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Big Bike Solo on the Pony Express Trail (MO, KS, NE, CO, WY)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Dratharr

    Dratharr Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Western Nebraska
    I'm in; I have lived along the route most of my life this is great!:lurk
    #21
  2. Porky

    Porky Don't Pass Gas

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    :clap
    #22
  3. Monty_Burns

    Monty_Burns Excellent.

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    Bryan, thanks for sharing your trip! This one is suitable for framing! :clap
    #23
  4. Cat Daddy

    Cat Daddy Been here awhile

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    Third trailer on the left
    :lurk
    #24
  5. MeefZah

    MeefZah Curmudgeonly Supporter

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    Oh, yes yes yes YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :wings
    #25
  6. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

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    Fine read so far.
    :lurk
    #26
  7. HOT DAMN!

    HOT DAMN! ♪ ♪ ♪

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    :lurk
    #27
  8. river_rat

    river_rat Perplexed

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    :freaky

    sounds good so far Cannon

    :lurk
    #28
  9. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Supporter

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    right here on my thermarest
    :lurk
    #29
  10. c-zulu

    c-zulu Works with Turds

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    Great stuff Cannon. Looking forward to the rest of the story. :nod
    #30
  11. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Location:
    Jennings, Louisiana
    Chasing history across the country is always a fine trip. It took me two trips to do the Lewis/Clark from St Louis to the Pacific in '97 and '04
    . Really had a great time.
    Thanks for sharing your journey and waiting for more.
    #31
  12. Fireman88

    Fireman88 Adventurer

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    Cannon - Another Great RR! It is nice to take a break from work and read up on this.
    #32
  13. tengai

    tengai *

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    Off to a good start Bryan.

    I like the History lessons in your reports as well as the pictures.

    :lurk
    #33
  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    :clap

    I rode part of the western Nebraska trail on my way back from Colorado in August. I ride horses about 5 days a week (equestrian eventing). I can appreciate the skill those riders had, and the time it took you to cover that trail.

    Awesome history report and great pics. Thanks!
    #34
  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I am off across the Missouri River and heading into Kansas. At the time of the PE, there were some towns on the west side of the Missouri. The riders were in a good area. The indians were friendly and many of the stations were in "developed" areas. Along the line, there were relay stations about 10-15 miles apart (depending on the terrain). At a relay station, the rider would change to a fresh horse to continue his ride. Home stations were 75-100 miles apart (terrain dependent). Home stations are where riders lived and where riders changed on the route. So, a rider would have to run about 10 different horses over a 100 mile segment before he was done with his shift. In theory, he was never more than 5 miles or so from a station though. Stage coaches also ran along the pioneer routes. Mark Twain wrote a fabulous account of his stage ride west and expressed his awe when his stage was overtaken by a Pony Express rider. By the way, it only cost a dime to send a letter via stage route. ($5 on the PE)
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    (Smug trouble . . . be back shortly.)
    #35
    toypro1 likes this.
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I'll put up a GPS file with waypointed POI. Hopefully you'll get a chance to ride some of it.


    Hope you enjoy the tour and I hope I can share some new stories of interest.


    Much more on the way!


    That picture conveys some of the emotion of this trip. It would be easy to spook yourself heading off (alone) into some remote spaces with threatening skies overhead.
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    Meef, I couldn't say for sure . . . but it sounds like you are enjoying this . . . :lol3



    It is going to have a few slow spots . . . but it gets better toward the end.



    There are several well known and oft ridden popular routes around. One of my goals with exploring this route (and preparing a GPS file to share) was to highlight another opportunity for people to ride and enjoy. The cental location of this route makes it pretty accessable for a lot of people in the midwest.


    Better get back to work Rusty! :lol3


    There is a bit of violence described in this report. Otherwise it might be a good read for your kids.



