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...
Wickenburg, AZ 400 miles traveled so far...
(photo by Walter)
(photo by Jordan)
(photo by Walter)
(photo by Linny)
Sorry my blogs have been a little sporadic and sometimes kinda blah the last few days. We have been in the desert a lot and haven't been getting great internet service. I have also been so incredibly tired. I mean, just exhausted. Yesterday I was falling asleep in the saddle. I was in fuzz land in my head and I kept almost falling out of the saddle. I had to get down and walk because we were beside a road and I couldn't really do the close eye thing very safely.
I give myself shivers so many times throughout the day when I think about my horse and the people who are now added to my life. I was talking with Walter about our dreams and it's kind of like that spark I was talking about earlier that makes you smile. All of us have these drives and dreams that are unique to us. We are born with them and who knows where they come from. Nobody said to us "Dream about this. This is cool". It just came with us when we came into the world and I tell you with the utmost enthusiasm that this is what you should pursue. There is nothing that compares to fulfilling your dream. There is no amount of money or thing or situation that will ever, ever compare.
Most people get it when they see the horse and hear about the ride and they are enthusiastic and smile and laugh with me and ask questions, but every once in a while someone doesn't get it. This is fine though. There is always going to be someone who doesn't get your dream. I don't care if your dream is to produce fatter rolls of toilet paper, it's yours and it's what will truly make you happy.
I think this spirals into relationships too. We are quick to give up the dream we're born with. It fizzles away as we age or we throw all of our energy into another person. The thing is, when we are initially attracted to someone we are attracted to their drives and their loves and their ways. If you let your drives and your loves fizzle away, then I think it can hurt your relationships. You should put your all into the people you love. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that comes before my family, but the dreams have their place and they just can't be let go of. Everything works together.
Ugly Dog after he just took his teeth out and made us all laugh (photo by Jordan)
Dancing couple at the Desert Bar in Parker, AZ (photos by Jordan)
That's a whole other topic anyway, but my main point right now is to go for whatever that little thing is in you that makes you excited. It feels so right. Every single day while I'm riding out there alone with my horse I get overwhelmed with feeling and I smile to myself and sometimes shake my head in just total joy. I'm doing what I said I would do as a baby. Here, let me show you a little video of when the dream began. I'm a little girl and I am surrounded by my family. My Uncle Chrissy and my brother and mom and dad, my amazing Grandma, and my inspiration, my Grandfather, are all there in that room. Look Poppy...I'm doing this now for real.
No one ever said to me "you can't do that". Well, that's not true, people I have met throughout my life have said I can't do things, but no one in my family ever said I can't do something and if they say I can do it (which I have always been told I can), then I believe I can do it and nothing anyone says will deter me. My mom is the strongest, kindest woman you will ever meet and has been a constant teacher, my father drove me all over the place as a child and young adult because he believed I could sing and would do whatever he could do to make it happen. My Grandfather, with his hand curled in a fist and a punch to the air and "pow" coming from his lips, would say "you go get 'em baby".
"You go get 'em baby". That's all I needed and I've hung on to it and I hear it when things are hard. Get 'em...get the stars, get the moon, get people, get love, get music, get laughs, get tears...get it all because it's all here for you. Every person on this planet has their "'em's" to get. Keep your eyes off your feet and straight ahead and reach for every sparkly thing you pass. Smile at every person you see. This is it.
My step-father, Stephen, is always on the phone so we have a place to stay. He gives so much energy and makes this all possible for me. My uncles and aunts who's messages I save on my phone so I can go back and listen to their voices when I need a pick me up...and my beautiful cousins. That has been my support. That has been my drive. People.
I need people like I need air and they fill me up like nothing else. My beautiful friend, Lari Shea in Mendocino at Ricochet Ridge Ranch, gave me the chance to be with horses again which led me to Sojourner, which led me to Henry and Shorty at the ranch in the East Bay who have become my family, which led me to every person I've met on this ride who have also become my family, and these two boys I'm with who are such a fantastic support and so talented as photographers and artists adding so much magic to this ride.
