Monday, March 30, 2015

Road Trip to San Miguel (7)

El Pegaso San Miguel

We made it! Web put on over 3,400 to the Clampett mobile. For a 2001 Tribute, loaded to the gills with our stuff, she ran like a top averaging somewhere between 25 and 28 MPG at speeds of 75 to 90 miles per hour, hour after hour.

We arrived in San Miguel in the sun at 4:30 local time, having spent 8 hours driving. Going through customs and getting the car permit were a piece of cake. It just took three hours. We hit Bridge One at 5:30am,  It's not an easy place to navigate. We made some false starts, but the girly navigator (Bev) got us all the way here.

First thing we did was go out to and have pizza for Bev and pasta for me.This morning we awoke to the sounds of maybe a dozen different birds, singing in the morning sun. The bells called Catholics to prayer, and we thanked God for the safe trip, our health, our friends, this beautiful city,and our marriage. This morning coffee at El Cafe de La Mancha

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Road to San Miguel (6)

We arrived in Laredo last night at 9:00pm we lost two hours from time change. The Clampett mobile now has over 2800 miles on it since leaving PDXland. We drove at 80 mph much of the time from El Paso to Laredo. That's the speed limit most of the way! I was tired when we arrived. Bev spelled me for an hour and then another hour negotiating San Antonio. She really helped. I think I nodded off when I was driving for a brief second. It scared me. I said, "Whoa, I need you to take over, babe."

We are staying at La Posada, hotel with a colorful history. Erected in 1916. La Posada has 206 rooms and is the largest hotel in Laredo. It originally was Laredo's first high school, then an elementary school and finally purchased in 1961 for a hotel.

La Posada Hotel in Laredo
Sunday morning we cross the border and head south for over 500 miles.See you there!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Road to San Miguel (5)

We have put on 2,000 miles on the Clampett mobile and are spending the night in El Paso. We left Scottsdale at 10:00 and pulled into El Paso at 5:00. That was probably the most boring drive. You drive along at 75 to 80 MPH, for mile after mile through mostly flat country of desert and cacti. The nice thing was the sun and the temperature.

We are getting homesick for our our new home and fixing the terraces up with plants and hammock. We read the weather is great. Lots of activities scheduled for the festivities of holy week. Both of us are yearning for the new adventure.

Tomorrow we arrive a day early in Laredo and get ready the crossing and looking forward to seeing our San Miguel friends again.

We had a wonderful time at Sandi and Gerry's house. The backyard is a show stopper. A pool and beautiful desert plants, plenty of seating in the sun and shade, palms, tangello and orange trees, and grapefruit larger than two fists growing on the tree. A treat was a shared meal with Donya Wiland. Gerry and Sandi fixed ribs and while Gerry was disappointed, I thought they were very tasty.

We will be in San Miguel on Sunday the 29th. praying all goes well at the border crossing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mexico News Daily reports: Falling oil prices prompted Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso in January to announce public spending cuts of 124 billion pesos (US $8.3 billion), an austerity measure that affected President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plan to establish a Mexican passenger train network.

Two projects were canceled: a high-speed train linking Mexico City and Querétaro and the Transpeninsular Train, which would have connected Yucatán and Quintana Roo states.

But the 38-billion-peso Mexico City-Toluca train, which is designed to carry 270,000 passengers a day over its 58-kilometer route, is going ahead.

Tourism Is Up In Mexico

Mexico News Daily reports: A record 29.1 million visitors arrived in 2014, an increase of 20.5% over the previous year, a big turnaround after some dismal years following the 2.5% decline recorded in 2009.

It is also significant in relation to the growth recorded during much of the last 30 years, when Mexico saw only modest increases in tourism. Its 1.1% growth during that period was shadowed by Turkey with 11.6%, Hong Kong with 8.6% and Malaysia with 7.8%, for example.

Another gratifying figure for the industry was in the estimated amount of money spent by visitors last year, a total of US $16 billion, a massive increase over annual revenues generated between 2000 and 2012, which fluctuated between $8 billion and just over $13 billion.

