MULE DAYS 6-Day RV Rally

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Stubborn as a mule?  …you bet! But the town of Bishop, California knows how to celebrate these long eared and often stubborn animals!  Each year since 1969 this small town located on the eastern side of the magnificent Sierra Nevada Mountains host the annual Mule Days Celebration – a fun filled week which is part mule show, part equestrian skills testing and part Wild West Show.  In short, it’s a great party celebrating the many different attributes of the mule.


Horse vs Mule

A mule is the product of a female horse and a male donkey.  But if its parents are a female donkey and a male horse, it’s called a hinny.  Besides the big ears, cow-like tail and brushy mane, there are some major personality differences between a mule and a horse.  The term “mule-headed” doesn’t necessarily mean being stubborn, it’s just that mules have a strong sense of self-preservation and more common sense than the typical horse.  They’re durable and strong, usually gentle and quite confident – hence the legendary sure-footedness that gold prospectors and explorers relied on.  They inherit their intelligence, endurance, strength and patience from their donkey parent.  Their speed and beauty comes from the horse.

You’ll learn even more about mules and their quirky personalities by participating in Fantasy’s Mule Days Rally – six days of celebrating this quirky animal!  Our adventure begins when we rendezvous at Fantasy’s temporary campground, with generated 30 amp electric hookups, water and a honey wagon.  We start our Rally off right with an Opening Night Supper at the campground.

Mt-Whitney-Fish-HatcheryDay Two starts with an area bus tour, with visits to the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery, with ponds of rainbow and golden trout which we are welcome to feed.  Next stop is the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, the home of several major Caltech-operated telescopes performing experiments and research.  We visit the moving Manzanar War Relocation Center – one of ten camps where 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II.  Now a National Historic Site, two of the original barracks and the mess hall have been reconstructed and several symbolic gardens and ponds built by the Japanese have been excavated for us to experience. 

Museum-of-Western-FilmWe are taken to the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine, offering an extensive collection of movie costumes, cars, props and other memorabilia.  One of Hollywood’s favorite filming destinations, many movies were filmed in the area – from Round Up in the early days to modern films like Iron Man.  We end our tour with a picnic lunch, giving us a chance to soak up the beautiful Sierra scenery.  But the fun doesn’t stop – that evening we head to the Mule Days auditorium for a musical concert and even the chance to meet the performers.

Barrel-RacingAfter a delicious pancake breakfast the next morning, we head into Bishop.  The town is serious about celebrating Mule Days, and we have time to explore the various vendors’ booths.  That afternoon, we head to the grandstand where we get our first chance to watch those mules do their thing!  And they are doing a lot – English pleasure riding, jumping, dressage, team roping, Western pleasure riding and even mule racing!  Who needs a horse when you can have a mule?  That evening we stay in town for a delicious barbeque dinner and dancing.

Everybody loves a parade, and after more delicious pancakes on Saturday morning, we join the crowd on Bishop’s Main Street to watch the Mule Days Celebration Parade – claiming to be the longest non-motorized parade in the world!  Many of the Parade’s mules, wagons, drivers and riders return to the Fairgrounds that afternoon to participate in the Grand Entry, and we’ll be there right along with them.  This afternoon, the mules are putting on a show for us – with pack scrambles, chariot racing, musical tires, barrel racing, a costume class and more!  The fun continues into the evening when they’re joined by equestrian relatives – donkeys!  These little guys will compete in their own race under Western saddle.

And when these events finally come to their tumultuous end, we’ll head over to the Saturday night dance.

Mule-Days-enter-arenaThe fun in the grandstands continues on Sunday with the event finals.  But there’s also some comedic relief with events like the Dolly Parton Race and donkey barrel racing.  That evening, we join fellow Fantasy guests for a Farewell Dinner where we relate stories of the mule hijinks we’ve shared for the past five days.

The next morning after a Goodbye Continental Breakfast, we depart the Eastern Sierras – definitely with a new appreciation of our long eared friends.