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...

Well, Get 'er done!!!


I like spotted animals.

Click on this picture to make it bigger. The land on this road was so amazing. We went from Pine trees to this in a days ride.

“We have a special. Pork Chops, two eggs, toa……….”

The waitress throws a couple menus down on our table and finishes speaking the special as she walks to the next table.

The two joke that when she comes back they will order one coffee, split, served in a tablespoon as to keep it constantly hot with endless refills, but when the waitress comes back she is ever so slightly kinder which softens them up a bit.

“We’ll just get a couple coffees. Do you have any cream?”

“We have packets”, the waitress says.

“Packets? Oh, half and half?”

“No, packets.”

Her eyes direct me to the little non-dairy packets on the table.

“Oh, I’ll just have milk, please. Thank you.”


“Get ‘er done” is actually used for real here. There are no coffee shops. Well, there was one, but it’s no longer in business.

We are staying with a wonderful family. They give Sojourner generous amounts of grass hay that we mix with our hay. This morning we had pancakes with Keith’s wife, Darlene. Keith and Darlene have ten kids, but only one daughter is still at home. She is a ball of fantastic energy with striking eyes.
Darlene and Keith have 21 grandchildren, soon to have 23. Darlene made us the most wonderful blueberry pancakes in their beautiful kitchen that has huge picture windows overlooking their fields.
Walter and I both had well needed showers last night and I was asleep before Walter even finished his.

Sojourner and I rode 38 miles yesterday. We trotted and cantered a lot too. It was a great ride because there was a little dirt road made by a four wheeler or a tractor that ran along side the main road pretty much the whole way.

The road was just gorgeous. The days before we climbed to nearly 7,000 feet in elevation, but now we have dropped about a thousand feet and the land has gone from Pine trees to a more desert like landscape again. There are some weeping willow trees and other large trees and streams still though, so it’s different from the desert before. Equally beautiful.

So…let me go back to where the last legitimate entry left off. We left Robbie and John’s in Payson, AZ on Saturday morning, April 17th. I planned on being out early because we had a long ride that day, but by the time we said our goodbye’s and finished up some last minute packing, it was closer to 11am by the time Soj and I walked down their driveway and turned East.

We said goodbye to Jordan who seems content with everything that has happened. Jordan says he hopes to meet us in NH when we ride in, so we’ll be looking forward to that. He really was such a huge help and a big part of this ride.

The trailer and hay are back at Robbie and John’s until Kelly (who donated the trailer to us) comes to get it. She is traveling about 400 miles one way to get that trailer and bring it back to Joshua Tree! I am glad Robbie and Kelly will get to meet because they both have huge fantastic laughs and generous hearts. They will like each other.

That first day (Saturday) we rode to Christopher Creek, which was 23 miles from Payson. It was the best camping ever! Soj was perfectly tied between two trees so he could comfortably lie down and not get tangled. We all camped close to our fire. It was pretty cold. We were at 6,000 feet that night.

We got up in the morning and made coffee, pancakes, and eggs over the fire and played Andrew Bird and oldies (oldies like Gin Blossoms, Prodigy, and Nine Inch Nails) on the truck stereo. Do you think those will be our oldies someday? Nah, oldies will always be Sam Cooke and Billie Holiday.

Anyway, the Ipod was on shuffle and was stuck on the 90’s. Walter and I exchanged times when we listened to so and so song over and over again. I remember when my friend, Tyson, showed me the song “Perfect Drug” for the first time. We were on a school bus on some sort of field trip. I listened to that song a billion times after that. Tyson was always the best at finding new music. He still is…well, next to Cait. Cait could give him a run for his money.

So we ate and packed up ready for a serious ride up some serious hills. We rode 29 miles and the majority of it was uphill. We went up 1,700 feet that day. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous ride and the weather was perfect. The only downfall was the road. It wasn’t too bad, but the shoulder was small at times and the cars and trucks went by too closely. At one point we had to just canter, we even got close to a gallop, just to get past this stretch of road that had no shoulder. This one car stayed pretty much right beside us because we were moving at such a fast clip. Soj’s shoulder was chugging away right next to the person in the backseat of the car on the passenger side. It must have been a cool image for them. We really were just inches from the car.

Later on, Walter sent me a text saying he had found a place to camp on forestland with an old abandoned corral on it. We got up there and set up camp and then a truck pulled in driven by a man called Bob.

Bob said he just wanted to see if we were okay and pointed to where we could gather more wood for our fire. We told him what we were doing.

“Where’s yer animal?”, he asked.

Walter brought him over to see Soj. Bob secretly told Walter that there were bears that used to come to that area. He didn’t want to say it in front of me because he thought I would get scared.

