The star views on the Criswell are simply unbelievable! It's easy to enjoy breathtaking Milky Way vistas on the Criswell about 300 nights a year. It's easy to enjoy breathtaking Milky Way vistas on the Criswell about 300 nights a year.
© 2007 - 2012
© 2007 - 2012
© 2007 - 2012

Long Rider's Story

PieTown: A Place to Call Home...
This photo of Long Rider, Bernice Ende, was taken during her stay in Pie TOwn.

"Everyone needs a home to go to and tell a story now and then..."
- an excerpt from her long ride at Ende Of the Trail by Bernice Ende

We have a new home, PieTown, New Mexico. Our new house is located downtown on Main Street off Hwy 60, a few miles west of the continental divide. From my front porch, which has a red and white striped sofa on it, I can see a small beige adobe building across the street with “Alegres Electric” painted boldly in a redish-brown color. We are neighbors, Claire, Honor and I to the Strahle family and to our west down the hill is the one and only Daily Pie Cafe.

We came into town 6 days ago. It's a 20 mile ride from Datil where we spent 2 nights at the home of Jim and Janet Coleman. Jim is quite a horseman himself. He shared his life knowledge and adventures with me throughout the two days we were at his home. Horses were and still are his life. I left his home having added to my stories, knowledge and adventures. Cold westerly winds and snow showers landed us in PieTown tired and hungry. Claire and Honor are by now quite familiar with the routine of “coming into town at the end of a day”. They are patient, but mostly tired as they wait while I knock on doors asking if someone can sell me hay and grain. Or if we can camp in the city park, an empty lot, or in someone’s backyard anywhere that Honor might have enough food and water for the night.

It was Peggy Krawl owner of the Daily Pie Cafe who greeted me with a warm friendly “Yes, I can help you.” smile. Within the fading daylight hours she had called Dave Zable who kindly brought hay from his ranch 3 miles west of town. Honor ate tied under a tree covered in blankets behind the cafe that night. Claire and I were made comfortable in the restaurant on rough cut plank boards next to a woodstove that soaked us with deep body heat throughout the cold snowy night.

Offers came from generous folks down at the restaurant when we first arrived “Sure, we can put you up at our ranch!” But you see we needed to go home. “Home” was calling to us. Night after night we are guests traveling as we do in and out of so many homes. Throughout most days we are stopped by curious, interested passersby, visiting often. Our time shared again and again. It was time to go home, rest and be quiet. It was time to create a home. Our new home is nothing fancy. I did not have to answer an ad in the paper, nor did I place a first and last month deposit down. We did not have to sign a sales contract or lease agreement on our new home. Our new home is a tin-roofed tarpaper shack from another lifetime. Its windows are broken and patched with plastic, cardboard, plywood. It is lopsided and needed cleaning. But... the amenities were many. First, it came furnished with a green wood table, a usable mattress and a plastic bucket for a chair. It has a fenced in yard for Honor, a small dry shed to keep hay in and even a handmade shovel, to clean up after Honor.

The house also came with a functioning wood stove and plenty of scrap wood in the yard to keep us warm. Best of all is the location- next to a Pie Cafe! Oh yes, and the extraordinary view of New Mexico’s rough wide open space off to the NW, simply breathtaking - a million dollar view from a tar-paper shack. It was a place to rest quietly and safely-together, a place to write a story, a place to call home. And what is a home but a place where family comes together quietly, undisturbed by the day’s comings and goings of life. “Go home and rest”, “Go home and eat”, “Go home and be with your family”. We are family Claire, Honor and I. We needed “Home Time” as all families do.

Honor stands just outside the house, her nose touching the door hoping for more treats of carrots, apples and grain. Claire just beneath her looks annoyed and must wonder if those hoofs will come any closer. The wood stove burns hot and my lantern light reflects against tiny yellow rose wallpaper now torn, taped and faded. Long ago a woman carefully wallpapered this room. She hung pretty colorful curtains with red tie-backs. She even papered the shelves behind the woodstove; she was creating a “home” for her family.

