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We were off the campsite by 8:15AM this morning and once we finished doing our business at the dump station were on Interstate-25 and headed north. Normally I don't prefer traveling on the Interstate Highways, but around here there are few choices when it comes to roads and you have to take what you can get.

At least I-25N had some decent scenery.

58-miles after entering the Interstate we were exiting at the town of Socorro. We pulled in at a very busy gas station only to find the pumps we selected were both Out-Of-Order. With more than ¾ of a tank left we didn't make a second pass at finding a working pump. There are still two more decent sized towns before we arrive at our camping destination so we planned on getting gas at one of them.

We'll be heading west on US-60 for nearly 85-miles today, most of it going up!

The gasoline in Socorro was around $3.35 a gallon, not too bad these days in New Mexico. The next town we went through was Magdalena, but their gasoline was $3.89 a gallon and we were now running late for our 11:00AM entry tickets at our BIG and ROUND sightseeing stop, still 25 miles up the road. A quick decision was made and we passed on stopping for gas.

Thirty minutes later we arrived, barely on time, at the VLA (Very Large Array). If you've seen the 1997 movie Contact, starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, then you've no doubt seen the VLA.

We however are going to get an up close and personal look at the VLA today on a self-guided walking tour. Before going out into the field however there is a short movie for us to watch to get a better understanding exactly what it is we'll be looking at today. The film is narrated by none other than Jodie Foster!

You can watch the exact same 24-minute film we did by clicking on this LINK, it's well worth your time to watch. If you're really interested there are four other short films to watch using the same link.

Another cool item to see here is the Bracewell Radio Sundial. I've included a LINK to a 4-page brochure explaining how the sundial works, but even after reading it I still couldn't figure it out.

Enough talk! Here are our photos.



The very large entrance sign at the Very Large Array Visitor Center.

This is the Bracewell Radio Sundial I was talking about.

And this is me still trying to figure out what time it is by reading it.

If viewed from above the array looks like a "Y" shape.

This is the one they let you get up close to.

It's hard to judge the size of these dishes until you're underneath one of them.

This shows the railroad track they use to precisely postion them.

Over the course of each year they are positioned four different distances apart.

Today they are in "Configuration B", the second widest position they use.

Here you can see the empty side tracks they use for different configurations.

This metal Y shaped sculpture represents the array.

Time to start heading down the road, we're not done yet traveling today.

It looks like THE POD has a new satellite dish on the roof.

One final look at the Very Large Array in New Mexico.

Back on the road and heading west we're headed for the small town of Datil, NM. According to our Gas Buddy app they have one gas station in town, but no one has reported what their current price is. Doesn't matter much at this point because our final destination for the day is Pie Town just another 20-miles down the road and they don't show any gas stations in town.

We found the gas station in Datil, but they're not open on Sundays and there are no credit card readers on the pumps. This is beginning to look like a problem that will have to wait until tomorrow for a solution.

Upon arriving in Pie Town we spotted the Pie-O-Neer Pie Shop and Restaurant where we plan to have dinner. But first we need to secure a campsite for tonight. Plan A included staying for in the city park's FREE campground.

The problem with that is the entrance to the park looks like a big mud bog just waiting to swallow up the tires of anyone trying to enter. With the heavy snow they had here three days ago, and the warmer days since, there is a lot of moisture all over the ground.

Plan B is to head over to the only RV Park in town and see if there are any vacancies for tonight. When we located the park we were happy to see there was only one RV currently occupying a site. The instructions at the check-in station say if you don't have a prepaid reservation you need to call before setting up in a site, in case someone is scheduled to arrive later with a reservation.

We called and found out that any site other than #2, where the RV was, is available for tonight. We chose Site #8, which is a back-in site on the other side of the campground from Site #2. Just $35 for water/electric and sewer is a pretty good rate. The park is nothing fancy, but we don't need fancy, just a place to safely park for the night.

Now that we have a place to sleep tonight it's time to head back to the Pie-O-Neer Shop and get something to eat.

We didn't unhitch THE POD from ROVER so we took both back to the pie shop and parked in a vacant field next door.

We had no idea what we were in for as we approached the front porch of the restaurant.

I would describe the outside of the restaurant as quaint, or possibly small town charming.

Approaching the front door we somehow just felt "right at home".

There's even a sign out front explainng how the town got it's name.

Once inside we kind of went on a visual overload. There was so much to see.

There were all kinds of seating options.
Small tables, large family tables, booths and even bar stools or a comfy chair.

If you arrive at the Pie-O-Neer on a Sunday you'll be asked one thing. "Are you here for dinner, or just the pie"? Because on Sunday there are no menus. Sure you have your choice of pie, if that's all you're looking for, but if your here for dinner, you'll eat what everyone else is eating. It's as if you were invited over to a neighbors house for dinner.

I got lucky, because what was for dinner today was Chicken & Dumplings, one of my favorites!

The meal consisted of a large bowl of Chicken & Dumplings, a small fresh salad, green beans, a cornbread muffin, a Key Lime tart and a Pie Cookie, plus a beverage of your choice.

We were both stuffed by the time we finished eating and we hadn't even tasted the Pie Cookies. When they were clearing the table next to us I heard them ask, "Would anyone would like seconds"? Unbelievable!

This occurs every Sunday at the Pie-O-Neer and each week it's something different for dinner.

We even purchased a 6-inch Cinnamon Apple Crunch pie to take home for later, I hope!

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