Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America

Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America

by John Egenes


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780692930854
Publisher: Delta Vee
Publication date: 08/24/2017
Pages: 290
Sales rank: 491,772
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

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Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
In 1974, John Egenes decided to embark on a months-long mission to travel across the country on horseback, from California to Virginia Beach, accompanied only by his horse and best friend, Gizmo. Passing through eleven states, they experienced numerous hardships and trials and witness some of the wildest natural places in the United States. Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America is a tale of the stunning transformation of a man and his horse on an immeasurably difficult journey from their home, to the other side of the country. Man & Horse is told through a mix of Egenes’ first person point-of-view accounts, photographs, and old logbook entries. Each piece of the format blends together perfectly and adds a unique element to the story that allows the reader to digest the events in different ways. Egenes’ writing style also makes use of all five senses, immersing the reader in every aspect of his and Gizmo’s journey. The reader feels like they are walking alongside the two of them during their story. Egenes chooses to begin their journey on the West Coast rather than the East Coast. He writes, “...because we are traveling west to east and crossing great deserts first, we will become hardened to the trail, rough and feral, and adopt the attitude ‘it’s us against the world.’” (pg. 24) This proves to be the right decision, as “...the eastern part of America is fenced and tame. There is no open country, no place to spend days and weeks by yourself.” (pg. 24) He goes on to explain that had they begun in the reverse, they would not have achieved the complete isolation they did until much later in their journey and would have emerged from the challenge far different than they did. It’s difficult to imagine a feat like this being accomplished today. While Egenes faced many challenges in 1974, like being bitten by a black widow spider in the middle of the desert far from civilization and the needed antidote, there are new challenges in 2019 that would make his journey just as difficult. In one line of this book, Egenes says, “I’m reminded daily how fragile this existence of ours is.” (pg. 76) One mistake could be the end of them. From the expansion of cities to the popularization of social media, today’s travelers would be unable to achieve the same level of near-total isolation that Egenes and Gizmo experienced in the 70’s. One powerful lesson readers can take from Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America is the virtue of taking life at a slow pace. Egenes must find ways to fill long stretches of empty time on his long journey, away from the easy distractions of everyday civilization. He says, “It’s best not to look ahead to see how much time you must fill. The real trick is to simply live in the moment (I know, a bit cliché, but it’s true nonetheless) and allow yourself to focus on what’s in front of you without worrying about how long it will take you to do something or how much time you have before sunset.” (pgs. 122-123) Quill says: Man & Horse is more than a horse book or a survivalist book. It is an illustration of a great part of a man’s life and shows its audience that if they really want to do something, even something that seems wild, impossible, or unattainable, they can still achieve it with an iron will to succeed.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America by John Egenes is a non-fiction travel memoir set in the 1970s. Man & Horse is a story about a solo journey that John undertakes with his horse, Gizmo, across the continental United States. The book is written in the first person and recounts John’s experiences on the trail as he travels from the West coast to the East coast across the entire range of states in between. Interspersed with his travel details are also anecdotes and experiences from his childhood and early years, his family, and the impact it had on his desire to travel. There is a map and several photographs throughout the book that complement the narrative. I enjoyed reading Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America by John Egenes and, as a travel book, it fulfills all of the criteria for a novel and engaging read. The American Southwest region in particular appears to be a lot different than what it is now, and it is especially interesting to read his accounts of travel through California, Arizona, and New Mexico. His affection for his horse, who is his steady companion throughout the journey, is apparent and touching. John’s writing style is casual and relatable and makes for an easy read. I also enjoyed getting a glimpse into his early life and family experiences as this provides a marker for what prompted him to travel and explore in the first place. Overall, this is a good non-fiction travel book that anyone would enjoy!
marilivtollefson More than 1 year ago
If the journey, not the destination, is the point, as it is for John Egenes, then I won’t spoil much by telling you that riding Gizmo, his horse, into the Atlantic at the end of their cross country trip is anti-climactic. John had already imagined it even before he started out; what matters is the dream fulfilled. In 1974, Egenes set out from Southern California to Virginia Beach by horse. He had a little over $100, a general route, a lot of curiosity and perseverance to follow it. He gets away with a lot that’s no longer possible due to population growth and increased regulation. But even with fewer restrictions, luck and (mostly) open terrain to find his way (relatively) unimpeded, he considers this a “Calvinist ride,” where patience and trust are their own rewards. In Calvinist doctrine, happiness is earned the hard way. John’s journey isn’t about accumulating stories or fame or to say that he conquered something, but to become who he is. When it’s over, the becoming has just begun. John writes like I picture him riding, at a gentle trot. He punctuates his stories from the trail with stories of his childhood and some philosophical musings. The pace is steady, with time for reflection. He says it was work to spend time on the journey, to wile away hours when he or Gizmo weren’t moving. He sought after this kind of freedom, in solitude, in a disconnection from society. Nonetheless, he discovers he’s never alone. In the wilderness, he says, one is never alone. And, he always has Gizmo. Caring for Gizmo gives him purpose and teaches him how much Gizmo gives back. Just as the many people he encounters on the trip are mostly interested in Gizmo, so too, this book is a tribute to his faithful, stalwart companion. John’s book is entertaining and inspiring. It makes me want to take stock as he does, looking back and looking forward; what have I come from, where am I going, and who is with me? No matter the answer, the point is in the asking.