Yep. Back-to-back Scott Toepfer action. It’s that good. Ghost Town, USA is a short film that Toepfer did for the Harley-Davidson RIDEBOOK campaign that brought together folks from different artistic / lifestyle backgrounds to celebrate life on the open road, and the history of American motorcycle culture. Here photographer & filmmaker Scott explores America’s past through the lens of ghost towns and the haunting lessons they hold.

“The visitable ghost towns across the Western U.S. are few and far between today. Most have either decayed beyond recognition, or have turned into gift shop trinket towns selling $10 keychains and fake gold. Thankfully, Bodie, California has a different story. A gold mining town established in the late 19th century, it quickly became one of California’s largest cities – and as any famed mining town would, it was filled with saloons, brothels, and other establishments of ill repute. Much of the town burned in the fires of 1892 and 1932, forcing most of its remaining residents to leave one of the toughest towns in the west. When the last of the residents left in the 50’s, the California Park Service took over in ’64 to preserve the structures and share its history… with us, and a few hundred other tourists daily.”   

–Scott Toepfer

Click above to watch “Ghost Town, U.S.A. by Scott Toepfer

See more of Scott Toepfer here

Visit the Harley-Davidson RIDEBOOK here


  1. don’t know why but this reminded me of easy rider – like a twenty-first century version of the flick. maybe because of the pictures and their themes – the way life should be lived.
    i love your blog man.
    ride free

  2. JP . . . I’ve got to be honest here, and this is a first . . . while I found the idea behind the trip to Bodie and the recording of it, a worthwhile one, I was left with the impression that the actual documentation of it was somehow stilted and contrived, almost smacking of “The Motor Company’s” desperate recent capaign to align itself with the Young Soul Rebel on Two Wheels set. It seemed quite at odds with Scott’s previous piece you posted earlier in the week which was fresh, honest and immediate. Nonetheless, my first negative reaction in twelve months and . . . . . what the fuck do I know ??

  3. Never forget Leadville, Col. Sandwiched in between all the sot and shit of Colorado ski life. There is the old beat-ass mining town. With 2 for 1$ beers at the Manhattan Bar (Opens at 8 am) and nothing but mountains. A man can’t feel anything but the fact that for the time being….. his life a’int nothin short of being saved. Also a big plus is the plethora of BLM camping 3 miles outside of town.

  4. I get so frustrated with the H-D side of motorcycle culture — both by the way the various factions of H-D devotees position themselves against other marques and riders and by the endless purity-testing that goes on among those cliques of devotees. Here on one page we get the ingrained lessons of a man who was raised on miluakee iron, including not to ever ride a “chick bike” (sportster) and certainly not one with an electric (pussy) starter, and this piece that features a chick bike with a pussy-start.

    Everyone trying to stiff-arm their way to an independent identity based on the same slim framework of two wheels, two cylinders. It’s so tired. Just ride, man. Just ride.

Comments are closed.