I attempted to insert all the photos I have mentioned below, but it appears you can only put one photo on a post. So, I am putting the photo of my SX4 at the top of Look Out Pass. (Or at least I am attempting to upload a photo!)
My Suzuki Adventure
riving the Pony Express National Historic Trail from Utah 36 to U.S. 93
(Return U.S. 93 and I-80)
Driver: Roland Behunin
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki SX4
Average Miles Per Gallon 24.9
Driving time: Utah 36 to U.S. 93 7 hours.
Pony Express Rest Stop on U.S. 93 to Ely, Nevada 15 minutes.
Ely to Salt Lake Metro Area 4 hours.
I have owned three Suzuki's so far. A Suzuki X90, and Suzuki Aerio, and my current vehicle, and 2008 Suzuki AWD SX4. On 1 August, I managed to get a roof rack so I would be able to carry extra fuel outside the vehicle. (I do not want to carry fuel inside the passenger compartment!)
For years I have entertained the idea of driving the old Pony Express Trail out past Simpson Springs and into Nevada. On 08/02/2008 I finally accomplished this. My friend Lee Pearson went with me. The Pony Express Route was only in operation from two years, 1860-1861, but has produced untold amount of stories both true and romanticized.
On the left is my Suzuki SX4 at the beginning of our Journey West from Utah 36 on the Old Pony Express Route. On the right is the warning sign. If anyone is considering making this journey along the old Pony Express Route (and also parts of the old Lincoln Highway) please take this sign seriously!
I filled up the tank in Farmington, Utah. Also, please remember the code of the West: Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints. We took four extra gallons of Gasoline (it was a 5 gallon can, and I did not want too much to spill out the vent on the gravel and dirt roads). As we were pulling into Ely, Nevada the low fuel light came on. I put just over 9 gallons in the tank in Ely. I almost topped off the tank in Stockton, Utah but Lee and I decided we needed to use up the four gallons of fuel on the roof. In hindsight, we should have topped off the tank in Stockton.
The Old Pony Express Route is a lonely Road!. (This is not as lonely of a road as U.S. 50 between Ely and Fallon was the last time I drove that highway. I saw one vehicle, but that was years ago before the National Geographic Article about this stretch of U.S. 50.) A couple miles west of Utah 36 there is some sort of construction going on (Lee and I think this is some sort of housing development, but it is not at a stage we could really make an educated guess on what they are building.) After leaving this development behind, we saw 8 vehicles on the road the rest of the route to U.S. 93. One of those vehicles was someone returning to the Salt Lake Metro Area after camping at Simpson Springs. 1 Vehicle was off loading an ATV out west of Simpson Springs, and 3 vehicles were parked in the Fish Springs Wildlife National Wildlife Refuge.
The BLM has registers for you to sign along the way. The first on is at Look Out Pass. We stopped here for a few minutes. There is a picnic table near the road, and next to the register. The view from Look Out Pass is:
After we left Look Out Pass, and traveled down the mountain to the flat land in the Great Salt Lake Desert, we started seeing a fair amount of wild life. Antelope, Deer, Bald and Golden Eagles, Ravens, Turkey Vultures, and the most surprising of all was a Canadian Goose.
Antelope under the Cedar Tree (aka Juniper Tree)
About 30 miles out onto the Pony Express Road is the Simpson Springs Station. Near Simpson Springs Station is a fairly nice campground. However, there is no water at Simpson Springs, so you need to bring your own potable water.
Simpson Springs Pony Express and Stage Coach Station.
Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge is about 40 miles west of Simpson Springs. Following Pony Express Road and Callao Road we notice a few mines, but old abandoned mines, and current working mines. Also, some interesting place that we might want to visit one day (Death Canyon, who or what died in Death Canyon to have it name so?) We only brought enough fuel to make it across our planned route, so these side trips off the Old Pony Express Route will have to wait for another day.
We arrive at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, and start to drive out to a wildlife viewing area. We spot a sign marking the old Lincoln Highway.
The filling station on the Old Lincoln Highway
From Fish Springs we head toward Trout Creek. We are looking at maps of both the State of Utah, and the State of Nevada. Without maps, we would be really lost. A wrong turn, well, you would be in the middle of nowhere without fuel! Following the Pony Express Trail, we find on section that we did not wish to drive on, so we took a little detour around a hill on a better road. When we crossed the State Line into Nevada, the BLM district office changes from Salt Lake to Ely. The roads get a little worse, but the scenery gets a little greener (more Pinion Pines and Cedar Trees. In one section of the trees, we found a place called “Blue Mass National Recreation Area”. There is Camping, Fishing, Hiking, and Hunting at the Blue Mass National Recreation Area.
Eventually, we arrived at U.S. 93, at the Pony Express Rest Stop, about 20 miles north of Ely. It is about 20 miles into Ely and about 40 miles to Lages, Nevada. We are not sure that there will be fuel available at Lages, and the Hotel Nevada has a Prime Rib Dinner for $9.99. So we head toward Ely.
We have dinner, walk around the Casino, and head home. We stopped for a short walk in West Wendover, NV, and for fuel.
Next time drive this route I will top off in Stockton, Utah (or at least in Tooele, Utah), take more fuel, remain over night on the trail, and perhaps stay in Ely over night before returning home.