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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Last Night

Buen Dia everyone. Here is the sky this morning. And wasn't I just telling you yesterday how quiet it was, how unusually quiet it was?

Around 5:30, Alamos came to life. First someone drove through town playing a trumpet. I did not recognize the song.

Next, one of the political parties, with a caravan of around fifty vehicles drove through the barrios, whooping and hollering and honking their horns. They did not come down our street, but they roared up Allende, and across the back yard and the yard behind us, I could see the trucks passing by and the beds filled with red shirts, the red party.

When they were done, the blue party drove through the barrios, doing the same thing.

Afterwards, there were a few fireworks and just the typical street and barrio and rooster and donkey noises.

And still, no rain. The humidity skyrocketed.

We took a short walk and looked at the new house that is going up on Allende. It looks like a hotel, but we aren't really sure. Back home we decided to open a can of oysters, slice some cheese and pickles and watch the new season three of 24, which we just bought in Tucson. Our laptop would not let us change region codes, so just sat and listened to the crickets.

Around eight, an evento began on Chihuahua. This sounded like a live male singer to us, with a very good back up band. At the beginning of each song, were the loud screams of love sick teenage girls. It reminded me of the Beatles arriving in the US in the sixties. The screams eventually would die down and then suddenly, during a particular song phrase, they would start up again. Whatever the event, it certainly sounded exciting.

Then, around nine, it started to sprinkle. Then, it started to pour. The thunder and lightning crashed and pierced the sky constantly. They battled each other, one threatening the other, one determined to outlive the other, one determined to be loudest, one to be brightest. And they fought like that for three hours.

I could not find the cats. I opened a large umbrella and stepped out of bed into several inches of water. I went out to the flooded garden room, realizing the power was out and a river was running across the floor and out to the asadero. The wind blew my pretty mexican candle lamp off the wall and when it hit the cement it sounded like a shotgun. I called again and again for the cats. Glass from the candle lamp was all over the floor. The lightning showed me a yard filled with running water. The streak lightning hovered over the backyard and I was too afraid to go back across the open floor to get into the bedroom again.

Finally I made a quick dash to the door which had locked behind me, so I rushed back to the garden room where my keys were lying on the tabletop. The streaks were back and they seemed so close, I was now even more afraid to go back across the water carrying the umbrella.

So I closed it, ditched it in a corner, and ran again to the bedroom door, hoping I would not attract any lightning. I was able to get the door open, fall soaking wet into bed and curse senor who was snoring away there, sleeping through all of this racket. Cookies crawled up on the bed and curled his dry self beside me and finally, Ashes came out from under the bed as well.

I checked my cell at 12:43am and all I could hear was a little breeze blowing, thunder losing the battle in the distance and sheet lightning quietly making her presence still known as she moved farther and farther away from Alamos.

This morning I was up early. Water covered the bedroom floor and had soaked into my bolsas of clothing and paperwork that I had yet to unpack from the trip north. In the kitchen/work room, water had flooded under the doorway as well and was reaching the refrigerator. Some boxes on the floor had soggy bottoms. I laid down as many towels as I could to begin soaking it all up, took a look at senor and the cats, all three sleeping in a pile of sheets, Ashes snoring louder than senor and went for a walk.

I was fearful for the arroyo in the Chalaton behind us. I certainly thought that was alot of rain.

As I walked back there, a truck drove by me and the man inside began playing his trumpet. Other than the sound of his horn as he drove on around to Galeana, it was very quiet. At the arroyo I was surprised to see it fairly dry. A few small puddles here and there, but already the morning heat had dried it up where it had not soaked into the soft ground.

As I stood there I saw a little white pony slowly walking up the arroyo. He came right up to me and nudged his head into my shoulder. I just stood as still as I could and looked at him. He was not much taller than I was. There was a rope around his neck and the frayed end hung to the ground. His white hair was matted and filthy with red and brown dirt. He stood so still with his head in my shoulder. I will say if there was ever a time I wished I had my camera with me, it was right then.

I was so close to taking hold of the rope and leading him home, to our stable and suddenly, he nudged me again and then, he turned and walked away, down Chihuahua.

