The Mules want to thank Sam Gonzales for inviting us to stop and rest on his property for the past three months.
We had come to the Coarsegold area by the direction of the energy that surrounds and guides us. Here is where my oldest mule Lady was born 37 years ago.
We decided we would head for Oakhurst, buy groceries, then find the place where I bought Lady and she was born.
As we were walking along Road 415, we saw a sign Tomatoes for Sale. We stopped. Sam was there. We asked to buy some tomatoes. He came back with some. He asked where the mules were going to spend the night. We said we weren’t sure. He said they could stay here and that there was plenty of grass for them to eat. There was. We accepted.
We’ve been here for 3 months. The Monk was having a physical problem due to age. Meeting Sam was a godsend. The Mules now continue this ages old nomadic journey practiced by many through the ages.
While walking to Oakhurst along Highway 41 to buy groceries, we came upon the latest roadside memorial for a fatality brought about by the High-Speed Motorist (HSM) on one of many highways and roads which are totally unsuitable for the speeds being driven.
The Mules, cyclists and pedestrians have the absolute right to use Highway 41, a public thoroughfare, but are put into a suicidal type circumstance when doing so.
The state of California has built and continues to build and maintain a public thoroughfare that is suicidal for the other venues, equestrians, cyclists, and pedestrians, therefore denying those venues their rightful tax-supported use.
The State of California has trapped itself into a totally illegal condition. It must act immediately to build alternative trails for those other venues for not to do so will open the courthouse doors to a lawsuit in size and scope which will dwarf anything herefore ever seen.
Met Tyler last Thursday. He said he passed us while riding his bike a few days ago. His wife Kristin later saw us walking on the public thoroughfare heading for Oakhurst. He contacted us via Facebook and wanted to know if he could come by and get some pictures and video of the Mules to post on his Vegan Cyclist Facebook page and YouTube channel. We said sure.
Tyler brought his wife and young son, who met the mules and also got some tomatoes from Sam Gonzales, farmer extraordinaire of Sam’s Tomato Farm.
A good time was had by all. Mules, human beings, dogs, donkeys, ground squirrels, frogs, blue jays, flies, and on down the line. Above is the video that Tyler produced.
This morning as we were walking along Road 415 going to Coarsegold, a highway patrol officer stopped and told us he was responding to calls that we were walking on the roadway.
We said, “Yes, at times, we do walk on the roadway because there is no place else to walk. All city, county, state roads are public thoroughfares. They are open to all comers – person on crutches, driving a wheelchair, pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian and extra terrestrial (ET) on a vacation. These thoroughfares are not for the exclusive use of the High Speed Motorist (HSM) and its most favored and valued friend the Automobile. When the HSM sees a pedestrian, equestrian bicycle or an ET moving on the roadway exercising their absolute legal right to be doing so, the HSM must reduce its speed or stop if necessary so all involved can pass safely. There is nothing in the law stating the HSM has a legal right to be going at the speed limit regardless of the circumstance.”
The officer responded, “Be careful.” He went on his way and we continued our way.
“Run for the bushes, jump in a ditch, you all be damned. I slow up for nothing or nobody.” This is the pervasive attitude held by many HSM.
This HSM attitude is the main cause of death on the public thoroughfare in this country. The public thoroughfare is a place where people meet, trade goods and knowledge, experiences and generally enjoy moving freely from one place to the next. It was never intended to become a High Speed Dragstrip for machines running everybody else into the ditches in fear of becoming a bloody mess.
The Public Thoroughfare is the tenuous tread by which The Mules exercise their right to move freely in one of all four directions when they choose and how they choose. We will never give up our legal and mystical use of it. Nor should anybody else.
On Friday, June 24, 2016, the Mules arrived in Clovis, CA. We got onto a nice multi-use trail in the afternoon and were heading north. Upon walking for awhile, we met a TV news crew from KMPH and they asked if they could ask questions and take film for their FOX26 KMPH 10:00 news broadcast. We said sure.
We went to Trader Joe’s to buy some cranberry juice, then went back to the trail.
It was getting late so we decided to stop off to the side of the trail and rest for the night. A lady named Janeen brought the Mules some hay when we were at Trader Joe’s so they (the kids) were set. [Thank you Janeen for unexpectedly appearing out of nowhere and bringing the kids hay and carrots for their dinner.]
