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...


"Everything has it's season," Sharron said as we talked about her childhood days when she would pick broom corn. When broom corn is mature it spouts out the roughage that you see at the end of old brooms (you know, the pretty ones that you put out with your pumpkins at Thanksgiving). Now most brooms are made of some sort of plastic and so the time of the broom corn slowly dwindled and eventually passed leaving only stories of days in the fields and the hard work it took to gather...

But let me rewind a bit....

We left Gordan and Julie's a little later than planned because of the rain. It was around 10am or so when we left and after about 20 minutes of walking the rain came back with a vengeance.

It ended up clearing, though, around lunch time and just as we were sitting on the tail of the truck watching Soj eat and talking about our own hunger, Gordan and Garret pulled up with a pizza and two iced teas! It was like magic-totally perfect timing.

We said goodbye to them again and headed on down the road walking through what felt like clam chowder. Thick, thick humidity.

It was actually sort of funny that we ended up staying with the next family because back in Marlow, Becky was working at the Post Office and said she would love to help with the ride if she could. Walter was mailing off a guitar strap for me and had told her the story. She had also read about the story in the paper and said we had been on her mind and in her heart.

Her home was 39 miles from there which is more than we would prefer to do in one day and less than we would want to do in two. So Walter thanked her and told her we would probably have already passed her home by the time we would need to rest.

Well, on the second day we were a little slower than we expected and we were going to land right in her town. We didn't have her number or anything, but Stephen called around and said he found a place for the horse, but we would be camping. Well, the woman who set up the place for Soj at the fairgrounds called her friend who turned out to be Becky. We ended up going to her house and staying with her after all!

It was a very nice, but very quick visit. Their Granddaughter was there visiting and she and I talked about the ride and how she had just got a new puppy. She only had one more day of being able to actually pet the puppy though. It was to be a ranch dog and stay with the sheep. I never knew this, but a lot of these work dogs are never touched by humans. It's bred into them to watch over their sheep and that's pretty much all they do. There is no cuddle time after a good days work for these pups.

In the morning Becky made us a stack of pancakes and then we were off on our way. We walked only 18 miles (but very hot miles) to the 4E's ranch where we ended up resting for 3 nights. We were only going to stay two, but The Howards were hard to leave. Sharron and Clayton gave us a beautiful room and bath and once we were settled in we enjoyed a swim in the pool with their Grandchildren and close friend, Clint.

We were pretty tired when we got in that first evening. It had been very humid and warm and it was the end of a lot of walked miles. This was Sunday, the 4th of July, and Walter and I were pretty quiet at the celebratory dinner, but enjoyed being amongst such wonderful people.

Sharron and Clayton have a big front porch beside the pool where they set up tables and food for all of the friends and family who were coming. In the evening they lit off fireworks and firecrackers, but we only heard them because by that time we were in bed. We just couldn't make it.

My mom had told me about an author named Suzanne Blake who wrote "When Spirit Speaks", and "Ten Commitments for Women". Suzanne and her husband, John, are good friends with Sharron and Clayton so we got to sit down with them at dinner and visit a little while. Suzanne could tell how tired I was though and said "Oh Linny! You're trying to be polite, but I can tell you're so tired!"

She was right and soon after that we said goodnight with plans to meet up again the next day. Before we headed off to sleep we walked over to where Clayton was singing and playing guitar with a couple of his friends. They picked and harmonized beautifully through old Cowboy tunes.
The next morning we sat under the big old tree over by Sojourner on a swinging bench and talked about all of the things we want to do. The breeze was cool and constant and Soj was clean and white in the field. Squirrel, the dog, was sleeping next to us. It was the most comfortable and content we had felt in a while and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just so nice to be outside and not wet from either sweat or humid air.
We did go to another animal shelter, but didn't find a little puppy like that last one. She was something else, the little flopper. I bet I could have folded her over herself three times and she wouldn't mind. She had a deposit put on her when we saw her though and as it turned out the people followed through and she went home with them. It's probably for the best right now though. A puppy might be a little tough....but when Christmas comes.....now that's another story!!!

We also went to get our tire fixed because we got a flat the other day and I got into a fight with the massive fighting transformer machine...