We laughed and talked - Peggy and I - as we climbed the snow covered hill to my new home. Peggy carried a staple gun just in case we had to do more patching on the windows with plastic. I carried cardboard boxes to use somehow. We were both excited. We were participating in creation, creating something out of nothing… self-sufficiency in motion. We both saw the potential of “home” in an old shack. It made us smile like girls playing house. She is also capable, capable of creating something out of nothing as she has done with her Daily Pie Cafe (see Smithsonian, Feb. 05). She delights in it as I do.

Maybe it was the name PieTown and the association to homemade pies that set me longing for home. Our last “home” was months ago the summer of 06 in Red Cloud, Nebraska. With the help of our new neighbors the Schriener family, who lived across the road, I created for my family a home out of a 10 by 12 foot shed. I called it our Thoreau Cabin. It does not matter so much what and how you create home. Shacks can make very good homes. It is what you fill them with that is important. A big spacious house with all its luxuries can be void of “home” on the inside. It is the sense of home that is important. Home needs to be restorative -- someplace that complements the “out there” of our lives with the “in here” of our lives. A place that brings us together whether you are alone or with family members.

PieTown is home to a famous home -- Bob Sundown’s wagon home. He traveled for over 30 years in his little shack on wheels taking his home everywhere pulled by mules. Known to most as Sundown he spent part of his summers here, his winters further south and could be seen traveling as far north as Nebraska. His wagon home is a shrine here at the campground in town. He had created something out of nothing. His wagon house was covered with layer after layer of plastic tarps rotted torn and a new one tied down in the most creative doable way he could. Inside he’d made a heat stove from a 5 gal oil can with coffee cans as the stove pipe and had a plywood bench in the back for a bed. A green 2 burner Coleman stove, all packed in with years of stuff!! By most peoples standards it was not much of a home. To Bob and his mules it was more then enough. I’m sorry to have missed him. I would have enjoyed meeting him and his mules and talking about his home. Bob Sundown passed away last year. His shrine is a legacy, a lesson to the possibilities of “HOME”.

I sit on my back porch steps eating breakfast in the morning sunshine. Oatmeal cooked on the woodstove with lots of sea salt, molasses and olive oil. It was a delicious feast to this lady long rider. Honor leaves her flake of hay to come bump and push my shoulder with her nose. She obviously thinks she should be included in on this meal. Claire’s nose would be much closer if she did not have a belly full of dog food covered in oil and raw eggs, delicious to a long walking dog. Home is like this for us; we eat and share our food together.

Peggy has reopened her cafe after a 3-day holiday break. Cars pull in and out all morning. She’s busy-busy with a smile on her face. The Daily Pie Cafe is a home to many. If there’s an unhappy face that leaves that cafe then they did not eat a slice of homemade pie and share a story over a 2 hour cup of coffee. Leisure... Leisurely connecting with one another, our human spirit longs for such a home. As Mr. Paul - a “family member” of the Daily Pie Café – said, “After a while it doesn’t matter where you go. If you don’t have happiness inside you, you’ll never find it out there”. It takes that happiness inside to create homes and good homemade pies as Peggy does. Something out of nothing. Like Sundown and his home on wheels pulled by mules.

This photo of Long Rider, Bernice Ende, was taken after she left Pie Town during her 5,000 mile ride acrosss America.Tomorrow I will saddle Honor and pack saddle bags. We will head west down Hwy 60. I will turn around in the saddle as we are leaving and say, "Thank you", grateful for a week of rest at home. I will wonder as we leave where and when our next home will happen as it surely will, as it surely rides in my heart.

I like what Peggy has put on her coffee mugs at the cafe. It says “PieTown, NM on the continental divide, from here its all down hill. Ironic to be half way into our 5000 mile ride. After a week of rest at home here in PieTown it truly does feel like the last half of our ride will be down hill.
Visitor Tips:

For more details in the Long Rider's story, visit Also, to enjoy Bernice's ongoing travel journal, be sure to visit: Outfitters' Supply. They are sponsoring Bernice's trip and have been publishing her journal installments ever since she began her long ride in 2006.

You can also email Bernice at; but please be patient. It's a long ride between Internet Cafes on the road Bernice is traveling!

Since Bernice mentions Bob Sundown in the above article, you might also enjoy reading's Bob Sundown story. Bob was another much-loved Catron County traveler who called our part of New Mexico 'home' for years before he rode off on the highway to heaven back in '06.

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© 2007 - 2012

© 2007 - 2012

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© 2007 - 2012