Is Anybody Safe?

The Mules are reading a number of comments regarding the issue of safety following our recent truthful account of our arrest on I-5. Nobody or no one exists or operates in total safety mode. Life on earth by its very nature is unsafe. To be completely safe, you need to be dead. Life on earth is rife with risks.

With regards to the Mules walking down the side of the highway, are we perfectly safe? No.

Are motorcyclists darting in and out of traffic at high speeds perfectly safe? No.

Is the high-speed motorists moving at speeds of 65 to 80mph bumper to bumper in heavy traffic distracted by alcohol, drugs, texting, eating, etc. perfectly safe? No.

Is a bicyclist peddling along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway or on I-5 from San Clemente to Oceanside perfectly safe? No.

So it behooves the Mules, to walk over to the safety scanner, walk through and get a reading as to our degree of safety.

The Mules walk at 3mph, weigh about 1000lbs, have never been in a wreck or caused one, as opposed to the high speed motorist who moves at 65 to 80mph, weighs from 1500lb to 40,000lbs and kills and maims itself and others by thousands every year.

The degree of safety at which the Mules operate is by far much higher than the high speed motorists, the gap between the two is huge. For the CHP to stop and order the Mules off I-5 using the pre-text and guise of safety to justify their order is illegal.

To any common sense mind, the Mules by far operate at a much higher degree of safety than the high speed motorist. When non-motorists (pedestrian, bicyclists, equestrians, wheel chairs, etc.) step onto I-5 because there is no other alternative route, that section of I-5 immediately becomes subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to all state, county, city roads.

California vehicle code law 21949 passed by California legislature and made effective January 1, 2001 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, and reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.”

California’s Department of Transportation (CalTrans) can easily post a mandatory speed reduction to 50mph on their overhead flashing neon signs bringing this unlawful section of I-5 into compliance so cyclists, pedestrians, equestrians and all other legal users can exercise their constitutional right to move freely on the state public thoroughfare.

A mandatory speed reduction of 50mph in this section of I-5 where no alternative route for non-motorist is present will bring this section under the same rules and regulations as all roads we travel every day.

The Mules

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Castaic to Stevenson Ranch

Last night on January 6, 2018, we slept in Castaic. Upon awakening this morning, we packed up, got on the Old Road and headed south. The Old Road is a frontage road that parallels Interstate 5.

After walking for about an hour down the sidewalk, we were approached by a California Highway Patrol Officer (CHP) informing us that he had been getting calls that the Mules were walking in the middle of the road. No, we never walk in the middle of the road. We either walk on the sidewalk when it’s available, on the shoulder when it’s available, or in the lane of traffic when neither of the two are available. We have an absolute right to do so.

Anybody riding a bicycle, riding a horse, pulling a horse-drawn wagon, riding in a wheelchair, or walking has the right to use the public thoroughfare. These are public roads. The roads are not exclusive for the high speed machine called an automobile. The freeways are. Nobody has the right to be on the freeway except the high speed machine. The other roads – city, county, state – are all open to all other venues, be it a bicycle, an equestrian, a squirrel or a frog.

California Vehicle Code requires high speed motorists to slow down or stop to proceed in safety when meeting these other venues. The high speed motorist refuses to do so. Instead they come at us at full speed, never taking their foot off the gas pedal, picking up their cell phone, calling the CHP and claiming that we’re walking in the middle of the road. The CHP responds, comes out, and tells us if they catch us walking in the middle of the road or get calls to that affect, we would be arrested and the mule would be impounded. Totally illegal. Completely illegal.

As we proceeded walking south about two hours later we were approached by another CHP officer claiming he saw us walking in the middle of the road. WHAT AN OUTRAGEOUS assertion. Pictured is where we were walking. We have every right to walk on the public thoroughfare, we have every right to walk on the shoulder of the public thoroughfare, we have every right to walk in the lane of traffic if there is no place else to walk, such as bridges, such as areas cordoned off for construction. We have the same right to passage as the high speed automobile.

After that contact with the CHP we continued south and stopped at Starbucks to charge our smartphone and get a cup of coffee. We were in there for about an hour. I had secured Little Girl to a pole in the parking lot. I could see through the window that police officers were pulling up to where Little Girl was tied. I then went outside to talk to the officers and told them that the mule belonged to me. They said okay that’s fine. They said that they had gotten calls that someone was concerned about the mule and that they needed to respond, and that was that.

We got back on the road, proceeded south, stopped at Walmart to buy a canister of oatmeal, got back on the road until we found a place to sleep for the night.

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, walk into a coffee shop and enjoy their cup of coffee, return to their car, put their groceries and supplies in their car, and leave to go home.

To have people constantly call the police simply because a person arrives by horse or mule and not in an automobile is outrageous. To have officers or security guards stop and interrogate a person simply because they arrived by mule 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 2018 where one must 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.

I have known my mule Little Girl since she was born in 1990 and she has been by my side and full-time care since I bought her in 1993. While she may not technically fit the official federal designation of a service animal, she is my service animal and is an integral part of our nomadic way of life that’s been here for hundreds of thousands of years. She is in service to this place. Any common sense mind would come to the conclusion that she is without a doubt a service animal.

