Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Policia Magnets

We are magnets for policia........
The first time we were stopped I probably accused Bill, under my breath, of going too fast, even though I knew he wasn't. We were behind a slow moving truck, overflowing with pigs.

Twenty year old policia came to the window of the driver's side and displayed what looked like an old cattle prod ....and a huge grin that said, "gotcha".
The cattle prod looking device had a plexi cover and a number on it...97.
"97 " policia said, "tu (en espanol and broken english) drive cambion 97. Es 60 aqui."
"Impossible" Bill said, "I voy (en english and broken espanol) behind that puerco (pig) truck. 60 KM, no more. No way I going 97. NO NADA WAY."

So this went on and on and on, back and forth between the two of them. I was actually surprised...Bill would not back down......I was sweating more than the pigs in the truck...Bill refused to say he was going that fast, but it scared me. In my mind I saw us at the policia station and it was place I did not want to be, maybe we would be jailed, lose our papers....omg, have to go back to Seattle.....

Policia took Bill's license and would not give it back and told us we had to drive to the sherrif to pay the fine. There are no sherrifs in Navajoa.
We asked for the license back. We tried to explain that we could not drive with out the license.....after 20 minutes of chitter chatter, I said to both of them, "Allright, vamanos to officina. Let's all go together and nosotros pagamos el fine. Tu vamos con nosotros. You go with us in our truck."

As I turn around and look at the back seat, I am thinking... do I clean the back seat......or should I offer him the front seat????
He shook his head.....He said,"ok, bueno, no ticket. Es bueno. No ticket."
We said, "No ticket?"
He said no and I told Bill to get going....then we realized we were in a shake down and somehow we got out of it.

We drove by the policia station, memorized the route and streets, expecting it might happen again. We would know how to drive to get there, we would tell the officer that. We discussed using our cell phones to 'pretend call' the policia station to tell them we were coming. We decided to pretend to even know less spanish than we know.....we decided there would be no way we would give our license to the next policia, if this should happen again.

I said we were a driving target for them. We are up and down the main highway through town constantly, shopping, going to the market, exploring this or that, going to Alamos every morning and coming back in the afternoon. They know our truck, for pete's sake, it is a big four door chevy with a canopy on the back and WA state plates. We need to get the canopy off, muddy up the plates and put a big unsecured load of something in the back is what I tell Bill.

We continued to discuss how to prevent getting stopped again, when one morning at 6am on our way through town to Alamos, Bill ran the only stop sign in town.
"Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!" A big, burly policia standing on the corner came running down the street after us.
"Bill! You ran the stop sign," I yelled and then I said something I can't repeat. Then Bill said other things I can't repeat and then, he said, "You were talking. "Was not!" I said back.

"License, por favor...please..."
We both hesitated. This was exactly what we had discussed.
So Bill gave him his license.......
THEN he wanted the car registration. THEN he wanted us to go to the station and pay the fine, without the license or the registration...... Then I said lets all go together.....
He gave us back the license and car registration and said have a nice day.

Yesterday we stopped at the stop sign, made a point of sitting there for a few seconds, looked over at the corner and the same policia was there. He gave us a huge smile and waved. We smiled and vigorously waved back.....and drove on down the road to Alamos.

But, Bill and I have had a briefly serious discussion this afternoon on our way to the beach which we never found.. Everytime I see policia now, I tell Bill they are nearby, but I have a tendency to first go, "aauuhh, policia..or aauuhh, it's yellow, yellow! the light's gonna turn...Bill, the stop sign, it is exactly 3 blocks up...aauuh! slow down!".....aauuh, stop, stop at the railroad tracks....AAUUHHHHHH!!!!STOP! STOP!...aauuhh...Federales in truck , right lane, two cars back......It's a sound that is hard to write, sort of like taking in your breath and saying a sound at the same time. I am trying to warn Bill that these things are going on. Honestly he does not always see the traffic lights, they are located in very strange places and he has gone through a few red traffic lights....and that was NOT the first time he has run the stop sign.....
I am trying to be helpful.....

However, it has become evident that when I try to warn him with this sound, it gets his adrenalin going and makes him very nervous. So I am going to relax and I am not going to make any warning sounds of any kind and if he happens to back up and hit the car behind him, like he did the other day the the alley, well, so be it....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Is This Your Donkey?

