Arkansas Launches Civil War Trail by Motorcycle

With state budgets shrinking, tourism departments across the nation are seeking novel ways to lure travelers this summer.

Arkansas is leading the charge by combining history and motorcycling with a tie in to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  They’re hoping a new Heritage Trail created to make battle sites easily accessible by motorcycle will give them a much needed bump in visitors to the state.

Eight Civil War campaigns in the southern state are designated on the trail produced by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

A brochure with a map lays out how those on motorcycle can visit the battle sites and pay tribute to the men who lost their lives in the Civil War by traveling along similar routes as those taken by the troops.

The first 1,000 bikers to travel on all eight routes will get a commemorative “I Rode the Civil War Trail Arkansas” patch. Their road trip will also be chronicled on the state’s tourism website, state tourism officials said.

The state’s Civil War sites include Prairie Grove, one of the most intact Civil War battlefields in the nation, where Union and Confederate troops saw intense fighting on Dec. 7, 1862.

Other trails featured on the map for motorcyclists lead to Pea Ridge and follow the Little Rock Campaign, the Attack on Pine Bluff, the Confederate Approach to Helena, the Camden Expedition, Price’s Raid and Ozark to the Battle of Fayetteville.

Motorcycle tourism is a popular way to explore rural locations around the United States and states are urging businesses to become biker-friendly by opening up spots designated for motorcycles and creating patches and stickers for enthusiasts’ gear.

The Arkansas effort was announced at the 37th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Other Civil War sites to see on a motorcycle.   Civil War Travel

Visit the most infamous Civil War POW Camp, Fort Sumter in Motorcycle Journeys Through the American South.

A Trip Through Georgia’s History

What You Will See On This Trip:  Civil War Prisoner of War site, Railroad museums, authentic 1850’s village, canyon views, hometown of a former President and the airport where Lindbergh made his first solo flight.

Excerpted from the book, Motorcycle Journey’s Through The American South by Scott Cochran


We’ll start this journey in the town of Montezuma.   Just off I-75, this vibrant middle Georgia town was named by veterans returning from the Spanish American War.  In fact the names of several towns on this journey were influenced by that war.  Located at the confluence of Beaver Creek and the Flint River, downtown Montezuma was inundated with over 6 feet of brown muddy water during the devastating floods of 1994.  Right after the flood, the town started the Beaver Creek Festival to mark the recovery and recognize those who worked so hard and to mark the anniversary of the event.     In the surrounding county are is a large and thriving Mennonite community.  Tourists come to Yoder’s Deutsch Haus, Ga Hwy 26 East, 478-472-2024 for one of the best lunches anywhere around. Open from 11:30 to 2:30 Tuesday – Saturday.  There is a bakery next door to where you can fill your saddlebags with snacks for the days’ journey.

Carnege LIbrary in Montezuma Georgia

When you leave Yoder’s head west to reach the city limits of Montezuma, and turn right at mile 17 on Spaulding St. You’ll soon cross Beaver Creek.  Remember that this seemingly harmless waterway flooded downtown with 6 feet of brown muddy water which remained for six days.    In less than 1 mile you’ll reach E Railroad St.  Directly in front of you is the Montezuma Depot  S. Dooley @ E. Railroad St. built in 1890 and donated to the city in 1980, the depot was completely renovated in 2001-2002 and houses a railroad museum along with other shops.

Across the street from the depot is the Carnegie Library, built in 1908 with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.  Carnegie was a wealthy industrialist who believed it was a disgrace to die wealthy.  So he started giving away his money to build libraries.  From 1881 to 1917 the man whose legacy was to become the free library gave grants in excess of $56 million dollars to build over 1,900 libraries in the United States and several hundred overseas.

You might mistakenly believe that he really wanted his name immortalized in stone all over the country but he did not stipulate that any library be named for him.  Instead his preference was to place a representation of the rays of the rising sun, and above it the words ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT.'”

From this intersection pickup SR 49 towards Oglethorpe and continue on towards Andersonville.  At mile 27 turn left into Andersonville National Historic Site.  Here you have a choice. You can continue straight on to the National Prisoner of War Museum and save the tour of the prison site and cemetery for later or ride around the perimeter of the camp and take in the monuments and read the historical markers and then visit the active military graveyard and then visit the museum.

Either way, give yourself an hour or two to explore here.  The Civil War buff will be familier with Andersonville and the story of the camp.  Known officially as Camp Sumter, it was built to house 10,000 captured Union prisoners but due to numerous factors came to house over 45,000 and of that number, 13,000 died due to unsanitary living conditions, poor medical care and too little to eat.  The commandant, Captain Henry Wirz was made the scapegoat for conditions he was powerless to influence or change.

Even though there were camps in the north, such as Elmira, New York, which were as bad as Sumter, Wirz was the only person tried for war crimes and he was eventually hanged for mistreating his prisoners.

As you exit the park you can continue straight across Hwy 49 into the old village.  There is a seven acre pioneer farm complex, a restored turn of the century train depot and stores with Civil War memorabilia. Dominating downtown is a monument to Captain Wirz.  It was erected by the local community to honor the memory of a man who refused a pardon because the conditions were for him to sign a statement implicating others such as General Robert E. Lee or the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.    This is an example of the character of the men who fought with honor and died with dignity in that great struggle, and the memory of their sacrifice still resonates through the small towns of the South.

When you’re ready to leave, continue on Church St. past the Wirz monument to Hwy 228.  At mile 30 turn left onto 228 and head west.  This is my second favorite stretch of highway on this journey.  The road bends and twists just enough to keep you from being bored.  Too soon you’ll arrive in Ellaville.  At mile 41 turn right onto US 19 and in .2 mile (about 1 block) turn back left on SR 26.  The next 13 miles are similar to the previous 11.  Remain on SR 26 through Buena Vista.  This is one of those towns that have has a Spanish influence.  It was originally named Taylor, and then called Pea Ridge, and in 1847 word of a major victory in the Spanish American War near the village of Buena Vista reached the townsfolk so they choose to adopt this name for the town..  Viva Le Motorcycle!

