Living in rural America

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Since moving from the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area just over 11 years ago I have found an entirely different way of life in rural America. I have met people who joke about riding their horses through the drive through at a new McDonald's in town only to have a heated argument about "horsepower" with the management. I have seen people riding through the Best Buy parking lot, because the city planners forgot about the equestrian trail. They let the store build their parking lot over a 200 foot section of it.

There is also the slower pace of life. When we first moved to the Central Valley of California we use to joke about repair people being on "valley time". It meant, when they got to you, they got to you and you could not put them on a clock. We learned not to be so impatient with people and time. Veterinarians were another story altogether. They were there for you. In all the time I lived in the valley I had only one time that I could not get a vet out for a colicing horse. All 5 vets were on emergency calls. The horse and I survived the ordeal and it turned out to be a gas colic.

Living in rural America also meant change. Living in the Central Valley of California also meant putting up with new development and zoning and re-zoning. The little community that I lived in was slowly being absorbed by a larger city. The view we had looking out our backdoor use to be of the valley hills with miles of farmland between us and them. Soon huge warehouses and industrial buildings dotted the view. The buildings were getting closer and closer. Each month a new one would pop up. When the buildings were just about 4 miles away, we decided enough was enough and put our dream ranch on the market. We knew that within a few short years we would either be zoned out of the area or be surrounded by buildings. The traffic was also getting worse. We could no longer ride our horses on the shoulder of a cross road to get to the horse trails because of the huge semi's that now traveled that road, on their way to the warehouses.

We left the state and moved to Oregon where life is not only more rural throughout the entire state (only 3 million people compared to 30 million in CA) but animals tend to have more rights. Horses and horse handlers have the right of way on all roads and drivers must obey the riders instructions to stop or slow down if signaled to do so. Animal abuse is taken seriously in Oregon. A report of abuse is not ignored or passed over to another agency. Animal control officers are police officers not just someone in a uniform with little authority.

Comparing the 2 states, California and Oregon and their rural way of life, I would say that California is more of a semi-suburban life rather than real rural. Where as Oregon rural life is learning to do without many of the luxuries that are found in rural California like having the nearest town only 7 miles away or the nearest mall only 10 miles away or less. Try not having a mall within a 2 hour drive or learning to do without power for 3 days in a row when a winter storm rolls in. Life in rural America is peaceful, slow, sometimes inconvenient but worth the effort and time spent here.

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