In the past two years of walking and hand delivering the Declaration of Emergency (DOE) to over 120 city halls throughout the state of California, including Governor Jerry Brown’s Office in the State Capitol and the Golden Gate ridge Administrative office, this is the first time that the Mules have experienced a reception such as we received by the City of Stanton.
On Sunday, November 22, 2015, the Mules delivered the DOE and MCL to Westminster and Stanton city halls. Stanton City Hall was closed with not a soul in sight. Oftentimes when we arrive at a city hall after business hours, we simply drop off our documents at the front door either by inserting in mail slot, slipping under, leaving by, or taping to the door, and continue on our way.
Upon arriving at Stanton City Hall, we were met by a Stanton code enforcement officer asking why we were there. We said we came to deliver the DOE and MCL. He said, “Let me see them.” Then, he started to assert that the mules could not be here in front of city hall. Then a City of Stanton park ranger showed up (man in blue shirt in this photo) and called the Orange County Sheriff.
Four Orange County Sheriff showed up in force and asked us the same repetitive questions previously asked by the city code enforcement officer and park ranger. Who are you? Where are you from? What are you doing here? What is this document? When are you leaving Stanton? Where are you staying? Where are you going? Why do you have these animals? and so on and so on…I presented my identification, the DOE and MCL, as well as my card that displays the 3 Mules website and Facebook address that they could look us up.
After a long period of time being grilled by the county sheriffs, Orange County animal control was called. Upon arriving, the animal control officer got out of her truck with ropes in hand, ready for an impoundment action. She then went back to her truck looking for a violation that would justify impoundment. Nothing found, the Supervisor was summoned. After another long period of time, the supervisor showed up asking us the same repetitive questions.
After that, they all left and the Mules left as peacefully and quietly as they came, walking with free flowing energy that flows through us, around us, over and under us all day every day, one step at a time.
The Mules will continue delivering the DOE and bringing its intensifying energy and magic to all places of consequence. Stamping in and stamping down the absolute necessity for a multi-use trail system in this state and country where we can practice, cultivate and use our human connection to the Natural World.
Paramount, CA – November 17, 2015 Pictured is where we stopped yesterday afternoon at 4:30pm in the City of Paramount. After securing the kids to some trees and removing their packs, we prepared dinner. Upon completing our meal, it became dark so we put the kids on picket lines and stayed the night. Getting up in the morning, we fixed breakfast, ate, packed up the kids who were ready and rested for a new day to spread the seeds of magic and mystery that the Mules carry.
The Mules say thank you to the city of Paramount for the kindness and support they showed the Mules for allowing us to stop and rest for the night. The Mules also want to thank the City of Paramount for being a stellar example of how anybody traveling in transit going from one place to the next whether by horse, bicycle, on foot, etc., must be treated.
This independent self reliant means of moving yourself (how you choose, when you choose, where you choose) is the backbone to freedom in this country. A cherished freedom that many have given life and limb to preserve. Thank you to the people of the City of Paramount.
Lakewood, CA – November 18, 2015 This afternoon, the Mules stopped by the City of Lakewood City Hall to deliver the Declaration of Emergency (DOE). When we arrived, the city hall staff came out to greet us and were very welcoming to the Mules. They kindly posed for a group photo. The gentleman holding the DOE said that he would hand deliver our important document, which declares the need for an interstate trail system, to the Mayor of Lakewood. Thank you to the people in the City of Lakewood for your kind heartedness.
San Clemente, CA – January 22, 2015 In contrast, early in January 2015, the Mules were traveling on the ages old trail now called the El Camino Real going through the City of San Clemente and were not treated with the same kindness and respect that we received from the people of Paramount last night and the city of Lakewood today.
On January 22, 2015 at 4am, the Mules were woken up by San Clemente police officer who told us that we could not sleeping in this vacant lot in which he found us. The City of San Clemente has strict no camping ordinances. He asked us when we would be leaving. We said we would leave when it was light and he said okay and left. About 8:30am, we continued our journey south on the El Camino Real when Little Girl started to show a light lameness in her front foot. As we continued, her limp became pronounced. To prevent further injury, we stopped at another vacant lot to inspect her foot, which was quite sensitive. We knew that we needed to seek help with someone with a horse trailer to bring her to an equine vet to get checked. Took the pack off the mules and started making phone calls, leaving messages to people I knew to seek help. None of our contacts were able to arrive that day (January 22) with a trailer.
