Road to Bodie: A Smoother Ghost Town Entry

Making for the Mono County landmark? Your way in may be a little less rocky.

Alysia Gray Painter

THE WILDER ROUTES: To say that every experience involving nature or a remote location has been overly documented and managed and gussied-up and wrapped in protective coating is not correct in the least. True, you'll find a back-up of traffic when heading into some parks and natural places, and a few bathrooms and food places, and you'll understand, quite clearly, that you aren't the first person to set foot along the particular path you're on. But California still has many locales where winding trails rule and the way in for automobiles is not a paved asphalt experience but rather, for lack of a better way to term it, a dirt road. That dirt road may be a rut road, from time to time, depending on rain, or a rock road, depending on what winter's unpredictable forces have left behind, but it is still how you're going to get to the super-cool, totally excellent thing you want to see. The Trona Pinnacles in the Death Valley-close desert qualify here -- you'll be driving on dirt to get to this outer space place -- and so does Bodie State Historic Park, the Mono County burg that's considered to be "the best example of an old west mining town in America!" There are three miles of "unsurfaced road" just before you reach the town, road that's well-kept but still subject to the weather and wind. But here's news for summer road-trippers, straight from the Bodie Foundation: The road in is "currently in BUFF condition!"

REV YOUR ENGINES, HISTORY SEEKERS: "Mono County and State Parks have been working together adding road base and fresh compacted dirt," continues the Facebook post. "All the rocks are removed and it is nearly a freeway. At least for a little while." A smiley face punctuates the post. So what are you waiting for, fun fans of phantoms and history-loving smarties who have to soak up a little more about how this town, which now exists in a state of arrested decay, grew big, very big, in the 1800s? Summer days are prime time for Bodie, and, of course, the trio of summer nights during which the town stays open to visitors. The road in may be "nearly a freeway" now, but every adventurer knows that not all roads leading to wonders come in standard asphalt.

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