Jun 02, 2011

We met friends at Green Restaurant for a scrumptious lunch. Before the meal, we had the “Gene Baur Berry Blast,” a cupcake topped with strawberries and creamy frosting and filled with blueberries that was made in honor of the Just Eats Tour visit in Phoenix. We then dug into the daily lunch special, the “Ghetto Bird”, a wrap with Tofurky slices. For dessert, we ordered from Green’s famous “Tsoynami” menu of creative ice cream smoothies. The team enjoyed the “Betterfinger”, with toffee and homemade vegan Butterfinger candy bar, the “Don Quixote”, with almond cookies and toffee, and  the “Cookies n’ Cream”. Right before we left Phoenix we received a cooler full of delicious deserts from Jenna of Cruelty Free Cupcakes.

In addition to the food, we enjoyed the company of wonderful and caring activists in Phoenix -- some whom Gene has known for decades and some whom we met today for the first time. Throughout human history, humanity has built community by gathering around food (hence the term "breaking bread") and we appreciated being able to do so today with good friends who have created a vibrant vegan community in Phoenix. 

Rubber on the Road

Jun 01, 2011

We left Austin, TX, at 8 a.m. (Central Time), June 1, and checked into our hotel in Wilcox, AZ, at 3 a.m. (Pacific Time), June 2. That’s 21 hours of travel! We crossed two time zones and covered more than 800 miles. We endured extreme heat and a West Texas lightning storm near the Mexican border. We had serious tire trouble (including a blow-out that caused some other damage to the van) that required three tire changes and forced us to keep our speed below 50 m.p.h. for some stretches. Although tired, we kept in good spirits, and by the time we checked into the hotel, we were giddy and couldn’t stop laughing.

Technical difficulties notwithstanding, we managed to film some of the consequences of the livestock business, including the use of town dumps for the disposal of animals who die at stockyards. Every year, hundreds of millions of farm animals perish even before reaching the slaughterhouse. We got a sense of the approach that causes these deaths when we witnessed a trucker violently prodding cows that were stuffed into a transport trailer. (Apparently they were being shipped from Mexico to a feedlot somewhere in the U.S. to be fattened for slaughter).

On the positive side, we were able engage in some good vegan outreach. Not only did we talk with people and pass out literature at various stops, but also, when we entered Chuy’s Restaurant (with the John Madden Haul of Fame) in Van Horn, TX, to try and find a vegan meal, the owner expressed a keen interest in adding vegetarian items to his menu (the rice and beans both currently contain animal products). We were served tasty tacos made with veggies and handed a blank piece of paper. We filled first our bellies and then the sheet, jotting down suggestions for veganizing his menu. Tomorrow (but really later today), it’s on to Phoenix/Tempe and lunch at Green Restaurant!