About 9pm, San Clemente police officer arrived. We explained our circumstances as to why we were there and could not physically move due to Little Girl’s injury. The officer called animal control and we waited for quite a while before animal control showed up. Animal control officer took a very quick look at a distance, had Little Girl walk a few steps on soft dirt, and made a comment that Little Girl did not look lame to her, and then left. At that point the police officer decided to issue the citation based on her opinion.
The next day, friends arrived with a trailer to pick us up to bring us to San Juan Capistrano. We could not meet the vet immediately and rested Little Girl while we waited for our appointment on January 26. On January 26, San Juan Capistrano equine veterinarian Dr. Mark Secor gave Little Girl an exam, including x-rays. Dr. Secor wrote in his examination report: “Exam: mild LF lameness noted at walk, certain steps – tight circle to left more exaggerated, mild high lateral hoof well, mild ups DP’s, les palpates WNL. Moderate sensitivity to hoof testers… Suspect cause of lameness – resolving abscess.
The Monk followed the instructions on the citation, submitted a check by the payment deadline and requested to contest citation via mail (submitting our letter and vet expert diagnosis with payment) instead of having an Administrative Hearing in person which would require mules to walk back to San Clemente. The Mules made several phone calls to request in regards to an appeal while we were nearby and was told that they were backlogged in processing citations. On March 2, we received a certified letter that stated “THIS IS THE SECOND HEARING DATE – IT CANNOT BE RESCHEDULED”. The Mules never received a letter informing us about a date for a first hearing. Also, we sent Dr. Secor’s exam as evidence that Little Girl was lame.
The Mules found it unreasonable for San Clemente to cite us and retain our $100 citation fee as we had a valid reason for why we could not PHYSICALLY leave town by walking due to Little Girl’s lameness in her foot. We were waiting for friends to come with a horse trailer to pick us up, which wasn’t available to arrive until the next day. We submitted written letter of appeal with veterinarian diagnosis confirming Little Girl’s lameness due to abscess in hoof. San Clemente rejected our written request for appeal and required us to appear in person back in San Clemente even though we had indicated that we would not be able to walk back in time due to our distance. As well, after explaining how we live a nomadic life in our initial letter to San Clemente, it is unreasonable for the city to wait more than two months for an administrative hearing date when we called to inquire multiple times while we were within walking distance to appeal.
The Mules are returning to San Clemente, CA In a few days, the Mules will be once again traveling this ages old trail now called the El Camino Real. Through the City of San Clemente once again we will be stopping there to rest for the night.
The Mules will be sending San Clemente Mayor Chris Hamm and San Clemente City Council members a letter informing them of our return to the City of San Clemente and we hope the treatment we received earlier this year will not be repeated. For the Mules to be treated in the public nuisance type categories as drunkards, drug abusers, leaving large amounts of trash behind, engaging in irresponsible type living with no regard or respect for anyone or anything is a complete turnaround from the truth.
We have a Facebook page and our 3Mules.com website where the way we live is well documented. For anybody traveling in this country by horse, by foot or by bicycle going from one place to the next in transit exercising that most cherished right of personal freedom to be treated as we were in the City of San Clemente shows a blatant disregard for those who choose another means of transportation other than the dangerous and destructive automobile.
The Mules stayed in the city of Gonzales last night. Got up this morning and fixed breakfast. While packing up the Mules, a number of residents came by and welcomed us to their town. We then delivered the DOE and MCL to the Gonzales City Hall.
Thank you to the town of Gonzales for making the Mules’ walk through your town a pleasant one.
After delivering the DOE to Watsonville City Hall and spending a couple hours at the public library to charge our electronics, we left downtown Watsonville around 4:30 pm yesterday. We got to Highway G12 going south towards Salinas grazing along the road when Lucy and Santiago stopped and asked us, “Where are you going?”
We responded, “Everywhere.”
They wanted to know where we were going to spend the night. We didn’t know. Lucy said that we could stay at their ranch in Las Lomas, and we accepted their invitation.
Thank you Lucy and Santiago for your kindness and support that you’ve shown this place of one human being walking/riding with his or her animal companions through the endless magic and mystery of time and space.
On Sunday morning, the Mules delivered the Declaration of Emergency to Redwood City City Hall. I then pondered as to what direction we should go. Continue south on El Camino Real or go west to Santa Cruz where I’ve never been before with the mules? We received quite a few Facebook messages that horses are part of the local culture of the town of Woodside where residents keep horses, and the town government maintains a network of horse trails. So, the Mules decided to visit Woodside.