Continue west to mile 67.4 and turn left on SR 26 towards the town of Cusseta.  In approx seven miles you’ll cross a bridge over railroad tracks and at mile 66.9 turn left onto Liberty Hill Rd.  Soon you’ll understand why I took you on this little two lane odyssey.  The only negative about this road is the choice of paving material.  I would prefer asphalt but this road is constructed longer lasting composite material which is gravel overlaid with asphalt and packed solid.  It’s no problem to ride, but not as smooth as solid blacktop.  In a few miles you’ll make a sharp right, to remain on the pavement but otherwise you’ll continue straight as you notice the road name changes to Seminole Rd. and in a few miles (mile 85.5) you’ll dead end at US280/SR 27. Turn right and head into the town of Richland.  Stay on SR 27 through town towards the town of Lumpkin.

In Lumpkin visit Westville, an old town that is, but never actually was.  1850 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.  www.westville.org  Westville is a working 1850’s town created entirely to preserve the traditions of antebellum west Georgia in the period immediately preceding the Civil War. John Word West was a history teacher who had a passion to preserve this history for posterity and in 1928 began to collect nineteenth century buildings and artifacts.  West corresponded with oil tycoon and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., who had begun Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia about that time, and also with automotive pioneer Henry Ford, who founded Greenfield Village in Michigan.  West died in 1961 and did not live to see his village come to life. However the work he started culminated when Governor Lester Maddox presided over the village’s formal founding on August 31, 1968.  In Westville you’ll find over 30 authentically furnished Pre-Civil war buildings.

For the best experience, visit either during the Spring Festival in mid-April or the Harvest Festival in late October and early November.  During the times Westville comes alive with community volunteers in period garb in traditional community activities such as candle and shoe making, blacksmithing and, my favorite the cotton ginning.  You will come away with a better understanding of the South after this visit, I can guarantee it!    Open Tuesday through Saturday except New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Step back in time at Hatchett's Drug Store in Lumpkin Georgia

After leaving Westville, return to Main St. and turn left at the Singer Co, established in 1838 it lays claim as being Georgia’s oldest working hardware store, and well, it showing it’s years. But if you remember old rolling ladders, wood floors and buck knives you’ll look browsing.    A few stores further up is Dr. Hatchett’s Drug Store Museum & Soda Fountain.  This authentic soda fountain drug store combo is a time capsule just waiting to be opened..  Dr. J. Marion Hatchett, a surgeon during the Civil War,  opened the store in nearby Ft. Gaines in the 1870’s and ran it until his death in 1894.  Then his son, Samuel “Pope” Hatchett took it over and ran it 63 years until his death in 1957.  His widow locked the store and the entire collection and kept it exactly as it was at his death.   When the town of Lumpkin restored this building to an approximate facsimile of the Ft. Gaines store the family moved the entire collection here.  The collection houses a wonderful display of pre-FDA medicines and remedies commonly referred to as snake-oils.   Inside you’ll find products with names such as “666 Malarial Preparation.” and “Pigeon’s Milk” which was an entire kit for the treatment of gonorrhea.  If you’re waiting for the punch line, I’m not going there.    If you’re interested you can contact Allen Vegotsky who has inventoried the entire collection.  (770) 270-1034.

When you’re ready to continue, head west on SR 27 to US 1.  Turn right for a couple hundred yards and turn left on SR 39C towards Providence Canyon State Park.  Providence Canyon is also known as Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon.  Called one of Georgia’s Seven Wonders, Providence Canyon is a direct result of poor farming practices of the 1800’s.  The settlers in the area had no understanding of soil conservation and simply plowed the land in the easiest manner, straight up and down the

Georgia's Providence Canyon, continually growing.

hills.  Once the crops were harvested, the winter rains soon turned plow rows into ditches which evolved into gullies and in the blink of a geological eye have become massive ravines; the largest of which are over 150 feet deep!  The result is a natural and unpolished tourist attraction. At one time enterprising locals tried to slow the pace of erosion by introducing non-native species such as kudzu and other ground covers but it has only been marginally successful.

Even the steep ¼ trail from the interpretive center to the floor of the canyon is under constant threat of erosion. This trail isn’t for the person with a heart condition but I walked it in Sidi riding boots carrying a heavy camera bag and I’ve sat behind a computer screen long enough to be out of shape and it didn’t kill me, but I’m not making any promises.

If you have the time, I recommend hiking to the bottom.  At the bottom, turn left and head north into the canyon for the best views. This park isn’t as busy as State Parks go and during certain times of the year you may find it all to yourself. I don’t recommend walking to the bottom after a rain shower or anytime the ground is damp because of the sticky and slick red Georgia clay.

To view the canyon from the rim, park in one of the spaces before you reach the interpretive center and walk to the wooden fence.  There are sections where you can stand within 5 feet of the edge.  Remember however that the canyon is, in many places, still eroding and some of the ground will be unstable after a heavy rain.  In places you can see where the Parks Service has closed off sections due to collapse that a few years ago were open to the public.  This is a changing landmark and the view you see today won’t be the same one you will see if you return in a few years.    Whichever you choose, treat our natural treasures with respect and take only photos and memories, and leave only footprints.

When you’ve had your fill of Little Grand Canyon, retrace your route to Lumpkin on SR 39C at mile 127 turn right on US 1 and immediately turn left again on SR 27.  Stay on SR 27 through the town of Preston and on to Plains.  www.plainsgeorgia.com

Billy was almost as famous as his presidential brother Jimmy

At mile 138 as you enter the town of Plains you’ll pass a wooden guard house at Woodland Drive.  This is the current home of the 39th President, James “Jimmy” Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter.  There is a viewing area but nowhere to park, so pull off on the other side of the road in a driveway and walk across the highway.  Luckily there isn’t much traffic in this town of less than 1000 residents.  You’ll notice a high black fence that surrounds the home and grounds and access to Woodland Drive is restricted by Secret Service. It’s easy to see that the former President is the

Downtown Plains Georgia

favorite son of Plains and downtown are several memorials to his accomplishments.

During his Presidency the media often enjoyed casting him as a rural hick and often attempted to use his siblings as proof.  His brother Billy enjoyed the spotlight and often held court at his service station.  The original station still stands next to the police station and you can pull in and have you photo made next to the sign.  Carter also had two sisters.  Both are deceased.  One was an evangelist, Ruth Carter Stapleton and the other was Gloria Carter Spann, who well known as an avid motorcycle enthusiast.   Spann is buried in the Lebanon Church Cemetery near Plains and on her tombstone is the inscription “She rides in Harley Heaven.”   If you visit, leave a penny on the grave.   There are several shops downtown that cater to the tourists traveling through and if you have a few minutes to spare you might want to stop in and purchase a souvenir or two.

