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...
We are now in Mountainair, New Mexico. We have had pretty poor to non-existent cell service the last couple of days so I haven't been able to get on-line. So let me back track a bit....
You saw the windy video from the Kiva RV Park And Horse Motel we stayed at in Bernardo. We met a wonderful woman named Dianne there who rescues dogs, mules, donkeys, and horses.
Walter kept saying "She sounds like she's from Rhode Island". As it turned out she was from Delaware...close...still has the East Coast way about her.
The day before that we rode on HWY 25 which is a 75mph road. That day couldn't have ended soon enough. We came across fences that we had to cut and repair because the maps were wrong, speeding cars, hunger, and exhaustion...not to sound like a complainer, but it was a tough day.
I had said I didn't want to ride on the highway because I had a bad feeling that morning. We thought we had worked around it, but like I said, the map hadn't been updated and the road ended with a barbed wire fence and a big sign saying "you better not go in here" (it didn't really say that, but that was the gist).
So, we had to cut the fence on the other side to get on to the highway. Thankfully my bad feeling was incorrect and all was fine, but it was not fun. It was a super fast highway and we had to go over three different rivers with no shoulder. The shoulder wasn't all that big even when there weren't rivers to cross and Soj was barefoot so finally I just went to the median and we cantered as much as we could right down the center. Cars were whizzing on both sides of us and I was thinking we were going to get arrested. We just kept on running though and finally (about 10 miles later) we made it to our exit and made ourselves at home at the RV park.
If you are ever traveling with your horse (or without a horse) on this road, this is the place to stop. The shower was awesome, the animals were so great to be around, and Dianne is a big walking heart.
"Hey horse. Want me to take you for a walk? Yeah, here, let's go little buddy", says little white fuzzy donkey.
"Come on, man", says the big donkey, "He's a horse. He can't understand you. Look at him. Does he look like he understands?"
Ah, C'mon Joe, I'm just tryin' to be personable. Let's go little horsey. I'll show ya around."
Thankfully the wind had stopped by the next morning. We crossed over the Rio Grande and made our way 22 miles to a great little camping spot on BLM land.
Soj soon came across some new animal friends....very curious Texas Longhorns.
At the camping spot we made a great dinner...Chile Relleno, Spanish rice, refried beans, and corn on the cob...
The next morning we made our way to Mountainair. This was only an 18 mile ride.
Walter was waiting on the side of the road cooking lunch. We decided to set the camera up on the tripod because we don't have many pictures with all three of us.
I'm wearing basketball shorts we got for free at a thrift store in Socorro. They're not usually my style, but these are the most comfortable pants to ride in. In fact, I think I'll be wearing these a lot. They are long enough so my thighs don't get rubbed raw, but they are still cool and soft and LOOSE which is a big time plus.
After lunch we had another little pit stop and Walter got on Soj for the first time.
The family we are staying with in Mountainair (Bob, Shannon, and Dawson) have set Soj up with a beautiful 10 acres to roam around on. He instantly rolled all the way over about 4 times the second after I removed his saddle.
Bob had come out to meet us on the road before and we were really looking forward to spending some time with him and his family the next day.
We got in and they showed us around their property and then we went inside for a shower and dinner. Dawson is 19 months old and full of energy. He handed me lots of things and then jumped all over me and the dogs before crashing on the coffee table into an awkward sleep.
My dad always said little kids are like puppies and this little long lashed cutie is no exception. He was all over the place and then seconds later he was lying on the table with his head down (he was in the middle of reaching for a toy when sleep overcame him). It was like someone pushed the pause button and he just froze where he was.
We watched a movie with Shannon and Bob and then I followed Dawson's lead and was ready to sleep. We were greeted by the neighbors maniacal dogs which was a little annoying for a while, but we were able to shoo them off with Sojourner's reins.
I thought it was sweet that with 10 acres of land, Soj still decided to lie down next to the tent and sleep with us like he always does. He was still right there in the morning anxious to eat. That horse is something special, he really is.
Today is sunny and beautiful. We went to a roadhouse cafe and had a so-so breakfast because I didn't yet know about this other cafe in town called ...
I walked in and the owner said "are you Linny Kenney?"
I was totally shocked and said "Yes!"
She said "Well! Happy Birthday!" and brought me over balloons and a little birthday hat!! It was the sweetest thing ever!
Then about an hour later the whole cafe started singing Happy Birthday! It made me so happy. They were all so wonderful. Tomorrow is actually my actual birthday and we plan on going in there for breakfast.
My mom and Stephen and Walter booked a hotel in town for 2 nights so I am getting seriously spoiled. We are at a place called The Shaffer which is said to be haunted. The woman at the desk said it really hurts their business. She doesn't believe in ghosts and said she has never seen one there. She said it's too bad people think it's haunted...who knows....Walter and I are going on a ghost hunt tonight!!
When we walked in there were flowers on the reception counter. They were for me from my sister. That made me really happy. It made me miss her tons so I watched videos. I'll post one I found of us singing in San Francisco....
Alright...my stomach is asking me for dinner....