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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: Max Rockatansky on June 08, 2016, 11:23:15 AM

Title: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 08, 2016, 11:23:15 AM
Kind of a spur of the moment thing but seasonal road openings have opened a window to take Tioga Pass/CA 120 over the Sierras to Bodie tomorrow.  I'm planning on heading up 99 and possibly....maybe cutting over to CA 140 just to take something different through the Merced River Gorge.  I'm interested in checking out Lee Vining Canyon and Mono Lake which the Tioga Pass route will take me right past.  From US 395 it's a quick drive north to CA 270 and Bodie.  Bodie is one of the last places in the state that I haven't been and that's odd considering how in depth I've gotten on historic mining towns on other threads...probably doesn't help with seasonal closures at 8,000 feet.  I'm planning on spending the night in Bishop and possibly checking out the railroad museum in Laws...and the western terminus of US 6.  I'm trying to find out if there is anything left worth seeing of the WWII internment camps in Manzanar but it's basically US 395 down to CA 178 for the scenic route through Kern River Canyon going home.  Anyone have anything along US 395 that I might be missing that's worth while?  The Devil's Postpile is still closed for the season...but I've already before..  Figured this would make for a good warm up to the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado the next two weeks.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: kurumi on June 08, 2016, 11:41:17 AM
Bodie is fantastic; here are some photos: https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=12126873%40N03&view_all=1&text=bodie

If you get to Mono Lake on a clear night, little or no moon, the stargazing is great: no light pollution, high elevation. Go near sunset on south shore and visit the tufas.

The restaurant at the Mobil gas station at 120/395 is probably the best gas station food you'll ever have.

Mammoth is worth a visit; might still be snow at higher elevations. Off season, you can take a gondola up to the summit and mountain bike down (from 11,000 to about 9,000 feet).

South of Mammoth on 395 is Convict Lake -- good photo opportunity.

In Bishop check out the US 395 store for all your 395-themed swag.

For a souvenir, you can grab a 4-pack of US 395 IPA (http://mammothbrewingco.com/ipa395/). I'm not a hops guy, so the rest went to friends and I kept one unopened :-)
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 08, 2016, 10:20:03 PM
Bodie is fantastic; here are some photos: https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=12126873%40N03&view_all=1&text=bodie

If you get to Mono Lake on a clear night, little or no moon, the stargazing is great: no light pollution, high elevation. Go near sunset on south shore and visit the tufas.

The restaurant at the Mobil gas station at 120/395 is probably the best gas station food you'll ever have.

Mammoth is worth a visit; might still be snow at higher elevations. Off season, you can take a gondola up to the summit and mountain bike down (from 11,000 to about 9,000 feet).

South of Mammoth on 395 is Convict Lake -- good photo opportunity.

In Bishop check out the US 395 store for all your 395-themed swag.

For a souvenir, you can grab a 4-pack of US 395 IPA (http://mammothbrewingco.com/ipa395/). I'm not a hops guy, so the rest went to friends and I kept one unopened :-)

Added Convict Lake as a side detour coming down to Bishop.  I'm planning on hitting the road at 4 AM tomorrow so I beat the crowds through Yosemite Valley to Tioga Pass.  I'm always up for a sign store...just hope they have an authentics corner somewhere.  Wish I had time for the side trip to Mammoth that beer sounds good...much better than the generic Bud Lite Lime and Reds Apple Ale I've been having lately.  Definitely looking forward to Bodie to add to the ghost town scrap albums.   Finally got the bulk of good stuff from the mining era on CA 49...Columbia was definitely the gem on that trip.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 09, 2016, 10:13:42 PM
You were right on the money about Convict Lake, that was a pretty scenic detour with what I thought had a great view of Mount Morrison.  I checked out the 395 shop when I got into town...I like the stock of signs he sells but I'm more a collector.  I did see a vintage South California Automobile Club 395 and modern Caltrans cut-out 395.  I didn't see a price on either so I didn't feel like insulting the owner.

Okay the museum in Laws is awesome and anyone heading by Bishop should check it own. Not only is it a narrow gauge railroad museum but they have transportation everything.  I have seen few bigger collections of Automobile Club California signage...they had top notch stuff up to button copy signs.  There was even some booster signs from the US 6-395 era hanging up in the train depot.  Very neat to see along with farm equipment, narrow gauge rail stuff and of course the ghost town buildings from Laws.

I picked a good time to head up Tioga because it started getting nuts with westbound traffic near Tioga Lake.  Very pretty route and not all that difficult if someone is looking for a scenic summer mountain pass of the Sierras...actually been several years since I've been.  I noticed that there is a new bridge dated "2011" in Lee Vining Canyon that looked interesting along with what might have been a new historic marker?

