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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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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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

On Saturday, February 9, 2019, the Mules were escorted thru Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton by Paul, who is a fireman on the base.

We spent the night in Agra, CA, which is where the north gate of the CALL DUN DRUM is located, leaving a huge amount of energy to connect to the south end of the CALL DUN DRUM and restore its free-flowing natural state. Energy that is contained or forcibly stopped will always seek to return to its natural state of free-flowing.

The Mules and the Nation, the 3 Mules Nation, want to thank Paul for giving his energy to escort the Mules, so that they could continue this sacred journey walking south to Oceanside and points beyond rather than the use of automobile and trailer.

We did receive a belated response from the mother agency Caltrans. It was nothing more than the response we received from CHP. In the course of our conversation with District 11 Director Cory Binns, the fact was revealed that Caltrans does not include in its plans equestrian use of the public thoroughfare. This is a serious mistake. Equestrians pay taxes have the same constitutional and legal right to use of the public thoroughfare as any automobile, pedestrian or cyclists. Equestrian travel has been around thousands of years in this world.

The energy of the 3 Mules endless journey will not relent. It will continue to ensure equestrians their equal right and use of the public thoroughfare.

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The Mules the Second Time Around

We spent the night along the Old Pacific Coast Highway trail.

Last year, the Mules made their first attempt to breech the CALL-DUN-DRUM from the south end in Oceanside. This place this CALL-DUN-DRUM where the agencies that have administrative jurisdiction are unable to function in a rational, responsible way serving the public who has given them the assignment to move all legal modes of use (pedestrians, bicyclists, equestrians, automobiles, etc) safely and efficiently through its mist. Instead allowing only the High Speed Motorist (HSM) and bicyclists legal passage and denying all other rightful users their legal right to passage.

The Mules sent Caltrans and CHP an e-mail on January 21, 2019 offering a simple common sense solution to this festering CALL-DUN-DRUM. Call San Diego Humane Society (the agency which contracts with the State of California and San Diego County to handle animal issues that occur on state roadways and direct said agency to trailer the Mules or any horse person needing to traverse the 7.9 mile CALL-DUN-DRUM.

The response from CHP was misleading and inadequate. The response from Caltrans, the mother agency, has yet to be received. And so the CALL-DUN-DRUM continues to fester like an open wound unable to heel itself.

Last year, the Mules left a huge amount of energy at the south end of the CALL-DUN-DRUM. This year, the Mules will leave a likewise amount of energy at the north end of the CALL-DUN-DRUM.

The natural state of energy is to flow and move freely. The energy at the south gate will seek to connect with the energy at the north gate and assume its free-flowing natural state. The accumulated energy at the north and south gates will seek to connect and heal this festering sore on the I-5 Public Thoroughfare, which the agencies given the assignment to do so have obviously failed to do that. In the end, this festering wound on the I -5 Public Thoroughfare will not be solved by the agencies but by the energy created and directed by the people who know the value of a free and open public thoroughfare.

As the Mules have been wandering through the San Clemente area waiting to hear from Caltrans in regards to passage through the CALL-DUN-DRUM, we met and talked to many people. The value of the positive energy received is extreme. We will be taking that energy to the north end of the CALL-DUN-DRUM where we will continue to await a response from Caltrans.

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CHP reply to our Trailer Assistance Request and our response back

The Mules emailed Caltrans and CHP on Monday, January 21, 2019 requesting trailer assistance thru the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM. Below is CHP Captain Pembleton reply back sent on Thursday, January 24 as well as the Mules response back to his email. We have not yet received a response from CalTrans.

1/24/2019 Email received from Captain Brent Pembleton, CHP Oceanside Area.

The next day, January 25, the Mules sent the following response back to Captain Pembleton.

The Mules response to CHP
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1/21/2019 email sent to Caltrans and CHP

On January 21, 2019, the Mules sent the following email to CalTrans and CHP agencies responsible for the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM, the 7.9 mile stretch where the Old Pacific Highway Trail ends at Las Pulgas Road to Oceanside. The Mules are still waiting to receive a response.

Subject: Trailer Assistance Requested I-5 San Diego County

To:
Caltrans Director Laurie Berman
Caltrans District 11 Cory Binns
CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley
CHP Deputy Commissioner Scott Silsbee
Border Division Chief Jim Abele
Captain Brent Pembleton

Dear Sirs/Madam: The Mules are delivering this letter to yourself to inform you that the Mules like last year will once again be needing to traverse the CALL-DUN-DRUM, the 7.9-mile stretch where the Old Pacific Highway Trail ends at Las Pulgas Road to Oceanside. Last year, we were trying to head north from Oceanside to the trail, when we (The Mules) were abruptly stopped by CHP and told to remove ourselves from the Public Thoroughfare. This 7.9-mile stretch of confusion where the rule of law has been suspended and was responsible for the Mules’s arrest and illegal incarceration on February 23, 2018. All citizens of the United States have the rightful and free use of the public thoroughfare guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. It is unlawful to deny any one venue the right to that use.

