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...

See you again, Texas.


Walter waving goodbye to Texas...
Back at David and Kathy's. The puppy wanted to help me bring Soj in.

Right now I'm sitting in a motel room at The Scottish inns that was donated to us by the owner. Walter and I are both so grateful to be here. We got up this morning to the oh so loud alarm clock at 4am which got one rooster going...which started another...which started the loudest of all the loud roosters. It wasn't a pleasant awakening, but there was no hitting the snooze button with all of that going on so Soj and I were off walking down the highway by 4:20am.

Walter, Soj, and I actually fell asleep in the ditch on the side of the road yesterday. It was a quiet road and a grassy ditch, but I still can't believe the three of us actually slept there for a couple of hours! It would have been a funny scene for anyone driving by! I wish we could have had that picture.

Walter woke up and Sojourner's lead rope had slipped out of his hand as he dozed, but Soj was still there standing over us asleep as well.

It is just so hot. We had left David's place at 5:40am. We were up at 4:15, but by the time we packed up and let Soj eat, wrapped his leg and what not, it was close to 6am. We stayed back on a county road for a while and watched the sun rise which was just absolutely beautiful. The moon was full, huge, and orange, too.
Both Walter and I felt really grateful to be on this ride and that moment...and THEN...the heat it. Then thoughts shifted a bit, but today in the cool of the pool we pepped each other up again. One day this will all be over and we will look back at how wonderful it was and all that we went through. The hard times make for good stories and this heat is good for the old will power.
We walked 27 miles yesterday. The heat is kicking in hard by 7:45 in the morning. We had gone about 10 miles by then. I walked two, then Walter two, then I walked 4, then Walter 4....then we slowed. We found the tree over the ditch and decided to wait out some of the heat for a while. It was about 11am when we got to the ditch and we stayed there until around 4pm.

Poor Walter decided to take these train tracks to cut off some miles, but instead came to cattle guards and fences so he had to climb a big hill in tall grass in over 100 degree weather. Soj didn't mind. He like the tall grass because he can swipe a bite while he walks without stopping.
We had 7 miles left after our ditch stop and we did them one mile at a time. One of us would drive ahead and wait at the end of the mile and then we would switch. It was the only way to make it bearable. We also carried a spray bottle and spritzed ourselves constantly.

When I was waiting ahead for Walter I was pleasantly surprised by Ron! (Ron is the Preacher David Fox's dad who brought us down to the vet). He pulled in beside me and I was so happy to see him.

Walter and I already miss them all so much. All the heat and slow steps are completely worth it if you're headed toward people like them.

I told David, "Imagine what we could do if we were neighbors!!"
David said in his raspy voice with drawn out Southern words, "oh, I know!"
David helped me cut the holes in the guitar strap I was working on.
David works on saddles and makes concho's and bridles and all kinds of things for riding that I haven't really gotten into yet, but I paint and carve a little more...it would have been fun to have a month together to really exchange what we know and see what we could come up with.

What a gift this has been. To walk into someone's home at one moment not knowing them and leave days later wishing you didn't have to go. I always think about the fact that I would have gone my whole life without knowing all of these incredible people if we weren't on this ride which almost seems unfathomable. Oh, the people in this world...
So...Ron pulled up and said, "What are you doing in the pick-up!?" with a smile.
I told him we were trading off miles because it's just too hot. He was a little shocked that we were camping that night because it was so hot (and it was awful, we didn't sleep), but I told him we were tough and showed him my muscles that would fend off the oncoming heat rays.

Ron might possibly be made of magic. I'm pretty sure he is because Walter and I have had a major cooler problem and he magically produced just what we needed. We have this big old cooler that takes up a lot of room in the truck and doesn't hold ice for more than a day. We have wasted food because it's gotten soaked in there or the ice melts, the water heats, and well...the cream....

So Ron asked if we had a cooler and I told him we had just ditched our cooler at the last dumpster but that we were looking for a little cooler to have in the front so we could just have a couple cool things with us. He turned to the passenger side of his truck and presented a little cooler to me.

"Here you go."
He insisted I take it.

It's perfect, too. What a difference. Ron said before he pulled away that he thinks he might accidentally run into us again in the future. I can't wait.

