Bakersfield

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.

Temporary coral set-up for the mules in front yard of Lori's home

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.

The Mules

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Mayfield Equine Services

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.

The Mules

Mayfield Equine Services trailer
Little Ethel getting shod
Jerrod Mayfield, Little Ethel and Mule
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Teva Sandals

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, Teva commented 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.”

Teva, Teva.com

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.

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Pozo, California

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.

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In the Interest of Justice

The Mules would like to thank Mr. Ilan Funke-Bilu for representing the Mules and the support and energy received this past week from the Nation the Three Mules Nation. San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office will be declining to file a criminal complaint against the Mules, so our court appearance on March 23, 2020 will be unnecessary. Therefore, we are able to continue on our journey following the former Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach route east to Kern County. Message received yesterday from our attorney Mr. Funke-Bilu:

I am pleased to announce that District Attorney Dan Dow has advised me today, February 1, 2020, that the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office will be declining to file a criminal complaint against my client, Mule, “in the interest of justice.” Mr. Dow is to be applauded for doing the right thing and doing the right thing swiftly. Mule was traveling across America as he has done for many years, bothering no one, minding his own business. America’s roads are designed for its citizens, its cars, its horses, its mules, its pedestrians, its travelers. Let’s share our roads and be mindful that some of us move a little slower on them. Mule teaches us that life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

It was an honor to represent an American icon.

Ilan Funke-Bilu, Attorney at Law – www.funke-bilu.com

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The Mules wrongful arrest by CHP outside Paso Robles and sent to jail and animal shelter in San Luis Obispo

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, after walking 15.3 miles from Pleyto and past Lake Nacimiento, we stopped here along G14 to spend the night. We have walked this scenic back road route repeatedly in past years.

On Thursday morning, I awoke, fixed breakfast and packed up the mules. We got back onto G14 heading towards Paso Robles and walked approximately three hours when a California Highway Patrol (CHP) cruiser pulled up along side us. He said he had been getting calls that we were walking on the road. He asked me to do him a favor and not walk on the road. My reply was that the Mules have the right to walk on the road. We are not breaking any laws and we will continue to do so for the simple reason that we have the right to. There was no alternative side road or trail along G14 to walk to Paso Robles. At that point he left.

Road G14
Road G14

We continued walking 10-15 minutes when the CHP officer returned with another CHP officer in another cruiser. He stopped in front of us, got out of his cruiser and told us that we could not walk on the road. We reasserted our right to walk on the road.

It was obvious if you looked at the road there was no where else to walk. we were walking as far to the edge as possible. Little Girl who I was leading was walking right abreast of me and Little Ethel was abreast of Little Girl. Little Ethel was the one furthest in the road. There was plenty of room for a passing motorist, slowing his or her automobile (which is required by California law when approaching other legal users – cyclists, equestrians, pedestrians – of the public thoroughfare) to an appropriate speed to safely pass. Motorists on G14 were doing so, slowing down and passing safely with no problem. 

G14

The officer continued to assert that we could not walk on the road. We continued to assert we had the right to walk on the road and that we could not sprout wings to go anywhere else as we were landlocked and there was no alternative way to walk out of where we were standing. We went back and forth like that for a good period of time. Officer trying to convince us that we had no right to walk on the road which was ludicrous. 

The California Driver’s Handbook clearly states that equestrians have the right to use the public thoroughfare. 

Animal-Drawn Vehicles

Horse-drawn vehicles and riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles. It is a traffic offense to scare horses or stampede livestock. Slow down or stop, if necessary, or when requested to do so by the riders or herders.

California Driver Handbook – Sharing the Road

Side note: On August 31, 2013 in Morgan Hill California we had a similar encounter where the Mules were stopped by California Highway Patrol and told to get off the road or be arrested. (Details here.) We had no place to get off the road where we were without walking on the road (because we don’t have wings). We were arrested and mules impounded for “Code 2800(a) VC – Disobey Peace Officer – Lawful Order“.

