality and mood of what it must have been like to live there. Even so, Bodie is now one of the State Parks of California scheduled to close because of California's budget woes. It would be a truly sad thing to lose this place to vandals and such because of the state's management by crisis and focus on so many things of less importance than maintaining some of our history. There is no other ghost town that I know of in the west that is quite like this one.
Rumor was going around that the state also planned to sell off the artifacts on EBay to make money. Reading about the "Bodie Curse" befalling anyone who took even a rock or a plant from the place makes me wonder what would happen to those buying artifacts from Bodie!
We left the busy parking lot and dusty road to return to Bridgeport following the back way through the Bodie hills, with views of the Sierra's and the desert of Nevada to the west. Found a great little spot near a spring for a picnic lunch, where once more my trusty sleeping bag served us well, providing nice comfort on the hard ground. Abby loved it. We then wound down Aurora Canyon back into Bridgeport.
Tracking another backway, we took the Buckeye road from just west of Bridgeport along the base of the mountains with fabulous views of the Bridgeport Valley. This valley is one of the most extensive wetland valleys I have seen outside of Klamath, and there were literally thousands of cattle grazing on the lush grass.
We got another perspective of the valley by taking the Buckeye road south from 395 into Twin Lakes area. Beautiful! The Buckeye campground is back from this dirt access road another mile or so and can be a bit rough. We probably wouldn't want to take the MoHo there, but did see some bigger rigs camped, and even some empty spaces available on this Holiday weekend Saturday. In addition, at the crossroads on Buckeye road is the Buckeye spring, which was filled with people the day we passed so we chose not to go there. It is a "clothing optional" spring on the side of the hills above the creek. I plan to check it out someday, but probably not on a weekend!
Backway photos are here: