My husband, Jeff, and I had the pleasure of participating in this year's Pony Express Re-Ride. Jeff's a HAM radio operator who joined with many others to monitor and report on the progress of the riders. We were camped on Overland Pass, northeast of Eureka, NV., and supported the riders who handed off the mochilla at our camp at 2:30 Saturday MORNING. The relief riders, Dawn and Tony, rode up to our camp about three hours early and we waited and gabbed over my anemic coffee. Dawn and Tony live in Ely, NV and said they would be relaying from Overland Pass clear to the Utah Border 140 miles eastward. They've been riding sections of that trail for years. Tony had a couple of cracked ribs he was nursing and Dawn's fibromyalgia was kicking up with the bitter cold that seeped into our bones as we waited. These are tough people; then again, most horse people are. Karen and Ernie cantered up the western trail and did a quick transfer of the mochilla onto Dawn's horse. Then it was 'goodbye' to Dawn and Tony and the mail bound for St. Joseph, MO. Next morning, we met up with Karen and Ernie and other riders at the Owl Club Cafe in Eureka (which has surprisingly good food). It's people like these folks that make participating in such events so much fun.
The trail up both sides of this pass is a challenge for a Jeep Wrangler and holds many dangers for horses. On this moonless night, I shivered not just with the cold but with apprehension and deep admiration for these riders - and the young riders of the 1860s. Those men and probably a few women carried mail night and day, summer and winter, through hostile lands. My hat's off to all of them, past and present.
Also, this photo is a memorial marker of Bob Evans, 1947-2007, a HAM who worked this station at Overland Pass for about 30 years. After camping here for a couple of nights, I'd like to honor his efforts in supporting this incredible yearly event. That road in the distance is the route the Pony riders followed.