Eastern California has beauty hidden in every nook and corner. You could spend a month here and not be able to explore all the goodies. Attractions include the Ghost Town of Bodie, Mono Lake, Devils Postpile National Monument, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, the thousands of lakes and rivers that criss-cross the barren landscape, and of course, Death Valley. And all along the ride across US 395, the towering, barren, snow-laden slopes of the Eastern Sierras.

Although the Eastern Tahoe region is not colloquially counted as part of the Eastern Sierras, it certainly belong here, and has a lot in common with its southern bretheren. Virginia City, Nevada is a living and breathing mining town, in the same spirit as Bodie.

Mammoth Lakes is an extremely busy ski resort around 30 minutes from the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. The town is a good place to park yourself while exploring eastern California. Both Bodie and the Bristlecone Pine forest are within 1.5-2 hours from Mammoth Lakes. For Virginia City, you are very well placed if you stay in Carson City or Reno, Nevada. Even Lake Tahoe is well within 1.5 hours from Virginia City.


Window and staircase, Bodie, California

Window & staircase

Bodie

Bodie was named after Waterman S. Body (also known as William S. Bodey) who discovered gold here in 1859. Its one of the best preserved ghost towns anywhere in the United States. The town of Bodie rose to prominence with the decline of mining along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, and became a major stop for anyone wishing to cross over to western California. By 1879, Bodie boasted a population of about 10,000 with 2,000 buildings, and was a town alive with politicians, gunmen, prostitutes and robbers.
Shack, Bodie, California

Shack, Bodie
Perspective, Bodie, California

Perspective, Bodie
Bodie, California

Bodie

Today, Bodie is a California State Historic Park, and can be reached via a detour from US 395. State Route 270 (from 395) takes you to Bodie via 10 miles of paved, and 3 miles of unpaved road. From the many pictures of Bodie on the web, we were not able to judge the size of the town, and were really surprised to see a healthy-sized settlement in the middle of nowhere.


Broken wheel, Bodie, California

Broken wheel
Bodie, California

Bodie
Bodie, California

Shack, Bodie

Photo-ops are immense. We reached 30 minutes before the park closed (yes, it closes at 7pm during summer, 4 pm during winter), and had very little time to photograph. Personally, I think you would need at least half a day to do the place some justice. Looking at the orientation of the town, early morning would be a great time to photograph Bodie. Any regular sedan should be able to cross the last 3 miles of gravel road, if done slowly.
Car, Bodie, California

Car, Bodie
Church, Bodie, California (Desaturated)

Church, Bodie
Truck, Bodie, California

Truck, Bodie



3 Crosses, Virginia City, Nevada

3 Crosses, Virginia City

Virginia City, Nevada

Some say it supported the Civil War, and it definitely made San Francisco what it is today, as the rich rushed towards the coast to build their holiday homes. The gold and silver mines discovered in these regions fueled the coffers of people like Leland Stanford, George Hearst and John Mackay.

Tree and fence, Virginia City, Nevada

Tree & fence, Virginia City
Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada
Trailer, Virginia City, Nevada

Trailer, Virginia City, Nevada


We took the relatively easier route into Virginia City, from Carson City, Nevada. Apparently, the route from Reno is more winding and steep. The drive itself is quite interesting, with a constant backdrop of the snow-clad Sierra Nevada mountains.


Shack, Virginia City, Nevada

Shack, Virginia City, Nevada
Schoolbuses, Virginia City, Nevada

Schoolbuses, Virginia City
Bare trees, Virginia City, Nevada

Bare trees, Virginia City, Nevada
Restaurant, Virginia City, Nevada

Restaurant, Virginia City, Nevada
Car, Virginia City, Nevada

Car, Virginia City, Nevada
Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada


The main street in Virginia City is as big a tourist trap as it could be, somewhat along the lines of Solvang, but with a more rustic feel (that is not pretentious) and with far fewer tourists. In fact, you may be delighted and mildly surprised by the unique antiquities found in some of the shops.


Car and gas, Virginia City, Nevada

Car and gas, Virginia City, Nevada
Car, Virginia City, Nevada

Car, Virginia City, Nevada
Car, Virginia City, Nevada

Car, Virginia City, Nevada


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