The Mules were walking east on the shoulder of Chittenden Road (CA-129) in San Benito County towards San Juan Bautista. Suddenly a California Highway Patrol (CHP) cruiser appeared and stopped in front of us. A CHP officer exited his cruiser and requested we stop, freeze in place. We did not do that. Instead, we turned around and walked about 20 yards to a much safer place than the shoulder of the highway.
The officer followed us and upon reaching us asked where we were going. We replied, “Where we choose to go and we have the constitutional right in these United States to do just that using all city, county and state roads, which make up the public thoroughfare to travel and move freely in this country. The officer replied, “You’re on a highway and you do not have the right to be on the highway.”
The Mules knew of course the officer at best was mistaken and knew nothing of the vehicle code he was suppose to be enforcing at worst case was lying (Supreme Court and Federal Court decisions allow police to lie without any fear of accountability) and they do a lot.
“State Route 129 in San Benito County is classified as a Rural Minor Arterial* and is not included in the California Freeway and Expressway System. It is included in the Interregional Road System from Highway 1 to US 101, but is not designated as a High Emphasis or Focus Route. SR 129 is not part of the Scenic Highway System or the National Highway system.”
*Arterials. These facilities make up the principal network for through‐traffic within a community and often between communities. Arterials have between two and six traffic lanes and provide connections between residential areas, shopping areas, places of employment, recreational areas, and other places of assembly.San Benito County’s General Plan Chapter 6 Transportation and Circulation page 6-9
So the situation remained in limbo with the Mules asserting their right to use the public thoroughfare Highway 129 and the CHP continuing to lie and tell us we were breaking the law by being on the highway. And if we got on it again we the Mules would be arrested and taken to jail.
Then the supervising officer told the Mules, “We don’t want to take you to jail, you’re not going to jail. Let’s find a way to solve the problem.” The Mules replied in no way are we going to negotiate our right to the public thoroughfare away. The supervising officer replied, “We are not asking you to do that. You can walk on the shoulder but not in the lane of traffic.” The Mules replied that’s exactly what we were doing when we were stopped by the officer. The supervising officer then said, “We will give you a CHP escort on 129 to San Juan Bautista.”
At that point, a lady appeared and introduced herself and said she has followed the 3 Mules page for many years. She then said we should take School Road over the hill to Anzar Road, which would take us into San Juan Bautista, which was no more than 100 yards from where we were. The Mules said good.
The CHP escorted us the 100 yards to School Road and left. We have not seen them since.
Photos of other people we met also walking along the road on New Year’s Day as we headed toward San Juan Bautista. It’s always good to see other people walking too.
12 thoughts on “Step by Step Accounting of the 3 Mules Contact with CHP on New Year’s Day”
I’m a locomotive engineer for Amtrak. I have seen you mostrecently on a road by the railroad tracks near Irvine, CA a week or so ago but many years ago up in the San Luis Obispo area walking south from San Luis Obispo about halfway to Grover Beach on an access road near the tracks. I was told of your travels by the old heads at work. Safe travels and stay warm.
I was so bewildered by the behavior of the CHP officers in your encounter. I wish you safe travels and I am so sorry that this happened in my neck of the woods. Will you appear in court in March? Perhaps an attorney could represent you so you don’t have to appear. I wish you well.
I saw you walking by Lowes on San Juan Grade Road today in Salinas, California. Do you ever stop at schools to visit? My second graders would have gotten a kick out of seeing you. I will tell them about you when we go back after winter break.
We have spoken to schools in the past.
In Santa Barbara – two newspaper articles about that visit
Alisal High School in Salinas in 2015:
Saw you walking by San Juan Road im salinas We waved goodbye it was a real treat seeing such an amazing group back in our little city. Hoping your journey continues to be well surrounded by good helpfull souls and keeps away those who arent.
Education is empowering ! It is so sad that the simplest act of walking seems threatening to some…like it’s odd or foreign..Most people are so out of touch with how to provide for yourself from the earth, etc.… I hate to see what would happen to all those people during a natural disaster .. I’ll just feast from my garden and chickens, then hop on my horse and ride around the chaos lol. Keep on keeping on… you represent the power of the people and Freedom (as threatened as it is) in America . I enjoy following your travels…please let us know when you’ll be in the So CA Mojave Desert near Calico Ghost Town, or other High Desert communities . Regards, Odessa
I also meant to add that I have a small ranch with a barn and corrals if you ever need a place to layover with shelter and room for you as well! Always welcome here at McShane Ranch 🙂 Cheers! Odessa
My wife saw you a few years on in Oceanside and sent me a photo and had to look you up. Have followed you for a few years and being a old hippie I respect and admire your way of life. Hope to see you passing thru on your way south.
So glad you got where you needed to go, I’m sorry you had to deal with a headache along the way. I saw you passing through farmersville ca a few months ago, so then I was able to inform my mom about you and your lovely mules…..keep on keepin’ on ❤
Such a shame that CHP couldn’t of been more helpful,positive and offering assistance to a fellow citizen, instead of threatening and lieing, so ridiculous on their part, really glad you and the mules stood your ground and didnt cower to their intimidation techniques😐 Safe travels Mules🐎
All positive vibes to you Mules! May you continue to enjoy your journey in peace and safety.