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler dismissed the case based on the arrest being invalid. Citation was for “disobeying the lawful order of a peace officer” when the Mules refused to leave the highway. Judge Nadler determined that the Mules had a legal right to be on the highway and therefore was not disobeying an officer since the Mules were abiding by the law. Below is video taken by documentary film maker John McDonald interviewing Judge Nadler about our case.

“I’m Jerry Nadler, I’m a superior court judge for Santa Clara County. On September 5, 2013 I was handling what’s called the arraignment calendar in the South County Courthouse of Santa Clara County in Morgan Hill and he was on my arraignment court calendar and in custody. He was charged with a vehicle code violation of failing to follow the orders of a peace officer.

Well here’s a guy that is simply proceeding down the side of the road lawfully with his mules and people are simply distracted because they haven’t seen mules in a long time. Unfortunately the system doesn’t work really well with really unique individuals or types of cases. And perhaps Mr. Sears is that sort of unique case where he’s charged with an offense that it appears that he had better insights about than the officer.

You know the officer is really concerned about protecting the highway, especially on a holiday weekend. But the officer still has to be aware of what the law is with regard to it as well. And again in this case it is sort of a unique case. I’m sure it’s the first mule case the officer has ever run into. But again, the officer is obligated to know what the law is. And, if the law allows for a pedestrian and his animals to be on the highway, then he’s got to perhaps make some other decisions. But I can certainly understand why the officer acted the way he did.”

Jerry Nadler, Superior Court Judge for Santa Clara County

We bantered back and forth for a good period of time when the officer finally said if I come back again you will be arrested and your animals will be impounded. He then left with his fellow officer. 

Little Girl and Little Ethel along G14
Little Girl and Little Ethel along G14.

Well now what were we to do? There was no side roads to take off on. There was nothing but G14. There was no cell phone service for us to call or post for trailer assistance. The officer offered no alternative means for which we could safely proceed to our destination of Paso Robles. We had no choice but to stand there on the side of the road for hell to freeze over or to continue to walk to Paso Robles on G14. So we had to do just that, because again, the mules and myself do not have wings.

After walking 10 minutes further down the road, the officer was stationed with his partner on a side road to our left. I do not know the name of this side road or if it was an alternative road to get to Paso Robles. The officer got out of his cruiser, approached me, stepped in front of me and said I was under arrest. He then took the lead rope from my hand and handed the lead rope to the other officer who took Little Girl and Little Ethel to the other side of the road and told me I was under arrest. He asked me to put my hand behind my back, which I did. Then he hand cuffed me, took me to his cruiser, opened the door, and asked me to get inside, which I did.  I offered absolutely no resistance. 

We have now been charged with obstruction. We were not charged for walking on the highway because we had every right to be walking on the highway. We have been charged with obstruction resisting arrest. I did not resist arrest. Little Girl and Little Ethel were taken to San Luis Obispo Animal Services, while I was taken to San Luis Obispo County Jail where I was booked around 3pm and charged with resisting arrest under California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC, a broadly defined criminal offense that makes it illegal to intentionally resist, delay or obstruct a law enforcement officer.

California Highway Patrol website with horses on the cover
Note the irony of California Highway Patrol website with horses on the cover and statement: “The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service and Security.”

If the CHP officer was able to contact animal services to bring a trailer to transport the mules and myself to San Luis Obispo 40 miles away, why couldn’t they make a decision to “provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security” and escort or order trailer to transport the Mules to Paso Robles our destination at the end of G14 about 5-10 miles away?

Side note: On New Year’s Day January 1, 2020, we had a similar encounter  with San Benito County CHP (documented here) under much the same circumstance. However, San Benito County CHP gave up on telling us we couldn’t walk on the highway as they knew that we had the right to walk on that road as documented in the San Benito County General Transportation Plan. Instead, the officer relented on his assertion that we could not walk on the highway and offered us a solution that we could continue to walk along the shoulder of the road (which we were already doing) and they would escort us from behind to our destination San Juan Bautista. But at that moment, a local resident who followed our 3 Mules Facebook page stopped and told us that we had an alternative back road to walk to San Juan Bautista, which we took and no longer required a CHP escort. CHP did not tell us about this alternative route 100 yards away.