Last year’s numbers are expected to move Mexico into 12th place from 15th on the list of the world’s most-visited countries.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Road to San Miguel (4)

We made it to Sedona yesterday afternoon. On the way we stopped at The Grand Canyon. Wow, lots of people all with cameras, even some with long handles so they could take selfies with the canyon as a background. Yes, you need people in your shots at times, but somehow it seems the selfies are all about them, "Look at me, I'm at the Grand Canyon. Don't I look good at the grand canyon?"

We had dinner last night at the Cowboy Club. Bev found a way to have a $24 salmon dinner  for $16. She asked for a salad with the salmon on top. I had a half rack of baby back ribs and they were simply the best I've ever tasted accompanied by home made cole slaw and corn bread.

We have two more nights in Sedona. Tomorrow we will investigate the Vortexes of Sedona.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Road Trip to San Miguel (3)

Another night in Las Vegas. We walked the strip last night. Stopped at Thomas Urban had some drinks and watched the fourth quarter of the Blazers-Miami game (we lost). Three rounds of drinks  was $42. Amazing how pricey everything is, Buffet is $30 plus tax per person. At the food court, A slice of pizza, a salad and two bottles of water $17! Last night we dined at the Rain Forest: two lemonades, a glass of wine and two dinners that weren't very good for $71.05 including tip. I could have three dinners in San Miguel for that price.

Las Vegas seems to be always under construction. Every where are expensive shops for Tom Ford, Dolce & G, Pucci, etc. and it is so loud!

We solved our dilemma. We are leaving tomorrow morning and staying the night near the Grand Canyon south rim, then on to Sedona.

Every one marvels at us when we say we are moving to Mexico. Their faces light up. They wish us well and almost all secretly wish they could ride along. The trickle will become a flow, with 40 million boomers living in the US.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Road Trip to San Miguel (2)

We spent the night in Las Vegas. We are now just 30 miles shy of 1,000 miles on the Clampet Mobile since PDXland. We arrived a day earlier than I planned. My schedule had us in LV on the 18th, not the 17th. So now do we spend four nights here before trekking on to Sedona, or four nights in Sedona instead of three? We lean toward the latter.

Did some investigation of the geology of Northern Nevada and found this:

Nevada is unique. Consider the Himalaya region, where two continents are colliding and creating an area of very thick crust. Nevada is the opposite, where a continent is stretching apart and leaving the crust exceptionally thin.

Between the Sierra Nevada to the west in California and the Wasatch Range in Utah to the east, the crust has been extended by some 50 percent over the last 40 million years. In the upper crust, the brittle surface rocks broke into long blocks, while in the hotter, softer lower crust there was more plastic deformation, allowing these blocks to tilt. The upward-tilting parts of the blocks are mountain ranges and the downward-tilting parts are basins. These filled with sediments, topped with dry lake beds and playas in the arid climate.

The mantle responded to the crustal extension by melting and expanding and lifted Nevada into a plateau more than a kilometer high. Volcanism and magma intrusions covered the state deep in lava and ash, also injecting hot fluids in many places to leave metal ores behind. All this, coupled with spectacular rock exposures, makes Nevada a hard-rock geologist's paradise.

Northern Nevada's young volcanic deposits are associated with the Yellowstone hotspot track, running from Washington to Wyoming. Southwestern Nevada is where the most crustal extension is occurring these days, along with recent volcanism. The Walker Lane, a wide zone of tectonic activity, parallels the diagonal border with southern California.

Before this period of extension, Nevada was a convergent zone similar to South America or Kamchatka today with an oceanic plate sweeping in from the west and being subducted. Exotic terranes rode in on this plate and slowly built the land of California. In Nevada, large bodies of rock moved eastward in great thrust sheets on several occasions during Paleozoic and Mesozoic time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fresh Bites: Tomatillos add fresh zip to anything Mexican

Small, green tomato-like fruits in husks offer a bright citrus taste that marks Mexico's famous salsa verde.