The Mules will expect the events of last year not be repeated. In a few days, the Mules will be arriving to Old Pacific Highway Trail/Las Pulgas Road. The Mules are requesting a trailer ride to Oceanside in the 7.9-mile stretch of I-5 that is closed off to pedestrians and equestrians. Last year rather than using the trailer acquired by CHP to transport us thru the 7.9 mile CALL-DUN-DRUM, CHP used the service of the Humane Society trailer to take Little Girl 30-miles to Escondido Animal Shelter and myself 15-miles to Vista Detention Center.

In August 2015 when the Mules needed to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, which allows cyclists and pedestrians access to the sidewalk but not equestrians, the Golden Gate Bridge District contacted the Marin Humane Society, who picked us up on the north end of the bridge in a trailer and dropped us off in San Francisco. Since CHP contracts with the San Diego Humane Society, we are requesting a number to call when we reach Las Pulgas Road trailhead parking for trailer ride to Oceanside. No more than a three hour advance notice to Caltrans/CHP by any equestrian seeking to traverse the 7.9-mile Call Dun-Drum will be required.

The mission statement of Caltrans and California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of safety, service and security for workers and users. Caltrans strategic objective states, “Improve the quality of life for all Californians by providing mobility choice, increasing accessibility to all modes of transportation and creating transportation corridors not only for conveyance of people, goods, and services, but also as livable public spaces.”

The Mules and their nomadic way of life without question is one of those modes. I am a native Californian. My mules and I have lived this nomadic way of life for the past 35 years. We don’t live in houses and we don’t drive cars. We are always outside and this is our way of life. If the State of California/Caltrans mission statement is to improve the quality of life for all Californians, denying the Mules access to the Public Thoroughfare is a gross violation of the mission statement.

As the Mules understand from our experience from last year, Caltrans/CHP were the responsible agencies that had us arrested. We are requesting these agencies to inform San Diego Humane Society, which we understand handles the large animal issues for San Diego County, that the Mules will be needing a trailer ride thru the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM. Please provide the contact name and number for the appropriate person to handle this issue so we can arrange a trailer ride to get thru this 7.9-mile section of the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM.

Sincerely,

John Sears
The Mules
3MULES.COM
email: ThreeMuleJourney@gmail.com

The Mules email to CalTrans and CHP
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I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM Revisited

CALL-DUN-DRUM definition

The Mules are once again approaching the I-5/Camp Pendleton CALL-DUN-DRUM from the north going to the south as opposed to the last year 2018 going from the south to the north. This CALL-DUN-DRUM once again 2019 is seeking to right itself like a ship at sea. The Mules once again find themselves as passengers.

On February 23, 2018, the Mules left Oceanside to go north to San Clemente taking I-5. Unlike cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians have no alternative route, no trails, no frontage road, for this 7.9-mile stretch from Oceanside to Las Pulgas Road trailhead. Since Camp Pendleton denied pedestrian access to the Mules which they’ve granted the Mules three times previously, the Mules used the wide shoulder of Interstate 5 (I-5) to walk north. We were summarily approached by CHP and told to turn around, go back. We refused and were arrested. A trailer was summoned by CHP and Little Girl was taken to the animal shelter and I was taken to jail. CHP could have just as easily trailered us 7.9-miles to the north end of the CALL-DUN-DRUM rather than take myself 15-miles to Vista Detention Center and Little Girl 30-miles to Escondido Animal Shelter. 

The Mules will soon be contacting CalTrans to provide a trailer ride for the Mules or any equestrian needing to traverse the 7.9-mile CALL-DUN-DRUM from north to south (Las Pulgas Road Old Pacific Highway trailhead to Oceanside) or south to north with not more than 2 hour notice. A trailer ride was the solution provided for the Mules in August 2015 when needing to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, which allows cyclists and pedestrian access but not equestrian access. The Golden Gate Bridge District contacted the Marin Humane Society who picked us up on the north end of the bridge in a trailer and dropped us off in San Francisco. Likewise for the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM, Caltrans can contact the Humane Society to trailer us from Old Pacific Hwy/Las Pulgas Road trailhead to Oceanside since it was the Human Society that picked up Little Girl last year and brought her to the animal shelter.

The action they took against Little Girl and myself was hardly compatible to their mission statements. It was anything but. It was 180 degrees to the contrary of serving the various modes of public use (pedestrians, cyclists, Equestrians, wheelchairs) on the Public Thoroughfare going from Point A to Point B. Caltrans and CHP are not in synch with their mission statements nor with Vehicle Code 21949 passed by the State Legislature.

