The Parking Lot Caper

This past Monday, the Mules met with the Northridge Mall general manager Susan Causey to discuss last Saturday’s events. We had a good conversation.

I first explained that I travel with my mule who carries all my belongings. We live together and have travelled all over the western United States for over 30 years, migrating with the seasons. We explained that we were passing through Salinas and had to go to Best Buy to return an item. While attempting to secure Little Girl in the parking lot, we were approached by Salinas Police who said I couldn’t be in the parking lot. The officers called security who ordered me off and said that I would be arrested for trespassing if I didn’t leave when I clearly stated that I was there to go to Best Buy.

Ms. Causey said that she was off work on Saturday, but did hear about what happened. It was her understanding that Salinas Police said that they saw a transient with a mule on the property and that there is a livestock code in the city and county that prohibit livestock from being on private property without a permit. She said that Salinas Police called shopping center security. When she heard about this after the fact, she informed the security team that if a person is at the shopping center legitimately to conduct business, the person needs to be able to conduct business. If it was a safety issue, security could have had a guard stand by Little Girl while I was in Best Buy making my return.

We responded that to claim safety to have a mule in the remote area of the parking lot is nonsense. There is a degree of safety for everything you do. You walk out your front door, you could fall down and hurt yourself. But do we suspend our right to do that? Of course not. A motorist driving in a parking lot has potential to hit a pedestrian walking through the parking lot to the store.

The degree that the mule presents of not being safe is far, far less than the degree of safety which the high speed or distracted motorist in an automobile presents. The automobile is a heavy machine moving about 5-15 miles per hour in a parking lot. When it strikes somebody, the consequences can potentially be deadly. The mules moving at 2-3 miles per hour are not going to strike anybody. Very unlikely because mules are take flight animals. They don’t go towards people, they go the opposite direction. The safety contention is very flaky. To deny us the right to enter a shopping center on the guise of safety is outrageous.

Ms. Causey also brought up a hypothetical situation where security guard may have been concerned about safety of a child going up and startling the mule. This is also a ridiculous reason. We were in a remote section. The parent is responsible for what their children do. If a child purposely pesters the mule, the parent is responsible for their child’s actions. If refusing the mules access to the parking is due to a safety issue, then all automobiles should be banned from parking lots, because a child might run between cars and get hit by a motorist. Or, should children be banned from parking lots to prevent a safety incident from occurring?

The Mules thank Ms. Causey from Northridge Mall for taking the time to meet with us. At the end of our conversation, we were on the same page that any person entering their parking lot with a horse or mule has the right to access their shopping center to do business. We ended by taking a photo of Little Girl with her and her team.

The shopping center caper in the Northridge Mall parking lot is a perfect example of how city and county codes and ordinances conflict with state and federal law for equestrians’ right to travel on the public thoroughfare. These parking lots are connected to the public thoroughfare.

When somebody leaves their house, gets in their car, gets on the public thoroughfare with the intent of going to a store to buy food or supplies for themselves and their family, they fully expect that when they leave the public thoroughfare to enter the parking lot, they will be able to park their car, walk into the store, buy their groceries and supplies, return to their car, put their groceries and supplies in their car, and leave to go home.

To have that denied simply because a person arrives by horse or mule and not in an automobile is outrageous. To have officers or security guards stop and interrogate a person simply because they arrived by mule and not allow them to park because the person didn’t arrive in a high speed automobile is ridiculous.

This is not 1817 where you load up your six-shooter and go out to shoot some deer for dinner. This is 2017. You start up your car, proceed on the public thoroughfare, enter a parking lot and go into a grocery store or a big box store, which controls the food and supplies. That’s where you get it. If you don’t get it there, you’re not going to get it.

For a police officer or security guard to arbitrarily decide who gets to eat or get supplies and who doesn’t is an outrageous situation. The Mules on that particular day were a perfect example about how outrageous things will get. It certainly showed that those limits must be thoroughly watched and constrained.

