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...

Highway 61 visited.


Stephen said I have gone on three different highways now that have songs written about them. Hwy 66, The Carefree Highway, and Highway 61. High time I write my own!!

I had the coldest ride ever riding to St. John's. The wind was strong and blown from a snowbank. It was like ice cutting through with no trees to block it. We rode 25 miles in wind, rain, and at times, snow.

The day before that we rode 18 miles from Snowflake to a spot where we camped. We didn't know where to sleep that night. Finally we came across a gate in the barbed wire fence and went in. We found a place in some bushy trees where we were pretty hidden from the road. Soj behaved wonderfully. It was super windy, but he was calm and once dinner was over he quietly slept through the night.

April, 24. 7:38am

It's the next morning now. We are getting a bit of a late start, but that's okay. We'll be in New Mexico tonight! The border is about 20 miles from here. We are going to ride about 30, I think. We turned Soj out last night in the wind and he galloped and bucked all over the place. I loved watching him. Then he would bolt back to us and say hi and take off again.

This morning as we were driving out to come here Soj was eating his hay and the sweetest cat (it's Kay's cat and he sits like a little King) was sitting there right next to him. He had walked a good 150 feet to walk from Kay's to go sit by Soj.
It was COLD though. I quickly untacked Soj and started making dinner. We had bought some red wine so I sauteed mushrooms and onions in the wine and then added a Vodka sauce and penne pasta. We had the leftover wine to drink and finished it all off with some chocolates. We read "A Farewell To Arms" until we drifted to sleep.

I woke up to a very awake, ready to eat, very curious about the snow, Sojourner. He was a little shaky, not because he was cold, but because I think that was probably the first time in his whole life he had ever had snow fall from the sky onto him. I heard it was going to be cold, but when I stepped out of the tent and saw everything coated with a beautiful, fresh coat of snow I gasped and said, "Walter! It snowed and it's so beautiful!"

It was too, it was gorgeous. The sun was shining making the snow sparkle and it was fairly warm. Soj settled down once hay was put in front of him and seemed to forget about the unfamiliar white stuff all around him.

The snow forced us to clean everything out because a lot of stuff got wet, so that was good. There was water at the bottom of most of the bins so Walter took everything out and wiped it all down. It needed to be done anyway.

We had breakfast and set off to ride 25 miles to St. John's. It was freezing. Sometimes it felt as cold as when I used to ski in NH. We used to have to get up early in the morning to train and I would freeze out there and to tell you the truth, because of the wind, it felt nearly the same.

It started to snow on us and Soj kept knocking his head around trying to get each drop of snow that fell off of him. It was cute and funny, but a little annoying after a while. I mean, it was mostly cute, but you know...not the smoothest ride with that big hard head knocking all over the place.

There was a point where I had to go to the bathroom so badly I was about to have an anxiety attack! Earlier in the day the road was so long I could see a mile ahead and a mile behind so I just went right on the side, but later on the road started to bend too often to be safe and there were absolutely no trees or bushes! I sent Walter a text saying "have to pee so badly, I need you", but it took a while for him to get it and 20 minutes later I was starting to spasm! I even felt a little nauseous. I got off Soj (painfully) and crossed the street to go behind a little bush. I didn't care. Just then Walter came around the corner and quickly pulled over by me. Phew. That was the worst.

We had another 6 miles after that and I was so cold and ready to be done. Once I got back on and was no longer feeling like the world was going to end because I had to go to the bathroom so badly, the rest of the ride was okay.

Walter parked the truck at the fairgrounds and ran to us to meet us a mile away from our destination. We walked in to meet a woman names Kay who manages the grounds. Kay is 69 and has been at the fairgrounds/Equestrian Center for about 4 years now.

I asked her if it would be alright if we camped by Soj on the property and with a wink she said she thought she could work something out. She kindly put us up in a warm RV trailer and we had access to a hot shower and a working stove! It was great to be able to cook everything at once. I made Chile Relleno, rice, and homemade chips with salsa. We treated ourselves to some rootbeer and made a brownie sundae too. I am planning tonight's dinner while I write this in my head right now because I'm starving!!

Tomorrow we take off on a long dirt road South of the Zuni Indian Reservation. We are headed towards Quemado, then Pie Town, and on to Bernardo, NM. We'll be in New Mexico tomorrow (but I am going to post this in the morning so by the time you read this it's actually today that we will be in New Mexico).

We are going to be away from any civilization for about 2 days (63 miles) until we hit Quemado. Apparently there is nothing in Quemado, but at least we can get water there.

I probably won't be able to post a decent entry for a little while because I think it's going to be a good week or so before we have internet. I kinda wish we were going to be in towns because I feel like I have a little bug...not so right on the inside, but it'll be fine. I'll just really bundle up.

Right now it's 35 degrees and the winds are close to 50mph. I hope it's not going to be like this tomorrow! Oh man, that will stink! I guess it's all part of the adventure though...

