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USA Wanderings: Walking Around with the Ghosts of Bodie

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Yesterday was all lined up to be an amazing day of photography as we traveled through Nevada again and then back to California. Part of the trip was to stop off at Bodie. We were very excited to go there and see what we would find. A ghost town is something I never thought I would ever get to see.

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We had to drive up a road that led to nowhere, or so it seemed. Part of the road was sealed and then we had to drive on a dirt road.  Slowly it came into view.

We had to pay to go into it, $15 a car and then two dollars for the brochure. That kind of set the mood, plus all the cars we followed into it, and the cars following us. The holiday weekend was over, but the place was full of people. It was hot, dusty and busy.

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The place is maintained, which I was surprised about. In my mind not really a ghost town, but the remnants of a town that is now always being restored. When things start to fall apart, they fix them. Some buildings had collapsed, but that may have happened before they started maintaining it. When you walk around you can’t quite work out whether it is meant to be a representation of what life was like, or a ghost town that will just fade away. It seems to be somewhere in between.

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I did like seeing inside the buildings, though there were very few that you could see inside, and most of the time you had to look through dirty glass. The above image was taken in a house that they have set up for you to go in. I would have liked to have seen more of that. I like the element of life.

I will just leave you with some more photos of the town. It was fun to go there, and I’m glad I did, but it wasn’t quite what I thought a ghost town would be like. There are other places and I think I would seek them out if I really wanted to see one. I won’t have any time to do that this time, but maybe in the future, you never know.

Here is a gallery with a few more photos.

65 Comments
  1. Isn’t there something about a curse if you try to wander off with any of the artifacts? Seems there was something like that.

    September 10, 2015
    • I don’t know, never tried to do it. Interesting.

      September 10, 2015
  2. Such a lovely town, Leanne. It looks like something from another era, something you’d see in a Western. You certainly did capture the element of life through your photos – life that was a moment ago. Hope you are having a good time in the States. Safe travels and lovely to see you keeping the blog going 🙂

    September 10, 2015
    • That’s what I was thinking, like the old wild west and I think it was one of those towns. Thank you Mabel. I am having a great time, I have seen some amazing things. I thought blogging would be a good way for my family and friends to keep up with me. thanks Mabel. 🙂

      September 10, 2015
  3. MLou #

    I love these ghost towns….so nostalgic

    September 10, 2015
    • I think they are amazing, and that is a great word to describe them.

      September 10, 2015
  4. I guess the problem these days Leanne is that without maintenance and people theree would be nothing left. I know when the old rail bridge was unearthed at Lake Eppalock during the drought when Bill and I first started our work ” Eppalock on a Sunday ” there was lots of it left, but after several years pieces of it were souvenired so that others were neveer able to see it properly.

    September 10, 2015
    • I think protecting is different to maintenance, I can understand why they want to protect it, but it isn’t really what you would call a ghost town, there was a guy up on a roof fixing it, it is turning into a museum, which is fine, but maybe it isn’t a ghost town now, that is what I think anyway, it is very commercial and a bit of a tourist trap. I think I would like to see one that really is abandoned and has just been left.

      September 10, 2015
  5. These are wonderful!

    September 10, 2015
  6. Lovely atmospheric photographs.

    September 10, 2015
  7. Great shots and i must say i like you would prefer really derelict down trodden sad little abodes..i have a thing for the decrepit 🙂 glad you are enjoying it all sweets 🙂 Bev

    September 10, 2015
    • I could say something there, but won’t hahahahaha, Thanks Bev, I think I feel the same way.

      September 10, 2015
      • Bwahahahaah oh do tell 😉

        September 10, 2015
      • Hahahaha, nah, I’m too much of lady to do that.

        September 10, 2015
      • Bwahahaahahaha you go girl 😉

        September 10, 2015
      • Hahaha trying to be diplomatic, that’s me. 😀

        September 11, 2015
      • You..never 😉

        September 11, 2015
      • It sounds like you know me too well. 🙂

        September 11, 2015
      • That i may..or we are too similar 😉

        September 11, 2015
      • Oh I don’t know Bev, haha, I’ve forgotten, maybe I am the old and decrepit thing that needs attention.

        September 11, 2015
      • I doubt it! think you are doing just fine..!

        September 11, 2015
      • I don’t always feel it, lol

        September 11, 2015
      • Hahah me either..;0

        September 11, 2015
      • LOL 😀

        September 11, 2015
  8. Like the photos but Brody does seem a strange contradiction

    September 10, 2015
    • That’s what I thought too Diana, thanks.

      September 10, 2015
  9. I understand Bodie didn’t quite fit your perception of “ghost town”, there are abandon towns that aren’t being preserved and they are falling into complete disrepair. I think what they are doing in Brodie is a good thing. They aren’t modernizing, just repairing. When you go to a museum you don’t expect to find the dinosaur bones scattered around, you expect to see them restored and looking like a skeleton, kinda of the same idea. It is a bit of a tourist trap, but your images show it quite nicely. Hope your next stop is more to your liking.

    September 10, 2015
    • I understand that, but it isn’t what I would call a ghost town either, I think it is great they are preserving it, but I think I would have liked to have visited a place that was more what I thought a ghost town was. I think it is sort of not really a museum, but perhaps working towards that, which would be nice, but not really a ghost town either. My next couple of stop were amazing, thanks.

