Nature’s air conditioner a weeping willow tree. Step in under its umbrella and I bet it’s 20° cooler than when you step outside of it. Sure seems like that to us.
UPDATE 9/19/2020: In 2015 the Mules were traveling through Ventana Wilderness in Monterey County where we had the pleasure of staying at Rancho Salsipuedes owned by Timothy Bottoms. We enjoyed our stay at the Rancho and learning of its unique history, which is documented in our original blog post below.
Rancho Salsipuedes is a rare place. About 12 miles inland in Big Sur, it is one of the LAST standing California Homesteads that is not owned by the government or by a corporation. It has been in the hands of The Bottoms family since 1975. It has been untouched by overdevelopment, remaining in all of its glory. It has been looked after with true, pure, authentic love for the natural world.
We have come to find out about the Dolan wildfire that started August 18, 2020 and one month later continues to burn with only 46% perimeter containment. This wildfire ravaged thru and over the Rancho Salsipuedes, which we are very sorry to hear about.
In 2015, We left our palomino mule, Who Dee Doo, at Rancho Salsipuedes and glad to see in the photo below that he made it through the fire okay.
The Bottom’s family friend, Caitlin Ackerman, has organized a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the remaining horses and rebuild Rancho Salsipuedes. Please click on this link to read more about this special place and donate if you can. Warning, there are graphic images of the animals domestic and wildlife that didn’t survive.
Here is our original blog post that we wrote October 20, 2015:
October 20, 2015 – Rancho Salsipuedes:
Three Mules and one monk were walking south through Fort Hunter Liggett on a road bordering the Los Padres National Forest when a gentleman by the name of Timothy Bottoms stopped his Jeep, got out, introduced himself and asked if the kids needed water or hay for he had brought some. The monk responded, “No. We are okay. Thank you.”
He then invited us to his ranch to take a break. We said yes that would be nice. So we walked to his ranch, which is surrounded by the Ventana Wilderness, and took a break.
Tim asked if we needed anything in the way of supplies, gear, etc. The monk responded with a yes. Our pack boxes were over 25 years old and worn to the bone. Tim said he would be glad to help so he did by supplying us with four new pack boxes.
Who Dee Do, our third mule will be staying at Tim’s ranch. He never became easy for me to shoe. He had to be sedated and that was not a practical scheme for us walking through the Megatropolis.
Who Dee Do will be living with Tim’s horses and mules, a great place for Who Dee Do to live.
The Mules say thank you to Timothy Bottoms for his kindness and support he has shown the mules, the identifiers of this ages old nomadic way of life living with respect and reverence for this beautiful place called Earth, the home of human beings. ~The Mules
About Rancho Salsipuedes: “Nestled in the verdant, peaceful valley, stands the thick adobe walls of the Mission San Antonio de Padua’s Portreros Mulos built by the caretaker friar and several neophytes…it established ranch support for the mission mules.
After secularization in 1834, the property came under the private ownership of Vicente Avile, who purchased the drought stricken Rancho for the stately sum of $13, all he had in his pocket. The Rancho remained in the family estate for over one hundred years.
The Avila Ranch, a 160-acre homestead, became known as Salsipuedes (“get out if you can”), which was later sold to Timothy Bottoms in 1975 as a family refuge.”
On the ranch is an old stone cabin and oven built sometime in late 1800s/early 1900s.
The trails surrounding the property are very difficult to travel and impassable with overgrown brush and fallen trees. During the time we were waiting for our pack boxes to arrive, we spent our time clearing these trails.
Last night, the Mules spent the night in Norco in Riverside County, California, also know as HorseTown U.S.A. We found a vacant field where we spent the night. Upon awakening in the morning, I took Little Girl across the street and got her some water and then grazed her along the horse path for about an hour.
I returned to the place we spent the night and fixed breakfast. After enjoying breakfast and watching Little Girl take a nap, we packed up and proceeded on our way north though Norco.
We met a number of followers of our Facebook and website pages and enjoyed the conversations. After a mile or so, we saw Norco’s sign HorseTown USA. According to city ordinances, the architecture of Norco “shall reflect a desired Western theme,” including qualities “described as rural, informal, traditional, rustic, low-profile and equestrian oriented.
As a horse community, there are few sidewalks in the city of Norco, instead there are horse trails and riders can ride to town and tie their horses at the many hitching rails and corrals placed close to businesses.
We thank the town of Norco for the pleasant experience as short as it was. It was nice not to be bothered by police officers telling us they were getting calls about a starving horse, a loose horse, a horse dying from lack of water, or a drunken homeless man leading a horse down the road, etc. etc. or expressing general concern as to the sight of the Mules. This did not happen. It was a pleasant experience in Norco, HorseTown USA.
Now we are well out of Norco. It is now time to stop on the public thoroughfare for we have been walking most of the day as any equestrian traveler does and we will claim our right to stop here, fix our dinner, go to sleep on the public domain/thoroughfare as any citizen of the United States has a constitutional right to do so.
Pictured is a sign that says, Emergency Stopping Only. That is an illegal post. No city or county or state has the legal right to post any sign that will prevent any legal user of said thoroughfare to use it in a responsible way. This sign is absolutely attempting to do that. It’s entirely illegal under the constitution of the United States. The public thoroughfare within the United States belongs to the public.
