One of my biggest historical long riding inspirations is the relatively unknown saga of the Overland Westerners - four young men who rode 20,000 miles to each state capitol in the lower 48 from 1912-1915. Their journey was fraught with challenges, but after three long years of riding they accomplished their goal, arriving at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. However, their odyssey was quickly forgotten and the Overland Westerners faded into obscurity. I've always loved the tragedy of their success and have spent several years studying their adventure. I'm honored that the Long Riders' Guild has published my research! If you would like to be inspired by the story of the Overland Westerners and learn about why they might have failed to achieve lasting fame, check out my paper here: http://www.thelongridersguild.com/stories/stories1.htm. It's the third link on the page. This is just the beginning - there is more research to be done on the Overland Westerners and I hope to publish more findings in the future.
This winter has been brutal. After years of light winters in Nevada (thanks to an ongoing drought), we've had record precipitation the last few months. If it's not dumping snow, it's pouring rain. Either way, it's made riding pretty much impossible with the ground so saturated. I'd be going stir crazy, but I'm keeping busy talking to people about our NDR adventures, long distance riding, and wild horses.
Last month, the University of Nevada, Reno opened a small exhibition on the Nevada Discovery Ride. I loaned gear and objects from my ride for the display, including my saddle bags, camp stove, tracking device, gloves, Bella's boots, Sage's hoof boots, things that I found on the trail, and more. I also allowed them to display something very special, that no one has even seen - my journal from the ride. The exhibit coordinator printed excerpts from the journal and they appear throughout the exhibit.
I am very pleased with how the "Saddle Tramp: The Nevada Discovery Ride" exhibit turned out, and honored that the University's Shared History Department asked to host it. It will be on display through May 10 in historic Lincoln Hall on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. It is free to see, so if you have some time and you're in the area, please stop by to check it out!
Last week I hit the road and headed east to Tennessee, where I was invited to be a presenter at the Southern Equine Expo. This horse expo is only a few years old, but it's growing fast and is one of the only expos in that region. I gave 5 presentations during the three-day show and had a booth, where I displayed information about the Nevada Discovery Ride project. Going in I wasn't sure what to expect, as I am not familiar with the equestrian community in that part of the country nor are they familiar with me! But, all my talks were well attended and I personally spoke with hundreds of people who stopped by my booth. People were absolutely fascinated by our long riding adventures and they were incredibly positive about wild horses. In fact, there was a lot of talk about wanting more options in that area to adopt! I was also happy to share "Nevada" with people who weren't familiar with it. I think I may have sold Nevada too well - I'm getting emails now from people asking to come to Nevada so I can guide them on rides! Perhaps I have found my new calling!
Next week I'm headed to Bishop, California for the Backcountry Horsemen of California annual Rendezvous. This is a free event entirely focused on backcountry riding so if that's something that interests you, come on out! There are some fabulous speakers and clinics on the schedule. I'll be giving three talks during the Rendezvous, and am again looking forward to getting to know a new equestrian community.
If the weather clears next month, I'm planning to head down to southern Nevada to scout trails. I'll let you in on a little secret -- I've been working on plans for a ride down in Lincoln County. Not a long ride, but a nice 150-ish mile ride that would link several Nevada State Parks. I'm hoping to have an update for you on that project after I scout the trails in April.
Everyone is doing well. Sage is considering reverting back to the wild after so much time off. Bella is happy to never leave her dog bed. Ryan is finishing his PhD this spring so he's buried in Nevada history right now. And I'm always looking at maps thinking of the next adventure! Hopefully this winter weather wraps up soon so we can hit the trail soon.
The latest updates from Samantha on the Nevada Discovery Ride.