Railroad buffs will want to time their schedule to coincide with the arrival of the SAM’s  Shortline. SAM stands for Savannah, Atlanta and Montgomery railroad company which operated this line during the 1800’s.  Today it’s operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the route runs between Cordele and Archery Georgia, a distance of approx 34 miles one way.  Day trips usually depart Cordele at 9:30 and return by 5 pm.  For more info visit www.samshortline.com  or call 877-GA-RAILS.

As you leave Plains on 27/280, you’ll pass the Plains Welcome Center.  You can stop in for more information on the area and the SAMS Shortline and the special Amtrak train called the “Peanut Special” that departed from Plains after Carter won the election which carried friends and supporters to his inauguration in Washington, D.C.

At mile 146 you’ll enter the town of Americus.  This is the end of our journey but there is still one more sight to see.  At mile 150 turn left onto SR 49 and head north for 4 miles to Souther Field.  Turn left into the driveway and there at the terminal stands a monument to Charles Lindbergh who took his first solo flight over the cotton fields of South Georgia.

Lindbergh had come to Americus because there was an abundance of affordable surplus WWI planes. He chose a Curtiss JN4 “Jenny.” He got the plane with a brand-new engine, a fresh coat of paint, and an extra 20 gallon fuel tank for $500.  Although he only had 20 hours of instruction in flight and had never flown solo, in May 1923, Lindbergh set off on a course that would forever change aviation history and it started right here!

Charles Lindburg started his historic solo flying career in a small airport in South Georgia

Return to Americus and journey’s end.  If you’re hungry, be sure to visit The Station 222 W. Lamar Street, 229-931-5398.. Open Tues-Fri for lunch 11:30am-2pm.  If you’re adventurous try the fried cheese grits as an appetizer or with your meal, for dessert the crème’ brule is scrumptious.  Across the street is the Windsor Hotel Grand Dining Room W. Lamar Street, 229-924-1555. They serve a buffet lunch and dinner Mon-Sat.  It’s a tad sophisticated for the average motorcycle traveler so wear the good leather.  Scrape the bugs off your teeth before you sit down.

If you’re still in town for breakfast or lunch try Granny’s Kitchen at Hwy 19 and 280 (heading towards Plains) Prices are per entrée or side dish.  Try the banana pudding, it’s authentically delicious.  Open Mon-Sat 6am – 2pm


John Stone, Valdosta Georgia World Traveler

John Stone, Valdosta GA

Two of us went on the ride, John Stone and Robert (C-DAD) Resta from Valdosta and Adel Ga. Our first stop was Cairo, we set up the camera on a mini tripod so we could both get into the pics. I set the timer and before the first picture snapped a typhoon force wind blew through sending the tripod and camera to the ground face first. Needless to say that was the death of the camera. We saddled up, headed to Walmart and bought the cheapest digital camera that they had, $19.00. We busted it out of the bulletproof plastic packaging, put in the batteries and took turns taking pictures at the stops we made that day. On the last stop we decided to read the directions and learned that it had a timer, sometimes we are too smart for our own good. We had a great ride, we will do it again with a new camera that takes photo quality pics and decorate the man room, aka the garage with our adventure.

Want to earn your patch?  Click here for instructions.


YOU DON’T KNOW JACK!

Jack Daniels Distillery

Harry had been wanting to go to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tn, for a long time. So, a few years ago, a group of  ten or more had everything arranged to ride up on an overnight trip, but a hurricane blew through and the ride was canceled.

Undaunted, Harry persisted and this August a plan came together.

As the departure date approached, we had 3 riders, Harry, Ben and I and on the day before, we picked up another rider, Fain.

But, again, as fate had it, a tropical depression was moving onshore in the Gulf and during the entire weekend trip, a 70% chance of rain was forecast for the whole trip area. We all agreed, what’s a little rain? That’s what rain suits were for.

Harry couldn’t get off work until noon on Friday, so I left Albany, Ga to join the others at Micky “D’s” in Dawson, Ga at 2 PM. Thunderstorms had already inundated the area and where Harry lived, it was pouring, so he showed up in rain gear. We headed out toward Columbus in the light showers of a dissipating thunderstorm and stopped at Cussetta, where Harry took his rain suit off. We never bothered with any rain suits for the rest of the trip. We proceeded to Columbus and onto the Interstate. Just past LaGrange, we got off the Interstate and proceeded up Highway 27. Highway 27 has been recently rebuilt into a 4-lane and is one of the riding secrets of Georgia with little traffic. Stopping at a BP station for a break and some gas, the pumps weren’t working properly and the gas was coming out in a trickle. (I guess BP plugged up the hole too well.) We continued on that highway all the way to Rome, where we stopped to access the situation. Up ahead on the bypass it was dark with a lot of lightening and we paused to sit it out. When we left Rome, we thought the storms were over, but ran into heavy rain just before LaFayette, Ga., where we spent the night. We were soaked, because none of us took the time to put on our rain suits. I spent most of the early morning drying out my boots using the motel’s hair dryer.

Saturday morning, it was overcast and any rain was North of Monteagle, Tn. The sun started to shine as we passed the Chattanooga Choo Choo. After riding through Chattanooga, we took Suck Creek Rd. and State Rd. 41 up the mountain roads to Whitwell, Jasper, Tracy City, Monteagle, then 41A to Cowan, Winchester, Rte 50 into Lynchburg. The distillery was just past town and had special motorcycle parking. We had to be careful getting off the highway because the road had pea gravel up to the paved motorcycle parking. Bikes don’t travel too well on pea gravel.

Ben was the only one that had been to the distillery before, but that was a long time ago and he didn’t remember the main building, which appeared fairly new. Inside the building, were distilling examples and stories, as well as a statue of “Jack”, much taller than his height of 5 feet. We were able to get on tour #1 which started out on a bus up to the area were the sugar maple was stacked and then burned for the charcoal filtering. In the old preserved office building, the tour guide pointed to the safe that killed Jack. Jack was always forgetting the combination and after numerous tries, with his size 4 foot, he kicked the safe and messed up his toe. Later gangrene set in and the toe was removed, but it was too late. The gangrene had gone farther and Jack died in 1911. Prior to his death, he turned over the distillery to his bookkeeper, Lem Motlow. The distillery is currently owned by a liquor conglomerate, Brown-Foreman. The tour then took us though the rest of the distillery, which ended up back at the main building, where lemonade was served and pictures taken. While there are no samples given since Tennessee has been a dry county since 1909, 86 years later, since 1995, commemorative bottles of Jack are allowed to be sold.

