Saturday, 9 July 2016

Sleeping Under the Stars

April 13th.  I had to include this photo taken just as I was about to depart the Marysville sale barn because of the elderly gentleman in the centre, whose name unfortunately escapes me. He is well into his eighties, but until two years ago had been taking part in the Pony Express Re-ride every year!
On the left is Lyle, who had just taken me for a slap up breakfast in town, and in the middle is ex rodeo rider, of whom more later.
I was making for Hollenberg Pony Express Station and continued to follow the general line of the Pony Express trail by zig-zagging along the concession roads. On Jayhawk road at another point where the line of the Pony Express trail crosses..

A small monument for the Oregon Trail on 1st Rd
 The Pony Express trail coincided with the Oregon trail for considerable distances, though of course the rider was sometimes able to take short cuts where the wagons and coaches could not.  The leaning marker to the right also indicates that other trails such as the California Trail also coincided and crossed at this point, though there is now no trace on the ploughed fields.

Assume this is not a veiled threat to potential parkers....
 Does anyone know the meaning of this?

 The horses tethered in the orchard on arrival at Hollenberg Pony Express station, thankfully shortly after I had unloaded them, as the horrendously loud house alarm went off and they almost bolted!....
 Also called Cottonwood station, Hollenberg is notable in that the house is possibly the only unaltered Pony Express station on its original site.  The stable block could apparently house up to a hundred animals, and was situated on lower land to the east of the house - behind the large tree in the photo above.
German settler Gerat Hollenberg set up shop here in 1857 specifically to take advantage of emigrant trade on the trails that converged at this point. Russell, Majors and Waddell initially contracted with him to provide services for a stage stop here, but then also for the Pony Express. 
Gary Minge,(pronounced Ming you will be glad to hear!) came to welcome me and let me into the house, though we failed to master the alarm.  The house is the only structure left standing, and was originally built as a single log cabin (on the left in the photo) but then expanded to make the long building we see today....
Gary in the kitchen which would have been part of the Hollenberg family private rooms..
The house contained about six rooms, a couple of which wold have served as a store, post office and tavern.     Company employees and stage passengers (who would have included Burton) slept in the loft which ran the length of the house...
 By this time we had thankfully been joined by new and enthusiastic young custodian Jarrett Willett who knew how to turn off the alarm (apparently caused by a loose connection), and NPEA member Daniel Pralle with father Alan.   Between them they solved the problem of what to do with the horses, as I was loath to tether Lady overnight so close to the main road if the alarm was going to go off again.  The Pralles collected some 'sides' (interlocking gates in UK parlance) from a local relative and constructed a safe little pen in a secluded spot behind a storage shed.  Jarrett (at the back) with two of the Pralle family showing off their handiwork.......
Jarrett is a keen historian, and to my surprise knew a lot about Wales and the Welsh - no need to explain yet again that we are NOT English, we have our own language and in fact inhabited  'England' long before the English arrived. He joined me for a chat and a cup of tea brewed up on my stove, and after he left I snuggled down in my sleeping bag under the stars.

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