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Mule and his three mules.
Mule and his three mules.
Here is the Mule Man in the Cleveland National Forest. Beautiful wilderness area! He is now camped near Warner Springs. Got some nice footage during t...
Mule camping along the freeway in Rialto.
Mule camping along the freeway in Rialto.
Grazing under the underpass.
Grazing under the underpass.

A man and three mules; an American saga

Friday, February 1st, 2013
Issue 05, Volume 17.
Jodi Thomas
Staff Writer

He calls himself Mule; he travels the country, living his life. An elusive figure, a man out of time, roaming the land where men have roamed for centuries unabated, he is living the American dream. His American dream connects him to the land, to his mules. His mules afforded him comfort and companionship, their life itself to him. A special relationship few in this technological world will ever know. Few would be brave enough to follow their heart like this man. Dare to live with the sky as their roof and the grass as their carpet. No walls are needed for him to be home. Does this fact make him less of a man, less worthy of respect? To be outlawed, scorned, and fined into oblivion?

In today’s age, most of the ground is covered in city, concrete and asphalt, smog darkens the blue of the sky. Laws do not reflect the life of a traveler, living life unencumbered by modern ways, living the same way that men have for centuries, men who tamed the west. To the man and his mules do we say welcome, we remember your human rights, we respect your choice to live the American dream, this dream that personifies the west, living close to the land and under the sky?

In Torrey Pines that peaceful life choice was interrupted by a ticket. It claimed that Mule had been illegally camping. The simple truth was the mules were tired, it was dark, they needed to rest.

Now three mules move along a trail that will lead them to a San Diego Court and to the Clerk’s Office, there the man who calls himself Mule will protest his ticket, a ticket whose fine costs $485.

Mule has a chance meeting; a man meets him at the New Year’s Parade in Pasadena. Mule interests him, he wants to follow, to film his struggle, his name is Advertisement
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John McDonald. John is moved by Mule’s life and his mission to bring to the light the prejudice the traveler’s suffer. Jan. 13, 2013, John puts up a website with a link to Facebook for Mule. Postings help John keep track of Mule. He loses him on the road to Anza, he follows his tracks which travel the old dirt Bautista trail, from Hemet to Anza, a trail that many have traveled before him. John finds the Anza man who posts, say he saw him last, Tom Firth, a mule man himself.

Tom goes out to find Mule and brings him down into the Chihuahua Valley. There Mule and John will join up again. Four days of stormy weather has Mule held up, camping in the hills. Sunday the day is clear, Mule is on the move towards Warner Springs. Mule goes to Lake Henshaw he is greeted by the Vista Water Dept., they call the sheriffs on Mule for trespassing. Mule came off the Pacific Crest Trail; he did not see the "No Trespassing" signs. He travelled on towards San Diego, John goes home to rest, he will meet him again. He will meet him at the courthouse.

You are welcome to come and stand up and say yes for Mule, Wednesday, Feb. 6, by joining him in solidarity at the courthouse. Help keep the American West alive! Is it not Mule’s constitutional right to pursue life, liberty and happiness as long as he is not hurting anyone? How is this to be done? Would you say no to this man?

Follow Mule; go to for all the links, see his citation and read the latest news. Mule has told John that he welcomes your questions, post them on Facebook. The court house is located at Superior Court 8950 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92123. Hours are M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.



Comment Profile ImageJodi Thomas
Comment #1 | Saturday, Feb 2, 2013 at 11:41 am
The Mules man’s update court information according to Facebook –
Mule’s court appearance has been extended to March 8th, so that more preparation can be made to challenge the $485 fine he received for illegal camping at Torrey Pines. Go to www.3mules for the link or email John McDonald at “
Comment Profile ImageJodi Thomas
Comment #2 | Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 12:15 am
The Mule Man's court date will now be before a judge sometime in the fall of 2013. Visit website for new info. Watch for updated stories in the Anza Valley Outlook and associated papers.
Comment Profile ImageKevin l
Comment #3 | Friday, Mar 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Man with three mules spotted on Miramar Road today

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Anza Valley Outlook staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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