California Law – Vehicle Code 21949 effective January 1, 2001:

(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that it is the policy of the State of California that safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, whether by foot, wheelchair, walker, or stroller, be provided to the residents of the state.
(b) In accordance with the policy declared under subdivision (a), it is the intent of the Legislature that all levels of government in the state, particularly the Department of Transportation, work to provide convenient and safe passage for pedestrians on and across all streets and highways, increase levels of walking and pedestrian travel, and reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 833, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2001.)

Per the California Highway Patrol website: “The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.” Isn’t it ironic that above this mission statement is three CHP officers on HORSES.

On Caltrans website is their posted mission statement to “Provide a safe transportation system for workers and users, and promote health thru active transportation and reduced pollution in communities.” The Mules mode of transportation promotes health and reduces pollution in communities because we’re traveling by foot.

Caltrans strategic objective states: “Improve the quality of life for all Californians by providing mobility choice, increasing accessibility to all modes of transportation and creating transportation corridors not only for conveyance of people, goods, and services, but also as livable public spaces.

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The Mules respond to Caltrans District Director Letter

On February 23, 2018, the Mules left Oceanside to go north to San Clemente taking I-5. Unlike cyclists and pedestrians, equestrians have no alternative route, no trails, no frontage road, for this nine-mile stretch from Oceanside to Las Pulgas Road trailhead. Since Camp Pendleton denied bike route access to the Mules which they’ve granted the Mules three times previously, the Mules used the wide shoulder of Interstate 5 (I-5) to walk north. We were stopped by California Highway Patrol (CHP) and told to go back to Oceanside. We refused on the grounds that since no alternative route existed we had every right to use the freeway. Since we refused, we were arrested and taken to jail. The San Diego District Attorney dropped the charges as they felt their case was not winnable with a jury.

Between March 5 through April 9th, the Mules had numerous back and forth emails and phone conversations with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and CHP requesting an alternative route that the Mules and equestrians can take or provide a motorized escort to get from Oceanside to Las Pulgas Road trailhead. Caltrans and CHP repeatedly said no to our request.

On April 23, the Mules received the following letter from Caltrans Interim District Director Timothy M. Gubbins:

The Mules believe that California Vehicle Code 21960 is unconstitutional. When there is no alternative route for a nine-mile stretch without walking excessive out-of-the-way-to-the-moon-and-back miles, the Mules and all other equestrians cannot be refused access to the public thoroughfare on the grounds of safety when the Mules offered a scheme by which a motorized escort could be provided by CHP and/or Caltrans. They do it all the time for assorted circumstances and ours would certainly be one of those. There is no reason why it couldn’t be done for the Mules and all other equestrians to go nine miles from Oceanside to Las Pulgas Road exit.

All laws are based on common sense. They start from that category and that’s what gives them a foundation for legitimacy, a common sense start. So we claim that to any common sense mind, equestrians have the same right to the public thoroughfare as any motorist, cyclist and pedestrian. We are legal citizens of the United States, we pay our taxes, and we have equal access to the public thoroughfare. And when our right to use the public thoroughfare is denied arbitrarily by the legislature picking winners and losers not on the bases of good common sense but on the bases of self interests, that is illegal. CVC Section 21960 was passed illegally and stands in an illegal condition.

Pacific Crest Trail map

Caltrans Interim District Director Gubbins stated “an alternative north-south equestrian route is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).” The alternative route suggested by Caltrans makes no sense and does not get the Mules anywhere near San Clemente, where the Mules wanted to go.

On the 3 Mules Facebook page, we requested route recommendation from the local people that follow our page. A gentleman by the name of Thomas Firth who knows the area and the roads very well and is also an experienced horse person pleaded with us to not use the roads that would get us to the Pacific Crest Trail. He said that they were very dangerous and it was suicidal. As well, the Pacific Crest Trail is seasonal. It can only be traveled when the snow is not there. Firth wrote to us, “If your plan is to get to the PCT, you are not equipped for that trail at this time of year with your animal, as much of it isn’t navigable with stock yet, due to snow and downed trees over Mt. San Jacinto. If you plan on doing the PCT south, it is still closed, and doesn’t get you where you wish to go anyway, without dropping back onto 74. That stretch is suicide at best.” The PCT alternative route proposed by Director Gubbins was not a viable alternative route to get to San Clemente.

California Trail Map

Gubbins further stated, “There are also several resources available online to locate equestrian trails, including National Park Service, California Trail Map, and Trail Link.” These suggested trails by Caltrans are recreational trails not anywhere near Oceanside and are not useful for equestrian travelers trying to get from Oceanside to San Clemente.

No National Parks exist between Oceanside and San Clemente. The California Trail Map shows that there are no existing trails to get from Oceanside to San Clemente for pedestrians or equestrians. The route that the Mules have walked through three times in the last five years was through Camp Pendleton from Las Pulgas gate to Oceanside gate on the Camp Pendleton bike route. This is the only route to get from Oceanside to the Las Pulgas Road/Old Pacific Highway Trailhead avoiding I-5.

