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...

from concrete to trees...


To Nancy, love you.

The other side had a good message, too!
We’re in Ozark, MO now taking a rest day here with a wonderful woman named Patty and her husband, Bobby. We weren’t planning on resting today, but as the fantastic dinner that Patty had prepared of deliciously seasoned garden vegetables, shrimp, and the best pizza we’ve had on this trip (Arri’s pizza) digested in our sleepy systems, we were easily convinced to take today to relax and explore the area a bit.

Patty moving her horse so Sojourner can have his pasture.

One good thing about riding longer days is you don’t mind taking an extra rest day here and there. We have ridden 120 miles in 4 days so we will still make our goal of 140 miles a week.

We went to see the town of Branson and, eeeek, what a jolt back into the hustle and bustle of consumerism and inflated prices. There is an outlet strip there so we thought we would see if we could get a good deal on some sandals that might last longer than 3 days and maybe find a camp stove as well (ours broke).

We were there for maybe 20 minutes, 15 of which were spent trying to find a parking place while unexcited, gravity bearing people slowly weaved in and out of the cars unaware of anything but the cell phone in their hands. Cars annoyed at the people, people annoyed at the cars. Nobody’s moving fast enough or the right way according to anyone else.

It just doesn’t seem like anyone really likes being there all that much but there are so many people there! It’s just so terribly boring and unfulfilling and you leave with less money and something you don’t care about.

We went into Starbucks because I wanted to treat myself to one of those sugared mess drinks (caramel macchiato) and the girl asked me how I was without really wanting to know. Never a smile. I ordered a small drink and it was $4.09! Is that what a coffee at Starbucks costs now? Four dollars for a coffee drink? I had to tell her to never mind and got an ice cream instead. When did this become okay? When did we start paying four dollars for one small drink?

Pretty Missouri field

Walter did find some heavy duty sandals on sale though, so that worked out.

Yesterday was a fairly hot ride. We had a nice visit the night before with Richard and his kids in Marionville. We all sat in the kitchen and talked and laughed while Richard made us fried fish that he and his son had caught and chips.

I went up to bed pretty early though and we were up and out before anyone was up. We rode 32 miles yesterday. At one point we crossed over a river and decided to go down to it even though it was a very steep slope to get down there.

Walter grabbed one of the empty feed bags out of the truck to gather up some cut grass that Soj really wanted so he could eat it later.

Walter didn’t think we would be able to get down at first, but I went to check it out and thought it would be okay. Sojourner slid down most of it. He locked his front legs and slid like goofy on ice all the way to the bottom where he landed in the water. It was a sight to see.

We untacked him under the bridge and left the saddle on the cement base and ventured down the river a bit. It was nice to cool off, but the river never got very deep. After about 15 minutes we headed back up again.

We were greeted by Patty and Bobby's collies. They're the best. Want one.

I was bent over in the truck digging around for something and then all of a sudden this soccer ball hit the back of my leg. This pup had thrown it to me.

Tomorrow we are riding to Ava, MO. We are getting closer to the Ozark National Scenic Riverway in the Mark Twain National Forrest. I’m really excited about that.

In case you haven't seen these videos yet...the third is coming soon...


  1. Funny, I thought Branson was pretty miserable as a child.
    Sounds like it has gotten worse.
    No Dollywood for me :P

    Hugs all around ;)

  2. Oh I love the sign BTW! BOTH sides! I needed that today ;)

  3. Hi Linny,
    Thanks for your sweet words regarding Lola. She is missed. I think the buzzards have noticed her absence. She always thought her job was to keep all the birds from landing on the property. She especially disliked buzzards and would bark at them while they circled around. Guess her herding instincts expanded to include the rooster..... she was rather protective. That old rooster even got to sneaking up behind me and attacking from my blind side. Usually I could hear him, turn around and give him the evil eye and he would pretend he was looking around for something else. His favorite place was in front of the full length mirror in my bedroom. He could stare at himself for hours. I use the past tense because he is with Lola on the endless chase.

    So sorry to hear you've got another case of poison ivy. Make sure to get some Tecnu. You can use it as a preventive. You also have to be diligent with washing every thing you come in contact with. Sleeping bag, bottom of shoes, hat, etc. (Even Walter and Soj) That oil is difficult to wash off. How miserable for you.

    We had a Hindu wedding this weekend that was so incredible. Such a refreshing change from the American ones. The marriage ceremony was the focal point, not the big party afterwards. The priest was so humorous. The ceremony had different sections representing various aspects of marriage and was over 2 hours long. (The bride said this was a short version!) It kept my attention the whole time and was so interesting. The main focus of the marriage vows were based on friendship and respect. The guests were in gorgeous saris and were so beautiful, inside and out. Everyone sat on linen drop cloths around the ceremony platform, drinking tea and eating little tasty hors d'oeuvers. There was so much love and support from everyone, rituals observed and respect for their culture. Contrast that with the wedding the day before, with a 10 minute ceremony the couples friend conducted, the wedding party wearing tutus and fedoras, the guests all having a shot of tequila to celebrate the ceremony. The main focus was getting to the reception and starting the party. Ummm, what's wrong with this picture? No wonder American marriages have such a poor record of success. We've began to keep a running tally of which marriages might last according to how a couple conducts themselves in the wedding preparations. There is so much pressure in planning a wedding and it appears to be a good indicator as to the couples coping and personality quirks. Brings out the true aspects of working together. Or not.

    Speaking of weddings.... I'm off to the flower mart.
    Thinking of you.


  4. There is one of those collies on a farm near me here in VT. By using its nose, it literally flips a ball into the air at you to throw it. After you throw, the dog will fetch the ball, run back, and when it gets to within several feet of you, it drops the ball and flips it at you again. So cool.

    Branson MO sounds like Suburbananywhere, U.S.A. You hear about how bad the economy is, etc but people readily toss out $4+ for drinks at Starbucks, and pay $40,000 for an ultra slick four-wheel drive pickup truck or SUV to get them there. When they had those rebates last Fall for cars, the ones where you could get as much as $4000 for your junker (which all went to the crusher; I was thinking at the time that there were a lot of those cars that were better than what I drive), it turned out that more people bought Ford F150's than anything else. So much for increasing fuel economy and decreasing pollutants. You can bet that most of those trucks sit in Starbucks parking spaces in places like Branson. Being that I drive a bus, I am up above most car and truck cabins. The other day, I had to get around a woman in an expensive SUV who was driving incredibly poorly on the interstate. Looking in as I went past on her right (because she was either straddling the whole road or sitting in the passing lane, I saw her holding a cell phone in one ear, a crossword puzzle perched on the steering wheel and a dachshund in her lap! True!! I couldn't believe it but there it was. I honked as I went by to get her attention but from what I could tell in my rear view mirror, it made no difference. Connecticut license plates. How on Earth did she make it to Vermont??? Oh, man, don't get me started on our culture of capitalism and selfishness, which has everybody in suburbia so snookered.