John was right, we missed the Pony Express museum by a block or two. The reason I thought we were in the Express museum was the fact that the office was in the Patee Hotel, the stables were down the street and that is where the museum is built.
"Wanted: Young, skinny, wirey fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages $25 per week."
Riders were recruited hastily, but carefully. They were presented with a Bible and took an oath not to swear, fight or abuse their animals, and to conduct themselves honestly.
I like museums this one is not elaborate but if you are interested in the subject of the museum, things take on a whole new prospective.
To begin with, I learned that what I saw in western moves was wrong. One rider did not ride beside the incoming rider and take saddle bags on the run. A ‘Mochila’ was used, it fit over the saddle and the rider held it in place. Therefore the riders had to dismount.
A Mochila had four pouches, three were pad-locked with keys only at both ends of the entire run. The other was open so mail could be picked up along the way. The four pouches carried five pounds of mail each, max mail weight was 20 lbs.
There were 100 relay stations. Each rider would cover the distance of 8 or 10 of these.
Not the most daring, but the most famous rider was Buffalo Bill. These boys were wiry and as small as possible the youngest was 11 and the oldest was in his late 30’s I think. They rode at night and day.
A class of high-school students was especially talkative one day, and their teacher had had enough.
"All right!" he shouted. "The next person who talks is going to be severely castigated!"
The class immediately went quiet, until one of the students asked, "How are you going to do that to a girl?"