The Mules live spontaneously and travel peacefully on this earth. After walking all day, the Mules and Monk need to stop to rest and sleep. The Mules greatly appreciate the generosity of private property owners shown to us constantly. If located close to our current position, we will consider the offer and have done so. However, if it is out of the way of our current position when we need to stop and rest, we politely decline. We must protect our right to use public space that is shrinking and disappearing rapidly. We will not give up our right to do so. By making a reservation with a private property owner is not freedom. We claim the right to use all public space to stop and rest for the night. The public space is our freedom. Public space must be used and enhanced for us not to lose it. We document on the Mule Tracker page where we stop to rest.
Oftentimes, we are woken up in the middle of the night by police telling us that we are not allowed to sleep on various public and private properties. Freedom has been reduced with laws and municipal codes created that prevent freedom of travel by foot on public roads and that disallow sleepings outdoors in public space to rest for the night, such as it violates California Penal Code 647(e). Police, who are doing their most necessary job of law enforcement, tell us that we must move on or be cited or arrested.
The Mules exercise their right to travel the public thoroughfare. California Department of Motor Vehicle’s Code 21759 (Caution in Passing Animals) clearly states “riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles and that motorist must slow down or stop, if necessary, or when requested to do so by the riders.
This page will journal some of our police encounters and warnings, while Citations/Court Cases page will detail citations that we receive. For recorded conversations posted on 3 Mules social media sites,we always request permission/inform the officer that we are reaching for our digital recorder to record our conversation and inform them that we may share on our website, and are most often told okay.
1/29/16 Casitas Pass Road (CA-Hwy 150), Ventura County (Advisory): California Highway Patrol officer stopped us and said that someone called that we were walking in the middle of the road. We said that while we do walk on the shoulder or off the road, sometimes we are forced to walk in the road when their is no longer a shoulder to walk on. Click here to listen to our account walking on Casitas Pass.
1/27/16 Ventura River Trail: We were in a brushy vacant area that had no signs forbidding trespassing and had no fences or locked gates. It was a matter of stepping off the trail and walking back into the brush located here. The mules were happily grazing and I decided to do some shoeing. By the time I was through putting new horseshoes on the mules, it was around 11 to 11:30am. I took the mules out towards the freeway to let them graze in a grassy area. We were up there for about an hour grazing when we were approached by a gentleman in a white construction hat. He asked if he could take our picture, we said sure and we exchanged a few pleasantries and that was the end of it. The mules continued to graze and we were there for another half hour.
I decided to go back to camp and pack up and leave. As I was in the process of rolling up my horseshoe tools and putting them away in the pack boxes, two Ventura county sheriffs showed up with the gentleman in the white construction hat. The officers informed me that I was trespassing and I would have to leave. I was in the process of leaving so that was no problem.
I mentioned the fact that there were no signs or fencing so I could not be trespassing and I could not be arrested for that because there was no notification that I was trespassing. The sheriffs said, “We are giving you notification now and you have to leave.” I said fine. They hung around until I got all packed up. They were there for over an hour. When I finally got packed up and left, they left.
1/25/16: San Buenaventura State Beach, Ventura: On Sunday January 24 in the evening, we arrived in Ventura by San Buenaventura State Park just a little before dark. We had stopped here a couple times in the past to rest, so we decided that we would do so once again. We didn’t go inside the confines of the park. We were outside the fence in a large grassy area between the street and the fence. We stayed here. I picketed the mules out, fixed my dinner and went to sleep. I got up in the morning and was packing up to leave. A park ranger drove up in his truck and informed me that I was illegally camping in a state park. He said I would have to leave immediately. I said I was in the process of packing up to leave. He said that if I didn’t leave immediately or if I ever showed up again, I would be subject to arrest and the animals would be impounded. I packed up and left.