On August 25, 2015, the Mules were going from Sausalito to San Francisco and had to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, which allow pedestrian access. However, we were stopped as equestrians were not allowed on the premise of safety. The Mules asked the Golden Gate Bridge District for an exception based on our experience but our request was denied. As an alternative, the Golden Gate Bridge District agreed to provide the Mules a motorized escort across the Golden Gate Bridge at their expense. Marin Humane Society, who contracts with the Bridge District to handle all animal issues, picked us up on the north end of the bridge in a trailer and dropped us off in San Francisco.

San Diego Humane Society

We repeatedly contacted Caltrans and CHP requesting motorized escort to resolve the I-5 CALL-DUN-RUM and was repeatedly denied. In the Oceanside area, CHP and Caltrans contracts with the San Diego Humane Society, as that is who picked up Little Girl when we were arrested.

Instead of transporting the Mules 7.9 miles to the nearby Old Pacific Highway trailhead where we were trying to get to, the State of California solution was to transport Little Girl 30 miles to Escondido and the Monk 15 miles to Vista and use up San Diego County time and resources processing the Mules.

Cyclist riding on I-5 where we were arrested

bus is provided for pedestrians to go from Oceanside Transit Center thru Camp Pendleton to San Onefre. Cyclists are permitted to ride thru Camp Pendleton and are also cycling on the shoulder of I-5. Similar to the Golden Gate Bridge solution in place for equestrians, a motorized escort for equestrians provided by CHP/Caltrans contracting with the Human Society of San Diego would be a temporary solution until the common sense solution of building a path, paralleling I-5 connecting Oceanside to Las Pulgas Road/Old Pacific Highway trail head, is constructed.

California Vehicle Code 21949 states that it is the “policy of the State of California that safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, whether by foot, wheelchair, walker or stroller be provided to the residents of the state. It is the intent of the Legislature that all levels of government in the state, particularly the Department of Transportation, work to provide convenient and safe passage for pedestrians on and across all streets and highways, increase levels of walking and pedestrian travel…”

The State of California failed to follow their policy. The Mules travel by foot. The Mules have four legs and they walk, and the Monk has two legs. We have the same rights to access the public thoroughfare to get from Point A to Point B as any pedestrian, cyclist, or person traveling by wheelchair, walker or stroller. By excluding equestrians on the public thoroughfare, the Legislature/Caltrans is picking winners and losers and deciding that the Mules and all equestrians are losers and they have no rights to the public thoroughfare. This is unconstitutional and illegal. The United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land, grants equal access to free movement in this country to all its citizens for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Why do the Mules take the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM so seriously? The answer to us is obvious. The public thoroughfare must remain public. Any restriction of its use to its citizens is dangerous. The Mules have their feet on the ground all day every day. While most people are moving around sealed up inside their automobile with air conditioning moving from one building to the next, the Mules are out here on the road on the earth all day every day. We see what is happening. We know what is taking place. It won’t be long before equestrians will be relegated to moving around in a horse trailer going from one sawdust ring to the next. If you don’t like that scheme and continue to ignore what is currently happening and take no action by contacting your local, county and state policy makers, you will find that in the future your freedom to travel in the United States of America has disappeared. Good luck in getting it back.

The Mules

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CHP denies motorized escort

On April 8, the Mules emailed the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM  to CHP Captain Pembleton and his response via email stated: “I received your email from April 8, 2018. Your concerns on this matter have been thoroughly vetted and adequately addressed. As such, we consider this matter closed.

The Captain would not address the issues in the CALL-DUN-DRUM letter as his response clearly shows. He would not go on record by sending the Mules an emailed response for the public to view where his argument justifying denial of a motorized escort could be scrutinized and withstand public review.

The Mules walked to Oceanside CHP office and asked to speak to Captain Pembleton. He came out of his office and requested we go outside, so we did. We spoke at length with the Captain regarding the issues of the CALL-DUN-DRUM letter. The Captain repeatedly used the word “safety” to justify his non-response to our request for a motorized escort. Motorized escorts by their nature is to promote safety. When you turn on the blue and red flashing lights to slow traffic to 25 miles per hour, you are now in the Twilight Zone, safety beyond all perception has been achieved.

We asked Captain Pembleton to provide us the detailed route turn-by-turn directions that he referred to in his March 30th email. He said to go around the base by going east and north around it on county roads. We asked what are the street names? He would not provide them and said to look up the directions yourself on your phone using Google maps. He would not commit or take responsibility in providing directions to a safer route because there is none. We do not find this an acceptable response as he is telling us to go far out of our way (go to Mars, turn left and proceed to Jack in the Box, when Jack in the Box is only around the block) on an extremely unsafe single lane route with blind curves, little or no shoulder and traffic moving at high speeds to get from Oceanside to San Clemente.

