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...

walking strong....


(amazing photo by Walter)

Walter and I are getting a little taste of what Soj does everyday now and it's actually kinda nice! I felt rejuvenated yesterday. Walter and I have walked 93 miles in the last 5 days leading Soj and I have not slept much in a while for various reasons, but still feel pretty good.

Last night we were near some dogs and they took turns barking the whole night. At 2:43 in the morning I said to Walter, "we've got to go somewhere else".

So we packed up the whole tent and shoved it into our way too packed truck and went searching on county roads for a place to set up the tent again. We found a field that was pretty overgrown with an open gate and a knocked down fence so we didn't think it would bother anyone if we camped there for the night. It was a good choice and I was able to get a good 3 and a half hours or so of sleep which isn't a lot, but I feel pretty good today.

I have taken you already to the cute goats and kittens in Davidson, OK. That was our first Oklahoma stop. That was the day we slept in the ditch which I still can't believe we did. We walked Soj 27 miles that day. The next morning we were up at 4:15 and finished our 13 mile walk to Frederick early and enjoyed our stay at the Scottish Inns Motel.

We met a very nice man named Ray Walker who opened the gate for us at the rodeo grounds where Soj would be sleeping. When we went the following morning to see Soj there was a gift in front of the gates, a nice bale of hay and a little note from Ray.

Goats often get their little heads stuck in fences and work their way out, but this little guy was really stuck so Walter had to go save him...

We were going to leave that night to avoid the heat, but at around 10:30pm on Saturday night we decided we really needed to try to get more sleep and so we laid a blanket on the ground with an egg crate underneath. It was actually pretty comfortable and the stars were beautiful, but I never fell asleep.

I got up at 3:30am to feed Soj and we started walking at 4:30am. Walter started that day off by walking 7.5 miles so I was able to nap in the truck which helped a ton. After that I walked another 5.5 and then we started trading on and off every 2 miles until we completed the 33 mile walk.

It wasn't so bad because the sun was behind clouds most of the day. There were points where it was far too hot and we had to wait the heat out a bit, but for the most part it was pretty tolerable.

I have been talking about how Walter and I have been giving each other little pep talks and how we are trying to focus on appreciating where we are now. On the day we spent in Frederick, we saw on the map that there was a wildlife refuge in the Wichita Mountains not too far from us. We almost didn't go because we were thinking about added miles on the truck and gas, but we decided we needed it and it was the best decision ever!

Walter is just about to open up the dam. He did. All of that water is now running down the river. Muscles of steel. Just kidding. It didn't work.

A future treasure for someone's wrist. This pretty flower is now drying in a book called "The World's Religions" and will eventually be the center piece of a leather cuff...a piece of the Wichita Mountains and this little journey we're on saved forever.

It felt like our old ride again when we were camping in beautiful land and exploring nature. Both of us felt instantly rejuvenated. We went to rivers and lakes and picked flowers to dry and saw prairie dogs and buffalo. It was hot, but wonderful. Later on in the day we sat down at a table in the woods and took the map out to make sure the route we continued on went through some pretty areas because it is too important to us not to.

Prairie Dogs...

Sometimes we choose the shortest route and it doesn't make for the best ride. Both of us need to be in pretty land, especially in this heat. Otherwise the long, barren roads slowly eat at us a bit and the ride becomes a lot more work. We just kind of push through the miles to get to the next place.

So we got back from a nice day at the wildlife refuge and set up our blanket next to Soj to leave early the next morning. Walter walked until the sun rose and I was in and out of sleep for most of it, but was able to catch little glimpses of the beauty.

2 miles into the morning...I'm asleep in the truck.

"I feel great. Go ahead 2 more miles and sleep some more." (Walter)
"Really? Okay, I think I have to. Thank you. I feel bad." (Linny)
"Don't! I feel great, really."

This happened 4 times.

Every 2 miles, though, I would open my eyes to incredible beauty. It was a somewhat cool morning (considering) and the land was starting to change. It was getting greener and the little rivers actually had water in them. I wish I had been more awake to enjoy more of it, but the bits I saw made me oooh and aahhh.