The rest of our stay with The Edwards was just perfect. They had a beautiful pool and Sojourner had all the grass he wanted in a 5 acre field to himself. Walter and one of Sharron and Clayton's Grandchildren, Justin, played the belly flop and the back flop game for a while until Walter's body broke. As James and Kelly back in Joshua Tree would say, "boys will be boys".

Sharron and two of her Grandchildren, Caitlin and Justin.

On July 5th, we had lunch at The Happy Days Diner in Pauls Valley with Suzanne, Sharron, and Clayton. The owner of the restaurant, Reiza, kindly covered the bill. Reiza had a great way about him and Walter and I still copy one of his hand movements. It's kind of a slap and then a swoosh away with the other hand like an airplane. Slick.

After lunch we headed over to Suzanne and John's beautiful Victorian and I took pictures of everything so I wouldn't forget some of their decorating ideas.

When it was time to leave Pauls Valley, Sharron sent us off with a batch of homemade oatmeal cookies and a batch of homemade chocolate peanut butter cookies. Walter and I will miss everyone we met in Pauls Valley. Even after three days, we just didn't get enough of them.

Clayton and his Grandson, JD, sitting (settin') on the Porch of the bunkhouse.
Inside the bunkhouse...

We left Pauls Valley early in the morning to beat the heat. We were up at 4am and out around 5. Soj was looking good so we saddled him and have ridden ever since. We've been back in the saddle 3 days now and it looks like we're good to go! He looks and feels great.

We rode 24 miles that day to a woman named Londa's house just West of Ada. Londa raises Jack Russel puppies and there was one little pup that was so incredibly tiny and adorable. I am not usually a small dog fan, but this little one was precious.

Londa has one t.v. for her and one t.v. for her dog.
Londa got up with us at 4am the next morning and made us oatmeal with tea and a slice of pie. I wish we could have spent more time with her and her daughters, but we were early to bed and early to rise. Londa was so open and gracious with her home and made sure we had got some rest and plenty to eat. We left there feeling great and had more energy than we had in a long while.

We rode another 24 miles to a town called Allan. We had a place for Soj in Allan, but we were just going to camp. I rode most of that day in the rain but it was a gentle, nice rain without thunder or lightning. I actually really enjoyed it.

I had gotten off Soj to give my legs a bit of a rest from riding and was leading him down the road when I passed a house with two young men in the yard working on a 4-wheeler. I smiled when I saw them and was reminded of my friends Chris and his brother, David, back in Mendocino. They would have been out in the rain working on a 4-wheeler or dirt bike as well.

As I walked a few steps further I saw a couple of young girls out by the barn, also in the rain. Two horses came running out of the barn to come see Soj and I and shortly after that the girls followed running as fast as they could in their cowboy and rain boots. It was such a pretty site.

I asked the girls what they were doing in the rain and one of the girls called Lily put her arms out and spun a little as she said, "I love the rain" with a smile.

Soon the boys were there as well and we talked about the ride a little. After a while I told them I should probably keep walking and we all scattered, but it was only a few minutes later when the girls were running full speed through the field back to us.

"My dad said you can stay with us if you want to get out of the rain!" Lily said.

We had only gone 18 miles though and I really wanted to make the full 26 miles that day. We took the horse back and untacked him, but we only stayed for about an hour or so to visit with them a bit. The rain was clearing up and it was only 2pm so we thought we had better take advantage of the day and move on to finish the days miles.

I didn't bother tacking up again because everything was sopping wet and we only had 8 miles to go. Lily came, too.

Lily walked with us down the highway for about 3 miles or so before her dad came to pick her up. Her dad, Mcgee (this is the way I'm going to spell his name, but it's probably incorrect), reminded us that we could go back to the house to sleep if we wanted. I thanked him, but thought we would probably stay in the tent next to Sojourner.

We got to the Allan Feed Company where Soj was to stay, got him all settled in, and set up the tent in the barn. Walter and I were both lying in the tent and the loudest frog in the Universe was inches away from our ears, but nowhere to be seen. It was dark in there so I went to find a head lamp in the truck and probably stepped in at least 6 or 7 cow paddies (in my flip flops) going there and back.

I got back into the tent after not finding the headlamp and washing my feet awkwardly outside of the tent and laid down again. We were both still listening to the amplified frog and feeling the sickly still, hot heaviness of the thick, humid air. I had noticed that Walter's phone had a voicemail so I handed it to him hoping it was The Howards. It was and we were up in about one second and in the truck headed to their house. They needn't offer again.