During booking, they took away my sandals that I was wearing so I was barefoot on the cold floor in jail wearing only a t-shirt and thin pants. Jails like to keep the temperature inside very cold. Don’t understand why my shoes were taken away. Did not have to share a cell with anybody. I paced from the time I entered the cell well into the next morning. Must have walked about 20 miles building the spiritual energy I knew that would be harbored and used to deal with our ongoing challenges of our upcoming court case and our use of the public thoroughfare.

I was released from jail without paying any bail with a court date to appear March 23, 2020 at 8AM in San Luis Obispo Superior Courthouse Annex Room 220, 1050 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408 .

Cite Release

After I was released from San Luis Obispo County Jail, I walked over to Animal Services next door where Little Girl and Little Ethel were housed. The cost for release is $266. We posted a GoFundMe to help pay for the cost for release and within minutes of posting reached the limit quicker than we could turn off the fundraiser to stop raising funds. A total of $500 was raised. The Mules are humbled by the response from those who donated quickly and generously to our request. Thank you very much. A detailed accounting with receipts on how this money was spent will be posted on this website.

Paid Receipt for release of the mules from Animal Services
Paid $266 receipt of release of Little Girl and Little Ethel from SLO Animal Services.

While at the animal shelter, we had another dilemma. The mules were in San Luis Obispo, but our gear and belongings were at the CHP office in Templeton, 31-miles away. So we posted on our 3 Mules Facebook page asking if anybody could transport the three of us from San Luis Obispo to Templeton before CHP closed for the day.

The Nation, the Three Mules Nation, shared our request for trailer assistance. As well, Animal Control Supervisor Patrick was reaching out to his contacts to help find a trailer ride to reunite us with our belongings. He was able to find a group that could help but they couldn’t arrive until after 4pm, which risked us not getting to the CHP office 31 miles away before its closing for the weekend. The Mules want to recognize San Luis Obispo County Animal Shelter Supervisor Patrick and his staff for taking care of Little Girl and Little Ethel and trying to help us find a trailer ride to our belongings.

Patrick and his caring staff at San Luis Obispo County Animal Shelter with the Mules
Patrick and his caring staff at San Luis Obispo County Animal Shelter with the Mules

We received a private message from Jennifer who said she could assist and bring us to Templeton, which she did. While waiting for trailer ride, we met Jim who stopped by the animal shelter to offer his assistance as well. He lives near the CHP office and offered us to rest the night on his property so we could re-gather ourselves which we accepted.

Jim and Little Girl
Thank you Jim for your hospitality.

Jennifer arrived at San Luis Obispo animal shelter with her trailer and drove us to CHP office in Templeton so that we cold pick up our pack boxes and other belongings.

Jennifer, Little Girl and Little Ethel
Thank you Jennifer for transporting us to Templeton.
Little Girl and Little Ethel at CHP Templeton office packed up and ready to go
Little Girl and Little Ethel at CHP Templeton office packed up and ready to go

We arrived at CHP Templeton in the afternoon to pick up our belongs. While there we had a conversation with CHP Lieutenant Coomer, who provided us a map outline every CHP Area boundary in the state and a document listing the contact telephone number for every CHP Communication Center and Area Office in the state. He said it might help if we the Mules called these area offices ahead of time and let them know we will be traveling through their area so that when the dispatchers get calls from the public, the dispatchers will know to be expecting it.

CHP Geographical Organization
CHP Geographical Organization map given to us.

While we appreciate Lt. Coomer providing us this information, we live in the United States of America. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happinessis a well-know phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of “unalienable rights” which the Declaration says have been given to all humans by their creator, and which governments are created to protect. Freedom of movement (travel) was also thought to be a fundamental right of all U.S. citizens during the drafting of the U.S. Constitution as not needing explicit enumeration. Lt. Coomer’s suggestion for us or any U.S. citizen to call law enforcement in every place we walk in California is requiring U.S. citizens to ask for permission to travel within California, which is against our unalienable rights and against state law.

