When San Diego’s 10News wrote its article about the 65-year-old Mule man who is walking through the entire western United States with his three mules "Little Girl," "Lady" and "Pepper," it fascinated many readers and viewers. However, San Diego’s 10News reported on Feb. 26, 2013, that “Though Mule has no cellphone, computer or any connection to the modern world, he has a huge fan following online.”
Mule, whose real name is John Sears, does not only have a Facebook page but also a website. From time to time, he comes across a public library where his mules are allowed to rest and where he is allowed to connect to readers who are fascinated by the American saga that is alive in Mule today.
Mule enjoys seeing the pictures that people have posted of him and with him on Facebook. Mule also shares, whatever he can, with his readers. John McDonald, who met Mule during a chance meeting at the New Year’s Parade in Pasadena, set up the Facebook page for Mule and is keeping track of Mule’s whereabouts; at least trying to.
In his own words, John McDonald says,
“This Facebook page came about after spending some time videotaping the man and his 3 mules for my documentary. Someone had helped him put up the 3mules.com website, and he asked me if I could help him expand it beyond its original single page. I suggested he also consider Facebook as a way to form a community of people who have an interest in the lifestyle he has chosen. The one thing he has stressed to me over and over is that he does not want to be perceived as someone who is after any kind of commercial gain. He says he has found a special place where he looks forward to the magic of each new day, and he wants to share it with others. -- John McDonald”
So who is this American saga named Mule?
According to Mule’s “3 Mule” website,
“Who are we? Where are we from? We are mules. 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.”
Like the old pioneers, Mule and his three mules are here today, there tomorrow. Today he was in Bonita. Yesterday he was by the ocean in the Tijuana River Valley. Where he'll be tomorrow, no one knows.
On Nov.12, 2012, East County Magazine wrote an article about Mule when he was in Lakeside, Calif.
“The animals live off the land, but Mule makes trips to the store for provisions. Having done this for 29 years Mule knows all about living outside; he considers himself and his mules ‘outsiders‘ in the sense that we, (not him) live indoors. Mule and his three mules, on the other hand, live ‘outside.’ Like the pioneers of old he packs his mules, one of which he has traveled with for 25 plus years. Walking from town to town searching not for gold or silver or fame, but for the land that connects with the three mules and himself. He talks about the day at hand, how each day is unique, and not the same as the next day or the day before.”
At the end of the article, the author of East County Magazine’s article wrote,
“He is not a stranger. He is one with reality, the closest to the real life as one could get. I understand this man, I have a small connection with this land he is visiting. I too feel connected to the ground and all the creatures in it on it and above it. As my friend, Pami, and I left him, we couldn’t help but feel that the life we all live is in vane, obscured by vanity, lust and greed. We have lost touch with the real world which we have been given.”
On Feb. 1, 2013, Anza Valley Outlook wrote
“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.”
The article also describes what happens when the world of an old pioneer and the new world filled with rules and regulations crash. When Mule and his three companions were in Torrey Pines in San Diego, it was dark and the mules were tired. So Mule rested with them. Sure enough, Mule got a ticket for “illegally camping.”
According to the Anza Valley Outlook article, Mule is planning to protest his $485 ticket at the San Diego Court. Originally, the court date was set for Feb. 6, 2013. A comment under the article, however, informs that the date for 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.” As of Feb. 26, 2013, it appears that the court date has again been extended and to keep checking back on the website or Facebook for any new court date.
Mule’s website states that “On November 28, 2012, the Mules were cited by state park rangers at Torrey Pines State Reserve for illegal camping. They were awakened at 4am. The fine is $485. Pictured is the actual citation.”
According to Mule’s Facebook page where readers have asked to find out about Mule’s monthly expenses, Mule can live four or five months for that amount of money.
For example, Mule’s expenses for Nov. 27, 2012 to Dec. 27, 2012, were:
- 11/29 Food 4.48
- Dust pan 3.22
- 11/30 Food 3.08
- 12/1 Food 0.64
- 12/4 Food 15.14
- 12/8 Food 0.64
- 12/10 Food 2.00
- 12/12 Food 1.85
- Dust pan 1.61
- 12/14 Gas 1.00
- Dust pan 4.53
- 12/15 Food 26.00
- 12/17 Postal 1.12
- 12/18 Food 6.82
- 12/20 Food 1.08
- Gas 0.50
- 12/23 Food 7.82
For people wondering what the dust pans were for? Most likely to scoop up anything that the mules might leave behind.
Following Mule’s story is exciting not only because Mule and his three companions are indeed an American saga but, most importantly, because the words written by people on Facebook who have met Mule and his companions show that the American saga and the spirit of the American pioneer is still alive in the hearts of many people today.