In Search of the Mystical Ravalli Doughnuts


A couple of Friday’s ago I had the honor of going on a road trip to Whitefish with Erika Twedt. Erika—who somewhat mysteriously goes by “Twedt” (pronounced Tweet)—is the Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences here at the University of Montana.

Twedt and I hit the road at 8:03 a.m. She was on time. I was three minutes late. When these things happen (me being late) I typically blame the University of Montana because classes here begin at 10 minutes after the hour. The University of Montana has trained me to never be able to get somewhere at the “top” of the hour. Of course, I’m often late for things that happen at the bottom of the hour, but let’s not go there. I recall being five minutes late for a psychotherapy appointment back in 1986 and when I apologized, my psychotherapist simply said, “It’s your time.” Good point. Lesson number one: When I’m late, I’m the one who’s late and I’m the one who bears the responsibility and cost.

Not long into the trip Twedt described herself as a “luddite.” So I used my smartphone to figure out what the heck she was talking about.

Merriam-Webster online informed me that Twedt-the-luddite was “. . . one of a group of early 19th century English workmen who were destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest.” She didn’t look like an English workman, but looks can be deceiving. And all this time I thought she was into fundraising and not destruction. But maybe our trip to Whitefish was really to sabotage some cutting edge technology.

It also struck me that perhaps I should hide my phone. But I’m bigger than Twedt and I don’t think she (or really anyone named Twedt) could wrestle my phone away from me—at least not while driving. So I boldly connected with the Urban Dictionary online. The U-B gave me a more contemporary take on luddite: “One who fears technology (or new technology, as they seem pleased with how things currently are…why can’t everything just be the same?).”

Turns out Twedt had a smartphone of her own and she didn’t really look like she was afraid of it; so much for dictionary definitions off the internet.

I soon discovered that Twedt was a pithy quotation machine. And so I pulled out my laptop to intermittently type up and save her quotes. As a luddite, Twedt doesn’t go online (she’s probably afraid to) and so she’ll never read what I’m writing about her anyway. Nevertheless, I offered her informed consent by saying, “I’m going to turn this trip into a blog-post” and then typing her pithy statements into my computer and occasionally reading them back to her. This was my way of being an especially fun person to ride with to Whitefish and back. And since she never said, “You can’t blog about this trip” it appears I have consent to write this.

We were only about 37 miles North of Missoula and nearing Ravalli, MT (not Ravalli County—and this is a big difference), when Twedt said:

“We have extra time. We need to stop here and find the amazing donuts.”

Twedt didn’t really know what she was doing and she doesn’t use technology, so she stopped at a café and we entered together, seeking donuts. Twedt also didn’t realize that I’m a bit of a donut aficionado, if I do say so myself. We entered the café and Twedt suddenly became shy and so because I was suddenly on the hunt for amazing donuts I took the lead.

“Is this the place in Ravalli with the amazing donuts?”

The owner/proprieter simply said, “I wish we had amazing donuts.” Twedt then began shouting at the woman, saying, “I wish you had some ________ amazing donuts too . . . but all you have is some old _______ coffee . . .” and so I had to pull her out of the café and calm her down. Of course, Twedt didn’t really say any of that, but it could have happened. Instead, we just meekly retreated from the café and doubled back south to find the amazing donuts. This is when I started to get nervous because now we were headed back to Missoula and away from Whitefish. Twedt clearly had a thing about donuts.

We made it to the Windmill Village Bakery at 26715 US 93, Ravalli, MT 59863. I’ve included the whole address because if you’re reading this and care at all about the state of donuts in America, you’ll want to plan your next trip around a visit to the Windmill Village Bakery. And I just checked and Yelp includes five different ratings for the Windmill Bakery and they’re all five stars.

We entered. There was an ethereal glazed sugar quality to the air. And then we saw the donuts. These were not donuts. They were full-bodied, take-no-prisoners, make-no-mistake-about-it, I-have-to-get-a-picture-of-this doughnuts. The dough was six feet away from me. Here’s the scene.

Doughnuts 1

Twedt bought nine doughnuts. Because I’m a man and obviously have better judgment and more experience than she does when it comes to things like doughnuts, I only bought one.

Then, under the influence of Ravalli doughnuts, the Twedt quotations (that should be tweeted) really began to flow.

I apologized for making a big doughnut mess in her car, which prompted:

“That’s what this car is for.”

Later, after she was clearly drunk on doughnuts:

“You can’t put a price on a good doughnut.”

I didn’t argue.

Drunken doughnut talk continued for nearly 50 miles. She began free associating to other doughnut purchases.

“The Wallmart donuts are surprisingly good.”

I used some Carl Rogers reflective listening. Twedt went deeper.

“I don’t know why I bought the first one.”

And then she began, quite naturally, to share family of origin issues.

“My dad really likes donuts too.”

Maybe there was some unfinished business.

“I’m bringing him to Ravalli when he visits.”

Only so much doughnut therapy can get done on a single trip to Whitefish. We finally pulled into the parking lot for our 11:00am lunch meeting with an incredibly generous woman who is considering a substantial contribution to our Department of Counselor Education. Twedt handed her a bag of four doughnuts. I tried to warn the generous woman not to try to eat a whole doughnut without adequate preparation and then proved my point by not being able to finish my lunch . . . which was precisely the first time that had ever happened in 56 years.

We had a great lunch and conversation.

Then, on the way back to Missoula, due to the extra weight from the doughnuts, Twedt’s left rear tire started going flat and we had to stop in Kalispell to switch it out for the spare. Apparently luddites never check their tire tread and Twedt had been driving me up and down Highway 93 on completely bald tires.

We finally hit the road again and I felt safe because if we were hit by a blizzard and stuck in the car for a week, I knew we could survive because we still had four doughnuts in a greasy white bakery bag.

In the end, I had an amazing trip with Twedt, ate an amazing doughnut, helped Twedt work through her doughnut issues, met with an amazing woman for lunch, and was amazed to get back alive. Thanks Twedt—even though you’ll never see this.

Doughnuts 2

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