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.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How We Found Alamos

Buenas tardes!
Whoowhee! It is hot here, but clouds are building to the west and I can just see that we are going to get some rain.............some day.

I told you I would tell you how we found Alamos.
I will give you as short a version as possible.
Now, if you were to ask Senor, three hours later you might have an idea of how it happened.
And, certainly, our tales would vary a little.
So, here is my version.

In 2007, August, we sent our son off to college. I was only happy about this because he had chosen the same Colorado college as his sister.
I just knew they would look after each other and things would be fine.

But, of course, I was not fine.
Home alone with Senor, outside Seattle, in a three-story home with an all too empty and quiet lower level where our childrens' bedrooms were and they weren't.

I told Senor (who was not called senor back then), ................just Bill or William, depending upon my mood, on more than one occasion that our home was too big now for us and it was time to move.
I loved the Snoqualmie Valley where we had raised our children and was eager to stay in the area.

One day in October, I noticed for the first time that 'just Bill' was hanging around the house a lot in jeans and t shirts.
 I was used to the corporate three piece suit with collar stays and cuff links.

It dawned on me that maybe he had been hanging around like that for a week.
So, I asked him what was going on.

i retired...............he said...........
Now generally this is something a husband and wife probably discuss and make plans for, but 'just Bill' has a tendency to decide to do something and does it.
Okay, so retired, that's okay, I was still working and not planning to retire and we had savings.
Good to go, but go what? What now?

I am taking you to lunch............he said.
Oh, *+#%................i thought.

At lunch I was nervous.
You can only imagine what kinds of things were going through my mind by then.

We ordered our food and he looked at me very thoughtfully.

so, you want to move, huh?...........................uhm, yes, i would like to move................well, he said, let's move to mexico.


We had been to Puerta Vallarta several times when I was a flight attendant and I had been to Monterrey as a teenager and to Juarez plenty of times. I had driven down the A road in Baja in 1972.
I loved Mexico, but move there? Live there? All the time?
What about our kids? Our family? Our cats? Our stuff?

Well, 'just Bill' proceeded to lay it all out.
If we move to the West Coast of the mainland and stay somewhat close to the border, we can get to our kids (this was my big concern as they were only 18 and 19 years old.)
 Of course! They needed me to be near them!

He said he had been doing a lot of research and he had quite a few towns picked out and we should go and visit them.
when........i said............real soon.............he said........

I was worried about Thanksgiving.
 We always go as a family to a remote cabin in Washington state, a different place each year.
 The year before when our daughter had gone off to college, we flew her back home just so we could go to a remote cabin, no phones, no tv, just us.
On the return drive to the airport, the kids, in the back seat said, Mom, we don't know how to tell you this, we have loved our Thanksgivings, but we don't want to do them anymore.
I was devastated.

'just Bill' reminded me of this and suggested that we go to Mexico and then fly the kids from Colorado to one of the towns we would be visiting and have our Thanksgiving there. 
We could spend a week with them in Mexico and several weeks on either side of their visit going to the towns he would suggest.

He had a list of the towns with him and put it out on the restaurant table.
By now my head was swimming, but I managed to keep it together and after we left the restaurant we stopped at a store where I got all the empty boxes I could.
I had no idea where we were going, but I started packing that night.

Everyone we knew said we were crazy, but the great thing for me was the kids were really excited, it would not be their first trip to Mexico, but holy smokes, Mexico for Thanksgiving.
No more remote cabins where we sit around and bake a lot of cookies.

I took a leave from work, we made a few reservations, got two plane tickets and flew to Hermosillo.

We quickly decided we did not want to live in Hermosillo.
We went to Kino Bay....nope.
We went to San
Went over to
We checked out Ciudad,no.
Drove right through Navajoa and turned east to the mountains to Alamos.

Like every other place 'just Bill' who was now Senor, often Senor sabe le todo or Mr. Know it all, had researched Alamos, and thought it looked like a nice little quiet place.

We got there on the day of the Revolucion.
It was not quiet.
There were crazy people all over the place.
There were what looked like 10 year old kids driving trucks.
There were roosters in all the streets.
People were blowing trumpets day and night.
There was so much noise I could not think straight.

We saw a few houses and I could tell Senor was enamored with one of them.
 He could not stop talking about it.

We once had some land in Santa Fe and he had wanted to build a territorial style adobe on it.
That plan did not work out.
He thought this house in Alamos was so cool and he could do so much with it.

We left town.
I was happy to go.
Too much going on there, I thought.

We went to Guadalajara......too big.
Puerta Vallarta.....too touristy.
Lake Chapala......too lakey.
Ajijic........too something, just couldn't put our finger on it.

Back over to Sayulita, where I was very happy, because the kids came and joined us there.
They surfed everyday and we stuffed ourselves on seafood.
We had our Thanksgiving and we were all together again.

But Sayulita came and went and I could not see myself living there.
Senor suggested we go back to Alamos and have one last look at the 'Ruin'.

When we returned, Alamos was peaceful, the architecture was mesmerizing, the people were friendly, there was something mysterious about the town.
It was old, it was historical, a little magical.
And besides, the Day of the Revolucion only comes once a year, right?

We looked at the 'Ruin' several times.
There were donkeys living in it.
The roofs and some walls were caved in.
The grass was head high.

