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.
My name is John Sears. Myself and Little Girl the Mule were stopped while walking on I-5 by CHP and told to go back to Harbor Boulevard in Oceanside and leave I-5. We said there is no alternative route from Oceanside to the Old Pacific Coast Highway Trail that starts at I-5/Las Pulgas Road. Camp Pendleton is closed to pedestrians so I-5 by default is the only available route. CHP officer arrested me and impounded Little Girl.
We were told by CHP as well as Caltrans that California Vehicle Code 21960(a) does not allow pedestrians on this part of I-5. The Mules have responded that 21960(a) can only be enforced when an alternate route, such as a frontage road, is present. For the CHP/Caltrans to use 21960(a) to justify the removal and arrest of the Mules from I-5 was illegal and unconstitutional.
While we were being arrested, bicyclists were riding by us on I-5. Caltrans told us that bicyclists are not allowed to ride on the shoulder of I-5 either. Yet the CHP did not stop and arrests the cyclists.
Per California Vehicle Code 21949(a) effective January 1, 2001, 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, and 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. On the day we were arrested on I-5, CHP failed its responsibility under state law and its stated mission to serve and provide safe and convenient passage.
Since our arrest, we reached out by phone and email to Caltrans, CHP and Camp Pendleton to request an escort or be provided a safe and convenient alternate route. We had numerous conversations and those that we spoke to repeated the same message that pedestrians are not allowed on I-5 or in Camp Pendleton. They did not provide any alternative solution to travel north from Oceanside to San Clemente.
The above being said and understood, the Mules are notifying CHP and Caltrans that upon request, a motorized CHP or Caltrans escort must be made available for the Mules and any horsemen/horsewomen needing to traverse I-5 between Las Pulgas Road and Harbor Boulevard. Because there is no alternative street or highway between Oceanside and Las Pulgas Road, I-5 access defaults to that of a street and highway for pedestrians and equestrians. This will be a temporary solution until a more obvious permanent solution of a parallel path where pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists can move safely along I-5 in this section where there is no alternative route.
For Caltrans and CHP representing the State of California to fail to provide the necessary escort or to provide an alternate safer and convenient route will be considered to be gross negligence and an abrogation of their stated mission and responsibility serving the people of California. This failure will initiate a class action lawsuit.
The Mules will be expecting a response to the issues of the I-5 CALL-DUN-DRUM addressed in this letter.
On Monday morning, Little Girl received her annual physical exam. The Mules want to thank Arlene for arranging San Dieguito Equine Group team – Jessica (veterinarian), Andrea (Registered Vet Technician and dental care provider) and Zoe (vet assistant)- to come out to give Little Girl her check-up. Here is write up that we received after Little Girl’s exam:“Little Girl had a physical exam and she was found to be a healthy, bright and alert 28-year old Molly mule. She has a good appetite, healthy skin and body coat and has a good body condition score of 5/9 (normal). Her feet were in good shape and it’s apparent she receives regular farrier work. Her teeth were floated and equilibrated – she has amazingly good dental health for a mule her age and only needed moderate dental work. She was prescribed anti-inflammatories (like Advil) for two days after her dental work for preventative measure due to her older age.”
For those that may think his lifestyle is adventurous, I see it differently. Sears’ decision to live on the streets forces Little Girl to also do so, showing no concern for her well-being.
Later, coming out of a market on Melrose, there was Sears and Little Girl. I asked Sears about the weight she was carrying. I cringed when she kept picking up her back feet as we humans do when experiencing discomfort or pain. I looked into her face, such a sadness.
Little Girl is neither safe from Sears or from people who take her in the middle of the night. Glamorizing Sears and his way of life ignores the welfare of Little Girl.
Karen Bonadio Oceanside
We sent the article to Andrea, the Registered Veterinarian Technician who cleaned Little Girl’s teeth. She sent us her response that she wrote the San Diego Union-Tribune about that opinion as she feels that it is important for people who don’t know anything about mules and horses to understand. Dear Union Staff:
I am hoping that you can post this in response to the opinion piece regarding the mule Little Girl and her owner.
