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...

1,725 miles...HALF WAY across America!!!!


We have now traveled halfway across the United States with Sojourner. This is pretty exciting for Walter and I, and I'm sure Sojourner is happy that we can now begin the countdown to Bath, New Hampshire!!
We still have over 1,700 miles left to go which is a pretty massive amount, but from here on out the miles ahead will be less than what's behind and that feels pretty good! Our halfway celebration point is in a town called Muskogee, OK. The people here have been nothing but kind, generous, and inviting and have offered us the most wonderful accommodations.

Right now I am writing this from a four pillar canopy bed in a beautiful room inside an incredible, very unique Bed and Breakfast. It's called the Whitlock Wishouse. This is the place to stay if you're ever visiting this town, no question.

We have the entire house to ourselves other than these guys, but we're going to help them while we're here by helping them find their things and drink their sorrows away...

Except for this guy. He's as happy as a pigeon on a roof top.
This house is full of old antiques and treasures from around the world. WISH stands for Women In Safe Homes. All profits above operating costs directly support the WISH shelter in Muskogee, where abused women and children from five area counties are given free room and board. When Jerry Whitlock donated this home to the WISH charity it became the Whitlock Wishouse.

The outside bartender, not Walter.
We found an Italian place that made the best pizza I've had in a long time (including California). The restaurant was called Johnny V's. We decided to eat our dinner in the dining room. This place is incredible. And to top it all off it started to rain and thunder and lightning outside and here we are in this house full of wooden people, stuffed lions, bears, and well, every animal you can think of, and tons of old antiques! (I feel bad for the animals, too).
The Wishouse donated 3 nights to us and we are thoroughly enjoying it. I don't think I'm going to leave this bed, in fact, for the rest of today (except to go see Soj, of course). Sojourner is over at The Hilltop Arena.

A woman named Leighann Matthews set everything up for us here in Muskogee. She also contacted the channel 6 news out of Tulsa and is setting up stops for us after we leave here as well. Last night she treated us to a wonderful Mexican dinner and has given us an open invitation to join her with some of her fun outdoor activities, like sailing on the lake.

The thing is, I'm a little glued to this bed because I don't want to be out in the heat and I'm eaten up with poison ivy. It started to break out yesterday as I was riding so I went to the Dr. to get a shot hoping that would prevent it from blowing up too badly. I was able to find a Doctor that I was going to be riding right by so once we got there Walter continued on with Soj to take him the last 2.5 miles to his home for the next 3 days.

Well, this morning the poison ivy was a hundred times worse. It is EVERYWHERE and itches like a million mosquito bites.

Dr. Jason Dansby was awesome, though, and covered my co-pay as a donation to the ride. I think the steroid will kick in at some point. I called the Doctor and they said it could take 24-48 hours. It's pretty miserable feeling and has prevented me from wanting to do much of anything but stay in this cool room.

We have been in brutal heat. We get up at 4am and are usually able to get Soj fed and saddled by 4:45. This gives me about 5 hours of riding and then we have to take the saddle off because it's just too hot. Walter and I take turns walking the rest of the way and douse one another with water every mile or so. I can not wait to be out of this heat. It's really hard on all of us.

We have to take the saddle off of Soj after about 5 hours of riding (around 9:30am) because it's just too hot. You can see that Soj is soaking wet just from walking. Walter and I trade on and off and keep the truck traveling slowly along side so we can dump water on each other every mile.
Stephen called us with great news though. Coolmedics has donated some vests to help keep us cool, including Soj! Here is a link to their site: http://www.coolmedics.com/

I had never even heard of anything like this, but a friend mentioned it through this blog and so we looked into it. I can't wait to get the vest, especially for Soj. He just goes and goes no matter what. At least Walter and I have each other to pep talk to, but he just silently walks along sweating like a monster.
He has shade where he is at the Hilltop Arena and they loaded him up with hay so hopefully he will get some well needed good rest. I wish I could have him here in this room with us. Walter and I are going to head over there in a bit to give him a nice bath and a big bowl of his Omegatin/rice bran mix that he so very much loves.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! THE ITCH!!!!!!! Whyyyy meeee?????

