We left after dark on the first day of our trip. The car was held up with the mechanic, pushing back the day of final details (repainting and packing) a whole 24 hours. Still, with a rallying send-off crew singing and laughing and hugging, we rolled out of Oakland in the giant fish car at 6pm on Saturday December 8 to begin our 10 day journey across the United States.
Two years ago, Ben and I moved to Oakland at the same time to intern for Sustainable Living Roadshow. Now after two years of touring, coordinating actions, workshops and off the grid events, we’re off to the next thing: Ben to join his sweetheart in Germany, me back to my home in the Appalachian mountains. Despite the launching of our newest project the REAL Cooperative, The Fishy Corn tour is our last mutual “hoorah” for a while.
Ben is no stranger to driving the fishy corn. On and off since the Right2Know march from Brooklyn New York to Washington DC, and on through the California Prop 37 campaign he has been behind the steering wheel of that befuddled fish face. I’m still straightening out the kinks of learning to drive a stick shift car, so I’ll be handling event coordination, social networking and general organization.
On our first night, we only made it to Bakersfield, CA where we pulled off and slept beside the 5. The next morning we drove to a farmers market that our production genius, Tom in Oakland had found for us. Since leaving the Bay area we’d been driving through hundreds of miles of big industrial agricultural fields, now we were headed to meet the farmers who run them.
No one seems to like the fishy corn nearly as much in the AM. People look at us groggily over their coffee cups with a scowl. Its much too early for anything as confusing as a giant floating corn fish whizzing down the road. We passed a motor cycle gang, who seemed unimpressed. We were honestly a little nervous to visit the market, because we weren’t expecting a particularly receptive crowd in the agricultural belt of CA.
When we got there we immediately had a security guard pacing near by, with a sharp eye on us. Still we carried on smiling, taking pictures, shooting video and talking to passersby. We walked through the completely non-organic farmers market talking to people, handing out non-GMO shopping guides and explaining what the hell we where doing with our giant ear of corn. People where AMAZINGLY receptive! A woman expressed her concern for the growing number of overweight children, another talked about her experience in the medical field studying the connection between genetics and cancers. Overwhelmingly, people we’re confused and surprised that prop 37 hadn’t passed (even in the Central Valley).
Every where we go, people stop to talk to us and take pictures and ask questions. Often, “what is a GMO” is the first one. But they approach us to ask, kids and parents and shop clerks walk up to us, because its so big and goofy and interesting that people want to talk about it, they want to be part of our journey, they want to know WHY we care so much about the issue. Its the best ice breaker in history. It was a great experience talking to folks, and we happily rolled out to begin our LONG drive to Flagstaff, AZ.
The fishy corn isn’t heavy, but its BIG, and wind resistance is a serious factor in speed, therefore the fishy corn swam slowly through the desert, and up a mountain range into the dark. By the time we reached Flagstaff, AZ we were at 7,000 ft and it was clear, we we’re definitely not in California anymore. Its COLD!
We’re safe and warm and thankful at the Grand Canyon International Hostel. Tomorrow, were on the the New Frontiers Health Food Market in Flagstaff before booking to Albuquereque to visit the La Montanita Food Coop and a farm stand for Skarsfard Farms for some good ol’ fashioned information sharing.
Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the fishy corn bite!
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