The Pony Express was a short but vital part of the American West and the history books tell of a group of young men, boys really, who rode hard and fast against the elements, indian raids, bandits and all sorts of other challenges to get the mail to folks before the stages, telegraph and railroads came in to put the Express out of business. Flyover pictures is honoring that old west memory and hope to help an icon hold off closure. Read on to see what is in danger of being closed and why.
One of the Pony Express stations remains at Middlegate, Nevada. Self advertised as being the “middle of nowhere” with an elevation of 4600 feet and a population of 17, this piece of the old west was turned into a roadhouse with a few motel rooms added on. Over the years this roadhouse has become a vital part of a spread out community that consists of ranchers, miners, the military and truckers who pass through this desolate part of desert.
While the building itself has passed through a few hands over the years, the purpose of Middlegate Station has been the same. It provides the folks who live in the middle of nowhere food, gas, rooms and a sense of community. The place is “off the grid” which means that it is not hooked up to any sort of power line. Quite a few years ago, the power was provided via a diesel powered generator.
This power source was, at the time of its inception, a cost effective way to provide what was needed for a community of “off grid” denizens. As laws changed, and diesel became too expensive to provide power to the station, the good folk of Middlegate looked to alternative sources of energy via grants, loans, or other programs that have been open to residents who are “on-grid.”
The way to find an alternative way of keeping the way station open has been fraught with loopholes and stumbling blocks that made it difficult for these independent minded people to keep their center of the community open. The biggest hurdle to overcome has been that these “incentives” to use alternative energy do not apply to applicants who are not already on the power grid. With so many different people relying on the Middlegate Pony Express station to provide them with a place to meet, eat, sleep and visit with the occasional tourist or trucker these obstacles needed to be overcome.
Flyover Pictures found out about this iconic piece of the old west and took it upon themselves to help these proud individualistic people who either choose to live out in the middle of nowhere, or have no choice for whatever reason. Being “off the grid” may be the result of a decision to live where the air is clear and neighbors are not breathing down the back of their necks, but it should not be impossible for these modern people who want to live out west in an uncrowded area and beautiful country.
According to the folks at Flyover Pictures, around 200,000 people live “off grid” in the U.S. and many of this number are a vital part of the core of American providers. Ranchers, truckers and miners who keep the U.S. moving on. Middlegate is not only a historical monument to the days when Americans were fulfilling their vision of “manifest destiny” and heading further and further west in search of land, gold, and freedom but it represents the same spirit of men and women who fell in love with this picturesque area of the world.
Flyover Pictures are making a documentary in an attempt to chronicle the journey of the folks in Middlegate, Nevada who want a viable, and affordable, source of alternative energy for their wide spread community. The days of the Pony Express rider may be over, but the spirit of these stand alone young men who feared nothing and certainly did not feat wide open spaces lives on in the people who have decided to make this desolate area of the U.S. their home.
The documentary has the working title of The Last Roadhouse and it is being funded by Kickstarter as well as the money in the companies own pockets. Speaking to Lisette Cheresson, her enthusiasm, concern and empathy for the folks at Middlegate shines through. She and her partner Ryan, as well as the other folks who make up Flyover Pictures have been out to the area often and have already begun working on the documentary.
There are only three days to go in the campaign and this last stretch will, hopefully, enable the filmmakers to meet their goal of $7,500. Thus far, they have over 127 backers and are roughly $278 short of their target. Tonight, I just became backer number 128. Please dig deep and see what great things you can get from donating to keep this worthwhile and vital part of a scattered community energized.
I will be keeping track of Flyover Pictures and their progress. I’ll try to report on each stage of the project and keep interest in this documentary alive. We owe it to the figures of the old west and the proud independent people who call Middlegate home.
By Michael Smith