We left the distillery and rode into Lynchburg, where there was Harley boutique shop and numerous stores selling Jack Daniels and #7 paraphernalia. One store had a Heritage Softail with #7 motif on the 2nd floor, as well as a pool table and many other “Jack” items.

Leaving Lynchburg, we decided to retrace our route back to Monteagle and then got on Interstate 24 to Chattanooga, turned off onto 27 North to Watts Bar Dam and the lake. We passed by the nuclear cooling towers at the Watts Bar Plant.

Harry had invited us to meet with his daughter, son and friends at the lake, where we had some nice thick steaks for dinner. Late that evening, we proceeded to Athens, Tn and spent the night at the house of Harry’s son. Throughout our ride on Saturday, although we saw dark clouds and rain in the distance, we were able to avoid any rain and it turned out to be a beautiful and satisfying ride.

Early the next morning, we left after breakfast at Micky “D’s” in Athens and took 441 to Cartersville, Ga to the Harley shop, which had not opened yet. The rest of the ride took us through Atlanta on I-75 all the way home without any problems or rain. At Cartersville, Fain’s wife had called and said a “monsoon” was forecast in the Albany, Ga. area around 3 PM. We rolled into Cordele around that time and there were very few clouds and the sun was shining brightly, so we stopped at the Cracker Barrel to eat. As we crossed the county line into Albany, Ga., the clouds were dark over the city area and I tried to avoid the storm by going around it, but only 1 mile from home, it dumped on me. The trip was 912 miles and it was a heck of a note to get soaked this close to home, but considering the forecast, you couldn’t have asked for a better ride.


The Ride Across America Part 1

Hey, scooter trash, it’s time to saddle up! Summer is coming at us fast and it’s time to start thinking about a long sweet ride. I have a great story to tell you about a journey from South Carolina to the great Wild West that lasted 21 days! It all started way back in 2004, when I finally decided that it was time to take a real ride, not just a two or three day shot, but a serious ride to see the great outdoors and explore the wide open American west. Some of you have been riding a while, but I’ve been riding a Harley D for 31 years. So far, I have made the trek I am writing about three times! So, sit back, pay attention, think about it and plan your own trip.

Just for those disbelievers out there, I made the trip out west again in 2008 and 2009. You’re next thought is probably, “Who can afford a trip like this?” I can already hear some of you making excuses like, “I don’t have the time!” Well you can afford it if you slightly tighten up the belt and quit throwing away money like it grows on a tree.

Save some cash! Put your change in a jar every night! If I can do it, then you can do it too. Besides I don’t have to tell you that there is nothing better than jumping on your scooter with just what you need and hitting the blacktop to see what America has to offer. Ok, maybe time is short, so plan a ride for next year or make it a two-week journey instead of three weeks and quit thinking of excuses not to go. Remember, you only live once!

Three weeks will give you some serious riding and the opportunity to see some of the best and most beautiful scenery that our great country has to offer. I will tell you about the first 5 days of the 2008 ride this issue so you can see that it IS possible and let you know just what you are missing out on.

On the morning of July 5th 2004, my bro Big Dave and I took off from Longs, South Carolina, and rolled South to New Orleans, the Big Easy, for the first leg of our journey. We decided to take the big Route 20 to get some miles under our belt and miss all the Atlanta traffic.

When traffic slowed us to a crawl, we dropped down Route 83 and picked up a beautiful two lane stretch of road that took us through the Oconee National Forest off Hwy #16. My cares soon began to fall off like leaves, as we cruised through forgotten little towns. Eventually, we made our back to Route 85. On a funny side note, as we rode around the center of a town called Griffin, I yelled over to Big Dave, “We should stop and have a long neck.” I was feeling a little dusty and wanted to partake in my favorite sport of lifting cold 16 oz thirst busters. He pulled up next to me at a light and said, “You don’t want to stop here, these boys are true southerners and, if they hear my Yankee accent, it could spell trouble.”

So we continued onward and upward. I would have tested the waters in that little town for a cold brew and tried my luck, but calmer heads prevailed. So, instead, we headed for our target city in LaGrange, Georgia, which gave us about 450 miles & 8 hours in the saddle. We decided to call it a day, find a cheap place to soak up the dirt and relax for a night.

Day 2 started out early, taking us straight to our destination via Route 85 past Montgomery and on through Mobile, Alabama. About 410 miles later, we rolled into the Big Easy, where we hooked up with my friend Kathy to stay for a couple of nights and three days. There are a lot of things to do in the Big Easy without spending the big dollars and we had a couple of days to see what we could get into. For example, we took a ride around the city on the old fashioned trolley system.

These ancient feeling machines take you all around the city and give you an opportunity to see how those folks in Louisiana live. An absolute MUST see is the National World War II Museum. For a few bucks and a couple hours of your time, this is well worth it – it will give you a pretty good idea what our military men and women had to go through to protect our freedoms around the globe in a time before most of us were born. I even got to take a pic of my favorite General, George Patton. Of course, a visit here would not be complete without checking out Bourbon Street.

During our time, we dropped in on a slew of great bands and just had to sample the local hooch to make sure it was up to snuff, which it was. I assure you that whatever trips your trigger, you won’t be disappointed in that town. It is a little known fact, but Bourbon Street is as busy any night of the week, as it is during Mardi Gras! If you can’t have a great time here, you’ve got issues.

Of course, my friend Kathy took us to some of the local non-tourist joints as well, like the Bulldog! This is a great spot to meet some of the true locals and find out what the Big Easy is all about at her heart. If you like great looking bartenders, The Den is a special wow zone for you!

Their female bartenders are spectacular looking and this one was wearing a sort of Stevie Nix type black dress. Just to give us a goose, she gladly lifted her dress, so we could sample her wares. Those thongs can get you really excited! I’ll take two please… Beers I mean.

If you love the Blues, you can catch them from any corner in the Big Easy. One of the best stops we made was the Funky Pirate located at 727 Bourbon Street. The band on tap that night was Big Al Carson. He does not disappoint! In fact he was so good that I bought three of his CD’s and played them on the scoot when we left town. Of course, you have got to try the local cuisine. Asking Kathy where to go, she directed us to what she referred to as one of the most famous eateries in New Orleans – Mother’s! Established in 1938, located at 401 Poydras St at Tchoupitoulas, this place is hopping with hungry folks. You need to get in line early here, ‘cause this is one secret that everyone knows – You has gots to eat heres.