After fixing and eating my dinner, I was sitting on the water bucket on the Fresno-Clovis Trail, relaxing and enjoying being off my feet. At about 9:30pm, two officers with flashlights from the Clovis Police Department came upon us wanting to know what we were doing. We said that we have stopped here to rest for the night. The officer said the city council of Clovis says no camping in the city limits of Clovis. We said we were not camping, we have stopped here on this public right of way to rest for the night.
The officer said they were responding to calls from citizens about us being here. We said we were exercising our legal right to use a public thoroughfare and any attempt by the use of codes, regulations or laws to deny us that right shall be considered blatantly illegal.
The officer returned to his cruiser, came back in a reasonable amount of time, used discretion, in regards to the no camping law and said we could stay for the night if we would agree to leave in the morning. We said yes we would, which was stated intention.
So the kids and myself slept peacefully through the night, arose in the morning, ate breakfast, packed up and were on our way for another day living in balance with the Natural World all day, every day
Note: The Public thoroughfare in a free country must be open to all comers. The Mules are one of those comers. Our use of this thoroughfare is not the same as those who live, eat, play, and sleep inside houses then come out of those houses for some fresh air and exercise.
The Mules wander freely throughout the day then stop and use the public space to rest for the night. Any law that prevents the Mules from resting and sleeping, a most necessary function to sustain life, must be considered by any common sense mind, to be illegal.
With the above being said and understood, the Mules will not and cannot obey these no camping laws. For to do so will be the end of us. This place of any one human being wandering with his or her animal companions, has access to many dimensions. This dimension on this earth is the one we love the most. The Mules will not be removed from it. Long live human beings and their connection to Earth. There is no future without it.
Back on June 6th, we posted the following question: “Can anybody out there make us a green-colored, 1000 denier nylon tarp measuring 75″ X 105″ (8’9″ X 6’3″) with 1/4-inch grommets on all four corners and on the middle of each side? Color preference is green, tan, brown or grey, not black as that would absorb and retain too much heat. This is not a tarp that we can simply purchase at a hardware store. If so, please message us with total cost (material, labor and shipping to California), time to deliver, and contact info.”
Thank you to those who took time to research and send us information on places that we could contact. We followed up on each lead sent to us. Most places quoted 4-6 week time frame to make or could only make the tarp in black color, which we did not want.
On Tuesday, June 21, Raj Sharma, owner and president of Tent City Canvas House in Fresno, contacted us that he read our story, looked at the 3 Mules website, understood our request and specific need, and wanted to make and donate the tarp as described for the Mules. We said thank you and accepted his kind offer.
We were 25-miles away in Reedley. Mr. Sharma said that this is Tent City’s busy season as they make tents all over the country and around the globe since 1958, but he would make it a priority to get this done for us to pickup on Friday morning, our estimated our arrival to Fresno.
On Friday morning, the Mules arrived at Tent City. Everyone was very nice. The tarp was made exactly to our specifications. The Mules are very appreciative to Mr. Sharma and his staff at Tent City for their effort and support as this tarp is a necessary item in our day-to-day nomadic way of life.
Yesterday late afternoon, we arrived in Sanger, California and stopped to rest between two buildings. Earlier in the morning while we were in Reedley, Linda posted that she could bring hay if we needed it. When we found our spot to rest for the night, we wrote Linda back asking if her offer to bring hay to us was still available. She said yes. So the kids had nice hay for dinner and breakfast thanks to Linda, Matthew and Jacob.
As we were packing up to leave in the morning, Javier and Efrain from Apache Smog and Tire in the building next to us, came over and asked what we were doing and what we were all about. We talked a bit and they looked up our website. Javier said that Academy Feed Store is 3-miles down the road and asked if we needed anything. We said that we needed two horseshoe files. He said to go to the feed store, and if the store had what we needed, tell the store to give him a call and he would pay for it. We walked to the feed store, which had what we needed and they called Javier. Thank you Javier for your kind support toward the mules.
While securing the kids in a shopping center parking lot so that we could go buy bread, an animal control officer told us that we were not allowed to be walking through the City of Sanger. We said that we had the right to walk in any public thoroughfare in this country. I went in the store to buy a loaf of bread and when I came out the animal control officer was still there. The officer said he had looked at our website. We talked briefly and went our separate ways.
We went to deliver the Declaration of Emergency (DOE) to Sanger City Hall, then continued our way towards Fresno.
Everything the Mules and Monk carry in our nomadic, minimalistic lifestyle that we’ve been living for over thirty years has specific purposes and must meet specific criteria that must withstand the test of time and the harsh elements we face living outside all day every day. Harsh elements include weather resistance to hot/cold temperatures and rain, abrasion and tear resistance from tree branches, brush and jagged rocks when the Mules walk against them, dust resistance for our electronics, and break and leak resistance for our canisters that hold our liquids (water, cooking oil, gas).