We were greeted by Megan at the end of her driveway. She had her camera out and was talking to it as she made a video blog while we walked toward her. That night we had a shower and talked over dinner.

Megan and her husband live in a converted cow barn that was later a bar and then later a general store. It's a very cool, old place that she has beautifully decorated.

Soj and I were a bit on the other's nerve that evening. I was talking with Megan, Walter, and Mark about how he tests my patience at times, but it is rarely because he's being "bad", he's just kind of being aloof and clumsy with his big body and bangs into me which annoys me a bit...things like that.

But this night he was more on edge than usual and wasn't at all his affectionate self. I was talking with Walter about it the next day and I think he was just totally feeding off of my energy. I hadn't slept and then Walter and Soj and I walked so far and I think my anxiety to sleep was coming out of me and going into him. He stepped squarely on my flip flopped foot and stayed there until Megan and I were able to push him off.

He just wasn't very aware of me or anything else, really. It was different for him, but after I thought about it, that was the most anxious I have felt yet as well. I just was so concerned about our miles and the sleep I needed to get one of these nights soon. It's interesting how in tune they are with other us...much like dogs, I suppose. Although, usually a dog will come lay it's head on you to comfort you, not step on your foot. :)

The next day we walked 18.5 miles to where we are now. I was able to get a bit of sleep, but not much and so today we are taking a rest day. Last night the dogs made sleeping a tough, but I think we have it figured out for tonight. We will probably camp up in the Wildlife Refuge (which we are close to now) and leave around 3:30 tomorrow morning. We have 25 miles to walk tomorrow.

The swelling in Soj's leg has gone way down. It is nearly gone as he's walking during the day and then when we get in at night I put the sweat wrap back on to keep it from stocking up. This seems to be working and he is totally sound. The cuts on his back have hair on them now and are healing nicely as well, but I think I am going to give it another solid week before we put the saddle back on. I just want to make sure those cuts are completely healed to avoid infection from the saddle pad.

Soj was pretty sweet again yesterday as we walked. We had a little heart to heart. Just kidding, we didn't, but he was loving and responsive. I suppose we all have our days, even him.
I have been walking in my flip flops because I have good sneakers at home so I didn't want to have to buy another pair here. My mom and Stephen mailed the sneakers along with some oranges from their orange tree, a sheet for inside the tent on these warm nights, and some other little goodies.

Megan and Mark kindly brought the boxes out to us here in Lawton, we said our goodbyes once again, and I ripped open the boxes. Now I've got some sneaks!

This heat and lack of trees and water had worn me out a bit, but I feel a new excitement and energy again now. It's great. Walter and I are really enjoying walking with Soj and might even take a week or so a month where we keep the saddle and shoes off Soj and just walk with him for the rest of the trip. I think it's good for all of us.

We are 1,471 miles into this ride with only 28 of them trailered. I don't plan to ever trailer again, but if it comes down to our or Soj's safety or health then, of course, we will do whatever we can to get ourselves and him to safety. We thought about going back and riding the 28 miles but then I thought that was just silly on a 3,200 mile ride and after 1,325 miles of solid riding. It really makes no difference to me and I'm sure Soj would rather we didn't go back. So 10 miles took us away from the tornado to Larry Hannon's house in Paducah and 18 of them were when we decided to not walk Soj anymore on his swollen leg until we knew it wasn't serious. That was to Preacher David Fox's in Vernon (or Lockett more accurately).

At the picnic table in the woods we looked for scenic routes and plan to head over to the lakes on the Eastern side of Oklahoma. We will go North through the lakes and eventually make it over to St. Louis to cross the Mississippi on a foot bridge.

Today we are going to totally clean out the truck, give Sojer a bath, meet with a reporter, and mail out some leather orders.

All is well, we all feel healthy and ready to ride.

Cooling off.

Soj likes chips and salsa. I never knew. After this he decided to go for a walk down the road and we had to go catch him. He stopped when we got close though. I don't think he really knew where he wanted to go...just wanted to go for a little stroll.


  1. You post reminds me of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. It was Nelson Mandela's favorite poem, and for good reason.