Right now though I am in the warm trailer and Soj has been turned out and brought back and is now eating his dinner. We went out and got another brownie to make another warm brownie sundae with so I think I am going to take my last shower for a long while, get in to bed really early, and eat it. Maybe we can even watch a movie! Yeah, that's what we'll do....

April, 24. 7:38am

We are getting a bit of a late start this morning, but that's okay. It's still windy this morning, but not as bad and it's not as cold. We are going to be in New Mexico tonight!! We are only about 20 miles from the air now. I think we will ride 30 today. We are going to kick it up a notch for the next week, I think. We'll try to average 30 miles a day. There's just nothing around so we might as well ride and get through it.

As we were driving out we looked at Soj eating his hay in his stall and Kay's sweet cat was over there sitting next to him. I love the way animals do that. He was just calmly sitting there. He's a very stately cat...long haired and sits with perfect posture blinking slowly. Soj is such a lover of other animals. I don't think I've met an animal that horse doesn't want to be near. He even warmed up to that iron Elk from a few entries ago after about 8 minutes. Then he wanted to stay with it!

I should get on the road....it's going to be cold tonight. The earlier we get in the better...

Me and Kay talking about another woman who rode through there called Bernice Ende.

breakfast in the snow


  1. Nancy,

    I think my new nickname for you will be "The Godmother" :) That appears to be a role that you fill in Linny's life, but what prompted me to think of it is your last post where it sure looks like you are making Linny "An offer she can't refuse" with regard to moving back out to CA! :) :)

  2. Hey Jackie or should I call you Tom?
    Since Linny is indisposed, there's no reason not to continue with her blog...... I've been looking up some of the area she and Walter are riding thru and there appears to be quite a few hot springs. Sure hope she is able to find some. It would certainly warm that little body of hers and add some relaxation to the journey. They are at an altitude of 7,000 feet so I'm imaging the temperature dropping quite a bit at night. Supposed to be 70 degrees today in the central area of NM but not sure if they will benefit from the daytime warmth.
    I had the privilege of having Linny and her sister Cait live with me a few years ago and I immediately fell in love with both of them. For a while I fantasized that they would fall in love with my two sons and live happily ever after as my daughters in law but now I've revised my dreams to just having them around. They bring a bounty of joy into any room they enter, usually preceded by a harmonizing song. One of my favorite images is seeing them pull into the property, open the car door and spill out laughing and singing into the house. I miss them both and can only fully admit to my self interest in getting them back to California. So as you can see, I'm one self serving Godmother but what the heck, all is fair when your heart is involved. Besides, I'm really attached to their mother, Wendy. As you can imagine, those two girls didn't fall far from the tree. I don't know their father but they both speak so lovingly of him that I can only surmise that he is a gentle soul as well.
    I have gotten so much from following Linny's blog. As others have commented, I, too, get up and read her entries rather than listen to the news. I think about what she has been contemplating and spend the day examining my motivations and thoughts, as well.
    I sent an e-mail describing her saga to "This American Life". (NPR radio broadcast) Not sure if you have listened to it but it is basically small stories of people's lives in the U.S. It's quite thought provoking and interesting to hear what other people's lives are like. I think Linny's story is a perfect match for the broadcast but we'll just have to wait and see. Maybe if lots of us sojourners hound them enough, they'll pay attention. There's a link on their web site ThisAmericanLife.com. Just a small hint.
    You have been a tremendous help to Linny through out this journey and I enjoy reading your entries as well. It's an adventure you can't do without support, no matter how well intentioned. That is certainly one of the aspects that strikes me the most; how easily the help is given, without any thought of recompense.
    Thanks for all your services, Tom.
    Until later.

  3. Please call me Tom. And I'm sure that Linny will be glad to have us visit while she is away. Linny did mention that she would like the blog comments section to be an area for dialogue. It was great to see some new followers post the other day.

    I love "This American Life"! I used to drive from Michigan to Iowa for work twice a month and got hooked on it going through Chicago. I'll contact them about this adventure.

    I certainly can't blame you for behing unabashed in your efforts to woo Linny and Cait. And I noticed in an earlier post that you offered to accomodate Wendy and Stephen too, so they certainly won't feel left out.

    Linny and Cait have a spirit about them that is so uplifting. I have watched their movie "Apple Tree" a whole bunch of times because it just seems to capture the essence of happiness in a relationship with others. And it's so funny!

    I'm re-reading a delightful little book that I hadn't read in almost 15 years - "The Tao of Pooh". I just love Winnie the Pooh. I used to have a large, laminated inspirational Pooh poster in my office until my wife suggested that I give it to my niece for the elementary art class she teaches. My wife kind of had me there. I couldn't imagine Pooh saying "No, that's my poster" :), so I gave it away. Might get another one someday, though!