Right inside the front door, some dude was standing there, singing loudly and claiming to be Elvis. I took a look at Big Dave and laughed in wonderment, while we pushed our way in to order. I immediately jumped into a Crawfish Etoufee Omelet. Yeah, it was spectacular! You get so much food there that you can barely stuff it in. Ok enough. When we got back to the pad, our bellies were so full that I don’t remember my head hitting the cool side of the pillow. The next couple of days took us across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, before we crossed into land known as California, but that is another story for the next issue.

Ok, the Judge says this trip sounds pretty damned good so far, huh? Well make plans now and borrow the money, take out a loan or tell your parents you need emergency open-heart surgery, but find the money, the will and the time. You won’t regret it. Oh yeah and take your old lady with you. She will be very grateful for a long time to come and she is well worth it. Safe riding, watch the cages, and check the tire pressure! We’ll have a sit down next issue and discuss the finer points of getting crawdads out of your leathers and crossing the Western Deserts without becoming buzzard bait.

Da Judge Dave Carlson

Until then… I am Dave “The Judge” Carlson.


My First time Riding the PCH

By: Bob “Steel Cowboy” Lawson

I had arrived at LAX Airport Friday November 28th at around 4:30 pm.   By the time I got my luggage and caught the shuttle to La Quinta Inn, it was 5:45.  After checking in, I got the phone book and started calling bike shops for a rental bike.  The folks at Hog Feathers Motorcycle Rentals, 1928 Pacific Coast Highway (310.784.2453) had an unbeatable deal.  $99 a day with unlimited mileage!  I was not flying out of Los Angeles until Sunday morning at 12:40 am; I could ride until 7pm Saturday.  I just had to be at their shop and complete the paperwork by 7pm.  A quick run to the front desk got me a taxi and at 6:15 we were pulling out on West Century Blvd headed for I-405 to Lomita, CA.  I told the cab driver there was a good tip if he could get me there in 30 minutes- we made it with time to spare.

I got a 105th Anniversary FXDL Dyna Low Rider with road pegs, placed perfectly for me to stretch out as I rode the Pacific Coast Highway.  We finished the paperwork at 6:56pm.  I took the long way back to the hotel getting back at around 9:30.  I could not wait to get started the next day!

I kept my watch at Eastern Standard Time so I would not have to change it back.  So when I woke up at 6am our time Saturday morning, it was only 3am in LA.  After tossing and turning for the next hour I finally gave in got dressed and headed out.  I took Century Blvd. to Sepulveda Blvd. and Sepulveda to Lincoln Blvd.  After passing through Marina Del Ray I caught the Pacific Coast Highway at Venice Beach just in time to pass the “Hotel California.”  I did not see any of the Eagles however.  I rode the Pacific Coast Highway from there up through Malibu to Leo Carrillo State park in the predawn hours.  I found a Starbucks just opening and nursed a cup of espresso until the sun came up.

I hope the pictures do the scenery justice.  The air was crisp and clear. I was very comfortable in my thermal shirt and denim jacket.  It was a great morning to ride.  I could not believe how close the houses where built to the surf.    I’ve never seen houses that close on our South Carolina shores!  Surfrider Beach State Park had little activity this early.   I stopped and checked out the Getty Villa from the highway.  It is an awesome spectacle.   There were a few people at Will Rogers State Beach but it was only 8am their time!

It is time for breakfast so I slipped by the hotel to see if any of the other guys flying to Vietnam with me were up.  I passed them on Century Blvd headed to Denny’s (Pic. 014).  After breakfast I slipped by the motel for a quick shower and shave. When I realized it was just after Noon at home I turned the TV to ESPN at to my utmost delight there was the Carolina – Clemson game!  I watched in rapture as the Tigers once again took the Gamecocks to school.  I was confident that the second half would be much like the first , so with a smile on my face and the Tiger fight song in my heart I headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway once again.

I took I-405 until I picked up the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Hwy 1, at Seal Beach.  To ride through Surfsideand Sunset beach on a Harley after seeing these places in TV and movies was a real rush!  I loved riding by Huntington Beach State Park.  I’ve now ridden through this State Park on both coasts!  Laguna Beach was the next landmark I came to.  Highway 1 rides right along the ocean in many spots through here.  I rode to where Hwy 1 merges into I-5 at San Clemente.  I stopped here for lunch and called home for the final score of the Clemson – Carolina game- this is going to be a perfect day!

I took I-5 to San Juan Capistrano and caught Hwy 74 known as the Ortega Highway.  This highway runs through Cleveland National Forest and Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park.  The twists and turns, narrow canyons and bridge crossings over enormous ravines kept my adrenaline flowing.  Once again I can only hope the shots I took give justice to the beauty of this ride.

Hells Kitchen, Ortega Hwy

Hell’s Kitchen  and Cook’s Corner are two well known stops on the Ortega Hwy.  You can see which one I checked out(Pic.024).  Coming from San Juan Capistrano it is on the left a little more than halfway between I-5 and I-15, the end of the wilderness ride.  The view as you come out of the mountains above Lake Elsinore is truly breathtaking.  I stayed here for sometime just marveling at the scenery and watching the reaction of other riders as the lake came into view.  The ride down the mountain, in view of the lake, is one of the most majestic sights on either coast.

The rest of my ride was anti-climatic.  I took I-15 to Hwy 91 so I could ride through Chino and Pomona.  I caught I-210 so I could ride through Pasadena, Burbank and of course Hollywood.  I was booking because I had to get the bike checked in before 7pm.  I stopped by the motel so one of my compadres (the other guys had rented a Charger and toured Hollywood) could follow me back to drop off the bike.  If you get to the west coast there are probably other great rides as well, but for me this was the perfect start on the adventure of a lifetime.  I did fly out of LAX, Sunday morning for Vietnam.  I hope to be able to share that ride with you soon.

Until then, remember to keep the shiny side up and hold it between the ditches.  The Steel Cowboy

Chasing The Colors Through New England

The rain pelted the ballistic nylon outer shell on my 2 year old Victory Platinum jacket as I eased off the throttle of the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide loaner bike and swiveled my head backwards so my eyes could confirm what I thought I’d just seen. There, in a field surrounded by sugar maples, elm and beech trees was a real live camel! Yup! There’s the hump, so mark that one down, I’ve seen a live camel, and in Vermont, no less!

Fifteen minutes into a four day adventure with three other moto-journalists and two representatives from Best Western and Harley-Davidson and I’d seen my first exotic animal!

