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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Carpe Diem - Seize the day - Week 4

Terribly sad news received today that dear, lovely Angus died of cancer in October and only diagnosed in August - he left his recent wife and little boy only 18 months old - he was only about 40.  Why does this have to happen to the kindest, nicest of people?  My friend who told me, said without knowing my trip "keep in touch ... life is too short xx"  Yes, it definately is.

So even more now, I have to keep going on planning the trip ...
Should be strangely a fairly spiritual and moving week -  Planning to get from Monument Valley up through Bluff and get to one of the "special" places I've already booked just outside Moab and Arches Parkland. 
Red Cliff Lodge on the Colorado River.
Have already got in contact and will hopefully head out on horseback with the head wrangler who knows our mutual acquaintance Les Vogt , 15-Time World Champion known for training winning reining and reined cow horses.
Les has been honored in the NRCHA Hall of Fame three times and I had the privilege of being tutored by him on one of his beautiful Quarter horses (in front of a big audience!) in the main ring at the World Equestrian Show in Germany when I was organizing the US group to the show. 
May even see if we can meet up again on the way back through California.

Then up to Salt Lake City to get to one of the main reasons for the trip ...
BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS!
Amazing land world racing records have been set here and if I have the audacity to get out onto them and not get lost or bogged down (although the weather at that time should be incredibly dry and hot)  and ride at speed across the Bonneville flats on my Triumph Bonneville then that would be incredible.
This is where the bikes name comes from!

More hundreds of miles across Nevada's deserts, onto Route 50 the "Loneliest Road in America" where you can travel up to 30 miles without seeing a single vehicle.  Ely, a former stage coach station with the Hotel Nevada & Casino famous for its illegal gambling & bootlegging in the height of the 1920's prohabition - sounds like my kind of place as it's also biker friendly! 

Then continuing along Route 50 and the Pony Express Territory (www.ponyexpressnevada.com) to Eureka a remote, old gold rush town.  I love what they say about the Pony Express -

"Wanted: Young skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen.  Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily.  Orphans preferred". 
In 1860, this ad appeared on posters advertising openings for one of the most dangerous, heroic jobs in American history, the Pony Express trail rider.  From April 1860 to October 1861, dozens of brave young riders carried the US mail by horseback between Sacremento, California and St. Joseph, Missouri.  Today, Highway 50 roughly parallels the route of the Pony Express trail.

Young Pony Express trail rides sat atop the fastest horses available and carried mail in a special pouch saddle called a "mochila".  Each Pony Express trail rider would cover a certain distance to a relay station, where the next would grab the mochila and continue the journey until the 2000 miles of wilderness had been crossed.  Conflict with Native Americans, gangs of robbers and other troublemakers were common, and numerous riders died in the line of duty.

My next stop is finding that relay station !
                                        

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