Max’s Mile High Apple Pie

When I learned that my doctor’s family was originally from the India subcontinent I was looking forward to telling him of my fondness for Kipling and the poetry of the Raj and maybe even trying out the Gunga Din-Do Nuthin’ joke that I sprang on Max the other day.

Then I realized that my colonoscopy would leave me fully unconscious for 30 minutes or more, stretched out on a table wearing a gown with no back, my rump unclothed and unprotected, and totally at his mercy. I decided to defer all attempts at humor.

This, of course, has nothing to do with today’s tale but it explains in part why I have been away from WordPress. October has simply been chock-a-block full of thrilling, enriching appointments like the colonoscopy. Anyway…

“Can we just get to the point?”

Last Sunday, the Alpha Japanese Female and I decided to take Max up into the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in search of an apple pie.

Before heading to the mountains we went to Farmer Boys (Motto: “Farm Food Ain’t Fast Food!”) for breakfast on the dog-friendly patio. I wasn’t too hungry and chose a breakfast sandwich while the AJF, all 5 foot-and-a-skosh and 102 pounds wearing boots, tore through a Farmer Boys special which I think was called the Starving Lumberjack and consisted of 3 eggs, hashed brown potatoes, bacon, ham and wheat toast. Max noshed on a little bacon and some egg begged from his DogMom.

She ate the whole thing. Even Max was too embarrassed to watch.

For us, the apple pie trip is an annual autumnal tradition. In years past we secured our pie from a roadside fruit stand in a quaint Northern California district called, appropriately enough, Apple Valley. Last year we skipped the trip because of Covid concerns.

Get your motor running, head out on the highway…SteppenMalt

This year we elected to stay closer to home and opted to drive to the small agricultural community of Oak Glen. Oak Glen is about 1,350 meters above sea level which is just dandy for growing apples, the first of which were planted there over 100 years ago. Before that, the indigenous Cahuilla and the Serrano peoples pretty much sat around eating acorns and chasing squirrels for sustenance.

Oak Glen fall colors. Photo: WikiCommons, Don Graham

The road through Oak Glen is one of California’s prettiest scenic byways especially when Fall colors have appeared. Along the five mile route are some 30 farms and ranches and almost all of the 650 residents are involved to some degree with agri-tourism.

Family farm that escaped recent wild fires

Each year, about 300,000 people come to Oak Glen to visit the apple farms, shops, restaurants, group camps, nature trails, bakeries, cafes, ciderys, and historical landmarks. Judging by the traffic, about 279,000 of those annual visitors chose the same weekend as us to make the pilgrimage. But I digress.

Our destination: Apple Annie’s Bakery

Some preliminary research indicated that the best apple pie could be found at Apple Annie’s Bakery at Oak Mountain which started 50 years ago as a roadside apple stand. It has since grown to become a combined restaurant, bakery, and self-described “14 acre family fun park” replete with petting zoo, axe-throwing booths, mini train rides, piglet races, bumper cars, fishing contests and goat milking.

Scenes from Oak Mountain

Despite the hodgepodge of activities, the website for Oak Mountain says that the place “was created for folks to come and enjoy a simpler way of life, surrounded by the fresh crisp air…” Uh huh.

Surprisingly, neither Max nor the AJF were attracted by piglet races or enthusiastic about trying their hands/paws at goat milking. On the other hand/paw, the promise of a delicious apple pie was alluring, especially when we learned that Apple Annie’s signature pie was a 5 pound (2.23 kg) behemoth called the “Mile High Apple Pie.”

AJF holding the “Mile High” Pie

Getting the pie took some effort because of the crowds. We had to park the car quite a ways down the road, put Max in his poussette and then hike uphill to the bakery. After roaming around the family fun park avoiding creatures porcine and ruminant, the AJF got in a long line outside the bakery while the Furbeast and I sat on a hay bale and did some people watching.

Other baked goodies were also secured

It was a good thing we were sitting down because I nearly passed out when the AJF returned and I learned the price for a Mile High Apple Pie. No, I’m not going to tell you. Not now, not ever – I will never admit to having spent that much on an apple pie.

Several other stops were made along the way. Hard cider – yum!

After exploring Oak Mountain we continued our road trip, sightseeing along the byway and stopping at a few other roadside attractions where we bought additional baked goods featuring apples. By then Max was tired out and needed to go home and nap.

