San Mateo County

Thanks for everyone using the #3Mules or @3Mules hashtag on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts so that The Mules can be aware of the photos taken of us. The other day, we noticed that the Twitter posts of City of San Mateo and Foster City Police used the hashtag #NomadicLife with our photos. We thought that hashtag was cool too, as it shows that the the cities of San Mateo and Foster City understand what The Mules are about. So thanks and continue using #3Mules and #NomadicLife or @3Mules so we can find and share your photos.

As part of a glimpse into our nomadic life…

As previously stated in other posts, I lived my early childhood years in Marin. My later childhood years were spent living in the Palo Alto area when it was still mainly undeveloped, open space or orchards. Thus, I am really familiar with this area along the El Camino Real, but sometimes it is hard to recognize this place now with all the new buildings.

While in San Mateo, the Mules met this gentleman also named John, and we started talking. As the conversation further progressed, we discovered that we both attended the same middle school and high school in Palo Alto in the 1960’s. We had the same teachers but were a couple years apart in class. We both have younger sisters the same age. John phoned his sister and asked if she recognized my sister’s name. Immediately she responded that they were in the same class in junior high and high school. This encounter is something we would describe as coming out of the who-dee-doo. Surreal. This is the first time that I ever met a stranger on the road that went to the same middle and high school as I did.

Yesterday, we accidentally left our backpack at the Belmont City Hall entrance while delivering the Declaration of Emergency (DOE). Upon discovering this after we were about 2 miles away, we called the Belmont Police Department to let them know, and they kindly retrieved it for us. Thank you Belmont Police Department.

We then continued south on El Camino Real and delivered the DOE to San Carlos City Hall.

Grazing in the Megatropolis

The kids were getting hungry, so we took a side street and explored the range. We found this place knocked on the door and asked if we could graze. The gentleman said yes. We said thank you. We were there about two hours. The kids had a nice dinner.

Where we stopped to rest for the night

We then got back on El Camino Real and looked for a place to rest for the night. We came upon Sequoia High School. The gate was open and we squeezed through and went to sleep. Thank you Sequoia High.

We are on our way to Redwood City and the surrounding towns before heading to Woodside and on our way to Santa Cruz.

Share this:

Golden Gate Bridge

Who Dee Doo, Lady and Little Girl on the trail to the Golden Gate Bridge

Last week, we were asked by park police to provide 24-hours notice when we were ready to cross the bridge. On Monday, we called the park police phone number provided to us on Friday, and were told to call the Bridge Manager’s office to confirm the crossing. Thus we called the bridge manager’s office informing them that the Mules planned to be at the bridge at noon. They said okay and sent an email to call Park Police dispatch an hour before ready for transport. We were also told on Monday that the Mules had permission to stay at the Park Police stables in the Presidio on Tuesday evening.

Based on emails that I saw yesterday, I understood that arrangements had been made with the bridge manager and National Park Service as we had did what we were told last week. This morning, I didn’t turn my cell phone on because I didn’t think that I needed to. My objective in the morning was to get to Sausalito City Hall to deliver the Declaration of Emergency before heading to the bridge.

When I arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge, I was informed by U.S. Park Police that they were no longer going to trailer the Mules across the bridge in their mounted police trailers due to rules that they had to follow. We were also informed that the invitation to stay at the stables was rescinded and that we were not allowed to be anywhere within the Presidio because it is a residential and business area. If we were trailered, we would be required to be dropped off by Ocean Beach. The U.S. police required vaccination papers on the Mules, which we don’t have, thus they said the mules could not be transported in their trailer or stay in their stables. This was told to us when we were at the bridge. They said this is to prevent risking the health of their horses by unknown animals.

We called the Bridge Manager who said that this issue was out of his hands, and that there was nothing on his end that he was able to do. While standing at the bridge, we were surprised that this arrangement crumbled since emails and phone calls last week and Monday from Bridge Manager and Park Police indicated everything was okay.

