About Eagle River Valley and snowmachines
We lived comfortable in a new house that we built on the side of a mountain, overlooking the Eagle River Valley. One of the recreations of the time was snowmachine races. We owned three Polaris machines and all the snow gear to go with snowmachining. The Polaris Colt was mine. All I can say about my snowmachine days, was I loved to go fast, and now I sum it up as, when I got on that snowmachine, I became a total idiot. I thought I was Andretti — yeah right, on a Colt! I had loads of fun and got myself in all kinds of predicaments.
Our gang of snowmachine riders met at our house up in the Valley. We all geared up on a beautiful, fairly cold Eagle River day. But for some reason I did not have the proper helmet. All I had on was a larger helmet that belonged to my husband. It served the purpose and kept my ears warm. With the visor down over my eyes, all I could see was about 5 feet in front of me. That was OK as I just followed the machines and brought up the rear. We had ridden out to Chugiak to see some friends, and on our way back we had to cross the highway to get up to Eagle River Valley. I was the last one to cross the highway. I did not see exactly where they crossed so I just took my chances and gunned it up over the embankment, and came to an abrupt stop with one ski stuck in a culvert! I bounced off the seat, up over the handlebars and back on the seat, with the helmet stuck down over my eyes. I was totally blind!
The helmet was stuck in that position. I did not hear any snowmachine engines coming to my rescue ... everything was silent and black! I started screaming “get me out a here!” I stopped screaming long enough to hear a snowmachine returning to rescue me, and the loud laughter of my husband. I must have been a heckuva site, setting on that snowmachine, sideways, the machine stuck in the culvert and the helmet down over my eyes. He started laughing. He pulled the helmet off, laughed some more, told me to get off the snowmachine, jerked this machine backwards to get it out of the culvert, told me to get back on, put the helmet back on, and follow him! He laughed all the way up to our house, he laughed at telling this story to our fellow snowmachiners that were waiting in the yard for us. And now I am laughing telling this story to you.
We raced at Big Lake many, many times and for several years in the Big Lake 500, which is now called the Iron Dog. It was moved off of Big Lake because all the snowmachines, RVs, cars, trucks, pickups, kids, dogs, all parked on the lake. We had many trophies in our office/den.
Up at the end of Eagle River Road was a large lodge. It was owned by two older people who served drinks and fried chicken. It was a beautiful place to ride snowmachines to and set and gab with all your friends. The second winter we lived in the valley, an idea was hatched, and an oval race track was built, with our dozers and backhoe. Many hours were spent having lots of fun racing around the oval track on snowmachine. Including me!
A few years later, a big visitor center was built by the Park Service at the end of the Eagle River Valley, in place of the lodge, named Eagle River Nature Preserve. I understand it’s beautiful.
I learned from the Lady of the Lodge how to make delicious fried chicken. This was kind of her trademark. She cut up chickens the day before, poured canned milk over the top, refrigerated it. The next morning she rolled each one in flour, salt and pepper and browned it in hot oil. As each one browned, she put it on a cookie sheet and stuck them in a hot oven. After one hour, she took the cookie sheets full of fried chicken out, put it in a big roaster pan, stuck a lid on it, and put it back in a warm oven.
Each time someone ordered her delicious chicken, it was nice and warm and oh so tender! I helped her many times, just so I could learn some of her secrets!