Thursday, October 6, 2022

The P. S. I Love You Southwest Memorial Tour Part Two

 Waxing Gibbous Moon

Pie Town, New Mexico

From Winslow - and The Falcon Restaurant - I had to make a decision. I wanted to continue on I-40 to take the cutoff for Chaco Canyon, but a little chat with Dr. Googlie made me go with Plan B. A recent storm had washed out what was already a rough road, plus a lot of the campsites were also closed. Ergo, I steered for Pie Town instead.

Pie Town, New Mexico is a tiny place on the north side of Hwy 60 where, if you are good boys and girls, you can luxuriate at the Pie-O-Neer Pie Shop. They serve full meals there, but let's face it, you came for the pie. On Sunday mornings, everybody within a 30 mile radius shows up for brunch, served on a huge metal tray with dividers that separate your burger from your side dishes and oh yeah, your dessert. The place was packed when I walked in, and oddly quiet. That's because a) polite people do not talk with their mouths full and b) the whole reason all these polite people came was to fill up their "pie holes" and chew. These were your basic keep-it-simple kind of folks, among whom I felt VERY comfortable. I got a slice of blueberry-lemon pie because all the rest of the pies had been sold already and I couldn't wait around to taste something - anything - that would "in a few minutes" come out of those ovens. I carried my pie out to the front porch and dined while rocking in one of the half dozen or so rocking chairs parked there for that very purpose. The other rockers smiled closed-mouth smiles and nodded in between bites, thereby conveying all there was to say on the subject of Sunday a.m. at the Pie-O-Neer. 

Afterwards, I was full and happy and, learning of the free camping opportunities in Jackson Park, right across the road, I proceeded to bounce down the dirt roads of the undeveloped and nearly vacant "park" campground until I found my spot. Perfecto!

I first heard of Pie Town from reading journals online from hikers on the New Mexico stretch of the Continental Divide Trail, or CDT. The CDT is a long distance hiking trail that runs 3,028 miles from the Mexican border to Canada through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. I'm probably too old and beat up to tackle it at this point, but it's fun to take a peek once in a while whenever I am close by. I definitely loved Pie Town. 

Abo Ruins

Continuing east on Hwy 60, I eventually pulled into Abo Ruins National Monument, which I didn't even know was on the map. What a cool surprise. Let me summarize the history for you. When the Spaniards came in the early 1600s, they looked at the Abo people's buildings there and decided, what the heck, this would make a great place for a mission. So they converted, enslaved, bludgeoned, and or murdered their way into making the place into a pueblo to be proud of in the name of their personal lord and savior Hazoo Kristy. Most of the original Abo structures are gone, but the remains of the pueblo buildings have been preserved. It's really a beautiful place. I was the only one there on a Monday afternoon. 

Fort Sumner, New Mexico

From Abo, I hightailed it along Hwy 60 to Fort Sumner, eager for some Billy the Kid lore from the town where he met his 1881 demise, we think. The reason I was hightailing it was that biggo thunderstorms flanked me in the skies to the north and the south and I was trying to slip straight through. My guardian angels kept them apart and I pulled into town safe and sound. 

The Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner is pretty good - a lot better than others I have seen. The number of movies and books created about the Kid's life and death is staggering. This 5'6" runt only lived 21 years and was only an "outlaw" for a few of them. Facts about his life are nearly impossible to document and the fictional accounts are hard to believe. The best book (my opinion) of the handful that I have read so far is Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride by Michael Wallis. But no matter what you think about it, if you travel in New Mexico, west Texas, or eastern Arizona, you are going to see his name and image frequently. 

Because it is believed that Billy the Kid died from a gunshot by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner in the wee hours of July 14, 1881, there is a lot to see in this town especially. That includes his gravestone, which has its own odd story (see below). His actual gravesite and the whereabouts of his remains are unknown - a flood apparently wiped out the evidence, goldurnit. Anyway, it's sort of fun to poke around Fort Sumner and talk to folks about him. I'm not sure Pat would be attracted to this topic at first, but I think she would have been game to explore the museum and cemetery. They keep things pretty clean in both places, which she would appreciate.

What is it about this guy that has kept his name in people's minds all these years? Is it simply tourist-trap marketing? Is he an orphaned, boy-gone-bad, sympathetic, Elvis character? A Robin Hood sort of hero? I kept running into Billy on this trip as I moved along into Texas and turned around to come home. 

Peace, Love, and Six-shooters,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.