    Anyway, this adventure would fit right into Benjamin Hoff's representation of taoism through Pooh, I think. A very natural harmony to it and lots of wonderful lessons for those of us who are following along.

    It is cold, cold, cold in the high desert! I checked out the weather and it will be warm during the day, but in the 20's at night. It would be so wonderful if they stumbled upon a hot springs. Aaaaahhh!

    Thanks for your post, Nancy! I sure enjoy visiting with you.

  4. Hi Nancy and Tom,
    I also am a great fan of This American Life on NPR. I have mentioned to Linny that it would be a great venue for her to document her ride. It is so great Nancy that you took the initiative to contact them, I will also follow your lead.
    Tom, Winnie the Pooh was also somewhat of a special character in our family .
    When I gave birth to my first born Danny, Linny's Dad's brother, John, gave us a beautiful set of Winnie the Pooh books. Dan read every night to the kids when they were young, and those Winnie the Pooh books got quite a workout. Dan himself was quite a fan , one of his first bands was named Trespassers William, that was even before the kids.
    I know Linny really appreciates everyones comments on the blog.The support and kindness has been overwhelming.
    I just heard from Linny and she said she was really tired, only went about twelve miles today.The desert and scenery is very beautiful, but not much shelter. They met someone very nice who is letting them use his corral for the night. It will be a couple more days till she gets into Quemato NM. Stephen has been working on their next pit stop for this leg of the ride, he promises they will love it.

  5. I might have known that Winnie the Pooh would be a special figure in the Kenney household! My mom must have read the Pooh books to me because I have no memory of how it is that I grew up loving Winnie. I just always have.

    Thanks for the Linny/Soj/Walter update. It's nice that they have a corral for the night as I'm sure that will help Linny sleep.

  6. Two days now without even a phone update! That must be some remote section of New Mexico. We're thinking of you three.

  7. It is a very remote area!! We have recieved only one phone call since Saturday morning, and just a few text messages. Today Linny rides to a very comfortable place for her, Walter, and Soj to rest. She will have a prvate room AND Internet service, so there will be Blog updates soon!!

  8. She must think you just about walk on water, Stephen!

  9. Linny, thank you for your wonderfull cd!!!! It's already playing at this moment and I love it, love it, love it!!!! Tomorrow the cd will move to my car so I can listen to it when I'm driving to work! It's really beautiful so all my compliments for you, Cait and everybody who worked on it!!!!!!!!
    Enjoy your private room!! Will try to call you again soon, I just don't understand why I can't send you a text message or call you from Holland :S... But I will keep trying... Still thinking about you three!!!! Love, Nico

  10. @ Linny: Bernice Ende is a friend of mine. I am riding in memory of her horse Honor who passed away on the Trail on Feb. 23. Bernice taught me alot of I know like Andi did with you ..you will soon continue through her riding territory across Texas. She is well known..I am proud to call her friend.

    Also...haven't been able to post comments for a while on your blogs. These rides just are SOOOO busy! Just remember that you are the expression of change that people need to see and also the expression of hope they want to have.. This is the essence of why we ride!

    @ all Linny's Family: You are all amazing people and I am so proud of your daughter to set out like this on this great adventure. Celebrate FAMILY!

    @ Tom -- perhaps you could forward a copy of your Tao of Pooh to New Hampshire..and inscribe something inspirational in it. Where would this ride be with you!

    @ Stephen: Can I borrow you as a coordinator! Wow-wee...you are amazing at getting all this pre-arranged....

    The more you know, the less you need...

    One of the things that kinda strikes me today that I wanted to share with all of you is that long riders horses carry the heaviest of invisible loads on their backs...which is our DREAMS!!!


  11. You guys are the best. How am I so lucky? Mama and Nancy...let's run a nice coffee shop/artists haven/bed and breakfast/horse haven/bookstore/leather shop/music venue....yes? We can play banjo on the front porch and sing and sip on tea or coffee and watch the horses run around and have a big, healthy garden. Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh....

    And my Nico...I don't know if you'll get this comment, but I miss you and think of you all the time and I am going to sell a lot of leather things after this ride and get you over here myself!

    Stephen-this place is amazing and Soj and I are feeling a lot better. I think it will be good when we get down in elevation a bit and we will take it easy over the next few days. Can you please make the garden in my dream?

    Tom-can't wait to meet you.

    Megan-riding for you...

  12. Sweetie,
    Yes that sounds lovely, Cafe, Bed and Breakfast, art studio, music venue,leather shop- christmas bells, chocolate chip cookies, Caitie, Brianna , Kathy, Nico, horses, a golden retriever as sweet as Dub,Gracie cooking mexican dishes, Nancy bouquets, Big lush gardens with lots of flowers and Birds,cats, friends and family always around, star gazing observatory.....wishing on a falling star. You have shown us Dreams can come true. Love You