The idea for our trip originated in 2000. I proposed to Barbara that we go on “The Pie Trip” — just take off and travel the country and “eat pie.” We would go on the backroads and eat in cafes and diners where the locals eat (where they always have pie) and just learn about the places we go and the people we meet.
We would write a book about the experience. We became busy with business and a move to Atlanta, and the trip was postponed. We were more than a little disappointed when we discovered a book titled American Pie published in 2002 that had a strikingly similar concept and a great name.
We modified our plans somewhat — choosing to make pie a part of the “Round America” trip but not the sole focus. Rather than traveling randomly, we decided to visit every state, and we carefully researched the itinerary. We remained committed to eating pie in as many places as possible, but we planned to do much more. As we met with reporters and folks along the way who learned about the plans for our book (printed on the back of our business cards is “We’ll write about the places we go, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat”), we began discussing pie more and more, and we became even more intent on finding the Best Pie in America.
We ate 181 pies in 148 days. That’s a lot of pie. I drove through Toledo as fast as possible and refused to step on a scale, but I am sure I gained at least 20 pounds on the Pie Trip. I did, however, enjoy every minute of it. I’ll try to remember just how much fun it was as I try to lose the weight.
We consumed 116 different types of pie. We did our best to try new pies every chance we had, but that was the luck of the draw. Bozzie Jane loves Coconut Cream Pie, and she wasn’t always as interested in trying new pies as she was enjoying her favorite dessert, so we downed 9 pieces of Coconut Cream Pie on the trip. Only Apple Pie topped Coconut Cream in the totals — enjoyed 13 times. 7 Peach Pie and 4 Peach Cobbler; 6 Cherry Pie; 5 Key Lime; 4 Raspberry Pie; and 4 Banana Cream (my favorite type of pie). We sampled pie in 37 states. I’m not sure how we managed to miss 13, but it seems we have. We’ll focus on getting pie in those states when we do the trip again.
Overall, we can report that American pie is very good. Most of the pies we consumed were quite good. There were only a couple of bad ones. The Best Pie in America is the Raspberry Pie at Dutch Mother’s Restaurant in Lynden, Washington. The Worst Pie in America is the Blueberry(less) Pie at the Northside Cafe in Winterset, Iowa.
It was also nice to meet other pie lovers along the way and in the years that have followed.
Click here to read the key sections of our Pie Trip Pie Report:
The Best Pie in America
Special Pie Places
The Great Pie Adventure
The Worst Pie in America
Complete List of Pies and Rankings
The Best Pie in America | Special Pie Places | The Great Pie Adventure
| Unusual Pies | The Worst Pie in America | Methodology | Complete List of Pies and Rankings