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

  2. Hey Linny,
    Just spent a long, hot weekend in Boonville, setting up a cowgirl wedding. The bride wore cowgirl boots under her gorgeous wedding gown. One of the displays was a pyramid of old cowboy boots that were painted in bright colors and stuffed with these amazing paper flowers that the bride had made. The ceremony site was on top of a hillside, over looking a vineyard, with the full view of the valley below. Stunning! The guests were transfered up the hill by a tractor pulling a trailer of hay bales and then they sat on linen covered hay bales for the ceremony. As we were setting up the ceremony flowers, I kept hearing a sound off in the trees that ended up being a herd of goats. I turned to Khamoor and said, "those goats are going to come eat these flowers the moment we leave." "Naw, it's too hot. They won't come out of the shade." As soon as we got down the hill, I heard a voice on the walkie talkie yelling, "would someone please get up here and get these goats! They're eating all the flowers!!" Fortunately, enough guests had arrived and they drove them off with the brightly colored parasols that were left on the bales. I only wish the photographer had been there to capture the Kodac moment. Can't you just imagine all these women with their stacked heels and low cut dresses chasing away a herd of goats with paper umbrellas! I'm sure it was a wedding to remember. We certainly had a great time, minus the 98 degrees.

    The three cowboys who brought and managed the mechanical bull were amazing. They ended up pulling out their guitars and singing around the campfire until 3:00 am. The bride's parents stayed up with them, passing around a bottle of homemade wine and telling stories of the Anderson Valley. The stars were out and the full moon waning... pretty magical.

    Speaking of shoes.... just wanted to put my two cents worth of wisdom in. I wore a pair of Merrell walking sneakers on my venture in Spain. I put 600 miles on them, including crossing over the Pico Europas, without a single blister. Many of the pilgrims on the trail were from Germany and Austria (albeit, with that extra hiking gene we North Americans lack), were outfitted with stout hiking boots, laced up to mid calf and a good percentage ended up with hot spots and blisters. Most complained of over heated feet and weariness but not this whimpy, middle aged, California greenhorn. I did just fine in my over the counter shoes. I did put extra support in them but I have a really high arch. I still wear them out in the garden and every now and then, I'll step in a puddle of mud and be reminded of squishing through the cow dung slime on the Camino.

    Seems as if your new method of transportation has also given Soj and Walter an opportunity to develop their own relationship and trust. You truly are experiencing a once in a lifetime journey and every day is a new beginning. Think of the different people and animals that have crossed the land ahead of you. Each generation has contributed to what is now there. From the buffalo to the stud horse, from the Native American to the cowboy, all have left a footprint to follow. I know some days feel endless and weariness sets in but it is apparent that you do appreciate what you have been given, on many levels. I admire your attitude and ability to pull yourself back to a place of gratitude.

    Well my little chickadee, time to finish up some projects around the homestead. Fences need mending, chickens rounded up, fields to plow, etc, etc....

    In my heart always,

  3. Walter's photos are so AmaZinG!! I love them so much! I look forward to them everyday!!!!! As a photographer, I personally commend and admire his ability to upload them as often as he does. I can't ever seem to keep up with mine. Bless your shutter bug, goat rescuing heart Walter!!!!!!

    That poem is fantastic! Thanks for sharing Calihorsegirl!

    Linny, I don't know how soon you'll be near OKC. I wanted to know if, when and where it would be appropriate to meet you and bring a "travel pack" for you all? Me and my boyfriend might be heading to Tx. this holiday weekend and don't want to miss you.
    I would like to at least treat you to some groceries and hugs all around.

    Your relationship with Soj so reminds me of mine. Nate even knows if I have PMS :P NO JOKE! I love how horses correct our attitudes by reflecting if back on us. They are such magical creatures.

    When I was young I had a friend who's horse loved Dr. Pepper and bread. I can just picture Soj. with a sombrero eating some nachos ;)

  4. What a surprise, and how apropos to see Invictus show up on Linny's blog. It has very special meaning to me. As a child, my Mother recited it from memory many times. She had a strong & resilient spirit, an enormous drive, and a will of iron, and she taught her children that they could do anything.
    Linny is teaching and inspiring us all now with her own incredible strength & will of iron.