They’re not going to believe this back on the farm! I thought as I settled back

Mike Morgan-HD Communications

into the seat of the loaner bike and re-focused my attention to the unfamiliar wet asphalt ribbon stretching out before me. I was on my way to the original Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory in Waterbury VT and eventually to an overnight stop in Ludlow Vermont.

As tempting as it was to turn around and snag a photo, I hadn’t paid close attention during the pre-ride briefing, and was unsure of the ground rules for this press junket. Note to self, Pay closer attention when the important people are talking.

The rain had all but quit as we pulled into the parking lot of Ben and Jerry’s, a virtual Mecca for ice cream aficionados. Even in late September, with the frost on the pumpkin and leaves changing colors, ice cream in Vermont continues to be a big draw.

I should back up a bit and relate how I came to be motorcycling around the northeast a few days before the peak of the fall color season. It began with an invitation from Meghan Lee, on behalf of Best Western International, to participate in their bi-annual FAM ride. FAM is their acronym for “familiarity” and the purpose of this ride is to expose Moto-journalists to great riding roads in the USA, and the Best Western properties that are found nearby.

Picture perfect

Since the corporate marketing partnership between Best Western and Harley-Davidson has been wildly beneficial for both, I wasn’t surprised that the trip would be made on Harley-Davidson rentals.

After the flight in, I checked into the Windjammer Inn and Conference Center, to rest before dinner. This is the Best Western in South Burlington Vermont and upon entering my room I found a large basket full of free swag with my name on it! I love my job! Since I knew we’d be consuming more calories than my current diet allowed over the next few days, I passed up the indoor heated pool, and hot tub and changed into my exercise gear

and headed out to see the downtown area on foot.

chasing the train

Supper the first night was in the historic Ice House Restaurant and Bar, and speaking of bar, this set the bar pretty high for the rest of the trip. But, no worries as Ron Pohl, Vice President of Brand Management and Member Services for Best Western, made sure the lunch stops were adequate and dinners were unforgettable and Mike Morgan, Communications Coordinator for Harley-Davidson provided the bikes and free stuff from the Motor Company. Meghan and Heather took care of all the details on the accommodations, drove the support vehicle, and got us to and from the airport. Heather even got in her first motorcycle ride, (and in the rain!) and was behind the camera on some of these pictures.

Crossbones and History

Before my encounter with the camel, we picked up our rentals from Green Mountain Harley-Davidson in Essex Junction Vermont; two Electra Glides, one Road King, one Heritage, one Sportster and one Crossbones. Over the course of the next 3 days’ riding, each of us rotated bikes for couple hours, or a half day. The least popular choice was the Sportster, as it had no windshield and we played tag ball with rain showers each day. Thankfully, Ron and Mike, both good corporate hosts, spent the majority of time on that bike, freeing us up to ride in luxury on those most suitable for touring.

The next least favorite ride for me was the Crossbones. I just didn’t fit its

Plymouth Notch Vermont

frame and was uncomfortable during my 6 hours on that bike. My favorite overall turned out to be the Road King.

Comfort levels notwithstanding, it was hard to find anything of merit to complain about during this trip.

After the tour of Ben and Jerry’s it was time to saddle back up and meander towards our eventual ending town of Ludlow. I’d done a little research and discovered that Ludlow was a few miles from the historic town of Plymouth Notch, the birthplace and boyhood home of our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge.

When we arrived at the picturesque Colonial Motel in Ludlow, our schedule allowed us some free time before supper. After being in the saddle all day, I was tempted to skip the ride and stay in Ludlow soaking up its Currier and Ives/ Bob Newhart small town charm, but history beckoned, so I suited up and headed north.

Plymouth Notch is a tiny Vermont village that’s just off the main highway. Frozen in time, the houses and businesses have changed little since the turn of the century. Admittedly Coolidge isn’t one of our more revered, or well remembered, leaders, and wasn’t very popular in the south. During his re-election, he did not carry any of the 11 Dixie States.

Ron Pohl giving Heather her first motorcycle ride!

Interestingly enough he has been our only President born on the 4th of July and the only President to have been administered the oath of the office by his father, a notary public.

I have no doubt that during February, Ludlow is hopping with winter tourists who flock to the nearby Okemo mountain ski area, but the night life on a Tuesday night in September was sparse. But after a few cocktails at dinner (we left the bikes at the room and rode in the chase vehicle) the suggestion was made we find a party so we set out to find the best local watering hole. We discovered Christophers, the

Lake George NY, Home of Americade

only bar open and we “blew it up” playing antique video arcade games and checking out the authentic stripper pole on the dance floor!

Did I mention I love these press junkets? I swear if the only party in town was the Methodist ladies quilting bee, moto journalists would find a way to convince those gals to put down their pins and thimbles and break out the karaoke machine and sacramental wine!

Kitschy Art at it's best

Leaving Ludlow behind on Wednesday, we headed into the Adirondack Mountains to our eventual destination of Lake Placid New York by way of a lunch stop in lake George.

It was during lunch where the short marketing pitch was presented by Ron Pohl. Ron explained that Best Western is the largest hotel company under a single brand with over 4000 properties! Each property is independently owned and operated. Each hotel owner pays dues to belong to the association. To protect the integrity of the name and to ensure standards are maintained across the board, each hotel is inspected every year! Ron said in the last two years, Best Western has pulled its name from over 500 hotels because they didn’t meet their tough standards. Wi-Fi is complimentary in every hotel as is continental breakfast.

Porta Potty outside a convenience store. For when the line inside gets really long. It was actually quite clean

For motorcyclists, it’s important to mention that Best Western hotel owners understand our unique wants and needs, because they receive special training and information from the corporate office. Best Western also uses press junkets such as this one to gather input from riders who spend a lot of time in the saddle. What that means for you, as motorcycle tourists is that when you ask for extra towels to clean your bike, or ask if you can park overnight under the overhang near the front door, the clerks understand your concerns and try to accommodate you.

Marketing pitch and brand history lesson over, we headed out to Lake George for a quick stop and photo opportunity. The schedule called for a tour of the lake, but we were running a little behind and with the threat of significant rain between us and Lake Placid, the group consensus was to hit the highway and reach our destination before dark.

Up to this point the leaf colors were soft and muted. Reaching the interior of the Adirondack Mountains, the colors began to “pop” with vivid hues of

The colors start to improve as we enter the Adirondacks

orange, yellow and reds, with just enough green for contrast. Once, as the sun broke through the rain clouds, I couldn’t help but think that this must be what motorcycle heaven is; a cool but sunny ride through a landscape colored by the crayons of God.