The Mules acting as the ambassadors of the 3 Mules Nation (all those who cherish the right to move freely in this country how they choose, when they choose, whether by horse, bicycle, or foot) have done their job, served their purpose. The Mules have brought energy and attention to this CALL-DUN-DRUM. For the Mules know that the CALL-DUN-DRUM that has taken root on I-5 is a portent (a sign and warning) of things to come – large areas of land being shut off and down to all but a privileged few. 

We now pass the baton of this CALL-DUN-DRUM on to those who will give their energy, time, skills, and creativity to its resolution to ensure that the freedom guaranteed by the law of the land, the United States Constitution, to move freely within its borders be available to all and the generations to come.

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The Mules’s I-5 Arrest and Subsequent Events

Shoulder of I-5 in Oceanside, CA

On February 23, 2018, the Mules were arrested walking on I-5 north between Oceanside and San Clemente. Why were we walking on the side of I-5? Because no alternative route exists to connect a seven-mile stretch between Oceanside and the Pacific Coast Highway trail ending at Las Pulgas Road near Camp Pendleton marine base gate. When no alternative route is available, the law allows access to the interstate by those pedestrians, bicyclists, equestrians, wheelchairs, etc. who are otherwise denied.

Following is our documented attempts to work with CHP and Caltrans as we have read in California Vehicle Code 21949 that it is the policy off the State of California that safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access be provided to the residents of the state and that all levels of government in the state, particularly the Department of Transportation, work to provide convenient and safe passage for pedestrians on and across all streets and highways.

Monday, March 5, 2018
After our arrest and subsequent release, we emailed California Highway Patrol (CHP) commissioners, the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) directors and Governor Brown to request a motorized escort if that is what was needed for us to travel this section.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
CHP Captain Pembleton responded on behalf of CHP Commissioner Stanley. His email stated:

Dear Mr. Sears,
 
We received your email regarding an incident you had on Interstate 5 near the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base on February 23, 2018. We are responding to you on behalf of California Highway Patrol Commissioner Stanley. Interstate 5 northbound and southbound, between Harbor Drive and Las Pulgas Road is not open to pedestrians and would be in violation of California Vehicle Code section 21960 (a). We contacted the Provost Marshal’s office on Camp Pendleton and they informed us of new security measures now in effect. The Provost Marshal no longer allows individuals access onto the base without proper clearance. In addition, we contacted Caltrans, District 11, regarding this issue. To assist you with your request, you may contact Caltrans at (619) 688-6843, and apply for a special permit to travel from Harbor Drive to Las Pulgas Road on Interstate 5. There are also alternate routes further east through county roadways which will give you access around the Camp Pendleton Base. Mr. Sears our main concern is for the safety of the motoring public and yourself while traveling through California.
 
Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at the CHP Oceanside Area (760) 643-3400.
 
Brent Pembleton, Captain
Oceanside Area
435 La Tortuga Drive
Vista, CA 92081
(760) 643-3400 Fax (760) 639-3770

 
Captain Pembleton’s recommendation that the Mules go around and through the mountains on dangerous narrow county roads having many blind curves that would be like going to Mars to get to Jack-in-the-Box. This is hardly a safer alternative. The shoulder on I-5 is by far wider and subsequently provides a much higher degree of safety than the roads on the route that was recommended by CHP.
 
CHP Captain Pembleton’s email also stated that if we walked this section of I-5 between Oceanside and Las Pulgas Road, we would be in violation of California Vehicle Code section 21960(a)21960 (a) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, by order, ordinance, or resolution, with respect to freeways, expressways, or designated portions thereof under their respective jurisdictions, to which vehicle access is completely or partially controlled, may prohibit or restrict the use of the freeways, expressways, or any portion thereof by pedestrians, bicycles or other nonmotorized traffic…

If this was the case, why were the Mules stopped and detained for being on I-5, but not the bicyclists who were riding on this same section? This is a photo that we took of a cyclist riding on I-5.

As well, Captain Pembleton referred us to Department of Transportation Caltrans to obtain an encroachment permit. We tried calling several times the Caltrans number listed on Captain Pembleton’s email but the number didn’t work. So, we called Caltrans general information line and was provided additional names that we called….District 12 Lindsey Hart and District Caridad Sanchez. Hart listened with great interest and said she would research and get back to us, but we never heard back.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
We emailed 11th District Caltrans Director Cory Binns a second time forwarding him the CHP response and asked him what is the process to apply for a special permit to travel from Harbor Drive to Las Pulgas Road on I-5. Binns immediately responded and forwarded our email to Caltrans Permits Engineer Joy Lee and her supervisor Marco Peinado and said that they will be in touch, but we never heard from them. Instead Joy Lee forwarded our email to Anh Hoang.

Anh Hoang from Caltrans Encroachment Permits for District 11 emailed back.

Dear Mr. Sears,
 
My name is Anh Hoang and I’m with Caltrans Encroachment Permits.
 