We showered and played pool until later in the night and then went up to the comfortable room Lily had set up for us. In the morning we had a breakfast that Lily and her brother, Seth, made for everyone.

I passed some horse tips on to Lily that I have learned and she has told me already in an email that she has tried them and has a couple of questions. She was impressed that Soj comes when he is called and touched his nose to my hand and so I've given her some tricks to get her horses to do it as well. It's a trick I learned at The Horseman's Haven back in Pie Town.

Right now we are in Stuart, Oklahoma. I'll give you a little taste of the people we are with and can assure you there will be plenty of pictures and stories. We are going to see them perform tomorrow....
These bulls are putting on a dramatic performance here. It's kind of hard to see the picture, but one bull has laid down and died and the other bull is it's lover. This photo is of the last scene of the performance, but after the first bull falls to it's death, the second buckles at the knees and crawls slowly toward him. Finally she lays her head down on him and mourns.

I have to apologize for not posting the last few days. The humidity just really wiped me out for a bit there, but I really don't like going without posting because I have to lump too many days and too many people into one entry when really each visit alone could fill 50 pages. So I will try to be much more diligent about reserving energy and time for this. Maybe I needed to step away to see that it's easier to just stay on top of it! Sometimes the service through my phone is slow that I can't upload photos though as well and I prefer to have the pictures with the entry. Still, I'll try to post more often.

Sojourner gets his breakfast, lunch, and dinner grain served at the bottom of a bucket full of water to keep him extra hydrated. For the first 4 months of this trip he would drink his water down to get to the grain but now he has taken to deep sea diving to get to the grain. This is him blowing bubbles out of his nose as he dives. It's fine with me because he always ends up drinking all of the water anyway...just incase he's left some bits at the bottom.

Until tomorrow...
Darn it. I have a tick in me right now.


  1. Nice to hear from you. Although I love to get an update every day, it's OK if you don't post for several days. You don't have to catch us up. You could just keep the notes in your journal for when you write the book. I do check often late in the evening to see if there is a post for that day, though!

    I'm glad you went back to stay with that family. I'll bet Lily was just giddy with delight at the prospect of having her new friend, Linny, stay over. You'll have to go back someday for a proper slumber party!

    Get that tick! You know about Lyme, NH, I'm sure. Yuck! I try to love all creatures, but it's really hard with ticks. We get them at the shelter on the dogs sometimes and they just make my skin crawl.

    Buster and I were on the team that set the season record for team sorting last night. All 10 calves sorted in proper order in 59 seconds. Fun!

    But I'm actually more excited about the progress we're continuing to make on our (correct) lead departures. We have worked on that so hard, especially Buster. And it's finally coming together. I'm hoping it won't be too much longer before we'll be ready for flying lead changes. I'll be posting a video when we get to that point, I can assure you. I couldn't even tell you how many hours we will have invested in getting to flying lead changes.

    Some very hot days here in Michigan. About the same as where you are, I think. Both Buster and I get completely soaked riding, and we ride in the evening after things have started to cool off. I hose him down afterwards and he's gotten to where he really likes it.

    Date night tonight (Saturday) at our house! I'm asking for chips/cheese/salsa for the hors doeurves and we'll listen to music on the radio. That's how we spend our date nights. Couldn't be better!:) She's even more lovely now than when we first met almost 30 years ago.

  2. Wow that is a great sorting time! I have just started doing it, last week was my Arab's first time seeing cows. Our team of three inexperienced sorters managed to complete in time though, 2:57! We were so excited. And my arab seems to enjoy it, he arches his neck and flags his tail and goes for them little cows!
    Anyway glad for the update Linny, I can't imagine walking and riding that humidity. I am getting pretty cranky riding here because its so hot but its only 90-100 degrees, no humidity...still I wear my Cool Medic evaporative cooling vest religiously..don't know if you have ever tried that sort of thing but it might be great for you since all you need is to dunk it in water (of any temp) and it stays cool for hours. They make horse and dog accessories, also various people accessories.

  3. Glad the ride is going well for you Linny! Mom (Mary)and I check in frequently for updates. Laurin was born almost 4 months ago...she likes looking at pictures on my computer now, and really seems to like horsey pictures (much to her fathers dismay lol) so we look at them together when she's awake.