FROM: Petra Keller, NPEA Nevada Division
2015 will be remembered as a HOT year for the ReRide. Wow – the temps were scorching but the mail must go through.
My first leg would be a familiar one, Edwards Creek to Hwy 50 by Cold Springs, Nevada riding with the Jares family. It is a relatively flat dirt road with a couple of cattle guards, about 5 miles. A minor hiccup in our lineup, Alex was fighting the fire near Markleeville, CA and would not be able to ride with us this year, so we came up with a plan to absorb his miles with the team. This would add another 3 miles on Hwy 50 for Red and I. Plan was to drive out early in the morning to the starting point of my ride, about a 3 hr haul. Of course, the speculations of early or late is always a bit nerve wrenching to ensure you are there on time. I would wake a few times overnight to check the hotline and reports weren’t clear if some of the time was made up or not. At 4AM, decided to go feed and check on status again, heard they were behind, just not sure how much. At 6AM loaded up and headed out to Edwards Creek, I had daylight to drive in and started making my way across Hwy 50. The near by fire left a haze in the valley – thinking of all the folks fighting the fire and hope they would make good progress. Along the highway a band of Mustangs is grazing, the band had the two babies shielded from the road and I admire their instincts. Shortly after I see two fighter jets maneuvering in the sky, that is definitely not something the original riders would have seen. You wonder what the original riders would have encountered along their rides.
I arrive at my starting point – Edwards Creek, the little ‘white’ house nestled in the canyon. Unload Red and find out where the mail is – at this point some time was made up and probably 2-3 hours later than originally planned. So we wait, no shade in site. Maneuvered my truck a few times to have the trailer cast some shade, that lasted until midday when the blistering sun was at it’s highest point. We had agreed that Doug would text me when Cory would leave Smith Creek Ranch – that would give me about 1 hr 20 min to get ready. Perfect I thought and sat next to Red reading my book. After a couple of hours, I decided to take Red for walk around, the bugs were getting bad and some movement would be good. We walked down the road a bit and then I get a text at 1:25PM. It read Cory left at 12:30 – oh crap – he could be here shortly and I need to walk back to the trailer and tack up and be ready to ride. We get back, tacked up, offered Red some more water as it was hot! Approaching 2 o’clock and I was saddled and ready and started to wonder where Cory was. I started riding towards the direction where Cory would be riding in from to see if I could see him, Red must hear something he stops and listens, then there I see the red shirt through the willows. Yeah, he made it! At the white house we did our exchange and of Red and I went. The first part of the road is rocky and we moved out when we could – it was hot, the sun beating down on the open terrain. Wishing for a bit more of a breeze to help stay as cool as possible. It was a long leg and I knew I had 1 more to do that day and another the next. Red was willing to move out when asked, but with the heat I wanted to make sure he would not overheat, the sweat was drying on him immediately. We got to Hwy 50 and handed of to Doug Jares, he already rode several miles on the other side of the mountain and was going to take the next 3 miles. We drove ahead and stopped at Alpine road turnoff and no sooner did I unload, Doug was there to hand of the mochila. And of we go again, this time along highway 50 on an ATV trail. I am pleasantly surprised how well Red does with the 18 wheelers & motorcycles whizzing by. The last mile is an all up hill sandy ascent, I slow him down as the temps were high (I later found out it was over 90+degrees for our ride). We crest the hill and see the Cold Springs Station ahead, I see the red shirts indicating where to cross the hwy to the exchange. We cross and ride into the station and we hear the ‘Pony Rider’ shouts. It was time to fix the tracking device in the mochila, that quit transmitting shortly after it made it to Nevada. Once fixed, of went the mochila to the next group. We made it to the station 2 hrs after our scheduled time, we didn’t gain any time on our section, but didn’t loose any either. With the scorching temps that was an accomplishment in itself! Back home that evening – following the updates to see how the next day would be. Schedule was 11 AM, but it looked like it could be later.
I am thrilled to hear updates from first time rides Heather and Maxi who had an awesome experience at Fort Churchill and made great times on their legs in the morning. The last update before their ride was that president Ron Bell had just sworn them in and they were ‘official’. Originally scheduled to ride at night, they had daylight and cooler morning air for their sections. They caught the pony fever and are planning for next year!
Overnight the pony lost some time, and trying to figure out my next ride time was a moving target. The tracker was back on line and I decided that once the mail made it to Carson, I would head out to my Kingsbury section. I had recruited Jim to shuttle my rig for me and we would meet at the trail. He pulled up with a parasailer who hitched a ride, he had ended up at the bottom of the grade with his parasail and needed a lift back to his car. What fun experiences on the trail!
At the turnout on hwy 207 – Kingsbury Grade Red and I find a single tree that provides us some shade, the theme of this reride is definitely HOT. Many folks gather – so nice to share Pony Fever with friends that stop by. We wait for news where the mochila is, it is making progress, Jacks Valley, Genoa and then finally – it is coming up the lower half of Kingsbury grade. The crossing for the pony is through a small cut of the guard rail along the busy Highway. Thankfully we had folks on hand to help stop the traffic and get the two incoming riders (Ernie Buggs & Ed Lynch) to cross over the highway safely. I was blessed that local photographer John T Humphrey had scouted out a spot for photos en route. We left up the old Kingsbury toll road, and up ahead saw John ready for us to go by. I was amazed that Red ran right past him, so close that I could hear the shutter clicking away as we went by. He captured some wonderful shots of us going by. Of we go up our route, we turn up the powerline path, a nice sandy uphill, perfect to move out a bit. We approach the sketchy culvert crossing, we had scouted it a few weeks before and Red had crossed it, but this time, being somewhat winded, he was extremely unsure about the crossing and the footing. I encouraged him a couple of times to try to cross it, but he wasn’t going to go. As I was riding solo without any support vehicles around me, I decided to take the safer route, which meant adding about 2 miles to the leg, so we turned around and rode up the old road. Approaching our final accent on to the top of Kingsbury grade, we hear a back of coyotes in the hills. Surprised to hear them howling during the day! I howled back and after a little bit they stopped. Around the last bend before the road, I see John again with his trusty camera. A short exchange and laughter about the coyote howl (probably more about my howling response) and on we went. Arrived at the top of the ridge to be greeted by the volunteer sheriff escort and HAM radio operators. Home stretch – the Boulder Lodge Parking lot is ahead and the next riders (Bob Moore & Dwight Borgess) waiting for the mail. It is an amazing feeling to have friends at the exchanges coming to watch the reride! Blessed that many were able to come and attend! Ride Captain Mike Ryan is there to help with the exchange.
Congrats to the Nevada division, President Ron Bell and the ride captains for completing the 2015 ReRide.