By the time I got back home, the rivers in the yard were beginning to dry up, the water in the two rooms was almost evaporated and senor and I began a little clean up.

I swept up the glass from the beautiful candle lamp we bought years ago in Puerta Vallarta. We took out the rug and laid it across the asadero so it would dry. I laid out all the wet papers and books, including my little Alamos phone book. It really upset me at first to see it so wet, but now, it has dried and is usable again in a very crinkly state.

I began what became four loads of laundry, took our comforter which had been in a big pillow bag on the floor, down to Dolisa to have the senoras wash and dry it for me in their big machine. I swept everything, pulled out all the wet shoes from under the bed, rearranged the big shelves so I would have a safe place to put the comforter once it came home, petted the cats who would not come off the bed, laid on the bed for a brief nap. Then I loaded the back end of the truck with all the wet boxes and cement bags that had blown out of the stable and across the yard and sent senor to the dump, made myself a latte and read a magazine for awhile.

There has been no rain during the day today, but there is a feel about it. It is like yesterday felt.

I walked by the evento this morning also and through the garden gate I could see the pretty white tablecloths were still on the tables. Green and red glass ware centerpieces were still on the tables. I could only imagine that all the screaming young teens must have had to make mad, crazy dashes through the rain and thunder and lightning to their parents' cars... will they get a rain check?

And even more importantly, did the little pony make it back home? Will he have some shelter tonight? Hopefully whoever he belongs to will realize last night must have been really miserable for him.

Oops, the trumpet is playing. I can hear it farther down on Durango, but traveling away, towards the north somewhere. Over on Allende a political truck with a loud speaker just went by.
See? It is the start of last night again......

I am thinking we will have another very big rain tonight. I am very prepared if it happens.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

No Gracias

Hola, what a day of rest this has been. Town was very quiet last night, which is unusual, Thursday and Saturday nights are party nights, but either we were too tired to be disturbed by it or there was no party.......

It is also very cloudy today, but not a drop of rain has fallen. There is the persistent cloud over Mt Alamos, but no rain.

In the photos below you can see how things are greening up, especially along the hillsides. A few more monsoon rains and the hills will be sparkling green and thick with jungle vines and other growth.

I cannot say thank you enough to the folks who offered to take care of our furniture for us, Chrissy and Keith, of 99 reasons we will move to mexico, offered from Phoenix and Margaret (whom I don't even know at all!) emailed me from Scottsdale. We would certainly take you up on it if we only could. But the matter of getting a storage unit key to someone is a big issue in itself.
So, we are planning to head north as soon as the moving company calls us and get there as quickly as possible and get back as quickly as possible. They say they will call and let us know twenty-four hours before they arrive in Tucson.
I don't trust them to do that. My bag is still packed. The trip will take us about ten hours if we can do it in one day. I am ready to go.......... and, by the way, my need to go is certainly being fullfilled.
Crossing the border lately, to go north, has proven an emotional challenge for me. The hawkers at the Nogales Mariposa crossing seem to grow in numbers each time we go across. The men who want to wash the windshield have gotten younger and it is alot harder for me to tell a nine year old little kid to get the heck off the hood of the truck than it is for Senor to tell them.
All he has to do is look at them and they are gone...............
Sometimes I want to just pay them to wash the windshield and get it over with, except we tried that and when you say yes to one, that means yes, to about ten and suddenly you cannot see out the window because there is an army of windshield cleaners all over the truck.
You cannot just pay the one you said yes to ...............
They seem more and more persistent and sometimes get angry when you don't oblige them, or at least open your window, neither of which we do. If you dare to open your window, the food or the little guitar or the seat cushion...........whatever it is they happen to be selling will suddenly be in your lap and it is yours..................So we do not make any friends with the hat sellers, the mop and pail sellers, the map and cd sellers, when we are crossing the border. I try to smile and say no gracias, but that is bad, because it is seen as encouragement. Then they will tap! tap! tap! on the window until you have driven far enough up the line that they become bored with you.
It raises my blood pressure if senor is driving.
It raises senor's blood pressure if I am driving.
He says I should take a dramamine before we get to the border and just sleep through it.
I say we should flip for the driver's seat before we get near the border.
Whoever wins gets to drive.
Fair is fair.....................
Maybe I will suggest that when we go back this week.......
Or maybe I need a baby shade so I can just pull it down across the window when we cross. I think I will paint on it, NO GRACIAS.........