A couple nights ago Walter and I had to camp out and I think that might have been when this happened. I didn't sleep that night because you can't camp in this weather. I was eaten alive by bugs and it was so humid and hot. It was a beautiful lake though at Arrow Head State Park. The manager of the park, Debbie, didn't charge us the $12.00 to camp there and went ahead and paid for it herself. We couldn't believe it.

If only it had been cooler it would be an absolutely wonderful place to cookout and camp. I bet people really enjoy it there later in the season.

(in The Wizard's voice from The Wizard of Oz): Do not be deceived by the cool looking lake. Off of this lake blows fiery stillness. There must be dragons on the other side.
The next morning I was riding before 5am and could not find a place to duck behind a tree. Every time I would try a car would come (and I assure you some got an eye full that fine early morning). I would jump up and scoot away mumbling my frustrations to myself and Soj as I shyly looked for my next option. Well, anyway, I finally had to just venture full on into the woods to avoid cars and little did I know this nasty little plant had gotten me.

That night we were saved by the town of Checotah. They donated a motel room to us and Soj was comfortable at the The Glover Veterinary Clinic in a stall next to a sweet Palomino. We were so happy to be in air conditioning!

Three mornings ago we were stopped by a cop because a convict had escaped from the State Penitentiary and was "armed and dangerous". He actually thought I might have been a cop out looking for him on horseback. Ummmm....we'll just let that one go.

We have traveled through some beautiful country and found fantastic, quiet roads, but the heat has made it hard to enjoy. We are kind of just muscling through this. Sometimes we have to hop on a busy, fast road called HWY 69, but only to get over the bridges. There was one bridge that we just couldn't get over without police escort. 69 is just tractor trailer truck after truck at 70mph and there was no shoulder this time. The police were out there right away with smiles on. One blocked off the lane on one end and the other stayed behind me as we walked across.

Tonight Walter and I are going to enjoy a movie in bed and play a game of pool in the game room. I have got to go take another scalding hot shower because I am starting to itch like crazy.
By the way, my sister texted me and told me to watch Lee Evans. He's hilarious...just in case you're in the mood for a laugh!

This is Obama and Jack Williams. Jack has been running the Williams Country Store in Onapa, OK for the last 40 plus years. He only just marked his Dr. Pepper up from 10 cents to 50 cents. He was showing Walter pictures of Politicians who have come to the store and pointed towards Obama and said, "and look who showed up".

Sojourner and I were on a different road so we didn't get to meet Jack, but it looks like he and Walter had some good ol' craic.

Gypsy knows where he is.
Walter brought breakfast to us around 6:30 am yesterday morning. It was a little treat to celebrate our half way mark.

I am staying in my robe (not my robe, the robe that was in the closet here) today because I am in and out of the shower constantly. The only way I can stop the itch is to stand in burning water for a minute every hour or so. We did go to the grocery store earlier though so I could make some salads the way I like them. Mmmm....it was delicious.


  1. Linny, Half way!!!!! Wow! Now poison ivy! I wish I could send you a miracle cure, but I don't think there is one. You realize that Walter has to be insanely crazy about you, right? Just in case you forgot. ha! We miss you, too, brother Cuatro. Pix of Soj show he's looking better. We've got fresh apples, plums and peaches from the orchard and squash and mustard greens from the garden, plus lots of EGGS! Eating apple pies, cobblers, etc... Squash casserole or squash boiled with a little butter and onion. Mustard greens slowly cooked to tender perfection with a slice of fat back. Scrabled egg burritos with cheddar chesse...Roberta and I watch for your blog updates. Walt, I always enjoy your text messages. The fishing was good. God's Speed.

  2. Linny have you tried some Aveeno bath/ Lotion and Benadryl (or ANY antihistamine)? That's what we used as kids when we had poison ivy or oak. You can get Aveeno at any drug store. It's the combo above together that works :) You should be able to take this fine with the steroids. Hope they kick in!
    Best of luck and feel better!

  3. Poison ivy; what can I say? Subject seems to be well covered already. Wasn't it the Marquis De Sade who had to live in the bathtub? I will focus on the halfway mark and say "Well done", to say the least. I do not think you will escape the heat for it has been and continues to be quite hot here in the northeast. Thus, I will look forward to reading how well your vests do against it. Poor Soj does look quite hot in the pix but he does keep going, as you wrote, so he can't be that uncomfortable. I guess I better get going on that paddock as you count down the miles. As usual, I love the pix.

