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...

Bing Crosby Bang Boom!


"Alright guys, guys? Hey guys!"

"Yeah, Ma?"

"Alright, I want you all to stop what you're doing and just take a minute. Ready?" (she says this in a slightly joking, but she really means it, kind of voice)

"Okay, Mama, Ready."

"Okay. Now really look around at where you are. Take a deep breath and just enjoy this for a minute."

Silence. Silence. Silence.
(We all giggle a little)

"Okay, good! I want you guys to really appreciate this and be aware of how magnificent it is to be here!"

This is my mom any time we are outside in a beautiful place. All of a sudden she becomes aware of it's greatness and wants to make sure her children see it and feel it too.

As Sojourner and I rode the 38 miles yesterday from Magdalena, New Mexico, to Lemitar, NM, I could hear my mom saying this to me.
"Enjoy this, Linny. Look at where you are."
"Okay, Mama", I said in my head, "I see it, Ma. I feel it."

The land was so breathtakingly beautiful and I was so happy to be there. Sojourner was especially energetic (which surprised me after two solid days of draining, ridiculous wind). He had an extremely forward walk the entire day and was ready to gallop the last five miles (I let him canter and break into little gallops here and there).

We rode from red rocks and open cliff faces into green pastures and full, green Cottonwoods. I think this is why Sojourner was ready to gallop. By the time we got into the green it was around 5pm and the air was perfectly cool (still t-shirt weather, but cool like a New Hampshire summer evening). We were next to an aqueduct so there was life everywhere...birds, ducks, cows, green grass, wildflowers, other horses curious and perky in green fields. It was stop and hold your breath beautiful and he was feeling it as much as I was.

We have taken today off to run a million errands and we took a little time at some thrift stores as well and (man!) did we ever score! (High five! I like very much!)

Walter was able to trade a fleece vest of his for nearly everything we had in our hands! I was psyched. We found a bunch of cool shirts and I got a book called "Hooking Up" by Tom Wolfe.

I started the book already while Walter was in the Verizon store (he lost his phone the other day) and I am loving it. It's pretty much about exactly what I'm so interested in and studying on this ride...humans, humans and horses, love, sex, divorce, and all that rock 'n' roll (minus the humans and horses part...I don't think that's in this book).

Walter and I were recently talking about innocence and the loss of innocence. My parents always told us as we were kids that we have our whole lives to be older and to stay young as long as we can.

I really took it to heart and stayed pretty darn innocent as a child and as a young adult and I am so grateful they were so adamant I do so.

I think "hold on to your youth" was one of the best things they ever urged me to do. I was never even tempted to do anything other than climb trees and ride my horse to my best friends house to bring her back to my house or down to the river.

We always flirted and played and ran around looking for "cute boys", but it never went much further than that and I am so glad.

This book starts off by remembering the days when first base was holding hands and second was "necking" and third was...I can't actually remember, but it wasn't sex...I don't even know if home base was! Oh wait, it was, but the joke was that today home base is learning your partners name.

There is something to that innocence that is so important and rapidly becoming obsolete.
Instead of running around outside and looking at bugs for hours (as my little sister, Caiti, did for many of her childhood days), little ones put on their tightest jeans and run to the mall.

I don't know if any of this is reversible, but I do know that there is nothing that compares to the innocence and freedom of childhood. It's something I feel should never be let go of. We are little people that turn into bigger people, but we are always the same person and there is no reason to suppress the desire to laugh out loud, climb a tree, dance like a fool, be innocent.

We went through Socorro yesterday and like every city we go through, people were just overjoyed to see Sojourner. Women especially. They smile so big that they laugh and ask if they can please get close to him.

A man said, "Well, that's not something you see everyday anymore!"

I think that's part of the magic that makes people stop in their tracks. He's a return to something beautiful in the past, something old and gone. He's a little girls dream and the strength and speed of many men and the image of cowboys running wild through fields and Bing Crosby through the old time radio. He's strong and gentle, fast and relaxed, mystical and oh so simple. He's innocence. He's dreams and wishes-the white horse with a long flowing mane-walking through a fast world, waiting at a stop light.

Everything is so bing, bang, BOOM! Done. It's almost like watching a movie or reading a book that is so amazing but you were kind of distracted during it and missed all the best parts, but will you really go back and read it again? Probably not. You've got the gist, and it's lost it's thrill.

