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Have mules will travel 

John Sears, 65, with his mules “Little Girl,” “Lady” and “Pepper.”

John Sears, 65, with his mules “Little Girl,” “Lady” and “Pepper” on Union Road in Paso Robles.

Man lives simple traveling life with three mules

The mules at the Rose Bowl.

The mules at the Rose Bowl.

A man and his three mules passed through Paso Robles today on their way to Sacramento after spending the winter in San Diego.

This unusual and yet inspiring sight is experienced by thousands of folks in small towns and large cities throughout the western United States.  But who is he and what is he doing?  Is he lost in the wrong century?  Is he homeless?  Is he on a mission?

“We live outdoors,” the man said while enjoying the Paso Robles sunshine while walking up Union Road. What do the mules eat? He points to the grass and chaparral surrounding him. What’s his name? “I am one of them,” he says pointing to the mules. An ABC News story reports he is 65-year-old John Sears, who likes to go by the name “Mule.”

Who are they? Where are they from?

“We are mules,” he writes on his website  We are from the outside. We live outside all day, every day. Where are we going? Nowhere. We’re here: the outside, the web of life, the beautiful earth, a place like no other. We have come to this place, a place of golden sparkling light, a place for anybody and everybody. Give your faith, hope and energy to this place at which time you connect to it and receive the magic and endless possibility of infinity. As you walk in this place with these mules you spread the awareness that this beautiful earth, like no other, can only be protected by the way we live one day at a time”

Is he breaking the law?

In November 28, 2012, the mules were cited by state park rangers at Torrey Pines State Reserve for illegal camping, according to his website.They were awakened at 4am.  The fine was $485. The actual citation is pictured on his website. Sharon Sherman, an attorney representing the mules pro bono, entered a plea of “not guilty” in March. The mules did not need to be present for this arraignment and they are awaiting a court date.

A documented life

John Sears

John Sears

Filmmaker John McDonald is occasionally following the journey of the mules for a documentary he is making. He writes the website created for the mules:  Throughout their travels, The Mules have noticed an ever increasing urban sprawl.  Open spaces where they once moved through freely, and sometimes spent the night in a secluded spot, were disappearing.  More and more cars filled up the roadways, and the expanding urban infrastructure seemed to serve one purpose:  accommodate more automobiles.  At the same time, space for other means of self-transportation, such as bicycling, horseback riding and simply walking, were shrinking.  Those alternative means of self-travel have often been confined to designated “recreation” areas.  Also, as the urban environment exploded, natural habitats have vanished, or been “preserved” in spaces a fraction of the size they once were. “The space needed by The Mules to travel this country freely in all four directions on the landscape is being taken over by the suburban model of automobile usage, exclusively, and leaving no space for alternative venues of moving and living.  In our travels, we carry that awareness and bring it to others.  We’re a working model for that awareness, one step at a time, all day, every day.”


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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.