The Mules would like to introduce a friend and follower of the Three Mules Nation, Lori Ann Wiley. Lori is a paralegal who has worked in law enforcement and education. She has volunteered to help the mules with our claim against the State of California for when we were arrested for exercising our legal rights to travel on the public thoroughfare on county road G14 in Paso Robles, on January 23, 2020 (details here).
The Mules will be walking back to the Templeton California Highway Patrol (CHP) office to deliver an unsigned governmental claim. Upon arriving there, we will deliver this unsigned claim for less than $1,000, to demand reimbursement of the $266 that was paid to San Luis Obispo County Animal Shelter, for the release of Little Girl and Little Ethel from their custody.
The purpose in delivering this unsigned claim to CHP Templeton is: 1) to bring the energy of our ages old sacred nomadic way of life and the sacred relationship between human being and horse, which has been practiced on this Earth throughout the ages, to the doorstep of the megatropolis; and 2) to bring notification that the Mules and this way of life, which we have practiced with love and respect for Earth and its web of life, will never acquiesce to the megatropolis and its most favored child, the automobile, with its relentless pursuit to acquire the public thoroughfare for its exclusive use.
For if we allow these kinds of unlawful arrests to be made under the guise of public safety, the inevitable consequences of this will be that the Mules, and all others like us, will be removed from the public thoroughfare, which will result in the end of this sacred relationship between human being and horse living and moving in harmony and respect for Earth and the energy of all its life.
The energy accumulated and harbored in this document on our way to Templeton will materialize in unforeseen ways as we then move forward to Sacramento to deliver another Governmental Claim for over $1,000.
By delivering this claim, we want to address the incongruities that exist between the actual law and a gray area that was claimed, and then used by CHP Templeton, to interpret the law in order to side step the actual law, which then enabled them to bring charges and make an unlawful arrest under the guise of public safety, as what happened in the case against the Mules.
Public thoroughfares, by their very nature, are for public use and are to be shared by all legal users. In order for a public thoroughfare to operate safely and efficiently, the practice of sharing must be enforced by law enforcement. Releasing one group of users from their responsibility to share and adjust position and/or speed for the safety of all, and then transferring the energy of that responsibility onto the shoulders of another (such as the Mules), is not compatible with the proper use of a public thoroughfare. In the case of the Mules, CHP Templeton demanded the Mules to get off the public thoroughfare under the pretense of safety, so that the responsibility of the high speed motorist to obey the law could be avoided.
The Mules see this case as a great opportunity to bring attention and awareness, through discussion and education, to the rights, duties, and responsibilities of all those (motorists, equestrians, cyclists, pedestrians) who use and share the public thoroughfare.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While we appreciate Lt. Coomer providing us this information, we live in the United States of America. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is 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.
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.
The Mules were walking east on the shoulder of Chittenden Road (CA-129) in San Benito County towards San Juan Bautista. Suddenly a California Highway Patrol (CHP) cruiser appeared and stopped in front of us. A CHP officer exited his cruiser and requested we stop, freeze in place. We did not do that. Instead, we turned around and walked about 20 yards to a much safer place than the shoulder of the highway.
The officer followed us and upon reaching us asked where we were going. We replied, “Where we choose to go and we have the constitutional right in these United States to do just that using all city, county and state roads, which make up the public thoroughfare to travel and move freely in this country. The officer replied, “You’re on a highway and you do not have the right to be on the highway.”
The Mules knew of course the officer at best was mistaken and knew nothing of the vehicle code he was suppose to be enforcing at worst case was lying (Supreme Court and Federal Court decisions allow police to lie without any fear of accountability) and they do a lot.
“State Route 129 in San Benito County is classified as a Rural Minor Arterial* and is not included in the California Freeway and Expressway System. It is included in the Interregional Road System from Highway 1 to US 101, but is not designated as a High Emphasis or Focus Route. SR 129 is not part of the Scenic Highway System or the National Highway system.”
*Arterials. These facilities make up the principal network for through‐traffic within a community and often between communities. Arterials have between two and six traffic lanes and provide connections between residential areas, shopping areas, places of employment, recreational areas, and other places of assembly.
San Benito County’s General Plan Chapter 6 Transportation and Circulation page 6-9
So the situation remained in limbo with the Mules asserting their right to use the public thoroughfare Highway 129 and the CHP continuing to lie and tell us we were breaking the law by being on the highway. And if we got on it again we the Mules would be arrested and taken to jail.
Then the supervising officer told the Mules, “We don’t want to take you to jail, you’re not going to jail. Let’s find a way to solve the problem.” The Mules replied in no way are we going to negotiate our right to the public thoroughfare away. The supervising officer replied, “We are not asking you to do that. You can walk on the shoulder but not in the lane of traffic.” The Mules replied that’s exactly what we were doing when we were stopped by the officer. The supervising officer then said, “We will give you a CHP escort on 129 to San Juan Bautista.”
At that point, a lady appeared and introduced herself and said she has followed the 3 Mules page for many years. She then said we should take School Road over the hill to Anzar Road, which would take us into San Juan Bautista, which was no more than 100 yards from where we were. The Mules said good.
The CHP escorted us the 100 yards to School Road and left. We have not seen them since.
Photos of other people we met also walking along the road on New Year’s Day as we headed toward San Juan Bautista. It’s always good to see other people walking too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
John Sears The Mules 3MULES.COM email: ThreeMuleJourney@gmail.com
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A 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.
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.