Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ROADTRIP: Bodie State Park (and ghost town)

About 95 percent of Bodie is lost in the dust, but what remains is a fun look at what gold mining towns looked like during the rush West. The boomtown was home to about 10,000 people in the 1870s, and, had it been easier to get the railroad through the mountains, Bodie might still exist. A combination of horrible climate, backbreaking work, unpredictable economy and 65 saloons made Bodie a dangerous place to live. If you managed not to get murdered, you were likely robbed -- on foot or in your stagecoach.

Calling Bodie a ghost town is accurate, as far as there being a semi-preserved buildings in a defunct town, but Bodie is a state park, so it's unlikely you'll feel alone. The photo opportunities are abundant, but you'll likely have to wait awhile if you don't want live 'uns walking through your ghost-town shots. Also, most of the buildings are closed to the public to keep them in their pristine state of falling apart.

This is all probably for the best though, since the drive into Bodie is long, mostly because the road minimally maintained -- and closed much of the year -- and if you were to have car trouble without the hope of someone else coming along, we're talking tough times.

The turnoff to Bodie is on I-395 at Bridgeport. You can also reach it from the east off NV-95 at Hawthorne. There is a small entrance fee, and you can also buy a walking-tour booklet full of maps and other good information. Though the park is open year round, if you aren't going in the summer, visit the state park site to make sure  the road is open, and to check hours and fee information: parks.ca.gov/bodie