After getting to Pie Town we headed straight for The Gathering Place where we were greeted by a gaggle of locals in for the same good food we were about to be treated to. Jennifer was our server, a 40-ish California ex-pat, who kindly ignored the fact we hadn’t showered in nine days and served us up a HUGE breakfast.
We headed to Nita’s Toaster House to shower and settle in. Afterwards we joined Shadow and Mouse at the RV park next door where their full-time RV-life friends Collin and Andrea made food and brought plenty of beer. We had no problem eating or drinking any of it, and stayed up late until walking back over to the Toaster House to sleep. Our zero day (rest day) was spend doing wifi “chores,” like posting photos to Instagram, and doing blog posts (myself and Mouse). The problem was that all wifi at businesses was terrible and there was no cell service in Pie Town. This marked ten days without any cell reception. Frustrated, I created some drafts to post later once we would reach Grants in another dour days. I resigned myself to simply eat.
Eat pie. Eat hamburgers. Eat more pie.
This was made fairly simple since there were only three choices in which to eat: The Gathering Place, Pie Town Cafe, and Pie-O-Neer.
I spent a few hours at the Pie-O-Neer (see previous post), where I met the owner Kathy. Two slices of pie later I noticed a poster of Kathy and asked for the story. It was tied to Russell Lee, a photographer who documented migrants who moved to Pie Town from places like Oklahoma and Texas during the Dust Bowl with promises of work and land in California. You read Grapes of Wrath, yes? Pie Town is one of the places that migrants got “stuck” during their travels towards the opportunities that were never there.
In the Pie-O-Neer hung dozens of photographs which would serve as propaganda pieces on behalf of FDR’s New Deal and were published in 1939 just before historic WWII. A New York Times journalist contacted Kathy to try and interview some of these migrants, most of which had died, but some survived. Many are survived by sons and daughters who are immortalized in a fantastic coffee table book by that NYT writer, Arthur Drooker, called Pie Town Revisited.
After the story and a few more hours working quietly while Kathy and her husband Stan cleaned up, I headed back to the RV park for a mellower evening with Shadow, Mouse, Twisted, Collin and Andrea and their two sons until heading back to the Toaster House again to sleep. In the morning we would be headed off to Grants, NM.