May 9, 2007

paaaart 4 - gas stations and ghost towns

(gee, i really oughta proofread these before posting them)

we're still in day 2 (green)

I was surprised to hear from a friend that the best food in the eastern sierras was at a mobile gas station in Lee Vining, next to Lake Mono. I believed him, but was astounded. It was immediately a "must-stop" location.

Unbelievably, it lived up to expectations. we wanted more, but decided to check out some scenery instead.

This picture is looking back on the gas station and Mono Lake from the road going to Tioga Pass. It is the southernmost sierra pass north of bakersfield, some 200-250 miles to the south. It is closed every winter, and of all the sierra passes, tioga is the latest to open in every spring. It was still closed. In fact, since Sonora pass (the next pass north) was closed the week we were there for construction, there was no way to cross the sierra's between bakersfield and lake tahoe.

Driving up the pass to where the road closed, we were treated with some spectacular scenery in lee vining canyon.

looks like some fun BC lines..

But we didn't ski any BC lines. We instead went to Bodie, California.

Located on a windswept, barren, dry plateau at 8000 feet, Bodie is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the country.

The official status of the town, assigned by the state of california, is that it's in "arrested decay" - that is, they try to keep it in whatever state of decay it was in when they made a park out of it. Only about 5% of the buildings remain. at one point, the town had as many as 10,000 people living in it.

For a $3 admission fee (and $100 in gas to get there), you can be treated with the opportunity to peer into decades-old windows

... and see stores with shelves still stocked,

... restaurant kitchens with all their equipment intact,

... electric transformer stations with their equipment (which was a technological breakthrough at the time) preserved,

... schoolhouses with books and papers still on the tables,

... bars with their final patron's beer bottles sitting out,

... dusty dishes, tables and chairs in the residences,

... even an undertaker with his equipment intact,

... not to mention the evidence of how the residents entertained themselves,

all in "arrested decay."

all of this makes it a favorite spot for photographers to try to make these colorful images the highlights of their still-life portfolios.

it was a really cool place. definitely worth spending at least a few hours there.

afterwards, we headed out up to the tahoe area so we could get west of the sierras before dark.
Tomorrow, yosemite.

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