Friday, July 31, 2009

Not Quite a Hell's Angel; Still Got Pulled Over

Here you see the front end of the DNR truck that I saw parked along the trail as John and I returned from a 2 hour ride in Wrenshall this morning.

The Hell's Angels are holding a multi-day rally in the town next door to Wrenshall, and local media have been having a field day - either reporting in detail on how dangerous the Hell's Angels really are, or writing parody pieces about locking your daughters up in the basement etc. Law enforcement has made elaborate arrangements to contain any dangerous activities, so I was not surprised to see at least 4 police cruisers going slowly along the road where we were happily jogging in the bright sun.

Little did I know they were all looking for me and John, the outlaws of the day!

Here's what happened:

Along the trail, which is a multiple use hiking-biking-horse trail according to the DNR's own website, we had passed several other multi-users: a hiker who smiled and said hi, several groups of bicyclists who did likewise and two who did not. These two gave me and Johnnie a look that would have had our obituaries in tomorrow's paper if looks could kill. I wish I'd gotten a picture of them as their hi-tech biking gear was a dazzling sight to see - I particularly admired their neon-frame goggles.

However, they did not admire us and they stopped a few yards past us to begin furiously dialing numbers on their cell phones. I believe they must have made a general 911 call to produce the amount of law enforcement response we got.

The poor guys who finally got deployed to apprehend us were forced to drive their lovely truck across a deep ditch and through a very dense tansy patch, where they sat with all windows up (no doubt to keep the flies out) and awaited us.

I have to say they were as friendly as could be, and found it amusing that John wanted to climb inside the truck and change the channel on their service radio, or eat their doughnuts or something.

They told me some bicyclists had reported a dangerous horse on the trail. Here he is, just about to eat a bicyclist, or a daisy:

They also told me that horses are not allowed on this trail at all. I described in detail the DNR map I had looked at just last night, and they retreated to the position that "There's a guy back in the office who knows about this stuff", and gave me his phone number. I called him when I got home but only managed to talk to another staff member who deferred to this other guy's superior judgment and asked me to call back Monday.

This Mr. Deferment was nice too though; he said "Now you'll be stewing about it all weekend!" How did he know I am a total worrywort?

The good news: John was super about the big trucks passing, the bicyclists sneaking up behind us, the DNR dudes reaching out suddenly to pet him on the nose...he only showed a little opinion about the pace we should take on the homeward route. His idea was "Let me get us home as fast as possible; the Hell's Angels might be coming!"
And mine was, "Let's mosey so I can maybe see those neon goggle bikers again and say something passive-aggressive" -- such as, "I hope you are having a nice ride! {BITCHES!!!}" We compromised and made it home in only half the time it took us to get to our turnaround point, this bridge which I decided was not horse-safe:

This whole episode worries me because I feel the world is closing in on horses, somewhat. Will there be a day when horses have no trails left, when the neon-goggle crowd and the developers and the fencers-out have won?

My mean little fantasy: Perhaps a band of Hell's Angels apprehended the crabby lying bicyclists, stole their goggles, and forced them to ride with playing cards clothes-pinned to their bike spokes the rest of the day. Wapwapwapwap. SO not cool. :)


Anonymous said...

Love the fantasy ending!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Oh my goodness! You and John were outlaws for an hour. Very witty how you described the unfolding events that led to your near-arrest. But John is such a handsome guy, he would look good in black and white stripes. Those bicyclists sound like they are in it for the fashion and not the sport.

Flying Lily said...

Kate: Thank you! I enjoyed having the fantasy...

OnceUpon: Ha Johnny in stripes is a good one. The cyclists must have had $500 worth of gear on and heaven knows the value of the bikes...for a flat little trail that doesn't go much of anywhere.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well that was pretty obnoxious of the bikers. Guess they not only think they own the road but the trails as well.
The loss of trails has me worried too. There must be something we could all band together to do to preserve the trails in the future.
As far as the Hell's Angels in the next town getting all the press, I'll bet those bad boys wouldn't have called in your crime like these little namby pamby crybaby bicyclists on the trail.

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

Reminds me of the time the FARMER called the cops on us because our horses pooped on the road. The rural, out in the middle of nowhere country road. The same road that got littered with cow poop as it fell from said FARMERS manure spreader.

Ohhh! That still burns my bottom.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

How bizarre for the bicyclists to react that way. They must have had a bad experience with a horse... perhaps crashing face-first into a pile of manure. Bicyclists are my biggest obstacle when it comes to getting to and from work. They ride in the middle of the traffic lane instead of using the bicycle lane, and all the drivers have to risk head on collisions by moving into the oncoming lane to pass. Sometimes drivers have to wait up to five or ten minutes before they even get a break so that they can pass. The bicyclists just pedal along like they are the only ones on the road, when it would be so simple for everyone if they would just move over into the bicycle lane. So, as you can see, I have had plenty of negative experiences with bicyclists.

Jocelyn said...

living in Portland I deal with bicyclists DAILY, and I have come to find out, they are a bunch of not so nice folks. They are Drama Queens, and think that they are deserving of all things handed to them because they aren't using a car.

I can't believe that happened to you, what a JOKE!

Glad to hear John didn't take it all too seriously.

One Red Horse said...

I've been really surprised to find what anger a few folks have towards folks riding horses. Sorry you encountered a couple.

lytha said...

one time i was trotting up a mountain switchback trail, and a bicyclist came flying down silently and couldn't quite stop in time when he finally saw me, and ended up directly under my mare's nose, bicycle sideways. i looked down at him and exclaimed "Silent biker of DOOM!"

i think he wet himself, and was much more careful on switchbacks where horses are allowed from then on.


One Red Horse said...

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ezra_pandora said...

Oh My God. How pathetic!! Not a DAISY!!! How DARE HE??? lol some people are so crazy. I see more crazy bicycle riders around us than crazy riding horses. sheesh. I hope it all gets straightened out and that the officers weren't nasty idiots like the bike riders. Did you not have enough neon for their likes or what? lol

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Maybe you should go look up some of those HA's and describe the cyclists to them. Now wouldn't that be funny?

Horseypants said...

I had to laugh about your fantasy ending b/c my kids recently put cards in their bike wheels and thought it was The Coolest Thing Ever. Sorry you got grumped in the middle of a nice ride.

Molly said...

What was the eventual outcome of the DNR professional opinion man?
We just had a discussion yesterday with a horsewoman who has been kicked off some of her favorite riding paths due to less than understanding non-horse people.

Trail Riding Cowgirl said...

Loved reading your blog today!
This is happening everywhere and we as trail riders need to be more vocal and deligent about keeping our trails open. ut oh, I feel a public service announcement coming. Seriously, I am doing my part to work with horse councils and educate the general public about shared trails. :)