Last week we met at the Navojoa Notary Public and signed the papers and paid for our casa. We met Senor Soto, the owner and I gave him a hug and kiss when we parted. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and squeezed my hand...... it is hard to sell the home where you have raised a family and lived FOREVER...His wife passed away a year ago and that made it even more difficult, I think...his sons were there to help him......I liked Senor Soto very much. He is going to take our money and go on a very long vacation, he said....

We are staying in Navajoa, where we aren't supposed to have the cats, but they know we have them and we are here still anyway, after a week. We are waiting for the deed to the casa. Once we have the deed we will be able to get our utilities turned on and have some fans going and get a mattress and stay all the time in the casa while we begin to work on it.
In the meantime, we are up at 5am and driving the 50 km to Alamos and working on various things or just sitting around..we have one camp chair and a bucket to sit on....
The cats have hiding places within the casa, and they are getting used to being left alone as we walk to town for lunch or to shop or do business.

We have started to work on the casa. We are knocking out walls, having trash removed. We are getting bids for having a brick wall built around the property.

This bricked in window below is in the kitchen which will become a bathroom.

Bill is getting rid of the bricked in window....
Bricked in window is now gone. Towel covers the fireplace where the cats are hiding as we work....

So, we don't like this bricked in stuff either, so it is going away and we plan to re do this area with a style more traditional to other structures in Alamos.....

Brick is gone in the photo below. Eventually much of this will be adobe walled and then a portal will be attached.
Today we went to see the bricks being made. It is late now in the evening and I will not go into great detail about how they are made. Maybe the photos will speak for themselves????
Mixing the dirt below and filling the form.......
removing the form and there you have.....bricks which would be adobe if they were not fired. bricks laying in the sun for about 2 days to dry....
below, the bricks are stacked and in between the stacks the fires are built. More importantly, a donkey has been living in our casa. We have been cleaning up after him for several days now. Today I patched the broken fence with chicken wire which will be temporary until the adobe wall is built. In the meantime, if this is your donkey, will you please come and get him??????

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ok...about this Raton pass issue.......

It can't rest. It's been a few weeks, but I can't let it go without comment.

Way back when, almost to the beginning of time (for us, this refers to "before packing the U-HAUL trailer; ie: just trying to get out!), the topic of "let's look WAYYY into the future; way beyond Taro cards and palm reading". [footnote: readers of my previous/first entry (both of you) will know who raised this issue as I was busy getting the house ready for sale and the woman I love was busy getting us ready to cross the border].

Our route south was preordained: we have a daughter in Colorado whom we wanted to visit on our way to our new home {ok, so its an extra bizzillion miles and days of travel; gas is still $2 less that in europe (maybe, depending on euro/dollar and gallon/liter conversion rates; I haven't done the math because it doesn't matter (we are going anyways) and this way I can delude myself that this is alot cheaper (well, she could be living in Germany...)

I digress. So, the topic raised in ancient history (by you know whom) was: "If we are going through Colorado, which route do you propose we take?" "Why?" I ignorantly reply. "Well, because I've gone the south route before and I WILL NEVER GO OVER RATON PASS EVER AGAIN!!!!"

Geez!! Where did that come from?? I quickly try to process. [footnote: Linda lived in Colorado in the early 70's and I did my undergraduate work in that state at about the same time. I made many trips to New Mexico during those years and I have NO recollection of any big passes to cross to get there]. I replied that I had made countless trips from Colorado to New Mexico and had never encountered a problem pass, although I almost always cut off the freeway before the border and took the state route south to Taos and Santa Fe. [Had I ever been over Raton Pass, I wondered: I have no recollection of a bad pass from one state to the other?]

We haven't been together this long and still love each other without learning the primordial lesson early on: dont fight any battles not worth it (are any even worth it?).

So, I calmly reply: "No problem, we'll go another route: west to Utah and then south."

[You know whats coming; I admit I was blind sided]

"Oh!! How big are the passes that way; thats over the Rockies!! Wolf Creek Pass isn't on that route isn't it???"

