Time to leave this expensive town (even the gas is 60 Cents more expensive than in other cities here!
We take HWY 395 south and then turn east towards Bodie. 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 (the second largest town in California after Sacramento)! By that time, the town of Bodie bustled with families, robbers, miners, store owners, gunfighters and prostitutes of all kinds. At one time there was reported to be 65 saloons in town. Amongst the saloons were numerous brothels and ‘houses of ill repute’, gambling halls and opium dens. Needless to say that there was entertainment for every taste. Here we see what’s left of Bodie after a two big fires in the 1930s. An original ghost town from the late 1800’s. Bodie stands today in a state of “arrested decay” (i.e. the current state is preserved but it is not re-built).
An interesting fact is that they used old cans, which they cut open as roof “tiles” and as insulation. Bodie is up on over 8,000 feet (2’500 Meter) elevation and in winter they get about 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.5 Meters) of snow with temperatures as low as 0 F (-18 Celsius).
At around 11:00 we leave Bodie again and head further south HWY 395 to Mono Lake. Nestled at the edge of the arid Great Basin and the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains, Mono Lake is an ancient saline lake that covers over 70 square miles and supports a unique and productive ecosystem. The lake has no fish; instead it is home to trillions of brine shrimp and alkali flies. Freshwater streams feed Mono Lake, supporting lush riparian forests of cottonwood and willow along their banks. Along the lakeshore, scenic limestone formations known as tufa towers rise from the water’s surface. Millions of migratory birds visit the lake each year. While we are there some thick clouds start gathering which, together with the lake create a very special atmosphere. We even experience some sprinkles of rain.
In the afternoon we take detour to Mammoth Lakes, a winter ski resort, which reminds us a bit of St. Anton. We actually want to visit the Devils Postile National Monument, but the road is closed to the public and we would have to take a shuttle. Instead we stop at a vista point and take a short walk to explore the view in all different directions, we really get the feeling of being high up in the mountains here.
The whole area in the Sierra Nevada is gorgeous with the mountains the valleys and all the lakes. But we feel like being at the end of the world. The next bigger towns are at least 4 hours away and you have to take what you can get back here.
The next town offering accommodation is Bishop, with about 2,500 people living here. There are a few hotels, restaurant and stores in town. I guess you can get everything you need for life, but not more!
Overnight Stay: Motel 8, Bishop, CA