Sunday Eric was out of town visiting a friend, so I went with some friends in search of a little autumn fun. We found our way to Riley's apple orchard in Oak Glen. It was overcast and a cherry-red nose, see-your-breath chilly day, but we had fun in spite of the cold. It was just the sort of activity I was looking for to really get into the fall season. To start things off we grabbed a bag and a picking pole so we could pick our own apples.
With it being the height of the fall season, the only apples that were left were pretty much on the very top branches of the trees. Luckily we had one of the longer picking poles, so we were able to reach just about everything we could see. After picking a bagful of apples, it was time to satisfy our appetites. They had plenty of great homemade dishes to choose from for lunch. I went with the BBQ tri-tip sandwich, potato salad, and cowboy beans. And, ahem, an apple pie to go. Fortunately the food was piping hot, because the tables inside were completely full and we had to eat outside in the cold. At one point, the temperature had dropped so much the light drizzle turned to hail for a few minutes. That was a bit of a surreal moment. It was definitely the first time I've seen hail in California. The tri-tip was really, really good. After lunch we took some time to check out the country store, perusing all of the goodies it had to offer. I ended up with a gallon of cider, an apple pie, and some blackberry preserves--plus some of the apples we picked.
By the time we were getting ready to leave the clouds were darkening to a forbidding steely gray. I don't know if you can see it well in this picture, but if you take a look toward the tops of the mountains, you can see the snow starting to dust the trees up there. It was a beautiful view. As fun as my day outside of the city was, my favorite part of it was getting home and settling under a blanket with a warm piece of that apple pie topped with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream. Now that is good stuff.