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.
This afternoon March 16, I have been stopped by seven or eight City of El Cajon Police on El Cajon Boulevard. Right now as I speak for no reason other than walking down the sidewalk they forcibly stop me and detain me. It’s totally illegal other asking me all kinds of questions and threatening psychological evaluation. It is none of their business. I’m legally walking down the street and I won’t answer the question. We’ve been stopped twice already by La Mesa Police Department. We’re not going to answer questions continually all day long from every police department in this county or in the state.
After an hour, the Mules were released from police detainment which was illegal to start with. We were told that we could go thru town but not to stop anywhere. If we did, I would be arrested and Little Girl and my belongings would be impounded. And of course, due to the lateness of the day and them detaining us for an hour, that probably will not happen. We will stop and find a place to rest wherever that may be.
San Marcos, CA 2/28/2019 – Where we slept last night, we were packing up and getting ready to leave when two San Diego County sheriffs appeared, questioned us as why we were here and what we were doing for they had got a call that somebody was in the area with a horse. I told them we spent the night there and we were on our way south. They said fine and that was the concluded the conversation.
La Costa Town Center, Carlsbad, CA 2/28/2019. From San Marcos, Little Girl and I walked 3.3 miles on the trails heading southwest to La Costa Town Square in Carlsbad so that we could stop at Starbucks to have a small cup of coffee leaving a little room for cream, while charging our phone and working on our blog. We had other errands to take care of in the shopping center as well. I secured Little Girl to an unmanicured area that was away from traffic and that was within my view from within Starbucks.
While we were at Starbucks, the property manager sent me the following email:
Shortly after, she came into Starbucks and said that my mule and I had to leave, otherwise she was calling the police and animal control. I replied that I wasn’t going to leave until I finished charging my phone and drinking my coffee. Upon leaving Starbucks, I untied Little Girl and moved to another area of the shopping center parking lot to complete my other errands. After doing that we left. We did not make any contact with police or animal control.
Ms. McEntee’s demand conflicts with state and federal law for equestrians’ right to travel on the public thoroughfare. These shopping centers are connected to the public thoroughfare.
When somebody leaves their house, gets in their car, gets on the public thoroughfare with the intent of going to a store to buy food or supplies for themselves and their family, they fully expect that when they leave the public thoroughfare to enter the parking lot, they will be able to park their car, walk into the store, buy their groceries and supplies, return to their car, put their groceries and supplies in their car, and leave to go home.
To have that denied simply because a person arrives by horse or mule and not in an automobile is illegal. To call police and animal control simply because a customer arrived by mule and not allow them to park because the person didn’t arrive in a high speed automobile is ridiculous.
This is not 1817 where you load up your six-shooter and go out to shoot some deer for dinner. This is 2019. You start up your car, proceed on the public thoroughfare, enter a parking lot and go into a grocery store or a big box store, which controls the food and supplies. That’s where you get it. If you don’t get it there, you’re not going to get it anywhere.
For a shopping center manager to arbitrarily decide who gets to eat or get supplies and who doesn’t is an outrageous situation. The Mules on that particular day were a perfect example about how outrageous things have gotten It certainly showed that those limits must be thoroughly watched and constrained.
Big box shopping centers and grocery stores should have a small unmanicured area that can be utilized for equestrians to tie their horse or mule as they have parking spaces for motorists and bike racks for cyclists.
Diane Village Shopping Center, San Diego, CA 3/3/2019. We went to the Dollar Store in Diane Village Shopping Center to get groceries. Somebody posted the following comment on our website: “I think it is great what you are doing. I saw a post that you were at the Dollar Store in the Diane Shopping Center today and read a few posts that I didn’t like, like ‘call the Humane Society’ for a man and his mule? Keep on walking trouble free. You have every right to!”
Where we stopped for the night, San Diego, CA 3/4/2019. On Monday morning as we were packing up where we stopped for the night, San Diego Police stopped to talk to us curious as to who we were and what we were doing. The conversation was cordial and friendly. The officers took some photos, which they sent to us.
City of San Diego Serra Mesa Library, San Diego, CA 3/4/2019. Afterwards, we went to the City of San Diego Serra Mesa Kearny Mesa Library to charge our phone. Little Girl was secured and well out of the path of the library entrance. The librarian approached me and said that I had to remove my mule from library property for Little Girl was a danger to children going to and leaving the library. I secured Little Girl way out of the way from people coming and going to the library and she was not a danger. I told the librarian that I was not going to leave until I was finished charging my phone. She said if I didn’t remove Little Girl from library property she would call the police. I said fine.
