UPDATE 9/19/2020: In 2015 the Mules were traveling through Ventana Wilderness in Monterey County where we had the pleasure of staying at Rancho Salsipuedes owned by Timothy Bottoms. We enjoyed our stay at the Rancho and learning of its unique history, which is documented in our original blog post below.
Rancho Salsipuedes is a rare place. About 12 miles inland in Big Sur, it is one of the LAST standing California Homesteads that is not owned by the government or by a corporation. It has been in the hands of The Bottoms family since 1975. It has been untouched by overdevelopment, remaining in all of its glory. It has been looked after with true, pure, authentic love for the natural world.
We have come to find out about the Dolan wildfire that started August 18, 2020 and one month later continues to burn with only 46% perimeter containment. This wildfire ravaged thru and over the Rancho Salsipuedes, which we are very sorry to hear about.
In 2015, We left our palomino mule, Who Dee Doo, at Rancho Salsipuedes and glad to see in the photo below that he made it through the fire okay.
The Bottom’s family friend, Caitlin Ackerman, has organized a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the remaining horses and rebuild Rancho Salsipuedes. Please click on this linkto read more about this special place and donate if you can. Warning, there are graphic images of the animals domestic and wildlife that didn’t survive.
Here is our original blog post that we wrote October 20, 2015:
October 20, 2015 – Rancho Salsipuedes:
Three Mules and one monk were walking south through Fort Hunter Liggett on a road bordering the Los Padres National Forest when a gentleman by the name of Timothy Bottoms stopped his Jeep, got out, introduced himself and asked if the kids needed water or hay for he had brought some. The monk responded, “No. We are okay. Thank you.”
He then invited us to his ranch to take a break. We said yes that would be nice. So we walked to his ranch, which is surrounded by the Ventana Wilderness, and took a break.
Tim asked if we needed anything in the way of supplies, gear, etc. The monk responded with a yes. Our pack boxes were over 25 years old and worn to the bone. Tim said he would be glad to help so he did by supplying us with four new pack boxes.
Who Dee Do, our third mule will be staying at Tim’s ranch. He never became easy for me to shoe. He had to be sedated and that was not a practical scheme for us walking through the Megatropolis.
Who Dee Do will be living with Tim’s horses and mules, a great place for Who Dee Do to live.
The Mules say thank you to Timothy Bottoms for his kindness and support he has shown the mules, the identifiers of this ages old nomadic way of life living with respect and reverence for this beautiful place called Earth, the home of human beings. ~The Mules
About Rancho Salsipuedes: “Nestled in the verdant, peaceful valley, stands the thick adobe walls of the Mission San Antonio de Padua’s Portreros Mulos built by the caretaker friar and several neophytes…it established ranch support for the mission mules.
After secularization in 1834, the property came under the private ownership of Vicente Avile, who purchased the drought stricken Rancho for the stately sum of $13, all he had in his pocket. The Rancho remained in the family estate for over one hundred years.
The Avila Ranch, a 160-acre homestead, became known as Salsipuedes (“get out if you can”), which was later sold to Timothy Bottoms in 1975 as a family refuge.”
On the ranch is an old stone cabin and oven built sometime in late 1800s/early 1900s.
The trails surrounding the property are very difficult to travel and impassable with overgrown brush and fallen trees. During the time we were waiting for our pack boxes to arrive, we spent our time clearing these trails.
As more places are coming out of lockdown, we expect to see more high speed automobiles with individual drivers on the public thoroughfare as more people may avoid taking public transportation or carpooling.
Reminder that it is the law to share the road with other public thoroughfare users (pedestrians, equestrians, cyclists). Slow down, yield, or stop to safely pass. Also, do not text and drive.
Taking a few seconds to slow down to safely pass will not ruin your day, but getting in a wreck will.
A comment was made on our last post: “So you want strangers to keep up your lifestyle…that’s what we call bums.”
The Mules and this ages old nomadic lifestyle which our ancestors have practiced for thousands of years is still being practiced today by us the Mules. We get up in the morning off the ground, take a look at our animal companions, bid them a good morning, fix some breakfast, usually oatmeal or rice and vegetables or maybe some ground nuts, very simple and basic, nothing fancy. Then the monk packs up the Mules and we are on our way in any one of four directions, spending the day walking in the light with love, respect and reverence for this Earth and the web of life one step at a time.
