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...

Traveling days, the mostly ups and the occasional downs...but really, mostly ups so high I can hardly touch them..

9/16/10

Hello there, friendly travel companions...

Thank you for coming with Walter, Sojourner, and I on this crazy little adventure we embarked on over half a year ago. Through your emails and comments (although, ehem, there is another "blogger" who I follow and I noticed she has "will blog for comments" on her page. I am contemplating doing the same! Talk to me! A girl gets lonely out here alone on her horse all day! No, not really...I'm only playing...just joshin' ya).

But on a serious note...we've decided to end the ride.


Kidding! ha ha. Still going strong. I just wanted to clarify a little from my last entry. Not the leather entry, the one before that....

I had written before that it would be very easy for me to only focus on the high points of this ride because there are so many and they far outweigh any difficult times. With that said, we have been out here now for nearly 7 months, outside nearly every day in all sorts of weather riding long miles, tough roads, and of course, talking to lots and lots and lots of people and answering lots of questions. Plus, I'm a woman, so there have been 7 weeks out of these 7 months when I have been maybe a little more touchy than other days, catch my drift?

Anyway, you all come with me through all of it-all the days and all of the events. If I am writing more honestly there are going to be days when the exhaustion is a little stronger and my tolerance for what really are tolerable things is low.

I have received quite a few emails (and like I said, feel free to write to me here because I think it makes the whole blog even more interesting for all of us to communicate here; this is where most of my internet time is spent as well so it makes it easier for me. Just click "follow" there on the right and comment away!) But I digress...I have received emails expressing concern for the cruel people I have come across and that I seem down.

Nobody was at all cruel to me. No one has been on this whole trip. It's been the most incredible part of the ride, in fact. Everyone is supportive and smiles and gives us the energy we often times need. The other day it was simply that I was tired and therefore I just couldn't handle anything. It was only one day though. Today I feel great! We have had 2 wonderful rest days and have thoroughly enjoyed this town of Carlisle.

For example, the woman on the side of the road wasn't mean, she simply wasn't seeing the whole picture and I was frustrated because she almost refused to see it. She wasn't listening to me, which as you all know, can be difficult.
And a good deal of men were especially... excitable...that day. I was followed by a truck that had some guys in it who showed up three different times next to me and would wait up ahead for us to catch up and try to talk when I didn't want to talk. I would have to kick Soj into a canter and nearly into a gallop to get away.

Then the whinnying guy, well he was just being silly, but it was all in good fun. It was just too loud and annoying for me at that moment...but he wasn't mean. He just wasn't the smartest of all men is all.

The people up ahead were some of the nicest people in the world, but I was in a place where I felt like I needed my own time. I felt I needed it so badly that day. I suppose the entire entry could have been summed up into "I'm not feeling great today".

It was nobody's fault though...there are just people you come across on those bad days who affect you differently than they would if you were feeling more yourself. But no one was cruel and, in fact, the people we met later that day were so incredibly kind and full of the life I needed. They ended up being "just what the doctor ordered" when I thought the doctor would prescribe a room with closed doors.

I am not at all an unsociable person. I am often blown away by people and completely fascinated by them, but I am a person who has to have balance. I am also not one of those who always needs to be in a social situation. I like time to myself...whole days sometimes. Out here I don't get that balance as much. People try so hard to give it to us, and they succeed in a lot of ways, but there is always the knowing that I have to get up and leave and start all anew the next day. So my relaxation level only settles so deep, which at times, is not deep enough to keep me bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Anyway, this is already more of an explanation than I intended.

I guess my biggest concern is that at this point in the ride I think I could sit down and write an entire encyclopedia-sized book defending the belief that all people deep down are solidly and purely good. People do or say things that, of course, are going to frustrate me at times, but most of the time it's because my body is pretty tired at this point and I am not as able (on some few days) to deal with even routine things.

The other morning I looked at everything that was outside of the truck. All of our stuff was all over the ground that I had just woken up from. The ground felt harder that night, my muscles ached again like they used to in the beginning. I stood up and pulled everything out so I could get to Soj's feed and get to our food. For some reason, that morning, I just stood there.

Walter was off cleaning something and I stood there by myself looking at everything and looking at Soj looking at me waiting to eat and I didn't know where to move! I didn't know which box to lift first. Walter came and reminded me that it's easy and we had it all done and put away in ten minutes. It's just that some days are like that. There were days in the heat when Walter would do the same thing. He would open the back of the truck and stand there. Just staring.

When you are living out of your truck everything takes physical labor. If you want food, you move stuff around to get to it. If you want to sleep, you dig the tent out which is buried in its place and set it up. Nothing is exactly simple. On most days I don't mind at all and really even enjoy it, it keeps us in shape and it's really not that big of a deal...but some days little deals are big deals.

So that's all it was about. It was just a day when I didn't really feel like going for a ride. I didn't write in my last entry either that Soj and I had the closest call we have had yet the day before. Soj is a pretty bomb proof horse at this point, but every once in a while something will scare him. This particular rock scared him so much that he bolted so hard into the road that we actually slid on the pavement right smack in front of an on-coming car.

