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Tom Kitten

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 6,774

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Ugh! Smoke from all the wildfires covers Portland today

No one I talked to today has ever remembered a day like today in Portland. The winds shifted to from the east and smoke covered the area. The smell of burning filled the air. Unhealthy air alerts in some ares. Plus it was 87 today. I hope this isn't the new normal.



Panoramas of Bodie, California

Since panoramas are this month's contest theme and people are thinking about them, I thought I'd share these I took when I visited Bodie in Sept. 2013. I spent a day there and took hundreds of photos but I haven't posted any (well OK one once)...

So here are some views of what the place looks like, maybe a nice overview. It is the largest surviving completely ghost town in the US, now a state park. It was a very enjoyable experience, I'd recommend anyone to visit if they are in that neck of the woods. It is remote but only 13 miles from Hwy 395, about 80 miles south of Lake Tahoe, near Mono Lake. It is about 8800 feet in elevation and has a sub-polar climate... I heard it described as a 50-50-50 zone in the winter- that is, 50 feet of snow, 50 mph winds, and 50 degrees below zero! 135 years ago almost ten thousand people lived here, during the height of the gold rush boom. Two fires over the years destroyed 95% of the town, and this is what is left.



To the left is the main part of the remaining downtown area. To the right, the gray building is the stamp mill, where they processed the raw ore and turned it into gold bars they shipped to Carson City, Nevada. It operated through the 1930s.



The stamp mill is on the far left. The large building next to it is the schoolhouse. You can look in the windows and still see the desks, chalkboards, maps etc., lots of artifacts remain in some buildings.




A view of what remains of "downtown"...the roads still go to places, like Aurora, another ghost town, but you need a high clearance 4wheel drive to get there.



I think the stone ruins on the left was once a warehouse, where they kept all the whiskey (this town was legendary for its rowdiness). The large building with the bell tower is the firehouse. Unfortunately they weren't able to stop the fires. During both fires the firemen went to the hydrants and when they opened them, only a trickle of water came out. It turned out rocks and debris had blocked the intake valves and all they could do was form a bucket brigade. After the second fire, in 1932, most people gave up and left.



A view of the road, leaving Bodie, with the high Sierra on the horizon. The last three miles of the road (like here) is unpaved and very bumpy... it took almost half an hour just to travel these three miles.

The town's isolation and difficulty in reaching it is one reason it has survived in such relatively good condition over the years. Now that is a state park, it is always occupied by park rangers, I was told 27, and 7 stay over the winter. So, in a way, there are still people who live there.

If anyone is interested, in the future I can post more photos from this place, including from inside the stamp mill. If you like "steampunk", here you can see some early technology in the Old West, including a generator built by Tesla himself!
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