Pioneer Potluck: About our 10,000 mile trip

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, June 21, 2016 5:10pm
  • LifeFood

Left Reno and Traveled

Across Nevada and Utah

October 8, 2000




After a nice rest in Glenwood Springs, we had lots hot coffee and a good breakfast. The lady at the desk at the Motel told us it was cold on the Continental Divide at 44 degrees. We smiled at each other because that is shirt-sleeve weather in Alaska. It was 77 degrees when we left Glenwood on our way to see my sister Ginger and son Randal in Boulder, Colorado.

We left Glenwood at 8am and went through Eagle and Avon. We saw huge, large, monstrous houses perched on the sides of mountains and in meadows surrounded by golf courses. On top of the Divide at Vail Pass, 10,603 feet above sea level we encounter and skiff of snow. We live at 500 feet above sea level in Nikiski, Alaska.

We could not get over the big massive houses in the area. We wondered where the money came from that built those and who owned them. Where do they work and if they lived there year around.

We turned off at I-70 onto Highway 6 to Golden, Colorado.

My kids Dad, Jack Bateman and I moved to Golden after we were married in November of 1955. We lived in a small hotel that had a small kitchen table not to far from the bed. A “walk-in-back-out” kitchen and a “back-in-walk-out” bathroom. I found a job right away at a Creamery at night, making ice cream cones, shakes and malts. I soon learned to make a little more of each one and poured the rest in a container I had put in one of the freezers. I would fill the customers container with the shake or malt of their choice and then pour the rest into mine in the freezer. By the end of the night I had a rainbow shake-malt to take home and share with Jack for our supper.

Then I was hired during the day by a phone company that wanted a temporary desk person for two weeks. I kept my night job. After that job ended, I worked in the Coors ceramic factory where I made ash trays. I resigned my Creamery job. Jack continued his education at Colorado School of Mines. He was on the GI bill and our income was $132 a month. Jack took a job on his days off digging ditches for Coors in the cold, damp, snowy winter of December. He worked hard, came home and studied.

My Mom called four weeks after we moved, to see how we were doing and if we needed anything. I told her a few groceries would be nice. Thinking she would send some of her canned peaches or pickles or cookies. NOPE! Not my practical Mother! She took it we were starving – we were – almost! So four days later, I came home from the phone company and found this terrible looking,small bloody box on the door step of our Motel room. Before I picked it up I read who it was from. MY Mother! I picked it up and hurriedly put it in the sink – opened it up and on the freezer paper package was marked….VENISON! There were three packages! All thawed, warm and dripping blood. (Can you imagine what the mail delvery man thought???)

Apparently the package had remained in the warm post office and then in a warm delivery truck for the length of four days. My first instinct was to toss them in the wastebasket as fast as I could. My practical side said – that’s meat we could eat-possibly! So I repackaged all but two venison steaks and froze the rest in the tiny freezer above the refrigerator. I proceeded to flour, salt and pepper the two steaks and fry them. The odor was awful! Venison at its best, is not good (in my opinion) and to fix it in the condition it came in – to this day I can still smell the horrible odor. Whats more, I was afraid my cute little neighbor next door could smell it!

I took it off the stove, shoved it back in the wrappers it came in – put it in a paper sack, got the other two pacakges out of the freezer and took it out to the dumpster. I opened the door and only window hoping that horrible smell would go away before Jack got home at 8 from digging ditches. OH NO! We lived with that smell for a week!

About five days later Mom called and wondered if we had gotten her package and if it had arrived frozen. She sent it in the belief, because it was December, it was cold and therefore it would be OK to send. I lied, big time to her! I told her yes and thank you very much. She said she was pleased we could use it. I NEVER told her for years and when I did, she did not say anything, except “what did you do with it?” We had to throw it out. Mom said, scolding me, “Well, that was wasteful.”

Golden was not the same 45 years later! I did not recognize anything.

We arrived at Ginger’s in Boulder at 11:30 after a number of calls on how to get to her pretty house. She baked chicken with seasonings and baked squash. It was delcious, a home cooked meal! Bob ate like we had not eaten for weeks. I ate too much. Besides Ginger is a good cooker.

We watched the Broncos win their game and relaxed in a comfortable living room on soft “non moving” chairs. We were not living in our car for a change. Randal made burritos with green sauce for supper. It was so good we ate too much again! Randal is a good cooker too. The plans for next day was Randal going for an interview for a new job and Ginger had to go to her job until 2, then we would go to the Leanin’Tree Museum. I wanted Bob to see it after Ginger took me several times before, on my visits to Colorado from Alaska. Bob so enjoyed all the western art and sculptures upstairs in the museum. He still talks about it!

My headache returned and I went to bed early. Woke up and headache slightly gone, but a few cups of hot coffee softened it. We said goodbye to our gracious hosts, Ginger and Randal the next morning ,with specific instructions, maps and diagrams on how to get to Colorado Spring to see my little brother Jim, from Boulder. We got lost anyway! Bob told me I was NOT a good Nag-a-va-tor! (navagator)

We ended going in circles at Morrison, backtracked to Denver, the only way I knew how to get there on I-25. We arrived in Colorado Spring just in time for some of Sandy’s awesome food. She made Chicken-Spinach-Cheese Lasagna, a green salad and peanut butter cookies. Another good cooker! We met the sons in-laws and the grandkids of Jim and Sandy’s. Jim and Sandy’s granddaughter, cute little Kaylee, took a real shine to Bob and sat on his lap while we watch another football game. She quietly followed Bob around and if he sat down she would climb up on his lap. She was about 4 years old. Great fun that night with jokes my brother Jim told. I got to tell on him, about us growing up on the farm and how I had to watch him all the time so he would not get into some kind of mischief. I was thirteen years old and he could out-run me any time, at four years old.

Jim took us to breakfast and had some great hot coffee. We went to see where Sandy worked in a doctors office. Said goodbye to them to next day and off we went in our blue Dodge van, AGAIN! We were headed north for La Salle back on I-25 to see my sister Elaine and her family.

Our visit with my family is forever etched in my mind. The only thing that was missing was our Mother and Dad. She died of complication of Alzheimer’s a year before in 1999. Dad died in 1989.

Next week. Elaine and Ted Osters place in LaSalle and meeting more relatives and friends.


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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