[but, I know when to let a stew simmer]

Once we left our daughter and started heading via the west/Utah route (I presumed given the fear of RATON PASS!), Linda surprised me with: "Is it shorter to go south on the Interstate (notice no mention of RATON PASS). I replied that it would save a lot of time and gas. Like fishing, you never know when: with a few miles until the turn off to the westerly route to avoid RATON PASS, I hear: "Lets just go over the pass: I want to get to Mexico as soon as possible!" [read: I haven';t worked on these LISTS for so long just to.......].

We passed the turn west to the "safe" route. The signs for "RATON PASS" loomed closer.
The highway here is two lanes each way with a grass divider. Oh, oh...we are beginning to climb....[I have NO recollection of this "scary" pass?!]. I glance at Linda ...she isn't digging her nails into either cat (who are calmly looking at the scenery [ok: poetic license going too far].

Before I had a chance to check my rearview mirrors to see if someone is trying to pass us up hill, I saw a sign that read " Raton Pass" (I cant recall the elevation, but I think it was less than our house in Washington. Tolt Hill up to our house in Washington is steeper and has more curves than Raton Pass. It's almost as long. That's ok; we all have some scary memories from th 70's.

On the way down, I seem to recall comments about how long ago that was...they must have revised the road........... We were now im New Mexico and a step closer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Into Mexico

This is not the greatest photo, but it is certainly a photo of what we see and trucks loaded to the max with what appears to be all of the family belongings. We call these the IKEA trucks....

The only thing I can add to Bill's post (which by the way, generated quite a few emails and/or comments) is that there is another border crossing at Kilometer 21. You know it's coming, but it just shows up out of the middle of nowhere and when we did see it, the aduana there (customs officer) was leaning on an orange cone and barely flipped his hand up.

We drove straight through and were almost to Hermosillio, when we realized we had not bothered to stop and get the car permit which allows us to be driving in Mexico......fortunately we were able to get a permit in Enpalme, which is outside Guaymus.

Once we got to Enpalme and breathed,

Bill said, "hey' let's just go unload in Alamos and turn around and go back and get more stuff and cross again. That was easy."

Linda said,"hey, that's what you said after we had our first child..are you CRAZY????"

The photo above is the Sea of Cortez, in Guaymus. Very beautiful landscape..... on our visit to San Carlos (located outside Guaymus) last fall, we found too many foreigners. Well, they were still there on this trip and they have brought all of their friends and families with them. But we did love the area and we actually stayed in San Carlos for several days. It is very low key, very relaxing, very popular with both foreign and Mexican golfers who take turns hitting golf balls off the decks of local seaside restaurants. We would go there again.

But, we are not looking for a town with quite as many foreigners, and that is one of the many reasons we have chosen to live in Alamos.

The shrimp boats below are taking the day off.

Bahia de Kino mountains and saguaro cactus at sunset.

Bahia de Kino was not at all what we expected. We thought we would find rows and rows of development and hotels along the beach. The opposite was true. There is one main road that stretches for miles and miles along the seaside. There are wall to wall homes of varying architectural style on the seaside. There are many rundown, abandoned homes on the opposite side. But, it also looks like efforts are being made to repair some of those. There were only a handful of motel/hotels, but alot of rv campgrounds. And not many places in which to eat. Bahia de Kino does have a gorgeous beach and gentle waves. Lots and lots of Mexican families were lounging in hammocks under palapas along the beach, playing in the waves and it was just a very quiet place to be.

If you are wondering why we did not just blast off to Alamos and instead took this scenic route, it is because our realtor had a prearranged meeting for the closing of our new casa, June 19th, in Navajoa, at the officina of the notary public. So we did have some time on our hands even though our cats think differently after being in the truck and various hotels/ motels since May 26th..or 28th, I can't remember now...I have been in the truck too long as well....June 19th has come and gone and I will tell you all about it in my next post.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bill's 1st post (aka do not miss this or the mattress inspector will call on you)

Months. Many long months. Since we made the decision to take our Adventure, we have spent long grueling months, 24/7, preparing to make the move. I concentrated on each step needed in succession (ie: remodeling the house) to arrive at the ultimate goal of crossing the border. The "one step at a time" approach. Linda concentrated on the ultimate goal of crossing the border; getting nothing but (literally) "green lights" at the border crossing. The "come on/lets go" approach. There is no right or wrong; I am simply giving background.