When we were in San Francisco walking along Fisherman’s Wharf, the Mules met Jamis, who said that if we should ever decide to go through Woodside to stop by his restaurant Buck’s and we would be welcome.
As things went, the Mules decided to go through Woodside where we also delivered the DOE and MCL to Woodside City Hall. While climbing up Woodside Road, Tanya, who we met the night before in San Carlos, had brought the kids some hay. We told her that we were going to Buck’s restaurant and she said that she’ll leave it there.
Upon getting to Buck’s, I tied the kids to the hitching posts set-up in the shade next to the restaurant, removed their packs, gave them the hay, sat on my bucket, and waited for that promised meal. The manager George came out and asked us what we would like. A bowl of soup and bread came to our minds. We were brought Red potato soup and sourdough bread, which was great.
Jamis’s friend Jim came by and asked us where we were going to spend the night. We didn’t know. He said we could stay at the Horse Park at Woodside, so we have been. Jim brought us hay and good drinking water.
Thank you to all the nice people of Woodside and beyond for supporting this ages old place of one human being riding/walking with his or her animal companions, moving through the mystery and magic of time and space on its endless journey upon this beautiful place we call Earth.
Thanks for everyone using the #3Mules or @3Mules hashtag on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts so that The Mules can be aware of the photos taken of us. The other day, we noticed that the Twitter posts of City of San Mateo and Foster City Police used the hashtag #NomadicLife with our photos. We thought that hashtag was cool too, as it shows that the the cities of San Mateo and Foster City understand what The Mules are about. So thanks and continue using #3Mules and #NomadicLife or @3Mules so we can find and share your photos.
As part of a glimpse into our nomadic life…
As previously stated in other posts, I lived my early childhood years in Marin. My later childhood years were spent living in the Palo Alto area when it was still mainly undeveloped, open space or orchards. Thus, I am really familiar with this area along the El Camino Real, but sometimes it is hard to recognize this place now with all the new buildings.
While in San Mateo, the Mules met this gentleman also named John, and we started talking. As the conversation further progressed, we discovered that we both attended the same middle school and high school in Palo Alto in the 1960’s. We had the same teachers but were a couple years apart in class. We both have younger sisters the same age. John phoned his sister and asked if she recognized my sister’s name. Immediately she responded that they were in the same class in junior high and high school. This encounter is something we would describe as coming out of the who-dee-doo. Surreal. This is the first time that I ever met a stranger on the road that went to the same middle and high school as I did.
Yesterday, we accidentally left our backpack at the Belmont City Hall entrance while delivering the Declaration of Emergency (DOE). Upon discovering this after we were about 2 miles away, we called the Belmont Police Department to let them know, and they kindly retrieved it for us. Thank you Belmont Police Department.
We then continued south on El Camino Real and delivered the DOE to San Carlos City Hall.
The kids were getting hungry, so we took a side street and explored the range. We found this place knocked on the door and asked if we could graze. The gentleman said yes. We said thank you. We were there about two hours. The kids had a nice dinner.
We then got back on El Camino Real and looked for a place to rest for the night. We came upon Sequoia High School. The gate was open and we squeezed through and went to sleep. Thank you Sequoia High.
We are on our way to Redwood City and the surrounding towns before heading to Woodside and on our way to Santa Cruz.
The 3 Mules are going to the north Vista Point of the Golden Gate Bridge where they will be watched by a friend, while the Monk walks across the bridge to the Bridge District office on the south end to deliver this letter and Declaration of Emergency to the Bridge Manager and Bridge District Board of Directors. We will also be sending copies of this letter to Governor Jerry Brown, Mayor Ed Lee and various news outlets that have been following and inquiring about our journey.
Last week, we were asked by park police to provide 24-hours notice when we were ready to cross the bridge. On Monday, we called the park police phone number provided to us on Friday, and were told to call the Bridge Manager’s office to confirm the crossing. Thus we called the bridge manager’s office informing them that the Mules planned to be at the bridge at noon. They said okay and sent an email to call Park Police dispatch an hour before ready for transport. We were also told on Monday that the Mules had permission to stay at the Park Police stables in the Presidio on Tuesday evening.
Based on emails that I saw yesterday, I understood that arrangements had been made with the bridge manager and National Park Service as we had did what we were told last week. This morning, I didn’t turn my cell phone on because I didn’t think that I needed to. My objective in the morning was to get to Sausalito City Hall to deliver the Declaration of Emergency before heading to the bridge.
