The Mules varied greetings received by city, county and state officials and officers in Ventura County

While our January 13th blog post told about our two separate police encounters in Simi Valley in Ventura County, this blog post will cover the varied greetings that we received from city, county and state employees and officers as we traveled through the Ventura County cities of Camarillo, Ventura and Ojai.

City of Camarillo
On January 21, 2016, we arrived in Camarillo. The City of Camarillo’s city emblem on all the street signs throughout the city and on the sign in front of city hall is of a man on a horse –the city’s namesake, Adolfo Camarillo, on his Camarillo White Horse that his family bred from the 1920s through the 1980s.

We first stopped by the City of Camarillo Library to charge our phone. As we were sitting outside the library, the librarian came out, introduced herself and presented me with this t-shirt and book “Farm City” by Novella Carpenter on inner city farming, which I find very interesting and appreciate the kindness of the librarian to give the Mules these gifts.

From the library, we proceeded to walk to Camarillo City Hall to deliver the Declaration of Emergency during which time 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.

We were not illegally passing through the city of Camarillo. We have the legal right the same as any automobile, the same as any bicyclist, and the same as any pedestrian to walk freely through the city of Camarillo. So, we weren’t breaking any laws but we were treated as we were. We were stopped forcibly by the police officer. 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 and were greeted kindly by Camarillo City Hall staff who came out to take pictures with the mules and ask questions to learn more about our ages old nomadic way of life.

After we left city hall, we found a big vacant area on that same road to rest for the night. In the middle of the night Camarillo Police car stopped to look at us but the officer continued driving. We got up in the morning and left the area clean as we always do and did not leave behind anything.

Ventura County Animal Services
While we were passing through Simi Valley and Camarillo, we stopped by Ventura County Animal Services building in both these towns and asked permission to fill our bucket with water for the kids. The nice staff and volunteers at the shelter greeted the mules and let us have some water to drink.

San Buenaventura State Beach

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.

Ventura River Trail, Ventura, CA

Ventura River Trail, Ventura
From San Buenaventura State park, we followed the Ventura Promenade to the Ventura River Trail going from Ventura to Ojai that parallels the Ojai River.

Where we spent the night

We walked for about 6 miles on the trail and found a good place to graze. It was 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. We decided this place was also a good place to rest for the night.

Upon getting up in the morning the mules were happily grazing. 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.

Lady along the Ventura River Trail

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.

The Mules delivered the Declaration of Emergency to Ojai City Hall.

City of Ojai
We proceeded following the Ojai Valley Trail to Ojai and walked for about 6 miles when we found another good place off the trail to graze. We decided to stopped here for the night so that the kids could continue grazing. The next morning, we packed up and followed the Ojai Valley Trail to Ojai City Hall and delivered the Declaration of Emergency. We have had no police contact in Ojai.

While we were in Ojai, we met Molly who later put up a Facebook posts that nicely describes who we are and what we are trying to accomplish as we walk and live outside all day every day.

Mule has been living outside with his mules for 31 years. Just walking. He’s dedicated to trying to convince people that when we destroy nature, take up all the wilderness space with buildings and concrete and no room to roam freely, we’re destroying ourselves and our true nature. He’s trying to affect a change by encouraging the “People in Charge” to link the outdoor spaces, parklands, etc., so a horse, a mule, a bike, a walker – can pass through continuously without breaking a law. He’s also trying to have those same ones in charge consider making it possible for a traveler like him to spend one night legally in outdoor space.” 

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By Chris Dawson

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the Mules. The Mules made me think of a metaphor with livestock (cows) ruminating. The John and I were sitting there ruminating on life. The word “neon” originally was a Greek word that meant something new. Made me think that the Mules see something new every day. Mule influenced me to write this poem this morning. The story of the brightness inside of him, his journey, like Odysseus heading to Ithaca, his stoney hand, and patina with nomad life. I wrote this poem called Neons. I stole a theme from Shakespeare, thus the first stanza. It’s a theme of what time takes away from us.


On the thieves of words, I borrow such.

That my neons live like rhapsodies of life.

In mind, though I have never seen Ithaca,
I love it’s great lands of creativity.

Greater than anyone can imagine.

The whole importance of being and
being whole.

I could make do with just with my mind,
my stoney hands, my eyes that carry
memories like a patina toolset.

But, I realize there is something more…
The essence of roaming free, that
moment of ruminating with you.

Thoughts, we can not nay, so steering
willfully, an interchange of mine.

That all things change into something
else, such whole breath and melody, that
hungry time’s idle tide will but have to
take away.

All away, except for the love, may she still
shine bright.

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Simi Valley, California

On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, 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.

As it was getting dark, we found this location to stop to rest for the evening about 50 feet away from the the railroad tracks. I picketed the mules onto a fence.

Around 6:30am this morning I got up, checked the mules, then started fixing my breakfast when 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.

The officer were nice about it and asked when we would be leaving. I told them that I was in the process of leaving as soon as I finished eating my breakfast in about an hour or so. We fully intended to leave and be on our way. They said fine.