If a concerned citizen calls dispatch and an officer comes out to investigate, the officer should know the California codes that we are allowed to walk where we are. The officer should communicate with dispatch and other law enforcement in the area of the situation, whether it be equestrian travelers, pedestrians, cyclists or people in wheel chairs.

In the California Driver Handbook, cyclists and equestrians have the right to take the lane if there is not sufficient shoulder on a road to ride or walk. Motorists must slow down or stop until they can safely pass leaving 3 feet for safety or until the cyclists, equestrian, or pedestrian has sufficient shoulder room to move aside.

The Mules were not breaking any laws walking on G14 as we were not cited for obstructing traffic because we were not. Traffic was simply required by law to slow and pass at a safe speed. We were cited for resisting arrest for disobeying a lawful order which was obviously not a lawful order. The officer wanted us to get off the road when we had no physical way to get out of the location where we were at (because we don’t have wings) without walking out of the location. We did not have phone service in the area to make any phone calls or post to the Nation, the Three Mules Nation, for trailer assistance. Again, the officer did not provide us any solutions or alternatives on how we would continue our journey without use of the public thoroughfare.

When we arrived at CHP Templeton office, Marcia and her daughter Tisha were there waiting for our arrival. Marcia has been a supporter and follower on 3 Mules Facebook page since June 16, 2014. We always enjoy when we get to connect a name we see regularly on our page via comments to a live person.

Marcia with Little Girl and Little Ethel
Marcia, Three Mules Nation support since 2014
Tisha with Little Ethel

The Mules will continue to post more about this case as it evolves and progresses up to our March 23, 2020 arraignment in San Luis Obispo. Our next step is to obtain a copy of the CHP police report. The Mules feel that we were wrongly arrested because we had the right to walk on public thoroughfare G14. We feel that this citation and case should be dismissed immediately and that we should be reimbursed $266 of the mules impoundment fee.

The Mules are seeking a pro-bono attorney willing to represent us. Court Date scheduled for 3/23/2020 at 8 AM in San Luis Obispo Court Annex Room 220, 1050 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, CA. If interested, please message us with your contact information.

We are as safe as anybody could be under those circumstances. It’s not our fault that the state of California is allowing these automobiles to move at these horrendous speeds. These speeds are killing people, maiming people, it goes on all day every day. The insurance rates are outrageous and very well understand the chances are that when you get into these automobiles with your children, your families, you’re going to turn into a bucket of blood. It happens every day, all day. These automobiles are not safe.

The Mules move at 2-3 miles per hour. We’re not going to hurt anybody. We never have. We don’t deal out death and destruction as we go along. The automobile does. We are not going to give up our right to move freely in this country.

These public thoroughfares are all that is left. There is no other mechanism to express your right to freedom to move that body of yours from one place to the next when you choose how you choose. When that’s gone, that’s the bone of freedom you don’t have any freedom.

We are not going to give it up. Our way of life depends on moving, living with our surroundings, the trees, the grass, the brush, the insects, the animals, with a meaningful relationship, reacting to these forces all day long with our feet on the ground surrounded by that energy. We have to have the right to do that using the public thoroughfare.

We’re not going to give up that right. When the Megatropolis tries to disguise its real purpose using safety as the mechanism, it’s real purpose is to remove all other venues other than the automobile from the public right of way. It’s to get rid of us, there is no question about it.

March 23, 2020 is a long time away to wait in San Luis Obispo for our arraignment.

Six years ago, on May 29, 2014, the Mules were cited in San Luis Obispo for sleeping outside, which we have slept outside for over half our life. Sleeping is another human necessity to eating and breathing. No life can stay awake and keep moving 24/7/365. Our citation for that case was dismissed on January 15, 2015. Read more about that San Luis Obispo case here.