About seven years ago, I had this 1000 denier nylon tarp custom-made in Arizona with specific dimensions measuring 75-inches by 105-inches. I don’t remember where I ordered the nylon or who custom sewed to these dimensions, else I would be returning to them. Our current tarp is worn out and needs to be replaced.
We use this tarp for many applications. The main application is to cover our top load while traveling against the scraping of brush and trees and to protect our gear by holding it together in place and protecting it from the elements when we travel. It is also used as a ground cloth when we sleep with or without a tent.
Can anybody out there make us a green-colored, 1000 denier nylon tarp measuring 75″ X 105″ (8’9″ X 6’3″) with 1/4-inch grommets on all four corners and on the middle of each side? Color preference is green, tan, brown or grey, not black as that would absorb and retain too much heat. This is not a size that we can simply purchase at a hardware store. If so, please message us with total cost (material, labor and shipping to California), time to deliver, and contact info. Thank you. ~The Mules
Saturday, April 30, 2016, we left Griffith Park where we stayed for the night. While grazing the kids, we met Brian. He rode 12-miles with us on his really big horse to the United States Court of Appeals Ninth District courthouse in Pasadena.
Thank you Brian and friend for giving your hope faith energy to this most important case of one human being (all of us) traveling with his or her animal companions across this country and the absolute right to stop and rest (sleep for the night) on public space.
Synopsis: On May 9, 2014, the Mules were arrested by the National Park Service and issued three citations for camping outside of designated area, violating order of a government agent, and conditions concerning use of pack animals in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
On July 16, 2014, the Mules attended an arraignment at the United States District Court in Los Angeles and pleaded not guilty and a trial date was set for November 6, 2014.
At the trial on November 6, 2014, the Mules were charged with 1) not obeying an order of a federal employee; and 2) camping in an undesignated area on national park land, while the third charge related to the pack animals was dropped. If found guilty on these charges, the maximum penalty for this petty offense was term of six months imprisonment, $5000 maximum fine, $10 special assessment for misdemeanor conviction, $25 processing fee payable to the Central Violations Bureau, and five year probation period. The Mules pleaded not guilty and were found guilty on both charges with no imposed penalties or fines, but were assessed a $35 court fee.
May 2, 2016: Oral Arguments. The Mules attended Oral Arguments before a three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court of Appeals Ninth District in Pasadena. The defense for the Mules and the government prosecution each had 15 minutes to provide their argument in front of a three-panel judge. Click to watch U.S. Court of Appeal Ninth Circuit Oral Argument court video recording:9th Circuit Court of Appeals video recording United States of America v. John C Sears 5/2/2016.
On June 15, 2016, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the magistrate judge’s finding that the Mules were guilty of violating two National Park Service regulations.
Click to read ruling 9th District Decision 6/15/2016:
——————————————————————————————— Statement from the Mules in response to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision: On May 2, 2016, the Mules appeared at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena to hear our appeal before three judges brought forth by the Megatropolis to decide whether the Mules or anybody else, hiker, bicycle or somebody traveling in a wheelchair, in this continental United States has the right to use public space to stop and rest for the night.
The National Parks are without question public space. They belong to all of us and they must be open to all who seek use of them in ways which conform to the mission of bringing people into the Natural World with reverence and respect.
The Mules and the way of life they live are a stellar example of that mission. When the Megatropolis uses its courts and judges to deny the Mules that most necessary function of life (rest) on a National Park, its subverts the mission of the Natural Parks – bringing people and the Natural World together in a natural way as opposed to the Megatropolis way (man-made world way) arriving in an air-conditioned bus with all the comforts of home.
The Mules on this day, September 13, 2016, have declared themselves to be the official mascots of the Natural Park system. One human being wandering in one of all four directions with his or her animal companions with reverence and respect for this totally unique sparkling jewel in the universe – our home EARTH.
Hence, the Mules, in the process of performing their duty as the official mascots of the Natural Parks, will bring clarity, direction and purpose to administering the mission of the National Parks. Rather then continuing down the slippery slope of the commercialism which is destroying the National Parks.
3/2/2015 Reply Brief. Mule’s legal representative Daniel Kapelovitz has submitted the Reply Brief to the Government’s Answering Brief Outcome: The Judge stood by the initial ruling and rejected the appeal.