When sun begins to set, we look for a place to stop for the night on the public thoroughfare. Often times, somebody will offer the Mules their property to stay for the night. Often times, the Mules gratefully accept. We then fix a simple meal, make the Mules comfortable for the night, then go to sleep knowing full well when we awake in the morning, we will be more to once again practice this unchoreographed dance across the face of the earth in harmony and balance with the energy that surrounds us, guides us, and protects us. This energy of which we speak shows itself through the many kind and generous people the Mules meet everyday as they walk this timeless endless journey of respect and reverence for the Natural World. All of our material needs it will simply materialize into what is needed.
So this is the way it is for the Mules. It does not matter what we are called as we walk along the public thoroughfare for we know who we are and where we are from. We are the body of our ancestors and we come from the harbored energy of their sacred way of life.
Our ancestors have walked under around and through every Megatropolis/ Empire that has ever been and witnessed their ultimate collapse. The Mules as we walk around under and through this Empire are also witnessing its collapse.
As the Megatropolis continues its inevitable collapse and initiates a totalitarian nightmare to contain and control all human energy within it s purview, the Mules will continue this endless journey of our ancestors forever moving into the light of this place in which we reside alone but never alone, a place for everybody and anybody moving, walking in harmony and balance with the energy that created Earth and all its inhabitants.
The Mules as well as others who follow the Mules have been receiving periodic emails for the past several years from John McDonald, a filmmaker requesting donations for his documentary film about the 3 Mules. We allowed him to start filming us back in 2013, but ended our association in 2014.
The Mules went to the 3MulesMovie website “Support” page, which states the following:
Join the team that helps complete the documentary with your tax-deductible donation through the film’s fiscal sponsor, the International Documentary Association (IDA).* Donations are accepted through PayPal, by check or by credit card. All donations go directly towards completing the film.
Further down the page, it states:
* Read the IDA’s LETTER OF SUPPORT. The IDA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that oversees financial contributions to independent documentary films. The IDA requires annual reports of all income and expenses connected with the project and will make these reports available upon request. Contact Amy Halpin, Fiscal Sponsorship Program Coordinator with the IDA, to receive a financial report on the current financial status of the project. email@example.com and/or subscribe to our newsletter to see a copy of the latest financial report.
On February 15, 2020, the Mules sent an e-mail to the IDA Fiscal Sponsorship program requesting to see the financial report of all income and expenses connected with this project. We also sent an email directly to Amy Halpin on February 18, 2020. We didn’t receive a response and sent another follow-up email on February 25.
On February 26, Amy Halpin responded:
Much of the information you have requested is confidential and I am unable to release it without John McDonald’s written permission. But I’d be happy to reach out to him and get his permission to share this specific financial information with you. I believe he’s been very transparent with these requests in the past. I can share that he is current on all reporting due to us for the project.I’ll be back in touch as soon as I’ve had a chance to chat with him, hopefully, tomorrow.
The Mules responded back to Amy that it his website that directs people to contact her for the copy of the financial report.
It is now April 11 and the Mules still have not received any further communication from Amy Halpin or the IDA.
Update: The Mules finally received a financial report from the IDA on 4/14/20. Because the fundraising effort by John McDonald has been going on for so long 7 years, the Mules find it necessary to inform those who might donate that the Mules are not in anyway participating in the fundraising for the documentary Call Me Mule or are we supporting his scheme of sending out e-mails asking for donations. ~The Mules
On Sunday, March 8, 2020, 40-year-old Lady moved from her retirement home in the Central Valley to her new home in northern California. The Mules thank Sharon for taking such good care of Lady for the past 3 years.
As these photos show, Lady could never have had a better caring friend.
Thank you, Sharon. Jane, another member of the 3 Mules Nation, came to pick up Lady and bring Lady to her new home. We know that Jane will give Lady another great home.
Thank you Candice for once again giving your energy of service to the 3 Mules Nation by finding Lady a new home with Jane. Other animals live on the ranch to keep Lady company.
When the Mules got into Bakersfield, we went to Tractor Supply looking for Pure Neats foot oil. As we returned to the mules, a lady named Lori was waiting with the mules. She introduced herself and her husband Chuck. She told us that she has been watching the 3 Mules page for many a year. Lori also told us how she contacted CHP and the District Attorney expressing her disgust anger as to the Mules illegal arrest and confinement.