I learned a lot from my short visit with Bob. As it turned out, the land we were on was his land that he leased. He never once said, “this is my land, you know”. He came to us with a smile right away and simply wanted to see that we were okay and to offer help.

I thought about how I would have been if I pulled in to my home to see people camped out with a fire going and food cooking and a truck with supplies spewing out from all sides, and to top it off, a horse in my cow corral. Of course, I would be nice, but to be honest I would probably let them know they were on my land. Not anymore. I was really taken by the way Bob was.

So many of us have such a need to say, “okay you can stay here, but it’s because I am allowing you to”. It’s an ego thing, I guess. For some reason many of us like to let it be known that “this is mine and you have it because of me”. I hate to put myself in that category, but if I really think about it, I don’t think I would have the purely sincere response of “Well hello! Welcome!” I think before I would (as nicely as I could) let it be known that it was my land they were on. Not anymore.

People like to be asked first. Not Bob. From now on I am going to practice being like this. As people have said: no one really owns the land, we just occupy it for a little while, but to say it is actually ours is just silly. Of course it’s not ours and we should be as open and giving with it as people like Bob are.

Walter and I talked about this and Walter said it was just so natural for Bob. He doesn’t have to think about being the way he is. I told him that he learned that way from someone and now we have learned it from Bob. At first I might have to remember him when I have the desire to tell someone “hey, sure you can use this…but you do know it’s mine, right?”, but eventually it will become second nature. Not to make myself sound like a jerk face. I really wouldn’t mind if someone was on our land, I just want to make sure I offer help before inquiring why they’re there. It’s an amazing way to be.

Bob has been going to that piece of land his whole life.

"The cattle come in on June one", he said.

He is from Texas and he joked with Walter about being a Yankee…

“You want a shot a whiskey?”, Bob asked.

“Well, only if it’s not any trouble”, answered Walter.

“He’s a Yankee, ain’t ‘e!?”, Bob yelled, looking at me.

“A man asks you if you want a shot a whiskey and you say if it ain’t no trouble!!!? Whatdya mean?”

Walter laughed and grabbed the whiskey offered to him from Bob’s outstretched hand.

Bob fought in Vietnam. He said he doesn’t trust people. He only trusts marines and I can’t remember the other thing. I wish I could. Walter can’t remember either. I think it was cows or something. I told him marines are people and he said, “They are not. They’re SOLDIERS”.

Bob had a different sort of laugh. It was kind of a quick snort out. He did this after he said “They’re soldiers”.

Even though we were on Bob’s land he told us he wasn’t trying to be nosy. He just wanted to make sure we were okay. He had lost his wife a year ago. He joked that she left him with five kids to remember him by and he was mad at her for it, but you could sense the sadness in his mention of her, even through his laugh. He said he has no desire to be with anyone ever again. I didn’t question him. It seemed to soon to ask.

As Bob pulled away in his old truck he told us coffee was ready at 6 and first light would be at 5:45. He told us to come up for some bacon and eggs and a warm bed if we needed it, but I knew I had a long ride and headed out pretty early the next morning. Walter went up to thank Bob again and gave him some sage. Bob was unsure about the sage at first until Walter explained what it was and from whom it came and he said “alright” in a Bob kind of way and took it. He gave Walter some route suggestions and then he went back to bed. Such a cool old cowboy…they really are still out here. The cowboys movies are made from-they are out here alive and well and talk just like you would imagine.

Sojourner and I were already headed up the hill to start the 38 mile ride we were to travel that day. We didn’t know it was that far. Soj and I thought we were going about 30 and that extra 8 hurt a bit. Soj was strong, that horse is amazing, but I was a little beat by the end of the ride.

I forgot to mention, we met a ranger on our lunch break before the evening we met Bob. He was a wonderful guy who we hope to meet again one day. He wished he knew Soj was coming so he could give him carrots and apples. Walter was telling him about all the wonderful people we’ve met.

“Kinda restores your faith in humanity, huh? Sometimes you can look around at people and think ‘what is this world coming to’?”

Walter told him it really has.

When we explained to Bob what we were doing he said, “well you haven’t gone very far!”

Bob is a cowboy himself and it’s interesting to get the different reactions from the old cowboys. People on the street say “Holy Moly!!! You’ve come from where?! Los Angeles??!!” , but the cowboys give a little nod and with a twinkle in their eye, they understand. It’s just another day to them.

I told Bob, “Well, we stopped for a week in Joshua Tree.”

He said, “I’ve been to Joshua Tree, whadidya find there that would keep ya a week?”

I said “incredible people”.

He said, “well, you’re bound to find them all over the place. Yup. They’re all over the place.”

I said, “Yeah, you’re right. They really are…it’s pretty awesome to realize that”.

And by the way, this waitress is really nice. Sometimes you have to give that crusty shell a minute to crack a little.

