Saturday afternoon, December 3:
After a snowy beginning, the day turns sunny. The morning whizzes by as I write and answer emails, and as I work on new blog pages about the solar project.
Around 1:30 Bridget and Spike surface from the bedcovers.
As we walk around the campground, I get the urge to go someplace. I pack my shower tote, toss the crew in the PTV, and make a stop at the shower house. Then we’re off to Hatch, New Mexico!
I’ve never eaten chili rellenos before.
I don’t know exactly what they’re made of, but a reader wrote that the chili rellenos he had at The Pepper Pot in Hatch were the best he’s ever eaten. We take Highway 187 south and pass through the little towns of Arrey, Garfield, and Salem along fields of cotton, groves of pecans, and chili farms. I haven’t eaten since breakfast at eight and I’m very hungry.
The Pepper Pot restaurant is easy to find.
It’s right on the main street. I pull in alongside the building. Uh-oh. Not much activity around here. I walk over to two ladies driving out of the parking lot.
“Is The Pepper Pot open?” I ask.
“Oh, no. It closes at 3:00.” The driver sees my reaction and adds, “Go over to that door in back. She’s still here and she’ll probably sell you something.”
I knock on the back door and a pretty girl in her teens opens it.
“Excuse me. Those ladies leaving said to come back here. I came here because I was told you have the best chili rellenos.”
She calls to someone inside and then invites me in. I stand just inside the door of the restaurant kitchen. A lady smiles and says, “Hello.”
“I’m sorry to bother you. I drove all the way from Percha Dam for your chili rellenos. I’ve heard they’re very good.”
She smiles. “How many do you want?”
“I don’t know,” I admit. “I’ve never had one before. I’m from Georgia.”
This makes her laugh as she takes out a metal container from the refrigerator. I peer over at the container. She says, “They’re two dollars each.”
“Okay. I’ll take three then.”
While she’s grilling, I introduce myself. The young girl responds, “My name is Maria. Her name is Maria, too, but we call her Chayo.”
The plan is to eat one or two of the foil-wrapped delights on the way back to the campground, and save the other for later. I eat two, cheese dripping onto the steering wheel. The third one keeps whispering my name. Boy, these things are tasty. At the risk of a bellyache or worse, I consume the third.
I’m back at the campground now and I’m happy to report . . . so far, so good!