Pioneer Potluck: About our 10,000 mile trip

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Wednesday, May 25, 2016 10:18am
  • LifeFood

Kalispell, Ronan and Hamilton, Montana

Sept 20, 2000

After saying goodbye to Bob’s Mom, Shirley Ricks and sister, Donna, who lived near the Upper Pack River, Idaho, we headed for Sandpoint, Bonner’s Ferry and to Troy and Libby Montana, where the rivers were running the opposite direction. We arrived in Kalispell about 4:30, calling my brother John and wife Kathy from the very large equipment dealership, Triple W where my brother worked. He gave use directions to their home. So good to see them and daughter, pretty Sarah, who was going to college. Sadly Kathy’s mother had passed away a week earlier. Loved the house and the yard and caught up on the sister-brother talk. John and Kathy lived in Alaska for a while, so we had to catch up on the “Alaska family.” Made plans to go to Glacier Park next day. Oh, that sounded like fun, little did we know we were in for another “oohh and awww and Oh My Gosh – look how deep that canyon is” – trip!

If you have never been to the top of Glacier Park, you will be in clouds and steep cliffs only goats and sheep dare to tread. This trip was up and up and through tunnels, patches of narrow road that were being repaired and warning signs! We had not gotten over Hell’s Gate in Canada and NOW we were on another two lane, steep, scary highway again! Good thing John was driving as Bob was busy looking down deep in the valley, not saying a word. I was in the back holding onto the seat with both hands and occasionally breathing! It was almost as beautiful as it was scary. We passed up clouds floating by us and we saw goats and sheep climbing effortlessly on the steep cliffs. John seemed to be at ease and totally in control!

We arrive at A Place in the Sun Restaurant on the very top of a mountain. We ate and read about all the interesting history of this very famous park. It came time to go back down, down, down the highway. This time we were hugging the side of the mountain. Bob looked more comfortable and I unlocked my grip on the seat cushions and started breathing normal again! The view was spectacular and one we never forgot. Thanks John for being the pilot on this trip!

Arriving back at the house we had pizza with son Ean, Sarah and met some nice friends. We had lots of fun and reminisced a lot! Loved being around my family and their friends.

I was looking forward to seeing Johns son, Mitch and his wife Monica, but they could not get away, so we made plans to see them the next day in Ronan where Mitch worked at Car Quest. We said our good byes to John, Kathy and Sarah. Leaving Kalispell was windy and raining. We arrived in Ronan to meet Mitch’s wife Monica who was expecting their second child. Micah, was a cute little red headed two year old. He was not to keen on total strangers until we sat down to have pizza and Bob had him smiling in no time. While it was a short visit it was a memorable one that we never forgot. Matson was born in April and now both are fine athletic young men.

As we left Ronan with a few direction from Mitch and Monica, about some confusing intersection that takes you in different direction through out Montana. We made it through Missoula just fine. We missed our exit to Hamilton and ended up on a side road 12 miles to no-where and a sign saying French Town. We turned around at the gate of a wood, paper, pulp mill. We were headed back to Idaho! We giggled and laughed about not deciphering directions!

Back tracking, reading the signs very, very carefully we made it through the maze and on track to Hamilton to see Bob’s Aunt Marie who lived on a ranch not to far from the Bitterroot mountains, on Cherry Orchard Loop. Marie and Keith had visited us a couple times in Alaska in their luxurious motor home. Keith had since passed away and Marie was living in a large newly built ranch home with numerous bedrooms and a huge natural rock fireplace. The kitchen was a dream! I loved it!

Marie had pork chops with dressing and mashed potato’s and gravy waiting for us. So good. We hardly ate on the road and so this was a welcome home cooked meal. Then we played cards and jabbered and jabbered way into the night. We fell into a cozy bed with down feather pillows. We went sound asleep. Morning was beautiful morning sunshine and coffee, wonderful coffee on the huge deck facing the east. We roamed around the horse barns and petted Maries herd of nice looking mules. Also looked at a house under construction for Maries daughter Lucille. Visted with Lucille, her husband Bear and son Dan. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing a card game Marie loved, that we learned to play when they were in Alaska.

That evening we went to dinner at Banque (Bank) in a restored massive brick, bank building. It was elegant, huge and wonderful. I had Shrimp Scampi and Bob and Marie had Marcus Fillet with sauce. Oh, how grand that evening was for two Alaskan woods-booggers. I enjoyed it so much. Bob was a little out of his comfort zone but he enjoyed the meal immensely! We topped off the delightful evening with a game of cards. I finally won a game! We fell into bed for a restful sleep.

We ate breakfast that melted into lunch with potato soup, cornbread and freezer peach jam. Went out to correls and petted and talked to the mules and yes, you guessed it..we played cards till the wee hours again. The next day was a trip to an antique store in a shopping type mall in Hamilton. Bob remembers the ice cream place. I remember the two stories full of antiques! Went home and played card and jabbered through the wee hours of the evening and spent the last night is our comfortable bed. We were leaving and headed for Elko, Nevada to see Bob’s son Mugs and family and daughter, Daphene and family.


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The Grannie Annie series is written by a 47 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski.Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.


Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci. net


The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.

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