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Back Home

hola! .............we are back home........ all is well..............

the old house is not ours any longer,

sad, but sweet........

it was hot in tucson..............

it is hot in alamos..............and it is very humid.............

it rained here while we were gone................. the mountains are turning a fuzzy, brilliant green......

the cats are very mad at us.......... tomorrow i will get pictures for you...........we drove alot of distance in a short time............

i am pooped.

will you believe me if i tell you we have to go back to tucson next week..........our old antique furniture did not sell in the old antique store and the agreement was they would keep it for one year...........................suddenly it is one year and we are having the furniture shipped to tucson.................... and it will be there sometime next week....................we will have to drive back to use the open the let them put the furniture in the storage unit...............and drive home again.............we need friends in tucson...................

Friday, June 19, 2009

And finally......

Hola! We came home late yesterday afternoon after an overnight in Hermosillo.

There was a cloud over Mt. Alamos and within an hour, the sky was filled with boiling clouds.
The clouds seemed to stall right over our casa and the wind pushed from all directions and the sky filled with lightning and all we could hear was wind and thunder and the cats ran for cover as the rain fell. It was wonderful!
Because there was so much wind, the rain could never really decide where to go. Very little came into the garden room, so we were able to sit there, under cover, and watch all the excitement. Long after the rain stopped, there was lightning for hours in the distance.
There is a tropical depression off the coast of Sinaloa, perhaps it has moved farther north. It was not expected to reach the coast until early Saturday morning. I have not checked the weather today but there is an large, dark cloud over Mt. Alamos this morning and some darker clouds on the western horizon.

A little cloud has finally been lifted off our shoulders......we have our FM3's back.

In Alamos, we met with an accountant and asked him to file our Mexican Corporation taxes. In Navajoa, it was neccessary to meet him again and go to SAT, which is like the USA IRS. We received an identification number for our taxes. The accountant then filed our 2008 and 2009 taxes (through June, 2009). We did not owe any taxes afterall. We only needed to pay him for his time and work. So, finally that was taken care of......................
The tax identification number and the proof of filing the taxes were what immigration said they needed before they would give us our FM3 renewal.
So yesterday we went back to immigration, in Hermosillo, and gave them the information they needed. Before going it did not occur to me to make a copy of the filing, about 30 pages worth.
After the woman behind the counter finally gave us our FM3's she gathered up all our paperwork to keep in her file. I asked if she could make copies of the filing for me.
WHOOOO_WHEEEEE! Always, make your own copies of everything before you go to immigration. I know this, but I just did not think she would need to keep those papers.
Well, I may as well have been her child who got caught staying out past curfew, or did not do their homework, or went out with the wrong boy. She was not happy.
She made the copies, slammed them on the counter and said something that sounded nasty and senor said................get going now before she takes the FM3s back.
So we went to Wal-Mart and finally............................ I calmed down enough to get out of the truck.

When we got back to the casa yesterday, we opened the back bedroom door and Ashes rushed out. Somehow she had snuck back inside when we were not looking. She was madder than the lady at immigration and would not stop meowing and even clawed me once. Of course, it was our fault she got locked in without food or water for over twenty-four hours. I told her she was lucky we weren't gone for four days and finally..............she quit meowing.
And speaking of being gone from home. We have been gone now, for a little over a year. It has been an incredible experience so far. I think we will stay.
But remember this old house? Here is a photo from a long ago snow storm. See the snowman in the lower left?

And here is a photo below of the new deck and windows we added during the remodel.

