Three years ago, the Mules bought Little Ethel. She has served the Three Mules Nation together with Little Girl with her energy acquired from long ago. She became very attached to Little Girl. With Little Girl’s passing, Little Ethel has entered a new phase by which she will serve the Three Mules Nation in the most magical and unforeseen ways.
The Monk and the two new members of the Three Mule Journey, Leroy and Rosie, will be looking forward to Little Ethel’s energy as well as the energy from Lady and Little Girl, and how they will use it to protect and guide us as we continue this most sacred journey of human being and horse across over and around this beautiful land now known as California.
Follow the new phase of Little Ethel’s journey at Lucky Ones Ranch Facebook/Instagram page where her energy will continue to serve all those who love and respect the sacred relationship between human being and horse.
On February 6, 2022, after it was discovered Little Girl had arthritis, Lori Ann and Chuck came to Carpenteria to pick her up, and transport her to Jane’s, where Lady had had been retired for a number of years. Little Girl seemed to be doing okay.
On Monday, February 28, Jane noticed that Little Girl had a nosebleed and was running a fever. After that she started bleeding through the back end and then soon after she passed away. The veterinarian believed it was cancer. Little Girl was born in 1990. I bought her in 1993.
Little Girl’s spiritual energy and her soul is no longer connected to the body. Her soul once again is in eternal motion and her body has returned to dust. I feel that Lady and Little Girl’s spiritual energy will be resting and waiting at Jane’s for what is next to come.
I know lots of people will make comments as to how sad I must be with Little Girl’s passing. I am not sad, not at all. I feel Lady’s and Little Girl’s presence and energy as I write this post. I know that energy will be with me for a long time to come as I move freely in any one of all four directions whether it’s over the next mountain, across the next valley, or into the next jail.
I know the spiritual energy that dwells within Lady and Little Girl’s soul is eternal. Their presence is with me now and they will become a part of the energy that surrounds, guides, and protects us. God bless this beautiful place, the Three Mules Journey and all those who have chosen to live in service to it and dwell within it.
If you have taken a photo of Little Girl over the years, please share your photo, location, and date in the comments.
The following is a history timeline of our lawsuit of 3 Mules v. California Highway Patrol (CHP) from point of arrest to present date and will be kept up to date to inform all those interested in the progress of this case. Click on the date to read further details.
1/23/20 Arrested & Jailed: CHP Templeton arrested the Monk and took him to San Luis Obispo County Jail; Little Girl and Little Ethel were taken to SLO County Animail Shelter; all belongings were impounded and taken to the CHP Templeton office.
2/1/20 Charges not filed: San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow declined to file criminal complaint “in the interest of justice.”
3/18/20 Public Records Request: CHP Templeton received Public Records request from the Mules. Cost $110.
7/27/20Government Claim Form: The Mules hand delivered State of CA Government Claim form to the Office of Risk and Insurance Management in Sacramento. Cost $25. Read about our purpose of filing the claim here.
1/21/21 Lawsuit Filed: Attorney Todd T. Cardiff filed lawsuit/complaint at San Luis Obispo County Superior Court against CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray and CHP Templeton Officer Agredano.
On January 23, 2020, the Mules were arrested by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and charged with the failure to obey a lawful order. The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney decided to drop the case and not file charges.
The Mules have subsequently filed a lawsuit, Mules vs State of California / CHP claiming our arrest to be unlawful. This case is now in on-going litigation.
The Mules filed a public records request and have obtained the arresting officer’s Summary Incident Report. The report consists of six pages.
The Mules will be posting a series of rebuttals and comments to the contents of this report.
The following is the first segment in a series of responses to this report.
CHP Officer Narrative: I was on duty in a marked CHP patrol vehicle and was in full and distinct CHP uniform. At approximately 1128 hours, I received a call from CHP dispatch of an individual walking two mules eastbound in the westbound lane of Nacimiento Lake Drive from Chimney Rock Road. I responded to the area from US 101 at San Marcos Road and arrived with the individual at approximately 1155 hours. I could see a white male walking eastbound on the westbound shoulder pulling two mules.
