A lot of our buds make the trip up the 395 from San Diego and LA to get to the Sierra Stake Out. This strip of road is one of our favorites to run because its a corridor to the mountain roads we love to ride. Along the way are some hidden gems we figured we’d share with those making the trek from Southern Ca who’ve planned some extra time in their routes to the Sierra Stake Out. Introducing one of our favorite ghost towns we are sure you’ve heard of, Bodie, CA.
Bodie State Historic Park – Bodie, California - a town frozen in time in a “state of arrested decay”...
Bodie is an original mining town from the late 1800’s. What’s left today stands in a state of “arrested decay” and is maintained by the California State Parks System, who took over the town in 1962 to make it a State Historic Park.
In 1859 William (a.k.a. Waterman) S. Bodey discovered gold near what is now called Bodie Bluff. A mill was established in 1861 and the town began to grow. It started with about 20 miners and grew to an estimated 10,000 people by 1880 (that’s aggressive) By then, the town of Bodie bustled with families, robbers, miners, store owners, gunfighters, prostitutes and people from every country in the world. At one time there was reported to be 65 saloons in town just in case you were wondering the priorities. Among the saloons were numerous brothels and ‘houses of ill repute’, gambling halls and opium dens – an entertainment outlet for everyone.
On a daily basis miners would emerge from the mills and head for the bars and the red light district to spend their earnings. The mixture of money, gold and alcohol would often prove fatal. Newspapers report that towns people would ask in the mornings “Have a man for breakfast?” Meaning ‘Did anyone get killed last night?’
Today, even though Bodie is down a dusty, bumpy, slow 13 mile long road off of State Highway 395, it’s amazing how many people are aware of this once glorious town. You can visit the old graveyard, see the bank, saloon, church, and even children sized caskets displayed in windows untouched for decades. The rules are simple, look but don’t touch, or you’ll be victim to the ghosts of Bodie’s past. These spirits are very active in the area or so we hear so watch your manners while visiting.
There’s a story about a little girl whose family was moving from San Francisco to Bodie; Depending on who tells it, she wrote in her diary either: “Good, by God, I’m going to Bodie”-or-“Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie”. More on that later….