Monday, July 13, 2009

4th of July trip

The weekend of the 4th was great. We had been invited to a party by a few friends from High School. Some of them we hadn't seen in 20 years most since we graduated. It is funny how you can go to something like this and walk up to people and they smile, you look at each other, there is something there but you are just not connecting. Finally you ask there name, they say it, BOOM it all comes rushing back. You recognize them instantly after that. Cute fiancee had to work Saturday so we got to the party late. It was a blast to see all these people after all these years. An old friend Scott Madden has a new movie out that all Vampire fans should look up. Movie: The Kiss. It is an Independent film but all that have watched have loved it. Cute fiancee and I will see it soon. Scott said we needed to have a reunion of sorts for something we did in High School.
Way back in 1979 a few guys got together to set a world record in playing basket ball. The object was to play basket ball continuously for 100 hours to beat the record at the time . This group didn't make it. I'm not sure who took up the task for a second try, but I remember one day as I walked the halls to my next class, way back then, hearing someone say "hey Kris is a jock" or something close to Back in High School I was involved in swimming, I also ran track the last year of school, but I went around school bragging that I was the Rim High School swim team back then. Actually Rim High, even to this day doesn't have a swim team, but my dad talked the school into getting the info so I could go to a CIF (California Interscholastic Federation for those out of state) Swim meet and reprisent Rim as a swimmer.
I'll digress here and say that the meet I went to was funny in a way. I swam 3 events at this pool out in the desert somewhere. The meet had all the events in a format that put the fastest timed people in the middle lanes and the slow ones at the edges of the pool. I was what I would call a reasonable swimmer, in the small YMCA leagues I swam in I was usually the fastest in the pool. Like all things, you might be the big fish in some pond or lake, but when you move up to a bigger body of water things maybe a little different. So because of the seating of these event I was put in the outer lanes with the slow people. I swam these races and came in 3rd in all, if I remember correctly. There was some big fish in the pool and I was not next to them so I couldn't even race them. Did well for Rim but not to CIF finals, not even my best times...ah the memories.
Back to the Basket ball bit, I was recruted in the hall ways of school and on a holiday weekend a bunch of guys and myself set off to beat the world record for playing basketball. It was for 100 hours, it even stretched over into a school day. for the last hour and a half of our 100 hours we had a good part of the school student body cheering us on. We were all delerious as hell after 4 days and 4 hours straight of being awake. I hear we played a great game of basketball during the last hour.
Now to tie it all together. I'm such a Scott wants to have a reunion of that group. I hope he doesn't want to try for another 100 hours, I can't stay up late any more...ah getting older can be fun....naps are good...grin

The party started to wind down some and cute fiancee and I had a plan of heading to our current favorite ghost town, Bodie, for the rest of the weekend. We were going to go up on Sunday morning but Cute fiancee talked me into driving to Bishop on Saturday night instead so we could get to Bodie early.
We ran home and packed real fast and hit the road. Bodie <(link to State Park site)is a ghost town in the Sierra Nevada's above Mono Lake in California. Map
It is well worth the drive to get there. We had heard it was on the list of closures if the stupid state doesn't get it's fiscal house in order.....grrrr don't get me started on stupid politicians...
We had been to Bodie about a year ago and we wanted to see it again.
So we hit the Highway at about 6pm and start heading north. It was the Holiday so the roads were almost clear. For those of you not familiar with California, there is a highway that runs up the eastern side of the Sierras that goes all the way to Canada. It passes by some popular towns like Mammoth, Carson City, Reno Nv, and Bishop Ca. It is the 395.
The old towns and geological sites are worth the drive alone. We had the long summer sunset and evening twilight most of the way north as we drove. Beautiful sunset. As it started to get dark the fireworks started to show up. Part of the 395 runs through the Mojave Desert and a lot of people like to camp and ride bikes and 4 wheelers out there. Between these campers and the small town firework shows we had a great show as we drove along. Here is a really cool part...grin
There is a little town along the 395 called Independence Ca., I have always wondered what they do on the 4th of July. I guess they have some really cool, small town fun. It was after 10pm as we started into the Independence area, and off towards the town as we approched there was a fireworks show going on. As we entered Independence the fireworks show came to a crescendo,
(had to look up how to spell that 64K word...sheesh) all these diffent colored explosions. It was kind of cool we got to see the end of the 4th of July fireworks show in Independence
By the time we got to the town airfield of course the California Highway Patrol had stopped traffic to empty out the fireworks spectators and we were stuck there for a while.
After that we followed this red Chevy PU truck all the way to Bishop. Knucklehead. He would drive fast and weave eratically, then drive slow and do a more gental back and forth motion. Well yes he was drunk and I didn't want be behind him but every time I passed him, he would just poor himself by us again. Idiot.
We made it to Bishop at about 11:30.
Bishop Ca. is one of the most beautiful town's in California. It is a town that is both rural and turist location. It is close to Mammoth Ski Resorts, The High Sierra's, including Mt Whitney, for fishing and hiking, and a place to stop with lots of hotels along the 395.
Most of the Hotels charge 80 to 100 bucks to stay this time of year, but I found this hole in the wall right off the Main drag. It is only 50 to 65 bucks to stay here and the rooms are clean and well kept. Best of all it had a tub. If we go on a trip and don't find a tub in the hotel my fiancee might do a Texas divorce on me. She is a tub girl and our poor cabin is rather tub challanged.
This place is pretty quaint. It must have been built in the 40's by the style of the place, but has held up well over the years. They have a website. Cute fiancee went and had a quick dip in their pool and we went to bed.
We got up early, had breakfast at a local eatery, and started north. It is fun to find hole in the wall place that only the locals go to. Less assembly line looking food like you get at Denny's or IHOP. Here are some pictures of the Sierra's as you climb the hill from Bishop (3500' approx)
to the summit near Tom's Place (7000').