The Mules are a member of that public and we can without doubt unequivocally prove our safe and responsible use of it. We will not accept any form of exclusion from it.
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.
Video showing the routine of the Mules when we stop to rest for the night. We respect the land, keep it clean and leave no trace.
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.
Last night the mules spent the night in Lake Elsinore on a vacant lot. While we were packing up this morning, the Lake Elsinore code enforcement officer approached us and said we could not be here. We said we would be gone in about an hour. He said right now get your stuff and leave. He then called the sheriff.
Sheriff came and said you’re trespassing. If you don’t leave immediately, you will be arrested. We said we were not trespassing. There were no fences preventing our entry and no signs to inform us that we could not be there through the night for the purpose of a night’s sleep. The officer did not pursue the issue any further. We cleaned up after ourselves and left. It took over an hour.
The Mules will be staying in the town of Lake Elsinore tonight seeking a public piece of ground for the purpose of a night’s sleep. We require very little area through the night and are on our way in the morning.
The Megatropolis and its forever spreading cities and towns must come to respect the Mules and the way of living they represent as we are all being driven like sheep into a smaller and smaller area in which to live and raise families. We must establish a place we can all go and practice The Art of Living freely and responsibly in our country. As the Mules practice their ages old nomadic way of life they also show the absolute necessity for such a place we can all go move freely and keep and regain our sanity.
The attitude held by most public officials of the cities we pass through such as Lake Elsinore is utter disrespect and disregard. The mules wonder why because the attitude and demeanor of the citizens of the cities and towns we pass through is always friendly and positive.
Last night the Mules stopped in Diamond Bar at one of its city parks to sleep for the night. We found an out of the way bare piece of ground next to the maintenance yard to spend the night, so we did for less than a 12 hour period. Upon awakening in the morning, I fixed my breakfast and proceeded to pack up Little Girl when three Los Angeles County sheriff deputies appeared answering a call that there was a horse in the park.
I responded that we had stopped here for the night and were now on our way.
They said fine, no problem, we just got a call and we were checking things out. They looked at our website and were very interested. We talked while I was packing up. They then wished us a safe journey and left. We then left ourselves.
Area of Occupancy
Pictured are examples showing the amount of space the Mules use for less than a twelve hour period during the night. Sleep and rest is essential for all living beings health and wellbeing.
We use the Fresno No Camping Ordinance as an example for the cities passing No Sleeping/No Camping ordinances. They are all using the same argument to justify their passage.
Section 10-1700: Purpose
“Streets and public areas should be readily accessible to residents and public at large.” The Mules are a part of that public.
“Use of these areas for camping or storage of personal property interferes with the rights of others to use the areas for which they were intended.” The Mules don’t store anything. When people store their personal property, they lock it up, hide it with the expectation that it will still be there on their return be it one day, one week, one year.
The Mules unload their belongings off their mule, fix dinner, then go to sleep for less than a twelve hour period during the night, never leaving their belongings. This is not storing personal property. The Mules leave in the morning, leaving the space they occupied cleaner than it was when they arrived.
Do the Mules practice proper sanitary measures? Absolutely. We throw a nylon tarp over us so we can’t be seen. The result is the same as a park user going into a urinal and covered by four walls. The Mules urinate in a plastic bottle, crap in a bag, then carry our waste until a proper place for disposal is found.
The Mules have been migrating north and south in this state for over five and a half years. We have never hurt a soul. The automobile however has killed and maimed thousands for that same period of time. For any municipality to infer the Mules are a public safety hazard is to turn basic common sense on its ear.
Per the National Safety Council, the number of motor-vehicle deaths in 2016 totaled 40,200, up 6% from 2015 and the first time the annual fatality total has exceeded 40,000 since 2007. Medially consulted motor-vehicle injuries in 2016 are estimated to be about 4.6 million, an increase of 7% from the 2016 rate. The estimated cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage in 2016 was $432.5 billion, an increase of 12% from 2015. The costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs and property damage.
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.
During the past month, while we were at Wind Wolves Preserve, we worked (volunteered) about four hours a day clearing the overgrowth on the trail in upper San Emigdio Canyon. We cleared this trail last year, but the brush had overgrown and covered it up again.
After Christmas on the morning of the 26th, we left our camp where we were staying at Wind Wolves and proceeded up the canyon where we passed an old mine (photo above), which I’m sure we passed a few times before, but have never noticed those previous times.
As we went along to the top of the canyon, we passed this big beautiful tree, which had a nice fresh scent. We got to the highway and on the road and proceeded east to Lake of the Woods.
We arrived at Frazier park around 2:30pm. We went to the library to charge our phone, but it was closed.
After that, we met Michelle and her daughter Jessica as we were walking down the road. They got out of their car, introduced themselves and said they followed us on Facebook. They brought Little Girl a big bag of carrots. Every time we go through Frazier Park we always meet very nice people.
As it was getting dark, we spent the night along I-5, awoke in the morning and proceeded to where we are now at the start of Old Ridge Road, which will take us along the ridge, which parallels I-5 going south into Castaic and on into Los Angeles.