Day 278: Woodruff’s Cafe & Pie Shop

Woodruff’s Cafe & Pie Shop: It’s hard to beat freshly baked pies – especially with a case full of choices! 

Pies © Paul H. Byerly

It started sixty-five years ago as a place for local kids to get out of the rain while they waited for the school bus on Hwy 130 in Monroe VA. But James Earl Woodruff thought it could be more. James and his wife Mary Fannie started the general store in 1952. 

Woodruff's Cafe & Pie Shop © Paul H. Byerly

The family has long solid Christian roots, and they have always been about helping others. Building a bus stop was one expression of this. The family also sheltered abused wives and provided groceries for those who could not pay.

Family Pictures © Paul H. Byerly

The pies came later. And oh what wonderful pies!

Mary back in the day © Paul H. Byerly

The store was closed in 1982. Then in 1998 Angela Scott, one of the couple’s twin girls, reopened it as a home-cooked deli and bakery. It was tough going at first, but then the September 2013 issue of Southern Living declared the shop’s apple pie “the best pie ever.” Today people drive from all over to this pie shop in the middle of nowhere.

 You can get a whole pie to go, but it’s must better to get a slice and have a seat at Mary Woodruff’s. At 99½ years young, Mary doesn’t bake anymore, but she has clear memories of the past and she tells wonderful stories. If she learns you’re from a long way away, she will ask you to sign her guestbook. Being from Washington State we were asked to sign – right below a recent visitor from Australia.

Mary at 99.5 years © Paul H. Byerly

Thanks, Steve and Ellen for introducing us to a wonderful bit of local culture/history! 

Image Credits: © Paul H. Byerly

More (solar) Power! (grunt, grunt, grunt)

Tim Taylor - MORE POWER!  © Disney–ABC Domestic TelevisionThe fiver came with three 100 watt solar panels and four 6 volt golf cart batteries. The batteries are in great shape, but I didn’t take long to realise we didn’t have enough solar panels to do the amount of dry camping we want. The battery controller was never receiving half the amps it can handle so no problem there. It’s time for more (solar) power.

Found a great price on a panel at Amazon and ordered. I waited for a cooler day and hit the roof. Installing a forth panel was pretty easy. The conduit used for the other three was full, so I ran it down a tank vent which was right where I needed it on the roof, and goes right by the battery controller in the washer/dryer closet.

With the forth panel installed we are seeing 125% of our previous max. However the previous max was the end of June, and the sky was not hazy with smoke (we are having a bad fire season here). I expect we would have seen 140% in an apples to apples comparison

The new panel is 100 watts like the old ones, but shaped different. I laid out the roof and we can get eight more of these up there, for a total of 1200 watts. Now that’s some power!

Roof solar panels - before © Paul H. Byerly

Roof solar panels - after © Paul H. Byerly



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Image Credits: © Paul Byerly, © Paul Byerly, and © Disney–ABC Domestic Television


A Less Moving Experience

King Pin Stabilizer One of the on-going irritations of living in an RV has been the way the living room moved when the other person was in the bedroom. Anything other than shallow breathing felt like a Zumba class was being held in there. One evening I got mildly motion sick while Lori was making the bed.

So we got a Camco King Pin 5th Wheel Stabilizer

It’s not like living in a stick built house, but the motion is way down. A great less-than-$100 addition to our home on the road.