Monday, 23 August 2010

Jambu™ Himalaya's at the SS Red Oak Victory Ship by Kate McVaugh

Not planning a trip to Nepal, I still figured that my beautifully funky Jambu Himalaya’s would be just the ticket for exploring the SS Red Oak Victory docked in the WWII Historical Region of Richmond, California.

Built by Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, and commissioned by the US Navy in 1944, the Red Oak Victory ship was converted to a floating museum in 1996. I wanted to test the walkability of my Jambu’s over the decks and through the tight passageways of this WWII ammunition carrier.

The first challenge is to ascend the bouncy gangway to board the ship. The Jambu’s had no problem gripping the less than stable metal walkway that leads to the deck. And although the Red Oak is securely tied down, it was a typical cold and windy summer day and I was grateful that I had shoes that were up to the task of keeping me from blowing overboard.

Outside decks of a ship are no problem for most types of footwear, but those narrow, steep stairways are a different story. The real test was descending on a metal ladder at nearly a 45° angle into the bowels of the ship. True, I was gripping onto the railings for my dear life, but my feet tread confidently and without catching on the uneven surface. I really could have been scaling narrow mountain trails in the Himalayas.

There are lots of places to stub ones toes on a naval vessel, particularly going through those doorways which have a raised portion at the bottom. I was cautious enough to avoid that hazard but even if I had slipped up, I knew the sturdy construction of my Jambu’s would have come to my rescue.

Meandering in and out of narrow crew quarters, the communications office, mess hall, and a labyrinth of steel corridors, my feet felt cozy and happy. It seemed fitting to be wearing shoes made partially of recycled materials on a ship that was built at a time when nothing was tossed out and everything was reused. I didn’t even notice my feet, which allowed me to reflect on all the men and women who had built this ship and of those who had served on it. And that is what shoes should be; a complete afterthought.

A walk through history was absolutely the best way to try out my new Jambu’s.

Thank you Kate McVaugh for the great review on our Jambu™ Himalayas! Check out Kate's travel blog at

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