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West Like Lightning, The Pony Express

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ajayhawkfan, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    I usually go to the Falling Leaf BMW rally-----and take a week or two to get home:lol3
    I say every year I'm not going as I've wore out every road within a jillion miles around there.
    But nothing I do is set in stone----------I have all these places spinning around in my head (I bet you do to)-----------------and grab one out of the air--------and with a moments notice I'm gone or have changed my mind.

    And then-----------me and the wife may jump in the motorhome with toys in the trailer and stay South all winter ??????? Go where it's warm.

    Last year we did just that and didn't come home until it was warm enough around here that I didn't have to winterize the motorhome.

    Have you rode Cannonshots OZAT???? That is an awesome ride------took me 2 or 3 times to finish it--------got real sick one time------------and the 100 year flood drove me away another.


    Or.............................if my Honda Hunter Cub comes in...........I'll start my trip around the world with 2 milk crates strapped on the back rack.:lol3

    Mark
    #81
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  2. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    I have not done the OZAT as a single trip however, over the years have ridden about all of it at one time or another.

    Like you I'm always thinking of places to go and ride. I'm thinking about the Butterfield State route from Missouri to California for next year: [​IMG]

    @BigDogAdventures Do you really think a Hunter Cub can handle 2 milk crates?
    #82
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  3. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi Supporter

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    Nice!
    #83
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  4. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

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    What a great ride report. So informational and interesting.:clap

    I fully read the link on Buffalo Bill you provided, and although I had no preconceived opinion of him, your link shows him to be a great showman, huckster, promoter, who fooled a lot of folks and led a high life with a kinda low finale. Sorta reminds me of someone else :hide

    Way back in the 80’s me and Mrs stayed at a lodge , that proclaimed itself as Buffalo Bills Hunting Lodge, when we couldn’t get camping spot in Yellowstone. And went to the rodeo in Cheyenne. So interesting to reminisce.

    Thanks so much for putting this great report together.
    BB
    #84
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  5. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Thank you. At one time Buffalo Bill was the most famous person in America if not the world. I started reading his autobiography today. So far very entertaining but I don't expect it to be very accurate. After his autobiography I'll have to get a biography and compare.
    #85
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  6. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    Sir, this is a wonderful trip report. Looking forward to the rest.
    #86
  7. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Sept 12, 7th day riding, 8th day on the road continued.

    Faust Station is my first stop. It was the 53 station from St. Joseph.

    [​IMG]

    The station was run by a German emigrant named Henry Faust. He caught gold fever and went west with the other '49er. Like the majority he was not very sucessful, in 1851 went to Utah, joined the Mormon Church and took a job in 1860 as a station manager and part time pony rider.

    The scenery though The Pony Express Trail National Backcountry Byway is fascinating along with its Pony history. Looking west from Lookout Pass (6205 feet).

    [​IMG]

    There was a Lookout Pass Station and marker about a mile (west) along the road, at the beginning of the Great Salt Lake Desert.

    Next was a "home" station called Simpson Springs;

    [​IMG]

    The first east-bound Pony Express courier halted here about 5:00 p.m. April 7, 1860 and westbound about 2:00 a.m. April 10, 1860. The last riders passed October 1861.

    The building is a replica built in 1976. It is about 6 feet high at the center. Because there was good water here it was a desirable location for a station. Most of the other stations has to have water hauled for man and horses.

    Riding through the desert and not seeing a sign of human life except the road was extreamly enjoyable and I appreciated the scenery I was riding through.

    [​IMG]

    At times you can see the route laid out in front of you for miles and miles.

    [​IMG]

    On the western part of the Backcountry Byway the elevation starts to rise and then enters a canyon. At the beginning of the canyon is Round or Canyon Station.

    [​IMG]

    Round Station replaced an earlier station further up the canyon that could not be defended from Indians. This station had gun ports built in.

    Here is the only place after seeing the hunters I saw people. Two local men drove past me while I was checking out the station. They turned around to check on me. After seeing my Kansas licenses plate they said, "You must be lost." I told them I know exactly were I was and were I was going. We had a very pleasant chat, they started to give me their phone number but stopped and said there was no reason because there was no cell signal.

    From a few miles before Round Station the trail starts climbing. Upon entering Nevada it get steeper.

    There is one part starting at mile 167 and ending at 173 of tracks section 11 that climbs over 2000 feet with a grade of up up to 12%. It is a pretty steep incline with loose rock and twists and turns. I threw a lot of rock getting up. This section could be difficult on a big bike if the rider doesn't above average skills. No pictures, to steep to stop.

    After getting through the pass and down the other side, steep but not as much as going up. I'm wanting to find a little shade, rest, drink a little water and have a snack. I had been on my pegs for hours. I come around a bend right into a herd of wild horses drinking in a little pond filled by a spring. They take off like they were shot from a canon. I can follow there route through the trees by the dust they kicked up. Pic of the little pond,

    [​IMG]

    I didn't rest but a second because the flys were so bad where I stopped. I continued following The Pony Express Route through the area.

    [​IMG]

    After going 192.4 mile on gravel, sand and dirt I hit blacktop. It is late afternoon I have gone 240 mile since my last fill up. The Pony crosses the black top and continues west. The closest gas is 40 mile. If I continue on the trail it would be 100 miles until gas and would reach there after sundown. The decision was to get gas and then find a motel. I ended up in Eureka Nevada for the night.

