California Travel Tips

Pony Express, We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Published on: May 27, 2018


Pictured: McKinleyville Pony Express Day May 30-June 3, 2018

“Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.” –  Pony Express help wanted flyer

On Memorial Weekend 2018 the Yucca Valley Grubstake Days festival celebrated the famed Pony Express Ride with a commemorative cancellation stamp. Though the Pony Express mail delivery (1860-61) was but a flash in America’s timeline, it remains one of the most fabled services and events in California history. The transcontinental telegraph (Oct.1861) and joining of the Transcontinental Railroad in Utah with the Pacific Railway in California (May 1869) permanently sealed the fate of this innovative experiment.

Each year in May-June the city of McKinleyville holds its annual Pony Express Days festival with equestrian events to commemorate
California’s role in the unique mail delivery system.

Though Sacramento’s Gold Rush Days doesn’t return till Memorial Day Weekend 2019, it has included a Pony Express ride in past events — and Old Sacramento remembers daily with a big statue of a Pony Express rider you can see any time.

We’ve come a long way, baby! Getting mail was once a luxury–and it came at a steep price. The US Postal Service, an independent agency of the U.S. federal government, lost $540 million  in the first quarter 2018. So, it’s coming at a steep price once again since we citizens ultimately foot the bill.

The U.S. Postal Service has been hemorrhaging funds for several years with over $121 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. The post office has had a multi-billion dollar loss each year for the last 11 years. We’ve come a long way, but where do we go from here?

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