Archive for January, 2010
It’s a good thing Allan and I like variety, because that’s what happens on this tour. After spending the night in Gallup New Mexico because the freeway closed due to snow, we headed out for Flagstaff. One mile on the freeway, driving through snow and slush we came across a problem. Other than your seatbelt, what important part of a car do you need when driving through snow? Correct! Windshield wipers…which had suddenly stopped working. Allan pulled over on the next exit (at least we think it was an exit) and discovered the windshield wiper linkage had cracked. Normally that guy can fix anything with baling wire and duct tape, but not in this case. So after wiping off the windshield, we drove on the famous Route 66 to a Ford dealer. Obviously they didn’t want our business because they basically told us they couldn’t fix the wipers. We did find a small, father and son RV repair shop where the helpful employee said he could fabricate a part for us on Monday. Since we don’t have to be in Phoenix until Wednesday, that sounded like a plan. Now we just had to pass the time in a small town from Saturday until Monday. With snow coming down, we ducked into a Goodwill, looking for snow boots. Allan found some wheels he needed to repair a carrying case for a Step-And-Repeat sign we have. We both took our time browsing through the used books, debating whether to buy “Lose Weight on the Cabbage Soup Diet”. Turned out to be a perfect way to pass a few hours.
As Allan is busy making Carne Asada, I thought I’d answer a question we often get asked. “Do you eat in restaurants all the time?” The answer is “We have a great restaurant on wheels called the Soles4Souls RV. ” In fact, we seldom eat out, simply because it’s easier and healthier to have home cooked meals. Or in our case, RV cooked meals. A few nights ago Allan made a complete German meal consisting of weiner schnitzel, red cabbage, German potato salad, home-made applesauce and cucumber-tomato salad. Oh, let’s not forget the German stollen for desert. We’re trying to see if we can get some exercise equipment inside the RV to burn off all these meals!
Ever feel like you are all alone? That’s how we felt last night as we camped way out in Arizona at a remote campground next to Meteor Crater. This crater is big enough to have 20 football games played inside at the same time. (Although it might be a bit rocky.) We took our usual evening walk. A brisk walk because it was 13 degrees…which froze our water pump and all the water lines. Thank goodness for electric blankets!
Most people think Allan and I simply pass out shoes at various distribution sites. Oh no! We have become highly trained, (well maybe semi-highly) in fitting shoes. While visiting the corporate headquarters for Z-Coil Footwear, we received training from Sequoia on how to size and adjust their amazing shoes. She gave Allan a special tool and some screws, so he’s looking for opportunities to display his skill at adjusting the shoes.
Z-Coil gave us 275 pairs of shoes to take with us for future distributions. That evening, we were stuck inside the RV because it was 12 degrees outside. While sorting and sizing the shoes, I tried on a pair. WOW! They are amazing. I walked back and forth in the RV, (a total of 14 steps one way) and they feel great. Can’t imagine what it would be like to wear them for more than one RV length!
Get ready for a great evening of fun, entertainment and inspiration by watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, this Sunday, January 24th on ABC. Soles4Souls is a focus of the show as our shoe charity donates shoes to the family receiving a new home. Allan and I were part of the crew helping build the house. Well actually we pulled nails and dusted floors, but we did help! I even got to wear a safety vest and make sure no one got near the demolition area. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it was fun bossing people around with the new-found power that came with wearing an orange vest.
On our visit to the Navajo Nation, (which was just declared a Federal Emergency area due to snow) we met Dorothy, an elderly woman who came to get shoes. She told us how she spent the last few days chasing her goats which got spooked and ran away. She finally found them in a distant canyon. Dorothy got new socks and proudly wore her new shoes on the way home.
Neither snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night…can stop the Soles4Souls RV from getting where it needs to go! We were scheduled to be at the Navajo Indian Reservation in Thoreau, New Mexico. One slight problem. The area around Thoreau was being hit with the biggest snowstorm in twenty years. After collecting shoes at Z-Coil in Albuquerque, we drove towards Thoreau and found one lone campground open in the blizzard. After closing the curtains and putting a blanket over the door to keep in heat, we settled in for the night. This morning we drove 25 miles through snow and arrived in time for the distribution. Many people from the tribe braved the storm and came to get new shoes from various manufacturers. Staff were wonderful at registering people and keeping the line moving so no one had to wait too long to get shoes. TIVA sent boxes of adorable girl’s shoes which made many little girls happy. Men, women and children left with smiles and boxes of new shoes. After the distribution, Allan and I got back in the trusty RV and drove as far as we could to Gallup, New Mexico before the freeway was closed due to snow. We’ll see how long we have to stay here!
Have you ever walked into a room and immediately thought “These are great people!”? That’s what we felt when we walked into the Z-Coil corporate headquarters in Albuquerque. Kathy and the rest of the staff greeted us as if we were old friends. Their enthusiasm for collecting shoes for Haiti was evident as they thanked every person coming through the door…and there was a continuous parade of people! Alvaro Gallegos, the 79 year old founder of Z-Coil, stood next to us, sorting and banding hundreds of shoes. Read Alvaro’s story on the Z-Coil website about his determination to pursue his dream of designing shoes that provide pain relief to thousands of people. www.zcoil.com
By 3:00pm, over 800 pairs of shoes were donated to the Z-Coil store. That’s 800 people in Haiti that will now have shoes to wear. In addition, Z-Coil donated 1,500 pairs of new shoes to Haiti. Then they gave us 275 pairs of additional new shoes to take with us to give away in our next few distributions. Allan removed the table in the RV and we loaded up 15 large bags of new shoes. Thank you Z-Coil, for your hard work and generous donations!