Sleeping with the "enemy"

Last year when we were camped in Tucson, we were the youngest people at the RV park, with the oldest RV in the group. It was a neat, quiet park, with plenty of snowbirds wintering over for golf and relaxation. We got some pretty odd looks when rolling out of camp on our bikes to ride Fantasy Island. Well, this year, we are staying with Nick's Mom, in a much smaller park, with completely different types of people. Not only are we the doggonest, with the oldest RV, but we are really the only ones with bikes. Everyone else heads out for a ride in the morning sure, but with four footed steeds - either horses or mules. Yep! Staying with the horse people...

It's been interesting. All of the other campers are either retired or semi retired and this is a way of life - get up, plan a ride, load up the horses, ride for a few hours, come back and relax until bed time. Not all that different from Nick and I when we are on vacation. What's been interesting has been listening to the different opinions they have about hikers and mountain bikers, and the other horse people. Some of them understand the multi use concepts and need for common sense when following the trail right of way rules. Others - not so much. Like in the mountain biking community, there's a general disdain for the lack of common sense other trail users display. Everything from hikers holding the poles in aggressive manners and getting pissed when asked to put the poles down, to mountain bikers leaning their bikes against the horses to ask for directions. (I kid you not - and he was not telling me this story - he was talking to a fellow rider) Then there's the riders who do their best to get the horses used to other trail users, especially the biker, so there is less risk for conflict. I've been surprised at how cool the horse people are - just like us, all they want it to enjoy some peace and quiet on the trails and get in a fun ride with friends. And after spending some time on a bike, a few of the horse people understand that most mountain bikers are pretty cool too - just naive about how horses react and their limitations. (we've been invited on almost every ride this week)

And one of the biggest complaints of the horse people? Rudeness and being unaware of surrounding because of headphones and such. It's not that hard to smile and say hello. A little kindness goes a long way in keeping user group conflicts down and changing perceptions of the other users. And I'm not big on headphones, so its pretty easy to see that issue.


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