Sojourner is like my mom.
"Look at this, Linny. Look!"
He misses nothing and it is interesting to see what he sees and what others don't.
For example, there are times when we're walking through cities up on the sidewalk and we will ride right by people who don't see us. We are even sometimes within their peripheral vision and they still never notice...too distracted. There is no way anything could pass by Soj without him noticing.

He constantly reminds me to look around, use my senses. He never complains "oh man, 25 miles today? 38 miles today!!??" He just goes-ears forward, seeing everything, his mind clear, ready.
What a lesson to learn, and from a horse!
"See, watch, stay here with me". He keeps me there, watching all the little things that catch his attention, noticing the people who don't notice us that I may have otherwise let ideas of the future, memories of the past, or emotions blind me from as well.

It's not anyone's fault. We don't come into this world looking for a tight pair of expensive jeans and the mascara that will make our lashes the longest. We come out curious, sitting up straight, and ready to do nothing more than examine a bug.

It's the push and pressure that comes out of all of us to be "successful" and most importantly stay young and look sexy. Like a horse, we need our pack, our posse, our ladies group, our golf club. We like our packs and the best looking one is usually the cream on the top of the people drink in the big people latte.

But I don't think it has to be this way. I don't know. I'm just a girl on a horse, but I just feel like there is so much outside, so much to be seen and so much to learn out there...so much that has nothing to do with what we deem so important.

Sojourner is pretty much solid muscle, all the animals we see that aren't human or domesticated are, and I love it! And here we are with these magnificent bodies that are capable of so much and because of the way we've set up our world we would huff at lifting a 20 pound bag (and believe me, I have done my share of "Walter, can you get this?" when I am totally capable of lifting it myself).

It's too easy. Maybe we make things too easy. Maybe we make things that are easy seem too hard. Have we become too disposable with our love, our marriages, our feelings, or are we rebelling against something that maybe isn't natural? Were they right in the 70's? Free love, no inhibitions? Should it be that way but maybe with a little more balance?
I can't follow Soj's lead here because he's all for free love. They all excite him: Mares, Geldings, Stallions (and he's a Gelding...the little man is regretfully only half the man he used to be).

I still have a romantic heart and like to think about growing old in my loves arms, true to the end, but I go back and forth to be honest...or I used to anyway. I suppose it's just different for every person, but whatever the case may be, I think more weight should be put on things. More respect should be offered.

All stuff to talk about with people I meet on this trek, I guess...

But anyway, we are riding 18 miles tomorrow to Bernardo. Soj had a nice rest today and 18 miles is nothing for that little fire cracker so we will have a nice, easy ride tomorrow.

Walter and I are 3 days now without a shower, but I think we will get one tomorrow night at the RV park we're staying at (fingers crossed tightly).

Walter is working on cracking my phone so we can get wi-fi wherever we have cell service so if it works I'll see you here tomorrow!

Oh cool. Walter's mouth is full of pizza so he just gave me the "ax across the neck" sign, swallowed, and said "cracked." See you soon then....


  1. Wow! I'm running out of superlatives here, Linny. Your writing is so profound and powerful. However far your influence reaches during your lifetime (and I hope it's very far indeed), I am sure that every single person who meets you, and stops long enough to get to know a little bit about you, will be a better person for it.

    But I know you aren't after compliments. What I'm referring to is how you seem to understand so profoundly what ails us as a society. And although many of us who follow you closely also understand this, you have a way of putting it into words. This is one of your best blogs yet, but I seem to keep saying that over and over. :)

    Many words for me to hang on tonight, but none that ring truer than these:

    "Everything is so bing, bang, BOOM! Done. It's almost like watching a movie or reading a book that is so amazing but you were kind of distracted during it and missed all the best parts, but will you really go back and read it again? Probably not. You've got the gist, and it's lost it's thrill."

    I think I put in a previous comment that so many people just skim the surface like a skipped rock. The get to the other side of the lake, but missed all the great life beneath the superficial part.

    And the loss of innocence. So much suffering related to that problem. Maybe someday, you'll want to open a camp for young people, especially girls, and use horses, art, and music to help kids receive some of the wonderful guidance that your parents obviously gave to you.

    Thanks as always!

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  3. Ugh! My post had too many errors, so I had to delete and re-post it. I admonished myself to stop being lazy about proofreading. It's an important step. :) OK, here goes again:

    By the way, there's a terrific, and brief, book that is related to this post that I think your readers might really appreciate, Linny. Jeni actually reminded me of it when I saw it listed as a favorite of hers.

