2023 / 24 California DMV Handbook

The Mules walked into Porterville to stock up on groceries. While we were there, we stopped at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get the 2024 California Drivers Handbook. 2024 was not available. We picked up the 2023 California Drivers Handbook. As we were thumbing through the 2023 Drivers Handbook, we noticed that there was very little attention given to an equestrian , a person riding a horse.

While there is excellent reference and mention to pedestrians, and their right to walk on California roads and highways, as well as cyclists to do the same, the equestrian, the person riding a horse was given a brief few words that were totally and completely inadequate to informing the public, that a person riding a horse has the same legal right to be on and using California roads and highways as the high-speed motorist (HSM). If you go to CA vehicle code 21759, the equestrian, a person riding a horse, as well as a person driving a horse, and a person walking a horse you will see is explicitly lined in and covered in the vehicle code.

The purpose of the California Driver’s Handbook is to educate the California driving public and all other legal users (pedestrians equestrians cyclists) as to their responsibilities and rights when driving and traveling on California’s highways and roads. Yet the mention, acknowledgement in the California Drivers Handbook of the equestrian is almost non-existent.

So what’s going on here? Is this some kind of willy nilly accident by those who wrote this California Driver’s Handbook for 2024? No. It’s no willy nilly accident of forgetfulness by those who wrote the handbook. It was done for a reason. And what’s going on is they are conditioning the public mind to view a person riding a horse, an equestrian, as somehow to be illegal on California’s roads. And then a call is made to CHP. CHP knows the scheme. They will come out and order the equestrian such as the Mules to stay off the road if you don’t comply with this illegal order they will illegally arrest the equestrian and impound your horse. Which has been done to the Mules multiple times. It’s an incremental first step towards eliminating the equestrian, person riding a horse totally from the California roads and highways. The next step is to start reducing equestrian rights under the vehicle code.

While horse owners may not want to do it themselves, walk, ride their horse on California’s dangerous roads. (Due mainly to the excessive speed California drivers are allowed to drive on California roads and highways.) Instead choose to use their horse in a recreational mode, attending various events by the use of an automobile. The act of doing, getting out on the road with your horse and riding it on that road to get to necessary places you need to go, must be preserved. It must be protected. That is where the line in the sand must be drawn against the incremental elimination of this sacred relationship between human being and horse. It’s sacred, it’s been on this earth for literally ions. And this is a real concerted attack on that relationship.

This attack on the equestrian, a person riding a horse, and the right to do so on California’s public roads, will not end there. It will not end with eliminating the equestrian right to ride California’s roads. It will morph. It will travel into your right to have access to facilities to drive your pick-up truck and horse trailer to compete and enjoy your horse. It will morph. It will travel on to every venue it can find. Because its sole purpose in the end is to destroy this sacred relationship between human being and horse which has been on this earth for eons.

Once again, I repeat myself. There is no better place to draw the line in the sand then where the Three Mules Journey resides or anybody else with similar intent, a place where no weapons are used or carried a place for those who choose to serve it by walking with respect and reverence for the ground on which they travel upon showing that basic right to walk your horse, ride your horse, drive your horse, on California’s highways and roads in any one of all four directions how you choose when you choose. It is the responsibility of the Mules as well as all others who love this ages old sacred relationship to not stand by and watch it be diminished and destroyed. It is the energy of perseverance and creativity that the Mules choose to use to protect and preserve this most sacred place in which the Mules reside.

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What is a Pedestrian?

Pictured is myself the Monk and Rosie the mule. I am a pedestrian and Rosie is livestock under my control. According to the California Vehicle Code I shall walk on the left side of the highway walking into the flow of traffic when and where practical. However, when not practical, due to circumstance such as blind curves or a lack of space, I, as a pedestrian controlling livestock, have the right to cross the road and walk on the other side for the safety of myself and Rosie and all others whom we might encounter.

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In search of a Stall Jack

Pictured is my anvil I use to shape the horse shoe to fit mule feet. A horse shoe when bought does fit a horse pretty well without a lot of pounding. However, for mule feet, a lot of pounding is required to shape the shoe to fit the feet.

As the picture of anvil shows from constant use, it has been severely bent and is no longer effective to use. I can either get this one fixed by a welder or get what is called a “Stall Jack”.

Does anybody have one they no longer need? Due to my 75+ years of age, I have no longer the strength and force using a hammer. I thought I might get more leverage with a stall jack. Last image is of a stall jack.

NOTE: Shoes are made specifically to fit mules. However, they are hard to find and more expensive making them impractical for us as we shoe on average about every three weeks.

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Leroy and Rosie

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. 

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Little Girl (1990 – February 28, 2022)

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.


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Golden Gate Bridge Crossing

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.

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San Mateo Police Encounter

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.

Little Girl and Little Ethel in South San Francisco with the Cow Palace behind us.

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.

Where we spent the night on October 8, 2021 and where the San Mateo Police woke us up at 11pm.

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.

October 8, 2021 4:20pm – officer who stopped, got out of his car, approached the Mules, and started asking the usual questions.

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.]

San Mateo Police post welcoming the mules in 2015
San Mateo Police Department social media post welcoming the Mules to San Mateo in August 2015.

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.

The Mules resting at Cubberley Community Center, Palo Alto, CA on October 9, 2021
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Lady (1980-October 7, 2021)

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.

The Mules

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We are Equestrian Travelers

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.

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