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June 06

Bodie, California Dreamin'

By Ella Miista
I've gone without a holiday for just about long enough to really want one. This can mean a number of things - I might pity book myself a weekend in Paris, listen to songs like this, google for weird holiday locations or do all of it simultaneously. It's the latter. My account balance looks abysmal, coworkers probably hate me but I have a dream. I want to go to Bodie, California. Gold rushes were a big thing in the 19th and 20th century, and towns often built around the mining centres. Bodie was one of those. It's first residents (the miners, that is) came along in 1859 but things only started blossoming in 1877. At its peak, the town had 65 saloons - among them a number of brothels, opium dens and other less reputable venues. Probably the place to be if you're a dude in the Wild West, right? It could sometimes be fatal of course - apparently asking 'had a man for breakfast?' was a normal thing to do in the mornings; you know, to clarify if someone had been killed the night before. In any case, the peak didn't last for very long. By late 1880 the town was already in decline. Those looking to make a quick fortune - while getting high on opium and enjoying the company of ladies of the night - made their way out. The town became much more family orientated - they even built a few churches. The miners that stayed in town kinda kept things going for another few decades. People kept living in the town until mid-20th century, but the ghost town label started to be thrown around in 1915. By 1943 there were a grand total of three people living in the town, and that's including a caretaker hired to make sure the place doesn't get vandalised. Living in Hackney, I can easily imagine vandals but the idea of being able to go for miles without seeing anyone? Nope. Those remaining three are either dead or realised it might be a bit of a weird/depressing place for a home. Obviously there's no one left in 2014. Probably still a rather depressing place to live, you know, unless you're into living your life in isolation. However, it's just as likely to be an amazing tourist location. The state of California coined the vaguely cool sounding term 'arrested decay' to describe the town. It basically means it ought to be preserved as it is, kinda like a war ruin memorial thing. Rather than constantly working on keeping the town looking the way it was at its peak, their intention is just to make sure it doesn't crumble. So yeah, in the rockier part of California, some miles away from the highway is a ghost town. I'd say something dramatic like an actual bloody ghost town but I'm not entirely convinced you'd see any sheer things float in there air. However, during winter it's only accessible by skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles - at over 8k feet up it's pretty high. No cars. So, you know, sounds like it could be a bit too The Shining. Either way, it's on my list of sites to see during that US road trip I've been planning for the better part of my conscious life. Summer is more of a road trip kinda season anyway. [caption id="attachment_24999" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]via https://www.flickr.com/photos/muzzlehatch/ via https://www.flickr.com/photos/muzzlehatch/[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25001" align="aligncenter" width="842"]By Jon Canfield By Jon Canfield[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25002" align="aligncenter" width="800"]By Daniel Ter-Nedden By Daniel Ter-Nedden[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25003" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Unknown source Unknown source[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25004" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Unknown source Unknown source[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25005" align="aligncenter" width="698"]Unknown source Unknown source[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25007" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Unknown source Unknown source[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25008" align="aligncenter" width="700"]By Daniel Ter-Nedden By Daniel Ter-Nedden[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25009" align="aligncenter" width="700"]By Daniel Ter-Nedden By Daniel Ter-Nedden[/caption]
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