September 2010 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles




Sky high gas prices along with sluggish economic conditions have severely impacted our tour business for over a year.

We have reluctantly decided to suspend our tour operations for the time being.

Our sincere thanks and appreciation to all who continue to support us.

LOGO T Shirts Available


Explore Historic California with our  logo depicting the California backcountry and its rich history both true and farce.

We now offer shirts, sweats, jerseys and cups with our logo.

Click the shirt for details!


Friends of Last Chance Canyon is a new organization interested in sustaining and protecting areas within the El Paso Mountains, near Ridgecrest, California. The main focus is preserving and protecting historic sites like Burro Schmidt's tunnel and the Walt Bickel Camp.

Please click on either logo to visit the FLCC site.

We support

Bodie Foundation
"Protecting Bodie's Future by Preserving Its Past



Click on Room 8's photo or phone

951-361-2205 for more information.

Mules can taste the difference--so can you



The Panamint Breeze is a newsletter for people who love the rough and rugged deserts and mountains of California and beyond.

Published by Ruth and Emmett Harder, it is for people who are interested in the history of mining in the western states; and the people who had the fortitude to withstand the harsh elements.

It contains stories of the past and the present; stories of mining towns and the colorful residents who lived in them; and of present day adventurers.

Subscriptions are $20 per year (published quarterly March, June, September & December) Subscriptions outside the USA are $25 per year. All previous issues are available. Gift certificates are available also.

To subscribe mail check (made payable to Real Adventure Publishing) along with name, address, phone number & e-mail address to:  Real Adventure Publishing, 18201 Muriel Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92407.

For more information about the Panamint Breeze e-mail Ruth at:

It's always FIRE SEASON! Click the NIFC logo above to see what's burning.



Click on the bag to find out how.

Visit Michael Piatt's site,, for the truth behind some of Bodie's myths.

Terri Geissinger is a Bodie area Historian, Guide and Chautauquan. A long time resident who lives in Bodie and Smith Valley, she is dedicated to preserving stories of the pioneer families, miners, ranchers and teamsters. Click the photo for information on her tours with the Bodie Foundation.

Credo Quia Absurdum

Back to the past in California City--Wimpy's!

8209 California City Blvd.,
California City, 93505

Hey Brother,

Can 'Ya

Spare a Job?

The nation's economic downturn has severely affected the newspaper industry. My job of nearly 30 years was eliminated several months ago.

I'm actively looking for full or part time job opportunities within my diverse skill set.

If you have, or know of any openings, please contact me through this CONTACT  link.




Explore Historic California!

     Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles. Ironically, industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to drive their vehicles off the paved highway.

     Click your mouse through the website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them.



Bodie Celebrates

Friends of Bodie Day, 2010

by Roger Vargo

Bodie's annual heritage celebration, Friends of Bodie Day, attracted a diverse assortment of costumed and contemporarily dressed visitors on August 14. Buildings not usually open the the public, including the jail, IOOF Hall and Methodist Church were open for inspection throught the day. The Members' Evening Tradition (for Bodie Foundation members) began with Albert's BBQ in and behind the Red Barn. After the park closed to regular visitors, Foundation members could visit the Wheaton Hollis Hotel, Sam Leon's Saloon, Lottie Johl's home, the Quinville home and the McMillian home. These historic buildings, also usually closed to the public, featured historic talks by Bodie staff and volunteers.

Bob Tanner's "Bodie Stage" (above) and Ted Holloway and his team (below) drive through Bodie's unpaved streets


Bodie was full of visitors and participants in period costumes who added contrast and color to the day's events.


Dave James hitches a ride of Bodie's 1927 Dodge Graham truck.
Big Meadow (left) and the Bodie Travelers provided musical  entertainment.

Elwood Brown, an original Bodieite poses between the Dechambeau Hotel and the IOOF building for a photographer.
Albert (far right) of Albert's Meat Market in Bridgeport and his crew serve members of the Bodie Foundation a ranch-style BBQ dinner.

After hours, members of the Bodie Foundation were given access to five of Bodie's buildings that are usually closed to the public including Lottie Johl's home (above) and Sam Leon's Saloon and Gambling Hall (left).
Inside the Wheaton Hollis Hotel, Dave James, Norm Stump, Rod Duff and John Buie (above) harass cook, Sasha Trana (left).

Ed (left) and Joanne Allen (right) as Mr. and Mrs. Quinville receive a visit from Cecile Vargo, portraying Mrs. Friend, a Bodie undertaker.
Ashley Dunbar, as a woman of easy virtue, attracts the attention of both visitors (left) outside the McMillian Home and John Buie inside the Wheaton Hollis Hotel.

Remembering Laird Johnson

Laird Johnson, 2009

 Preparations for Bodie's annual Friends of Bodie Day took on a somber note after the sudden death of seasonal park aide Richard Laird Johnson, 61, on August 12. Laird, as he liked to be called, died from hantavirus infection, according to the Mono County Health Department.

Laird was completing his fifth season at Bodie and worked primarily in the museum.

Dr. Rick Johnson, Mono County Public Health Officer wrote in a statement, "(hantavirus) cannot be transmitted from one person to another or from farm animals, dogs, cats, or rodents purchased at a pet store. Rodents, particularly deer mice, carry the virus, which is typically spread to humans when infectious material from rodents is inhaled." Dr. Johnson is not related to Laird Johnson.

Hantavirus was first recognized in the United States in 1993, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been 534 confirmed cases of hantavirus in 31 states and 36 percent of the cases were fatal, according to Johnson. California has had more than 40 cases, many of which had exposure in the Eastern Sierra counties. This is the third case in the Eastern Sierra this summer, according to Johnson. Both other cases survived.

 Laird will be remembered for his quirky sense of humor. He regularly placed pink flamingos in the wild grass in front the recreational vehicle he called home while at Bodie. Bodie Park staff and volunteers have began wearing pink flamingo pins in his memory. The bicycle he rode to and from the museum, with pink flamingos in the basket, is now parked beside the boardwalk on Main Street in front of the museum.

Terri Geissinger, Bodie Foundation business manager, explains the significance of Laird's bicycle at Friends of Bodie Day.

In lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Bodie Foundation, P.O. Box 278, Bridgeport, CA 93517 (

 Laird's flamingos will be well cared for.

Cerro Gordo Update


Cerro Gordo's American Hotel (center) and nearby buildings are surrounded by a blanket of snow.

The ghost town of Cerro Gordo is again open to day visitors!

Cerro Gordo is again welcoming day visitors, road and weather conditions permitting. The town is open during daylight hours.

A full time caretaker is living at the site and visitors must check in before venturing in the ghost town.

No supplies or accommodations are available at Cerro Gordo and visitors should bring plenty of drinking water and haul out their own trash. The dirt road from Keeler to Cerro Gordo is a steep, eight mile ascent. Four wheel drive is not usually required, but adequate ground clearance is.

Stay tuned to this website or our Facebook page for updates on Cerro Gordo's status. Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.                           Powered by