(photos by Linny)
I think about these things as I ride and the strength that I bundle up like a growing snowball as I ride from town to town because of these people. I told John at the radio station in Parker that it's like the little diamond pieces you run Mario in to when playing Super Mario Brothers. These people are my little diamonds and with each cookie I eat that was made for us, or the jingle of the crystal that is now on my horn from Kelly a few towns back. These sounds and tastes and feelings that I take with me from them are what makes me work. I could ride for the rest of my life no matter how tired it makes me if I am riding to them. I love their stories, I love their ideas and their lives, I love their questions and answers and why's and why nots. I love their laughs and different mannerisms and the constant similarities from person to person to person. All of us here together doing what we do, feeling what we feel.
(photo by Linny)
(photo by Walter)
(photo by Walter)
Ugly Dog's homee (photo by Linny)
And this horse. Oh man, this horse. He makes it all possible. He is the connection and the spirit that ties it all together.
(photo by Linny)
I am good at wandering off from subject to subject because there is just so much to think and talk about, but my original intention when I started writing was just to tell you if there is anything that you have ever dreamed of doing, you just have to do it. Never turn your back on a feeling that came from somewhere we can't see or touch or understand. Those are things that are only ours and those are things to focus in on. Nothing will make you happier.
So...to start where I left off on our journey, I had a wonderful evening with Clare and her husband and rode on the next day to a camping spot just West of Aguila. Walter and I stayed up the entire night before so I was too tired to ride very far that day. I found a nice field and was going to just take a nap in it for a while with Soj tied to the truck, but we decided at 2:30pm and after 18 miles of riding that we would just set up camp for the rest of the evening. Walter and I ended staying up all night again and so the next day (yesterday) was pure agony.
Soj and I rode 36 miles to Wickenburg where we are now and it's kind of unfortunate I was so tired because it was a beautiful ride, but my eyes were blurry and my head was often to the ground. The desert is getting greener as we ride East and there are beautiful flowers everywhere.
Clare wrote to me telling me to take my time on the ride and stay up all night as much as I want and enjoy it! I loved that email. I thought about it for a second and realized "Yeah! There is no schedule...I just want to do what I feel at any moment".
So 36 miles later we get into Wickenburg where we are staying with one of Clare's friends, Sharon. I haven't really talked with Sharon much yet because I was tired last night and just went to sleep after dinner. Remember how I wrote about Clare and Janet fish tailing through the field? Here is a little video. I didn't get my phone out in time to get them in the field, but this gives you a taste. It was the best. :)
Now I am in a cafe called "The Pony Espresso". It would be cool to ride Soj down here and tie him up outside while I grab a coffee for tomorrow's ride. I'll do it if it's on the way, but I think there actually is a way to cut through the field tomorrow which would cut out the cafe stop.
Here are some photos from Parker to Aguila, AZ:
Driving to the Colorado River to take a dip
Walter jumping into the river
At Melissa and John's having some fantastic late night conversation around the fire on their porch. This is what it's all about. A couple weeks ago I didn't know them and now I know they will be friends from here on out. Just an evening-that's all it takes! :) Perfect. I love it.
Melissa the photographer. www.sweetbeeblog.blogspot.com
This is back at James and Kelly's. Soj was dreaming along with his buddy the brown horse. They were both running through fields together in dream land, I think, because they were twitchy
There is a cafe in Aguila, AZ called The Unforgettable Women Cafe. I got a text from Walter saying "I am at a great internet cafe. We have to come back later". I didn't get to go back, but as I was riding and hungry the truck pulled up and Jordan had lunch for me that these awesome women had made for me. They made the boys a nice lunch and filled us up with coffee too. The cafe is run by a mother/daughter team. Thanks so much to them for the food!!!! Their site is www.unforgettablewomen.com
At the BS ranch. They made a big Turkey dinner and homemade pies. It was amazing
Soj trying to steal a little coffee
Ugly Dog sharing his photos
Ugly Dog with no teeth!!!
At the Desert Bar:
(photo by Jordan)