It was so, so very close. The driver, thankfully, was able to come to a halt right in front of us. It was hard for me to get Soj back to the side of the road because he was still scared of the rock. I waved and mouthed "sorry" and forced Soj back to the side of the road. The person in the car pulled over-maybe they were a little shaken up, maybe they wanted to see how I was feeling-I don't know. But I couldn't talk at that moment. I picked up Soj's speed and was off with him. I just couldn't speak.

Walter was around the other corner and I vented every emotion out to him. I was so mad, and of course, I know the horse just spooked, but I was mad at the fact that he nearly really hurt both of us.

So all of that adds up and then you get into this mood where even answering the simple question of "so why did you decide to do this ride?" is too much to bare. It's not that I'm anxious about meeting people, not at all. It was just a day, just a moment when I needed my own home, I wanted to sing a song or paint or play with my sweet cat that I miss so much...all of the things I left for a while. On that day, they were all I wanted.

...
It's raining this morning and I'm loving it. I was thinking about all the heat we just came out of and how happy I am that it's finally passed.

Walter and I went back and read the blog entries from the first days of the ride. It was so fun to read. So many people and so many places and this wonderful horse taking us through it all...
It's been a dream. My dream has been a dream and I am so thankful to every person who has helped make it possible. So incredibly thankful.




11 comments:

  1. Thanks for the honest and heartfelt blog entry, Linny. We appreciate it.

    Hey, I've been doing my part on the "will blog for comments" thing. :) In fact, I'll keep my comments here instead of FB or e-mail to help a little more as well. I'm sure it's overwhelming at times with all of us contacting you, and it must be a little stressful knowing that you simply cannot respond to everyone.

    I have to admit (you have encouraged us to post anything and everything we wish here :)) that the close call with the car would have shaken me to the core. So much so that I'd take people up on their offers to trailer around the really nasty roads without a wide shoulder. Not because of me. My risk-taking is quite high at times because I don't believe that risks should hold us back from something we really want to do. But for my horse.

    I'll look forward to a discussion over cups of tea, or perhaps reading your book, detailing your assertion that people deep down are solidly and purely good. I'd like to embrace that concept if I could, but I can't currently reconcile it with oppressive regimes and religions, abuse of women and children, factory farming, and the elephants in the circus that I'm off to protest for their liberation just this afternoon.

    You have met nearly all wonderful, amazing people and I've loved meeting them through your blog. I've also made some new friends because of you (not including, you, Walter, Nancy, your mom, etc.) that I'm sure I'll stay in touch with for the rest of my life. But I'm afraid that I've got a ways to go to have your outlook.

    I hope my comments here aren't a downer. That's not my intent at all and I'm really a joyful person. Just responding honestly to one of life's most perplexing questions (Are people inherently good?).

    Ride On!

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  2. That close call was scary, but even if you're just walking down the driveway on a horse, he can spook and really hurt you, as we found out, or just as easily hurt himself. It doesn't mean that driveways are an unsafe place to ride. It just means that there's always a risk when riding a horse. I see what Tom is saying, but I also have complete faith that with the amount of time you've spent riding Sojourner and with the deep love you have for him, you know what is safe and what is not and would never put him in harm's way. I love my dids.

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  3. I understand, Caiti. I felt a bit guilty after I posted that. I sure hope I didn't offend you, Linny. It's kind of hard for me anytime Buster and I are on the side of a road where cars come by fast anyway. I could never do what you are doing, admire you greatly (as you know), and know how much you love Sojourner. Megan asked me once if I had an interest in long riding and I said only in the wilderness. I just don’t do well with fast-moving vehicles anywhere near my animal(s). I had a bad experience once (it ended well, though) and that probably influences me also.

    The circus protest went well. Photos on my FB if you are interested. I listened to your CD on the way down for inspiration from you and Caiti.

    I found it in "My Sleeping Prince". The line that touched my heart was “So come and let’s ride till be just can’t ride no more!” When you sing that line it’s obvious that you aren’t holding one – single – thing back. All power and emotion going into it. To me, that says “Freedom!” I can imagine Buster and I galloping as fast as possible down the beach with nothing holding back our bodies or our hearts. I held that feeling as I began my protest (all by myself for the first hour, and shaking with fear because I’m so averse to confrontation) and imagined the elephants and big cats finally freed from their horrible circumstances. They will be someday.

    So you and Caiti inspired me. Thank you both.

    Ride On!

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  4. Oops, meant to say "So come and let's ride till we just can't ride no more"

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  6. Linny, Walt Whitman said that "All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor." So feel free to be open and honest in your postings. What you feel at the moment, is how you feel. You're allowed that, as is Soj.

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  7. sending a smile to all of you today! RIDE ON!

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  8. Linny, I feel like meeting you was a special gift and reading your blog is another. It is so great to hear that you also have bad days and times you don't really know what is best for you. Not that I wish for you to have bad days, but nobody can honestly be perpetually hapy and upbeat. It is nice to know we are more alike than different. In return for the great gift you've given, I have been working on giving you what you have asked. I'm trying to write the short version of my story. How death and emotional abandonment shaped my parents and how in turn, their divorce and following actions shaped me. How I came to be at the end of my driveway at just the right moment to meet this amazing person riding a beautiful horse down my street. Keep writing from the heart. I know I need to hear it. I will miss you terribly when your ride is over.

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  9. What a beautiful comment, redmustang. That brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much. :)

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  10. I agree that you must be honest here. That is what allows us readers to feel the moments as opposed to simply know them.

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