    While in Nevada a group of ADV riding park across from my motel. They were from the San Fransisco Bay area and hitting National Parks. There was a nice collection of good looking bikes:

    [​IMG]

    I had a nice chat with a few of them. A few are on ADVrider. I should have gotten a name or two but didn't. I hope they stumble upon this RR because I would like to hear how their trip went.

    Today was an exceptional day! The weather was perfect. The scenery great, lots of interesting Pony Express history and fun roads. Total miles today 358. 46 miles getting to get to the Backcountry Byway, 193 miles of the Byway followed by more rock and dirt roads until blacktop and then the final 114 miles to gas and then Eureka for the night. Looking back, I should have stayed in Ely (where I got gas) and then picked up the route in the morning where I left off. I went to Eureka to stay at an historic inn I had looked up. Went I get there it was booked.
    #87
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  8. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Thank you.
    #88
  9. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    What an amazing ride. I like all the history - fascinating. And beautiful scenery.
    Thanks for showing us this.
    #89
  10. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Thank you. The west is in a drought so everything is browner than normal and because of the fires in California there is a haze in most pictures.
    #90
  11. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer Supporter

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    Fun stuff Eddie - thanks for the effort to put a report together and taking us along!

    Some more info on Martin’s Cove and the LDS Welcome Center. If you are a history buff you want to read about this. The LDS version is a tale of faith and salvation. Others characterize it as a tale of hubris and foolishness. Read all accounts and come to your own conclusions.

    I was able to take the tour and it was a highlight of my trip. I’ll tack some pictures below, including the prettiest fireplace I’ve ever seen in the ranch house.
    IMG_3034.jpg IMG_3038.jpg IMG_3043.jpg IMG_3044.jpg IMG_3041.jpg
    #91
  12. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    #92
  13. STRich

    STRich Been here awhile

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    Eddie, That looks like a great winter trip!

    #93
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  14. Donson

    Donson Been here awhile

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    I used to live in Elko, love Nevada.
    Keep it coming!
    #94
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  15. aclearspot

    aclearspot Adventurer

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    Thank you for taking the time to write this up and loading the pics.
    #95
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  16. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Great report. Pony Express was a nice idea to plan a ride around. You did a great job. I guess there is more coming.

    I have ridden along the Butterfield Stage route in New Mexico and Arizona. You will like it. As with most things you probably cannot ride along the whole thing, but you can get very close still.
    #96
  17. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Thank you.

    I hope to finish the report next week. Limited internet over the weekend.
    #97
  18. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    Great stuff. When you took off on your own is where it’s all new to me. Really enjoying it. I opened up the Libby App and downloaded “West Like Lightning”. Starts off good. Ha!
    I ride a big bike also. I know there’s trade offs on where I can and cannot go, but prefer comfort on the long rides getting home.
    I was in your part of the country this week. I have a good friend in Cottonwood Falls.
    Really enjoying your RR so far, and looking forward to the rest.
    Being a Mizzou Fan, I’m still struggling with the JayHawker thing, but getting there. (FYI, My sister in law teaches there.) We are friends.
    #98
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  19. Bill 310

    Bill 310 Poser Emeritus Super Supporter

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    I was delighted to see you write on the Pony Express Stations. The Stations were in the 2013 Iron Butt Rally as part of the second leg

    Of course being the IBR the time was more limited and there was drama

    From Bob Higdon's History of the Rallies on the IBR Website

    For Mark Crane the end was almost peaceful. Realizing that he needed a monster second leg to make up for the incessant disasters of the first leg, he determined to hit both Pikes Peak and all 34 of the Pony Express stops. This route had rewarded Eric Jewell and Matt Watkins with about 33,000 points each.

    But, like everything else that Mark has touched recently, there was a problem. Make that a couple of problems. Well, three things, now that I think of it. He’d forgotten to stick his bike in the picture at the top of Pikes Peak. That was #1. Then at the scoring table he lost 2,880 points for a mistake in the rest bonus. He called me about the worst problem last night.

    “I got all 34 Pony Express stops,” Mark said. “I had the 10,500 combo bonus.”

    “Shut up,” I explained. “Only Eric and Matt --- and almost Bob Lilley --- got that.”

    “I’m serious. I did them all. But like at Pikes Peak, my bike wasn’t in the photo at the express station in Silver Springs, Nevada. I’ll never figure out how that happened.”

    I looked at the scoring spreadsheet. He was right. In a single leg he’d thrown 30,488 points into the toilet. “It has to be a record, Mark,” I laughed. “No one will ever equal that. You’d have gone from 86th overall to 12th, but after that stunning ride you’re still 86th.”

    “I’m bailing. I can’t even imagine what you’re going to write.”

    “Oh, that’ll be easy. I’ll write that there aren’t ten people on the face of the Earth who can ride the way you do. Forget it. You made an Iron Butt career’s worth of unbelievable mistakes in one week, each one more laughably awful than the last. You’ll probably win the damned thing next time. You know you can do it. We all do.”



    The Pony Express Bonuses are listed from pages 13-21 in the Leg Two Bonus Listings. (Link Below)

    Like many great bonuses it came as a result of a Pony Express Station being stumbled across by a rally Volunteer when the Rally Theme was being developed

    https://www.ironbutt.org/IBRhistory/2013/Leg2BonusListing.pdf
    #99
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  20. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    AJay: FYI
    Ely, NV claims to have the largest Mountain Lion populations in North America. Probably what the hunters were out for.
    I can see having a breakdown, fuel, flat, etc not a good issue in some of those long stretches.