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PostHeaderIcon Pony Express Ride: Leg Two

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Last summer, Ben Clayden of Danville rode his road bike more than 800 miles from Sacramento to Salt Lake City as leg one of the 2000-mile Pony Express Route. Today, July 2, he resumes the ride from the Amtrak station in Salt Lake City where he left off last year to Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He expects to arrive next week.

He'll cross Utah's Wasatch Range, traverses Wyoming, the Rockies and Continental Divide, to the Platte River Valley into Nebraska and the Central Plains.

Clayden will be on the bike for about six days and log about 700 miles -- alone on his Trek Madone road bike with just the water and food he can carry, a change of clothes, an iPad, credit card and a healthy bit of enthusiasm.

"I don't know how many others have done this before me, certainly some, but clearly it's not a popular idea,'' he said.

The ultimate goal is to eventually arrive at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri but that third and last phase will be next summer's project.

The Pony Express was established in 1860 as the first reliable means to send messages across the vast American West. The Civil War was looming and timely news and communication between California and the East was crucial. The Pony Express was, essentially, a relay. A specially designed horse saddle could carry important correspondence in leather pockets.

A rider would leave St. Joseph, Missouri, where the railroad and telegraph lines from the East came to an end, and ride his horse westbound at full gallop. Ten to 15 miles later at an established relay station, rider and saddle would change to a fresh horse and continue. After a series of horses and 100 or so miles the rider would stop to rest and pass the saddle on to the next rider and so it went. About 150 relay stations and 10 days later the saddle and its important contents would arrive in Sacramento. During the journey riders were subjected to extreme weather, high elevation, darkness, and particularly in Nevada, serious trouble with Indians.

Last year, Clayden said he enjoyed immensely riding his bicycle from Sacramento to Salt Lake City and following the Pony Express route eastbound. He peddled about 100 miles each day, over the Sierra Nevada and across desolate Nevada and western Utah. He was alone but said he was never lonely and enjoyed the solitude of countryside most folks don't see.

"(It was) a very remote and fascinating part of North America. It was an amazing week and after returning home I hung the bike in the garage, put the maps away, and enjoyed the great memories,'' he said.

Want to follow Clayden's journey and check out his progress? Go to http://bensponyexpress.blogspot.com/ --BC/KB

 

 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 03 July 2013 03:32)

 

Comments  

 
0 #1 Carrie Clayden 2013-07-03 04:44
thank you Kristin for showcasing this story...
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