I am a Registered Veterinarian Techinican that works at an equine veterinary practice here in the Escondido/San Marcos area. I work strictly with horses and have been doing so for over 15 years. I can understand where someone who does not have equid experience may see Little Girl and feel sorry for her. Myself as well as two of my colleagues were lucky enough to visit with Little Girl the other day for a vet health check up. She was given a general health check and she had her teeth floated and equilibrated. Mr. Sears had a lengthy conversation with the veterinarian regarding her health and other questions he had regarding her care.
I can tell you from first hand experience that from the examination we gave, Little Girl is a healthy mule for her age. She has a healthy body condition score, good feet (hooves) that receive regular farrier care, healthy skin and hair coat as well as a bright and content disposition. The owner is well educated on mule care and is very conscientious when it comes to the amount of weight she is asked to carry. She gets many breaks throughout a days travel and is cared for quite well.
I see other equids on a regular basis that are not in as good of shape that she is in. I hope that this insight helps those that are concerned understand the reality of the situation a little better and puts their minds at ease.
Kind Regards, Andrea Shepley RVT
The Mules also have a rebuttal to the San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece:
The Mules are not homeless. We’ve been wandering, living on this earth for hundreds of thousands of years. A stick structure is not what we seek. We seek spiritual connection to this earth, while living in balance, respect and reverence for all its inhabitants. Earth is our home. No matter how many editorials that are fired off, the Mules will not let loose of our sacred connection to this sacred place called Earth.
When Little Girl can no longer serve this place of one human being walking with his/her animal companions in one of all four directions, how we choose, when we choose, she will be retired into the nation, 3 Mules Nation, and live out her remaining years in by far better conditions than 90% of people living today.
On Monday, March 5, 2018, the Mules emailed California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) requesting motorized escort in the seven mile section where no other public pedestrian route is provided from Oceanside to the Old Pacific Highway Trail.
The email was sent to – Laurie Berman, Caltrans Chief Deputy Director – Cory Binns, Caltrans Director District 11 – Rachel Carpenter, Caltrans Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Branch Chief – Warren Stanley, CHP Commissioner – Scott Silsbee, CHP Deputy Commissioner – Jim Abele, CHP Border Division Chief – Edmund G. Brown, Governor of California
The email stated the following:
Hello, my name is John Sears. I serve in the capacity of a roving monk living outside with one pack mule named Little Girl, who has been by my side for the past 25 years walking the western United States, exercising our constitutional right to use the federal, state, county, and city public thoroughfare. We also refer to ourselves as “The Mules” and document our journey extensively on our website 3Mules.com and our 3 Mules Facebook page.
On February 23, 2018, we went to Camp Pendleton’s Main Gate and requested passage to walk through the base to get to the Las Pulgas gate so that we could continue our journey onto the Old Pacific Highway Trail to San Clemente as we have done as part of our migratory journey three times in the past four years. We were denied access this time because we were not traveling by bicycle.
Upon getting off the base, I phone California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Oceanside and spoke to the CHP watch commander informing him that I would be walking north on I-5 from Oceanside because I was refused entry into Camp Pendleton. The watch commander told me that I would not be allowed on I-5. I said that when there is no alternative route, we have the right to use the only one route that is available, and that by default is I-5. He repeated his statement that we were not allowed on I-5. I responded that we will be walking on I-5. The watch commander said, “Use your best judgement.”
After walking for about 30 minutes on I-5, we were stopped by CHP demanding that we turn around and leave I-5 or face arrest. We refused to leave asserting our right to use the public thoroughfare as this was the only route that will take us to the Old Pacific Highway Trail under seven miles away. The public thoroughfare is not, nor was it ever intended for the exclusive use of high speed automobiles. Bicyclists were riding on this same I-5 shoulder and were not stopped, detained or arrested. However, the Mules were arrested, charged with Penal Code 148(A) obstruction failing to obey a police officer with the Monk taken to Vista Detention Center, released and given a Notice to Appear in North Division Court in Vista on April 6, 2018. Little Girl was impounded and held at the Humane Society Animal Shelter in Escondido.
The Mules still need to travel north to San Clemente. I-5 is still the only available route. I am writing you to request a motorized escort to be provided by Caltrans, CHP or both in this seven mile section where no other public route is provided from Oceanside until we can reach the Old Pacific Highway Trail and continue our journey north.
In researching California and other cases, we found the following:
(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.