Hours later, but far too soon for most of us, we pulled into the historic village of Lake Placid. Oddly enough, the closest body of water to the village is actually Mirror Lake. A little bit of useless trivia just in case that question ever comes up during a game show you’re on.

Our overnight accommodations were provided by Best Western Adirondack Inn, located in the heart of downtown, directly across from the Olympic Center. Here’s a little more trivia. Lake Placid hosted the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics. That might not mean much to some of you, but hockey fans will no doubt remember the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” when a group of American college kids, in the most memorable David and Goliath fashion in Olympic history, beat a group of Soviet Union professional hockey players to advance to the finals and ultimately win the Gold medal.

Overhearing a few of us talk about that game, Olga, the manager of the Adirondack Inn, offered us a tour of the facility. Four of us took her up on it, and she took us across the street and down to the rink, where we stood on the ice, just like kids on a Disney land tour, taking cell phone pictures and acting quite goofy.

Even though I knew next to nothing about ice hockey in 1980, I can remember that game because it was such a big deal to the entire nation.

Eric being slammed into the glass!

Because of the Cold War, this was more than just a game; it was a contest between Capitalism and Communism. We were the underdogs, but we firmly believed our society, our freedoms and our liberties gave us an advantage and made us better competitors and better people.

Our farewell supper at Nicola’s/ Grill 211 was the crème de la crème of the trip. This is a “must visit” restaurant in the Adirondacks, and be sure to sample the lamb chops. Did I mention I love my job? As we ate, the cold front we’d been outrunning most of the day, finally pushed through, dumping buckets of rain and ushering in temperatures in the low 40’s for our morning ride back to Green Mtn HD.

The Olympic ski jump is visible in the distance

After a hot complimentary breakfast with eggs and bacon, we headed out on the final leg of the trip. The highlight of which was a ferry ride across Lake Champlain. Using my camera’s zoom lens during the short 20 minute ride, I intently scanned the water for the lake monster the locals call “Champ” but he wasn’t showing off for the tourists. My dreams of being on CNN as the person with photographic proof of a prehistoric creature in the lake went sadly unfulfilled.

Late that night after three connecting flights, I arrived in Savannah, tired but mentally refreshed from having spent a wonderful three days riding in New England witnessing the beauty and grandeur of some of the best riding thiscountry has to offer. But, it was back to reality and the daily grind of a low brow moto-journalist. The next day I was scheduled to head to Panama City Beach for a weekend in the sun and sand at the Thunder Beach motorcycle Rally. Did I mention I love my job?

Riding The Pony Express Route

By John Turner

April 2010 marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the historic Pony Express.

Few episodes in American history and early U.S. settlement are as widely known about as The Pony Express. Perhaps that knowledge is not detailed, but certainly the heritage of delivering the mail across vast expanses of uninhabited land between Missouri and California in the 19th century is fairly well understood. The photo inset provides a perspective on the actual route of the Pony Express.

There were many routes of migration, settlement and commerce overland in the 19th century across the U.S.A. There was the Oregon Trail to settle the Northwest. There was the Chism Trail to get cattle to market from Texas through Oklahoma and Kansas. There was the Mormon Trail that ended in Salt Lake City. We’ll omit Route 66 for this article since that iconic route appeared in the 20th century.  Aside from these overland routes the only other way to get to California was a very long and treacherous route by boat around the Southern tip of South America. Remember the Panama Canal was not even thought about at this time.

The Pony Express has an outsized remembrance in history compared to its actual lifespan. It only lasted a total of 19 months from April 1860 until October 1861. This past September, I joined 750 other riders on a H.O.G.® sponsored event that retraced the path taken by Pony Express Riders from St. Joe, MO (the eastern terminus of the route) to Sacramento, CA (the westernmost point of the route). The actual route taken covered over 1900 miles. The mail of the Pony Express would take (only) 10 days to get from St. Joe to Sacramento versus the normal 30 days or longer. The mail of course travelled in both directions, but our ride takes the East to West direction.

Now we could make the ride on our iron horses much faster than even 10 days if we chose to do so, but there is something to be said about stopping to “smell the roses” along the way.  My perspective on rides is not just to ride a route to put miles on my bike, but to take in as much of the history, geology or people I might meet along the way.

The Pony Express riders did not have that luxury. Their rides were flat out gallop through rain, snow, sandstorms, tornadoes, desert heat and mountain cold. We were also joined in the entire ride by executives of Harley Davidson including the pinnacle of Harley-Davidson representation, Willie G. Davidson. Now I ask you, what other manufacturer of anything will have that level of association with their customers? Bravo, Harley-Davidson!

Even today this ride is a worthy challenge for any who wish to attempt it. What you are getting here is the highly condensed version should you want to retrace this historic route. The National Park Service even has a publication about this National Historic Trail should you wish to request it from: http://www.nps.gov/poex/index.htm.

As with any enterprise, recruitment was essential. The Pony Express vigorously recruited “orphans” for their ranks. They also took an oath not to drink spirits while in the employment of the Pony Express. Thankfully the 750 of us did not have to meet those stringent requirements or constraints.

The people you meet along a journey of this sort are as meaningful as the journey itself. I met John and Ruth Craine. Now John and Ruth are not your typical couple you may find on a journey such as this. John is Ruth’s son and she celebrated her 80th birthday along the trip. John is from Denver and his mother lives in Columbia, MO.

John & Ruth Craine

Now get out your map because John rode his Heritage Softail from Denver to Columbia to pick up his mother and then rode to St. Joe, MO for the beginning of their ride. I don’t know about you, but I could never picture my mother riding with me for 1 mile let alone over 2000 miles they would travel together along the journey.

Back to the ride

Our journey takes us initially from St. Joe across the Missouri River along what is now U.S Hwy 36.  We are heading to our first official stop along the way in North Platte, NE. The Historical trail follows the Little Blue River upstream and then we will eventually come to the North Platte River near Kearney, NE.  Remember the Pony Express riders had to change horses at stations built along the trail every 10 – 15 miles. You will come across many of the preserved station sites along the way. Famous names like Marysville, KS dot the trail as a result of these stations. The ponies of the route were chosen because of their breeding for the particular part of the route they were to be ridden. All of them were driven hard by the riders and 10 – 15 miles at full gallop was an extreme measure. Thankfully, our iron steeds can go much farther than that distance before we need to refresh them with fuel.