So, as I was doggedly completing project after project to complete the house for sale, Linda was incessantly organizing for our border crossing. My god this woman I love worked hard! Organizing things to go. Packing everything into boxes. numbering each box. Listing the contents of each box in order to pass through customs. Redoing 30 some boxes because they were'nt properly inventoried the first time, so we feared (she was up til midnight doing that one day, all out of the ultimate fear of being turned away at the border). Segregating those boxes we would need and take down to our new casa on the first trip from those that would be stored at the border for subsequent trips. Thirty years of culled possessions from the house sale, carefully packed, wraped, boxed and numbered. Such long hard work! But absulutetely necessary to be allowed to cross the border: one mistake, one mislabled or forgotten item and it would be "NO CROSSING FOR YOU!"

The ultimate goal for Linda in this process of preparing to get us across the border were the.... LISTS. If the inventory lists for each box weren't perfect she became convinced we would not be allowed to cross the border. No green lights for us. Nada. The lists soon became the most important aspect of our move. More important than whether we had transportation to get there (never mind whether the cats or I (in that order) were accompanying her).

When we were packing the truck and trailer we had to double..triple check the LISTS. At one point I was sure I would be not allowed to continue with her and the cats as I had removed her shoes from a plastic bag (ie: inventoried on the LISTS!) to pack them separately so as to fit in the truck. This was a poignant moment: She stood her ground that we would not be allowed to cross the border if they were removed from the bag, while I stood equally firm stating they would not GET to the border unless packed separately. I saved my own life by promising to repack them in the bag before we crossed the border. She didn't see my crossed toes.

As I said: this is all background...months and long months of background (and long summary as well, I know!). But, you already know why it has been necessary to give such a long background narrative........

We left Tuscon, less than an hour from the border at Nogales, at late morning. You just imagine her increasing anxiety about whether her LISTS were complete and accurate enough to allow us to cross the border the closer we got. We decided to stop for a quick bite to eat before crossing. Due to the anxiety of the moment, Linda elected to have a salad to go. Just as she opened it, an emergent call from our daughter (eg: "What should I do about....?") By the time the call ended, I advised Lida the border was only 10 mins away. Oh my god! I have eat! I dont have time! But this salad cant be taken across the border; its contraband!!...gobble/snarf/swallow without chewing/choking now/quickly hiding the remaing salad in the plastic bag and under the seat as the crossing looms near. "I feel like throwing up I am so nervous!" she said. "Do you have the passports, visas, cat papers and the LISTS handy?' I quietly inquire. Without regard to the other documents, her reply was: "THE LISTS! #!@%$ where are the LISTS?!?"

Just then, there it was. Th border crossing. To the left was the red/green semaphore. I slowed WAYYY down (were we moving so slowly as to attract attention?). What's wrong? I wonder as the light is niether red nor it broken? Oh, oh! the guard!! The guard is sitting on a fokd out chair in the shade to our left..we are now within 40 feet! I am expecting the ubiquitous hand held out in the "HALT!" position....everything is now in slow motion yet transpiring in nano-seconds...a glance at Linda (still searching frantically for the LISTS) tells me we may need medical attention for her soon.....Where is the HALT signal I wonder, as I simultaneously notice the guard's attention is not on us; she seems preoccupied with something down to her left..a strange insect activity on the ground perhaps?, I fleetingly wonder, as just then she languidly raised her right forearm (while keeping her elbows on her knees) and with a very limp wrist motion, without even looking up at us, gave one and one-half waves of her hand for us to proceed into Mexico.

It took a few hundred yards for time/space reality to return to consciousness, at which time I started to howl with laughter at the irony of our (read Linda's) long (so very long and anxious) work on the LISTS, believed to be so very necessary for our entry across the border, received with only an unconcerned wave of the hand. Normally, my laughter would have been my execution warrant, but Linda was so enormously RELIEVED to have crossed the boreder in any event, my life has been spared.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Six Minutes Left on Tucson Library Computer

Hi ya,
In is in the truck running the air conditioning for el gatos....
Got the cats' health certificates.
Got Mexican car insurance....$345 for a year from San Xavier and boy, were they nice....
Got the trailer 93 degree temperatures at 8am.
Got lots of paperwork to complete before we cross the border at Nogales tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.
Hoping to cross very early..hoping we get green lights all the way. Then we are off to Empalme near Guaymas to get car permits for the truck.
Have received some great emails from folks who are eagerly awaiting to hear how our border crossing goes.
Well, we will keep in touch and probably let you know once we reach Hermosillo..adios

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

So Here's the Deal

Hola from Colorado!