Big box shopping centers and grocery stores should have a small area set aside for equestrians as they have parking spaces for motorists and bike racks for cyclists. 

Thank you to Andre Domine who sent us this photo taken at a New York Walmart parking lot, where they have space set aside for equestrians.
Thank you to Maurice Braden who sent us this other photo of horse parking at his local grocery store in Pennsylvania.

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Salinas, California


Yesterday we awoke in San Juan Bautista where we spent the night here in the outskirts. I got up, check Little Girl, went back to my pack boxes and fixed breakfast. Then I went and caught Little Girl and took her down the street to get some water. Then brought her back up, tied her to the fence and ate my breakfast.

Upon finishing my breakfast, I gathered up my stuff, saddled Little Girl and packed up. We left approximately 9:30am. We got on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and headed for Salinas.

We walked about 16 miles and got to the outskirts of Salinas and stopped at the Walmart. I tied Little Girl to the tree at the parking lot, went into Walmart, bought two cans of black beans, three cans of diced tomatoes, one can of chick peas, and one can of green beans, went outside, and untied Little Girl. We then walked around in back of Walmart, tied Little Girl to a tree, unpacked her for she was in need of a rest after walking 16 miles.

We been there about an hour when two Salinas Police Department officers in a car showed up and presented a friendly demeanor. I was on my smartphone doing stuff. They kept peppering me with questions. It was obvious they were interrupting me and wouldn’t let me proceed with my business. A little while later, another officer, pulled up in a car behind them, got out of his car, walked up to the other officer’s car, said something to them, and then they all left. I stayed there about another 30-45 minutes, at this point I decided to repack Little Girl and leave.

I then proceeded to Best Buy to return a product that I had bought that wasn’t performing as it was promoted to. We got to the Best Buy parking lot, walking back towards the store, stopped under a tree where there was a bunch of dandelion weeds growing. I was letting Little Girl eat them when two Salinas Police officers pulled up and started asking me the usual questions in a friendly demeanor but I was not interested in talking to them. I had plenty to do and wanted to get Little Girl secured in the parking lot and go into Best Buy to return the product.

When I started to move away, the two officers got out of their car, and put me in detainment by stating that I cannot go anywhere. I asked them why, and they said because you wouldn’t talk to us. When the conversation started, it was a friendly conversation, they admitted that, I wasn’t being detained, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but because I wouldn’t talk to them anymore, they decided that they would put me in detainment. From that point, they informed me that I was trespassing. I told them that I was at Best Buy to return a product that I bought previously. They refused to let me to go into Best Buy, called the shopping center security, who turned up shortly, told me I was trespassing and demanded I leave.The Salinas Police officer said if I didn’t leave immediately, I would be arrested, taken to jail, and Little Girl would be taken. So, I left.

I walked over to the next parking lot that was connected to the other stores, they shortly turned up once again, and repeated the same process over again. From that point, I left. I then found myself on the street.

We are posting copies of our receipts to prove our purpose for entering the Walmart and Best Buy shopping centers. An automobile has the right to go into a parking lot, park their car and walk into a store. But somehow a man with a mule or a horse, does not have the right to go into a parking lot, tie up their horse and go into the store. We are doing the same exact same thing, except instead of using an automobile, we are using an animal for transportation. We have the same rights in this country as anybody in an automobile that uses that machine for transportation in this state in this country to use our horse for transportation. To deny us the use of a parking lot is discrimination plain and clear. It is illegal.

When a person wants food in 2017, they have to go to a grocery store to get it. The days of going out with your bow and arrow and hunting deer and game are over. Making these parking lots subject to no trespassing laws and allowing a security company to arbitrarily say in effect “I like you, the guy in red hat, but I don’t like the guy in the blue hat. Therefore, I am going to deny the guy in the blue hat the right to park his car, park his horse, and not allow him to enter the store to buy food for himself and his family.”
We will be in Salinas until Monday because we want to talk to the shopping center management to get an understanding why they had us evicted from the Best Buy parking lot for doing nothing other than tying Little Girl to a tree in the safest place we can find, to go into Best Buy and return a product we had bought previously that wasn’t functioning as promoted. We were arbitrarily evicted by the security company that works for the shopping center ownership.

