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Of pie, baseball, mice and answers

April 01, 2011|By Patrick Caneday

Ever since I learned to drive, I've craved the Zen of the long road trip.

In my youth, I'd pack my truck, find a line on a map, and see how far I could get before Monday. I was searching for something I never could describe or find — that unfulfilled search being part of the journey's mystique.

By Day Four of our family RV trip through Arizona, the Chateau Sport, our 26-foot box-home on wheels, was a sanctuary. Everything we needed was within our mobile abode: crackers, cheese, wine, a bathroom and a DVD player.


In Sedona, every other car on the road is a pink jeep for hire that will take you off-roading through the backcountry. While I suggested the easiest ride for the sake of the children, Thing 2 drooled when the guide described the bumpiest route. Never fails. Whenever I think they won't like something, they love it. Bourbon, for instance.

Dolly, the petite and friendly driver on our three-hour kidney-pounder, took us deep into the canyons and dusty trails, offering insights on the native plants, animals and people. Virtually every rock formation in the region has a name: Coffeepot Rock, Bell Rock, Chimney Rock, Cow Pies, Twin Nuns and of course Snoopy reclining on the top of his doghouse.

We stopped for photos against the scenic backdrop, standing on one of the lesser-known rocks. Floyd, I think.

That night after pizza, we lured the girls out of the RV with S'mores. Created by the same devious mind that mixed peanut butter with jelly, Oreos with milk, and rum with Coke, few things close a day better than a campfire, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.

We hit the road early the following day for two very important reasons: pie and baseball. There's not much between Sedona and Phoenix, but one dot on the map caught my eye: Rock Springs. In a Google search of this one-horse town, it's hard to find an entry that's not about the pies at Rock Springs Café. The blue highway sign at the off-ramp declares: gas-food-lodging-pies.

It's equal parts saloon, kitschy gift shop and greasy spoon. But all pie heaven. Turtle pie, strawberry cheesecake, mixed berry, apple crumb. Normally it has to be the day after Thanksgiving for us to have such a decadent breakfast.

One of my lifelong dreams was to take my family to Vero Beach, Florida, for spring training baseball. I was heartbroken when the Dodgers left their original pre-season home, but having them a day's drive away made my dream easier to fulfill.

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