And all that I want, and all that I need
and all that I've got is scattered like seed.
And all that I knew is moving away from me.
(and all that I know is blowing
like tumbleweed)
-Joanna Newsom

Soj, meet Mr. Elk

This is the teeny little bridge I took Soj over. I was really proud of him because he was a little shaky at first but I told him it was okay and he very calmly walked over it. The water rushing under it was really loud too. I was so proud of him that I said "that was great, huh?!!" to the guy on the other side. He was wide eyed and said "I'll say!"

This 3X5 foot sign that looks like it's been suffocating the land under it for weeks now reads "paid for by 'this politicians' committee". I wonder if this committee, or even better the politician herself, will go out and pick up this (now) litter that lies amongst it's peers of squished McDonald's cups, beer cans, and Styrofoam to-go containers. Such a shame.

Sunday, leaving Christopher Creek

This is that massive snake I saw a few days back. You can't see how big it is, but it was gigantic.

Riding in last night to Keith and Darlene's ranch

From desert to this...


  1. Linny ,
    What a great blog, loved hearing about Bob.You are having so many amazing experiences, but what is really so wonderful is that your eyes are open to everything that is around you. Through you, Walter and Soj, all of us blog followers are getting to experience a little bit of the wonder of your journey, and maybe even learn some lessons along the way.Your entry today made me think of Danlin Hollow, would I be as generous with our home, I hope so.
    People who are able to share graciously have a special gift. When you receive something from them it is so precious, because you know and feel that it came from the purity of the heart. I have been very blessed to be the recipient of such gracious people.Reading your blog has made me reflect on how blessed we are to have them in this world.
    Love you

  2. Wonderful as always. I really appreciate your land ethic. I don't mind people on our property, even when they are picking the precious morel mushrooms that sometimes come up in the spring. And those mushrooms are fantastically delicious, let me tell you. But if the "trespassers" get to them first, they get the morels.

    Another Soj-related safety tip. I hope you don't mind these from me. I know you and Walter are taking fantastic care of him. I've just always, always appreciated suggestions regarding Buster's care. I'm just glad that others are thinking of my beloved horse.

    The safety tip is to never, ever cross over a cattle guard with a horse. Even an old one that is completely filled in level with packed dirt. The story behind this lesson is too gut-wrenching to tell, but it comes from a really experienced horsewoman.

    Thanks as always. I see that the FB Group is on the verge of surpassing 400! Woo! Hoo!

  3. Yeah, Mama...Bob was amazing. I don't feel like going out to tack up Soj right now!!! Thank you for that comment. You are that generous with Danlin Hollow!
    Thank you too, Tom. I appreciate you thinking of Soj. I would never attempt to take him over a cattle guard though. I don't even really see how it would be possible. Maybe it's good to be reminded to not even go over packed ones though because we would do that. It's pretty easy to tell if we have safe passage or not though. I really don't take any chances with him...and to answer your other concerns as well...he gets electrolytes every day and I am also aware of the dangers of Spring grass. Thank you for your thoughts, we do appreciate them.

  4. Thanks, Linny. I wouldn't want you to think that I was being intrusive or nosy regarding Soj's care.

    Unfortunately, it was a packed cattle guard that cost this wonderful woman's horse its life. It was filled in level and had been abandoned for a super-long time. I think she had even crossed that one before. But there was some erosion or something down below that couldn't be seen that made one spot soft. That poor woman. Our hearts (on our horse forum) were all ripped out for her.

  5. Well I hear your coming thru springerville.. the love of my life owns the feedstore there..Cowboy up.. not sure of your route. and when your back on the trail.. work permiting of course, i would LOVE to ride with you a bit.. if your up for the company.

  6. Great blog Lin, it really sounds that Bob is an amazing cowboy! You made me think about my own reaction; If I would say if it was my land. To be awnest, I think I would... But I'm gonna try to be like to Bob too. People would be so much more nicer to each other without saying; you can use it but it's mine, instead of ofcourse you can use it, can I help you with anything more? People would be more generous to each other I guess.. Great lesson, thanks!! Gonna work on it!!

  7. It's great to hear of all the stories of people you meet. I find this comment particularly interesting -

    “Kinda restores your faith in humanity, huh? Sometimes you can look around at people and think ‘what is this world coming to’?”

    and even more interesting that a lot of people believe this. I've always found it easy to find the inspiring in people, but maybe that's just me. Maybe it takes a beautiful soul like you to ride in on a white horse for them to see the "inspiring" and restore their faith in humanity.

  8. Tammi-Jo!! I'm so sorry it took me so long to respond to this! I would have loved to ride with you. As you know, we took that dirt road across instead of heading down to where you are. I would have loved to meet you though!

    And thank you, Melissa. :) Such a beautiful thing to say to me....