This is a picture of Ron leaving to go bring Walter some water after giving me the cooler.
Walter walked the last 4 or 5 miles to our resting place yesterday because I mentioned that I needed to get a wrap of some kind for my knee. He wouldn't let me walk anymore even though I insisted that I would walk. He had the reins though-Sojourner's reins, that is. And so they went on and I got Soj's feed ready up ahead.

We stayed behind a kind woman named Judy's antique store last night. We only got to meet her and her husband, Albert, for a moment at the rest stop. We were in the tent trying to get to sleep before the sun went down so I'm not sure if they came to see us later on that evening or not.

Their place is adorable. There are goats and kittens everywhere. Walter and I were possibly the most hot and tired we've been yet when we got there so I was thrilled when Walter made a little homemade shower to cool off in.

It was actually a very nice evening. We played with the kittens and the goats and Soj kind of wandered in and out of everything we did to check things out and then went back to eating. We set up the tent and both fell asleep before the sun went down, but they were only quick spurts of sleep.
I'd say I could use some beauty rest.

I was up until about 2am. We had to keep the doors of the tent open to allow some air in and didn't cover ourselves with a blanket. The bugs were horrendous. They ate us alive. Finally at 12:30am I got up and went to the truck to find some bug spray. Soj stayed close to the tent and ate ALL night. It was like he was eating into a microphone! All the animals around, including Soj, decided to drift off to sleep around 2 so I finally could as well. Then the alarm, then the roosters.

As I walked down the highway at a little past 4am I was thinking about how surprised the tractor trailer trucks going by must be to see us.

Walter and I switched every 2 miles. 2 miles meant a 35 or so minute nap. Then the other would show up in the window of the truck.

"I can go farther, you sleep."
"No no no no, I'm ready"

That was the typical conversation this morning.

At least we only had 12 miles to go today and it was all done by 9am. It was touching 100 degrees when we got in.

We met Ray Walker at the fair grounds where Soj was staying and I really wish I had more time to spend with him. He actually owns the old homestead of the Abernathy family. Every year he has a chuck wagon come out and they cook out of the back of it and drive about 100 cattle around the property.

Walter went over to visit with them for a little while this evening, but I had to sleep a little more and then wanted to work on a few photos and write.

We just ate canned tomato soup and some bread and butter. I added spinach to the soup so we can bulk up like Popeye for all the walking we're doing. And I have to say to Steve and Roberta Turner back in Plainview...thank goodness for the Texas Hot Salt! It has saved many a canned meal and bland sandwich!
Tomorrow we head toward Faxon, but I think we will probably camp out half way. It's only 27 miles away, but we're walking still and it's already 10:40pm now. This means we will get up at 3 or 4, not midnight like we had contemplated. So we'll be walking into the heat and I just don't know if I want to walk in it again tomorrow. We'll see...


  1. You're tough travelers! I wish I was with you to help with the walking. I have yet to encounter heat that makes me wilt. I'd enjoy the challenge. The hottest I think I've ever encountered wasn't in the desert, but in the Everglades. About 100 degrees with what must have been near 100% humidity. Brutal.

    It certainly will cool off and the days will be glorious for traveling then. But, I can see that the incredible people you are meeting along the way make it all worthwhile.

    That sure is some leather shop that David's got. I'll bet you were admiring lots of his tools.

    Buster and I had fantastic rides last night and tonight. In addition to team sorting, we have been working diligently on a big challenge - picking up the correct lead when cantering to the right. For a horse that never was asked to do that for the first 17 years of his life, and has no muscle memory on that side, it can be a real challenge indeed.

    Some experienced trainer friends of mine are helping us and giving me lots of exercises to do to help Buster use his front and hind quarters independently and get to where we can depart smoothly at the canter in that direction. Buster is trying so hard. He's such a good boy. And we're making great progress, but it will take weeks or months to get this down. Fun!

    Travel safe. Try to stay cool.

  2. Linny.... your 15 mile marker is a ranch with a pygmy goat out front. The only house inbetween where you are and Faxon. Knock on the door, tell them you know Ray Walker..they will probably put you indoors for the night if you don't want to come the full 27 miles. At the 23 mile marker is Chattie...I can come get you and take you back there the next morning to continue your journey. Let me know.