Road Trip – Bodie, CA

🎶 We’ll go dancing in the dark, walking through the park and reminiscing 🎶… about a ghost town.

Bodie State Park was my white whale. It’s this preserved ghost town nestled just below the inner elbow crook of California. Laurie and I had once attempted to capture it on digital film as documented here, only to have it escape us just thirteen miles away due to a sudden snow road closure.

Flash back to August 14th, 2008, a month before Carol emailed Henry, Chris and myself a note about a Photography Brown Bag at work featuring Rick Sammon. It was a magical couple years where a bunch of us at work all acquired DSLRs and would often go on photo walks and share tips on framing and post processing.

Rick would be instructing us on techniques he uses in Aperture for sorting and editing photos. Now we all filed into Town Hall with our Caffe Macs lunches in hand waiting to see what he would have to say. I honestly can’t remember anything from that session except for a photo of an old rusted car sitting in a field of grass and showing us where Bodie was on a map.

This is my shot, but Rick's photo was pretty similar just with more saturated colors.

This is my shot, but Rick’s photo was pretty similar just with more saturated colors.

The old beaten machinery, cars and buildings were as enchanting as a siren’s song. My eyes screamed “I want to go here!” and in that moment Bodie became my Moby Dick. Back at my desk, I plotted the course on Google Maps for an impending road trip, and the trip would be roughly 6 hours accounting for road conditions. Filed this trip away in the back of my mind.

Four years later, we tried in March and were thwarted. Then 5 months after our initial attempt, another quick conversation with Laurie, my constant road trip and travel partner in crime, we hatch a plan.

One of our initial conversation goes as the following:

Me: i forgot i haven’t planned bday yet
Laurie Kim: ooooh yeah, what are you thinking for your bday this year?
Me: iono what I was going to do, find a chicken rice place?
Me: but I wanted u there
Me: maybe bodie will be my celebration with youuuuuus
Laurie: hahaha
Laurie: yeah, pre-celebrations ^_^

Friday night we’d drive up to Dean’s place in Sacramento, spend one night there and grab the best peanut butter mochi and spam musubi for the road from Osaka Ya. Then head to Bodie, after that we’d make our way back to South Lake Tahoe to stay in a vacation rental that Laurie’s relatives let us use gratis. We’d bum around Lake Tahoe for the day then head home. Weekend road trips make the world a better place (especially since I always want to run away near my birthday), along with friends and family that provide lodging for free ^_^.

We head out early Sat morning head to Bodie, calculating arrival there around noon. By the time we turn off Highway 395 onto the rough gravel road, I’m glad that Laurie decided to rent a car instead of driving mine. At the gate they only take cash only, which we had none of. Luckily the fallback plan is that you can buy a parking pass at the gift shop that takes credit card.

It had started to pour so we sat in the parking lot finishing up all the musubi and snacks that we managed to pick up in the morning. As soon as the clouds parted for a minute we see a rush of people parked next to us exit their cars and dash towards the buildings. We rush to the gift shop and acquire the pass and then are off to frolic around around the ghost town.

Unlike Ahab this white whale was mine for the taking. Here are the snaps:

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