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...

Held up for a minute....


Because of THIS!!!!!!!!!!
I am covered in nature.

How lucky. I'm reminded of it every second in fact. "Oh Linny!!!", it says, "you haven't forgotten nature, have you??!! Here I am, Linny! Here I am!!!"

This picture only shows a little section of the monster that has become my skin. It's just awful. I was going to ride in it today anyway, but we changed our minds with the help of my mom and the nice man named Jackie at the HillTop Arena saying, "I don't think you should ride today".

It's not just the incredible discomfort I'm in, but there are heat warnings still today and it's really better for all 3 of us to ride when the sun is down. The thing is, when the alarm went off at 2am to get up and go tack up Soj I had not even fallen asleep yet. In fact, when the alarm went off I was in the bathroom taking the hottest shower I could stand.

After the shower I was able to sleep a little, but we hit the snooze button every half an hour until it was 7am and I finally said "okay, let's go".

We got to the horse and put his shoes on and got everything out but it was just so awful hot and the heat was making me itch even more so I called the Doctor to see what else I can get (I've already had a shot and steroid cream) and decided to hold off one more day.

We left the Wishouse, but we were so fortunate to have our new friend, Micki's, house to go to. Micki is Kerri's cousin who we met at the rodeo last Saturday when we went to see Zayne and Vicki. She also brought sandwiches out to us when we were riding into town the other day.

Micki and her husband went out of town, but left the house open just in case. Thank goodness for her thoughts of "just in case". Oh, the hug I would give her if she were here!

Yesterday I felt so sick. I think the Benadryl and the steroid and everything just made me a little weak. Today I feel better, but oh so itchy. We are leaving at 3am this time no matter what though. We've got to get home!!

Soj looks good and I think he was thrilled when those boots came back off this morning. The people at the Hilltop arena always make sure he has hay and a full bucket of water. They are having a barrel racing competition tonight so we will probably swing by for that and get some photos.

Oh, how did I almost forget!? When Walter and I had decided we would hold off for one more day this morning we started packing everything back up and all of a sudden Walter backed up really fast away from the truck and started coughing. It scared me a little because he looked like he was choking. I asked, "What happened?! Are you okay!?"

He said something was leaking in the back of the truck and then I became aware of the spraying sound. We both thought maybe it was an aerosol bug spray can that was stuck. I opened the saddle bag and it was my mace! It got both of us and made our faces feel really hot. We rinsed off the bag and threw out the mace and took off in the truck back to the house. Then I said to Walter, "ooh, this is getting a little hot". He was already in the process of pulling to the side of the road because his face was getting hotter, too.

Then all of a sudden it burned like the dickens!!! Both of us ran to the back of the truck and grabbed for the water. I couldn't open my eyes and Walter's forehead was burning. We washed our faces with soap and water which helped some, but we just had to wait for it to pass.

That stunk.

If only we had cameras on us at all times....what a reality show this would make!


  1. Hang in there, Girl!!! This is one epic journey and you will look back and laugh: promise:)


  2. OH NO LINNY!!!!!!!! Poison Ivy AND MACE!!!!!!!!! WTH????????
    Poor girl! Poor Walter!
    Have you tried a 2% hydrocortisone cream (preferable with aloe in it) and some benadryl for it? You can also NOT take benadryl internally, you can get it in lotion form. Calamine lotion....Anything working?
    Mineral oil works on mace.
    Best of luck! That's the worst poison Ivy I've ever seen! :(

  3. OK, time for some sensibility, Linny. You aren't leaving tonight "no matter what". Well, you are an adult so you can do what you want of course, but you really need to be flexible about that departure time.

    Leave if you feel like your body can take it. I mean really tolerate it, not "maybe". Your body is fighting very hard right now with your immune system in full gear. You are exhausted even if you don't feel that way. Don't go riding off and risk fainting and falling off your horse.

    You poor thing! My poison ivy/whatever it was, was just like yours and I was in agony. I can imagine how you feel. But it will pass fairly quickly. Just stay in that house as long as necessary.

    Is it OK to laugh at Walter getting maced? Reminds me of an episode of Golden Girls. One of them bought mace for protection and another picked it up thinking it was hairspray!!! Those women were sooooo funny.

    Hang in there. We're rooting for you.

