Old Castle Whiskey


Well-Known Member
This may not be my best bottle, but it's my all time favorite, because it was found by my father and I at the May Lundy mines in the Eastern Sierra mountains around 1968, when I was about 8 or 9 years old.



May Lundy.jpg


It was quite an adventure at that age to be backpacking with my family in the high mountains of California. Bottle hunting was more of my father's activity, and I joined him because I was too young to climb the mountains, and explore the mines on the sides of the high cliffs. It was something my "mountain goat" older brothers did. The old mines were filled with other antiques that my brothers collected, like lanterns, square nails, etc. Back in 1968 antiques were everywhere for the picking, especially in places like Bodie, where you could camp right inside the old ghost town.

Because May Lundy was so rocky, finding intact bottles was tricky, and we had to dig under old bushes to find them. I also found a small purple Kellogg's bottle in a sandier location.


Well-Known Member
That's a sweet bottle--digging partner I had for awhile about 50 years ago found one here in WA; I could not trade him out of it!--but an even sweeter memory.

Moreover, you've answered a question I had for years: what Bodie was like before it became a highly regulated state park. Thanks!

About a decade before your find I was just a kid and would pester my folks to go explore a ghost town that we could see off to the east as we would drive through the Owens Valley on the way up to Twin Lakes or other camping spots near Bridgeport. The answer was always negative--they wanted to get through the hot dusty desert up to the cooler high country. I still like to imagine what we could have found in the dumps, for the sagebrush flats between the town and Highway 395 glistened with sun reflections off innumerable bits of glass that shared the scrub with abandoned antique cars. I don't know the name of the place, but it was near the lake bed. On a Google Earth search a few years ago, all I could find was the faint outline of a street grid, no buildings or abandoned cars. Farther north, we used to wonder what the story was behind the incongruous Asian-style stone building that sat derelict on the west side of the highway--it was years later that I finally learned it was the gatehouse for the Manzanar internment camp during WW2.


Well-Known Member
As a kid I made that drive many times with my family. It really brings back the memories. I use to go up to the Twin Lakes area all the time with my father for fishing. We really liked the June Lake loop.

I explored all kinds of ghost towns in those mountains. The White Mountains had some hidden ghost towns in them.

The last time I was in that area (2002) was with a girlfriend I met in Mexico (Canadian), and we hiked up into Panamint City outside of Death Valley. It was fun exploring the old mines with flashlights.

Panamint City 1875.jpg

Panamint City in 1875.


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Long distance electricity was invented because of Bodie. They needed to run their stamping mills to extract the gold out of the quartz, and so they experimented by running electric lines from the Mono Mills (I believe) hydro plant to Bodie. I believe it was something like a 26 mile run of electric lines, which had never been done before.

I visited Bodie many times over the years, and the last time I was there I sneaked into the private land area, and peaked into some of the old houses.

There was a Clint Eastwood filmed next to Mono Lake.


Well-Known Member
Yes, I'm very Familiar with the Clint Eastwood Movie done there. It's the one where they Painted the Town Red, Town of Lago, High Plains Drifter was the name. The Rock Band Cinderella filmed a Video in Bodie & Mono Lake. LEON.

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