Monday, March 22, 2010

God, Julian And Apple Pie

We arrived in Julian after an arduous 4 hour drive with mirages of their famous apple pie in our head. Julian is a destination for those of us who regard hot apple pie as a religious experience.
Thank you Jeeeez, Yahweh’s in the crust, and pie Allah mode.

It takes some special skill to wander into what must be the only restaurant in town with no apple pie on the menu. This is a town of bountiful appetites. The leftovers on my plate contained enough food to feed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but as any glutton can tell you there’s always room for a slice of apple pie. We had come this far; made the pilgrimage to Americana to worship at the altar of the almighty apple.

We then mosied across the street and found the Julian CafĂ© & Bakery. The menu reminded us that there was “no freedom in a godless world.” Was this their way of saying that they reserve the right to refuse to serve their sanctified pie to anyone but the properly ordained? Too much piety in the pie for my taste.

The fake flowers which sprouted at every turn and the seventeen frilly pillows on the bed of the Gold Rush B&B should have been a warning. When we left town the next morning Peggy suggested we pick up some Godly Julian apples at the market. I was told that the apple harvest was long gone and they only carried regular apples brought in from godless places.

Do you mean that the pie I ate last night wasn’t from home-grown apples?


God was in evidence as we headed down the 4000 feet grade onto the Anza Borrego desert floor which ends 235 feet below sea level at the Salton Sea. The drop is spectacular with the green rolling mountains of the Cleveland National Forest almost close enough to touch. The landscape looked like the skin of an immense mastodon.

Wildflowers were seen along the side of the road but not in great profusion as we had seen poppy fields in the Antelope Valley a few years ago. Lupine and desert Lily strut their stuff as well as the red blossoms of Ocotillo and Brittlebush.

Too late for the apples and too early for the desert flowers that bloom in the Spring, Tra La, we got our reward in the unexpected as we drove through the Borrego Badlands, the most un-earthly geological site I have yet witnessed. As far as could be seen were canyons, caves, sunken mesas and corrugated hills dating back 1.6 million years. This was the receiving basin of the ancient Colorado River, the best place in North America to view sediments of the Pliocene and Pleistocene age.

For all this I bow my head in awe. The Badlands don’t get any better. It could be God's address.

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