What kind of permit do you need? I can assist with the permit process.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you.
 
Anh Hoang
Caltrans Encroachment Permits D. 11 – MS 110
Website: Caltrans Encroachment Permits

 
We immediately responded back to Anh Hoang and Joy Lee via email: “As stated in the email by CHP Captain Pembleton, I need a permit to walk north on I-5 with my mule from Harbor Drive to Las Pulgas Road on Interstate 5. We would need to walk against traffic as my mule and I need to be able to see traffic coming our way. If we are required to walk with the flow of traffic, we would need a motorized escort behind us for our safety.”
 
Thursday, March 8, 2018
We had not yet received a response from Hoang or Lee, so we called Hoang’s phone number in her email. We asked us what was it that we needed to do. We repeated our situation on the phone with her. She said that she would look into it and give us a call back.
 
Monday, March 12, 2018
We sent email to Hoang, Lee and Binns, “Anh, this is John Sears. I spoke to you on Thursday in regards to obtaining a permit to walk on the side of I-5 from Oceanside Harbor Drive to Las Pulgas Road where the coastal trail starts again, because there is no alternative pedestrian route for that 7-mile stretch. You said that you were going to follow-up with your manager. Awaiting your reply.” We did not received any response to this email.
 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
This morning we spoke to Hoang who told us to speak to her supervisor Joy Lee, which is who District 11 Director Cory Binns originally delegated to work with us, but passed us on to her subordinate. Hoang said that the encroachment permit doesn’t apply to our scenario.
 
The Mules sent another email to CHP Captain Pembleton requesting a yes or no answer to whether or not CHP has the administrative authority to give us the Mules an escort for the 7-mile stretch on I-5 where there is no alternative route.
 
Thursday, March 15, 2018
We have not received a written response from CHP. We sent another email to Joy Lee and Cory Binns asking a yes/no question if they have the authority to give the Mules an escort to walk the 7-mile stretch from Oceanside to Las Pulgas Road.
 
Cory Binns immediately responded that he will look into our request and follow-up next week. Note that our original email to him was on March 5, 10 days ago and we have been getting the run around.
 
In the late afternoon, I left a voicemail message to Seth Cutter, Caltrans District 11 Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, who’s role as stated on the Caltrans website is “committed to advocating for the accommodation of all users of the State Highway System.
 
Friday, March 16, 2018
Completed and submitted Base Access Bike Route Request form online and another screen appeared confirming that our submission was successful.

Monday, March 19, 2018
Since the Base Access Bike Route Request form didn’t have a comments section to explain that we were not riding a bike, I made a phone call to Base Access Control number listed on the Bike Route Access Form. I explained to the woman who answered that I am trying to get access to travel north from Oceanside and that we filled out the bicycle access form on Friday, but that I don’t have a bicycle and that I am walking with my mule. She put me on hold for four minutes and said I am not allowed to walk thru the base with an animal and said that gave me the name and phone number of Nick Moran, a point of contact that she said would be able to help me out better.

I called Nick Moran and explained that Base Access Control gave us his number and that I was trying to get access across Camp Pendleton with my mule because there is no alternate route to go south to San Clemente. Mr. Moran said he didn’t know why Base Access gave me his number because he is the physical security officer for the region and that he doesn’t have Camp Pendleton. He asked us to explain our situation further, so I did. We explained that we are nomadic and that the mule carries all my belongings and that we’ve traveled through the base a few times before. He said that there is a requirement by the Department of Defense that there needs to be a legitimate reason to travel through the base. He asked us what we were told by the main gate. We explained that we were told that we could not walk through the base with a horse. Mr. Moran said horses are allowed on the base, but just not on the main road due to safety. He said it is unsafe for people to walk in the base since they have big vehicles that traverse the base, and that people don’t walk inside Camp Pendleton. If that was the case, we asked then why were bicycles were allowed to get from gate to gate as they have the same exposure as a pedestrian. Mr. Moran said that he has no authority to grant us access and to contact our senator to get Department of Defense to change their policy.

This same morning, Caltrans Joy Lee called back with follow-up information providing the Caltrans contact information for Caridad Sanchez, Caltrans Public Information Officer in San Diego, for us to discuss next steps on how to go about changing the California Vehicle Code. Joy said Sanchez is expecting to hear from us and would be able to provide information on how to contact Caltrans headquarters in requesting changes to the California Vehicle code.

We also decided to email Seth Cutter, Caltrans District 11 Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, as he had not returned our phone call yet. I received an immediate out of office response that he was out of the office thru Thursday.

Since Seth was out, I forwarded my email to Caridad Sanchez and stated that Joy Lee told us that she could assist us. Ms. Sanchez never responded back.

