† ... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next magnets belong to the fridge of my friend Olivia

* Discussion *

What's the most frightening moment weather has ever given you?
Talk about it here.
Or your might want to discuss comfy shoes....
or a police state!

Read the forum that was banned by one reader's office computer because it has "sexual content." I must be having more fun than I thought!


Tipping the Velvet
Sarah Waters


Bugs Bunny cartoons!

Pictures from the Pride March in SF are now up at Club Photo, as are the photos from our weekend in Santa Barbara.

That's it for today!


8 July 2001

Ironically, the same day that Al, of Nova Notes, posted the question, "What's the most frightening moment weather has ever given you?" I happened to find this long-lost photo:

This probably represents the most frightening--and at the same time exciting--moment that weather has given us.

The photo was taken in the old ghost town of Bodie, California, nestled at the foot of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We had been camping in Nevada with a group of friends--12 of us in all, including our friends Mike and Char, with whom we went to England three months ago. We frequently went on ghost town explorations. It was a cheap way to take a vacation and the kids usually had a great time. There are a surprising number of ghost towns in Nevada. Most of them arenít the kind you think of, when you remember old westerns you watched as a kid.

Mostly they are mining camps that were deserted when they had been mined clean of gold or silver or whatever else they were mining for. You may find a few ramshackle huts, some rusty equipment, and signs that once this might have been a bustling area, but you donít find streets and abandoned stores, houses with torn curtains flapping in the breeze, and the inevitable Boot Hill just outside the outskirts of town.

No, most of Nevadaís ghost towns are pretty boring, actually. And getting to them can be quite an adventure. Roads have long since been covered by sand and sagebrush. And since so few people are interested in visiting these unpicturesque sites, there is no National Parks Ranger to give you a handy map to find your way around.

Mostly you are stumbling around on your own, driving over incredibly rutted ground and wondering if you will ever see pavement again.

Bodie, however, is a "real" ghost town. It could easily be a set for a John Wayne movie and yes, it not only has the deserted shops and Boot Hill, but you can even find torn curtains in the windows of some of the houses, remnants of some family that tried to bring a little civility to this untamed western frontier.

The town was founded in 1859 and at its peak was home to more than 10,000 residents. There are some 170 buildings which remain, nestled on the rolling hillside and yes, it is managed by the National Park Service, though you wonít find a souvenir stand or a soda fountain. They claim it is in a state of "arrested decay."

You get to Bodie off of Hwy 395, which runs the length of California and on up through the east side of Oregon and Washington and into Canada (we drove most of the length of it on our honeymoon). The road is well-marked and decent for the area.

We, however, arrived in Bodie from the east, over a treacherous road known as Lucky Boy Pass, most of which I have, thankfully, forgotten. I remember only that there were times when we wondered if we would ever reach the valley floor, or if the cars would just roll off the side of the very narrow, very winding steep unpaved trail and cause us to tumble to our deaths. When a ranger asked us how we had reached the town and we told him, his response was "But thatís impossible."

NOW they tell us!!

We spent some time in the town wandering through the deserted buildings and checking out some of the names of the Boot Hill residents we were familiar with from reading the history of Bodie before we arrived.

As we wandered around--three couples and six kids (Ned wasnít walking yet), the clouds began to gather and the skies turned darker and darker.

We had finished our tromp about on the hills and had returned to what was probably "Main Street" in its day when the storm began. There wasnít a lot of rain, as I recall--enough, but not torrents. But it was the lightning. There were lightning strikes everywhere and us standing out in the open without protection.

Things got a little too close for comfort when a bolt of lightning hit the ground not six feet from where I was standing.

We knew we had to find shelter--and quick. The only open building around was an old two-holer outhouse, so we all ran for it and there we were--12 people crammed into an outhouse.

Of course one idiot had to get out again and stand among the lightning bolts to take a picture and record it for posterity. But God takes care of fools, and I didnít get struck.

Weíve been through storms since that time, and weíve seen lightning more powerful than the bolts that were striking Bodie, but I donít think Iíve ever had a "weather experience" that was as memorable as that one day in Bodie.

One Year Ago:
Where in the world am I?

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 7/7/01 by Bev Sykes