The California Vehicle Code Section 21949 has stated a policy for the Department to provide safe and convenient travel for pedestrians. Conventional highways can be used by pedestrians. Although the Department will work to provide safe and convenient pedestrian travel on these highways, not all of these highways will contain sidewalks and walkways. All state highway projects administered by Caltrans….must be designed in accordance with the requirements in Design Information Bulletin 82, “Pedestrian Accessibility Guidelines for Highway Projects.”
“The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived.” [Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Section. 165]
“The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by horse drawn carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city can prohibit or permit at will, but a common Right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” [Supreme Court of Virginia, Thompson V. Smith, 154 SE 579.]
Since I live outside and keep my phone off to preserve battery, I can best be contacted via email, ThreeMuleJourney@gmail.com. Please provide contact on who I may phone to discuss my request to continue our journey walking north from Oceanside to San Clemente with my pack mule.
As was previously reported, Escondido Police have been actively searching for a stolen mule. Their efforts included searches of surrounding neighborhoods by ground and with the assistance of San Diego Sheriff helicopter. The story of the theft was shared via news media coverage, and social media posts.
3 Mules and the Escondido Police are happy to report that all of those efforts paid off. The widespread news and social media coverage resulted information that led officers to the mule. Officers have arrested David Martinez, a 28-year-old resident of Escondido was arrested on a charge of Grand Theft.
Escondido Police Officers are reuniting Little Girl the Mule with its owner. Little Girl is in good health and does not appear to have been injured.
We thank the Three Mule Nation community and the Escondido Police Department for the caring support and tips that led to a happy ending in this case!
****************************************** 2/26/18 6AM ALERT: LITTLE GIRL STOLEN AND MISSING Escondido Police have confirmed that they have video of Little Girl being stolen around midnight Monday, February 26 from Grape Day Park in Escondido (N. Broadway and Clark St, south of the canal), while I was next to her asleep.
The suspects untied the mule and were last seen leading the animal east along the flood control bike path from Broadway, adjacent to Grape Day Park.
The suspects are described as two males. One wearing a black and gray Pendleton style jacket with a gray hood.
Anyone with information can call Escondido Police at 760-839-4722. Anonymous tips can be left on our website at www.police.escondido.org or by phone at 760-743-TIPPS.
Description 28-year old white mule, 15.5 hands, approx. 900-1000lbs, predominately white, reddish markings on ears and legs.
Help spread the word.
#3Mules #HelpFindLittleGirl 3Mules.com
Photos of Little Girl on what she would look like without her packs on:
UPDATE: Attorney Candice Fields of Candice Fields Law, who assists the Mules and the Three Mules Nation, sent us an update in regards to our I-5 case: The San Diego District Attorney decided not to file criminal charges against the Mules for Penal Code Section 148(a) Obstruction, which means there will be no case at all, and therefore no hearing on Friday, April 6, 2018.
The District Attorney said that they did not make this decision because they felt the law, as written, would not support a conviction. They made their decision because they were concerned about jury nullification. They felt their case was not winnable with a jury who might ignore the law and find the Mules not guilty.
For those not familiar with this area, United States Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is located on the Southern California coast in San Diego County spanning over 125,000 acres, bordered by the city of Oceanside to the south and Orange county to the north. For an 8-mile section where Interstate 5 (I-5) goes through Camp Pendleton, the Old Pacific Coast Trail for non-motorized use discontinues. The only way for non-motorized travelers to pass through this section of the California coast without walking on the side of the interstate is to enter through Pendleton’s Main Gate near Oceanside and walk 8.3 miles through the base to get to the Las Pulgas Gate, where the Old Pacific Highway Trail begins again to get to San Clemente. One cannot walk along 17-miles of the sandy beaches on the coastline that parallels I-5 as this also is part of the base. The Mules have taken the Pendleton Main Gate-Las Pulgas Gate (and vice versa) route three times in the past four years with military escort without any issues.
Arriving at the Main Gate guard shack, I secured Little Girl and went into the guard shack requesting passage through the base to the Las Pulgas Gate so that we could continue our journey onto the Old Pacific Highway Trail to San Clemente. The guard said to wait while he checked with the PMO. We waited outside for about half an hour. The guard came back and said we would not be allowed to go through the base. I told the guard we had passed through there three times previous with a military police escort. He said he was sorry but the PMO said we could not pass and we would have to leave immediately. So we did.