      September 10, 2015
  10. Fantastic photos, really liked the interior photos, nice to see how they lived when the town was active

    September 10, 2015
    • I loved seeing the interiors as well, they were quite amazing, Gave a good perspective. Thanks.

      September 10, 2015
  11. Great photos and experience into another time Leanne 😀
    Enjoy your time.

    September 10, 2015
    • Thanks Irene, it was a great experience.

      September 11, 2015
  12. I love old ghost towns. We recently visited one in Animas Forks Colorado: https://webetripping.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/chasing-ghosts-in-colorado/

    September 11, 2015
    • They are quite amazing, I need to find some in australia, there must be some. Thanks.

      September 11, 2015
  13. True, Bodie is not a ghost town in the sense that it was abandoned – period. The State Parks Dept. describes what they are doing as maintaining the place is a state of “arrested decay” — in other words, trying to maintain it in the condition they found it when the State took it over and made it a park. They are not trying to restore it to its original condition, but they are trying to prevent it from decaying any further.

    September 11, 2015
    • Yes, that makes sense, and you can see that when you walk around. Like I’ve said, nothing wrong with that, just not what I thought a ghost town would be like. I hope they do more things like setting up some of the houses, and letting the dust settle, it was great seeing inside some of them and seeing how they live.

      September 11, 2015
  14. If they didn’t maintain it, it would simply disappear. Most “ghost towns” have vanished, turned to dust. The ones that are still with us, are merely towns that no longer have people in them. Most are either undergoing restoration and will be re-peopled at some point … or are used for movie sets … or money-making tourist attractions. I’ve been to a few of them, one of which was actually a ghost town at the time, but is now an “attraction.” But at least it’s still there … Probably wouldn’t be without maintenance. Still great places to take pictures 🙂

    September 11, 2015
    • I’ve heard there are some that are still there, and have just been left, that would be more what I am interested in. I don’t have a problem with they are doing at Bodie, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

      September 11, 2015
  15. How cool and eerie!

    September 11, 2015
    • It was that, thanks Kerbey.

      September 11, 2015
  16. Fascinating. Quite an oxymoron – a maintained ghost town. I can’t imagine getting a proper sense of abandonment with it being a teeming tourist attraction. Such places are, IMHO, best experienced in solitude.

    September 11, 2015
    • That’s what I was thinking Graham, totally, and I think you have hit the nail on the head and what I was thinking. I agree, I don’t mind sharing, but not with half the state. Thank you.

      September 11, 2015
  17. At least there are structures…a few “ghost towns” I have been to out West are just what’s left of chimneys and foundations…

    September 11, 2015
    • Yes, structures, still there, it is an odd thing. I must find some in Australia, though we have nothing like this. Thanks Robert.

      September 11, 2015
  18. What no tumbleweed???? Other than that I think you have captured the wild, wild west perfectly and it looks like someone just put down their teacup and walked out. I couldnt see the upkeep too much. I am like you, when does it start not to be authentic when the upkeep parts outweigh the original 🙂

    September 11, 2015
    • I know, apparently not something they had in California. Some parts were like they had just walked away, and I didn’t mind that, but there were so many people there that it was hardly a ghost town anymore. that is so true, that last part, good point. thanks Karen. 🙂

      September 11, 2015
      • You did a good job considering all the people, a bit like the beach sheds at Brighton… you gave the impression of deserted and historical so portrayed them well 🙂

        September 11, 2015
      • Yeah, takes some patience, I like that look, so if I have to have someone in a photo I try and do it so I can cut them out, haha. 🙂

        September 11, 2015
  19. Bodie really is a lovely place. If only it won’t so remote I’d likely be there more regularly. Given that you’re in the area I highly recommend a trip just south of there to Mono Lake (sunrise preferred as it gives lovely light on the Sierra Nevada Mountains). Some great images here!

    September 11, 2015
    • I can understand that, it is a bit of a hike to get there. I did go there, but not for a sunrise, we went after Bodie. Another amazing place.

      September 11, 2015
  20. Great photos of life that once was…fascinating place. Although the maintenance takes away a little bit of the ghostly feel 🙂

    September 11, 2015
    • I think so too Tiny, it is an interesting place and I’m glad I went. Thanks.

      September 11, 2015
  21. Great images .. A maintained ghost town? Hope you are having a great time 😀

    September 11, 2015
    • Yep, that was pretty much what I was thinking too. I am, Julie it has been fantastic.

      September 13, 2015
  22. It’s not a secret anymore that your photographs are very good; this series is exactly the kind of photography I like and recently discovered. Compliments.

    September 12, 2015
    • That’s great to hear, and thank you.

      September 13, 2015
  23. wow= looks fantastic!

    September 12, 2015
    • It was pretty amazing Dawn, I don’t think we have anything like it in Australia.

      September 13, 2015
  24. Super great photos Leanne! I shared a link to my mom on Facebook, she is very into primitive things, and I know she will appreciate some of the things in the background like the antique sewing machine and bed frame. A ghost town sounds like it would be a really cool experience.

    September 12, 2015
    • Thank you Ally, I hope your mother enjoys them too. I think so too.

      September 13, 2015
  25. For all the people there, you managed to make us see Bodie as a ghost town, Leanne 🙂 Wonderfully captured to do that!

    September 12, 2015
    • I tried my best Stacy, had to wait a few times for people to move out of the way, but overall it was pretty good. Thank you, can’t believe we will meet on Thursday.

      September 13, 2015

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