POST 23: On our way to Mariposa Recreation Area

Our Top 3 Campground Of The Entire Trip

We did not know we would be staying at Mariposa Recreation Area that night. We have to say this was one of our top 3 campgrounds of the entire trip!

June 26th and 27th, 2017

The first leg of the drive

We started thinking about postcards as we drove along. Talking about how much fun it would be to send some home to friends and family.

A few minutes later we saw a sign for the Gothenburg Pony Express station. Being a little bored of driving we thought we’d take a break and take in the sights.

What a great idea that was to stop. The Pony Express Station was a small, old time post office filled with history and folklore. The host gave us a 20 minute history of the Pony Express which  was very interesting. Here is some information taken from their website:


Gothenburg is home to two Original Pony Express Stations. The Sam Machette Station is located in a beautiful city park/arboretum. The station was moved to its current location in 1931 after it was donated by Mrs. C.A. Williams. It was opened to the public in the early 1950’s after a couple of teenagers noticed tourists stopping to peer into it’s windows, they approached City Council with a request to open a gift shop inside the station and were granted approval.

Throughout the years, the station has remained the property of the City of Gothenburg, but the museum has switched hands several times. Most recently, a non-profit by the name of Gothenburg Pony Express Association was formed when the previous managers stepped away and there were worries that the station may close. Thanks to some hard work and quick thinking, the Pony Express Station Museum is still open and better than ever.

The second station in Gothenburg is still located on the original trail, just south of town, on private property. The Midway Station is owned and meticulously cared for by the Gill family of Gothenburg. Although it is not open to the general public, special interest groups and tour buses have been allowed out to view the property. If you would like more information, please contact us.

As a bonus, we were able to purchase additional postcards and mail the whole bunch in a saddle bag mailbox (see pictures above).

See Mailing Postcards Helpful hints on mailing post cards home or to friends if this was something you wanted to do.

The second leg of the drive

After our little break, we started driving again. Around 4:00 we started looking for a place to spend the night.

The first two attempts to stop for the night failed. The first location was full. The second had a few spots open with sites very close to each other. We would not have been able to put our slides out!

In hindsight, we are glad the first two didn’t work out!  Mariposa Recreation Area became our third choice of the day.

Mariposa Recreation Area

Were we ever glad we took the time to follow a detour.  Mariposa Recreation Area County Park was a lovely green, peaceful small area, with a huge pond for day time fishing, butterfly viewing area and bison viewing area nearby. We actually found this gem on FREECAMPSITES.NET

In the back where we went, were about 5 campsites with water hook ups under nice full-grown trees on lush green grass surrounded by farmers fields on two sides and the forest on the other two.

What a peaceful and beautiful area this was. We decided to stay two nights. This used to be a free campground. Unfortunately they were having too many problems with people having parties and homeless folks squatting.

A few years ago, they instituted a $7 per night fee and it seemed to solve the problems. The fee is paid using a “Self Serve Honor System”. You take an envelope from the sign board and fill it out. After placing the correct cash in the envelope you seal it and slip into the locked box provided.

Turns out the two nights we were there, we were the only campers. Talk about being spoiled lol.


A Camp host came around a few times a day to check out the locked box. He turned out to be a very friendly helpful gentleman who brought us wood for our second night and wanted to give us half a cord of wood for free. Bill declined and only took an arm load.

Most campgrounds do not want you to bring wood from other campgrounds. We appreciated what the Camp Host did for us. Using an envelope we left him  him a little something in thanks. He went above and beyond what he was supposed to be doing we felt.


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