People that support us, please don’t call the police. The best method is to call the shopping center who owns the parking lot and their security company that evicted us. For the police could not have done it without the consent of the security company that works for the shopping center ownership. Call them and ask them the same thing that we’re going to ask them Monday morning. Why the discriminatory policy to allow an automobile to do business and refusing a person on a horse from entry. It is unconstitutional to deny a person on a horse that is their livelihood from being able to function on a day to day basis that allows us to survive.

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The Mules and all who travel under their own power claiming the right to stop and rest for the night

The Mules living in this sacred place of one human being with his or her animal companions, traveled by many throughout the ages, are claiming our rightful use of public space be it city, county, state or federal land.

The Mules will no longer wade through piles of garbage, broken glass, cans, batteries, dirty clothes, chemicals, etc., etc., looking for a place to cook our dinner then lay down amongst garbage and filth to sleep the night. Nor will we try to hide from law enforcement so we don’t get cited as happened in Castro Valley, Alameda County, spending two and a half days in jail, $10,000.00 bail for nothing more than stopping to rest for the night on state land (public space) for there was no place else to go.

Sleeping on the sidewalk with a mule wouldn’t work. Sleeping with a mule in the street also wouldn’t work.

By default, city, county, state, and federal governments must make public space available to all those traveling in this country under their own power be they equestrians, cyclists, pedestrians. The Mules will no longer be forced to sleep or cook our meals amongst garbage and filth. We no longer have to and we won’t.

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The Mules using the public space in the City of Santa Clara

On the evening of September 17, we stopped here in Santa Clara Central Park in the city of Santa Clara, California. We spent half of the day walking south down the El Camino. When we approached the end of the day, I pulled out my smart phone and looked for a park which we could spend the night. Santa Clara Central Park was not far away so we proceeded to that park. We reached there at dark. We searched around and found a place (pictured) which was unmanicured, it was a rough area, it was a good place for a mule and a monk to stop, laydown on the ground and spend the night, so we did that.

Around 3 o’clock in the morning, two City of Santa Clara police officers came by and shined their lights upon us. We woke up and they wanted to know what we were doing in the park. We said we were sleeping. We came here because there was no place else for us to go. We could not sleep in the sidewalk that wouldn’t be practical. We could not go out into the street and sleep there either. So that left are the city park for us to safely lay down go to sleep.

The officer replied that was against the city ordinance of Santa Clara to be in the park after dark and that we were trespassing.

We once again replied that we had to go somewhere and go to sleep because there is no place else, the city park by default must assume the responsibility for providing anybody walking and traveling in transit from one point to the next, whether riding a horse, riding a bicycle or walking under their own power, with a place to stop and rest for the night. We did not require any fancy facilities. We did not require any benches, barbecues, none of that, just simply a bare piece of ground which we found to rest our heads and rest and sleep for the night.

The officer reasserted himself and repeated the claim the assertion that we were illegally in the park and we could not stay here.

And so we made the point once again there was no place else to sleep. Darkness was upon us and the alternative was the sidewalk or the city street or climbing in somebody’s backyard. None of the three would be acceptable and so by default to repeat ourselves, all city governments – state, county or city, must take responsibility and allow their parks to be used by anybody traveling by horse, bicycle, or foot, under their own power, to sleep at night when in transit from one point to the next, to stop and rest for the night.

The officer also stated that there was a city ordinance that did not allow any horse within 100 feet of any buildings in the city.

We responded that we have a constitutional right in this country to move in any one of all four directions when we choose and how we chose. It is in the constitution that is guaranteed to all citizens. These city ordinances prevent that and they’re illegal and they cannot stand against the Constitution of the United States.

