Letters for March 28, 2019

Bodie notes

Re “Bodie” (cover story, March 21):

Nary a mention of the effort made by volunteers last Fall to remove old fencing, trash and weeds; nor of the other Eastern Sierra conservation organizations that encourage thoughtful enjoyment. People live there! BodieHills.org

With a cover photo and short tourism blurb about this “genuine” ghost town (there are many, many in Nevada) RN&R is encouraging off-roaches, plinkers, and artifact poachers to partake in the usual, out-of-state. Stick to Virginny City.

Cliff Callahan

Sun Valley

Editor’s note: We are not encouraging anything, but the State of California is. Bodie has been a state park for nearly six decades and was abandoned for most of the 1950s before that. The annual tourist traffic has now risen to about 200,000 people a year. So between the periods of abandonment and its life as a state park, we would suggest the town has probably been picked clean of artifacts and that your quarrel is with California for encouraging Bodie tourism.

Re “Bodie” (cover story, March 21):

I loved the Bodie article because it triggered a flashback to the winter of 1971/72 when I lived at Bodie as part of the restoration crew. I was living in Bishop working for CDF that winter when a representative from the Cal State Parks showed up to ask for volunteers to spend at least a month at Bodie to do restoration work on the structures there. Being a young adventurous rock climber/mountaineer (I was 22) I said, “Why not, I’ll go.”

That was one of the coldest times I ever experienced because the winter winds blow across that high, desolate desert area without anything to temper them. At 8,400 feet elevation, you’d think Bodie is a settlement in Siberia in the winter. But the work was fun, and the camaraderie was fun. Back in those good old days we’d take some R&R and go get au natural at Hot Creek near Mammoth back before the uptight “textiles” ruined the place.

I used to own some large format full color original photos of Bodie that were done by Cole Weston, son of Edward Weston. The photos showed some of the gnarly structures I worked on. I lost those photos to my first divorce. They’d be worth a fortune now.

Jeff Middlebrook


Neon notes

Re “Liar Cohen vs. liar Trump” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, March 14):

It is time to fire Bruce Van Dyke. The first sentence of his piece has the “f” word, and he writes it’s “too late to stop now.” Hate speech is prohibited by most media mission statements. Some believe hate speech can incite violence. I have read other letters to the editor of the RN&R saying B.V.D. should go.

If you don’t have the courage yourself to let him go, take a poll of your readers. Maybe that will help you to do the right thing.

J. Austin


You published my December 21, 2017 letter to the editor saluting Bruce Van Dyke for keeping his focus on the travails of Mr. Trump for one-year straight. Well, it is now the end of March, 2019 and Mr. Van Dyke has not let up! He deserves a primo journalism award (even though, I’m sure, he could care less).

We would all be done with Trump now if we had half of Van Dyke’s abilities, energies, and focus. He is RN&R’s greatest asset (among many). I can’t wait for this Trump fiasco to end so Van Dyke can turn his abilities to the other major problems of the world and nation—climate change, reducing the gun carnage, nuclear proliferation, etc. These will keep Van Dyke super busy, and we will all be the recipients of his talents.

How about publishing a book of all of Mr. Van Dyke’s columns dealing with Trump? It would be a good review and a good read. It really is quite an achievement.

Thank you, RN&R. You make my week every week.

Richard T. Bissett