1/21/16 Camarillo (Interrogation): While walking from the Camarillo Library to Camarillo City Hall, we had two police contacts. During the first police contact, two plain clothes officers pulled up in an unmarked car, got out and wanted to know who we were, what we were doing and wanted to see our identification and wanted to know if we were offering services. We said no we don’t offer services nor do we ask for donations. They continued to ask us inquisitive type question. They were pleasant enough and went on their way. It wasn’t too long afterwards that two police marked cars stopped us and basically wanted to know the same stuff and wanted to see our ID. It was a forced stop. We weren’t breaking any laws but the officer decided that we were illegally passing through the city of Camarillo. He called it in and found out that we had the right and released us. He went his way and we went our way to Camarillo City Hall.
1/13/16 Simi Valley (Warning): Simi Valley Police appeared and informed me that they received a phone call that there were loose horses along the railroad tracks. Of course, they saw that this was not true. The mules were not loose and secured on picket lines. The officers informed me that I was on railroad property and trespassing and I had to leave. I was in the process of leaving and left.
1/12/16 Simi Valley (Greeting): While walking down the street going through Simi Valley, we encountered a couple of Simi Valley Police officers who stopped to talk to us. We had a friendly conversation. They wanted to know about our journey and we told them and we proceeded on our way through Simi Valley.
1/8/16 Pasadena (warning): Pasadena Police Department Sergeant Paul Carpenter sent us an email about us inserting ourselves into the Rose Parade. Click here to read our blog post about this letter and our response.
12/30/15 Whittier (warning): As I was making my oatmeal and the kids were eating their breakfast of alfalfa hay that Sofia brought to us last night, a whole lot of Whittier police showed up. They said that we couldn’t camp here. We said that we were having breakfast and will leave. The officers were all very friendly, asked the usual questions, took pictures and then left. We ate our breakfast, packed up and continued on our way to Pasadena.
11/27/15 Lake Forest (Questioning) Yesterday afternoon after we delivered the DOE to Lake Forest City Hall, we stopped on this little tiny dirt trail going down a canyon. With grass along the side and isolation from the traffic on the street, this was a good place to stop and make our dinner. As we were making dinner, a gentleman on the other side of the fence (commercial property not residential) approached and wanted to know what we were doing. We said we were traveling and stopped here for the night to rest. He said okay and left.
Shortly afterwards, a Lake Forest Police officer showed up. He was very nice and wanted to know what we were doing. We explained and gave him our information. He said said, “Okay, you’re just staying here for the night to rest, you’re not camping, right?” We responded yes, we will be leaving in the morning. The officer said okay and then left. These are photos of where we spent last night in Lake Forest.
11/26/15 Irvine, CA (Check) On Thanksgiving night, November 26th, the Mules were peacefully resting in a big empty lot located here in Irvine when somebody on the other side of the fence called the police to report us being there. Click here to listen to audio recording of our conversation with Irvine Police officer.
11/25/15 Tustin (Greeting) As we were walking through Tustin, we stopped to graze on a grassy corner. After a certain amount of time, Tustin police appeared and we engaged in a friendly conversation. This is the same corner that we met them this past January. Orange County Register included an article of that meeting.
11/22/15 Stanton (Interrogation) Upon arriving at Stanton City Hall, we were met by a City of Stanton code enforcement officer, park ranger, four Orange County sheriffs, Orange County animal control officer and her supervisor. Read more about the incident here.
11/22/15 Westminster (Greeting) Westminster police officer stopped to greet the Mules. Earlier that morning, another Westminster officer told us that his grandmother used to take him to Mule Days in Bishop, CA during his childhood and wished us well on our journey.
11/17/15 Bradley, CA (Check) The Mules are often woken up in the middle of the night by police and questioned. As we were on the side in the middle of nowhere, we were woken up and questioned. Click here to listen to audio recording of our conversation.
8/15/15 Mill Valley (greeting) This afternoon, the Mules were grazing in an open area when Mill Valley police officers showed up and introduced themselves. We had a nice conversation. They welcomed us to Mill Valley and for this, we say thank you.
Earlier today, Novato Police Department Sergeant Howard stopped to introduce himself and welcome the Mules to Novato. He said to let him know if we encounter any problems and gave us his business card.