When a very nice person heard about these last minutes development, they immediately drove from Sonoma County to the Golden Gate Bridge with a large horse trailer to trailer the Mules across the Golden Gate Bridge. However, as upsetting it was to them for the time they took to do this kind deed, we refused their assistance as we were truly taken aback by everything we had just heard from the U.S. Park Police when we arrived.

The Mules and all venues have an equal right to use the public thoroughfare. It is public. It is open to all comers. It is the tool we use to move freely in this country. Highway 101 was built and now maintained at huge expense with taxpayer money. The bridge authority was given the right to charge tolls to those that use the 101 public thoroughfare crossing the Golden Gate, but should not given the right to exclude any segment of the public that needs to cross the bridge. Mules being one of those segments.

Monk walking across Golden Gate Bridge east sidewalk 2013

The justification provided by Bridge manager is for safety. Any common sense mind agrees that there is no safety issue at all. The eastern side walk of the bridge is closed to pedestrians at night, but open to cyclists. We requested an exception to walk across the bridge at 2AM when there is little bridge traffic and no pedestrians on the bridge. The sidewalk is still wide enough for a bicycle to pass at 2am. So this is not a safety issue.

Little Girl and Lady, San Francisco 2014

Last year the mules walked through the San Francisco Financial District, Market Street, the Embarcadero, and Fisherman’s Wharf where it is crowded with people and cars. We had no safety issues. We have walked throughout California without safety issues.

We did not accept a trailer ride offered by the supportive lady from Sonoma simply because the energy of our life (journey) in large part is the right to equal use of the public thoroughfare. It is the lifeblood of this ages old nomadic life which we still practice and enjoy. If the bridge authority can successfully put forth a common sense argument in the public court of common sense and deny the Mules their right to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, it then must take full responsibility to arrange for a trailer assisted crossing.

The Mules are creating a blueprint by which anybody traveling with their mule, horse, llama, donkey, etc. can cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

Share this:

Hunt & Behrens Grain Factory (Petaluma)

This past week, when we were coming down Petaluma Boulevard into Petaluma, the kids were grazing in a vacant lot. The manager of the nearby Hunt & Behrens grain factory introduced himself. He said that he has followed our journey extensively for the past two years.

He reminded us that in 2013 as we were passing through Petaluma, he invited us to stay in the empty field behind the grain factory and he had also provided us a bucket of water and grain.

So after he saw us on Tuesday, he invited us to stay the night in the empty lot behind the grain factory again. We accepted his invitation. The kids got grain, alfalfa and water from the factory along with good rest and grazing in the field.

This gentleman does not want to be recognized publicly by name or photograph. The Mules do want to let him know that we do appreciate what he has done for us back in 2013 and now 2015. Thank you.

Share this:

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.

Share this:

Sacramento State Capitol California Highway Patrol

Thank you to California Highway Patrol Capitol Officer Jones for ensuring a smooth and welcoming visit for the 3 Mules. When the Mules arrived at the Capitol, CHP bike patrol officer escorted the Mules to a fenced, shaded area with water for Lady, Little Girl and Who-dee-doo. CHP mounted patrol unit officers Dillon and Maxwell kept an eye on the kids while Mule delivered the DOE to Governor Jerry Brown’s Office.

Share this:

Turlock, CA

The Mules delivered the DOE and MCL to Turlock City Hall. After doing so, we encountered two gentlemen, CSU Stanislaus Police, who showed interest in our campaign to build a multi-use trail system in this country linking all states to all states north, south, east and west.

Share this:

Livingston, California

On May 24, Ruben Chavez, police chief of Livingston, CA, e-mailed the Mules: “The mules are welcome to stay in Livingston for water, food, etc. We currently have two rescued horses we use for mounted patrol. We would love to have you stay with us. We also have charros who ride through town daily. We are equine friendly, so please call me if you have any questions.”

We responded to the email and called Chief Chavez and accepted his offer to stop and rest for a couple nights in Livingston.

Share this:

Wind Wolves Preserve

After spending 11 nights/12 days as guests on The Wildlands Conservancy’s Wind Wolves Preserve, the 3 Mules are back on the road.

