Of Pies and Men

What a glorious day!

5:30 AM: Time to take the dog out. Sunrise over the lake. 60 degree temps. Gorgeous.
6:15 AM: Post caffeine hike around lake. Got to watch a fisherman get into his "personal fishing vessel"? (not sure what they're called, but the fisherman puts on a wet suit on the bottom + fins and then kind of leans back on an inflatable arm rest kind of thing--half of an innertube--and paddles around fishing. Way cool). Here's our site at 6:15AM--huge sites, paved, full hookups, fire rings--everything!

8AM: Take off for parts unknown: US Route 60 and Julie's personal pie mecca, the Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, NM.

10:30-noon: Spent a most delicious (in all senses of the word) time in the Pie-O-Neer, a restaurant started by a woman who had been vacationing in the area with her family and found out that Pie Town, NM had no pies. She has wonderfully remedied that problem. Chatted with everybody in there, had gorgeous pie and coffee, got lunch to go (green chile stew and a NM chicken salad pita), and felt like we had known the folks there for years. The place has been the subject of Sunset Magazine articles, Travel + Leisure, Food Network, and even a documentary. Great stop. Plus, US 60 is the most beautiful and empty road we've ever driven on. Pie Town sits on the Continental Divide, and folks there seem fond of saying that "everything is downhill from here." They have a Pie Festival the 2nd weekend in September, with FREE RV camping right across the street. Geesh. We gotta come back--in 2010. (We'll be in Seattle that weekend in 2009.)

But I digress. And I shall digress more, as we keep being confronted this trip by folks who get a wild hair and do something amazing rather spontaneously. Yesterday, we found out that a place in Arizona--"the best preserved impact crater in the world"--had been a state park but in budget cutting efforts had been sold to a private party, who now owns this place which was once a training site for Apollo astronauts. There's an RV park, a gas station, and the once-state-museum. It looked nice, but we balked at the $15 and weren't in the right mood for the tour. So we carried on. Found out from our new friends in Holbrook (Joe and Aggie's) that we should've done the tour. We want to support that person's sort-of-crazy dream. Next time we're through, we will. That and the La Posada Hotel in Winslow. I know we'll be back on I-40 again.

So, Lisa and I are now officially looking for our "Meteor Pie"--that is, a state park with an amazing history that's for sale (who knew that was even possible? It's a metaphor for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity) or our pie, which means, something so obvious that no one has done but that would be something we love. So, Meteor Pie--we're open to finding you.

Back on US 60, we headed down, down, down across virtually nothing till we saw an amazing site: giant parabolas marching across the desert landscape. It was the "Very Large Array"--what kind of scientist named this place? Isn't there a Latin term that's more precise? When I think of science, I think of precision. And "very large" strikes me as not all that precise. But that quibble quickly fades as we tour the amazing, free, and open site. That's the "men" part of the title, as I imagine that most of the inventors of this site (in the 1960s and 1970s) were men. But what vision, creativity, and know-how they had!

America is amazing. You can walk right up to these multi-million dollar (and 230 ton) pieces of equipment and it's free. They ask 25 cents for the walking tour brochure. We donated a dollar because the 9-minute film was killer. After 25 years in the textbook business, I know a good explanation when I see one--and that film explained GOOD (sic).

So, out we walked on the walking tour, being careful to avoid rattlesnakes (lots of signs warning about this). Reached the telescope at the end of the tour. Lisa was feeling queasy about how very large this piece of equipment was when it started to move. ALL of them started to move. Goose bumps, skin crawling, stomach turning.

It makes noise when it has to move a 100-ton parabola (which is being cooled to -437 degrees F all the time). So very cool, so very creepy.

Spending tonight outside of Albuquerque, in a subpar but OK place. Nick hates the desert. We have to drag him out to do his business. (As opposed to him dragging US out at the last campground on the lake).

And Kate, of Cholula Red--ARGH! When I first saw your post (on my iPhone), I didn't read carefully--I read San Antonio and thought "Texas" not San Antonio, NM. Now that we're settled for the night, I see that you meant NM and we were JUST THERE. ARGH! Sorry we missed you by just a few miles. We had our "make miles" blinders on.

But that's nothing like the poor ladies we tried to help today in Pie Town. They needed to get to Durango and thought they were an hour away (and we wondered whether there was a Durango, NM?). Oy vey--they meant Colorado. Look on a map. It's a long, indirect way. They came into the pie shop looking to buy a map, but how did they end up in the middle of US 60 by accident? We all tried to help them, but then had a good chuckle imagining how they ended up in their pickle.

Tomorrow we expect to be pretty boring--just getting to Amarillo. But we may try a Roadfood find for BBQ dinner. It is, after all, a cow town. We're trying to do 300 miles or less per day, so as not to make ourselves sick of driving at the beginning of this long tour.

Maybe we can turn off the (loud) A/C now and have cool mountain air....

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