NOMADISM. This ages old way of life revered and valued throughout the ages (human beings wandering this place we call earth, reveling in the mystery and magic created from doing so. The Mules enveloped in that energy and exuding that energy one step at a time all day every day. The energy of this place will never relent and shall never wain – weaving and moving through every tree, blade of grass and all life on earth – forever here. ~The Mules

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Gonzales, California

The Mules stayed in the city of Gonzales last night. Got up this morning and fixed breakfast. While packing up the Mules, a number of residents came by and welcomed us to their town. We then delivered the DOE and MCL to the Gonzales City Hall.

Thank you to the town of Gonzales for making the Mules’ walk through your town a pleasant one.

The Mules

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Salinas, California

On Monday September 14, the Mules arrived in Salinas, California. We spent most of our time in the northern portion of the city at El Gabilan Library on Main Street to charge our electronics and catch up on things.

A few days prior to arriving in Salinas, I received a message from Diana Kunz, who stated that she worked at Alisal High School and asked if the Mules would consider meeting her students while in Salinas. We said yes. She said that she would double check with the main teacher. On Monday afternoon, Ms. Kunz met up with the Mules at the El Gabilan Library and we agreed that the Mules would be at Central Park the next day at 11am to meet her class.

This morning, we got up from our spot that we spent the night in Salinas, stopped by Salinas City Hall to deliver the Declaration of Emergency and then proceeded to Central Park less than a mile away. The Mules enjoyed meeting Ms. Terry Johnson and Ms. Kunz’s Alisal High School students and answering their questions. My three kids behaved themselves and seemed to enjoy the attention given to them by the class.

This is the second time the Mules have been invited to speak with a school and we enjoyed having the opportunity to share our ages old way of life. The first time was with Anacapa School in Santa Barbara back in March 2015. Thank you Ms. Kunz for reaching out to us.

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Las Lomas, California

Little Girl in front of Watsonville City Hall

After delivering the DOE to Watsonville City Hall and spending a couple hours at the public library to charge our electronics, we left downtown Watsonville around 4:30 pm yesterday. We got to Highway G12 going south towards Salinas grazing along the road when Lucy and Santiago stopped and asked us, “Where are you going?”

We responded, “Everywhere.”

“But where?”

“San Diego.”

They wanted to know where we were going to spend the night. We didn’t know. Lucy said that we could stay at their ranch in Las Lomas, and we accepted their invitation.

Thank you Lucy and Santiago for your kindness and support that you’ve shown this place of one human being walking/riding with his or her animal companions through the endless magic and mystery of time and space.

The Mules

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Santa Cruz, California

The 3 Mules want to thank the members of the Santa Cruz County Horseman’s Association’s members for your kindness in providing a place for us to stay for three nights at your showgrounds, which allowed us to catch up on our most necessary tasks of horseshoeing, fixing gear, refueling and resting for our long journey south. Special thanks to Mary Sullivan-White for all you did for us these past few days and for taking and sending us these photos in this album. Words cannot express our gratitude to the Santa Cruz County Horsemen. As well, thank you to farrier Erik Dahlstrom for your services and Debra Kuettel of General Feed for providing supplies.

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Meeting the Mules – Perspective from an Animal Control Officer

By Shirley Zindler, Animal Control Officer, Sonoma County Animal Services

Lady and ACO Zindler

As an animal control officer I heard some reports about the mules by people concerned about their welfare but in each case they were gone when we arrived. A friend was following them on Facebook so I read up on them and found their journey fascinating.

On a Saturday afternoon I was working when a call came in of the mules walking alongside a nearby highway. The caller was concerned about it being too warm and the mules carrying packs that looked heavy. I was eager to find out for myself how the mules were. When I pulled up I could see them grazing happily beside the road. They appeared healthy and in good condition with excellent feet and they weren’t even sweating. I quickly introduced myself to their person and told him how glad I was to meet him. He said his name was John and answered my questions politely.

They weren’t far from my home and I asked John where he was staying that night. He said that he didn’t know and I offered my small fenced pasture. I have to admit that later when he had the mules unpacked and grazing in my field I checked them over pretty thoroughly. No sores or wounds from poorly fitting or over crowded packs. No swelling of the legs indicating overwork. The mules were in excellent lean and healthy condition.

I was amazed that the oldest mule, Lady, is 36 years old and that she and John have been traveling together for 31 of those years. I hugged Lady’s big long face and felt her warm breath on my skin and my heart swelled with love. She was in fabulous condition and way past the age that most equines live so John was obviously doing a good job caring for her and the other mules. I heard some criticism that she should have been retired but really the mules were living a more natural life than most. People would have been happy if the mules had been sitting in a small stall or paddock day after day but seemed bothered to see them on the move. The mules had good care, daily mental and physical stimulation, they had each other and they had John looking out for their every need.

That night as I was settling into my comfy bed in the house I thought of John and mules out there under the stars. I could hear the soft calls of an owl through the open window and I almost wished I was out there with them.

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Woodside, California

Redwood City City Hall

On Sunday morning, the Mules delivered the Declaration of Emergency to Redwood City City Hall. I then pondered as to what direction we should go.  Continue south on El Camino Real or go west to Santa Cruz where I’ve never been before with the mules?   We received quite a few Facebook messages that horses are part of the local culture of the town of Woodside where residents keep horses, and the town government maintains a network of horse trails. So, the Mules decided to visit Woodside.

When we were in San Francisco walking along Fisherman’s Wharf, the Mules met Jamis, who said that if we should ever decide to go through Woodside to stop by his restaurant Buck’s and we would be welcome.

Woodside City Hall

As things went, the Mules decided to go through Woodside where we also delivered the DOE and MCL to Woodside City Hall. While climbing up Woodside Road, Tanya, who we met the night before in San Carlos, had brought the kids some hay. We told her that we were going to Buck’s restaurant and she said that she’ll leave it there.

The Mules with Jamis, owner of Buck’s restaurant in Woodside, California

Upon getting to Buck’s, I tied the kids to the hitching posts set-up in the shade next to the restaurant, removed their packs, gave them the hay, sat on my bucket, and waited for that promised meal. The manager George came out and asked us what we would like. A bowl of soup and bread came to our minds. We were brought Red potato soup and sourdough bread, which was great.

Lady with Buck’s manager George and Jim

Jamis’s friend Jim came by and asked us where we were going to spend the night. We didn’t know. He said we could stay at the Horse Park at Woodside, so we have been. Jim brought us hay and good drinking water.

Thank you to all the nice people of Woodside and beyond for supporting this ages old place of one human being riding/walking with his or her animal companions, moving through the mystery and magic of time and space on its endless journey upon this beautiful place we call Earth.

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