Max was asleep standing up

We dug into the pie that evening with coffee and Calvados accompanied by the sound of a snoring Maltese. Cutting the pie was somewhat awkward due to its Matterhorn shape but we triumphed in the face of enormous adversity.

Cut with surgical precision – that was 2 slices

The Mile High Pie was delicious but not the best we’ve ever had. I think its massive size and shape worked against maximization of flavor but it was certainly tasty and we’ll have ample opportunity to reconsider our flavor ranking as we froze the leftovers and there were a lot of leftovers.

“Leave me alone.”

61 replies

  1. Tom, it’s so good to hear from you and Max and to see Max looking so good. I’m tired just sitting here reading about your days adventure! I wouldn’t have had the strength to pick that apple pie up. That turnover looks scrumptious!

    Beautiful countryside. That alone was worth the trip. Sounds like you three musketeers had a great day. And you certainly have some great dessert waiting for you in the freezer. I hope the crust doesn’t turn soggy when you defrost it. 🤭

    In the last photo, Max looks like he doesn’t want to see another apple pie again. Just completely tuckered out. Me thinks you and the AJF were too!

    Hope all your tests produced good results. Looks like you and the AJF are doing a fantastic job of keeping Max as healthy as can be expected.

    Murphy sends her love. She’s jealous that she doesn’t get any bacon and eggs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Ginger, the drive through the countryside was worth the trip. I was disappointed not having a chance to try my hand at goat milking but the other Musketeers wanted nothing to do with those funny-eyed critters. Max is doing as well as can be expected and while he lacks the endurance for a longer trip, he can handle a quick jaunt like this one and he enjoyed all the attention he gets when in his stroller. Scratches to Miss Murphy!


  2. So there are still parts of America that look like that. Amazing, almost as amazing as the portion sizes. I’ll think of that Matterhorn every time I dig into a flat little tarte tatin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There you are! You’ve been MIA lately. Yum – tarte tatin! This was the first time we ventured into the Oak Glen area . Just take the I-10 East and hang a left in Yucaipa. We’ll go back but next time on a weekday as it was a bit too congested for my taste.


    • I wish it has been as delicious as it looks on the outside. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, but not quite great. I guess the trade-off between the novelty of a pie mountain and the final taste. The AJF explained it has something to do with the cornstarch needed to keep the mountain shape vs a juicier filling but I don’t know anything about baking so I just nodded wisely and shoveled it into my mouth.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have New England roots, so the apple pie thing is built into my genetic code. That pie is wondrous to look at, but I’m not surprised it was good though not necessarily the best. A good pie baker doesn’t need gimmicks, right? I think Max has got it all right, just as my Enzo does–well, almost, but he’s only 11 months, so there’s still a lot to learn. Stay well and happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Enzo probably weighs less than that pie. The nature of the Oak Mountain operation meant that the pie naking was a blend of home cooking and assembly line manufacturing. The place we used to go in Northern Cali was truly a small time family baking endeavor and you could taste the difference. I suspect the New England pie places also run the gamut from home baking to cottage industry to factory pies. But let’s be real…even a less than perfect apple pie is still pie! And the addition of a side of Calvados didn’t hurt either.


  4. Ok that pie is something. Not sure what but something. It sounds like our apple picking place on steroids which makes me really want to go there!!! Looks like alot of fun and I’m glad max got to go! What beautiful fall leaves too. Glad you’re back!

    Liked by 2 people

    • A number of the farms and ranches were of the “U-Pick” variety and there was an amazing variety of heritage apples that no longer appear on grocery shelves. Unfortunately they could not do apple tasting because of restrictions surrounding the pandemic. I would have enjoyed trying the “old brands” of apples and comparing to the new hybrids. It was fun and mostly it was just a great chance to refresh the eyes with a different scenery.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Leftovers–my most favorite part of any meal. Of course, I had to go to Apple Annie’s website–Oreo Stuffed French Toast!!! I’d go just for that. Kind of a shame the pie looked better than it tasted. We don’t do much ‘apple’ stuff here in the glorious South. Pumpkins rule–easier to carve than an apple. So good to see you and Max back in action again.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I saw that Oreo-Stuffed French Toast. No French person will own up to that kind of breakfast treat. What would one do? Put syrup on it? Maybe whipped cream? I think I’ll stick to more traditional fare but judging from the AJF’s performance at Farmer Boys, she’d tear through the Oreo-Stuffed French Toast and order up a side of hash browns. I don’t know where she packs it in.