Upon getting off the base, I phoned California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Oceanside and spoke to the CHP watch commander informing him that I would be walking north on I-5 from Oceanside because I was refused entry into Camp Pendleton and there was no other alternative route other than I-5. The watch commander told me that I would not be allowed on I-5. We said, when there is no alternative route, we have the right to use the only one route that is available, and that by default is I-5. He repeated his statement that we were not allowed on I-5. I responded we will be walking on I-5. The watch commander said, “Use your best judgement.”
We then headed for I-5 and got on it. The shoulder was wide with other bicycles on it.
After walking about 1.5 miles, a CHP officer on a motorcycle came towards us and stopped. He informed us that we could go no further and that we would have to turn around and get off the freeway. We said we had the right to be here because there was no other way to travel north to San Clemente other than I-5. He repeated his assertion that we must turn around and get off. I said I would not. He said if we didn’t I would be arrested and Little Girl would be impounded. So, that’s what happened.
I was taken to Vista Detention Facility. Little Girl was picked up by animal control and taken to the animal shelter. I was in jail for about 5 hours, charged with Penal Code 148(A) obstruction failing to obey a police officer, given a court date, then released.
I was told by the jail that my property was being held at the CHP. I called CHP from the jail lobby and was told by the lady who answered the phone that the property officer was out for the day and would not be back until Monday morning. If I wanted to get my property, I would need to make an appointment to talk to the property officer on Monday. I told the lady over the phone that I needed my cell phone and my wallet and various items that were in my backpack and I could not wait until Monday. She said she was sorry, but the property officer was out for the day and he would not be back until Monday.
I decided that I would go to the CHP office across the street from the jail and see what I could do. Upon entering the office, a uniformed officer was in the room. He asked me what it was he could do for me. I told him that I was informed that my property was here. He said hold on, I’ll see what I can do. About 10 minutes later, he came back and told me that my property was not in their possession and that it was at the Palomar Airport Road Animal Shelter. He gave me a number and an address. I asked him if he could call them and make sure that was where my property was and that they had possession of it. He got on the phone, made the call, and apparently talked to somebody there who gave him confirmation that yes indeed they had my property.
The CHP officer would not allow me to use there phone, so I walked back to the jail and called the number myself to confirm the information given to me by the CHP officer but I could not get through.
I returned to the CHP office, and informed the officer that I called the number he gave me and was not able to reach anybody there. I inquired why he was able to get through and I was not. He said he didn’t know, but he assured me that he had spoken to the Palomar Airport Road animal shelter and that was where my property was.
From there I started walking at approximately 4pm, I left the CHP office in Vista and started walking to animal shelter in Carlsbad. I walked until about 9:00 pm, found some bushes to take shelter, stayed through the night, awoke in the morning about 6AM, and continued my way to the Palomar Airport Animal Shelter. Upon arriving there around Saturday morning 8:30am, I talked to a lady that was walking a dog if they had a mule on the premises. She said I could go around in the back where they keep the large animals and take a look. There were no large animals there. I asked her if my property was in their possession. She went inside to find out, returned and stated clearly that it was not in their possession. So I asked her where would it be? She said Escondido Humane Society takes large animals. It was her best guess that was where my mule and property would be.
I got on the phone, made some calls and confirmed that Little Girl was 16-miles away at the Humane Society shelter in Escondido. I spent the rest of Saturday walking and riding the bus to get to the Escondido Animal Shelter to retake possession of Little Girl and my property. The Mules say thank you to L. Monreal, Carlie and the staff of folks at the San Diego Humane Society (Escondido) for taking such good care of Little Girl while the Monk was in jail.
I am not admitting guilt to the charge against me, but this is a truthful account pertaining to our arrest, charges brought of obstruction. and then our subsequent release for walking with Little Girl on Interstate 5.
We will be contacting California’s Department of Transportation CalTrans Chief in Sacramento and the CHP watch commander and once again informing that we need to walk on I-5 as there is no alternative route. The base is not an acceptable route, which requires waiting 4-5 days for permission to be granted. At which time if we are again refused and threatened with arrest by CHP, we will request CHP escort on I-5 where traffic can be slowed down to a safe level for our passage. We will not accept trailer transportation from a private party. We will be asserting our right and all equestrians’ rights for a safe means of moving on the public thoroughfare.