  4. Have you tried acupuncture? I have for poison oak and it helped so much. Good luck!!!!

  5. Oh my good gracious!! And with the heat/humidity too! Sending mega soothing thoughts your way.

  6. Have you been able to find Tecnu brand lotion? I always keep it in the bathroom for poison oak, which I'm assuming is similar to poison ivy. It helps to cut the oil so it doesn't keep spreading. You might also try ice instead of heat. The heat actually makes the rash worse. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you haven't heard dozens of times but make sure you wash everything that could have possibly touched the oil. You can use the Tecnu in the laundry to clean your clothes and wash off the saddle and cinch.

    We have poison oak all over the place on the coast and it's miserable to get in foggy weather so I can only imagine how awful it is in the heat.

    Chris and David are leaving this afternoon for Mexico. They have enrolled in a full emersion language school and will be living in Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan coast for the next couple months. Chris sold the party bus, so guess this means no martinis for you guys. Can't keep up with their life plans.......

    Hang in there.


  7. holy COW! I have minor heat rash right now and want to kill something so I really can't imagine having full blown poison ivy AND a face full of Mace. If you are still are smiling now you are one TOUGH cookie! But we already knew that :)
    Definitely agree on the heat being worse for the ivy, while it does feel AMAZING and itches it (same for my heat allergy/rash that gives me lovely big bumps all over my hands and feet and itches to all hell) it seems to irritate it and the right lotion and cold water is preferable. Though this comes from the person who itches her feet and hands like a maniac in her sleep and never knows it. So take with a grain of salt.
    But also, just do what you gotta do and get better!

  8. ooooohh baby. think happy thoughts!!!!!
    (sorry all i could come with)

    love you, aunt val

  9. Well, as your Dad, I have to say what your Poppy used to say: "Your health comes first. Without that, you don't have anything." That was the part that used to catch my attention when he said it: "...without it, you don't have anything." New Hampshire is still here, last I looked, which was the day before yesterday and it will be here for some time yet. Did you ever get the vests you mentioned awhile back to keep you and the horse cooler? It is hot everywhere now. You have some serious stuff going on with your skin if those pictures are even half telling the story. Maybe the mace was an omen to take it easy for now. Just this morning, I came literally within inches of hitting a moose on the interstate on my way to work. The little Tracker, for all its rust and miles and noisiness, handled a big screeching turn across two lanes without flipping over, for which I gave it a pat on the dash and proceeded to gag on the smell of burning brake linings and rubber. But, I must say that directly after that, I realized how quickly it can all come to a halt; the plans for today, tomorrow, wishes, hopes, dreams. Shut off like the flip of a switch without fanfare, reflection on a life lived or anything. So, my dear girl, you keep on going, yes, but be mindful of those things in your peripheral vision, whether real or metaphorical.

  10. There's a country song in the making about this one! For sure!
    Feeling better?

  11. Geez Dan, glad you came out of that OK!!!! It's hard to imagine a collision between a Geo Tracker and a moose at highway speeds resulting in anything other than complete disaster. Whew. I'll bet you were shaking like a leaf.

  12. Thanks everyone!! I am on Prednisone now and it has helped a ton! We started riding the next day because we really had to get a move on and it's all healing well.
    Papa! That was a scary post!!

  13. Hey Dan,
    I, too, had a near miss with a truck yesterday.... 12:35 pm, Calif. time. I was coming up the grade by Van Dam beach (reference for Linny) when a HUMONGOUS white truck drifted over towards me. I had noticed he was looking towards the ocean and had a fraction of a second to respond by swerving over to the edge of the cliff, while he slammed on his brakes. It felt like driving in a demolition derby as I swung back onto the road, gravel flying and fishtailed to a stop.

    Needless to say, my heart was hammering and I broke out in a sweat within moments. No one was injured but it certainly makes you appreciate how fragile the thread of life is.

    Now that I'm safely in front of my computer, PERHAPS it wasn't such an enormous truck. It certainly looked HUGE as it barreled towards me. In all fairness, it was one of those doubled wheel trucks that had a third wheel hitch in the bed.... you know the kind that can pull a house behind it? O.K., so it wasn't a moose but it was scary, non the less.

    Hope the heat has let up a bit for you all. Can't say I'd be very pleasant company if I had a body covered with poison ivy, a face burning from Mace and a sore butt from rubbing on a damp saddle. You must be exhausted by noon.

    Thinking of you, as always.