Mule Rebuttal: I was not “pulling” the mules. I was leading the mules. They were walking behind me willingly at approximately the same speed as which I was walking. “Pulling” infers force. There was no force involved.
What it looks like leading the mules versus pulling the mules.
CHP Officer Narrative: Both mules were wearing packs and walking in the westbound lane and were blocking approximately half of the traffic lane.
Mule Rebuttal: We weren’t “blocking” the traffic lane. Blocking infers we were stationary with the intent of preventing forward motion of something in motion. We were not stationary. We were walking at approximately 2-3 miles per hours in a forward motion on the side of the road.
CHP Officer Narrative:I pulled alongside in the opposing lane and rolled down my passenger side window to make my first contact. I greeted the individual and engaged him in conversation. He didn’t acknowledge me and kept on walking eastbound.
Mule Rebuttal: The reason I didn’t acknowledge him was because he basically stopped in the middle of the road with his CHP cruiser, had no warning lights on, and tried to engage me in a conversation with traffic moving at high speed in both directions unaware of the dangerous hazard he was creating. I was not going to subject myself and my mules to that danger by stopping and engaging the officer in conversation.
CHP Officer Narrative: I drove forward, made a U-turn and was now parallel alongside him in the eastbound lane. I called out to him for my second contact. I told him that he can’t be blocking the traffic lane.
Mule Rebuttal: Once again, he uses the word “blocking.” Blocking infers setting up a stationary road block to prevent anybody from getting by. We were not doing that. We were walking from 2 to 3 miles per hour moving forward down the side of the road.
CHP Officer Narrative:He yelled back at me saying, “How do you know I was in the lane? Do you have any god damn proof?” I activated my rear warning lights as traffic began to build up behind me.
Mule Rebuttal: This was the first time the officer used his warning lights to notify traffic of his stationary position on the highway (blocking traffic) and the reduction of their speed would be necessary.
CHP Officer Narrative: I informed him that passing motorists have been calling him in as a traffic hazard
Mule Rebuttal: The motorists are the traffic hazard for refusing to obey the law and share the road with myself and mules as we were walking on the side of the road. They were the ones who were the traffic hazard. They had an absolute choice: obey the law, slow down, and stop if necessary, so that we could all pass each other safely. Or, refuse to do that and pass us at high speed, swerve out into the opposing lane to get by as fast as possible before they hit another car coming in the opposite direction. They made that choice. Nobody forced them to make that choice. Certainly not the Mules.
CHP Officer Narrative: and I told him to stay off the road.
Mule Rebuttal: And once again the CHP officer tells us to stay off the road. Telling myself and my mules to stay off the road was not a lawful order, but just the opposite. It was an unlawful order as we had the right to walk on Naciemento Lake Road.
CHP Officer Narrative: The individual began using a tirade of insults.
Mule Rebuttal: Well, I don’t know if it was a tirade of insults, but I wasn’t very happy with the way the officer was handling the situation.
CHP Officer Narrative: I could see that the mules were now on a wide, flat shoulder and were out of harm’s way. With traffic building up behind me, I advised him to stay out of the lane and I left the scene.
Mule Rebuttal: Whenever there is room, we will always relent and go as far away from the lane of traffic as possible. That is a given. Many many times on these rural roads in California that option is not available. We have no choice but to walk in the lane of traffic. Walk on the road. We have the right to be doing so. The motorist must share that road. The road does not belong exclusively to a high speed machine called the automobile.
CHP Officer Narrative: At 1222 hours, I received a second call from CHP dispatch of the same individual blocking the traffic lane with two mules.
Mule Rebuttal: Once again, he uses the word “blocking.” We weren’t blocking anybody. We were walking 2-3 mph on the side of the roading heading south towards Paso Robles.
CHP Officer Narrative: I waited for CHP unit 9-1, Officer A to assist me with this incident. In the meantime, two witnesses came to my location and advised me of the dangerous traffic hazard the mules were causing.