If you read the first June blog, you know we are on our way. We left on Memorial Day, late in the afternoon and drove to Snoqualmie Pass, 45 minutes away, got a room facing the snow covered slopes and crashed. We have been in Northern Colorado for almost a week, visiting our daughter, relaxing, doing some last minute paper work and squabbling over the route south to the border.

Have you ever been over Raton Pass at the border of Colorado and New Mexico???? Horrible, a nightmare you won't forget...I don't want to go even though it is an interstate. It is almost 8,000 feet and I remember it being narrow. I also remember going over Raton in the early 70's in a VW bus and during an electrical storm we had to get out and push the bus the rest of the way up the Pass. no, no, no, I will not go...i will not get out and push a uhaul trailer up the rest of the way. no,no, no....

So we are going to stick with 285 and head down through Santa Fe and across into Arizona. We hope to cross at Nogales next Tuesday or Wednesday. Once again, it depends on the cats....we have to have a new health certificate within 72 hours of crossing the border.

Speaking of the has been interesting. The Seattle area vet would not give us tranquilizers for the cats, and instead suggested we use a product called Feliway. It is a product that we spray in the truck, their travel cages or a motel room, any place they are not used to and the spray relaxes them and helps them adjust to new people and surroundings. I think it has cat pee in it....but it works just fine for the most part, and No, there is no smell to it..

We started out putting the cats in the motel room with us (Motel 6 is about the only place we have found that will accept the cats). They would hide under the bed and be nice and quiet until about 2am. At this time Cookies would begin his deep growling and then Ashes would start and there would not be enough spray in that $29.95 bottle to stop them.
So at first we would scoop them up and toss them back in the truck. Now, days later, we don't even bother to take them out of the truck. They are eating and drinking and doing other business and seem very happy in the truck. At night we can see them running around the cab. So they are getting some excercise.
Needless to say, we are eager to get them to Alamos and out of the truck permanently...

We want to thank a few people and let you know who we used to help us get our home ready to sell. It was important to us that we try and use as many businesses from the Snoqualmie Valley as possible, and we feel like we did just that with a few exceptions.

We urge you to call ACE HOME IMPROVEMENT and DISCOUNT FLOORING for anything you need. The owner, Craig Story, is amazing. We could not have left town when we did if it had not been for him. He started out as our painter, but he became everything so much more, painting, floors, electrical, staining, fixtures...we could go on and on because he can do everything.
Craig's number is 425-442-8343 and he is from Duvall.

We ordered our first windows from Lowes and were not pleased with the installation, so we placed our next order with SNO VALLEY GLASS in Duvall and they were outstanding. Great customer service and great installation. They installed the very narrow, tall windows you see in the previous post. They are in Duvall at 425-788-6794.

Tony King and his crew cut down some of our large firs and cedars. They also cleared off the hillside of the underground home and all of this helped to open our view up again. Tony owns Kings Trees from Duvall. 425-788-5616

TNT, an electrical company from Duvall, helped us as well. I'm bad, can't find their phone number, but Craig has it!
So, if you are in need of any services, we really liked the services of all these companies.

It is time to leave Colorado. There is a noisy thunder and lightning storm bouncing across the rockies and rolling across the plains as I write. The cats are ready to go..... Bill and I are ready.
It has been wonderful to see our daughter and spend so much time with her.

Before I go, thanks Dan and Laurie, for helping us load the trailer and thanks, Kyle and Robin, for letting our homeless son use your guest bedroom.
And to everyone who called and wanted to take us out for meals or come by the house we are sorry we could not say goodbye to all of you. We will miss you all!!!
But, you know where we will be!!!

The Adams Have left the Building

OMG..we are homeless..until we get to Alamos.