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...

Now in Marionville, MO


Right now Walter and I are eating Spinach and Artichoke dip at a brewery called Bootleggers in Aurora, MO. We were just in someone's house a minute ago who we have yet to meet. We took a shower, had a cup of tea, even fell asleep on the couch for 15 minutes. It never ceases to amaze me, the trust that is still out here.

The owner of the house is called Richard, but he is still only a voice on the phone. When we called him to tell him we were in town he told us where his house and the key to unlock the door were without hesitation.

Walter and I haven't been drinking coffee anymore (only mint tea), but if there is a nice coffee shop and a days worth of computer stuff to do then we'll treat ourselves. Well, I treated myself 3 times and didn't sleep well last night. When we got in after riding 20 miles early this morning I was exhausted.

So we went ahead and took Richard's offer of heading over to his house even though he is out of town with his Grandson until this evening. It is such a funny, amazing, heart warming, odd, sweet thing to be in someone's home whom you've never met and then even in their shower. And then on their couch. And then making a cup of tea.

I was thinking about this all as I sat on the couch. I had fallen asleep and then woke up about 15 minutes later with a bit of a jolt. It was a "Ah! This isn't my house!" kind of thing....

I looked over and Walter was sitting up asleep next to me.

It was one of those moments where I looked around and thought, "look at where I am.....hm."

I woke Walter up about 10 minutes later thinking maybe we should go feed Soj and find a place to get on-line. Both of us wanted nothing more than to sleep at that moment, but being asleep on the couch when Richard got home felt a little weird so we got up, had some tea, and went to the little Sojer.

Last night Cindy prepared an amazing meal for us. Manicotti with Spinach and strawberry salad and some of the best homemade bread I have ever had. For dessert she made homemade sticky buns, also some of the best I've ever had.

Cindy's son and wife and friends of the family also joined us for dinner.

Cindy getting a kiss from her horse, Doc.

We all went to see Soj after dinner and laughed as he went into pure ecstasy while Cindy's friend, Mike, itched his neck.

Tomorrow we have a 30 mile ride to Ozark. We're going to have to get up really early because it's supposed to be pretty hot. According to the map we are headed to a river though....hopefully it's not dry!!


  1. Amazing trip. I almost drove from Houston to Duncan (Stephens Co.), Oklahoma for the 4th of July. If I had I might have seen you on the road. Looks like you have changed to a more Northerly route skipping Memphis and Nashville.
    Are you going to StLouis-Memphis- Nashville?
    It would add about 500 miles to the trip if you did that...

    re your poison ivy...

    I once saw some poison ivy in Oklahoma so old, it had grown/climbed to the tops of some 30-40 foot tall trees and its vines were several inches in diameter. All the rest I've
    seen has been less than a couple of feet tall.

    Bathing may be scarce on the trip, but you've
    always got a Bath waiting at the end of the ride.

    Stay safe and healthy.


  2. Hey Linny,
    As always, your entries are such an inspiration. I'm always amazed at the insight and introspection you are able to convey. I love that you and Walter have found a rhythm that fits you. You are both (or rephrase that to three) able to find a place of mutual support and encouragement that very few find. Your blog is so much more than any novel I have been able to read. I feel more engagement with your adventure than I have with any other book, movie or similar intrigue. There is no doubt that you will complete your journey. There are few days that I go without checking into your latest journal. Each time, you inspire another thought or deeper look into some aspect of life. Your unfiltered writing is so engaging and it is such a blessing that you are willing to share so much of yourself with us. You touch me in more ways than I can ever convey.

    Thought you might like to be informed that yesterday, I made the decision to put our dog, Lola down. She had been declining rather quickly. In hindsight, I can see that she hung in for Chris and David. Once they left home, she was cognizant to know they were gone and obviously made the decision to let go. It's a milestone in our lives. She was the childhood dog for them and also Paul's constant companion. She had a long and productive life and I'm grateful for all she gave to us. Animals give such a diverse dimension to our lives. What kind of people would we be without them? It was a sad day for me, in as much as I had to make the decision and bury her alone. I think I was feeling just a bit sorry for myself, digging a grave, carrying her out and placing her as gently as possible, then filling in the gravesite. I kept wanting Paul, Chris and David to be there with me. I can now understand that the sadness was as much a part of losing a pet of 14 years but even more, the realization of a closure of our lives together as a family. Our pets add such an incredible amount of love and acceptance to our lives that can not be duplicated. I'm convinced that we would not be able to survive without our animal connections. They give so much more than we can even imagine.