Mule Rebuttal: The two motorists complaining about the mules being a dangerous traffic hazard for being on the road demonstrates the total misunderstanding by the motoring public of equestrian rights to use that road. It also demonstrates the negligence of the state of California, CalTrans, and CHP to properly inform the motoring public of their obligation under the state vehicle code to share the road. If the officer knew the law, he would have informed them of their obligation under the state vehicle code to yield and share the road instead of using their complaints of us being a hazard to justify our arrests.
CHP Officer Narrative: Officer A and I drove out onto Nacimiento Lake Drive and I made contact with the individual for a third time. I could see the subject walked eastbound on the westbound shoulder with the two mules in the westbound lane.
Mule Rebuttal: The CHP Pedestrian Tip Card states that pedestrians should walk facing traffic when there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road.
Mule Rebuttal: The Mules when walking these rural roads that have posted speed limits that far exceed their ability to safely accommodate all legal users, find ourselves many times crossing back and forth on the road to get on the side that provides ourselves the most room and safety for ourselves and the motorists passing us.
CHP Officer Narrative:The shoulder was wide enough that they all could have walked single file, posing less of a hazard, had the subject made the choice to do so. I recognize this to be extremely dangerous and his continued refusal to comply and walk he and the mules single file on the shoulder posed a hazardous situation to the subject, the mules, and the motoring public.
Mule Rebuttal: If I was to walk single file on that narrow road with very little room for the high speed automobile to get by us without side swiping us, it would be a big mistake. When I recognize the extreme danger of allowing a high speed automobile to what I call “thread the needle” going by us at break neck speeds, it is extremely dangerous for ourselves, the motorist, and the automobiles in the opposing lane. So when I find myself in this situation and I do many times, especially when crossing bridges, I literally get out in the lane of traffic because there is no place else to be and stop the motorist, jump up and down, wave my arms, and make sure the motorist knows that they must slow down. I literally have to force them to do so. They always get by us safely and nobody gets into a bloody wreck.
CHP Officer Narrative:I positioned my patrol vehicle blocking the narrow shoulder and exited to make contact. Officer A positioned his patrol vehicle in the lane to the rear of mine with the overhead emergency lights activated. He exited his vehicle and stood in the westbound lane to flag and warn oncoming traffic. The subject was irate and agitated saying that this was a public thoroughfare and he had the right to be there.
Mule Rebuttal: Of course I was agitated and irate. If a motorist was stopped by a CHP officer and told that he had no right to be in his car and driving down the road, what kind of behavior would you expect from that motorist?
CHP Officer Narrative:I explained that I was concerned for his safety. He said that traffic needs to slow down, if I was trulyconcerned about his safety.
Mule Rebuttal: Yes that’s exactly what the officer should have been involved in is slowing traffic down for the safety of myself, the mules, and the ignorant motorists.
CHP Officer Narrative:I told him that I witnessed his mules walking two abreast in the lane. I told him I wanted to make this as easy as possible and I asked him for identification. He said I knew who he was and to look at his website. He refused to give me any form of identification. I tried to reason with him and asked for his ID. He went to his saddlebag and produced a California ID card identifying him as John Cheney Sears. Mr. Sears went on to say that the speed limit should be 25 mph, people need to share the road, and that the CHP has him on surveillance.
CHP Officer Narrative:I asked him to work with me and stay out of the traffic lane.
Mule Rebuttal: Once again it was impossible to stay out of the lane of traffic due to the lack of anywhere else to be.
CHP Officer Narrative:He stated that he would not do that.
Mule Rebuttal: Well of course I didn’t do that, I couldn’t do that.
CHP Officer Narrative:I gave him a lawful order three times and told him that he may receive a ticket or worse, go to jail. The legal order was based upon section 21954(a) VC, Pedestrian Outside a Crosswalk.
Mule Rebuttal: Nacimiento Lake Road (G14) is a rural area. There are no cross walks any where. When you have to go across that road because of blind curves and get to the safer side for the safety of myself, the mules, and the ignorant motorist, that’s what we do. And we have the right to do that. And there are no cross walks on that road.
