The Pony Express conjures up romantic images of fearless riders and their indomitable ponies racing across the Wild West to deliver the mail. It is powerful imagery if you’re trying to deliver a “message” of sorts. And so it was that Robert Hess, founder of the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project (PCAP), landed upon the idea of the Pony Express when deciding how to best raise awareness for the PCAP and communicate its message.
Hess himself was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002 and the experience instilled in him a desire to help men talk more openly about it, to get tested and to raise public awareness about the value of early testing and treatment. This writer/rider was also diagnosed with the disease in 2008, so when I first learned of Hess and the PCAP in 2010, it naturally caught my attention. That year Hess rode solo through many states to Washington DC on his trusty Harley-Davidson. His route brought him through Northern California, so myself and friend Stan accompanied to Carson City. (Read here)
That experience taught Hess that he was certainly “on to something,” but the concept needed tweaking. He arrived at the idea of a Pony Express style relay in which riders would traverse the entire United States. The mail is the “sacred satchel” containing the large blue banner and the leather bound book in which all riders and supportive dignitaries sign their names. The entire route is divided into 82 segments and goes through the Capitals of all 50 states. The first segment began during Bike Week in Daytona, FL on March 17th. and rolled through Nor-Cal this past Monday, April 17th. I had the honor of riding the segment from Sacramento to Carson City. The ride will tentatively conclude in Washington DC on September 9th.
Carlos Saraiva and his wife Maria rode the San Francisco to Sacramento segment and I met them at the west steps of the Capitol for the handoff. After a cup of coffee and a nice tour, we made the exchange, signed the book and the banner, and then it was time to head East. Please check out the slide show to see the views on the way to Carson City.
I met the next rider, Don Feyma, in Minden, NV and we rode the short distance together to Carson City. The Nevada Capitol is dramatically smaller and more accessible than California’s and we just walked right in to Governor Bob Sandoval’s office. But he wasn’t there. Oh well, his staff signed the leather book, we took some pics and were on our way. Feyma would leave for Salt Lake City on Thursday with the sacred satchel and I headed back to Placerville immediately. I encourage you to peruse the PCAP website for information either for yourself or your loved ones.
Until next time, stay tuned, “checked” and upright,