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...

home in the woods...


I've created a little home in the woods complete with a carpet, coffee table, computer, phone, stove top, and fireplace.

No one is here. Walter is off with his friend, Jordan, at the grocery store so it's just me and the river, a fire, and lots of bug noises...and mosquitoes. I have water boiling for pasta on the fire and a red sauce sauteing next to it.

To tell the truth, Walter and Jordan created this little home before they headed out. I just kind of watched. They've been gone a little while now, but as I type this I can hear the truck coming. The poor truck suffered through it's third flat tire today. We ran over a railroad stake.

Hm, I guess I was mistaken...that wasn't the truck, some car off in the distance, I guess. They better get here soon though! I'm getting eaten alive and the bug spray is in the truck!! Also, I can't get the water off of the fire because I let the pot sink too far into the flames and so I can't touch the handle. The water is about to boil away.

We are camped out right by the Ohio River. Kirk said it was a place we had to see and he was right. It's just gorgeous down here. We camped out at Kirk's place last night and it was wonderful, but Sojourner was a little pest. He decided he wanted to eat around 4am because that's when the first roosters started to crow. He moseyed over to our tent and got a hold of the very top of it with his teeth and lifted.

Walter and I kept slapping the tent, but it didn't really deter him. From 4am until we finally got up around 8:45, he pawed and chewed at the tent trying to get us out...or get himself in. It was actually pretty cute, but I was so exhausted for the entire first part of today because of it.

So tonight Sojourner is still at Kirk's, but we are camping down here by the river. I do wish we could go get Soj and high-line him here, though. It would be a 4 mile ride though and he would probably prefer to have the solid day off.

Kirk is one of the founders of an Organization called The Rough Riders. It's a pretty fantastic group for the community. They meet down on a plot of land near where I am now and people from town who love horses but can't afford them or don't have the place to keep them can come out and ride.

Kirk is one of those people who greets every single person like they were just the one he was waiting to see. Everyone is greeted with an exuberant amount of energy and enthusiasm. He says that he wants to teach the ways of the horse to young people so they can continue to keep the human/horse relationship alive.

People of all ages were there with their horses to share. Some worked out in the round pen, others ran down the roads and all through the fields. It was a great event that brought a lot of smiles and laughter.

Well, that does it...it's like I'm in a little fairy land right now. Walter and Jordan just got back and then Kirk pulled down the little dirt road as well. We were all running around fixing dinner and making the fire bigger when two horse drawn carriages pull down the road. One is pulled by two little ponies and the other by one bigger pony. The men driving each carriage were in beautiful old buggies.

I have everything all set up here at this little table in the woods. The camera is out and I was going to edit the photos that go along with this entry...I even ran over 2 minutes ago and got a couple shots of the carriages. The bugs are biting though so I think I might head over to that fire over there to get away from them. I'll put up the photos that go with this entry at the beginning of the next one. I don't think my internet would be strong enough to load them anyway. Kirk is headed toward me with a map, too, so I should look over that for tomorrow's ride...

"Is Linny going to be disappointed with our choices?"

That's what Jordan asked Walter as they left the grocery store with a "reduced price for quick sale" cheesecake and a bottle of sweet twist-top wine.

I'm not disappointed, of course. I thought it was very sweet when they placed this entire cheesecake down in front of me. Walter had made Jordan take the "quick sale" sticker off so I would be none the wiser, but eventually they slipped and let the cat out of the bag.

Another one of Walter's friends, Jake, happened to be in this tiny little town today as well (all the way from Chicago!) for a wedding.

So they are sitting around the coffee table drinking cheap sweet wine out of tiny, empty water bottles talking about their travels (Walter met Jake in China and Jordan in Alaska), and I am sipping on mint tea, dipping my spoon into an entire pie, and about to go sit by the fire to take this all in.

I do, I have to say, miss my little horse right now though. I have a feeling I'll be camping with him many nights in the back field in NH...for old times sake.


  1. Isn't it interesting how attached we get to horses. I miss my horse if I am away for even a day.

  2. Linny,
    good to hear you back in better spirits. Sounds like a neat place. When and where will you cross the Ohio? My great-grandfather enlisted in the Confederate Army at age 12 to be with his two brothers and a brother in law. They were captured at Ft. Hindman, Arkansas and sent to Camp Stephen Douglas in Chicago. His older brother died there of pneumonia. Aaron and the rest were exchanged for Yankee prisoners and sent on steamboats up the Ohio to Wheeling, WV. When he saw all the industry along the upper Ohio he knew the South was in trouble. He survived and lived to be 89. Hi to Walter!

  3. It was great meeting you both Saturday at the Rough Riders event in Garrison. My sister and twin nieces enjoyed meeting you too and the girls had so much fun riding the horses. One was a natural at it. Best wishes on your travels and thanks for being such an impression to so many that you meet along your way. Safe travels.

  4. Sounds absolutely refreshing. Your blog title reminded me of this up and coming style of camping...like little homes in the woods....it's called Glamping. If you haven't heard of it before...here's a great site -- for luxury camping. Pretty wild eh?


    Enjoy your time...and ride on!


    Hi Linny,
    A magnificent flea-bitten gray Arabian gelding named Rashad has a euthanasia appointment later today (Monday). He’s about 30, has been slowly declining in health, and it’s his time.

    Rashad’s human companion is a wonderful young woman named Jessica who is a couple of years younger than you. She’s had Rashad since she was a little girl. He’s been the equine companion that girls the world over dream about. And when Jessica had her own son, Rashad ever so carefully carried him and other very young children around. There are stories of Rashad, who was as strong and athletic as any Arabian, standing perfectly still with a child on his back even if another horse nearby spooked. He truly is a one-in-a-million horse.

