Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Kind of Pie Town (In the Middle of Nowhere, Conclusion)

A fine slice of peach pie from the good folks at the Pie Town Cafe, Pie Town, N.M. Photographed with permission.
Regular readers of this blog may recall that we hold a grudge against the paranoid Pie Lady of Cheyenne, Wyoming, who thought that our enthusiasm for her pie and the pictures we were taking of it indicated that we were corporate spies, intent on ripping off her flavors, techniques, and unsightly decor. I'm hoping that a few more word strings like the one to follow will get us right to the top of the Google rankings whenever someone searches for the phrase "Pie Lady": Pie Lady Cheyenne Wyoming Pie Lady Cheyenne Wyoming Pie Lady Pie Lady Pie Lady paranoid Pie Lady ugly restaurant Pie Lady Pie Lady.

Well, that felt good. The sad thing is that the Pie Lady's pie is pretty good.

Anyway, on our way east after leaving Lightning Field, we were delighted to discover not only that Pie Town, New Mexico, lived up to its name (despite the Pie-O-Neer not being open on Tuesdays—or Wednesdays or Thursdays, for that matter) in the goods delivered by the Pie Town Cafe and its friendly and well-defended owner. I can safely say that I have never been served two pieces of pie (peach and New Mexican apple) by a man sporting a revolver and a tape measure on his belt. When I asked if I could take a picture of the pie, he asked with some astonishment, "Of the pie??" But then said he had no problem and that he, too, thinks the Pie Lady of Cheyenne, Wyoming, is as paranoid as the sky is high.

After a stop on the road that runs through the Very Large Array (photo at bottom), we made it to Albuquerque and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, which did an entirely credible job of presenting the history and political context of nuclear weapons. Some of the social and cultural history of the cold-war era was slighter and sillier than I would have preferred, but you can't have everything. There's a nice assortment of planes and disabled weaponry there as well—between land art and missiles, this trip had it all. 

We also made it up to Tinkertown, the direct and avowed inspiration for the UCM "Museum" in Abita Springs, Louisiana, which we visited last April. Tinkertown is another creator-driven labor of love, filled with dioramas, salvaged carnival attractions, and whatnot but distinguished by a great deal of mechanical skill and ingenuity in its construction. Miniature trapeze artists swing on miniature trapezes, miniature bar toughs hurl miniature roundhouses at each other, and miniature politicians escape out the back doors of miniature whorehouses in their miniature longjohns. It's quite a sight.

As far as baseball—hey, remember baseball?—we seem to have saved the best for last. The Albuquerque Isotopes, triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, play in a lovely and large modern stadium on the campus of the University of New Mexico. Between the fine aesthetics, the informative scoreboard, the gigantic play area for uninterested children, the array of beer and food options, and the kickass merch and marketing, this is a top-notch operation. The team's in first place, too, in their division. Perhaps best of all, there's an actual slope in center field!

The same high quality wasn't quite in evidence in the team itself on the evening we were there, though, as they lost to the Young Turks from Omaha, 7–5. Omaha—newly christened the Storm Chasers—is the Royals affiliate and is said to be stocked with talent. The Isotopes did more damage to starter Danny Duffy than he'd been accustomed to of late, coming into the game as he did with a microscopic WHIP, and they were up 3–0 after two, a lead they maintained till the sixth. The Storm Chasers connected for three-run homers in both the sixth and the seventh, however, putting them into the lead. (Both homers would have been two-run affairs, or perhaps not homers at all, but for throwing errors by Albuquerque third baseman Corey Smith in both innings.) The box score is here

Highly touted Omaha first baseman Eric Hosmer went 2 for 3 and was responsible for one of those dingers. To the dismay of Kila Ka'aihue and fans of Hawaiian players everywhere, Hosmer was promptly called up to the bigs after the next night's game, having hit .439 and amassed a truly whopping 1.107 OPS in the Pacific Coast League.

All told, Albuquerque was a great place to see a game. And equally, if for different reasons, the middle of nowhere was a great place to take a road trip.

Is anybody out there?

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