At the time, a San Luis Obispo newspaper published an editorial that the Mules were a public nuisance, which we strongly disagree. We are one human being traveling with his or her animal companions living a nomadic life outside all day every day as our ancestors have done for hundreds of thousands of years with respect and reverence for this place we call home – Earth.

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Juan Bautista De Anza Historic Trail – Trail of Native Americans, Spanish Explorers & Pioneers

In 1776, while American patriots fought for their independence from England, Spanish Lt. Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza led more than 240 men, women and children, 695 horses and mules, 385 Texas Longhorn bulls and cows, some 1,800 miles to establish a settlement at San Francisco Bay. These families were the first colonists to come overland across the frontier of New Spain into present-day California. The trail was an attempt to ease the course of Spanish colonization of California by establishing a major land route north for many to follow.

The 1,210-mile Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which extends from Nogales on the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona through the California desert and coastal areas in Southern California, the Central Coast to San Francisco, was designated a National Historic Trail in 1990 and a National Millennium trail in 1999 and part of the National Park Service unit.

In 2005, Caltrans began posting signs on roads that overlap with the trail route, so that people can follow the trail. The path taken by Lt. Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza is today on lands that are in private hands, on government military bases, or in some places accessible only to automobiles and inaccessible to pedestrians and equestrians.

Over the years the Mules have followed the Juan Bautista De Anza Historic Trail during our migratory journey and visited the sites along the trail such as the Presidio in San Francisco, Mission San Francisco de Asis, the Vicente Martinez adobe at the John Muir Historic Site in Martinez, Mission San Antonio de Padua, Mission San Luis Obispo, Mission San Gabriel, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Bautista Canyon in Hemet, and Anza-Borrego Desert.

Yesterday, January 2, 2020, the Mules walked the Old Stage Road historic route from San Juan Bautista to Salinas. The night before we stopped to rest for the night near the trailhead. In the morning, we met Kelly who stopped to greet the mules. After we ate breakfast and packed up, we headed for the Old Stage Road trailhead a hundred yards away.

Kelly meeting Little Ethel in San Juan Bautista
Kelly meeting Little Ethel
The Mules at Juan Bautista De Anza trailhead in San Juan Bautista

While on the trail, we met Keith and Thais, but forgot to get their photo. They sent us the following e-mail following our meeting:

We first heard about you 2 years ago when we were at Buck’s in Woodside and read the article about your adventures. We had no idea that we would meet you today on the De Anza Trail near San Juan Bautista. It was a thrill to for us to see all 3 of the mules walking the trail as we were sitting there eating lunch. Thank you for stopping to chat with us briefly on your journey. We also hike for the same reason you walk – to keep that machinery of the brain in good working order. Thanks for that reminder. Safe travels, always.

Keith and Thais

After reading this email, found it incredible that Keith and Thais remembered reading about the Mules from Buck’s Woodside menu which the Mules stopped to visit in the Fall 2015 after we met the owner Jamis who invited us to his equestrian friendly restaurant with a hitching post out front. Buck’s sent us a copy of the Winter 2015 menu that the Mules were featured.

Buck's Woodside Menu
Buck’s Woodside menu Winter 2015 that included article on the Mules

We continued our journey on the Anza Trail until we reached Salinas where we spent the night.

Where we spent the night in Salinas. This morning, we packed up and continuing South on the endless journey of the Nation, the Three Mules Nation.

Where we spent the night in Salinas
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Step by Step Accounting of the 3 Mules Contact with CHP on New Year’s Day

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 Mules waiting on the side of the road

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.

San Benito County CHP officers

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.

The Mules

Little Ethel and Little Girl on our way to San Juan Bautista on School Road

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.

Mother and daughter with Little Girl and Little Ethel on School Road, San Juan Bautista
Mother and daughter with Little Girl and Little Ethel on School Road, San Juan Bautista
Other pedestrians the Mules passed walking along the road
People we met walking along the road as we headed to San Juan Bautista
The Mules in San Juan Bautista
Our written version of this post page 1
Our written version of this post page 2
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December Rains

Young green grass coming up everywhere from the past couple weeks rain. There will be plenty of feed for the mules as we move South to San Diego and hopefully plenty of oatmeal for the Monk.