Friday, March 23, 2018
I called Seth Cutter. He said that he is well aware of our issue and had his staff researching how they could try to get us thru I-5 with Little Girl. He said that his team contacted the Base. They were also told that we would not be allowed to walk north through Camp Pendleton. He said he exhausted the things he could do and that Joy Lee’s boss, Marcelo Peinado, Caltrans District 11 deputy of traffic operations division, is the person that we needed to speak to. He said that I-5 is on an easement that Caltrans maintains thru the U.S. Marine Corps and is part of the Base. He said that the Caltrans District Engineer beneath Mr. Peinado determines what is allowed and not allowed for District 11.

Monday, March 26, 2018
Called Marcelo Peinado and left voicemail message.

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Spoke to Marcelo Peinado, Traffic Operations for District 11. He said that the reason that they don’t allow pedestrians is that they are concerned of the safety of the pedestrians and motorists and that he stands by this vehicle code. We asked why bicycles were allowed on this section of I-5 and he said that bicycles are not allowed. I said that bicycles were riding past us as I was arrested being put in the CHP car, and the CHP didn’t stop or arrests any of the bicyclists that passed us on I-5. We ask Mr. Peinado if he could provide an Caltrans or CHP escort to slow traffic for us if they were concerned about safety. He said that CHP can provide escort on the highway system and referred to call CHP or look on their website. We said that CHP bounces us back to Caltrans stating that Caltrans has the authority. Mr. Peinado said the way for pedestrian passage in this section of I-5 is to elevate this via the legal route. I asked Mr. Peinado to send us his stance in writing via email. He said we could call Caltrans Customer Service and they would respond within 24 hours. I said not going to call Customer Service as I was speaking to him and provided him my email address.

Sent the following email to Captain Pembleton as he didn’t answer our email that we sent previously.

“Captain Pembleton, we spoke to Marcello Peinado, District 11 Deputy of traffic operations division. He informed us that CHP provides escorts on I-5 to those who would require one for various reasons. Please respond with a yess or no. If yes, where can the public obtain in written form exactly who CHP can provide escorts to and who it cannot. 3Mules is requesting a CHP escort on I-5 where there is no alternative route available (from Oceanside to the Las Pulgas gate Camp Pendleton.”

Friday, March 30, 2018
A straight forward answer to a straight forward question is not what CHP is able to do. Received the following e-mail response from Captain Pembleton:

Mr. Sears,
 
I received your email from yesterday. Interstate 5 northbound and southbound, between Harbor Drive and Las Pulgas Road is not open to pedestrians and would be in violation of California Vehicle Code section 21960(a). There are alternative routes further east through county roadways which will give you access around the Camp Pendleton Base. Our main concern is for the safety of the motoring public and yourself while traveling through California.
 
Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at the CHP Oceanside Area (760) 643-3400.
 
Brent Pembleton, Captain
Oceanside Area
(760) 643-3400

The Mules have found themselves at what is showing itself to be a point of energy gathering, intensifying, and seeking expression in the unforeseen. The Mules have been given a word sound to identify this place of time and circumstance in which we find ourselves CALL-DUN-DRUM. A place, a condition of confusion, uncertainty, disorder, neglect that’s seeking to settle rest, acquire resolution for itself. By using the Mules as a gathering tool, this place has brought many players to its realm. Listed below are the many players who the Mules have contacted in regards to the I-5 call-dun-drum.

The Mules entered this I-5 call-dun-drum on the day we were arrested on February 23, 2018 and while in its grasp using us the Mules a common-sense practical solution has made itself known. A CHP escort for the 3 Mules and all equestrians seeking passage from Harbor Boulevard in Oceanside to the Old Pacific Coast Highway bike trail start at Los Pulgas on the I-5 call-dun-drum can be made readily available.
 
CHP provides escorts all the time slowing traffic by using its flashing blue and red lights when stopping a motorist, picking up dangerous debris which has fallen from a truck, responding to an accident. This common-sense practical temporary solution granted upon request within a one hour period can be in effect until the obvious more permanent solution being a parallel path where equestrians, hikers and bicycles can move safely separated from the irresponsible high-speed motorist. For the State of California, CHP and Caltrans to use the false pretense of safety when a simple common-sense remedy is in plain view and deny the Mules and all other equestrians the right to move freely in this country using the public thoroughfare is illegal and unconstitutional.

Monday, April 3, 2018
Called Camp Pendleton Base Access to inquiry if the Bicycle Access form that I completed on March 16th was approved and was told that my name is approved to ride a bicycle from gate to gate. I asked if this means that I can also walk across with my mule. Was told that I cannot walk, but must ride a bike. I asked if I can ride a bike with my mule in tow. The person didn’t know the answer to this question and gave me another phone number to call. Called that number and that person didn’t know the answer and gave me another phone number to call. Tried calling the third number and got a message that voicemail box is full, so couldn’t leave a message. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2018
San Diego District Attorney Drops Charge. Attorney Candice Fields of Candice Fields Law, who assists the Mules and the Three Mules Nation, sent us an update in regards to our I-5 case: The San Diego County District Attorney decided not to file criminal charges against the Mules for Penal Code Section 148(a) Obstruction, which means there will be no case at all, and therefore no hearing on Friday, April 6, 2018.
 
