Monday, 21 November 2016

Road Trip Part 8; The Ghost Town of Bodie, California

 One of the criteria that I had to tick off on our trip to the west coast was to visit a ghost town. I was intrigued by all the gold rush towns that I had been left abandoned, Max likes exploring abandoned places, and Chris just hadn't been to anywhere of the sort before. After narrowing down the list and spending way too long trying to pick between locations, eventually Bodie in California was the wining choice.

 Bodie was conveniently in between Bishop and Yosemite, so taking the detour there really didn't add much time at all. Although, as seems to be the theme of this trip, you will unexpectedly end up on a horrendous dirt filled rocky drive to get there which you will pray does not break your rental car.

 There is a lot of equipment scattered all around. From train parts to mining parts, to random bits from what every day life had been - you'll find it, just sort of lying around on the ground for you to discover.

 So, what was Bodie? It was a mining camp, built after the discovery of nearby gold. However, unlike other nearby towns, Bodie never became quite a success. It had two stamp mines, both of which were failures. At one point it had a population of around 7000 people and around 2000 buildings, and had gold earnings of around $34 million. It had churches, a red light district, a Chinatown, and an entertainment center. However, by 1912, the local newspaper The Bodie Miner printed it's last issue and the mines began to close. In 1942, the last mine closed as a result of the War Production Order and never reopened.

 And now? Bodie is officially a ghost town in a state of arrested decay. You can walk around it and explore, and it really is fascinating. There are some old cars that have been left behind, and plenty of buildings. In many of them, you can take a look inside - and even when you're only allowed to look through the windows it is still really interesting. Many of the inside of homes look similar, but you can look inside a church and most interestingly of all, you can look inside an old school which still has the desks set up and posters on the wall alongside a very dusty globe. If you go at the right times, you can do a tour of the mill as well. Unfortunately we couldn't fit this into our schedule which is a real disappointment as even walking around the outside was interesting as we'd all have loved to have gone inside.

 A trip to Bodie will keep you occupied for a good few hours. There is a lot to see and it is really interesting to explore and discover more.

 A visit to Bodie will cost you $8. You can pay a little bit extra to get a map as well. We didn't do this and really regret not getting one, as though it's fun to go exploring by yourself it would probably have offered a bit more insight into the significance of some of the houses, etc. I believe it was only $2 for a map so we really should have got one.

I would really recommend a trip to Bodie. Whether you're a fan of urban exploration or have never done any in your life, Bodie has something to offer you. We would have happily spent more time here, however after a few hours sadly we had to continue on to Yosemite National Park - had we not been rushed, we could have easily spent some more hours here.

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