The Mules thanked Lori for the energy of her effort on our behalf as well as the many others of the 3 Mules Nation who did likewise. For if the collective energy of the 3 Mules Nation had not been used, the Mules would right now be using the hacksaw blade we found in our pillow to saw through the bars and take our rightful place on the public thoroughfare showing all who pass our way, there is nothing more precious on this earth than true human freedom.
Lori told us she lived close by and we were welcome to stay the night. It was gettin close to that time so we gratefully accepted her offer. Her kids set up a make shift corral where the mules spent three comfortable nights. Thank you Lori and her nice family for the hospitality they showed the Mules.
As the picture shows it is very easy to accommodate an equestrian traveler as a guest in many suburban communities. These gated housing developments that are springing up everywhere are planned and engineered in such a way as to exclude most outside activity other than getting out of an automobile, walking 40 feet to the front door and going inside, which is the real purpose of an engineered gated community to keep you inside, isolated, dependent and addicted to the internet of things.
In an ever increasing number of cities and towns, city councils are being unduly influenced and pressured to pass ordinances, codes that make any free spontaneous activity in your neighborhood virtually impossible. The 3 mule journey and its nomadic ages old lifestyle pushes back all day every day, one step at a time, against this damning Megatropolis and its goal of disconnection, isolation from the Web of Life, the Natural World.
Jerrod Mayfield of Mayfield Equine Services has shoed the Mules in the Bakersfield area many times. Once again, Jerrod gave his energy and skill to the 3 Mules endless journey.
A journey showing respect and reverence for earth our home and all its inhabitants. A journey using the energy of this ages old sacred relationship between human being and horse showing all those who the 3 Mules pass the extreme value of a spiritual connection to the natural world and the web of life which nourishes us all.
On February 5, I posted on the 3Mules Facebook page that my favorite sandals were finally worn to the bone and that my Teva‘s are the best and longest lasting sandal of all sandals that I’ve worn in the past 25 years. The next day, Tevacommented on our Facebook post:
“Hello John and Mules! We have seen quite a few of your followers reach out to us about your journeys, and we are honored that our Teva’s have been your shoe of choice for the last 25 Years. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories through your blog, website and Facebook as these are the stories that people not only want to hear but should hear. Who could not use some amazing down to earth travel stories through nature the way it was intended? Teva loves those that live for moments of discovery and awe.
It brings us joy when people find newness and wonder in each new experience — from every day to epic and we feel like you embody this perfectly. We really enjoyed taking the time to read about your travels and the amazing company of mules that you take care of. It would be our privilege to be a part of the three mules nation. In such we would love to help you out with some new Teva’s so that you can continue your travels from San Diego to Sacramento and everywhere in between. Please reach out to us in private messages so we can discuss in further detail all the information. We look forward to hearing from you.”
I responded back to Teva in a private message and they answered back with a link to select which model sandal we wanted and other info needed.
Yesterday, our new Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal sandals in Wavy Trail Black arrived. These sandals fit perfectly. Thank you Teva for sending us another pair of great comfortable sandals and the many people who wrote Teva asking if they would send the Mules another pair.
In the early 1800’s, 17-miles southeast of Santa Margarita, Salinan Indians settled in the area. The village was located in a hole-like valley, thus the proposed name for the town was Pozo, which means “well” or “hole” in Spanish. When California became part of the United States in 1850, homesteading began and the Pozo community grew.
On March 3, 1857, the United States Congress created the Butterfield Overland Mail Company, a stagecoach service that carried passengers and U.S. Mail from Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California. The route lasted from 1857 to 1861 and became one of the most important roads in the early settlement and development of California. The road through Pozo originally was the main route from the San Luis Obispo area to the Central Valley, Bakersfield and beyond.
Pozo is home to the still thriving Pozo Saloon, established in 1858. During its early years, the Pozo Saloon was the primary watering hole for weary travelers making their way over Pozo Summit.
Two days ago, the Mules left Santa Margarita and are taking the historic Butterfield Overland Mail route to Bakersfield. Pozo Road, no longer the bustling major thoroughfare as it was in the 1800’s, has some of the most beautiful scenery that we’ve ever seen in California and has plenty of grass for the mules. We stopped at the Pozo Saloon watering hole.