The officers eventually decided they would relent and use their discretion and allow us to stay for the night, leave in the morning after we clean up after ourselves as we always do and proceed along our way.

After packing up in the morning, we left the park and made our way through the city streets south. Not too long after walking south on the city streets headed for San Diego, a plain clothes police officer from the Santa Clara Police Department stopped his pick up truck, got out, showed us his badge, and said he was curious as to what we were doing.

We told him about where we spent the night and our experience previously with the two officers from the Santa Clara Police Department.

We informed him that we do claim the right to use city, county, state parks when necessary to go to sleep for the night. We explained the reasons why we can’t sleep on the sidewalk, we can’t sleep in the street, we can’t climb over the fence and spend the night in somebody’s backyard.

That leaves city, county, and state parks. That’s what’s left for anybody traveling on a horse in transit from one place to the next across this country under their own power whether by horse, bicycle or foot. That is what’s left to sleep at night. It is certainly their constitutional right travel freely in this country – one in all four directions and inherent in that right is the absolute right go to sleep.

Sleep is the necessary function to keep living. If you don’t sleep you die. For any city, county, state, municipality government to outlaw the act of sleep is unconstitutional. It denies us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is totally illegal. We won’t obey them. We can’t obey them. To repeat ourselves, if you don’t sleep you die. Committing suicide is not on our agenda.


The City of Santa Clara has its quiver full of arrows ready to shoot anybody that stops in their city to sleep. To their credit, the two officers that found us sleeping in the city park decided not to cite us nor make us leave where we were, allowing us to stay the rest of the night. In the morning, we packed up, cleaned up after ourselves and were back on the road.

City of Santa Clara Municipal Codes:

6.15.040 Keeping of horses – Restrictions.
No horse shall be kept or maintained within the city except in an enclosure the outer limits of which shall be at least forty (40) feet from any inhabited or habitable dwelling. (Ord. 1879 § 1, 3-29-11).

6.05.075 Animals on City property. 
No person having the control or care of any animal shall permit such animal to enter or remain on City property and/or in City-owned or City-managed buildings other than a building used for the purpose of care, detention, space control or treatment of animals, or areas designated as “dog parks” or “off-leash areas,” or a building used for training classes, shows or exhibitions. This section does not apply to persons who have a visual or auditory disability and who use dogs for guidance or to accommodate a disability, to service dogs in formal training programs, or dogs used in law enforcement by a governmental agency, or persons expressly authorized by the City Manager, upon finding that the animal will not be disruptive to the operations of the City, or a hazard to persons or property. (Ord. 1879 § 1, 3-29-11).

12.05.060 Hours of operation of public parks.
(a) The public parks in the City shall be open daily to the public between the hours of 6:00 A.M. to one-half hour after sunset (dusk), except:

(1) Where there is posted conspicuously a sign limiting the hours when such facility is open to the public; and

(2) Until 10:00 P.M. if and when the facility is lighted.

(b) Any such public park or portion thereof may be declared closed to the public by the Director of Parks and Recreation at any time and for any interval of time, either temporarily or at regular or stated intervals, as is deemed necessary in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the various divisions of the Parks and Recreation Department as set forth in Chapter 2.100 SCCC. The Director of Parks and Recreation is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this section.

(c) Every person other than City personnel conducting City business therein, who occupies or is present in any public park in the City during the hours in which the park is not open to the public, shall be deemed guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine of not more that two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00). (Ord. 1953 § 1, 4-5-16; Ord. 1371 § 1, 1-10-78. Formerly § 25-8.1).
12.50.010 Unpermitted camping and lodging prohibited.
(a) No person shall camp or lodge on a public street (including in a vehicle parked on a public street), on publicly owned property, and other prohibited public places; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit camping in public campgrounds pursuant to a permit or license authorized under Federal, State or local statute or ordinance.

