Bodie was the first place I ever saw real, honest-to-goodness,  tumbleweed tumble. 

This ghost town, located between Bridgeport and Mono Lake in the eastern Sierras, provides a window into a once booming gold mining town. At it’s height, Bodie had a population of 10,000 and became known as a remote and wicked town boasting 65 saloons. One young girl  whose family was moving to Bodie, wrote in her diary, “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.”

I was not here at 7 AM just to watch the tumbleweed tumble.  I was here to get an easy life bird: greater sage grouse. You just had to wake up early, when the mountain temperature hovers around 40 degrees. I headed south from Bridgeport and then headed east to Bodie. The town opens to the public at nine. As I neared the front entrance, four sage grouse crossed the road. Bingo, a  flock of life birds!

The flock walked or flew across the road and then headed into town. After 30 minutes, the flock took flight and headed up hill and out of town. They must have sensed the hordes of tourists, that was about to descend on this lonely, abandoned town.

Once the town opened I sketched the two story school house. The first Bodie school house was burned down by a “juvenile delinquent”.

Bodie Church

The Bodie Methodist Church steeple and it’s California gull weather vane.

As if to earn it’s wicked credentials, the church’s Ten Commandments, painted on oilcloth, was stolen. I guess the thief or theives, glossed over Commandment Number 8:, “Thou shall not steal”.


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