The Book

Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America

In 1974 a disenfranchised young man from a broken home set out to do the impossible. With a hundred dollars in his pocket, a beat up cavalry saddle, and a faraway look in his eye, John Egenes saddled his horse Gizmo and started down the trail on an adventure across the North American continent. Their seven month journey took them across 11 states from California to Virginia, ocean to ocean.. As they left the pressing confinement of the city behind them, the pair experienced the isolation and loneliness of the southwestern deserts, the vastness of the prairie, and the great landscapes that make up America. Across hundreds of miles of empty land they slept with coyotes and wild horses under the stars, and in urban areas they camped alone in graveyards and abandoned shacks. Along the way John and Gizmo were transformed from inexperienced horse and rider to veterans of the trail. With his young horse as his spiritual guide John slowly began to comprehend his own place in the world and to find peace within himself. Full of heart and humor, Egenes serves up a tale that’s as big as the America he witnessed, an America that no longer exists. It was a journey that could only have been experienced step by step, mile by mile, from the view between a horse’s ears.

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Excerpts

The Force of Gravity [excerpt]

We spend our lives doing battle with gravity. It's a mysterious force. We understand its properties. We know what it does, but we don't know how or why. Gravity fastens us to the earth. It causes friction when we try move. It wants to keep us still, to be at rest and...

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The Painted Desert [excerpt]

The wind picks up in the afternoon. We can't get away from it out here. A lot of miles between things. Summer storms are starting a bit early this year, and they hit us every afternoon for an hour or so. The storm always comes out of the northwest. I can usually see...

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Out The Club Car Window [excerpt]

I’ve decided to wash my clothes, so I’ll take a bath while I'm at it. I pull my extra pair of jeans out of my pack, along with two t-shirts, some underwear and socks, and my other western shirt. I strip off the clothes I’m wearing and grab the small bar of hand soap....

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The West [excerpt]

We are veterans of the trail now, and after covering more than eighteen hundred miles we’re beginning to feel the fatigue that accompanies our slow progress across the continent. Gizmo and I have left the Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico behind as we enter the...

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Herd Mentality [excerpt]

Sometime later—I wasn’t sure how long—I heard the sound of a vehicle coming up the road. I immediately sat up in my sleeping bag alert. We were camped down below the road, so I hoped that whomever it was would drive past without seeing us. My hopes were not realized,...

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The Best Jukebox In Town [excerpt]

It felt good to have the chance to brag a bit to a beautiful woman. Not that I overplayed my hand, though. The fact was, I was more the “yup, nope” type and kept my boasting to a restrained minimum. I tended to talk about Gizmo a lot. I felt safe talking about him. I...

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…captured me from the first page. A glimpse into times past, an America no longer accessible, and a journey for no real reason other than a personal drive.