As we arrived in Cotati, we were greeted by Cotati Police Officer Perez and a few fans of the Mules, one bringing carrots for the kids. Thank you everyone for your support as well as providing us directions to Cotati City Hall.
7/24/15 Lakeport (greeting):
The Mules delivered the DOE and MCL to Lakeport City Hall and were given the thumbs up by Officer Tyler Trouette of the Lakeport Police Department.
6/20/15 Wheatland (inquiry): We stopped here last night. We were not here more than half an hour when a CHP officer showed up. He got out of his car and asked us what was up. We told him that we were stopping here to rest for the night. He said he was responding to a number of calls that we were walking in the middle of the road. My answer to that was that we were not walking in the middle of the road. We were walking on the side of the road due to the fact that there was no shoulder to walk on, thus it forced us to walk on the edge of the road. We had a right to do so. We have every right to use the public thoroughfare as the automobile. The officer went back to his car and talked to the office. He returned and said he was merely concerned that we don’t get hit. He handed me back my I.D. and was on his way.
6/17/15 Sacramento State Capitol (welcome)
Thank you to California Highway Patrol Capitol Officer Jones for ensuring a smooth and welcoming visit for the 3 Mules. When the Mules arrived at the Capitol, CHP bike patrol officer escorted the Mules to a fenced, shaded area with water for Lady, Little Girl and Who-dee-doo. CHP mounted patrol unit officers Dillon and Maxwell kept an eye on the kids while Mule delivered the DOE to Governor Jerry Brown’s Office.
5/27/15 Turlock (greeting): The Mules delivered the DOE and MCL to Turlock City Hall. After doing so, we encountered two gentlemen, CSU Stanislaus Police, who showed interest in our campaign to build a multi-use trail system in this country linking all states to all states north, south, east and west.
5/24/15 Livingston (welcome):
On May 24, Ruben Chavez, police chief of Livingston, CA, e-mailed the Mules: “The mules are welcome to stay in Livingston for water, food, etc. We currently have two rescued horses we use for mounted patrol. We would love to have you stay with us. We also have charros who ride through town daily. We are equine friendly, so please call me if you have any questions.” We responded to the email and called Chief Chavez and accepted his offer to stop and rest for a couple nights in Livingston.
4/29/15 Bakerfield (Citation):
On the night of 4/29/15 at 6:30pm, we were cited by Kern County Sheriff for criminal trespassing on Halliburton Corporation land. A Halliburton security guard asked us to leave. We said that we would, so we packed up and were walking off Halliburton land when a Kern County law enforcement officer appeared walking towards us and asked us if we would talk to him. We said no and continued walking off of Halliburton land when we were then forcibly stopped by the enforcement officer and eventually charged with criminal trespassing by Halliburton.
This is obviously an American corporation that has no regard or respect for what the Mules represent and live for respect and reverence for this planet and all its inhabitants. We had walked 20-miles. The mules were deserving a good nights rest. They had been carrying the energy of balance all day for people to feel and experience as only they could. There was no good reason for the mules to be treated like this by Halliburton Corporation.
Here are photos of the citation and the open, empty lot that we were told to leave. More about this case to be posted in the near future.
4/1/15 Ventura/Lake Casitas Highway 150 (warning): While Mules were walking on Highway 150 from Carpinteria to Ojai, CHP officer stopped across the two-lane highway from the Mules and stated that CHP was receiving a number of calls about the Mules being in the middle of the road. CHP officer said that the Mules were not permitted on the road and if he gets any more calls about Mules being on the road and he has to come back, there will be issues. Mule replied to the officer that when there is no room on the side of the road to walk or ride, bicycles, pedestrians, equestrians or somebody in a wheelchair has the right to use the road per California Motor Vehicle Code 21759.
3/16/15 Ventura (Administrative Citation):
After buying a soda at Big Lots, Mule was eating lunch with the mules in a quiet, shady area of the Big Lots parking lot when five Ventura Police cars surrounded them. Ventura Police issued a $132 administrative citation for “Control of Domesticated Animals – Running at Large”. The Mules were not running at large as shown in this photo.