(b) “Camping” means residing in or using any public street, publicly owned property, public park, or other prohibited public place for living accommodation, lodging, or sleeping purposes, as exemplified by remaining for prolonged or repeated periods of time not associated with ordinary use of the street, property, or public place, with one’s possessions or while storing one’s possessions (including, but not limited to, clothing, sleeping bags, bed rolls, blankets, sheets, hammocks, or other sleeping implements, luggage, backpacks, kitchen utensils, cookware, and food or beverages), cooking or consuming meals, or lodging in a parked vehicle. These activities constitute camping when it reasonably appears, in light of all the circumstances, that a person is using the street, property, or place as a living, lodging, or sleeping accommodation regardless of his or her intent, or the nature of any other activities in which he or she might also be engaged.

(c) “Prohibited public places” means any public place not designated as a public campground pursuant to Federal, State, or local statute or ordinance and shall include the following:

(1) Public streets, sidewalks, alleyways, passageways, and rights-of-way;

(2) Publicly owned property;

(3) Public parks;

(4) Public parking lots, whether publicly owned or privately owned;

(5) Public landscaped areas, whether publicly owned or privately owned and maintained pursuant to a public landscape easement;

(6) Private property that is readily accessible to the general public, or is otherwise open to common or general use or view;

(7) Vacant lots;

(8) Drainage culverts and basins. (Ord. 1834 § 1, 4-15-08). 

Ironic that the City of Santa Clara has a plaque honoring a man with a horse, but current municipal codes don’t allow horses anywhere within the city limits anymore.

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Ornamental landscaping of the Megatropolis

Pictured is Little Girl grazing the Public Thoroughfare along the sidewalk. The assertion can be made that Little Girl is grazing the landscaped public thoroughfare is destruction of public property. Not the case. She’s grazing a variety of bunch grass which is very well rooted and thrives when occasionally grazed upon.

Because the Megatropolis has covered vast areas with concrete and asphalt and continues to do so denying our grazing animal companions their previously pastoral lands necessary to their survival. The Megatropolis now by default must assume responsibility to provide food and fodder for our grazing animal companions.

The landscaping scheme of “for your eyes only” will be changed to a new more dynamic, vibrant scheme bringing our animal companions in, around and amongst us to live and thrive like the human race has never experienced. This new landscaping scheme will be a major component by which the Megatropolis will be brought to heed then show respect for and bring itself into balance with the Natural World.

The Mules

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The demise of the Natural World

The pictures tell a story, a story the Megatropolis prefers to hide and not be told. Buildings going up everywhere relentlessly are machines. They house many smaller machines, computers, air conditioners, printers, etc., etc. They’re surrounded by large pathways of asphalt built exclusively for moving machines / automobiles. All put together a massive machine leaving no space for human beings.

To be and remain human, the Mules must interact, intermingle with the Life of the Natural World as the pictures show the once strong Natural World is gone and replaced by machines (buildings).

As the Mules move through the Megatropolis, it is clear to us the machines will soon be taking care of themselves. The need for humanity will be over. All you need to do is look at the pictures. Where are the elk, deer, bears, salmon, lions, horses? They are gone. WHY? There is no space for them. They weren’t included in the scheme / plan and neither was the human race.

The Mules

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Department of Transportation pedestrian warning sign

This sign is a good start for the Department of Transportation showing some willingness to use its resources for promoting safety on the Public Thoroughfare. It needs to go much further in notifying the High Speed Motorist that the Public Thoroughfare is for all rightful users, which include bicycles, equestrians, and pedestrians and not the exclusive domain of the High Speed Motorist.

The High Speed Motorist and its prevailing attitude – jump in a ditch, run for the bushes, I’m coming through, I don’t slow up for nothing or nobody – must come to an end.

The Department of Transportation using its resources and many signs placed all over the state can hammer down, stamp down, the message that the High Speed Motorist will no longer rule our roadways. For the Department of Transportation to shirk its duty and responsibility any longer in this regard will surely bring on the wrath of all California citizens who understand the extreme value of a multi-use Public Thoroughfare promoting freedom and respect and enjoyment for one and all.

The Mules

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