by guest blogger Jeff Adamson
Every year when the North Cascades highway opens in the spring, Tootsie is there to celebrate with the crews with warm cinnamon rolls. This year marks the third year in a row that she has had the honor of opening the gate.
She can’t remember exactly how long she’s been taking cinnamon rolls up to the Diablo Gate. She says she and her husband did it a few times after it opened in ’72, but it wasn’t until “20 or 25 years ago that I started doing it regularly”, she said.
It began as a tribute to her dad who was a big supporter of the North Cascades Highway’s construction, but he died before it opened.
This year, despite stuffing the trunk of her Caddy, “I ran out of cinnamon rolls for the first time!” She’s not sure how many she started with – “between the coffee and the rolls, I usually get up there with about 60.” “This year, there were the most people I’ve ever seen waiting in line. We get there at 6 a.m. to be first in line and we had company!” She usually just brings her cinnamon rolls to those in line who are waiting, this is the first year that she drove up to Washington Pass to provide cinnamon rolls to the crew.
When asked if she was going to give it up after next year – her 90th – she said “Nope, I’m going to start back. I’m going to be 89 again!”
She typically starts baking at 1 a.m. “so the cinnamon rolls are still warm when we get to the gate.”
Thanks for the warm and delicious tradition Tootsie!