Day 8, July 11, 2015
Pie Town, NM
It rained all night. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Overnight rain followed Friday’s ride of rain for half the day. Now, we were safe and snug in Alpine, having a restful night after a full riding day.
I woke up about 2 a.m. and looked out the window of the motel. Fog was lying close to the Earth, yet a crescent moon was visible, blurry through the fog. The sky was clear overhead, and millions of stars were glittering in the black velvet sky. I stood there in the cold room, enchanted by the sight, marveling at the beauty.
Later in the morning when I finally got up, the sun was high and powerful, as it is at higher elevations, yet it was not the malevolent, overbearing presence that it is in Phoenix. It was going to be a good riding day. Hal and I had breakfast at Alpine Grill. Nourished for the day, we put our riding gear on, then got onto highway 180 toward the route to Pie Town, NM, a place we’d been wanting to visit for some time.
The route was beautiful, and fun. We rode highway 180 to Reserve, and then took highway 12, which was through green grassy fields on narrow pavement, the surface of which was covered with tar snakes. “Tar snakes” are lines of tar that the highway department uses to fill in the cracks on a roadway. They think that “fixes” the surface, but when they use this tar, it can move under a motorcycle’s wheels as the bike rolls over it. It feels to the rider like he or she is slipping, and when leaned over in a turn, it is a very disconcerting feeling. There were so many tar snakes on the roadway that it took a lot of (unnecessary) concentration to choose a solid line on the road. That section didn’t last too long, but it was annoying to have to go slow.
Farther along on highway 12, with the sky ahead darkening with storm clouds, we stopped and put on raincoats (again). We soon got into the rain, and also got to a narrow straight section of the road. It started to rain harder, and when I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw that a big pickup truck pulling a trailer had suddenly appeared. He was coming up fast. We rode faster, too. There wasn’t a good opportunity to pass, so the truck stayed behind us the whole way to Datil, pushing us to go faster and faster. It rained harder and harder, and the ride turned into a somewhat frenetic one. I thought it was risky for the person driving the truck to be going so fast while pulling a trailer in the rain. Finally, in Datil, the pickup disappeared as we turned onto highway 60 for the last leg into Pie Town.
It was a short distance to Pie Town, and the rain let up. It became a sun and clouds day, and we parked, then put away our raincoats before walking the short distance to the restaurant, the Pie-O-Neer.
At the Pie-O-Neer, the pies were freshly baked, and hot out of the oven. So hot that some of them had to cool down before they were cut. We had a choice of three different pies, a peach pie, a lemon chess pie, and an apple crumble with caramel. I chose the apple crumble with caramel, and I even added some ice cream. Hal chose the same. The choice was a no-brainer for both of us.
The piece of pie took up almost all of the plate it was served on, and then when the ice cream started melting, we had to eat quickly so it wouldn’t ooze over the sides. Well, we almost didn’t make a mess.
We had arrived at the restaurant during a lull in the activity, but as we sat down to eat our pie, people started to come in. Pie Town is surprisingly famous, as is the restaurant we were in. We watched as the pies disappeared, and then people had to sit and wait for the other pies to cool down before they could be served. It seems like you get what you get if you go there, but it really doesn’t matter because the pies are all so good. I was hoping for strawberry rhubarb pie, the flavor I like the best, but the apple was incredible, too.
After we ate, we walked around the interesting, historic restaurant, looking at old photographs on the walls. Finally, we shot a few photographs of our own, and then got back on the bikes.
The day’s route was a big circle, so we continued riding west on highway 60. We were headed to Quemado, where we turned onto highway 32. It was a lovely road, well-maintained, no tar snakes. The views were of mountains, lush green meadows, and idyllic rural tableaux. I am so glad we got to experience this road because it was a wonderful, fast, beautiful loop back to highway 12 and Reserve.
From there, we rode on highway 180, and this time we were able to enjoy a fast romp through a twisty part of that road all the way back to Alpine, our last bit of fun in New Mexico.
Dinner was at Alpine Grill. Then we walked around town, enjoying the calm evening of pastel clouds and an almost clear sky. We watched the last sunset of our trip, my eyes stinging with unshed tears. Our perfect week was drawing to a close, and soon we would have to go back to the heat and routine of Phoenix.
It was not a happy thought.