Badwater Basin, Death Valley, California

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Can you find the sea level sign in the above photo?

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I circled it for you.

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Another salt flat south of Badwater.

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And a relative of the campground scrounger.

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And then we left Death Valley.

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Titus Canyon, Death Valley, California

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The Titus Canyon drive is a 26-mile, one-way drive down a gravel road.  The last eight miles drop 4,000 feet through Titus Canyon.  Only recommended for high-clearance vehicles.

Mary and I dropped the camper and took about 3 hours to make the trip.  Nothing to difficult, but we were distracted by mines and another ghost town, Leadville, California.

First, we drove by the sand dunes.  Like Sand Springs, Nevada, the prevailing winds have deposited the sand is a large dune.

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Then through some low spots of Death Valley.

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We crossed into Nevada and then back into California and Death Valley on Titus Canyon Road.

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Do you see that thin line on the far wall between the two dark spots?  That is the road that we needed to climb!

This is looking back on where we came from.

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We then headed on down the highway to the lowest spot in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Stovepipe Wells Campground, Death Valley National Park

We arrived at the National Park Service Stovepipe Wells Campground in the dark.  Driving the desert in the dark, mostly downhill was slightly un-nerving.

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While eating breakfast we had two visitors.

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A big, black Raven who was used to getting handouts and someone else who was used to people.

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The campground was basically a gravel parking lot, 150 “campsites.”  I would not want to be here during the summer at 100+ degrees and full.  There were about six of us in the campground, so there was plenty of space for us.

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We headed out for Titus Canyon.

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Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California

Alabama Hills are about 5 miles west of Lone Pine, California.  If you watched the old Lone Ranger TV series, Hop-Along Cassidy, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Rain Man, or Tremors, you have seen Alabama Hills.

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Leaving Lone Pine we headed east to Death Valley.

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Bodie, California

The day we spent at Bodie, California was absolutely amazing!

On the way to Bodie from Bridgeport we had an unexpected encounter with a few strays.DSCN09492014-10-15 16.34.52DSCN0952 DSCN0953 - cropped Be prepared!  The last three miles are wash board gravel. DSCN0960 This was the first view we had of Bodie.

Bodie is a California gold mining ghost town.  It is named after Waterman S. Body, who discovered gold nearby in 1859.  Bodie was mainly a small camp through the 1860s and early 1870s, home to only a few families.  However, a the discovery of a rich body of gold ore in 1876 and another in 1878 caused major growth and by the end of 1878 Bodie was a town of 600 to 800 buildings with a population of about 10,000 in 1880.

The gold mining boom was short, 1878 – 1882 and by the mid-1880s Bodie’s population was 1,500 to 2,000.  By 1890 the population was 700 – 1,000 people.

A few gold mines remained active to 1914, but were closed during World War I.  They restarted operations after the war and mining ceased permanently in the late 1950s.

A fire in 1932, started by a young boy playing with matches, burned 70 percent of the town.

Today, only about 5% of the buildings remain, a California State Historical Park maintained in a state of “arrested decay.”

Most of the houses contain furniture and belongings the people left behind.  When they left, the people only packed what would fit on one wagon or truck and simply left the rest behind.  And now enjoy the photos!

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DSCN1003 2014-10-15 12.19.34 2014-10-15 12.20.28  The Firehouse DSCN1012 2014-10-15 12.22.05 2014-10-15 12.22.55 DSCN1016 DSCN1017 DSCN1019 2014-10-15 12.24.14 2014-10-15 12.31.37 2014-10-15 12.32.12 DSCN1027 DSCN1028DSCN1030 DSCN1031 2014-10-15 12.33.24 DSCN1037The Bodie School DSCN1054 DSCN1060 DSCN1067 2014-10-15 13.15.59 2014-10-15 13.17.58 DSCN1098 2014-10-15 13.57.44DSCN1111 DSCN1110 DSCN1108 2014-10-15 13.59.27DSCN1116 DSCN1120Some historic discoveries were made in Bodie. 2014-10-15 12.43.49 Definitely an excellent day!

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International Sighting Number 2

A nice mid-1950s S-120 pickup.

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Bridgeport, CA

We left Markleeville, California and headed towards Bridgeport, California for a few nights.

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Amazing how straight and empty some of the roads are, with an occasional old, sometimes abandoned homestead.

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The courthouse is still used today.  On the street behind the courthouse, we found the old jail.

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2014-10-14 13.49.24I bet the winter nights were cold is these cells.

We went and found the hot springs just outside of town.  This pool was comfortable bath water temperature.

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We returned the next night for an hour soak in a different, warmer pool (sorry no pictures).

Returning to the campground we saw these “ladies.”

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Home

We arrived at home about 5:15 pm, Saturday, November 1.  Unpacking and laundry are on the list for today.  Back to work tomorrow.

More details on the trip and more picture will follow over the next few weeks.

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Just in case you are ever near a petting zoo in Kansas.

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