    The book is called "The Four Agreements" by don Miguel Ruiz. Basically, the reason why we feel compelled to dress up and go to the mall or join country clubs that we can't afford is because of agreements society foists upon us and we accept. These agreements are so incremental, all-consuming, and omnipresent that we don't even realize that we are buying into them.

    The Four Agreements that don Miguel Ruiz presents to us in a book of less than 150 pages help us realize that we really can remake our contract with ourselves and society if we wish. And the new reality for us will be much more loving, peaceful, and fulfilling than our old life.

    You would instantly see the wisdom in the book Linny, but it wouldn't apply to you much. I mean that as a high compliment because your parents encouraged you every step of the way to make wholesome agreements that are likely to lead to a life of happiness.

    Anyway, I read the book in two nights and was really glad I did. I highly recommend it and thank Jeni for prompting me to pause for a second and say "Hey, I've got that book downstairs, but I can't remember anything about it..." :)

  4. Gahh I just wrote a whole long thing to you and lost it. Basically I just wanted to thank you again for your great posts. I got married the day before yesterday and being out here in my old home state with just my (now) husband for the week has given me lots of time to think about connections, love, life, marriage. Especially since I came out of my childhood with a profound love and respect for my mom but a firm decision to NEVER Get married. Then I met Josh. I am glad I opened myself to the experience, took a huge risk (moved away from friends and family to an unknown place with him after we had been acquainted 2 weeks), and have learned so much about myself ever since.
    Anyway, breakfast it here and we are off for a 2 hour drive to get to a riding stable! yep, going for a trail ride in the Maine woods, trying to set aside my critical guide's eye from Ricochet ;)
    Keep it up girl, you are great.

  5. As always, love your insights and comments. Your words say it all. Nature is the best teacher.

    I got such a kick out of the last picture posted, of you giving Soj a big neck hug. The look captured is priceless. He appears to be squeezing his eyes shut to take in the emotions you are giving, with a little smile across his lips. His expression conveys: "I love this girl with all my heart and she just makes me warm all over. Ain't life grand!"

    The scenery is magnificent and I can understand how Georgia O'keefe fell in love with it. She certainly captured the colors and intimate side of nature with her paintings. I'm looking forward to seeing how your journey influences your art in the years to come.

    Sending my love your way.

  6. Sojourner: "Oh yeah, be jealous. This is my main squeeze, Linny." :)

  7. The horse (Soj in this case) becomes an analogy for all those things that are valued and need reconciliation in people's hearts and own lives. Once this analogy is adopted by those who experience it they hopefully can share it with others creating the possibility of a newly rediscovered innocence from times gone by: a new grasp at hanging onto their youth and a new hope. It's still true to this day that our horses carry the heaviest of invisible loads: our dreams.

    Enjoy your day...

  8. Linny
    Your writing is so wonderful, you make us feel as though we are riding along with you on Sojourners back. Seeing the beautiful sights, smelling the fresh grass, hearing Soj's hoofs on the land mixed with sounds of nature all around you.
    Nancy is right, in the picture of you hugging Soj he looks so content, with eyes closed just basking in your hug.
    The Four Agreements, what a great book. About five years ago, Linny was playing a gig in Manhattan for an open house her uncle was having for his photography studio.
    Linny and I were offered the use of our very good friends Glenn and Krista's Manhattan flat, a great place right in the heart of the city. When I woke up in the morning, I noticed on the coffee table this little orange book, I picked it up and started to read, The Four Agreements. That little book was there at a time I needed those words of wisdom. It is funny how things we do in our life, that we don't even think about can have such an impact on someone elses life, a smile at the right time , a word of encouragement from a teacher, a little book on a coffee table. I am sure Glenn and Krista never realized how much their leaving that book on there coffee table helped me through a very hard time. I have shared a copy of this little book with friends and family.So glad you mentioned it Tom, it is a little book that means allot.
    Tom, it is interesting you mentioned Lin working with young girls, it has long been an interest of hers and her sister Cait. She has worked in childrens theater and is great with the kids. I am sure no matter what she does with her life it will include reaching out to young girls.
    Tom thanks so much for your help with getting sponsorship for Linny,Walter and Soj
    Everyone's support means so much, Stephen with finding all these wonderful people and places to stay, Nancy with your incredible generosity and love, Dan for getting the homestead ready for their return,and all the bloggers giving them support and encouragement.

  9. Linny,

    I do not have the words or skill to convey what reading your posts means to me. You are truly an amazing person, I agree with Tom about your profound and powerful writing.