      Liked by 1 person

    • At Thanksgiving, it was always sweet potato pie and pecan pie from the part of the South I hail from. My grandmothers loved to make refrigerated pies or desserts most of the year. They didn’t want to heat up the house.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. And here I thought perhaps you made a quick road trip to the Western Slope to pick your apples from under the shadow of Grand Mesa. If the old adage about eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, you and the AJF should be good for a couple of years. That’s quite a bakery load!
    P.S. Love Max’s access to seeing the road. He seems to know just how to cast a ‘pawticularly’ “Born to Be Wild” pose…Get Your Motor Runnin, Head Out on the Highway, Looking for adventure, In whatever comes our way…🎵

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m glad you managed to suppress your inner Kipling….otherwise not even the devils in kilts from ‘Carry On up the Khyber’ could have saved you from a testy surgeon….he might even have used cultural misappropriation to deal withan un cooperative foregner… ….
    as Corporal Jones makes clear ‘They don’t like it up ’em!’.

    That looks wonderful countryside to visit at this time of year…but the crowds! And that pie! It is all over the tip. No wonder little Max needed a nap after all that.

    Very glad that you are both doing well, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “It’s the only language they understand, sir!” I have a history of making smart aleck remarks before medical operations. At the last colonoscopy the Docs asked if I had any questions before sedation and I commented it all seemed a bit much for a simple tooth whitening procedure. But they got the last laugh when the nurse chirped in, “Don’t worry, we can reach your teeth from here.” This time, just before they administered the anesthetic they told me to relax and breathe deeply and before fading out I snuck in “Ah sweet Albion! I shall lie back and think of England” which earned a small chuckle.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Tom,

    I hope all your medical tests came back clear and you are done having tests for a while.

    It is good to hear about your adventure in the mountains. I am not sure how they get away with calling the pie a mile-high apple pie, even if it is tall. Only apple pies from Denver, CO should be allowed to be called mile-high apple pies.

    We are getting apples from Palisade, CO right now and they are very good. If I had time, I’d make an apple pie, but with the complete move into the RV and getting the RV recognized, my time is pretty tight. I did bring my pie pan though. Bruce claims I make an excellent apple pie.

    I do believe Nox is envious of Max’s poussette. She only has a backpack to be carried in, not a very fancy poussette to be pushed around in.

    I’m not sure why Max was so tired after getting pushed around in his poussette, but he looks very cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, all the tests came back with good results. I got a skin cancer surgery next week and that should be the end of a busy October. I love fruit pickin’ and buying at Palisades especially peach season. Fellow Coloradan Monika from Tales from the Ranch blog (see her comments above) and I talk about that a lot. Nox deserves her own poussette and they are super convenient when going to dog friendly restaurants, just park the pup at the table! I expect that the first pie in the RV will be a big occasion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad all is well health wise, I hope the cancer removals is fairly painless.

        If we parked Nox at the table so she could see food, she might just tip a poussette over in her eagerness to get to people food. She thinks dog food is okay, but people food is the very best!

        Liked by 1 person

    • The AJF normally is a small eater. There is one major exception and that is sushi. She can eat sushi like one of those wood chippers at a tree farm. On occasion she will rip through a huge breakfast but that’s not so common. You do not want to be the one who gets the bill at a sushi bar where she has been eating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve only been to a sushi bar once, and though it tasted good, I have never again gone in probably a decade because of the price. How do people afford that? And not one sushi can fill your belly. I guess that’s her indulgence?

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s definitely a luxury. When it comes to sushi we are purists and snobs (which is OK if you are native Japanese) and only feast on the nigiri style which is the fish on a little rice ball, not the rolls. One order of two pieces goes for about $5-$6 in LA for the basic sea critters and more for exotic stuff. I’ve seen the AJF put away 10 orders easily. We avoid taking the Tolerant Daughter because she’s a bigger sushi eater than the AJF or me. When the 3 of us go (like for the AJF’s birthday) the tab can run close to $200. Ai yai yai.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Am I understanding this correctly? You go up into the foothills carrying meters where they grow apple pies? Then, to buy one you have to queue amongst unmasked crowds at a counter full of ‘Home Baked by Machine,’ pies to pay way over te odds for ‘Mum’s Home Cooking?’ That brings a tear to my eye.
    It all sounds a little bit American to me.

