Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goodbye God, I'm Going to Bodie

That is what one little girl wrote in her diary when her family moved here.

Today, Bodie is the best preserved ghost town in California. Gold was discovered here in 1859 and by 1879, the town boasted a population of about 10,000.

Only about five percent of the buildings still remain, including the Methodist Church, which the residents apparently really needed. In 1881, the Rev. Warrington saw Bodie as "a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion."

The Ten Commandments, which once hung behind the pulpit ("Thou shalt not steal"), has been stolen.

Great rusty stuff abounds! I especially liked the old cars half buried in the grass.

Some of the buildings are not in the greatest shape - this one is propped up with a big board. California is maintaining the town in a state of "arrested decay,"

Hopefully, this electric pole will stay where it is...

The Bodie Odd Fellows Lodge (IOOF) used the upper floor of this building.

The buildings aren't open, but that doesn't stop anyone from seeing what's inside. (Don't worry, this isn't THE END!)

The first floor was an undertaking business. Many buildings were still furnished, including the morgue next door. I was a little skeptical about how this could be...

The Sam Leon Bar was just one of the 65 saloons in town. Here's one reason for my skepticism - why would people just leave their chips here?

The old barber shop -

And the Boone Store and Warehouse. The general store was owned by a descendant of Daniel Boone.

The mine area up on the hill is unsafe and not open to the public, except on a tour for extra $$. Between 1860 and 1941 the Bodie Mining District produced close to $100 million in gold and silver.

There was even an antique photographer here! (And I don't mean me...)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Capitol and Hot Springs

From Reno, we moved down Hwy 395 a little to the capital of Nevada, Carson City. I tried to get a picture of the capitol building, but there are many, many trees on the grounds.

It's quite different from when the capitol first opened in 1870.

As soon as you enter, you are greeted by a large statue of Sarah Winnemucca, a prominent Native American activist, educator, and author in the 19th century.

The fringe on her dress is really unique.

The Assembly and the Senate now meet in a separate building, but this is the original Assembly room.

In 1977, the original capitol was gutted and remodeled because the building was structurally unsound. The marble floors, the doors, light fixtures and ornamental stairways were numbered, stored, and reused.

From Carson City, we moved further south to Bridgeport, CA. Travertine Hot Springs are just outside of town and well worth a visit.


Scalding water is channeled to a series of volunteer-built soaking pools. The volunteers have it figured out so that the water in the pools is just perfect.

Barbara is not a big hot springs fan...

But wait - she's taking off her socks! Could she be about to put her toes in?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Racing West Through Twin Falls

From Grand Teton to Reno, NV is a long trip, but that's where I'm meeting up with my sister, Barbara, and we will be heading down Hwy 395, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

Our first stop is Twin Falls, ID. We came into town crossing the Perrine Bridge, where base jumpers jump off the bridge with a parachute and attempt to land on a target next to the Snake River below. Unfortunately, no crazy people were there.

The view downstream from the bridge is amazing - that has to be the most beautiful golf course ever!

The view upstream is not too shabby either.

To celebrate Twin Falls, there is a fairly new statue of twins.

The big attraction here is Shoshone Falls.

It usually costs $$ to get into the park, but since there was practically no water flowing, entrance was free.

It was still very pretty. We definitely got our money's worth.

Nearby is a pile of dirt that has a unique history.

This is the ramp that Evel Knievel used when he attempted to jump over the Snake River Canyon back in September 1974. It didn't work, because his parachute accidentally deployed at takeoff, and he landed 600 feet below.

There are still lots of rusty old beer cans left on the ground from that event.

NO, PHIL, NO!!!! Evel didn't make it, and you won't either!

After I got Phil to STOP, we headed on to Reno, where we not only met up with sister Barbara and "brother-in-law" Ron, but also Sandie and Jim, fellow blogger friends. We had dinner at the Black Bear Diner, which was so good we went back for breakfast the next day!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Big Breasts National Park

Grand Tetons is French for... well, now you know.

They were named by French trappers who apparently had only one thing on their minds.

The first thing I wanted to do was go on my favorite hike to Taggart Lake. I like this trail because it is so open, and last time I was on it a moose ran across the trail right in front of us. No moose this time, but it was still beautiful.

It's a fairly easy hike to the lake.

Our campground was just 10 miles or so from the town of Jackson, WY. The square there has a gigantic arch of elk antlers on each of the four corners. I remember them from when I passed through here when I was 16. (About a hundred years ago...)

Antlers are shed each year, so there is no shortage.

Right on the square is the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, where we went dancing. I got to ride one of the saddle bar stools.

The weather was not great the week we were here, so we did not do much outdoors. One day we walked along String Lake -

Also a haven for paddleboarders. I never thought I wanted to do this, but if I had a guy paddle for me.....

I loved their water filling station, and wished I'd brought my water bottles.

Near the campground is Mormon Row, where this much-photographed barn is located.

One more nice day, and we hiked to Phelps Lake.

Afterwards, we went down to Teton Village, where some paragliders were having a ball. They ride the tram on an all day pass to the top of the mountain and glide down.

Well, the weather wasn't perfect, but we still managed to get some good stuff in!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wildlife Galore!

After Yellowstone, we moved on to Grand Teton NP, just to the south. The WINs stayed at Gros Ventre Campground (pronounced Grow Vont.) Just before we got to the campground, a big herd of buffalo was crossing the road.

And a mother and baby moose were getting a drink in the river. WOW!

But wait, that's not all. Almost every morning there were moose in the campground. They totally ignored the 50 or so photographers.

This guy looked fairly young.

Don't worry - I'm a big believer in zooming and cropping.

I did get him to pose for me.

I think he was here because of this mama with cute little twins. But she tried to stay away from him.

The twins munching on yummy berries.

One of the twins wanted a sniff of the male's butt.

One evening we went on a guided wildlife tour. A ranger led 10 cars, 6 of which were ours.

We got to see moose, pronghorn, and a large herd of buffalo. This baby appeared much younger than the others, and we were all worried that he wouldn't survive the winter.

A buffalo dust bath.

The End!