On March 1st, 2010, my friend Walter and I set off on an adventure with my Arabian horse, Sojourner. I rode Soj across America and Walter drove our little truck (with no trailer). The trip began in Los Angeles, California and successfully ended in Bath, New Hampshire 8 months and 14 days later. It was a 3,700 mile ride.
We rode in celebration of family and as an outreach to those dealing with divorce-related depression.
This ride tells a tale of love in many forms - through the people we meet along the way, our connection with the horse, with the land, and with each other.
As this blog goes on it gets more and more in depth with tons of photos and experiences. Snuggle in with a cup of tea and read this like a book. I have switched the blog around so it reads start to finish so you don't have to read backward (except the first entry).
Here is our story...
One state down, lots to go-Bring it ON! :)
Coffee with Soj
Yesterday we crossed the Colorado River and placed all 8 legs in Arizona (mine were wrapped around Soj so they weren't technically on the ground so mine are included in Soj's 4). The boys were waiting on the other side of the bridge.
Soj and I had one little scary encounter with a tractor trailer truck while we were crossing. Gibbs (the husband to Brenda who we are now staying with) blocked off Soj's side of the road, but the other side was open and the truck came whizzing by. There was no sidewalk on the bridge (this is why Gibbs had my side blocked with his truck) and the other side was supposed to be blocked by the police, but Soj and I took too long to get there and the police man got bored and left. I learned that he left just minutes before we got there. Ha. Anyway, Sojourner spooked at a medal thing on the bridge just as that truck came by so we were uncomfortably close. I mean, if I reached my arm out I could have touched it going by. It's crazy to me that this massive dinosaur truck can come speeding by and Soj will shy from a tiny little piece of motionless medal towards a truck. The fact that this seems like the safer option to him blows my mind.
Brenda and Gibbs have joined the group of incredible people who have helped to make this journey possible. Brenda has a feed store in town and she has offered to donate as much rice bran as we can fit and some grain. She also has chickens at her store and is going to send us off with fresh eggs!!!! I LOVE fresh eggs.
Jordan making a guitar strap for my little Martin with Gibbs
Right now Sojourner is running around all over the place enjoying himself in the sun. You should hear the birds here! I swear every bird in America has congregated here to sing. There is a little miniature pony who Sojourner sleeps next too and he has the highest pitched little whinny you will ever hear. It's like this long little bird scream! I will try to get it recorded somehow. It makes me laugh every time.
There are lots of other horses here (including a brand new baby), but Sojourner has taken a special liking to Brenda's black horse called Dale. Soj runs around and eats grass here and there, but he always finds his way back to Dale. He goes to take little naps over by Dale as well. I hate to take him away from him on Monday!
Soj and Dale
Sojourner happily exploring the area
We were only going to take today off and head off tomorrow to a town called Bouse, but it is so wonderful here and there is so much green grass for Sojourner that we have decided to stay tomorrow as well. Plus, this is the only time we have to be by the Colorado river which is blue and inviting us to come swim. Today I am editing photos and videos, but tomorrow we are going to hike and swim in the river.
Riding yesterday was a little difficult so I am so happy to be in the sun now with the birds singing and Soj running around as happy as can be and my clothes drying on the clothes line...it's all so relaxing and perfect. Yesterday was hot and I was in a lot of pain from the little devil that visits once a month. I mean, serious pain. This always happens, but to be in the heat on the horse made it all the worse. Walter rescued me once we could get to each other (I was up on the train tracks), but I had to push through it for about and hour and a half. There was a point where I was a little panicky inside...well, not panicky, but just a bit overwhelmed by the pain. I wanted to get off Soj because it was uncomfortable but I couldn't walk and I just wanted to get to where I could meet Walter. All I need is 4 IBUprofin's and 20 minutes and I'm good to go, but without that or hot water to get into, I am suffering big time. I was very thirsty as well and felt as weak as a feather. Anyway, Soj and I got to Walter and I curled up in a ball until it all passed. Then we had to pick up speed to get to the radio station in time.
Soj waiting while we're in the station
It all worked out and meeting Melissa and John at the station and then Gibbs and Brenda could not have made for a better ending to a rough day.
Melissa, who is the wife of John (the DJ at the radio station we were on yesterday called 1380am Country KLPZ) is a professional photographer and is coming to take some shots in an hour. Her photography is absolutely beautiful so I am really excited that she wants to shoot us. Her website is http://www.melissawrightphotography.com. Definitely check it out. She's very, very talented.
We are joining them for dinner tonight and then probably going to head to a bar and grill that has live music and is up a rocky road that you need a truck to travel on. There is live music there and it is inside an old mine...sounds really cool.
There is a beautiful, beautiful 5 yr. old Stallion here who is available to a good home. I am going to put up more information about him tomorrow, but I have to tell you a funny story about he and Soj. Sojourner went over to visit him and the Stallion being a Stallion was very excited to see him and kicked at the fence right where he was to try and get out to him. The very second the Stallion kicked Soj whipped around so his bottom was facing the Stallion and pooped!!! I couldn't believe it! Brenda and I were dying laughing! This is Sojourner's defense mechanism it seems. Soj is not a kicker or a biter and if a horse so much as looks at him the wrong way he will just walk off. I always tell him to step it up a notch and defend himself a little. Maybe it is against his beliefs to use physical force against another animal so he has thought of this as a gentle yet effective way to tell something to back off. Talk about putting the saying "poop on you" to use!!
The Stallion about to kick at the fence
Sojourner's response to the kick
The Stallion bowing his head in shame
On our way to Parker I was pulled over by the border patrol. They sent two cars out to see what I was doing. It was a couple of really nice young guys. One of them was from Michigan and also has an Arab. He said someone called and thought it was "kinda weird to see a girl out in the desert alone riding her horse". I don't know what I could have been smuggling into Arizona...but, better safe than sorry I guess. I mean, you never know. You never do know what a girl on a horse could have on her....
We camped out by this radio tower that is used to let airplanes know where they're going. Some really nice road workers came by to see what was going on. They approached Walter and said "I've seen a lot of things on this road, but I have never seen a girl on a horse here". Walter told them what was going on and they came back the next morning to bring us ice for our cooler. We had a nice little chat with them and then we were off. Soj and I made great time in the morning. He pretty much trotted the first 10 miles, but then the pain from down under erupted and our speed significantly slowed.
Oh! Have to cut this short!! More stuff tomorrow!!