Sometimes we have to “adapt” when doing media interviews. A reporter from the main Salt Lake City newspaper wanted to interview Allan and I by phone for a feature story about the Soles4Souls RV Tour. Since we are on a remote island in the middle of Salt Lake, cell phone reception is hard to come by. Allan found a place to talk to her on the side of the road above our campground. Then it got super windy, so I crawled behind a rock to shield the sound of the wind. Notice any evidence of buffalo in the area?
Archive for March, 2010
Since this island has a herd of 600 wild bison, it makes sense that we see huge pizza sized piles of bison “poo” everywhere. (That’s what Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs calls it.) It also makes sense that I would see the fresh pile of bison droppings on the bike path in front of me as I rode along. Alas, I didn’t.
Bison are everywhere. Allan took this picture of a bison sitting by the side of the road as the hairy creature walked right by him.
Quick! What comes to mind when I say “Salt Lake City”? Probably the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Then what comes to mind when I say “Salt Lake”? If you were a member of the National Geography Bee, you’d answer, “Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi and is 75 miles long and 28 miles wide. It also has a 25% salinity level, which means it is VERY salty.” Salt Lake also has a 15 mile long island, called Antelope Island. Why all this geography information? Because Allan and I are camping on this island that is so unique Steven Spielberg could shoot a film here. The lake is in a basin, with snowcapped mountains all around. We are at a “primitive” campsite, which means we have no water or electricity. (Don’t feel too sorry for us. The trusty Soles4Souls RV has a generator so we have all the comfort we need. )
Huge rock formations are everywhere, with some being classified as older than any other rocks found on earth. The lake has a few smaller islands and with the mountains in the background, everything looks surreal. No green grass or lush trees. It’s more like dry scrub brush and tumbleweed. And did I mention the bison? 600 wild bison roam the island freely, including right by the campsites. They are very generous in leaving behind big “reminders” that they are in the area. We love this place!
We won’t mention her age, but let’s say she’s closer to 40 than she is 30! Happy Birthday Trina!
Both Trina and Sondra were active in Girl Scouts, so it was fun to be with a Girl Scout troop in Reno. (I remember when I offered to store the cookies for Trina’s Girl Scout troop. Little did I realise I offered to store the cookies for ALL the troops in Bellingham. A 53 foot semi pulled in our driveway and unloaded pallets of cookies, overtaking our garage and basement.)
We set up our shoe boutique in the gym and opened the distribution to the Girl Scouts as well as all the girls in the afterschool program. This school is in a very low income where a community group offers free dinner every night to all the kids in the neighborhood. Many of the girl wore shoes with the heels smashed down beacuse their shoes were too small. One perky eight year old sat down and said, “You mean we are getting NEW shoes? And they are FREE? I can’t believe my lucky day!” Another girl solemnly told me, “I hope my mom doesn’t get mad and think I stole these shoes. I could never buy new shoes.”
Our family has a long history of skiing. Not that we’re great skiers, but we have a long history of skiing…there’s a difference! Trina and our friend Maggie joined us skiing on a glacier in Austria with -20 degree chill factor. Sondra began skiing as a three-year-old on Mt. Baker. And my skiing experience started in the days of wooden skis and $5.00 lift tickets.
Since the RV was getting its 30,000 mile check-up all day, we rented a car and went skiing at Lake Tahoe. The days of $5.00 lift tickets are long gone as we paid $68.00 for a half day ticket. It was worth it as the sun was so warm we skied with light jackets and cotton gloves. Well actually I’m not sure it was worth it. $68.00 is still a lot of money!
If there was an Olympic ski event in snow plowing, I’d get a Gold medal. My skiing style is “Fast Speed. No Style”. I made it down all the hills today, with my usual form of keeping my skis in the “Slice of Pizza” position. At least that’s what they tell the pre-schoolers racing down the hills. I like to go fast and deliberately picked up speed passing a ski patrol guy watching for speeders. I was hoping he’d tell me to slow down, but I guess I need to work on my speed because he yawned the last time I “raced” past him.
#4: Since it was “only” 10:00pm, we headed downtown to a nightclub. Yes, Allan and I hung out with twenty somethings that were looking for a good time. (Now my idea of a good time is being in bed by 10:00pm with a good book, so this was an eye opening experience.) All of the $5.00 cover charge went to Soles4Souls, plus many people brought gently used shoes to support our shoe charity. We had the Step and Repeat set up as people entered and took pictures of everyone, which would then be posted on Facebook. Security was everywhere! The head of security told me they watch for baggy pants. I offered to go around and tell all the guys to pull up their pants but was informed my services weren’t needed. I also offered to go to the RV and get some of my turtlenecks for girls with extra low cut blouses. Don’t know why no one took me up on my offer. That just gave me more time to watch the Go-Go Dancers doing pole dancing. Oh yes, two young guys (who evidently need glasses) told me I was hott. What more could I ask for?
If Allan and I had “real” jobs, we’d probably be working 8:00am to 5:00pm in a heated office with regular lunch breaks and routines. But who wants routine? Here’s a rundown of what we did yesterday:
#1: We went to a Catholic school with Brian Williams where he is challenging the students to get paid for extra chores and donate the money to buy new shoes for kids in Haiti. $5.00 lets Soles4Souls buy two pairs of shoes! Brian told the kids he would break 10 bricks with his forearm if they raised $1,000. ( He confided to us he has only broken four at a time, so this could be a stretch. I’m calling his mother today to get her to make him re-think this stunt!) Brian and Allan had a cute schtick where Allan held a piece of paper super high and Brian kicked it, demonstrating his martial arts skills. Then Allan did magic so the kids were super hyped up when they left. I hear teachers love this type of assembly.
#2: Next we went to a shoe distribution at a center for abused kids and even babies. The majority of kids get taken out of their homes without any notice, so they come with just what they are wearing. Most had shoes too big or way too small. As the kids come in, I always make a fun announcement, welcoming them to our “Shoe Boutique” and telling them about the outstanding customer service they will receive as special guests in our store. One enthusiastic ten-year-old asked, “Can we keep these shoes?” When she was assured the shoes were hers, she yelled, “This is SO cool! We get to keep these shoes!!!” Another boy came in wearing some stiff, plastic shoes way too big for him. We found a pair of perfect fitting athletic shoes and over and over he said, “These are so soft. They feel so good. I love my shoes!” While these kids came from unpleasant situations, it was heartwarming to see them in the care of warm and professional staff. However, if Allan and I were a few years younger, I’d adopt a few of those amazing kids.