Thursday, May 27, 2010

Problem Solving 101

Ted and Ange ready to start Day 7

Day 7 of the walk brought us back to the Willamette Valley where Ange Sobiegraj once again joined Ted for another day of walking. We met Ange at the Point Restaurant where we had coffee and shared a piece of pie, perfect fuel for walkers and Sag Wagon drivers.

Ange and Ted were off. I headed to the South Santiam Cabins, which would be our reprieve for the next three days. I unpacked the car and got things set up. Ted and Agne arrived at the cabins for a break at around 11:00. Ted then remembered something in the car that he wanted to show Ange. I handed him the keys. We enjoyed a treat from the New Morning Bakery in Corvallis that Ange brought and then they were off.

About thirty minutes before it was time for me head out to pick up Ange, I realized Ted had the keys, our one and only set of keys. And why, you wonder, would they go on a trip of this magnitude with only one set of keys? About 10 days before our trip we noticed a set was missing. We looked everywhere, in jackets, it golf bags, all to no avail. We kept thinking they would turn up in some strange place, but it didn’t happen. So we left for our trip with only one set of keys in hand.

So we had to be very careful with the keys. As driver of the WAO Sag Wagon, I had a system, a certain pocket in a certain vest. But things happened quickly that morning and the keys were "walking” before I realized it.

Luckily we were in cell phone range. I called Ted, we decided Ange would head back to the cabins. I expected her there in about 40 minutes. I would take her to her car, then come back to pick up Ted before his interview with Sean Morgan of The New Era back at the cabin. Phew. It was going to be down to the wire now. When he saw that she was about to take off, the last thing Ted said to Ange as she turned to leave was “Ange you don’t have to run.”

Before I knew it I heard a car door slam and Ange was back at the cabin. How did she get back so quickly? Did she run all that way? No, she was resourceful. When Ange saw a lady in her yard near Cascadia, Ange asked if she could take her back to the cabin. Certainly, the woman said. It turned out that the lady was 90 and had had surgery the day before. But she was interested in Ted’s walk and glad to help. So Ange’s quick thinking and the kindness of a stranger saved the day.

One of the buzz words in education these days is that we want to teach our kids to be “problem solvers”. Well, we had several ways to solve this problem. Option #2 would have been to ask the owner of the cabins to take me to Ted and Angie. Option #3 would have been to wait until Sean arrived and then go to Ted and Ange. He could have interviewed Ted on the road and then I would take Ange to her car.

But in the end it was Option #1, Ange’s quick thinking combined with the kindness of a stranger that helped make our problem go away. So here’s to problem solving on the road on Day 7 of the Walk Across Oregon.
The beautiful South Santiam

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