CHP Officer Narrative:Mr. Sears stated that if that happened, I would be opening up a can of worms. I told him that I didn’t want to take it to the next level. He said, “What happens, happens.”
Mule Rebuttal: The danger to the motoring public continues because of the reckless driving of that public. They make the choice to drive recklessly at high speeds. We don’t force them to do that. That is their choice.
CHP Officer Narrative:Officer A and I positioned our patrol vehicles at the intersection of Nacimiento Lake Drive and San Marcos Road. With the belief that the danger to the motoring public would most likely continue, I drove out to Mr. Sears’ location with the MVARS camera activated. Once again, I was able to see Mr. Sears walking his mules in the eastbound traffic lane, rather than on the shoulder, in defiance of my lawful order, a violation of California Vehicle Code section 2800(a).
Mule Rebuttal: The order was not lawful. We have the right to be on the road. We have the right to use it. And there was no place else to go. As I stated previously, if there was, we would be there. Anytime there is enough room for us to remove ourselves as far as possible from the high speed motorist, we do so. But in many cases, especially on that road, there isn’t. The order was not lawful. You can’t give an order that is impossible to comply with and call it lawful.
CHP Officer Narrative:I made a U-turn and activated my red lights to warn approaching traffic. Six vehicles including a Semi-tractor pulling a low boy trailer with heavy equipment had to utilize the opposing lane to get around Mr. Sears and his mules.
Mule Rebuttal: Well why did he have to do that? Because the semi-tractor refused to slow down and stop if necessary so we could all safely pass each other. The semi-tractor was blatantly breaking the law in front of the CHP officer and the CHP officer did nothing to address that.
CHP Officer Narrative: Had Mr. Sears walked the Mules single file as directed, there would have been much less of a hazard presented.
Mule Rebuttal: Far to the contrary, once again, there is extreme danger had we been walking single file. The semi-tractor would have side swiped us.
CHP Officer Narrative: I returned to the San Marcos intersection and waited for Mr. Sears to arrive.
CHP Officer Narrative: The situation posed an extreme danger to Mr. Sears, the mules, and the motoring public. Nacimiento Lake Drive is a winding roadway with ascending and descending elevations. The shoulders are narrow offering little room for a horse and even less for a vehicle. Mr. Sears was previously in an area of blind curves when CHP dispatch first received calls of him blocking the eastbound traffic lane. Mr. Sears was now about to travel east of San Marcos Road where the roadway is similarly dangerous.
Mule Rebuttal: CHP officer did not offer any assistance in alternate routes, nor did the officer offer a trailer ride to get to Paso Robles. We had no cell reception to call anybody. In the CHP dashcam video, the officer states that he has no cell reception either yet he was able to call for a trailer to take us to jail in San Luis Obispo but not a tralier ride to Paso Robles. The only way for us to physically get out of the area was to continue walking as we could not sprout wings and fly away, which is what we told the officer as well. CHP Officer turned his back on us and walked away as seen in the dashcam video.
CHP Officer Narrative:At 1312 hours, I notified my supervisor/Sergeant and advised him of the ongoing situation involving Mr. Sears, the mules in the lane, and the defiance of a lawful order. I explained that if the dangerous situation continued, I may have no other choice but to arrest Mr. Sears. Sergeant concurred with me.
Upon Mr. Sears’ arrival, I exited my patrol vehicle and detained Mr. Sears. Officer Abel held the mules and I placed Mr. Sears under arrest for disobeying a lawful order, without incident. I advised Mr. Sears of his Miranda Rights which he invoked. Mr. Sears went on to yell that this was an unlawful arrest, we had no right to do this, and we were “fucking cowards.” his two mules were turned over to San Luis Obispo County Animal Services for safe keeping. All of Mr. Sears’ property was taken to the Templeton CHP office for safe keeping. Mr. Sears was transported to the San Luis Obispo County Jail and turned over to jail staff for booking.