    It is however, great to be out in the country, the sky, the air, the sights, the crowds of cars full of people enjoying the pollution from the other cars spoiling the countryside! Still, it’s a trip out.
    Very glad they did not endure the fires, I saw some which wiped out vast areas and before it. Horrible.

    Max looked well, great picture of hm in the car raring to go!

    Sad to here of the troubles, sadder you have to pay for insurance to get this help.
    Hopefully it wil ease and clear away, Max needs you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a great and noble American tradition to venture into the wilds to hunt down the elusive and wily apple pie and bring it back to the cave for the family. Usually we carry huge automatic weapons and kill the pie several times over, and often the cashier and serving person too, whilst yelling “freedom!!!” All good fun, ya know. Oak Glen did have some fires in the past year but fortunately they didn’t spread like some. We saw the burn scars and some were too close for comfort to the farming areas. No worries on my account – the medical tests were not in response to any health problems. Save for a single skin cancer removal scheduled for nest week I am hale and healthy, a condition I attribute to my beer consumption, of course.

      Liked by 2 people

    • The change between seasons is so slight as to be largely unnoticeable so we never got into having separate Fall activities or Spring or Winter; it was summer year around. Of course the stores and businesses would have seasonal events and tout pumpkin spice lattes and other autumn specialties. Besides, it was way too hot to bake anything except ourselves!


  10. “Navigator perch?” Um, I’m sure Max knows that’s the co-pilot’s seat. Navigators sit behind the pilot/co-pilot. I’m also sure Max would pilot if he had longer legs and opposable thumbs. But please, give him appropriate credit for the work he does.

    My new home in Vermont involves apples. LOTS of apples, growing in/dropping into my yard, alongside roads, or in small family-owned organic orchards. Said orchards sell not just apples, but cider, applesauce, and…apple cider donuts. The donuts make or break such an operation, I’ve read. (They’re delish, and not cheap.) No apple pies, though! However, I did see a friend’s FB post showing her coming out of a “pie shed” in Vermont (location kept secret) where one could find various pies for sale on the honor system, never sure what type would be available on a given day, or if any would be left when you arrived. I rather like that idea, the antithesis to your Oak Mountain pie experience.

    Max, you’re looking fabulous, even sleeping on your feet. Old age rocks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll let you demote the AJF from her co-pilot position. Not me. Uh-uh. Cider donuts were a big push item on Oak Mountain but the lines for them were way too long even though I was curious about them. But there was plenty of cidery stuff, jams, jellies, and tons of country kitsch everything. Visiting once was OK but I won’t be back on a weekend again. I like the idea of speakeasy pie sheds and fewer tourists. When the dropped apples ferment on the ground you’ll likely have a bunch of drunk birds and small critters running around. Maybe even some of the larger wild life. Boozy raccoons are always worth the price of admission.


  11. Poor sweet Max is like, “Couldn’t you have bought a mile-high bacon pie?!?!” 😛
    What a beautiful place! And what a BIG pie!
    Hope you are getting all good results on your med-tests! Sending bestest wishes your way!
    (((HUGS))) 🙂
    PS…After a colonoscopy I was told I asked the doc a VERY 😮 interesting question!
    I was still loopy, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tease…you didn’t tell us what you asked the Doc! Max didn’t get his bacon pie but he did pretty good in the treats department. Most of all he got tons of affectionate attention and pets from little ones who thought it was so funny to see a dog in a “baby carriage.” Hugs back at ya.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, probably best that I don’t share it for all the world to see. 😮 😀
        I’m so glad Max got so much loving and attention from kiddos! It is a delight to see a pup in a carriage! 🙂
        When Coop goes out he gets lots of attention and affection, too. He’s small…so kids say, “May I pet your puppy?” He likes being thought of as a young pup! 😉 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved this post: the photos (especially the colorful fall trees), Max’s comments (he’s so adorable and sleeping standing up!) and the pie. Wow! That’s a high pie and all what you wrote in it. A very pleasurable read. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol! It was a fun day and probably at the limit of Max can handle these days. Lots of visual and aural stimuli even though he rides in a carriage. For awhile over the past couple months we weren’t sure he’d ever get to take a road trip again so this was especially enjoyable for us. A big pie was just additional goodness. Scritches to Bau!

      Liked by 1 person

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