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...



So...the ambulance is in the shop with a new transmission and it's forecast is still looking grim. Jordan might have to take a bus back to Austin and it stinks because he doesn't know if he should try to ship his leather back that's in it or sell it or what. The thing is, we are in the middle of Arizona and kind of have to always keep moving. So...there is limited time to figure it out.

I have my trailer that is full of all of Soj's food. It's stressful for me because this hay along with the bags of rice bran that the trailer carries have helped Soj so much. I mean, he looks so fit and strong now-the best he's ever looked and I hate to go back to having different hay wherever we go. Jordan and Walter and I have been saying this is just part of the story and it's okay, we'll get through it, but at this moment in time it's a little tough.

I could put a tow package on my Tacoma, but it's a 4cyl and to get it so that it could tow the trailer (we would still have to sell half of the hay to lighten the load) it would be $2,000 which is too much for me. So....I could leave the trailer here (because Robbie and John have offered that) but this means when I get to NH I would still have to put a tow package on and drive back to AZ to get this trailer. And still we wouldn't have the hay which is really my biggest concern. It's just made all the difference for Soj.

So then we were thinking we could put a hitch on the back of the truck and buy one of those little flat bed trailers. Then maybe we could pull 6 bales or so. That would be about 650 pounds though and still tough for the truck because on top of that we have water and grain and rice bran and then all of our stuff....but if I out the tow package on the flat bed would be okay, I guess...

Any suggestions? Either way, I have to head out tomorrow and I think we might be camping which means I can't leave because I have to stay with Soj.

I just want him to have his food. I just don't know what to do....


  1. Linny,
    How much will it cost to get the ambulance back on track? I have been procrastinating on sending a donation to the cause and would be happy to send $500.00 to get things started. I will send a check tomorrow to your mom. I know that others will not be able to contribute that amount but if everyone following your blog could send $5.00-$25.00, that may get you back on the road. If you are at a place that you can rest for a couple days, that may be all it takes to get the message out. Hang tight and let things develop. There is no reason to panic and think that you need to be on the trail by a particular date. Sit tight, let the word get out and give some time to unfold tomorrow. You are not on a time schedule and the most important aspect is your safety and Soj's health. Take a very deep breath, let it our slowly, and have faith in your support system. It will happen.
    Get a good night's sleep and tomorrow will bring answers.
    Sleep well my sweet pea. I'll call your mom in the morning and see what the latest situation is.
    My love always.

  2. Hi Linny,
    I understand your concerns. Soj's well being is the most important thing on this adventure.

    However, he should be able to do quite well on a combination of hay and feed that you buy for him along the way. He's an Arabian, so he's got tough genes and there are some things you can do to make sure he's getting the nutrition he needs.

    The hay you get along the way will vary, but a complete feed from a manufacturer would not. I'd consider a complete feed along with hay bales that you buy a few at a time.

    I provided Walter with the name and number of someone to call about a sponsorship. She would also be an excellent person to ask for advice in this exact situation (continuing on without the wonderful hay in the trailer). I would also call Farnham, Purina Mills, and Nutrena to ask for the same advice. That's four feed manufacturers. A plan you are comfortable with will emerge, and a sponsorship opportunity might as well.

    Under no circumstances would I consider a complete feed only and no hay. It's not just the nutrition. Soj needs the fodder in his gut and it's important for him emotionally to do a lot of chewing on grass. Wild horses eat low nutrition grass, but almost 24 hours a day.

    I would not invest in a tow package. It's super-expensive and probably not necessary. And even if you did have a tow package, you would not want to haul the horse trailer. Leave it in Payson. Even if everything fit within the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating), you've got mountains coming up and a 4 cyl. truck is not made for that type of towing.

    You can pull a small, flat bed trailer (like a dirt bike trailer) as long as the tongue weight is within what what your truck can handle and the trailer isn't too heavily loaded. But I wouldn't mess with it for now. you'd have to add a wiring kit, buy the trailer, etc.

    If you add a trailer at any time in the future, your owner's manual would spell all of the options, and there should be a sticker on the driver's door jamb (or possibly under the hood) that has the exact specifications for your truck. Follow those accurately. It's not a hard formula to follow and going outside if the manufacturer's specifications is not to be done under any circumstances. Doing so could cause a serious accident.

    It's really unfortunate that Jordan will probably have to return to TX. But I'm sure he understands that life's all a journey, and you'll all be friends for life. I'd just make sure that he got a really proper send off for all that he has contributed.

    I hope my thoughts are helpful to you. I'm just sure that you and Walter can take care of Soj. Lots of other long riders have done it.

    I hope my comments are helpful to you.

    Travel Safe!

  3. I would like to echo Nancy's suggestion of taking another day or two to figure this out before leaving Payson. Doing so won't materially affect your arrival date in NH, and you'll just feel a lot more comfortable if you have a solid plan in place when you swing yourself up on his back again.

    By the way, when I mentioned that Soj's health and well being is most important, I didn't mean above that of you, Walter, and Jordan. It's just that humans have a very wide range of food and hydration options, but horses do not.

  4. I agree with all that has been said above. As for the Toyota, the 4 cylinder model is still one tough truck. If it has standard trans, you might pay attention to the clutch. That would be the weakest link as you pull over mountains. Not that it is inherently weak, but it will bear most of the wear and tear through heat buildup. The truck should be able to pull up to 3500 lbs. Tongue weight is important; a couple hundred pounds max, but overall weight of the trailer is pretty substantial even for a 4 cyl Toy. Just don't get anything too hot under the hood and you will be fine. Don't use the truck a/c when pulling uphill. Don't use the a/c at all if you can help it. Feather the brakes and use the engine to slow you going downhill. You don't want the brakes to get too hot. If your ambulance has a version of the C6 automatic and you like the truck overall,, it is worth replacing. If it is rebuilt properly, it should last quite awhile. Again, heat build up is the killer. He should block off the trans cooler that runs into the engine radiator and get one that goes in front of the radiator. Being an ambulance, it may have that already. You want auto trans fluid to be no more than 180f. Less is better. Just keep temp ranges down everywhere and you'll make it.