Mules Rebuttal: Once again, it was not a lawful order, but just the opposite. The officer and the Sergeant had other choices, such as providing escort, providing a trailer ride to Paso Robles. The Mules could not sprout wings and fly away. If the CHP was able to summon Animal Services for a trailer so quickly, why couldn’t they trailer us past the area they thought was dangerous and drop off us to continue our journey to Paso Robles which was less than five miles way rather than drive us to San Luis Obispo 40 miles away. The CHP had other choices, just as the high speed motorist had a choice to obey the law to slow down and share the road.
On October 5, 2021 while the Mules were in Larkspur, the Mules phoned the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District office to inform them that the Mules were in Marin County and wanted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco. We were transferred to Lieutenant Roger Elauria who said that he remembered us from August 2015 when we wanted to cross the bridge. He said that we cannot walk across the bridge and that he would will work on finding a trailer ride across the Golden Gate Bridge for us. Later that afternoon, Lt. Elauria called and said to meet the next day (11/6) at the tunnel in Sausalito. Thus, Little Girl, Little Ethel and the Monk left Larkspur and proceeded to walk to Sausalito where we spent the night.
The next morning, the Mules woke up early, packed up and began walking 3 miles to the Sausalito tunnel. We weren’t sure if we were at the right location and called Lt. Elauria at 9:30am and told him where we were located to check if we were in the right place. He said yes. We waited for the trailer to arrive and were surprised at all the other resources that arrived as well…Golden Gate Bridge District officers, California Highway Patrol, and United States Park Police with the trailer. In 2015 when we cross the bridge, we only had one Humane Society Trailer who met us and it was a quick and simple meet up. Thus it was kind of puzzling as to why 8+ resources were needed. We stood around awhile after Little Girl and Little Ethel were loaded as we had to wait for a tow truck to put air in trailer tire. Once that was done, we were all set to go. The United States Parks Police dropped the 3 Mules off at Ocean Beach along the Great Highway in San Francisco.
The Mules say thank you to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District for answering our call, Lieutenant Roger Elauria for coordinating the trailer, and Sgt T. Roth of Golden Gate Bridge Authority, US Park Police Officers A. Ewing and A. Muller (part of Golden Gate NRA, USPP San Francisco Field Office) who trailered the Mules across the Bridge to Ocean Beach and provided some hay as well so that we could continue our journey south for the winter.
On October 6, 2021, the Mules were trailered across the Golden Gate Bridge and dropped off at Ocean Beach. We spent the remainder of the day walking through San Francisco, then into South San Francisco with no police contact.
We spent two nights in South San Francisco where we had stopped many times before, got up in the morning, and started walking through Brisbane, San Bruno, then into San Mateo. The Mules’ goal was to stop in San Mateo for the night at a place we had previously stayed many times before, but when getting there found it to be under construction, so we continued on where we found another place to stop for the night.
The monk put the mules on picket lines, fixed something to eat, then put his sleeping bag to the ground and went to sleep here in San Mateo.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. we were awoken by two police officers shining flashlights in our faces. They wanted to know what we were doing here. We asked them what were they doing here. They informed me they got a call of large animals in this area. They wanted to know who I was, where I was going, where I was coming from, what I was doing, so forth and so on.
I gave them my name, told them I was migrating South, and handed one of the officers my card.
They continued to ask me unnecessary and redundant questions at which time I stated I wasn’t going to answer any more questions. They then told me that I couldn’t be here because there were city codes against large animals in the city.
I told them we have been walking all day long and it was necessary to stop for the night. We could not walk in the dark as it would not be safe for we had no headlight or reflectors for that purpose.
The officer stated he had no previous experience with anybody walking through the city with a horse so he would call his supervisor and get her advice. So we waited for the supervisor to arrive on the scene and sort the whole thing out. She did and decided we could stay for the night. A total of six police vehicles showed up.