    My step-daughter has her whole adult life planned out- how many kids she'll have,and their names, how many animals and what state she is going to live in. She is only 6, and I can't figure out how such a young girl is obsessed with growing up. I'm glad she has dreams for her future, but I hope, as parents we can slow her down and promote innocence over society's pressures.

    On the subject of relationships- Gary Zukav's Seat of the Soul is good reading. He proposes that marriage is an archaic tradition based on survival and instead promotes spiritual partnerships- partnerships between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. While I like this concept, I feel it should be part of the respect you give your partner within a marriage. I too am a romantic and a bit old fashioned.

    By the way- NH is a fantastic place to open up that girls camp Tom suggested. I'd be willing to quit my job in a heartbeat and work there with you!

    Kisses to Soj from our herd -Bugle, Billy & Sarah.

  10. Never thought a blog could bring out such a competitive side of my character... but after Jeni's comment regarding that children's camp in N.H., I just had to tell you about a children's camp, here on the coast.

    My late husband and his brother started a children's camp on some land we owned in the late '70's. Yea gads, that's the last century! Anyway, this camp was established on a heavily redwood forested piece of property, adjoining the Albion River and coast. The intent was to get high risk kids out of the city and have them experience nature in a learning manner. We solicited the help of local loggers to come and demonstrate the use of chain saws and lumber mills. These inner city kids would be bussed up from places like Oakland and Richmond, Cal. Later, as far away as Oklahoma. Now, you have to understand that most of these kids had never been out of the city, let alone see a forest. They were terrified. The loggers would teach them how to use a chain saw, then cut a tree, limb it and take it over to the mill to be cut into lumber for building. It was hard, dirty work and by the end of the day, they were too tired to do anything but eat their dinner and fall into a sleeping bag. The first years were primitive camping in tents and cooking over a fire pit. An out house latrine and make shift cold water shower was the height of luxury. Over the years, some of these kids would return and help build the cabins from the lumber they helped make. Slowly, a large meadow was established, watertower with hot and cold running water and a flushing toilet, small bunk cabins and finally, a large community center and kitchen. After 35 years, the camp continues to bring people from all walks of life.

    One of my fondest memories is watching a 13 year old girl from Oakland learning how to manage a chain saw. Here is a young girl, surviving on her street senses, being instructed by a huge white guy in a plaid shirt. We're talking literal Paul Bunyan. This man actually is THE Paul Bunyan during the Fort Bragg lumber days. He stands 6'8", without boots. His heart is bigger than his brawn and he is gently demonstrating how to control the kick back while cutting thru timber. Holding this powerful machine in her hands, the girl is standing in the center of a group of boys and girls, all with masks of sneers, covering their fear. This young girl manages to cut down a small whip of a tree and the look on on her face is radiant. She looks up at the logger with a grin splitting from ear to ear. You could see the sense of power and accomplish she felt. There was a spontaneous shout of approval from her peers. It was the turning point for the group and the rest of the week, they worked in cooperation with a shared goal.

    All this is just to let you know that the camp still exists and now has extended to include a camp for handicap kids, complete with barn and stables. It's just waiting for the right person (and horse) to come along with a riding program. Ummmmmm

    I've got connections.


    Your Godmother

  11. Hmmm; your "godmother" makes it hard to compete alright. I can recall Steven Tyler of Aerosmith being asked about a west coast location for him and the band now that they had made it "big." His answer: "Naw, we're an East Coast band and thats all there is to it." And where do they live today? Guess. In fairness, I should add that I won a trip to the west coast a few years ago and I must say, I cannot think of a more beautiful place than northern CA (I can think of places AS beautiful, but not MORE)!

    So, if ALL of my kids wind up in CA, maybe I will move too. Maybe. Oregon is almost as left wing as VT so that might be a good substitute. How far is Grant's Pass from Mendo?

    Wendy is, of course, entirely correct when she tells of Linny's gift with children. And Linny is entirely correct when she writes of her childhood. I can tell/remind you that the one bathroom house played a part in that. We moved from a 3 bathroom two story house in an upscale neighborhood in TX to live in a little hand built (with love but not much experience, the original owner once told me) house in the wooded mountains of the northeast. Once our son, Dan, moved out to college and beyond, the only males around were the dog and I. Many a time and whatever the season, I joined him outside when nature called as I could see (and hear) that there was a pow-wow in the tiny bathroom of that little house.

  12. Wow, Nancy! Your husband sounds like he was a wonderful man. I'm not surprised. Are you able to tell us the camp's name, or should that remain private?

