Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ghost Town Showdown

A few summers ago...

Were we lost? I was beginning to wonder. This lonely back road should be leading to the most well preserved ghost town in California. We had been on our bikes for over an hour, and there wasn't a ghost town, or a soul in sight.



Just when I thought we should turn back, we crested a hill and there...far in the distance...sprawled in the valley below...lay BODIE.



The picture above was taken just moments before the local sheriff tried to run us out of town.

You see, as we first rolled our bikes up to the entrance gate, a CA State Parks law enforcement officer just happened to make a sweep through the old ghost town. Like a cocky western sheriff, he strode right up to my husband and stared him down. Back 50 feet from the confrontation, I wondered if I heard the faint jangle of spurs..... A showdown was brewing. I stayed on my bike and kept the engine running....


"How did you get here?" He demanded, not amused.
"On that dirt road", we pointed.



Let me explain: I hadn't wanted to "drive" into Bodie the way everyone else did...on the road...like a 20th century tourist in a modern day horseless carriage. I KNEW it would be much more exciting to R I D E into town. Enshrouded in a ball of dust. With the sun at my back and wind in my hair. (kinda) Like a cowgirl on a horse. Only better! Cause when I roll, I roll on two wheels!!!



The day before I had researched a seldom traveled route at the Mammoth ranger station which began on the historic north shore of Mono Lake. I made sure it was legal with the rangers. The next day we headed out on our western adventure. Me and my posse - Tom, Dylan and our good riding friends LT and G.


Below is G, LT, Dylan and Tom - AFTER we wrangled our way out of the Pokey.



"That road you came in on is a state highway." said the Officer glancing at the young teens in our group. "You have unlicensed drivers here."

"That dirt rode is a state highway?"
"Yep."
"Is it marked? We didn't see any signs."
"It's a state highway."
"How can you have a highway without signs, speed limits, or any other markings? Can we leave that way?"
No answer...just a glassy stare. Was his hand slowly reaching for his pistol? I reved my bike nervously.....

Disgruntled Outlaw Bikers (can you say "busted")

We didn't think he was going to let us park our bikes and stay, but finally he did. We actually had a really great day. Boy did we get some stares tromping down main street in our "moto" attire. :-) Bodie was and still is incredibly cool. Most of the town is left just as it was when the gold seekers walked out. The town was booming in 1877, but by 1940 only ghosts of the past remained. Old dishes, furniture, and tools lay scattered in the old wooden structures and the general store still has items on the shelf. The residents were mostly men (and a few of the wrong kind of women). Shootings were every day occurences and there were robbers, stage holdups, street fights and 65 saloons along main street! The weather brought bitter winds, snowy winters, and baking hot summers. It has been said "Bodie was second to none for wickedness, badmen and the worst climate out-of-doors."

Bad Boy Bikers? Jail - or no Jail?



Later in the day, we snuck out the same way we came in, as it would have been too dangerous to take Hwy. 395 back down to our trucks. Luckily the officer wasn't there. Probably out chasing other desperado's.



Goodbye Bodie! Now let's get out of here before we really do get busted!



Posted by Sharon Lynne with a little help from Tom.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good post.

molly jean said...

I have been on a pretty primative state highway in New Mexico, NM State Highway 6,if I remember correctly. It was unpaved but did have signs! We were in a car and wondered if we would make it! Love your story! Those are tough looking desperados!

The Gatekeeper said...

Hey, that was worth waiting for. Love the pics! Think I might have to travel down that dirt road myself. We'll talk.

Beach Girl said...

That is a great story destined to be in the family for a long time. :-)

We have a ghost town here on an island just a little further south, but I've never been. I hear it's very cool to visit. Trouble is it is only accessible by boat, which is why we've never been.

Vanessa

Becky Wolfe said...

Great story!! What a great little town. I love old buildings & ghost towns. Gorgeous riding gear my friend! Maybe one day I'll be suited up that cool! LOOOOVE the photo of you riding thru the creek. All the pix are great. I'm sure you all had a blast! Funny about the sheriff. Some people just enjoy their power! Glad you had a jailbreak & Steve McQueened yourselves outta there!

PS - Quadette is partially together. Boys painted the rims a metallic 'shrek' green with all the metallic fuschia trim poking through. Its going to be the coolest girl quad on the planet when they are done!

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Hey Sharon girl - what fun!!!!!

I'd love to visit a ghost town, we tried once on a visit to Texas but got lost looking for the town! We did see real "live" tumble weeds on our road trip though... an oddity for this east coaster.

And your "showdown" experience? Too funny! I could picture it my head... spurs and all!

inspired07 said...

hi just called in to say hi.
this biking looks like great fun...

Dawn said...

Those are some great pix and quite the adventure!

I found your comment on my son's post and wanted to let you know that we've each finished our Chapter 9, and it's the end, but really the beginning. Stop by if you have a few minutes!

LT said...

Good job Sharon. a bunch of outlaws to be sure, but hey, that's the way I like it!

LT

Dawn said...

Feel free to e-mail me (the link is on my site) if you'd like to discuss anything with me. I am glad you found our story. It has been a long haul!

JAM said...

Great story and pics. There are few things that can make me upset faster than a cop with an attitude. He had no reason to treat you like criminals.

Looks like beautiful country to ride in, but watch that you obey the dirt road highway signs, even if they are invisible.

H said...

Nice post Sharon. I'm glad it was YOU who got us into trouble and not me because I would never have heard the end of it! ;-) Anyway, LT and I have no problems being the "outlaws". Bikers - either dirt or street - are always considered to be on the "edge". You know that's the way we/I like it. Better to be on the edge than dull and boring. After all these years, you should know life with me is never dull and boring. Looking forward to riding Mammoth with you again later this summer. Luv,

Your Hubby

Sharon Lynne said...

Thanks everyone!

Dawn—--Thanks for the email invitation--I'm having trouble locating your email.

Biker Betty said...

Hi Sharon, What a great adventure!!! I had read this a while back and left a comment that didn't stick, lol. I'm wondering if it's a "very old" and now defunct highway. We had a few in N. CA where I grew up and they weren't being used anymore.

I bet the cop was jealous of all the fun you guys were having. Love the photos. Any adventures planned for this summer?

CyberCelt said...

Wow, that is my idea of a road trip. What a wonderful memory for your kids... and you. Just checking links for the carnival tomorrow.

Janey Loree said...

Hi Cousin CB! Boy did I miss a good post!! I am glad I did so that I would have this wonderful post and pictures to read at the carnival!!!

This is BLOG VILLAGE Recreation Carnival Post #4 of 25...

For those of you who don't know, I found Sharon through BLOG VILLAGE and come to find out she is really related!!!

Great post and pictures, Sharon!

Sharon Lynne said...

Thanks!

Dirty Butter said...

You live a life I can only enjoy in your great stories, but I really do love to read them!!

Thanks for being part of our BLOG VILLAGE Recreation Carnival.

Crystal said...

wow, lovely pictures! Looks like a blast:) Great post:)

Naomi said...

Great post and wonderful photos Sharon. Sounds like you and your family had an exciting day visiting the ghost town. It must've been quite an adventure for you all. I'm visiting you from the Blog Village Recreation Carnival.