Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Little Slice of Pie Town - I'll take seconds!

I think this is where I left you, our arrival in Pie Town.  We had arrived just in the nick-of-time to catch Kathy, the owner of the Pie-O-Neer, aka. the maker of the best pies in the entire U.S.A.  It was about 20 minutes after closing time, but Kathy said she had 5 pieces left and would be happy to "Pie us".  You know what they say: 'if you give a biker a  piece of pecan/sweet potato pie, they'll want a root beer float to go with it' or something like that.

Five minutes out of the trailer and she's got pie and a chair!  Ahem Neva, can I sit down!!

After a lovely talk with Kathy, and a few out of town stragglers coming in hours after close, the pie was all gone, everyone needed to go home, and Neva and I headed to the Toaster House.

She seems really happy to be here, maybe it was the enormous amount of sugar in that root beer...hmmm?

The front door is welcoming with prayer flags and welcome signs, there are notes everywhere to tell you where things are at, full amenities including shower, washer machine, fully stocked kitchen, a cozy porch with couches to kick your feet up on, and plenty of space and rooms inside to accommodate a packed house during good biking and hiking seasons.  Rita and several friends in the area keep up the Toaster for any bikers, hikers, or passers through on the continental divide.  It's a rare gem, and Rita sure packs the hospitality punch for ultimate relaxation, even trying to leave a piece of pie in the fridge for anyone who might miss the hours of the Pie-O-Neer.

Our cozy home for two nights.

We were lucky enough to get a knock at the door around 7pm our first night and see a tired but smiling Cjell, ready to share a space and some stories.  We hit it off really well and shared stories of world travels.  Cjell even is adorned with a world map tattoo, received appropriately from a member of the Bike Haus the previous year. 

We went to the Pie-O-Neer to see Cjell off.  He was headed southbound on the GDT, only to turn around June 14 for the start of the northbound GDT.  We'll see if our paths cross down the road.

Do you notice the steep hill sign on the right? 

Then Kathy noticed we were outside and came out to chat... with a piece of saved peach a la mode pie in hand.  Man, she's the best!  And so is the pie.  I can't wait to come back and ask for my favorite, lemon meringue.  Kathy coined the phrase 'pie-gasms' from the sound people make when they eat it.  Mmmm mmm goooood!

Again, Neva is sitting down with pie and fork in hand, what's wrong with this picture?!

After (ahem) brunch pie, we headed over to the Pie Town Cafe for some local food.  As vegetarians, we are used to there not being much for us to eat, and were hoping to luck out on a salad.  It was as we suspected when we walked in, a dry erase board with only meat items.  We kept chipper though as we were called over by a friendly face, Nita.  It was the first time we'd met and she was excited to see us.  The waitress came over, and hearing of our veggie diet quickly dispersed to the kitchen to see what could be done.  We were in for a treat!  Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato, home made and savory potato salad, and a radish, carrot and cucumber salad made from a local, organic garden.  We ate to our hearts content.  With hospitality like this, we HAD to stay another day.

After lunch, Rita quickly whisked us away to her house in the country (4 miles from town) for some more quality relaxing.

The view from Nita's backyard with a super cool telescope to take in the evening stars.

She quickly whipped up some guacamole while her room mate Megan (who works at the Pie-O-Neer) made some fabulous mojitos.  I'm not much for drinking when I ride, or at all, but these were irresistible and very tasty.  Neva had a virgin version in a tiny glass and was satisfied.

Megan has other skills aside from the best mojitos in the west and assisting with the production of the best pies in the U.S. (Wow, she's 2 for 2 already!) She moved on a whim from Florida, not being able to resist the opportunity to make pies in Pie Town.  Her and her dog have lived in Pie Town for 2 years, and Megan is experimenting with making mead.  For those of you not familiar, mead is honey wine, actually made with fermented honey, and one of my favorites.  You'll have to ask Megan about the specifics, but it's not overly sweet like a dessert wine, but has a nice flavor of honey, and can be slightly efervescant. 

She has three batches going now, some with different flavors like lavender.

There's great bird watching from Nita's property.  Lots of migratory birds go through Pie Town, and with Nita's welcoming bird oasis, there are lots of pretty birds stopping in at the baths and feeders.

Neva looking through Nita's binoculars.  I'm not sure what's on the other end for that reaction.

We saw a western tanger, but he flew away, and there were no others that stopped by after that.  Small sparrows were around, but the robins were the birds lounging around by the bath.

After bird watching and walking around the property, guess what time it is?  Pie time!  Nita gathered her supplies and made pie in 5 easy steps:

Step 1:  Get out the supplies

Nita brought out her home made whole wheat crust

Step 2:  Roll it...

Step 3: Pit it.

I was dubbed "the pitter" and used this fun tool to pit the cherries for the cherry pie.

Step 4:  Pat it.

I haven't introduced you yet to the beautiful Nita yet.  Here she is!  Making pies and merriment in her lovely home.

Step 5:  And socialize with good conversation while pie is in the oven

That's Megan in the middle with the coolest couple around, known for the best organic greens in town.

Okay, pie making probably involves more than these five steps, but the following is my favorite part, the partaking!

Cherry pie, a la mode

Hmmm, I didn't mention that Nita made two pies.

A spiced no cream cream pie, for those that are lactose-free.  I added some whipped cream, I couldn't resist!

Yes, we ate pie first, and then Megan made some dinner.  This is life in Pie Town! (If you're counting, that was my third piece of pie that day)

Megan whipping up fresh green beans and rice, it really hit the spot!  Nita also baked baby flowered zucchinis that melted in your mouth.  The flowers really add another dimension to the squash!

After dinner, we went out to see the sun set and view the moon and venus through Nita's telescope.  We regaled stories, and enjoyed all of the things that make community wonderful until midnight when we packed it in, weary eyed and smiling.

This picture's for you Megan!

Nita saw us off the next day, along with another friend staying at the Toaster house.

Neva petting the little horny toad that had stopped by to bid us farewell (or he was just hanging out in his home)

I think the horny toad felt right at home with my other reptile shirt.  Nita took this great picture, and off we left from the Toaster house, and lovely Pie Town.  We will visit again sometime soon as pie and friendship dances in our memories in the meantime.  I'm glad I got a second serving of Pie Town.

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