Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Datil Well, Pietown, and the VLA



Yesterday we headed east another 60 miles to Datil Well BLM Campground, near Datil, NM. A perk for going this way is passing through the very small community of Pietown, at an elevation of 8000’ on the Continental Divide. Yes, it was named for it’s pies, and if you are so inclined you can read about it here. Of course we had to stop and get a slice of pie, and we had our choice of Daily Pie Cafe or the Pie-O-Neer. We stopped at Daily Pie since we liked the pie pictures on their website better.



Debbie had a slice of the best seller, Mexican Apple (with green chili and pinon nuts), Jim had triple berry, and I had lemon. We sampled each of them and they were all very good, but still not as good as my mother used to make..

Datil Well is a nice BLM campground along the former Magdalena Livestock Driveway, a 120-mile-long cattle trail between Magdalena, NM and Springerville, AZ. For $2.50/night it was a great overnight stop. No hookups or dump, but they do have water and vault toilets, and we had an internet connection, although slow. And 3 miles of hiking trails to help us work off our pie.




About 20 miles from Datil Well along our route, we passed by the Very Large Array, or VLA, which is a radio astronomy observatory. It consists of 27 antennas arranged in a Y shape, each of which measures 82’ in diameter and weighs 230 tons.



It has been used to study galaxies, black holes, quasars, pulsars, supernovas, gamma ray bursts, and all kinds of other things I don’t understand. We went in the visitor center and watched the film, and would have liked to take the walking tour but it was really windy with blowing dust so we passed.

Many people may know this place from the Jody Foster movie Contact, but it’s also been featured in several other movies and music videos. An interesting place to visit but I wouldn’t go out of my way to come here.



Our plan is to head to Santa Fe tomorrow, to a Forest Service campground near the ski area west of town. At 8000’ we hope to escape the heat and get there a day ahead of the Memorial Day weekend campers. We always dread these holidays.


  1. Thanks for the tip about the BLM campground out there. It's good to know where to get water, too.

  2. We were just a few miles from Pietown. I wanted a piece but Paul couldn't justice the gas for a piece of pie...go figure.

    $2.50...what a deal!

    Paul isn't going to be very happy when he reads this post. He wanted to see the Very Large Array so badly. We had the motorhome and got part way least that is what we thought...only to find out we had another hour to go. Paul didn't want to drive the MH down that road and we never thought of unhooking. Oh well next time.

  3. Boy $2.50 is a great deal. I think I would probably have had to have pie for lunch and dinner so I could try both of those restaurants although like you, I've never found pie as good as what we make here with our spelt flour Betty Crocker flakey crust.