  5. At Nancy: I have all the stamps from the Camino Pilgrimage!!! ULTREYA!

    For those of you who want to watch... Here is Linny, Walter and Soj's arrival at Buffalo Moon Ranch in Faxon, OK on YouTube (links below post). Glad to have hosted this trio...and thank goodness for NEW SHOES for those big heavy equine feet that like to step on flip flopped toes by accident.

    Hope rest is in your future...I mean really good rest.. I AM SO SORRY my mattress had a leak..I feel terrible about it.... Don't push too hard--- pretty pleeeze? Remember 15 miles is the same as 18-30 miles per day... on arrival time (Theory of Long Riding Averages = 12 miles per day no matter what if you go 15 miles or 30 or whatever...you still arrive at the same time averging the same distance of 12 miles per day). Just a suggestion from someone who has been there and done that for 1000 miles (though not continous) and also who has researched this theory on close to 100 long rides all over the world.




  6. Meagan,
    Greetings fellow peregrina..... it's quite interesting to know that you have walked the Camino. My pilgrimage started in Bilbao and continued along the North Coast on the Camino Ingles. I did receive my Compostela, now resting easy with the knowledge that I can skip purgatory, I think..... better not get too cocky. Would love to see little bits and pieces of your experience tucked into your comments, now and then. Did you ride horses? There were a few on the trail when I was there in 2008. Now I know where you received your Angel Wings. Most pilgrims don't know why they choose to walk the Camino. My belief is that the Camino finds you and if you're paying attention, you have no choice but to go.

    I was so thrilled to see that the mighty Trio made it to your ranch. I've quite enjoyed your comments and knew you would give them some much needed TLC.

    Linny, if you're reading this, one thing I forgot to say is how important it is to stretch your feet before and after walking. A sprinters stance works well, just bend your knees deeply and stay on your toes, pressing back. Another great one is standing on a stair, balancing on your toes and let your heels drop below the stair tread. Works for the arch and calves. I truly think all my yoga and stretching was the key to staying in shape for walking long distances.
    Love all the interconnections of the Linny Fanclub. Seems that the saying "we are all 7 degrees from connection to each other" also holds true for horses. At least, taking into account how so many of you have connections thru your own horses.
    Isn't life grand!!!
    As always,

  7. Nancy, I know those people who rode their horses on their Camino experience in 2008. I know of every long rider in the world who is currently on their journey and keep up on that since Long Riding is my life at the moment. I was commissioned to by the Long Riders Guild to some extent to keep track since they are riding around the world at the moment.

    I would have loved to have the opportunity to ride the Camino by horseback. The shipping, quarantine and all that makes it complicated though.

    The last 62k is my favorite because it's the last 100 mi (homestretch, anticipation of that massive St. James Cathedral waiting for you) The way I had chosen was the Northern Route because Galations is one of my favorite book in the Bible...and Paul's teachings there have wowed me forever.

    I think that any epic journey and their pilgrims find all of us whether we want it to or not. It calls us from deep within ourselves. It DOES pick us, we don't choose it...and if we ignore that calling, it slowly and quietly gets under our skin waiting for us to take the universe up on it's offer.

    The hardest part... getting back to real life and work and all of that. Do you have the longing to go back? I have that longing everyday for my next Long Ride -- which I affectionately called "My American Camino" to my closest friends --- for the next epic journey into the center of our own universe and back.

    These journeys are sacred and personal and unfold themselves that bloom and grow into fiery magnolias - whose five days bloom IGNITE! Ignite us, our hearts and fulfill our dreams in the great wide open.

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  9. I do not know that I can add anything new beyond what has been written in the comments thus far. The photos are amazing, shoes do make a difference and there is a difference between brands so check them out when the time comes.

    I cannot offer a poem off the top of my head or words born of any experience with what you are doing and the way you are doing it, but a few notions do come to mind. The Roman poet, Virgil, did write a very long time ago that all difficulty is overcome by endurance.

    And rather than repeat them here, look up quotes relating to what Hermann Hesse has said about the discoveries and meaning of life and relating to each other. Maybe you (and Walter) are like Siddhartha as he made his journey of discovery.

    Have a great July 4th. Looking forward to next time.

  10. I'm flattered that you put up the incredible poem, Invictus, here. Thank you. :)