The house was put on the market late last August. During May and June, we have been in negotiations with a buyer, and through the realtor, we have been faxing papers back and forth, to the tune of forty pesos per page. The lady at the internet store, who does our faxing, is so nice. One day she even offered me a cup of tea while I waited for about eight pages to go through. She also calls me by my name and has never slammed anything down on the counter in front of me. I think she likes me.
While in Hermosillo, we learned the house is finally a done deal. We need to be in Tucson on Tuesday of this upcoming week, to sign and notarize the final papers.
So when I look at these photos, of the house, it is with both happiness and I won't look too long.
It is a relief to have it sold, especially in this economy, and we feel fortunate. But, I will miss this house and the family who lived here together, and is now, spread out across two countries..................finally, I have to look at it with some humor as well, because I never got to cook a meal in the new kitchen, never got to use that new stone tiled shower, or sit out on the new deck with friends. I never got to really squish my toes up in that plush new carpet or hang my clothes behind the new closet doors.........never got to slide across the shiny new wood floor in my skivvies, didn't even do a load of laundry after the new tile went into the laundry room.
Soon, I may remove the Northwest photos from the blog, I may take the old studio photos of the shed off the website, even though I don't yet have a new studio to replace it with. I don't know, I guess it's time for those photos to go...........
so, as i say adios this morning and finally, enough of that...............bring on the next rain.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Paved Road to El Fuerte


I am pleased to announce that during our Sunday drive we saw no smoke and no fire. The land was very peaceful, dry and hot, but it is surprising how green the terrain is beginning to turn. We still do not really know what the helicopter has been doing.

We weren't able to get up too close to Mt. Cacharamba as we had planned, but here is the backside of Mt. Alamos. You are looking at the huge landslide from the hurricane. This slide has been estimated at more than two football fields wide. There are no communites, no pueblos, no ejidos here, thankfully nothing but land at the base of the slide.
The town of Alamos, is right on the other side.Happy to not see any smoke, we decided to keep driving and go to the sea.

We took the new paved road to Masiaca. This road provides great conversation around town. Many people think it is paved ALL the way to Masiaca. Well, we have been on this road many times. It is Not paved all the way to Masiaca.

It is nicely paved from Alamos to KM7 and then, it is back to the normal..... dirt , dirt, and more dirt, huge gullies, oops, washed out on that side, yikes, deeply rutted on this side, time to put it in four wheel drive over there and this hill, do you want me to get out and push?

It isn't always that bad, and sometimes, the road has been graded, smoothing out some of the rough areas, but the road also changes all the time, depending upon how much travel it has received, how much livestock passes on it and how much wind and rain there is. Just wait till June 24, and the monsoons. What road?

At KM 20 the paved road begins again and then, it is approximately 37 KM's to the little town of Masiaca.

Shortly beyond Masiaca, is Highway 15. Going north we would end up in Navajoa, south would lead to Los Mochis, but west will take us to Las Bocas and the beach, or northwest would take us to the beach at Huatabampito. Both are very different and very beautiful.

On Sunday, we chose Las Bocas. The water was gorgeous and we soaked up some good humidity. It was 10 degrees cooler there than on our drive.

Little lots, their boundaries all fenced off, are for sale here and there. A few rustic adobe structures are also 'se vende', as well as some larger casas and haciendas. I told Senor I thought it might be nice to live at the beach, get one of the little fenced lots........wrong thing to say to a guy who works like he does, in the sun, 7 days a week to get a roof over the casa we have.........

So I walked on down the beach by myself because I knew he was a little irritated, scored big on shells and by the time I got back, life was good again...........

cute little 'se vende' lots. Senor, if you are reading this, I do not want to live at the beach.....I REPEAT, I do not want to live at the beach...I am just showing people how pretty the little lots are, that's all.........