San Emigdio Mountains

Back on April 9th, we were going on 33 North towards Bakersfield, in which we first looked south and were enticed by the mountains in Wind Wolves Preserve. It’s a big area at 93,000 acres, the West Coast’s largest nonprofit preserve, in which you don’t see any buildings or any roads, so naturally we thought it would be nice area to go into as we continued on our way to Bakersfield not really expecting to ever go there.

Who Dee Doo broke his pack saddle

On April 14 as we were along 99 heading on our way to Sacramento and south of McFarland, Who-dee-doo decided that he was going to roll onto his back. He rolled right on top of the pack saddle, which was on him, and broke it in half. At that point, I was stranded and couldn’t go anywhere since I need a packsaddle to put my pack boxes with supplies on it. We posted on our 3 Mules Facebook page to see if anybody could bring a packsaddle to help us out.

Backcountry Horsemen of Kern Sierra Unit

Backcountry Horsemen of Kern Sierra Unit responded and brought us a packsaddle and got us back on our feet. The gentleman that brought it said that they were putting on a ride at Wind Wolves that upcoming Saturday and invited us to go there and be a guest for that ride. We accepted and thought it would be a great chance to see Wind Wolves, which we never expected that we’d get. We packed up and headed back to Wind Wolves, which was about 60 miles from where we were.  On April 19, the 3 mules meeting up and riding with the Backcountry Horsemen in Wind Wolves Preserve. The Backcountry Horsemen of Kern-Sierra unit also gifted us a membership to their chapter. For that, the Mules are truly honored.

At Wind Wolves Preserve, we were treated very nicely by Dan York, Vice President of Wildlands Conservancy, Landon Peppel (Wind Wolves Preserve manage), Matt Thorp, (Wind Wolves Preserve ranger), Courtney, Melissa, Sarah and the other staff at Wind Wolves. We stayed here for 11 nights/12 days where the Mules explored the canyons and grazed every day. This is a very peaceful place where we were woken up every morning by the sound of birds and lulled to sleep the sound of crickets and frogs.

EasyBoot on Who Dee Doo

At Wind Wolves, in addition to the mules re-fueling, the mules got re-shoed and fitted with the new Easyboots that were delivered to us. Thank you all that helped donate an EasyBoot so that we could get back on the road. Who-dee-doo allowed the EasyBoots to be put on his hoofs, but he still does not allow us to shoe him on his blind side.

The Wildlands Conservancy mission is to “preserve the beauty and biodiversity of the earth and to provide programs so that children may know the wonder and joy of nature.”  The Wildlands Conservancy owns and operates California’s largest nonprofit nature preserve system that includes”12 magnificent landscapes spanning over 145,000 acres of diverse mountain, valley, desert, river and ocean front properties. The Wildlands Conservancy purchases and restores landscapes and builds national park quality visitor facilities that are open to the public at no cost.

The Backcountry Horsemen mission is “to improve and promote the use, care and development of California backcountry trails, campsites, streams and meadows; to advocate good trail manners; to promote the conservation and utilization of our backcountry resources in concert with livestock transportation; to keep the backcountry trails and forage areas open to horsemen on all public lands; to support or oppose new proposals, plans and restrictions as related to the interest of horsemen and those persons interested in recreational stock use and enjoying the backcountry; to promote the interest of people who, due to health or physical factors, need transportation other than by foot on backcountry trails; to assist in keeping the public informed of the vital need for a clean backcountry; to promote a working relationship with and keep the work and interests of the Corporation before our local, state and federal officials; and to promote public awareness and interest in the historical aspect of horsemen and stock in the backcountry and to help educate backcountry users on ways to use the trail and forage in a manner that conserves the backcountry resources.”

Once again, thank you to the Backcountry Horsemen of Kern Sierra Unit and The Wildlands Conservancy for providing the opportunity for the 3 Mules visit and stay on The Wind Wolves Preserves, a place we never imagined of ever visiting but wanted to.

Share this: