In and around California’s Imperial Valley, January-February 2011
We set out from Colorado and headed for California with the intention of making sculptures with found junk in the desert. One of the first nights we watched the film “HOBO” (a film about rail riders, directed by John T. Davis) on dvd in a motel room. This was the first Maia had seen of train hoppers.
A few days later in Slab City we met Possom and Phantom, 2 rail riders who were passing through. They were just like the dudes in the film and Maia was psyched. They wanted to school us on train hopping, and told us we could follow them for 3 weeks and we would know everything about rail riding. They also told Maia, “It’s easy for cute gals to make money by waivin’ signs, you know, all you would need is a pet.. like a duck or somethin’. You can make like $500 a day.'”
The next day at a desolate gas station in Mojave, two 20-something girls were sitting on the pavement raving about a friend who had just been spotted and arrested. They were rail riders and one of the girls was holding a duck. We had never heard of or seen a person holding a duck before, especially in the middle of nowhere. It was a bizarre coincidence that Phantom had just mentioned to us about a duck the day before, and the good fortune it would bring. We felt bad for the duck for being so far from the water, but we had to read it as a good omen for our future.
We gave them food, and in return they gave us a nut + bolt earring with ear crust on it, and wished us luck on our project.
Buy the Imperial Valley book by Maia and Peter here.