    I appreciate your knowledge of horse riding. I was often in awe of the skill and stamina these riders must have had.
    #36
  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    As I rode along the route I tried to locate many of the stations. Of course, most of them were gone. Sometimes there was a simple marker acknowledging the spot.
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    In 1836 Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Clark (yes, of Lewis and Clark fame), cut a deal with two tribes of indians to get them to move west of the Missouri River. The deal was for $7,500. In addition to the cash, the government also agreed to build five comfortable houses for each tribe, break up 200 acres of land, fence 200 acres of land, furnish a farmer, blacksmith, teacher, interpreter, provide agricultural instruments, furnish livestock, and a bunch of other stuff. A religious mission was put in between the two reservations with an eye toward converting the indians into Christian, school educated, farmers. The original log mission was replaced in 1846 with this fine building. The building cost $8K. $6K came from Indian funds and $2K came from the church. Things went fine. The indians put in a toll bridge for a nearby river and made a few bucks at maybe 25 cents a wagon. With exposure to emigrants, cholera and smallpox broke out among the indians in 1849. The indians opted to get away from the pioneers and through a combination of other factors the mission arrangement fell apart.
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    You run across some odd stuff when you are riding around these small towns. I know some of some troopers that could have used this scout car during the indian wars.
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    I was in Hiawatha, KS when I checked out the Davis Memorial. During the Great Depression, Davis' wife died. He kind of overdid it a bit by commissioning a series of life like statues of he and his wife at her grave. He spent around $200K on this - during the depression. The townspeople were a bit miffed as they would rather he spent his money on a swimming pool and a hospital for them. Undetered, Davis did his thing. What is not widely known is that he secretly gave tens of thousands of dollars to those in need during this time - a few hundred bucks at a time. Ironically, this memorial has served the town well as it brings thousands of visitors to the town and the cemetary each year.
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    There are a lot of historical markers and auto tour routes sponsored at the federal, state, county, and local level. I tried to capture a custom route in my GPS file that incorporates the good stuff (and remote stuff) that I derived from books, pamphlets, brochures, web sites, and general exploring.
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    Had to . . . its a rule or something.
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    Some of the magnificent architecture of these old court houses was amazing - expecially for their time. Of course, they are still in use.
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    Brick streets were very popular in this region. Not so good for motorcycles though . . .
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    #37
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  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    There wasn't a lot of lumber around in some of the plains regions. Because of that, sod houses became very popular. They didn't look too bad. The walls were thick, the inside was lined with lumber, and if you had a goat to keep the roof mowed you were doing pretty well.
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    Perhaps the original *earth* home?
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    This is an original home station. Home stations were the ones at hundred mile intervals where they changed riders and riders lived (or lived nearby).
    Often these were leased stables or stables that shared with stage coach lines in some areas.
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    Keep in mind that the relay stations, where they changed horses at about 10 mile intervals, were less elegant. In developed areas, they might have been a leased part of a trading post or someone's ranch. Further west, they might have been a shack like this or even a dugout. At a relay station there were a couple of people to tend to the stock. Some of the guys manning the relay stations were killed by indians. In some cases, three guys in a wooden shack held off a lot of indians. In one case out west, while three guys were shooting it out with indians at one of these small relay stations, the Army rode up - just like in the movies. Made somebody's day I'm sure.
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    #38
  19. iyeager

    iyeager I lost my avatar...

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    Great, another Cannonshot post that proves to me again that I work way too much. :deal

    Looks good CS. I'll have to make sure to get a copy of your GPS routes.

    Ian
    #39
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Rivers needed to be crossed. During low water, it was often possible to find a suitable ford someplace along the river. When the water was high, toll bridges and ferries became important. The cost of crossing on a bridge of ferry often varied with the river conditions. This river is low right now and if a suitable bottom could be found, it would be crossable.
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    If it was deeper, a ferry like this one would be used. Sometimes it would take a couple of days to get a wagon train across the river so people would camp on both sides.
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    I stopped and checked out a new facility at the Union Pacific's Marysville Subdivision. This looks like a crew change facility.
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    This isn't even a mainline and it sees about 60 trains a day. The mainline sees about 150 trains per day. I kept seeing 120 car coal trains all over the place. 100 tons of coal per car, 120 cars, two engines in the lead, one at the rear. I found out later that this coal is coming from Wyoming. Last month the Union Pacific set another record by hauling 18.7 million tons of coal out of Wyoming on 1,190 full coal trains. One coal field worker told me it takes about an hour to load a train. By the way, this little yard is nothing. I got to visit the Bailey Yard in North Platte which is the largest sorting yard in the world. More on that later.
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    I wonder if this was the flowered bus with all the guys in tie-dyed t-shirts on it?
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    Exploring the Kansas-Nebraska backroads in search of historic sites.
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    #40