    Jessica is suffering terribly and will soon begin grieving. She is a kind woman with pure love in her heart and it’s so hard for those of us who know Jessica to see her this way. The agony in her messages is palpable. Jessica’s religious beliefs also don’t allow her to look forward to being reunited again with Rashad someday. Those of us who know Jessica understand that this is not the time to challenge her on this point and it’s so hard because in her heart, Jessica feels that she must say goodbye to Rashad forever later today.

    Fortunately, Jessica has a huge group of horse friends who will hold her up during this difficult time. She will receive an outpouring of support.

    If I could be so bold, I wanted to ask if you and Sojourner would ride a mile or two just for Rashad? And perhaps post a photo as well if that’s not asking too much? The photo of the two of you galloping along the beach in CA with you wearing that beautiful dress symbolizes a magnificent relationship between a girl/woman and her horse, but any photo would be great if you don’t mind. If you do mention Rashad in an upcoming blog and post a photo, I’ll direct Jessica to the entry. She isn’t currently following your journey.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    All best wishes. Ride On!


    Tom-beautiful comment. Thanks for sharing that. I don't like to make a habit of posting (and lengthy) twice...but this time is has to do with divorce related emotion.

    I got a panicky call the other day that went something like this, "She just threw me out of the house and I was forced to sleep at my office. After 25 years of trying to hold it all together, we are getting a divorce. It's time that I find "me"." As he put it, "Meg, I am scared S*******!!!!! I should not have to press the restart button on my life at 50 years old. I am so ashamed and feel like such a failure for my kids---- but WE BOTH feel in my heart that this is the healthy and right thing to do". This had been coming for as long as I have known this couple....15 years ago they started talking about divorce and what actualized last Friday.
    There was no abuse, there was no one else, there was none of that. It was a gradual growing apart from the very beginning. The signs were there from the get go...they didn't pay attention to themselves. Their marriage, from what both of them have admitted for years was a mismatch from the beginning.

    I know her, she who did the "throwing out"...and I know that she did the best she could as a mom and both stayed in it "for the kids". He was just as brilliant as a father.

    Both parents were involved in a balanced way raising their three kids who now have upstanding values and morals: strength of character wasn't lacking. Their "recipe" for parenthood presented the perfect marriage to the outside world. Their kids are fantastic young adults now -- and are well regarded in what they do with themselves in all aspects of their lives.

    Only a few knew what went on with this "perfect couple" behind closed doors. They tried hard to hold it together for three reasons; their kids were the defining terms of their marriage. The kids had told me several times behind their backs, "I wish mom and dad would just get divorced! I hate to hear them fight." One said this at the age of 6; he is now almost 21.
    They had stayed together out of obligation and "supposed to be's".

    After the initial shock and a few days of them coming to terms with a new reality and life ahead of them, I can feel a weighted sigh of relief in that household as the transition truly begins by packing and moving -he is moving to a nice rental property less than a mile from their home- with each box carried by both of them as they realize the end is (finally?) here.

    The kids breathe cautiously and gratefully with them as they watch from their own lives. Bittersweet emotion floods their hearts.

    The sense of companionship is lost- their sense of family is displaced. Their healing process is ahead of them. The unraveling of assets, the big financial ball of string attached for the sake of “family” will take a few years.

    As they pack their things, these two parents give knowing apologetic glances to their kids for not divorcing sooner. They are seeking that which is healthy for themselves, healthy for their kids.

    And now all of a sudden in this transition emerges an ability to truly recognize that love doesn't have to hurt anymore... not ever again.

  7. Linny,

    One of my fondest horse memories was at a competetive trail ride where you camp out the night before. My very good friend and I were drinking wine in our tent, listening to the soft snorts of my horse grazing next to us. We were right next to a small brook with mint growing on the bank. I will never forget those sounds and smells and the incredible peace I felt at that time. You are truly blessed for the experiences you are getting on this trip!

    You've been popping into my mind as the weather here gets crispier. We also drove through a back part of Bath this weekend- it is so beautiful this time of year!


    I will ask the great spirit to look over Rashad and pray that whatever Jessica's religon- she can find some peace during this time. I am quite familiar with the pain and grief of losing a special animal companion. There are still times that I just burst into tears for Moosilauke, my dog who passed in June.

    My flea bitten gray arabian- Bugle has been with me all of his 21 years of life and I cherish every day with him, as I know the inevitable approaches. My heartfelt thoughts will be with Jessica today.

  8. Rashad passed peacefully. Jessica is receiving the support that she so very much needs right now. Thanks for keeping her in your thoughts.

  9. SAZCorp-yes!

    Doc-we're in Ohio now. Just got here a day ago. We have been riding a lot and so I haven't written about it yet. Such interesting history about your family. Walter and I are going to read your books when we get home and learn more!

    Anita-so nice to meet you, too. Those girls were adorable!!

    Tom-what a difficult time your friend is going through. I'm sorry to hear about Rashad. Please do give her the blog site if you think it might interest her.

    Thanks for the story, Megan.

    Jeni-yeah, camping with the horse is such a cool experience. I might even just do it in the land behind the house from time to time!!

  10. It is there waiting for you although it may be a bit nippy late November. I have put up corner posts and a number of smaller posts marking off three separate pastures. I am not done but I can see how it will go in my mind. Today was warm and sunny. Tomorrow promises to be quite rainy. And then seasonably cool by the weekend. Your mother was there pulling weeds and we talked about many things. All good.