2022-10-09 Pony Express and Silver Island Loop

Well it felt like I could see the curvature of the earth but it was just the camera lens.

October 9, 2022

With Carly out of town I got a weekend, a long one at that, to myself. Branden suggested riding most of the Pony Express through Utah. I’d had this one on my future rides list so it was pretty easy to make it happen. We had a little extra logistics for fuel since neither of us were sure we could make it the 200 miles between gas stations. We both opted to carry and extra gallon to make sure we’d make it back OK.

I read up a little on the Pony Express before the ride. For being such a well known part of history it operated for a remarkably short amount of time. It went from early 1860 until the end of 1861 where the widespread use of the telegraph made the Pony Express obsolete.

Despite the short lifespan it lives on in memory due to its remarkable nature. The trail ran from Missouri to California. It was a private business and the founder thought he could make some money by contracting with the postal service. This didn’t really turn out to be the case and even if the telegraph hadn’t supplanted it, it may not have operated very long. It was a losing venture. The part that keeps it in people’s consciousness is the hard driving horses and riders that could make it the 1,900 miles in about 10 days.

Branden and I headed to Dugway, UT on paved roads then took the Pony Express all the way to the Deep Creek Mountains where we turned north and headed to Wendover. The roads were generally easy and moderately high speed dirt with little to no deep gravel or sand. The country is wide open desert so there aren’t many slow sections. This often made some of the riding a little mindless, but being on two wheels keeps you on your toes as well as enjoying the big views.

At the end of the Pony Express are the towns of Callao and Gold Hill. Both of these are seemingly ghost towns, but people do there there I guess. Neither of these towns have any services of any kind.

Once Wendover Branden headed back east on I-80 to Salt Lake. I had the next day off so I opted to find a spot to camp after dinner. I’d rid the Silver Island Loop the next day.

I found a good camp spot near a cave that overlooked the salt flats. These roads were a less traveled and had deeper gravel. Nothing was too bad but there were some sections I was paying attention. The most difficult riding was the last 100 yards into camp. The first hill was a bit loose with some embedded rocks. Then there was a short but steep section to get into camp. There were no issues which was good. I had a nice evening enjoying the view, the full moon, and the remnants of a 15 yr scotch I’d brought with me.

The next morning I packed up and headed around Silver Island Loop. I’d been around the loop before a year and a half ago so the scenery wasn’t new, just the transportation. I was surprised that the ruts in the road turned out to be fine on the motorcycle, rarely needing to slow below 25-30 mph, which is much different than in the van.

After doing the counter clockwise loop I got back to the last gas station before heading east to Salt Lake. Though I’d only used a gallon I opted to get some more, that turned out to be a good thing. My bike is not very fuel efficient at 80 mph and I ended up getting the fuel light to come on just as I got home.

In my continuing exploring of my GoPro I made a video of the ride. I’m not sure how deep I want to get into making videos. They are more work to get all the shots, edit, find music, etc. The main thing I’m looking to capture is just some of the fun riding for myself and friends/family not so much a wider audience.

Map of the ride.

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