When I arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge, I was informed by U.S. Park Police that they were no longer going to trailer the Mules across the bridge in their mounted police trailers due to rules that they had to follow. We were also informed that the invitation to stay at the stables was rescinded and that we were not allowed to be anywhere within the Presidio because it is a residential and business area. If we were trailered, we would be required to be dropped off by Ocean Beach. The U.S. police required vaccination papers on the Mules, which we don’t have, thus they said the mules could not be transported in their trailer or stay in their stables. This was told to us when we were at the bridge. They said this is to prevent risking the health of their horses by unknown animals.
We called the Bridge Manager who said that this issue was out of his hands, and that there was nothing on his end that he was able to do. While standing at the bridge, we were surprised that this arrangement crumbled since emails and phone calls last week and Monday from Bridge Manager and Park Police indicated everything was okay.
When a very nice person heard about these last minutes development, they immediately drove from Sonoma County to the Golden Gate Bridge with a large horse trailer to trailer the Mules across the Golden Gate Bridge. However, as upsetting it was to them for the time they took to do this kind deed, we refused their assistance as we were truly taken aback by everything we had just heard from the U.S. Park Police when we arrived.
The Mules and all venues have an equal right to use the public thoroughfare. It is public. It is open to all comers. It is the tool we use to move freely in this country. Highway 101 was built and now maintained at huge expense with taxpayer money. The bridge authority was given the right to charge tolls to those that use the 101 public thoroughfare crossing the Golden Gate, but should not given the right to exclude any segment of the public that needs to cross the bridge. Mules being one of those segments.
The justification provided by Bridge manager is for safety. Any common sense mind agrees that there is no safety issue at all. The eastern side walk of the bridge is closed to pedestrians at night, but open to cyclists. We requested an exception to walk across the bridge at 2AM when there is little bridge traffic and no pedestrians on the bridge. The sidewalk is still wide enough for a bicycle to pass at 2am. So this is not a safety issue.
Last year the mules walked through the San Francisco Financial District, Market Street, the Embarcadero, and Fisherman’s Wharf where it is crowded with people and cars. We had no safety issues. We have walked throughout California without safety issues.
We did not accept a trailer ride offered by the supportive lady from Sonoma simply because the energy of our life (journey) in large part is the right to equal use of the public thoroughfare. It is the lifeblood of this ages old nomadic life which we still practice and enjoy. If the bridge authority can successfully put forth a common sense argument in the public court of common sense and deny the Mules their right to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, it then must take full responsibility to arrange for a trailer assisted crossing.
The Mules are creating a blueprint by which anybody traveling with their mule, horse, llama, donkey, etc. can cross the Golden Gate Bridge.
Last Saturday afternoon after delivering the Declaration of Emergency to Sebastopol City Hall and stopping at the Sebastopol Library to recharge phone and tablet, we were walking on the side of Gravenstein Highway South (116) heading towards Cotati when a Sonoma County Animal Control Officer stopped to talk to us.
Usually, anytime we are stopped by a police officer or an animal control officer (ACO), it is because a concerned citizen called police or animal dispatch to report the unusual sight of a man walking with three horses that look skinny, tired, and/or abused. The ACO usually approaches and asks the usual questions. We explain that Lady, 36, has walked with us for 31 years, and Little Girl, 26, has walked with us for 23 years, while Who-dee-doo, 11, has only been with us for four months. ACOs usually provide feedback that the kids are in excellent, lean and muscular condition than many of the horses that they see left alone in paddocks all their lives. After confirming that the mules are fine, ACOs wish us well and move on.
However, this past Saturday afternoon, the encounter we had with Sonoma County Animal Control Officer Shirley Zindler was different. She stopped to talk to us after receiving a report that there was a man walking three horses on the side of 116-S. She asked where we were going and we weren’t quite sure yet. She said that she lived a half mile down the road and had a fenced pasture and invited us to stay the night on her property. We accepted her kind offer and ended up staying two restful nights in her pasture. On Sunday, her friend Lisa brought a bale of alfalfa for the kids.
During the course of the weekend, we learned that Shirley started as an animal technician in 2001 for Sonoma County Animal Care and Control and decided to become an ACO when the other ACOs would return to the shelter with adventurous stories from the field. For the past 10 years, she has held the position as an ACO. On her personal time, she fosters dogs, cats, and wildlife at her Dogwood Animal Rescue Project.
Thank you Shirley for your hospitality to The Mules.