Western Oddities

Classic Bodie Car

Image by brentbat via Flickr

While I realize some items on this list may seem normal to those who live in the western states of America, as a city slicker the following things puzzled and/or astounded me:

Everything is more expensive than I would have imagined. The prices for gas, food, clothing, toiletries, cooking supplies, etc all factor in the cost of transport. A sign in the local general store here in June Lake mentions they charge five dollars to hear how much cheaper other places are.

Gas stations are a hub of life, with cafes, restaurants, and gift shops springing up around (or often inside of) them. The Mobile Station restaurant, located by the entrance to Tioga Pass (highway 120), is by far one of the best places to eat out around here. This Mobile Station showcases bands in the summer and has a complicated trapeze contraption.

One of the only radio stations that you can pick up clearly is KMMT Radio, and they have multiple broadcast stations to transmit around the mountains. This radio station also airs lost dog information. Some of the animals have been missing for over a week and I have to wonder if it’s politeness that keeps the announcer from joking that the pet must be cougar food by now.

Despite the amount of snow on the ground, walking around in a t-shirt and jeans is quite comfortable. The sun at this high altitude is powerful, but somehow not powerful enough to melt all the snow.

There are an abundance of ghost towns, or abandoned and decaying buildings. A large one of interest nearby is the Bodie State Historic Park. 10,000 people lived in this town at one point, with the population dwindling dramatically in the beginning of the 1900’s.

Along the highway you will occasionally see a sign for a more scenic route. A more scenic route? What would be more scenic than mountain ranges and lakes?

Another highway oddity: little wooden framed signs that have a picture of a house burning, with a caption that reads “Could your house be saved?”

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