The District Attorney said that they did not make this decision because they felt the law, as written, would not support a conviction. They made their decision because they were concerned about jury nullification. They felt their case was not winnable with a jury who might ignore the law and find the Mules not guilty.
 
Monday, April 8, 2018
The Mules emailed the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM letter to the head of California CHP Warren Stanley, Caltrans District 11 Director Cory Binns, CHP Border Division leaders Jim Abele and Scott Silsbee, Caltrans Director Laurie Berman, CHP Oceanside Captain Brent Pembleton, Caltrans Engineers Marcelo Peinado and Joy Lee, and Camp Pendleton’s Community Relations and Media contact emails.
 
Tuesday, April 9, 2018
CHP Captain Pembleton emailed back: “I received your email from April 8, 2018. Your concerns on this matter have been thoroughly vetted and adequately addressed. As such, we consider this matter closed.
 
The Captain would not address the issues in the CALL-DUN-DRUM letter as his response clearly shows. He would not go on record by sending the Mules an emailed response for the public to view where his argument justifying denial of a motorized escort could be scrutinized and withstand public review.
 
The Mules walked to Oceanside CHP office and asked to speak to Captain Pembleton. He came out of his office and requested we go outside, so we did. We spoke at length with the Captain regarding the issues of the CALL-DUN-DRUM letter. The Captain repeatedly used the word “safety” to justify his non-response to our request for a motorized escort. Motorized escorts by their nature is to promote safety. When you turn on the blue and red flashing lights to slow traffic to 25 miles per hour, you are now in the Twilight Zone, safety beyond all perception has been achieved.

We asked Captain Pembleton to provide us the detailed route turn-by-turn directions that he referred to in his March 30th email. He said to go around the base by going east and north around it on county roads. We asked what are the street names? He would not provide them and said to look up the directions yourself on your phone using Google maps. He would not commit or take responsibility in providing directions to a safer route because there is none. We do not find this an acceptable response as he is telling us to go far out of our way (go to Mars, turn left and proceed to Jack in the Box, when Jack in the Box is only around the block) on an extremely unsafe single lane route with blind curves, little or no shoulder and traffic moving at high speeds to get from Oceanside to San Clemente.
 
The Mules acting as the ambassadors of the 3 Mules Nation (all those who cherish the right to move freely in this country how they choose, when they choose, whether by horse, bicycle, or foot) have done their job, served their purpose. The Mules have brought energy and attention to this CALL-DUN-DRUM. For the Mules know that the CALL-DUN-DRUM that has taken root on I-5 is a portent (a sign and warning) of things to come – large areas of land being shut off and down to all but a privileged few.
 
We now pass the baton of this CALL-DUN-DRUM on to those who will give their energy, time, skills, and creativity to its resolution to ensure that the freedom guaranteed by the law of the land, the United States Constitution, to move freely within its borders be available to all and the generations to come.
 

————————
This problem which has been festering for years and which now has come to a head due to Camp Pendleton refusing the Mules and other pedestrians access to travel through the base.

Here is a thread in Walkabout California website where one pedestrian named WenderzW posted on June 20, 2017:

“Attempted this leg…and was denied entry into Camp Pendleton as they noted no walkers or runners are allowed on the bike trail…they must have rules to view anyone on foot as a threat as they pulled out guns and was very intense about our presence.” 
 
The Mules are proposing a simple common sense solution. Caltrans post on its overhead neon signs a mandatory speed reduction to 50mph for the seven-mile stretch between Harbor Boulevard and Las Pulgas Road. This would allow the Mules, pedestrians, cyclists and all other legal users a safe passageway (due to I-5’s extra wide shoulder) in this 7-mile section with no alternate route. There is 24 hours in every day. Many of those hours are consigned to rush hour traffic where speed is well below the 50 mph limit. The remaining hours at which a 50 mph speed limit would be in force is only a seven-mile stretch. They can make it safer by putting in a cement barrier as they do on other roads and bridges.
 
There are many examples throughout the state where pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian access is allowed on interstate freeways in California. A 3-mile stretch north out of San Luis Obispo being one.
 
This simple, common sense solution would make I-5 with its extremely wide shoulder at least as safe as any of the county and state roads with their narrow shoulders and blind curves that the Mules travel every day throughout the state.
 
Per all our conversations above, we will need to contact our state senator to contact the Department of Defense to get the No Access to Pedestrians policy changed for this section between Oceanside and San Clemente. We will be reaching out to Caridad Sanchez again on how to get this process started. When we have this information, we will share with the Three Mules Nation, Walkabout California and other walking, hiking and equestrian groups, on how you can help get this policy changed for this short section between Oceanside and San Clemente.
 

The Mules

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