Mules enjoying life, living in harmony with the energy that flows around, under, over and through them, the energy of the web of life. It’s what makes life worth living. Nothing else. Without it we are all doomed.

Follow our travels in the Mule Tracker.

Little Ethel and Little Girl  making our way over the East Bay hills

Makeshift bed to stay off the wet ground.

Makeshift bed to stay off the wet ground.
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Little Ethel

Report to the 3 Mules Nation on our new friend and addition to our endless journey – Little Ethel

The Mules went to Texas using the bus to get to Amarillo and look at two mules which we had found on an internet site that appeared to meet our requirements to join us on our journey, but they were not what we had expected. [See Amarillo, Texas post.]

We spent about a week in Amarillo scouring the internet, living outside and using a bike as transport. We were receiving many leads of mules for sale from the many people who were following the 3 Mules Facebook page and website 3Mules.com. However, most good leads were more than a hundred miles away and my scheme of using a bicycle to go from one lead to the next no longer seemed too practical.

The Mules decided to return to California. A lady named Barbara e-mailed us that she would like to pay our bus fare back to California. We accepted and thanked her for her support and generosity. So the pink carryall bag and myself traveled back to California by bus.

Pink carry all bag at bus depot
Our pink carry all bag at bus depot

The day before we were set to return to California, Annie, whose place where Little Girl was staying while the Monk was in Texas, found an internet site in Arizona advertising a 10 year old sorrel molly mule, 15 hands, 2 inches height, over a thousand pounds and halter broke only for $600 and named Little Ethel (isn’t that interesting?). Annie messaged me if I would be interested in Little Ethel. For $600, the monk replied, “Absolutely.”

Ad post for Little Ethel
Ad post for Little Ethel

Annie contacted the owner using her skill and experience, assessed the authenticity of the advertisement and circumstance. She then messaged the Mules her opinion. We messaged her back, yes please, purchase that mule named Little Ethel. Annie arranged with an Arizona vet to have the mule checked out and get Coggins test done. [A “Coggins” is a blood test that detects antibodies to the disease Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). This is a virus that can cause affected horses and mules to have fevers, anemia (low red blood cell count), edema (stocking up), or weight loss/muscle wasting. EIA is a relative of the virus that causes HIV in humans. Horses that become infected will carry the disease for life.]

Coggins Test Results
Coggins Test Results for Little Ethel

A couple of days prior to arriving in Texas, Wendy from the Three Mules Nation, who we met a several years ago while in Orange and stayed in her backyard for a night, messaged the Mules that her husband Michael and herself would be passing through Amarillo on the 19th of May on their way back to California and would have an empty space in their horse trailer should we have found a mule and need transport for it back to California.

Annie contacted Wendy and made arrangements for Little Ethel to be picked up in Dewey, Arizona and brought to Annie’s place in California where Little Girl is staying.

After Wendy arrived in Dewey, Arizona, she took and sent us these two photos of Little Ethel.

Little Girl, Annie and Little Ethel
Little Girl, Annie and Little Ethel

Little Ethel turned out to be everything her previous owner said she was and more. The three of us, Little Girl, Little Ethel and myself will be heading northward on our journey.

Little Girl training Little Ethel
Little Girl training Little Ethel

The Mules say thank you to all those of the 3 Mules Nation for giving their energy and support which has materialized into Little Ethel, a new mule and friend ready to serve this Nation of like-minded people who know the extreme value of living, walking in harmony and balance with our home, the Earth.

The Mules

Note: While our trip to Texas appeared to be a failure, in the end, due to the energy of the Nation, the 3 Mules Nation, harbored and waiting to materialize from the collective effort of all those of that Nation, a new friend Little Ethel was made to serve us all.

Little Girl with pink carry-all and Little Ethel grazing
Little Girl with pink carry-all and Little Ethel grazing in the desert.


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