Mother Earth Fair in Review

by Ben N on June 6, 2012

Whew! What a weekend!

I gotta say that the Mother Earth Fair in Puyallup, Washington this weekend was a total success!

It’s hard to distill everything down to just a brief blog posting, but here goes!

The weekend started off last week, by preparing for my presentations on the DIY ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE and DIY HYBRID CARS.

Even at the airport, I got on the plane, and the first thing I saw was Will Allen sitting right there. I said hello and told how glad I was that he was coming out to the fair.

Me and the back of Will Allen's head.

Rather than wasting time on the airplane by reading Skymall, ahead of time I had downloaded the audio version of John Ikerd’s REVOLUTION OF THE MIDDLE, an amazing book where politics, ecology, and common sense all finally come together. Instead of wasting time, I got through half of a great audio book on the flight out. (And then the rest on the flight home!)

Once in Puyallup, I tried checking in and finding some friends. I met up with Dan from Earthineer, John and Lisa from Inn Serendipity , and the Mother Earth crew at the POWERHOUSE, an old electric company building converted into a brew pub. All of the decor was old-school electric insulators and “DANGER! ONE ZILLION VOLTS” metal signs. My kind of place!

at THE POWERHOUSE, where beer and electricity DO mix!

On Saturday, I spent most of my time hanging out near the Clean Car Show, which featured the likes of everything from a Tesla Roadster, to the MAXdiesel sports car, to and electric tricycle.

I didn’t even make it inside before first spotting a Nissan Leaf charging up in the parking lot!


A Dave Cloud designed EV Geo Metro

Retro Honda with a Jim Husted motor

I also made sure to attend the DIY SOLAR PANELS presentation, put on by Earthineer. It detailed everything it takes to build your own solar panels for a fairly large-scale DIY system. The presentation was PACKED with plenty of people standing and spilling out into the hall. I filmed the presentation and will have that up on my YouTube channel soon.

I spent most of the afternoon filming interviews at the clean car show. Stephen Johnsen showed me his twin-electric-motor Fiero, complete withFlux Capacitor! I also filmed a few other cars, and an extensive interview with Dave Cloud. If you don’t know who Dave is, I don’t blame you. He’s not one to brag, but whenever I see photos of a really cool electric car project, it seems like I can usually trace it back to him. He’s done some amazing things with Geo Metros, converting them into wild electric sports cars, or even stretched Electrathon-carrying motherships! I would love to come get a chance to spend more time with him.

Near the end of the day, I attended Paul Holmes’ presentation on lowering the costs of electric vehicles, where he spoke about what’s been going on lately with the Open Revolt project, among other things.

I had dinner with the Earthineer crew (Dan, I still apologize for just showing up to dinner with 8 extra people with me!) Followed by well-deserved rest at the hotel.

Sunday was just as busy, since I gave both my presentations that day. I thought for sure that since I just happened to have a broken ankle and was giving a presentation on  DIY ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE, that the very first question of the Q&A would be “Hey, what did you do there to your foot!?”. Oddly, that was never asked, except by each and every individual that I met in person. I also talked to Judy, one of the fabulous ladies running the Mother’s Book Store, and she encouraged me to come do a “book-signing” of my DVDs after my presentation. I did so, met some nice folks, and signed three motorcycle DVDs. There you have it, I am officially a celebrity author.

I tried getting to some of the booths on Sunday as well. There were some neat ones on aquaponics, and a couple of chicken booths as well. I wish I had talked to the guys with the automatic chicken coop door opener, as that looked pretty interesting. I did buy some Happy Hen chicken treats, and got my Dad a vintage-styled metal sign for the new chicken coop.

Time flew by, as I quickly had to head back to the stage for my DIY HYBRID VEHICLES presentation. I showed off what I and others have been doing in terms of building our own Plug-In Hybrid Cars.

I finished off the presentation with the first real PUBLIC display of intent to build my DIY PLUG-IN HYBRID TRUCK. Nobody looked at me like it was a totally crazy project. Maybe I am on to something. Certainly it’s going to take quite some work and more than a little help from my friends. When finished, I should have a vehicle that can get fuel economy beating a stock Prius, but tow a utility trailer and haul lumber and firewood.

The rest of the day sped away from me quickly. I missed the poultry display outside. By the time I got there, the huge array of chicken cages were all empty. I was really looking forward to checking out heritage breeds, and maybe even figuring out which breeds some of my Dad’s chickens are, but alas, I missed them.

I also had a nice chat with the blacksmith at the Fort Nisqually Historical Museam Stage. He had some very nice damascus knives, and one of the best railroad spike knives I’ve ever seen. I’ve long had an interest in traditional blacksmithing, and am even right now helping out a friend market a blacksmithing instructional DVD.

Chickens Spoiled Here

Monday, I spent as a travel day, finally walking in my front door at ten at night. Since then, I’ve been busy editing together videos from the fair. I also took my wife and daughter over to my parent’s for dinner last night. My Dad nailed up the Happy Hens sign on the coop, and the little girl got to feed the hens the chicken treats.


In all, the Mother Earth News Fair was really a fantastic event! Thanks once again to EVERYONE, exhibitors, vendors, volunteers, staff, and everyone else who made it a great show! Thanks to the Adams family for carting me around and letting me tag along at dinner. If you missed the fair, you really missed something. Make SURE you come out to next year’s show. Or, if you are on the east coast, come out to the Seven Springs Fair in Pennsylvania in September.

I’ll see you there!


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