As they were leaving, one officer informed us that we could not trespass on railroad property and if we ever returned here again, they would have to arrest me and impound my mules. They said that they were notifying me of that so hopefully that would not happen. I said it wouldn’t.

Before they left, I said that being the case, there is really no place in Simi Valley to stop and rest for the night. Because of that, the next time I come through Simi Valley we’ll have to use public space, county, city, state parks to to exercise our right to stop and rest for the night. They didn’t say anything and that was the end of the conversation.

This is a perfect example of how all space in this country is being taken away. You have to have access to public space to exercise your freedom to move freely in this country. If you don’t have it, you don’t have any freedom. You can’t have one without the other. To walk freely and to move freely in this country when the end of the day comes, one has to be able to stop and rest. And if there is no space for that, you in effect have no freedom at all.

This kind of occurrence is constantly happening to us. Public space must be available to stop and rest for the night. We’re not talking about staying and putting up a tent and staying for long periods of time day in and day out. We’re only talking about a stop for the night, resting, and continuing on our way.

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Chatsworth, California

On January 9 as the mules and myself were walking on Devonshire Street heading west, we stopped to take a break in front of the Chatsworth Fire Station. A gentleman named Bob approached and introduced himself. Bob had seen us the night before and had been looking for us. He told us that he boarded his horse two miles down the road at the Davis Ranch and invited us to refuel and rest there for the night. My feet were bothering me really bad, so we accepted his timely offer.

This area where we stayed was once the home of Roy Rogers, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and other Hollywood stars. The rocky hills in the backdrop were used to film Roy Rogers westerns in the 50’s. Now this ranch is one of the last horse facilities in the area.

The Mules want to thank the Dana for allowing the Mules to spend 3 nights/2 days here at her ranch. Thanks also to Bob for inviting us to stay here.

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Sun Valley, California

Last week as two major storms were about to hit California, Jill and Todd reached out and offered The Mules a place to stay on their property in Sun Valley to wait out the storm. We accepted and want to say thank you to Jill and Todd for the support you gave the Mules. It is very much appreciated. We enjoyed visiting the equestrian friendly town of Sun Valley, which seems similar to equestrian friendly town of Norco, CA.

The Mules with Todd and Jill in Sun Valley, CA.
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Letter from Pasadena Police on the Mules being in the Rose Parade and our response

2016 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA

On New Year’s Day, the Mules were in Pasadena to watch the Rose Parade. At one point, we entered the parade from a side street and walked in front of a float for one block for about 5 minutes or so. As we got to the end of the block, a police officer asked us to leave so we did and went about our way.

Yesterday, January 8, 2016, the Mules received the following e-mail from Pasadena Police Department Sergeant Paul Carpenter:

“Sir, my name is Paul Carpenter. I am Sergeant with the Pasadena Police Department and I work in our Event Planning Section which works to police special events in the city. I understand you inserted yourself and your mules in the Tournament of Roses Parade last week and that was not the first time. The Tournament of Roses carefully selects the participants that they allow in the parade and, as you can imagine, an unauthorized entry is a concern for me, from a security perspective. I am sure that you mean absolutely no harm to the parade or any of the parade goers, however we cannot have your, or any one else, inserting themselves into the parade.

If you have any questions or if you wish to discuss this any further please contact me at the email listed above.

Thank you.

Sgt. Paul Carpenter

The Mules do understand Sergeant Carpenter’s concern of the Mules inserting themselves into the Rose Parade. We respect the necessary job of police agencies. We will not insert ourselves again into the Rose Parade. That being said we feel it necessary to state the reason we did so.

The Megatropolis uses the Rose Parade to put its best side out for all to see and tell us all the great things its done and continues to do. However, there is two sides to every coin. The catastrophic consequences of what it is doing are not being shown.

The Megatropolis uses the parade to hide its tracks, the extreme destructive consequences of its activity on earth. Current examples of this destruction include the methane gas leak going on right now in Porter Ranch, California with 1800 people evacuated from their homes and the poisoned water supply in Flint, Michigan destroying lives of the future generations. Just the tip of the iceberg.

The Mules know they cannot just stand by and watch the destruction of life on earth. We are driven to do something, so we walk peacefully all day every day and carry and spread the message of the energy that surrounds us and envelopes us that the human race must create a new path and adjust its course if we are to live on this earth.

The Mules

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Happy New Year

This is our fourth consecutive year attending the Tournement of Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

If you have taken a photo of us at the Rose Parade, we ask if you would please share and post your photos using hashtag ‪#‎3Mules‬ #3MULES.COM ‪#‎NomadicLife‬, so we can find them on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, or please post or send your photo to us on 3 MulesFacebook page.

Sharing your photos helps spread our message that this beautiful earth, like no other, can only be protected by the way we live one day at a time. Happy New Year!

Little Girl, Babe, Monk and Lady [Photo Credit: Steve Hadley]

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