So, I told Senor a funny story.
I told him about the 2 fellows I met, in town, on Saturday morning. They had dropped by to check out Alamos, on their way from Las Vegas to Mazatlan, where they were going to be renting a casa for the year.
They had just been on a tour of town and had heard there was only one other tourist in town..............was it me, they, i said, i live here, how do you like Alamos?.........Oh, we love it! We think we might want to live here! one of them said.
They were very excited. Not only had they fallen in love with Alamos after being in town for 2 hours, they were eager to try out the new paved road to El Fuerte because it would cut down on the driving time to and from Mazatlan................huh? i said, boy, i don't think so, there is no paved road to El Fuerte.................we were told we could get to El Fuerte, in an hour and a half, on the new paved road, one of them said.
Well, i explained, there must have been some confusion................there is a partially paved road to Masiaca, but every road that leads to El Fuerte, is dirt, hour and a half?.....the last time i went, it took almost 8 hours.
They looked at me like they did not believe me. Their final destination was Mazatlan by nightfall............. won't happen, i said.
What kind of vehicle do you have, i asked......a chevy van, one man said.
Won't happen, i wanted to scream at will be on the back road to El Fuerte and it will be getting dark and you will not know where you are and you will have to sleep in your van and you will not, I repeat, will not get to Mazatlan until tomorrow!
The two men just looked at each other, one said............ well the road is just right out there, we heard.
They thanked me and got in their van to go on the new paved road to El Fuerte.

Below is part of the paved road to Masiaca.

Below is one of the dirt roads that leads to El Fuerte. There is NO paved road to El Fuerte.

gotta take a siesta! linda lou

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Forest Fire

Buen dia!

The helicopter has been flying steadily throughout the day, both Friday, Saturday and today, Sunday. Earlier in the week we could see several areas of smoke up on Mt. Alamos. Typically most people think illegal crops are probably being burned and that might be true. But we are now hearing that there is a fire on the backside of Mt. Cacharamba, which is to the west of Alamos. Someone told us the helicopter is ferrying fire fighters back and forth. Below is a photo of Mt. Cacharamba. It is not a real good photo, but hey, it is Sunday morning, and I am still in my jammies and did not want to go out in the street. So, I took that from behind our locked gate. Those weeds look nice and in focus, don't they?
It is almost 9am. It is 97 degrees outside already. Senor is laying on the bed behind me. He is reading.
I will have to go somewhere though. Maybe we will go around the back side of Mt Cacharamba and see what is going on.
Cacharamba, according to the Hamma/McGee Alamos Guidebook, means 'pierced ear'. The mountain served as a landmark for ship captains making their way through the Sea of Cortez. Years ago, people were sent to the 'eye of the needle' to watch for these ships.
Senor is reading 'Seasons of the Angler', a book of fishing tales. He says he will be ready in half an hour to go drive around the backside of the mountain.
In the meantime, check out the Hilton Garden Room below.
Friends of ours did not want this lovely table and chairs anymore, so we just brought it right on over to our garden room.
We have already broken it in, grilling rib eyes on the asadero with 2 friends who are visiting Alamos. We added some cold roasted potatoes and caper cole slaw and fresh bread out of the bread machine. We had so much food we could not see the table top.

Isn't that pretty? I think the garden room is looking good.
Another friend will be coming for dinner tonight. That table is going to get alot of use.

Senor says it is now over 100 degrees outside and he is ready to make the run for the truck.
Maybe we will keep driving and just go jump right in the sea and cool off..........adios! linda lou

Friday, June 12, 2009

Juana Gallo

Hola.....................muy, muy caliente... we are not doing much.......the casa is just sitting around doing nothing also.

Umberto came this morning and by ten am he didn't want to do anything either. I gave him some mango cake. He ate it. Then he went home.
Senor took a nap.
I looked for some paperwork that seemed to be missing. I went to an appointment. The appointment confirmed we have to have the missing paperwork. I went into a slight panic because it was nowhere to be found. Here are some little photos, almost too little to enjoy. I tried to make them big again and that didn't go over. The veracruzana, also called the sandpaper vine because its leaves are like sandpaper, makes a beautiful purple-blue flower. It blooms over the winter and is now cascading over the stable roof. A little pink flowering vine is also coming out. Our neighbor's bright red bougainvillea is also cresting over the tin roof.

We went to Juana Gallo a few nights ago. The restaurant is located in the Hotel Casa Maria Felix. The hotel is the birthplace of the well loved Mexican actress, Maria Felix, and also houses a ruin of the original home and a museum. Below senor is heading inside.

The little pool in the little picture.