It certainly looked like a big project and all Senor could say was how he would 'do this and do that', and I knew it was our house.

Eventually we returned to the Pacific Northwest and we thought about this move for a long time.
I continued to occupy myself with packing up the house because I knew we were certainly going somewhere.
By now, Senor was sure about Alamos.
And the more I thought about it, Alamos seemed the place to go.
By March of 2008, it was our house and we came to Alamos in June of that year.

Below is the casa the first day we saw it.

 And I believe I took this photo below the first night we slept in the casa.

So, now you have my version of the story.
Someday when you visit you can ask Senor for his version.
Oh, I think they are pretty close, he just never tells the part about retiring without Permission from his wife.

And see, here we are, eight years later and still working on this casa.
I have never seen Senor happier than he has been these eight years and I am pretty content myself so I think we made a good choice.
Of course, some people still think we are crazy.

Now, look at my baseboard tiles.
 In this photo they are all upside down, the fur' elise, but you should get the idea.
 I suppose no one will ever even notice them but me, but that's okay.
 I love them.

Here Marcello has put in the other wood header over the doorway to the master bedroom.
It is awled pine from an old original  beam in the house.

Everything is covered with a film of dust.
 I will be glad when all the chipping and poking and prodding of walls is done and we can get back to normal, whatever that is.

A lot of that dust and dirt is coming from inside here, the master bedroom, where they have opened up the walls for the windows.
Of course, I have not made the windows yet, but below you will get an idea of what they will be like.
It is fused and soldered glass and will be set in iron frames that will open.
Very rustic, very colorful, very fun.

So, that's how we came to Alamos!
Hope you are having a great day wherever you are!
Que le vaya bien!
Linda Lou


Ralph and Chris said...

Gotta love a man with a plan...

Linda Mcphee said...

Probably my favorite story so far. I laughed out loud. Thank you.

jim toevs said...

Thank you, Linda! I found Alamos through the Lonely Planet Travel Guide in 1996. I stepped onto the Plaza and knew that I was home.

Anonymous said...

Linda & Senor (aka Bill),

What a great story! The wife and I hope to follow a similar path in a couple more years. Our plan is to wait until the youngest is out of college before making our move. The eldest just graduated with his masters degree so one down and one to go.

Alamos sounds great. I'm looking for a sleepy kind of town that's close to a larger city with an airport.


Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Ralph and Chris, LOL, yep, he had plans in motion the moment he stepped on this property!

Linda Mcphee! Always so nice to hear from you. Thanks, maybe next time you come to town we will have bed you can sleep in!

Hola, Jim, that is a good story as well. Lonely Planet likes Alamos and I know how you must have felt when you were on the Plaza. It just does something to you.

Troy. Alamos is not a quick easy place to get to. Maybe that is one of its charms. It is way way off the beaten path. Ciudad Obregon (1 1/2 hours away) has a large airport but almost everything is routed down through Mexico City. Mazatlan is 7 hours south. The bus or by car is the way most Alamenses travel north. I suspect you and your wife will be traveling around, doing much the same as we did, looking for the right place.!!!

Anonymous said...

I started reading your blog just as you were preparing your house in the northwest for sale. I followed it a long time before I posted anything. It seemed to be a ladies type forum, but the work on the house got me to ask some questions.

We have passed that turn off to Alamos many times, but never took it. I had always heard tales of the town, but we were always in a rush coming and going.

I have to wonder how you can be away from your kids? When the grand kids start coming, can you bear it? My wife won't live more than a couple of miles away from our grand kids.

I probably have a thousand questions about the real estate and building process, but they are probably none of my business.

Anyway, count yourselves lucky to have found a place where you fit in and feel comfortable. Post pictures of the work on the house. It is so interesting.

Good luck,

Robert Gill
Phoenix, Arizona

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

Mr Gill,
So nice to hear from you. Being away from our kids has been the most difficult thing about this move, sometimes in the beginning, it was unbearable for me, mainly because they were so young and they still are both under 30. But both our kids are very independent and would never had stayed too close to home.
Our daughter is having the first grandchild in September, I know it will be hard for all of us. I imagine I will be making a lot of trips north. But! We are not far from the border and that was a priority in moving here.
You can ask me anything you want. If you want to ask me privately you can find Glasspondstudio on Facebook and can message me there. Linda Lou

Anonymous said...

I love this article and the way you write!
I also love your glasswork, it's just beautiful.
It will be stunning as windows!

Anonymous said...

I was curious about the filled in well? Sometimes, they just stop it up and fill in the upper levels. In that case it could still prove useful for irrigation of the garden.

How did you find the property? Did you just happen upon it, or was a real estate agent involved? Did you get the escrituras or was a bank trust involved.

What do you know of the history of the property? How old is the building? Why did it fall into the condition you found it in? Did you have a problem with vagrants camping there? Drunks tend to want to occupy vacant buildings.

What do your kids think of the project? They may eventually inherit it?

All questions that are really none of my business, but I am curious.

Robert Gill

Séverin Guiton said...

Dear Linda,

My name is Séverin.

I work for (also called Expat Blog by the elders ^^).
You have added your blog on our blog directory.

Could you please contact me by email ( I would like to discuss a project interview with you.


Anonymous said...

Baby pictures? What about the baby? Boy or girl?

Robert Gill
Phoenix, AZ