    Well, I wasn't planning on going in this direction with my greeting but I also feel a bit worn out, just now. I do think about you on a daily basis and have such a full heart for you. My love to you always and I have no doubts that I will be seeing you in N.H.

    As always,

  3. Nancy,
    So sorry to hear about Lola, I know she had a wonderful life, being part of such a fun, loving and caring family.

  4. Nancy,
    I'm very sorry to hear of Lola's passing. She was obviously a beloved member of your family and I feel that I have gotten to know her a little bit through your beautiful eulogy. I'll look forward to meeting her at the Rainbow Bridge.

    Here is the poem, although I'm guessing you know it well. I think I've decided that I won't cross the Bridge. I'll just stay right there with the animals and my human family and friends can cross from the other side to visit me.

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

  5. I recall a post where you would "imagine a horse running with you", when you traveled.....when you were younger.

    I never told you but... I TOTALLY did that too! Part of it was boredom, part of it was I just needed to be with horses and on a horse, not in a car :)
    I had a few imaginary favorites and then, sometimes....I would come up with a new one or two!

    I saw "The Black Stallion" when I was five. I was already in love, but that just reinforced my feelings.

    Today I moved my horse. The prison rodeo meth guy isn't going anywhere at the old barn and I'm tired of seeing his horses hurt.
    Not to mention, the other horses and my Nathan COULD get hurt.

    He got a little weird in the slant load, he will lean into me and it scares me. I jump out really quick :P
    I watched him greet the other horses at the new place....look around and sniff....in bewilderment....his large Arab ears...perkier than ever.

    I think he's gonna be alright! I know he's going to miss a few horses from the old herd.
    I was looking around for a place to ride...a ring. Then, I thought WWLD hahahaa
    she doesn't need a ring :) I really do need some boots (shoes) though. The OK heat is cracking up his hooves pretty good!

    Anyway, I couldn't sleep....thought I'd share a little. You share so much with us all! I can't wait for the book ! hint hint *thinks to self, need a new coffee table to display it*

    I'm sorry for your loss BTW....Lola is a pretty name. Even though, I am not sure who she was.
    Hugs and swim for me and Nate ;)

  6. Oh Nancy, my heart broke when I read about Lola. I gasped and said "no" out loud. I wish I could have been there with you. Your strength is humbling. I'll never forget how she would save me from the attack rooster. What a girl. I'll miss her with you. And thank you so much for your beautiful words.

    Darcy-that's cool that you moved the horse. I'm sure he will bond quickly with his new buddies. Get those Old Macs! You'll love them, really. You can put some lotion on underneath them. Did you go to Easyboots facebook page? They can help you with ideas....I don't know about the glove, but that might be a good option, too.

    Mike-I have poison ivy again and I'm not even off of the prednisone from the last attack of it! The vicious plant. I cant believe it.

    I should sleep now. We have a super early morning and long ride...and now I think I might be doing it with a big rash again.

    It's so hard to stay out of the woods!!! Rivers are in the woods!! Man oh man oh man oh man oh man.... :(

  7. OH NO!!!!!!!!!! Not poison Ivy AGAIN!!!!!!!!????? OK Linny...this is now your new "alter ego" nickname! :P

    I will have to wait a month or so on the Macs. Broke from moving Nate; however, VERY happy!
    I'm not riding now anyway. Too hot! Yuck! I also need a new saddle.
    If you have any suggestions of saddle makers...... ;)

    You can guarantee I will be asking you and them questions before I buy ;)

    How old is Soj?

    I read about a horse doing trails (little Arab cross) until he was almost 38.....Elmer Bandit. You can read about him on AHA. Modern Arabian Horse Mag.
    Such a great Story! His horse mom SWORE the trails are the reason he lived so long ;)
    scheduled for August 3, 2010 at 9:30 AM to August 4, 2010 at 12:00 AM

  8. Poison ivy again, you say? Geez...

    There is a place in St Johnsbury called Dog Mountain. It was created by Stephen Huneck, an artist of some renown in this region. There is, at Dog Mountain, a dog chapel, where people place pictures of their lost dogs. I had put a picture of our dog, Dublin, there a few years ago. Sadly, Stephen Huneck passed away last year. But Dog Mountain lives on . Last Sunday was the annual dog festival and it was well attended. It would be better to just visit the website to see for yourselves how strongly some people feel about their pets, especially dogs.