Bodie didn't disappoint and I'm really lamenting not going all these years.  The town is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the U.S. and that's saying a lot considering how many I've seen.  I was kind of surprised that the dirt road leading up there is well maintained as it is...really led to an added charm places like Rhyolite could use.  I ran out of memory on my phone so I got about 400 pictures....anyone know how to attach them on here other than using a hyperlink?  I'm thinking about creating a photobucket or something account just for this site...good times.  Tomorrow is Manzanar and off to home....
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 10, 2016, 09:03:48 PM
Checked out Manzanar on the way home today, I never realized the War Relocation Camp was managed by the Park Service.  Took the 3 mile loop around the Camp, lots of scrap and empty grids left over from the military buildings.  I also went across US 395 to the original Manzanar town site from the pre-L.A. Aquaduct days.  Lots of ruins and foundations from the farm community that was located on the site.  Apparently there is another little town just east of Manzanar called Reward but I didn't find anything too worth exploring.  I haven't been that far out on US 395 in probably a good 7-8 years, really pretty highway coming out of the Sierras into Owen's Valley and mostly expressway to boot.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Rothman on June 11, 2016, 12:23:18 AM
Did you pass through Lone Pine?  You can get a map of the Alabama Hills where a ton of movies were filmed, from the likes of Gunga Din to Iron Man (yes, California passed for Afghanistan).
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 11, 2016, 09:37:19 AM
Did you pass through Lone Pine?  You can get a map of the Alabama Hills where a ton of movies were filmed, from the likes of Gunga Din to Iron Man (yes, California passed for Afghanistan).

I'm assuming at that vintage movie theater they have in downtown?  It looked like an interesting place but it was before 6 AM when I rolled through.  I'm not surprised the Afghanistan or desert at all, the terrain in the Mojave is actually very similar. 
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: kkt on June 14, 2016, 07:31:02 PM
Sounds like a fun trip!  I wish I could go.  I haven't been to Bodie since I was a little boy.

I'd be tempted to swing up to the Whitney Portal trailhead and do a little hike, but that's probably more out of the way than you were wanting for a one-day trip.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 14, 2016, 10:11:56 PM
Sounds like a fun trip!  I wish I could go.  I haven't been to Bodie since I was a little boy.

I'd be tempted to swing up to the Whitney Portal trailhead and do a little hike, but that's probably more out of the way than you were wanting for a one-day trip.

Yeah that's something I would like a day or two with possibly some camping gear.  I've been to a lot of the John Muir Wilderness over the years but never tried to get up Whitney.  I just wish that it hadn't taken so long to get up to Bodie but back when I didn't live here it wasn't the priority over things like Tioga Pass or even Virginia City to the north.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 28, 2016, 10:58:32 AM
Some photos from this trip:

Tioga Pass/CA 120

(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/2_zpswbhrxr0i.jpg)
(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/3_zpsn79mmgdh.jpg)
(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/5_zps5qx2mep5.jpg)

Bodie ghost town

(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/IMG_5293_zpsgygklm5z.jpg)
(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/IMG_5301_zpsbhag8aku.jpg)
(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/IMG_5328_zps6xfahuck.jpg)

Convict Lake

(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/IMG_5452_zpsjmmkqabt.jpg)

Mono Lake/US 395

(http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/IMG_5438_zps83iragqk.jpg)


Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: kkt on June 28, 2016, 03:40:39 PM
thanks for the photos!  I want to make another trip to the mountains of California... but it's not in the cards in the next few months.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 28, 2016, 03:50:02 PM
thanks for the photos!  I want to make another trip to the mountains of California... but it's not in the cards in the next few months.

At some point in the next couple weeks I'm going to need to head up to Lassen Peak.  I'm just trying to figure out which pass I want to try coming back.  I'm looking at 4, 88 or 108 to get back to highway 49 to head back south.  It's going to be a little strange not seeing snow when I get home since I've seen it all through the Rockies on this trip.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: kkt on June 28, 2016, 04:11:59 PM
My advice wouldn't be current on any of those.  I do remember Sonora Pass (108) being a lot of fun, assuming you're not in a camper or SUV.
Title: Re: Mini-Road Trip over Tioga Pass to Bodie
Post by: Max Rockatansky on June 28, 2016, 04:17:04 PM
My advice wouldn't be current on any of those.  I do remember Sonora Pass (108) being a lot of fun, assuming you're not in a camper or SUV.

Possibly the Challenger this go around since I've finally broken the engine in and changed the oil out.  Figuring something mid-week might be in order to avoid the tourism crowd, Tioga got a little nutty once I reached Lee Vining Canyon due to the 9 AM hour approaching.