Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bodie Ghost Town after dark.

Bodie State Park is open 3 nights a year until 10:00 PM. We made reservations through the Bodie Foundation for their July 26th,  Ghost Walk Tour.  Just an overnight trip for us and not that long of a drive from home.

Left the house around 9:00 AM for a leisurely drive up Hwy 108, Sonora Pass.  Veronica had not been over the top of the pass in years, I make the trip on my bike a couple of times each year.

 We stopped at Donnell Vista. One of the great view in the Sierras that most people just drive by. First time I had stopped since the parking lot and
trails have been redone.

Over looking Donnell Lake.
View looking toward the Dardanelles.

Looking from the vista point toward the dam.

From the Donnell Vista Point we headed up Sonora Pass.  After Kennedy Meadows the road climbs up to  9,623 feet at the summit. This is the second highest pass in the Sierras, topped only by Tioga Pass. As you drop down to Hwy 395 you pass the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center.   Lots of activity around several helicopters as we passed by. I have always wondered what it looked like in mid January.

Lunch was going to be at the Hays Street Cafe in Bridgeport. We had read some good reviews of breakfast and their cinnamon rolls. Lunch was OK but not great, we did get a cinnamon roll to go for tomorrows breakfast.  Saw some flashing lights from lunch on Hwy 395 figured it was road construction.

This is what we ran into as we attempted to leave Bridgeport.

The Highway was closed south bound by a Haz-Mat spill up the road. CHP said it would be 24 hours. The main road to Bodie was the other side of the road closed sign. I knew there was a road from Bridgeport to Bodie. Set the GPS and off to Bodie we go.

Aurora Canyon Road 17 miles to Bodie this way. There is probably very little traffic on this road, but not today. If  you wanted to go north on Hwy 395 from Bodie this was your way out. I turned on my headlights so coming traffic could see me.

We passed over 4 cattle gates and saw many cattle along the road.

Saw two wild horses up the hill. They were not getting close to the road.

We had planned to stay at an Aspen Grove. I had GPS corrmnatinates of from WTW.  We did not see the small road coming in, may have been the cars passing by. We did find a grove on the road, but no place to camp. We were still 7 miles from Bodie and decided to look for a place closer to the park. Found and nice spot under 2 miles from Bodie, marked the milage for the return trip after dark.

Bodie as we approach in the afternoon

We had some time before dinner so we did a self tour of the town. Checked in at the Museum to see where to get our tickets for the ghost tour. Bodie is really a strange place with so much just left where it was when the people left. Hard to believe so much is here, I am glad it is a state park.

Veronica remembered a press back chair she saw the last time we were in Bodie, 20 years ago. I did not remember it. But there it was, just like one she has had for over twenty years. Her chair is in better shape.

We had dinner in the parking lot. NY steak and cheesy potatoes, we eat good when camping. Met Thom (ntsqd) and his family from WTW nice to find fellow pop top campers. Did not see NorCalHawk from the WTW site. He may have got caught by  the Hwy 395 road block. At 6:30 PM we headed to our tour. Big turn out with 80 people signed up. All the talk was about how to leave after the tour with the road closed. This was only the second tour and it was a work in progress. Our tour guide tried to be funny but some of his stories were not so great. It takes a special person to be a story teller. If he was a better story teller the tour could have been so much better. It was still well worth doing and we got a tour inside the stamp mill that is normally closed. We had tickets for the Star Tour but the clouds were coming in and decided to head up the road and find camp.

A building at the mine as the sun starts to set.

The rest of our tour group as the sunsets over Bodie.

Bodie and the dusty road we came in on.
We drove 1.7 miles up that dusty road in the dark and found our spot for the night.  Parked, got out to check the levels and found we were spot on and did not have to get the blocks out. Had to use the flashlights to see the cow patties. Lite traffic tonight as the rangers told everyone the main road was open at 8:30 PM.  

Our camp was at 9,100 feet elevation with partly cloudy skies.

15 sec exposure of the sunset behind out camper. It was that pretty out there.

The only cars we saw after we parked. Lights coming down the road.

The Milky Way did show up between the clouds. the last time we were in Joshua Tree NP the clouds kept us from seeing the stars.

Our camp in the morning, clouds all around and looks like rain falling in the distance.

The morning sun light hit the Sierras in the distance.

Our cinnamon roll from the Hays Street Cafe. It was good, but would have been better warmed.

Veronica checking out the new Ipad

Our morning neighbors enjoying their breakfast.

I just got my picture taken.

The sun came up over our camper lighting up the clouds. It was a beautiful morning.

This fellow left the crowd to come over and see what we were doing in his area.

We packed up and folded down the camper. 15 miles down the hill to Bridgeport. We were driving early and watching the sun paint the hills. As we got lower we started to see the smoke from the Yosemite Fire. Soon we would smell the smoke.

Sun, smoke and sage brush.

The smoke coming over the Sierras.

Even more cows going out than coming in.

Had to wait until this group decided to walk down the road with us.

Did not think about taking a video of the cows until we were almost out of their way. Here is a short clip of of our traveling companions. 

We got to Bridgeport and drove north on Hwy 395 to Monitor Pass and then over Ebbetts Pass. It was perfect weather for our weekend. As we dropped into the valley we hit the heat. Had lunch in Arnold at a deli in the shade of the pine trees.  Watched the temperature climb as we dropped elevation. Hit a high of 108 degrees at Murphys