The little restaurant in the little picture below.
Sometimes there are great music nights here. Lots of people come to either an open mike session or to hear some of the wonderful local talent, both foreign and mexican. We have heard some great violin, guitar and mandolin playing here.

A little dark, but that Tecate sign sure brightens it up.

It's really a very pretty little place, very lush and tropical. The owner of the hotel is originally from Canada and the owner of the Juana Gallo restaurant is formerly from Argentina. Both have lived in Alamos for a long time.

So, back to the has not been as easy renewing our FM3 as we had planned. Immigration, in Hermosillo, actually called us to tell us it would be neccessary to file more paperwork before we could receive our FM3 renewal. Because we have a corporation, they said, we first have to pay our mexican income tax before we can get our renewal. We have not had any income, but we will still pay money.

I could not find any of the tax papers, or our corporate by-laws, the things that are neccessary to get the taxes filed. I searched the entire house, all the file drawers, all the paperwork I thought we had. I was very close to opening boxes that have been sealed since we left the states, knowing very well the papers would not be in there. I spoke with our realtor who suggested I would find them inside the deed to our property.........and so, I looked and there they were....hiding, waiting for me to find them.

Tomorrow we will meet with our bookkeeper and find out much money we will pay for money we have not made. Once the taxes are filed and the money is paid, we are told we should be able to drive to Hermosillo and pick up our FM3's.
Maybe we need to get jobs and make money.
Maybe we will walk over to Juana Gallo restaurant, have a little pizza and not worry about it...................

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pulling Senor's Leg?

The western sky last night.And below, the eastern sky last night.

Some nights we are just a color palette. I hope you will not get bored looking at my pictures of the sky because I can just never take enough!
I have never lived where I could see such dramatic colors in both the east and west at the same time.
And you know, the mornings are often the same way, colors in both horizons, but I am usually at the track or now, on new old bike when that happens.

Speaking of 'you know what', LOOK! I went to Alexis's yesterday and bought a basket. He said he needed an hour to attach it, so I went to the mercado and bought some plastic flowers and when I got home, I decorated the basket!

And, by the way, the basket holds alot. Yesterday I camera, the plastic flowers, one topochico, four chicken quarters, two onions, one package of chorizo, three slices of chuleta, three avocados, a box of milk and a loaf of bread and a new umbrella. I still could have crammed more in there.

When I rode to the track this morning, I got some hoots from the guys at the Pemex. I am sure they were laughing at me. The women waiting there for the bus all pointed and smiled. One guy drove by in his truck and yelled, "right on! hang loose!". I guess that was a good thing.

The new sewer system is going in. I hear that the new treatment plant is somewhere out north of the La Aduana arroyo. Maybe I will ride out there and find it. It probably is not much to see........a sewage treatment plant, yahoo!.............. but it would be good to know where it is actually located. Alamos has had a sewer system for quite some time, this is just an updated project.
A few of the streets are being dug up and large new pvc pipes are being laid and connected. There is good and bad news about this..... good news? of course, updated services.
But I doubt they will replace the beautiful old cobblestoned streets with cobblestones.
The street below used to be a lovely cobblestoned street, very, very pretty. I think they will resurface it with the octagon shaped concrete pavers that are prevalent in many towns in Sonora. I wish it could be different. I wish they would replace the stones, but I don't think they will. Maybe if they laid the pipe down the side of the road? Then they could save half the road and half the stones?
No worries, they will do what they need to do and there are still many, many cobblestoned streets in town.

It is overcast here today. There is a steady breeze that is keeping the temperature down for now. By 1pm it could be pretty hot. Still there is no serious humidity, that will come any day, I am sure.
The gardener next door told our gardener (that would be either senor or myself, and in this case, it was senor) that the monsoon season has come and gone.............. he believes that we will have an extremely dry and hot summer...........jeez, we had what? one day of heavy rain and two with sprinkles.
I certainly hope he is pulling senor's leg..........
adios, linda lou!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hand Carved Cedar Loons For Sale