The police arrived and spoke to the librarian. Then the police came to me and said that I had the right to be there because it is a public library.
Chula Vista, CA 3/8/2019. Last night in Chula Vista, we stopped for the night in an open area. In the morning, I grazed Little Girl on the abundant grass then fixed breakfast, then proceeded to pack up. While packing up, Chula Vista Police showed up and informed us that we were trespassing, while people were walking and running their dogs not more than 200 feet away. They also informed us that people were complaining that we were causing a disturbance.
If we were causing a disturbance in the process of grazing and packing our belongings, then the people walking their dogs were certainly doing the same. The officers decided to write a citation for having a tent set up within the city limits of Chula Vista, which is an infraction. They then asked me to sign my name on the citation. I refused to do so because we were not causing any disturbance or bothering anybody. The police officers informed me that if I didn’t sign the citation, Little Girl would be impounded and I would be taken to jail. I still refused to sign the citation.
The officers called their supervisor who came out and had a conversation with myself. He said he had met me a couple of years ago and it was good to see that I was still on my feet. He released me from detainment and told me to have a safe trip.
Afterwards, we went to Starbucks for a small cup of coffee leaving room for cream and to charge our phone. I parked Little Girl in an out of the way location. While in Starbucks, I received a Facebook message from a woman that stated: “Hi, is there a specific handler for the mules?”
We responded yes.
She replied, “I’m in Chula Vista and one of your mules is outside Starbucks without a handler. I waited, hoping maybe someone was inside getting a drink.” I replied back that I was inside Starbucks.
Little Girl’s relationship with me is not the same as a person’s relationship with their pet dog. My relationship with Little Girl is a working relationship. She serves me in the capacity of a pack mule, carrier of all my worldly goods which I use to live from day to day. It’s been the way of life for our ancestors for thousands of years and our way of life for the past 35 years. She has to be left unattended for short periods of time. It is not possible or practical to flag a stranger down and expect them to watch Little Girl while I take care of necessary errands.
When that mule is secure to a light post or tree, etc. she is parked. The public has no more of a right to approach her or touch her, than I have to pop the hood on somebody’s automobile and adjust the carburetor. Little Girl is private property. That’s the law and must be respected.
Summary. Any law that allows an owner of a parking lot (privateer) to deny a citizen access to a store that provides the necessities of life, such as food, clothes, etc., must be changed, abolished. The United States is a free country with a constitution guaranteeing all its citizens the right of free movement and equal treatment and protection under the law. To allow a privateer to deny a citizen of a free country access to the necessities of life is Totalitarianism of the worst kind.
The Mules are now faced with the situation where it is impossible to stop anywhere, go get groceries, get phone charged, care for Little Girl, walk thru town. This is not allowable for us. Anyone driving a car and living behind four walls is perfectly fine. But for us, walking peacefully walking on the public thoroughfare to get from Point A to Point B, a constitutional right, guaranteed in this country, the law of the land to do things necessary to stay alive, has been made illegal by these unconstitutional laws.
We cannot walk 24/7 and must stop to eat, hydrate, rest and catch our breath. The four essential necessities for ALL LIVING BEINGS.
The Mules are peaceful travelers and not a blight. We do not litter. We pick up after ourselves. We do not do drugs. We are not alcoholics. We are not a public nuisance. We are not panhandling for money. We have our own financial resources. We have supported commerce in the area by shopping. Unlike visitors who arrive in San Diego by automobile, we arrived by walking hundreds of miles to get here.
The outside is our home where we have lived for most of our lives connecting with Nature. It is our preferred way of life. To deny the Mules this freedom is the death of us. This Earth is our home. We wander and roam this beautiful place we all call Earth with reverence, love and respect until we die from accident, stealth or natural causes.
Needless to say, we cannot obey this insanity. If we do, it is suicide. These laws are in human and inhumane. We will exercise our constitutional rights, the supreme law of the land and we will do it everywhere else we go.
The number of negative people we encounter is relatively small in comparison to the trouble they can cause by calling and complaining to the enforcement agencies of our presence. The Mules interaction with the public by far is positive.
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.
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 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.
Coming into the City of Irvine this morning, the Mules met some Irvine Police Department police officers. They stopped their vehicle, came out to meet us, and told us we were breaking a city ordinance by walking on the sidewalk.
The Mules told the officers that all streets, city, state and county roads in this country are public thoroughfares. They are not for the exclusive use of a high-speed machine called an automobile. The Mules informed the officers if the sidewalk was the safest place for us to be that’s where we would be walking not down the road, facing drivers moving at more than safe speeds, distracted by God only knows what hiding behind tinted glass. We then left and told the officers to have a nice day.