The Mules know that much of our contact with law enforcement agencies, CHP, local police, county sheriff, and animal control is instigated by trolls. These trolls will call enforcement agencies complaining there is a homeless man walking in the middle of the road with a horse. There is a man leading an injured horse past my house. There is a horse tied in the Starbucks parking lot with no water. It looks emaciated, etc., etc.

Their intention of course is to keep the Mules under a constant state of harassment, wear us down and keep the Mules from doing this most important job of using their constitutional right as well as everybody else’s to move freely and spontaneously in this country. The Mules have never been charged or cited for anything other than our God given right to stop and sleep at night, such as our arrest on National parks land in Thousand Oaks, CA. The Mules will never be worn down as we have access to endless amounts of energy harbored in the nation, the 3 Mules nation, from which we come. When one Monk falls another Monk appears brought forth by the force of energy accumulated and acquired throughout our history dating back hundreds of thousands of years living with respect and reverence for this sparkling jewel suspended in the mist of time we call Earth.

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The Public Thoroughfare

Highways are Public Thoroughfares. They are the means by which the Mules or anybody else moves freely from one place to the next. The Public Thoroughfare is public for the general public. It cannot be claimed exclusively by any singular use – in particular the high speed machines be they private or commercial.

Anybody traveling by horse, bike or foot all day has the absolute common sense right to stop and rest on the Public Thoroughfare. Any law, regulation or constructing the thoroughfare to limit its use to any one venue over others is absolutely illegal.

The Mules will continue to use the Public Thoroughfare to move freely and responsibly in all ways applicable to our nomadic way of life. We have been here for hundreds of thousands of years and will remain here for hundreds of thousands more.

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Wheatland, CA

We stopped here last night. We were not here more than half an hour when a CHP officer showed up. He got out of his car and asked us what was up. We told him that we were stopping here to rest for the night. He said he was responding to a number of calls that we were walking in the middle of the road.

My answer to that was that we were not walking in the middle of the road. We were walking on the side of the road due to the fact that there was no shoulder to walk on, thus it forced us to walk on the edge of the road. We had a right to do so. We have every right to use the public thoroughfare as the automobile. 

The officer went back to his car and talked to the office. He returned and said he was merely concerned that we don’t get hit. He handed me back my I.D. and was on his way.

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Share the Road

Hwy 150 – Public Thoroughfare

A few days ago, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer stopped across the highway (Hwy 150) from the Mules and told us that CHP was getting a number of calls about us being in the middle of the road. We said when there is no other place to go but on the road, we are going to use the road. He said you can’t be on the road. We said Highway 150 is a public thoroughfare that all venues have the right to use it be they bicycles, pedestrians, equestrians or somebody in a wheelchair. He said if he gets any more calls about the Mules being on the road and he has to come back, there will be issues. We said that we have the same right to the public thoroughfare as any high speed motorist.

It seems the high-speed motorist and the CHP have made an unholy alliance. First the CHP collects a number of calls from the high-speed motorist claiming there is somebody with horses on the road, then comes out using those calls as a justification to remove the Mules from the public thoroughfare.

2015 California Department of Motor Vehicle handbook page 62 and California Vehicle Code 21759 Caution in Passing Animals clearly states “riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles. It is a traffic offense to scare horses or stampede livestock. Slow down or stop, if necessary, or when requested to do so by the riders or herders.” The vehicle handbook does not say to call and scream to the CHP that there are horses in the road, come and get rid of them, they slowed me up.

Lady and Little Girl at one of many roadside memorials that we encounter while walking

The high speed motorist is clearly breaking the law. The crosses (memorials) we see along the highways are not there because of The Mules. The crosses are there because of speed by the high-speed motorist. For the CHP and its ally, the high-speed motorist, to try and shift the responsibility of its deadly excessive speed over to the Mules moving at three miles per hour doesn’t work. It can’t pass the test of basic common sense.

These pictures attest to the fact that there is often no choice but to be on the road, which in this kind of circumstance, the high-speed motorist must slow down, obey the California Vehicle Code 21759, share the road, and not call the CHP to demand removal of the Mules from the road.

You see the “Share the Road” bicycle sign occasionally. A feeble acknowledgement by the state of California’s Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol, that yes, the Public Thoroughfare is not for the exclusive use of the High Speed Motorist (HSM). It must be shared by all venues. We saw the sign once on Hwy 150, and not at all on Hwy 33.

The sign on the left should look more like the sign that I drew, placed at the entrance to any and all dangerous blind curves and constricted passage ways! Keeping the HSM aware that it must reduce his/her speed and be ready to slow down or stop in these most dangerous areas. “You must share road with Bicycles, Pedestrians, Equestrians, Raccoons, Skunks, Deer and all others. Be read to stop or slow down.”

The HSM screaming to the CHP will not save anybody’s life. A concerted effort by the Department of Transportation to properly sign many of these and most dangerous roads traveled by the HSM will save many lives.

Getting rid of the Mules will not stop the carnage of the HSM. The crosses on the sides of the roads were there before the Mules and will continue to appear until the HSM is reigned in and made to obey the law.

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