Buenos Dias! Wow! Look at this full moon in the east last night............. absolutely gorgeous.....the photo barely shows the hint of pink in the lower left was mesmerizing and I easily took ten photos as it continued to change in size and color. Then Senor would yell........come, quick and see the sunset.............. and I would rush out the gate and look to the west...........then he would yell, hurry, look at the was all very pretty............the sunset never produced any vivid was the clouds that became so dramatic.
I like to travel.
Some days it is no farther than from the back yard to see the moon, to the front to see the sunset. Somedays, it is in the truck. I really like to go by plane...... a bus is okay, if it is my only choice, I will go. I will go on foot and now, of course, I have the bike. I do not travel real well by train or boat, but no problem, I will still go.
I always have maps of different places hidden among our books and journals, and I am always secretly planning our next trip, even if it is to the market.
Currently I am planning a big Mexico trip for us around January. But I can't divulge anything because I have not told Senor we are even going.
I just like to go. My mother told me my grandmother was like that. She would get on the city bus in Hot Springs just to go somewhere.
My parents are like that as well. When we kids were growing up, my parents introduced us to long, lazy days of summer travel.
They were both teachers and back then, summer vacations could go from May to September. We would spend days loading the VW bus with food, clothes, and most importantly, as many guitars as we could fit in among ourselves, and then, in the dark of the morning, the six of us would load in and go.
Favorite destinations for my siblings and I were Galveston, Destin, Myrtle Beach, the ocean and the beach scene. Each campsite we blazed a fire regardless of the weather, pulled out the guitars and sang into the night.
As we got older, our father, being a history professor, set his sights on every battlefield we could find in a summer, every historical point on the highway needed to be read, and while we traveled he would have us learn the names of all the presidents, in order, and would give us 'question boxes' to answer about what we had seen that day.
Then, came the monumental sights of Pennsylvania and the east. Eventually, we included the exciting scenes of New York City, climbing the Empire State Building, walking through the musical sounds of Greenwich Village.
And then, one summer we began to explore the mountainous terrain of Colorado, camping in Durango, Cripple Creek, Silverton, Colorado Springs......
You know, I cannot begin to tell you what fantastic, rewarding and exciting summers my sister and two brothers and I had. They were dream vacations and our family was, and still is, very close. When there are six of you traveling in a VW bus (not the pop up model) for up to four months, well, you have no choice but to be close. You just can't get mad at your little brother who wants to string up the hammock and sway in it, over your head, while you are laying on the vinyl covered pull out bed trying to read a magazine. We went with the flow.
These adventures just made us even closer.
But see, this caused me to be on the go. I absolutely love to be on the go. Senor likes to remind me that once on the beautiful island of St. Croix, I began telling him where we were going to go next. I deny that. I don't remember it, but ahh, he is probably telling the truth.
Around thirty years ago, my parents sold their home and set off across the country in an old airstream trailer. They went everywhere and often, wherever any of the four of us grown children lived might be included in the traveling at some point.
They have since given up the airstream and settled again in a home in their favorite state of Texas. But, they still go.
They continue to travel, to load the car, leave as early as possible and if the road looks good to the right, that's where they go. If it looks good to the left, they might go there. They still set up the tent and still light the fire. I imagine my dad still might have his old KAY guitar, or maybe a different one now.
I grew up listening to my dad singing the old tunes of Guthrie, Seeger, and Cash, Waylon and Willie, Patsy and Loretta. I also grew up listening to my mother's hands flying across the piano keys, her favorites being Bach and Beethoven.
My father is also a very talented wood carver. And my mother, a very accomplished watercolorist. They are both very talented musicians and artists.
As I write this, my parents are traveling to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where my mother will sketch and paint and my father will sell over eight-hundred of his hand carved cedar loons.
Each year, for about ten years, they have been making this trip north. He carves throughout the winter and in the summer they add the loons to the rest of the gear in the car and travel north and sell them. Sometimes he has orders for them, other times he doesn't.
He will almost always sell them all.
But if you happen to be in a campground somewhere between Texas and the north woods of Minnesota, look for the man selling the hand carved cedar loons. He will probably just give you one that he will be carrying in his pocket.

hola, mom and dad, you may be in Clubhouse or Loon Lake, who knows? Love you.
linda lee

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This New Habit

Buen Dia! I am going to take you on yesterday's bike route.