    It's looking like Linny might have to find a way to split her time a bit between NH and CA. :)

  13. Good morning, almost noon, to all.
    These little posts are beginning to have a life of their own. Kind of like a small touchstone of the world outside of Linny and Walter's. I don't do facebook, mostly because I don't want to get sucked into cyperspace. This blog is a strong enough pull.

    It's pretty interesting how small crumbs of our lives are left along the trail, each leading to another piece of the whole. I do feel as if I'm getting to know Linny as well as all the people on the periphery. We are becoming a linked family via blogland.

    As much as I may convey an unrelenting jousting for Linny to move to Mendoland, I am very much aware that she will follow her heart and her heart is deeply entrenched with her immediate family. As her parents, you have each done a remarkable job in guiding and nurturing her young spirit to find its own path. It's the foundation you have given that has allowed all your children to seek for themselves a full life and not one of complacency. For that, you have my deepest respect and admiration. Thank you for your gifts. When you think there are too many people populating the world, just imagine one without the likes of Linny. (not to mention Caiti, Dan, Walter, Soj... it's really one big package.)

    Guess we're more linked than we thought, even before computers.

    Tom, you are a gem. Each new facet is interesting and I enjoy your comments and insights. Horseman, poet, philosopher, publisher and now Hang gliding??

    Jeni, The equestrian team, Bird, etc., I love your input and our shared joy in this journey with Linny. All your perspectives add to the adventure. It would certainly be fitting to all meet in N.H. I understand there is enough land for us to camp. How 'bout it Dan? Can you mow the meadow in preparation?

    By the way Tom, the camp's name is Mendocino Christian Camp, located in Albion, Ca. Dan, it's a 5 hour drive from Grants Pass, Oregon, down Hwy 5, turn right on Hwy 20 and continue west, to the coast. Easy breezy. Depending on how left you want to get, Albion itself, is pretty out there. Still a few communes intact, people pretty much leave you alone but will be the first to help, when needed.

    Waiting for the predicted rain to commence, so I'd best get the last of the summer bulbs in the ground.

    Until later.


  14. Thanks for the kind words, Nancy.

    Aw,come one. Just a little, tiny, teensy, weensy bit of time on FB? I just posted a picture there of me and Buster having a wonderful time playing with calves on the ranch yesterday. Jeni and Meg (Eq. Team) are there. :)

    My wife is in 100% agreement with Betty White on Saturday Night Live when she said about Facebook - "What a waste of time." Ha! But I enjoy it and don't let it keep me from doing all of the other things I enjoy.

    Off to check out the camp. They must have a website.

  15. Dan,

    Allston, Massachusetts, baby! Aerosmith has never left its New England roots. Joe Perry keeps his Friesian horses at his farm in Vermont.

    You'd have to search pretty far to find a bigger Aerosmith fan than me. I went to my first Aerosmith concert in the mid-70's and have gone to pretty much every one that's been close enough since.

    And as far as I'm conerned, there is only one way to experience a concert like theirs. I imagine that the band is getting all of its energy from the fans. The more we give, the more they give. I try to end every hard rock concert exhausted, soaking wet, and with no voice left. I promise to be more well-mannered, albeit just as enthusiastic, when I see Linny and Caiti. Do you play the drums when they perform nearby?

  16. I just read this post and I love it... It makes you think about life.. Last week I saw on TV this programm which was saying that young kids are acting like they are 16. Kids who are 6 or 7 years old are wearing a brah, short skirts, short shirts... It's like they don't want to be a child but be an adult immediatly.. When I was younger, I only thought about horses. After school I went to my pony, often I had my riding clothes with me or I was wearing it at school.. Ofcourse when I got to high school I couldn't do that anymore because it wasn't cool! But I left my clothes at my dad's place and went riding after school... Sometimes it makes me nervous, I mean, someday I want to have kids (if I can have hem) but how will they grow up? My little nephew is 6 years old and if I see how soon he is growing and what he's learning at school from the other kids.. It's not cool anymore to give your mom a kiss or even your aunt so I give him a high five now if I see him. The little one who's 2 years old is dying to get a hug or kiss.. It's just a big difference..

    And lin, I understand exactly what you have with Soj that he's seeying everyting. Scout has the same thing. When I ride him in the forest, his ears go up, he's looking around and yes, there's a deer eating between the three's. I would not have seen it if I was alone but with Scout I will not miss a thing what's happening around us.
    Someday we will ride together with our horses...I know that for sure!! Wow, imagine how busy we will be looking around with two of those horses...;) Love Nico