In regards to the officers claiming they did not know who we were I find that extremely hard to believe. We had been walking on the El Camino all day long with surveillance cameras on most intersections. At 4:20pm, one officer stopped, got out of his car, approached us, and started asking the usual question. We were certainly being surveilled and recorded. We stick out like a sore thumb needless to say with two mules.
The mules have passed through San Mateo walking down the El Camino many times in previous years. We have our website name in large white block letters 3MULES.COM on the side of both of our pack boxes to be easily seen by any officer observing us walking down the El Camino.
Furthermore, on August 8, 2015, San Mateo Police Department posted on their social media page welcoming the Mules where we spent the night within city limits near where we stayed the other night. For them to say they didn’t know who we were was ridiculous. [Read our 2015 post about this here.]
Anyway all the above being said, the Mules packed up in the morning and proceeded to walk through Belmont, San Carlos, in and thru Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park, then into Palo Alto, where we spent the night at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto on Middlefield Road. Having no police contact and a quiet peaceful night, we then proceeded in the morning through Mountain View and into Sunnyvale where we are now as a guest of another supportive member of the Three Mules Nation.
Lady, the mule who I purchased in 1986 in Coarsegold, CA when she was about 6 years old, and then roamed and wandered all over the western United States for 26 years, and in California for the past 9 years, has laid her physical body to rest on this day, October 7, 2021, at age 41 in human years. In horse years, we calculate this to be 114 years old.
The Mules want to give a special thanks to Jane, her parents, and Tucky for the wonderful care and place to spend her last years.
Myself, the Monk, says to myself how best to honor this wonderful soul who became an essential part of my life. If you have taken a photo of or with Lady, please share with us in the comments with the location and date and we will add to a video that we are compiling to remember her.
When I was saying goodbye to her for the last time [on 9/20/21], we both knew there was an understanding that we would come together once again to wander and roam over the face of this Earth practicing the ages old sacred ways of the nomads.
The body dies and returns to dust. The spirit is eternal. Lady will have many paths and choices to choose from. We hope she chooses to return with us and continue to contribute her energy to the Three Mules Journey in a way unique and peculiar to herself.
It’s ironic that across the street from us is a mural depicting the early travelers in this area who traveled by horse. Believe it or not, equestrian travel still exists today in the United States of America.
We the Mules are equestrian travelers. We are not criminals, nor a public nuisance, nor a drug addict, nor alcoholics. We pick up after ourselves, #LeaveNoTrace, eat Bob’s Red Mill organic, gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats, and volunteer our grass/weed abatement services along the public thoroughfare.
Help spread the word that 3 Mules are walking south thru the San Francisco Bay Area on our way to Southern California. We are currently in Richmond and will be in Marin County by Monday afternoon (Oct 4th) where we’ll continue our journey south towards San Francisco (then thru San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in the next couple of weeks).
We can make our journey south quicker if we are not stopped and questioned by law enforcement responding to frequent calls from “concerned citizens.”
if you see somebody that doesn’t look like the Monk/Mule leading Little Girl and Little Ethel, then that is a time to be concerned! Send us a private message where you see the mules if this is the case.
Three Mule Nation: help spread the word, share our post that we are heading south following the historic Juan Bautista de Anza historic route as we do each year. If you see us, take a photo, post and tag 3 Mules on Facebook or @3Mules on Instagram, so people are aware who we are and don’t call 911 to report equestrian travelers.
The Mules have been processing acorns. First gathering, then shelling, then pounding into a cornmeal type consistency, then leeching in water for about 5 days, then drying out, at which time they’ll be ready to eat.
After shelling the acorn and it’s still green and moist it’s pretty easy to pound them up into a cornmeal consistency. They leach a lot faster than if you were to leach them when the acorns are in a whole condition.
What do they taste like you ask and wonder? Well not good, not bad. The Mules suspect when the grocery stores are empty and you’ve been walking all day in search of something to eat, a bag of acorn flour in your pack that you can reach into and get some to eat, will taste pretty good. Of course at that point and beyond, taste is not really much of a concern. When the stomach wants food, it’ll take anything it can get without the slightest protest as to what it is or what it taste like.