From North Platte, NE we headed west along the North Platte River  which parallels U.S. Hwy 26, to the imposing landmark of Chimney Rock and Scottsbluff for which the town of Scottsbluff, NE gets its name. These landmarks were significant to our Pony Express riders and to those settlers in wagon trains of the Oregon Trail.  But our journey is heading much farther on this day. We head northwest to Casper, Wyoming before we get to rest for the day. If you think of Nebraska as a flat, corn filled State then you have not been to western Nebraska. Side trips will even take you to places where prehistoric mammals lived in the hills of western Nebraska in a time when the area was more like an African Savannah. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is a pleasant and lonely ride north on Nebraska State Hwy 26 which leaves the official trail in Mitchell, NE just about 10 miles west of Scottsbluff. We will leave the relative tranquility of our two lane roads and join I-25 North to follow the North Platte River on into Casper, WY. Somewhere along the route the North Platte River just becomes the Platte River. We are not on a boat so that does not really matter other than to understand the obstacles that riders faced in the 1800’s.

Chimney Rock near Scottsbluff, NE

Upon leaving Casper, Wyoming our next destination is Rock Springs, Wyoming. We travel in a northwest direction to avoid the Great Divide Basin and therefore only have to cross the Continental Divide one time rather than twice if the more southerly route to Rock Springs is taken. If you want to take a side trip then the Wind River Canyon leading to the town of Thermopolis, Wyoming is a must do. The Wind River Canyon gets its name from the Indian tribe of the area and not the canyon cut by the Bighorn River. Interestingly, the Bighorn River flows north for hundreds of miles to join the Yellowstone River which in turn then empties into the magnificent Missouri River near Williston, ND.  If you get to take this excursion to Thermopolis you will find the World’s Largest Mineral Hot Spring. You will have to back track down the Wind River Canyon to rejoin the Pony Express route, but it is only a 60 mile round trip so the effort is worth the time spent. You will still get to Rock Springs in time for happy hour if you didn’t dither too long in the morning leaving Casper.

Once in Rock Springs, Wyoming the next major settlement will be Salt Lake City. There is the opportunity to take a side trip southward through the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and then back north to rejoin the historical path of the Pony Express. That is a diversion worth the time should you decide to make that detour. Winding and weaving through the Wasatch

Wind River Canyon

mountains to reach the valley that the Mormons call their home is spectacular in its own right.

Salt Lake City is the last major settlement along the old Pony Express route until you get to Carson City, Nevada. Now MapQuest® will quickly tell you that this can be a journey of nearly 600 miles depending on the exact route you might take. I chose to take the more southerly route of U.S. 50, (i.e. The Loneliest Road) just to say I’ve done it. Most of our 750 riders did the same, thereby jumping off the more northerly route of the Pony Express. A word of caution here. If you are riding through the small hamlets that dot this route, be very attentive to the speed limits as they drop from 70 mph on the typical two lane road to 55, 45, 35 and 25 almost as quickly as you can blink an eye. The local law enforcement is just waiting to separate you from some of your income if you exceed those limits by even ONE mph.

The not so “Loneliest Road” anymore!

Now in Carson City you have arrived at a location that has just about every deviation one may wish, from gambling casinos to brothels. Before you get to Carson City you may want to make your way north to Virginia City. This was the heart of Silver Country in the 1800’s. The Comstock Lode was the richest deposit of silver ore ever found and probably still ranks as the tops in the world.  You can even take a short hike into an old silver mine if that is your desire. Virginia City is a town where Mark Twain once wrote for the local newspaper and during this time wrote the novel “The Incredible Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. So history abounds in this little town where it seems the hands of time have all but stopped and the architecture of the era is well preserved.

The terrain of this area is sparse with trees today. But in the 1800’s this was a well forested area. The trees were clear-cut to the tune of over 80 million board feet of timber to support the underground mines of the Comstock. To get the silver out of the ore, miners used some very nasty chemicals that even today have effects on the environment.

Our travels are not over yet because we still have to get to Sacramento with the mail. From Carson City you will travel north to what is today Reno, NV via U.S. 395 and then head west on I-80 to Cross the Sierra Nevada Range at Truckee, CA.

If you have the time you should take the drive on out U.S. 50 West to Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine Lake in the World. You can drive all the way around the Lake in about 4 hours and take in such sights as Heavenly Valley, Kings Beach and Emerald Bay. If you decide to rejoin the Pony Express route via California 89 north, you will pass by the venue of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, Squaw Valley. Far from being uninhabited, the lake itself is as pristine as the day western explorers discovered it due to strict environmental standards for all craft that ply the cold deep waters of the lake. Besides being clear and obviously cold all year long, Lake Tahoe never freezes over even in the harshest of winters.

Settlers of the 1800’s had to be very conscious of the passage of time and the point in time they left the relative civilization of Kansas City or St. Joseph, MO. If they left too late in the year and they could not be across the Sierra Nevada Range before winter snows set in then results such as the infamous “Donner Party” were likely to befall the travelers. The mountain passes would become too thick with snow to do anything but hunker down. When humans get hungry enough they will engage in a practice unthinkable under normal circumstances. Of course we mean cannibalism.

A side note here: Of the individuals that became meals for other starving settlers, only the single men were dinner. The family units of the Donner Party did not befall the same fate.

The old Pony Express Trail basically follows Interstate 80 into Sacramento, now only about 80 some odd miles to the west and the end of the journey. The mail is delivered. The postage is cancelled. Now only 3000 miles back home for me, if I didn’t take any side trips, which of course I did. You are close to Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, The Mojave Desert and the lights and spectacle of Las Vegas beckon for those who wish to part with more of their money.

As I mentioned early on in the article, The Pony Express only lasted a total of 19 months. At the same time a transcontinental telegraph line was being constructed by a competing company, whose name shall remain anonymous. On the very next day after completion of the telegraph line, The Pony Express faded into history. The telegraph a technological marvel allowing communication at near the speed of light vastly eclipsed even the marvelous accomplishments of The Pony Express. The Pony Express was now an obsolete effort.

Sunset and moonrise in Barstow, CA. Only 3000 miles to home!

And so it goes. Nothing stays the same. Today with the conveniences of instantaneous information, it is hard to comprehend how long it took for simple communications to take place. But Moore’s Law was as much a part of evolution and the critical nature of information far before Gordon E. Moore, (co-founder of Intel Corporation) postulated the bending curve of innovation.