In the last picture, to the right of the mountain is a ridge line, that is actually the rim of an ancient volcano. Highway 395 runs right through part of this huge caldera of this volcano.
When we have earthquakes down here at home I go to a website to see how strong they are and where it was located. I went to one of the links on that site that said big quakes and it had listed the name of this town called Tom's Place.

At times it looks like this small town is always shaking.
most are unfeelable (is that a word?) quakes. So I took some pictures to show how big the caldera is in this area.

There has been a lot of volcanic activity in this are over the Millennia. If you know what you are looking at it is amazing to think what it was like when all this was very active. If not then it is just plain beautiful country.
Cute fiancee thinks I'm nuts stopping all the time for pictures of this and that. The little mind reader knows I'm concocting a set up for the
We headed for Bodie passing through the Mono Lake area and a town called Lee Vining, this place is the eastern gateway to Yosemite, a trip we must take someday.
You have to keep an eye out for the turn off for Bodie. It is just a slot canyon with a road in it, at the bottom of a hill. It has signs but you can miss it if you're not watching. You go up this canyon
following a creek. There was a guy tending a flock of sheep, as we went up, both of us thought one of the sheep got loose until we discovered it was one of the sheep
Finally you get to the end of the road. From hear on it is dirt. Not bad as dirt roads go. We even passed a Mercedes as we went up.

Bodie is a town kind of frozen in time. Or as the site liturature says "a town in a state of arrested decay" as you look inside the buildings and houses it looks like people just upped and left leaving things right where they were using them.
Cute fiancee found this tin pile as we walked in.

The Last people making Bodie there home left in the 1940's, so old cars litter the place.

It was kind of funny, the people up at the house in the last picture, were talking about how they wanted a picture taken in front of there new home. The place has tons of old stuff to look at.
If you are a nostalgia junkie you should go to Bodie.
I kept looking in the old buildings and seeing the old flooring and wall paper. Wall paper was really for keeping the cold winds out, and since this place is at over 8000' boy did they need it in the winter.

Other things would catch our eyes as we looked through the old poured class windows.
This light cover almost looked out of place but that was a style back in the twenties. Peaking in the window is all you can do here, but the stuff you see is interesting. Cans, Bottle cases, ice skates and such.

Cute fiancee caught this pattern on the glass at the church in town.

Here are some of the homes and buildings in Bodie.

The town's school is fascinating to peak into. This is the one place where it looks like people up and left with the books left open.

I'm glad Cute fiancee took the pictures of the school last time because I forgot to this time.

This town was kind of a head in the technology of the time. At the turn of the last century (1900) Bodie was running its mills and heating it's homes on fire wood, as in train loads of wood.
Some one saw some potential in a new fangled thing called A/C current, electricity. The Mine and Mill Stamping plant had a Hydroelectric plant put in back near the Sierra's and ran wires on poles to the town. One funny story I read was that they ran the wires strait as an arrow from the hydroelectric plant to the mill because they were afraid if they made any sharp bends the electricity would jump off the They caused themselves a lot of labor going the direct way. On the back side of one of the hotels is this block and stone building with wires going into it.

And inside is these huge transformers. This was pretty cutting edge stuff when they put this in.
Of course the first winter the snow cut down the lines and they had to power the mill with the steam power again, and then the boiler blew up because they hadn't checked it in months because of the electricity was on. This is the problem with being early innovators. Thank goodness when our black berry goes on the fritz and we have to go back to our old cell phones it doesn't blow out the pocket that it is in.

The General Store and motor coach depot was interesting.

This old Dodge truck sitting at the old gas pumps still runs. The Mines and Stamping mill are on the hill behind the truck. Bodie was a gold town and very rough and tumble during it's time. If you go take the tour.
Another cool thing is that the summer rangers get to stay in some of the old houses in town.
Cute fiancee thought it would be cool to retire and come here and do a couple of summers just to stay in the town. This posting has taken almost three days to We had gotten to Bodie just after they opened and I had two other things on my mind that were in the area, but I will get back to those a little later.
It was a beautiful day on the 5th. It was actually an anniversary of sorts. Last year at that time I had proposed to The then Cute Girlfriend while at our favorite spot at Disneyland. This trip was a blast and Cute fiancee loved it.
More to follow.

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