“San Buenaventura Municipal Code Chapter 8.050, Article 6 Control of Domesticated Animals Other than Household Pets, Section 8.050.660. – Running at large:
It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having control of any animals, rabbits, poultry or domestic fowl, other than household pets, to permit the same to run or go or be at large upon the premises of any other person, without permission so to do, or on the street or public places within the city.” (Details posted here.)
3/2/15 Rancho Cucamonga (warning):
This morning the county sheriff woke us up that we were trespassing. We were resting along the canal trail (here) that many people jog on it all the time. It is getting very hard for us to go to sleep. We were informed that if we were caught sleeping again anywhere in San Bernardino county on private or city land, we would be subject to trespassing charges. Running off to the remote mountains is not an option for us either because we are also woken up in the mountains and told we can’t sleep for the night.
3/1/15 12:15AM Fontana (warning):
The mules are out here sleeping in a big vacant lot on E. Foothill and Laurel in Fontana. The police came by and informed us that if we didn’t leave by the time they came back, we would be arrested for trespassing. I’ve decided not to leave as it is past midnight and dark with three mules to pack up. Police didn’t come back. We left shortly after sunrise.
2/7/15 Oceanside (greeting):
While eating breakfast yesterday in Oceanside, the Mules (kids) and myself (the monk) were greeted by Oceanside police officers informing us that they received a call about two horses next to the railroad tracks. We had a cordial respectful conversation. Oceanside police concluded that the kids were a safe distance from the tracks. The officers bid us farewell and went about their most necessary job of law enforcement.
After finishing breakfast, the Mules packed up, left, and went about their most necessary job of walking and moving freely in one of all four directions, the most basic identifier of human freedom. It must not be lost, given away, or compromised under any guise or scheme. The Mules know this so they do this one step at a time all day every day.
1/22/15 evening San Clemente (citation):
Mules were cited for sleeping in San Clemente. (Details posted here.)
1/22/15 4am San Clemente (warning):
At 4am, the Mules were woken up by San Clemente police officer who told us that we could not sleeping in this vacant lot . He asked us when we would be leaving. We said we would leave when it was light and he said okay and left.
1/13/15 Tustin (greeting)
Tustin police greeted us, asked where we were going and for a photo, which was published in the Orange County Register.
12/6/14 Lancaster (greeting)
Follow-up email that 3 Mules received on 12/6. “Mule, I am the police officer in the blue truck that stopped the other night on Sierra Highway to just say hi. Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed talking to you and I really enjoyed learning about your journey. Thanks, Adam”
11/19/14 Ventura (warning):
About 4pm, while grazing on a vacant lot, we were approached by Ventura City Police, who told us that they knew who we were, and if we stopped within city limits to sleep, it would be considered illegal camping, in which we would be arrested and the mules would be impounded. We moved from this location and were not cited.
11/13/14 Thousand Oaks (release):
Released from jail at no cost. The mules were released from animal services after paying $514 fee.
11/12/14 Thousand Oaks (arrest):
This evening the Mules were resting in an open field in Thousand Oaks when a deputy told us we could not camp here. We told him that we were not camping, just staying the night. Since we would not move, Monk was arrested and jailed, and the mules were sent to Animal Services in Agoura Hills. Details of this event posted here.
9/9/14 Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (arrest):
Details posted about this arrest and court case here.
5/29/14 San Luis Obispo (citation):
Details posted about this citation here.
5/9/14 Camarillo (arrest):
We were awakened near Camarillo by park rangers and told we had to leave. We refused, were arrested and transported to Alhambra City Jail by United States Marshals (due to lack of space, many jails are now contracted as “holding facilities”). Lady and Little Girl were taken to the animal shelter in Camarillo. Released from jail the next day and was transported to the animal shelter. No impound fees charged.
4/25/14 Trabuco Canyon – Cleveland National Forest (citation):
Details posted about this citation here.
8/31/13 Hwy 101/Gilroy (arrest):
Details posted about this arrest and court case here here.
6/26/13 Napa (arrest):
News article about this arrest posted here.
1/28/12 Torrey Pines State Reserve (citation):
Details posted about this citation here.