Today, email and text messages can be sent around the globe in a microsecond.
In 1860, Americans were flabbergasted that the Pony Express could deliver a letter from Missouri to California in ten days.
Private companies began providing overland mail service during the mid-1800s, when the westward migration reached a fever pitch. The Pony Express is the best remembered, even though it operated for less than two years.
When the transcontinental telegraph line connected Nebraska with San Francisco in October 1861, the Pony Express was disbanded.
The Pony Express National Historic Trail maps the 1,800-mile route taken by those intrepid riders through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California.
Time and development have trampled much of the original route. Pieces can be seen in Utah and California. Eventually, the Pony Express National Historic Trail will run past 120 historic sites related to the short-lived mail delivery operation, including the remains of 50 stations along the route.
For now, you can explore segments of the trail via a narrated auto tour, hiking, biking, or horseback riding.