Last night on January 6, 2018, we slept in Castaic. Upon awakening this morning, we packed up, got on the Old Road and headed south. The Old Road is a frontage road that parallels Interstate 5.
After walking for about an hour down the sidewalk, we were approached by a California Highway Patrol Officer (CHP) informing us that he had been getting calls that the Mules were walking in the middle of the road. No, we never walk in the middle of the road. We either walk on the sidewalk when it’s available, on the shoulder when it’s available, or in the lane of traffic when neither of the two are available. We have an absolute right to do so.
Anybody riding a bicycle, riding a horse, pulling a horse-drawn wagon, riding in a wheelchair, or walking has the right to use the public thoroughfare. These are public roads. The roads are not exclusive for the high speed machine called an automobile. The freeways are. Nobody has the right to be on the freeway except the high speed machine. The other roads – city, county, state – are all open to all other venues, be it a bicycle, an equestrian, a squirrel or a frog.
California Vehicle Code requires high speed motorists to slow down or stop to proceed in safety when meeting these other venues. The high speed motorist refuses to do so. Instead they come at us at full speed, never taking their foot off the gas pedal, picking up their cell phone, calling the CHP and claiming that we’re walking in the middle of the road. The CHP responds, comes out, and tells us if they catch us walking in the middle of the road or get calls to that affect, we would be arrested and the mule would be impounded. Totally illegal. Completely illegal.
As we proceeded walking south about two hours later we were approached by another CHP officer claiming he saw us walking in the middle of the road. WHAT AN OUTRAGEOUS assertion. Pictured is where we were walking. We have every right to walk on the public thoroughfare, we have every right to walk on the shoulder of the public thoroughfare, we have every right to walk in the lane of traffic if there is no place else to walk, such as bridges, such as areas cordoned off for construction. We have the same right to passage as the high speed automobile.
After that contact with the CHP we continued south and stopped at Starbucks to charge our smartphone and get a cup of coffee. We were in there for about an hour. I had secured Little Girl to a pole in the parking lot. I could see through the window that police officers were pulling up to where Little Girl was tied. I then went outside to talk to the officers and told them that the mule belonged to me. They said okay that’s fine. They said that they had gotten calls that someone was concerned about the mule and that they needed to respond, and that was that.
We got back on the road, proceeded south, stopped at Walmart to buy a canister of oatmeal, got back on the road until we found a place to sleep for the night.
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, walk into a coffee shop and enjoy their cup of coffee, return to their car, put their groceries and supplies in their car, and leave to go home.
To have people constantly call the police 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 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 2018 where one must 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.
I have known my mule Little Girl since she was born in 1990 and she has been by my side and full-time care since I bought her in 1993. While she may not technically fit the official federal designation of a service animal, she is my service animal and is an integral part of our nomadic way of life that’s been here for hundreds of thousands of years. She is in service to this place. Any common sense mind would come to the conclusion that she is without a doubt a service animal.
The Mules know that much of our contact with law enforcement agencies, CHP, local police, county sheriff, and animal control is instigated by trolls. These trolls will call enforcement agencies complaining there is a homeless man walking in the middle of the road with a horse. There is a man leading an injured horse past my house. There is a horse tied in the Starbucks parking lot with no water. It looks emaciated, etc., etc.
Their intention of course is to keep the Mules under a constant state of harassment, wear us down and keep the Mules from doing this most important job of using their constitutional right as well as everybody else’s to move freely and spontaneously in this country. The Mules have never been charged or cited for anything other than our God given right to stop and sleep at night, such as our arrest on National parks land in Thousand Oaks, CA. The Mules will never be worn down as we have access to endless amounts of energy harbored in the nation, the 3 Mules nation, from which we come. When one Monk falls another Monk appears brought forth by the force of energy accumulated and acquired throughout our history dating back hundreds of thousands of years living with respect and reverence for this sparkling jewel suspended in the mist of time we call Earth.