Five minutes or so later, the officers passes by, pulled out around the corner, stopped their vehicle and we observed them taking our picture. The Mules took their picture. About another 10 minutes or so went by and the City Animal Control vehicle passed us by, pulled up in front of us in a parking lot and observed us walking up the street. We stopped and took their picture.
For some reason unbeknownst to us, the city of Irvine has something to fear from a weak little man walking two mules down the public thoroughfare.
Is it really us they fear? I think not. What the City of Irvine doesn’t like is a weak little man and two mules walking freely how they choose, when they choose, down the public thoroughfare. The City of Irvine does not like Freedom being expressed in its most basic down to the bone way. But that’s unfortunate because the Mules will never stop walking freely on this Earth in the most basic and down to the bone way, a constitutional guaranteed right of ALL United States citizens.
We decided to go back to Bakersfield and buy horseshoes. We walked between 15 and 20 miles. It was about 4:30pm, we were going north on Allen Road and Blain stopped and asked us if we needed a place to stay for the night. We said yes, so we stayed at Blaine’s place last night. Thank you Blain for your kindness to the Mules as they travel South towards San Diego.
Upon setting out this morning, we came apon a palm tree dropping many small dates. They were quite good. The mules have feasted on this particular variety all over Southern California.
As we were walking south on Coffee Road, a Bakersfield Police Department police car went by us and circled around the corner. Not too long after that another one did the same. Shortly after that Kern County Animal Services animal control came around the corner. As we were approaching the stop light, an officer appeared in front of us.
He said, “I understand you’re trying to get rid of your animals.” I responded no I wasn’t. He said somebody said it was posted on our Facebook page that we were giving away our mules. We said goodbye. Have a nice day and continued walking.
Question: why would Bakersfield Police and animal control be bothering us about a private matter that’s not true to begin with?
November 4, 2018
This evening, the endangered San Joaquin kit fox stopped to visit us.
So what did the Mules do in Bakersfield? Did we climb up a telephone pole with an M16 automatic assault rifle and shoot and kill motorists? NO. Did we enter a campus and shoot and kill students? NO.
The Mules entered the town of Bakersfield on foot leading our two mule animal companions Little Girl and Frank with our chins out, carrying no weapons to attack others nor for our defense. Instead, we carried the energy of our ancestors created, accumulated and harbored from living this nomadic ages old way of life. A life of love, respect and reverence for this precious one of a kind home, the Earth.
As the Mules wandered on the streets and through the neighborhoods of Bakersfield gathering supplies, we have no doubt that the energy we left in our wake made Bakersfield as well as other cities and towns in which we pass a better place to be a human being.
The above being said, it is interesting to note: The Mules were walking north on Coffee Road approaching Kern River. There was a Starbucks on our west side. We entered the parking lot, found a suitable place to secure Little Girl and Frank. Then the Monk went into Starbucks, bought a small cup of coffee, leaving room for cream, and was there for about 5 minutes. I went back to where Little Girl and Frank were secured and standing comfortably, sat down and slowly drank the coffee.
Shortly thereafter, in a prudent amount of time, a well armed security guard drove his vehicle, stopped in front of us and declared the Mules were loitering and must leave the parking lot. The Mules said no, we had bought a cup of coffee and weren’t going anywhere until we finished it and would leave in our own good time.
He said if we did not leave immediately, police would be called. The Mules continued to drink their coffee. When done, we left, never talked to any police while in Bakersfield.
The Mules will be returning to Bakersfield in 2 – 3 weeks to resupply and once again, stop at Starbucks, park the kids (mules) and buy a cup of coffee, maybe leaving room for cream, maybe not.
This parking lot, CALL-DUN-DRUM that the Mules are continually being forced to deal with must be laid out fully and all parts examined. All city, county, state roads belong to the Public Thoroughfare. When the Mules or a motorist or anybody else want to enter a store, they leave the Public Thoroughfare and enter a parking lot, park their automobile (in our case secure our mules to a fence, tree, light post) and proceed to enter the store.
Any law that allows an owner of a parking lot (privateer) to deny a citizen access to a store that provides the necessities of life, such as food, etc., must be changed, abolished. The United States is a free country with a constitution guaranteeing all its citizens the right of free movement and equal treatment and protection under the law. To allow a privateer to deny a citizen of a free country access to the necessities of life is Totalitarianism of the worst kind.
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.