Thursday, October 23, 2008


South of Santa Fe is a steep decline known as La Bajada (Spanish for the descent) at the bottom of the decline a road leads west to Cochiti Dam. Under the dam is a Pueblo that gives it's name to the dam. Up the hill and around the man made lake is a small village and a nice golf course. Driving past the golf course a few miles leads to a dirt road and a valley where apples are grown by the Dixon family. The people who live in central New Mexico have for more years than many can count have taken a nice little drive out to the apple ranch and bought bags or bushels of their apples. Champaign, Rhome, Red Delicious, and Burgundy. It's the Champaign that really bring the people. They're yellow, sweet, good for eating, baking, frying or any other way you can think to fix them. I like to slice them up with an apple corer, put them in a plastic bowl, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on them and microwave them until soft.
This year the first day Dixon's was open was on a Friday. My wife had that day off, so I took the day off and we thought we would beat the weekend crowd. The previous year we waited for the second weekend and they had sold out of Champaign apples.
We got up, daughter wanted to go with us, so we had to wait for her to get ready, then we invited son's girlfriend and her three-year-old to come along too. Loaded up in the mini-van and headed out for fifty mile drive to get apples.
Everything was going smoothly on I-25, not too much traffic. At the turn off for the dam still hardly anyone else around. Made it just past the golf course and then there was a line of cars. It was 9:45 in the morning. At first I thought that maybe they had the gate closed where the dirt road starts and would open it at 10:00. We crept up slowly. A few cars turned around and left helping the rest of us get closer. It was drive up a few spots, turn off the engine, wait, start engine move up a few spots repeat process. After two hours we finally got to the dirt road and the gate to the orchard. A number of people had left their cars and had started to walk down. At this point I decided my wife could drive down and I would walk down (3 miles or so the sign at the gate said). That way I could get in the line to the shed where you bought the apples.

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