  4. Linny... YIPPEE!!! You are halfway.... WATCH OUT FOR TICKS! There is a place called Chigger Hill there in Muscogee that infested my tent one night! Hmmm... is it a sign? LOL!

    Muscogee is the launch site and the 1000th mile marker of Buffalo Moon Expedition....

    Those bridges are pretty dicey on US69....glad you had an escort--- I've been over those bridges on 69 that you are talking about on horseback.... so awesome to have you three travelling through my very footsteps of my long ride....

    Love those Muscogee Memories..... Here is my experience there if any of you are interested..also some contacts Linny are here if you (or Stephen) need them for Wagoner, Inola and Okay.


    Ironically, Doc, I know you through my family who lives in Ft. Gibson!

    If possible, ask the locals to direct you to Mr. Ed's gravesite...it's there in Tahlequah...not to far from Muscogee at all.


    Tulsa newsfolks are awesome. They came to visit me as well while I as in OKAY, OK.

    Welcome to my second home.... Muscogee is also where Baer came from...that little Halflinger you saw at our place...who is now resituated with my friend Anna.

    RIDE ON you three. Is St. Gen's Ferry next to cross the mighty M? Walter can put the truck right on the Ferry and you can be right next to him with Soj...

  5. Congrats to the three of you for making it to the halfway point! We're "SO" excited for ALL of you!

    Sorry to hear about the poison ivy - one of the many "life lessons" you've learned along this trip. Be safe, take care of one another -

    Mary Voss - Rancho Cucamonga

  6. Linny,
    Loved all the great pictures, The Tulsa channel 6 news clip was great, also. The pictures in the Bed and Breakfast are so cool. This ride has been so incredible!!! But what has made it so amazing is all the wonderful people you are meeting along the way.You guys are are so strong, wind, rain, cold, heat, and even poison ivy and you just keep keep going........ Love you Mom

  7. Mary! Please tell your daughter hello from us as well! I try to comment as much as I can, but sometimes I get behind. I'm so happy the two of you (three of you now that the little one is looking at the pictures) are riding with us through this. :) We think of you all often...

    And Doc! How nice to have a comment from you here! We love your texts. I always say to Walter, "Did you talk to Dr. Turner today?" Although, I don't know what this food tease is all about. I assume after all of that rubbing you're going to send some our way?? ;)

    Yeah, the poison ivy stinks, big time. It's really all over me now. It looks awful. I hope it's not too tough to ride with tomorrow. Thankfully we can relax in this incredible home. Can you all believe this place??? It's amazing!! I'll try some of those remedies suggested. Thanks!

    We are looking forward to the next half. We're not sure if we are continuing on 69 or venturing off some other way yet. 69 is a big busy highway, but it's easy because the shoulders are so wide. Even the bridges are comfortable to ride because they allow a big shoulder (except that one bridge where we had to go in the road and close down a lane. That one just isn't passable by horseback otherwise because there is no shoulder on either side so there is no room for cars and especially 18 wheelers to move around us), but it's just so loud! So we will figure that all out tonight. Whatever way we go, we're rejuvenated (poison oak and all) to knock out the miles left. We're setting our alarm for 2am now though. Blah....but it's the only way.

    Lots of love to you all. :)

  8. Love you, too, Mama. :) I wish you could see this B&B!!!

  9. Sorry about the poison ivy/oak! I had it once and it was awful. Hope you are on the mend now.

    That salad looks incredible! I'll buy the ingredients if you will make one for me when we meet someday.

    Good luck with the heat. It reminds me of Krakauer writing about climbing Everest. He said that so much of the process is like working toward a state of grace with the discomfort. I'm sure you are growing in some way from the physical challenge. My gfuess is that it doesn't bother Sojourner at all.

    Speaking of Soj, does he look ripped or what?!!!! I'm sure the fillies he passes just drop their hay right on the ground and stand staring when he goes by! What a hunk. And his leg is looking good.

    Congratulations on making it halfway. Although you have some tough weather ahead, you will then be riding in the oh-so-glorious days of fall. The best weather of the year, in my opinion.