The Mules are also in search of an attorney who is interested in representing us pro bono at our San Diego County Superior Court date appearance on 4/6/2018 7:30am in Vista, CA (325 S. Melrose Dr.). If interested, contact the Mules via email at ThreeMuleJourney@gmail.com.
(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.)
California Department of Transportation Manual Chapter Topic 105 – Pedestrian Facilities Topic 105 – Pedestrian Facilities 105.1 General Policy The California Vehicle Code Section 21949 has stated a policy for the Department to provide safe and convenient travel for pedestrians. Conventional highways can be used by pedestrians. Although the Department will work to provide safe and convenient pedestrian travel on these highways, not all of these highways will contain sidewalks and walkways. Connections between different modes of travel should be considered when designing highway facilities, as all people may become pedestrians when transferring to a transit based facility. Pedestrian use near transit facilities should be considered during the planning phase of transportation improvement projects. See DIB 82 for accessibility guidance of pedestrian facilities.
(b) All State highway projects administered by Caltrans or others with pedestrian facilities must be designed in accordance with the requirements in Design Information Bulletin 82, “Pedestrian Accessibility Guidelines for Highway Projects.”
U.S. Supreme Court ruling “The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horse drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but a common right which he has under his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Under this constitutional guaranty one may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along the public highways or in public places, and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another’s rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct.”
Mission San Luis Rey History [Source: www.sanluisrey.org] Founded in 1798 by Padre Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, successor to Padre Junipero Serra, Mission San Luis Rey was named after St. Louis IX, King of France, who lived during the 13th century. Prior to Spanish occupation, the Luiseño Indians inhabited this area for hundreds of years. The Cemetery has been in continuous use since the founding of the Mission in 1798 and continues to be the oldest buried ground in North San Diego County still in operation. The Mission Church has been there since 1815.
From 1847-1857 the Mission was used as an operational base by United States soldiers. Notable figures that served at the Mission include General Stephen W. Kearny, Kit Carson and the Battalion of Mormon Volunteers. In 1850 California became part of the United States, and the Catholic Bishop in California petitioned the U.S. government for the return of the missions. In 1865 Mission San Luis Rey was returned to the Catholic Church by Abraham Lincoln.
We like this photo taken by Tony Chiatello as we were walking on the El Camino Real in Carlsbad, California. Tony’s caption “Not everyday you see 3 mules on El Camino” was not a true statement from the 1600s to late 1800s when the El Camino Real was the route used by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries traveling from Baja California to San Francisco by foot, horse and mule.
In the 1920s with the invention of the automobile, the El Camino Real slowly became paved over time from San Francisco to the Mexican border.
Thus, this route has historically been used longer by equestrian travelers than by those traveling in manmade machines.
We the Mules exercise use our right to use this ages old public thoroughfare called the El Camino Real.
A few days ago, the Mules stopped to talk to this gentleman named Davide Travelli riding his fully loaded touring bicycle south. We asked him the same questions that we receive all the time: “Where are you from?” “Where are you going?” He is from Italy and has embarked on a long journey across the Americas (North, Central and South). On August 13, 2015, he started cycling in Alaska and is following the 30,000-kilometers (19,000-miles) Panamerican Highway to Patagonia in the southern end of South America. The Mules wish Davide the best and plan to follow his journey on his website http://alaska2patagonia.com/
UPDATE MARCH 24, 2018: 954 days later, Davide has now reached Ushuaia, Argentina, in the southern tip of South America. Davide plans to travel through Africa next. The 3 Mules say thank you to Davide Travelli and his magnificent journey showing one and all true human freedom as it can only be practiced on this earth and not on Mars, moon or an astroid. Human freedom exists where human beings belong, the Earth.
This building is a testament to mankind’s ingenuity and cleverness but not a place the Mules would ever want to be. It harbors nothing for us but misery. This building claiming and providing space for those who seek comfort and ease of the man-made world (Megatropolis). The Mules claiming and then using the space for those who seek the beauty and magic of the Natural World.