First we have to step over fat cat Cookies, who is sound asleep on the nice, cool bedroom floor. All 25 pounds of him were grateful that we left the mini split on all night long. Do not worry, he sleeps like this all the time......

I am going to do this kind of post ONE TIME ONLY. It has taken longer to draw the silly map than to do the post. Don't question street names and north, south, east, west stuff.
I barely had time for this. Not to mention I feel like a first grader in art class......

As you can see, my casa is on the left, the road route is yellow and La Aduana Arroyo is orange.

Here is the plan..............follow La Aduana, take the dirt road to El Fuerte, go on the opposite side of the Mirador, which is pink on the map, and hopefully connect somewhere with a road that will lead back home. We will circle the whole hill on which the Mirador sits......and take a couple of photos......

Senor and I consider ourselves experts on the back roads to El Fuerte. We have been all over them, sometimes many times over the same ones while we were lost. But while Senor is doing the driving, I am watching the little birds and pretty flowers. So, this will be a totally different experience as I am doing the driving. Also, we are not really planning to go that far. One back road trip in the truck to El Fuerte took about 12 hours. I am thinking, an hour, hour and a half.........

At 5:20am, we are cruising through town, the Mirador is up on top of that hill in the distance. We are going around to the other side of it.

We will take the dirt road that travels along the big La Aduana Arroyo. This is the arroyo that sustained the most damage from Hurricane Norbert, but other arroyos, Chalaton and Escondida, were also hit heavily. These are the 3 main arroyos where people's homes and businesses and vehicles and lives, were buried by mud or in some cases, simply washed away. Below, you can see the new arch that is being built to hold the foot bridge. There are several of these under construction now across La Aduana.A photo of the road we are traveling on. The sunday tiangus is held here.Work is continuing on the new sanctuary and the next photo shows what the finished building will look like. The sun is just beginning to crest the hill tops.On top of this hillside is the Mirador. From here, we can't see the flag post or structures, so we are already beginning to go around it. The Mirador is the highest point in town and I have shown you pictures of Alamos in earlier posts, taken from the Mirador. You can see the arroyo is filled with small streams of water and alot of algae and other green stuff.These cars are left over from the hurricane.From here, we can see the flagpole on top of the Mirador. We are getting ready to ride across the arroyo and onto the road to El Fuerte. Today I have my cell phone and we have been gone for one hour. It is 6:30am.

By 7am we are looking back at the road we have just traveled, thinking maybe we should have paid better attention to the road sign nailed to the gate way back there. It seems like we are going too far away from the Mirador.

Okay, really time to go back and look.

Alot of back tracking. But it is a nice, cool morning, the sky is slightly overcast.
Back at the sign by 7:30am.
New old bike does not know which way to go. Right or left?
I think, what would Senor do?

The sign on the gate says 'mirador', but the arrow is a little strange. Left or right? Down, or is that up?.....maybe that means straight ahead...............

The road to the right is going downhill.

The road to the left goes uphill. I think Senor would go left. We are going right.

We are looking good. We have found the main road to the Mirador and made a complete circle, well a circle with alot of detours, around it. Now we just have to go downhill on the cobblestone road to hook up with a nice smooth street, somewhere, to get home.
A long swig of topochico mineral water, batteries on the camera are pooped out so no photo can be taken to show the road to the Mirador. It looks just like this one, only it goes straight up. 8:10am.

We are going down and it feels like we are riding over thousands of little baby topes.

Back at the casa, a battery change on the camera and the cat is mad because we woke him up.
A quick note in my journal tells me I need: a compass, an odometer, extra camera batteries, a review on how to change a flat tire and all the equipment neccessary and a knock on wood, thank goodness that didn't happen this morning, a new day pack with more pockets, to bring the bike lock keys in case I need to lock the bike and hitch a ride to town, mas aqua and well, a little food might be nice because it looks like this bike riding stuff is becoming a habit.

que tengas buen dia! linda lou