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    « Road Trip USA: Bodie Ghost Town, California | Main | Road Trip USA: The New Jersey Shore »

    Road Trip USA: Benton Hot Springs, California . . . Almost A Ghost Town

    On my drive from the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah back to my friend's house in the High Eastern Sierras, I took a 'short cut' down some very small, and often unpaved, roads.  One of the joys of this type of travel is the discovery of amazingly photogenic little wide spots in the road.  One such gem was Benton Hot Springs, just off of US Highway 6, just across the state line . . . on California State Road 120.

     

    The Benton Hot Springs Hotel is the pride of the nearly dead town.  The hotel (now closed) was founded as a general store and Wells Fargo Station in 1868.

     

    This lovely, and poetical plaque was placed on the old hotel in 1968.

     

    A nice place to lean a chair and pop open an ice cold Nehi on a hot summer day.

     

    The old hotel/store still had its old gas pump outside.

     

    A lazy place lost in the dust of time.

     

    But what caught my eye in the first place as I drove along State Highway 120 were the old abandoned cars just beyond the hotel.

     

    Although these cars were not necessarily abandoned where they sat (they had obviously been towed to their present locations for photographic effect, one suspects), they made for a wonderful atmosphere of age and neglect . . . my favorite subject!

     

    When I crisscrossed the USA with my family in the '50s and '60s, these kinds of scenes were common.  Now, not so much.

     

    I spotted a few very interesting cars here, like the 1934-1937 Chrysler Airflow (middle) - the first production car that attempted aerodynamic streamlining to increase economy.

     

    I had fun being an "art photographer" with all the shapes and patterns around me.

     

    These scenes lend themselves to black and white photography, so I have added a number of B&W photos to the end of this blog entry.

     

    There weren't very many buildings in Benton Hot Springs, but this one had nice arched windows.

     

    A chopped up old VW bus.

     

    There was a nice old farmhouse across the road from the hotel.

     

    Very pretty little place . . . and only 30 miles to Bishop, California . . . the nearest mall.

     

    Although very fascinating to look at, it is a shame to see these old farm implements rusting away in the harsh weather.  The average low temperature in January is 16(f) and the average high temperature in July is 92(f).

     

    An antique tractor.

     

    Another antique tractor.


    People who live out in the deserted parts seem to like to drag old stuff out of the hills and old mines and display it around their houses as yard decor.  In Benton Hot Springs someone had gathered many old wagons and wagon wheels just outside of town.  These should be preserved too.

     

    There was a hillside covered with these old wagons from the horse and buggy days.

     

    Benton Hot Springs sits in a green valley below Boundary Peak.

     

    I walked out of town and up a hill to get a view of Benton Hot Springs.

     

    "If these walls could talk."  Indeed.

     

    As I travel the world I often ask myself, could I live here, in this place?  I mean actually live here . . . to actually move to the place and make a life there.  I am capable and free enough to live wherever in the world I want.  I can say YES, I could live here.  I may look into it more closely.

     

    I left Benton Hot Springs behind and headed into the rocky landscape along California State Highway 120 toward Swall Meadows.

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