Cynthia David Special to the Star, Published on Tue Mar 17 2015

Tomatillos take me back to San Miguel de Allende, the fabled artist’s colony in the hills four hours northwest of Mexico City. On my first visit earlier this month, I drank homemade margaritas on a rooftop terrace with friends while watching the sun set, and spent days strolling narrow cobblestoned streets and feasting on tortilla soup and platters of enchiladas, sopes, quesadillas, marinated skirt steak and fish tacos.

The city’s lively markets sell everything from dried beans to rubber tires, but even the smallest grocer offers the essentials for a Mexican feast: avocados, fresh and dried chili peppers, white onions, plum tomatoes, pungent cilantro, tiny limes and shiny tomatillos, wrapped in veined papery husks.

With their meaty white flesh and bright citrus taste, these firm green tomatoes range in size from cherries to golf balls. Cooked briefly and blended, they become Mexico’s famous salsa verde, served as a dip with nachos, simmered into a mole and spooned over everything from tacos to grilled fish.

For the rest of the story go to

Road Trip to San Miguel

We arrived back in Portland on March 1st, and spent two weeks in an apartment in Vancouver, WA owned by Cheryl and Dave Leland. From there we attended to our storage unit figuring out what to store and what to take back to San Miguel. Our car was the limiting factor. Just how much could we stuff into the Mazda Tribute. While in PDX we also went to the Apple store for new iPhones, going to the Mexican Consulate to get our visas for Temporary Residente; getting the car ready for the long journey back to Mexico, seeing movies, going to dinner with friends, seeing the old neighborhood, seeing family, and watching the Blazers. Busy, busy!

Our first stop was near Bend for two nights with our friends Connie and Bill Berner. It was especially good to see these two. We all thought our get together in Ashland was a little tense; there were even thoughts of "friendship ending." Bill and Connie were even a little nervous about what this meeting would bring. The minute we arrived and got out of the car, they said all their apprehension disappeared. They said we were different, maybe even lighter; joyous? Was the change the month we spent in San Miguel? Was it the freedom from stuff that lightened us. Was it moving on from the US? No conclusions yet. All I know is that this was the best visit we've had in many years. So profound was the change that Bill committed to visiting us in San Miguel.

We left the Berner house Monday morning for our next stop in Winnemucca. Connie looked sad to see us go.

Spent the night in Winnemucca at the Winnemucca Inn. Tonight we will be in Las Vegas. The whole drive from Burns to Winnemucca was a wonder of snow capped mountains and flat rolling hills covered in sagebrush. I'm going to research the geology of the area.

Friday, March 13, 2015

San Miguel de Allende: The new gourmet capital of Mexico?

Amy Jenkins tells us that San Miguel is becoming the gourmet capital of Mexico:

"A smart, contemporary interior, an on-site bakery, mouth-watering artisan bread, free wi-fi and an "all day lounge"; this is café Cumpanio in San Miguel de Allende, three hours' north of Mexico City and it's a home-from-home as far as I'm concerned.

"I sip my honey latte and eye the couple at the next table. They are so cool and good looking – although unostentatious in well-worn black casuals – that I wonder if they've been hired by the café owner to give the place cred. He has a little man bun. She has smokey, almond-shaped eyes. When they catch me looking I ask what I should have for lunch and they advise me to have the pasta in perfect, although accented, English. I thank them kindly, deciding rather wildly that they must be in town on a fashion shoot, taking time out to treat themselves to a croque monsieur over their iPads."

I'm sure most of us aren't happy about the title. Yes the food is wonderful in San Miguel, but so are the prices. Why would we want to have our beautiful little town become expensive like the states?

Snow Closed Mexico City – Puebla City 150-D Highway

GloBULL Warming!

“A very unusual snowing forced the closure of the Mexico City – Puebla City 150-D highway,” says reader Jesus Eduardo Herrera Flores. “Keep in mind that this is located around 19° N and that we are 8 days away from Spring.”

“Also, the “Ajusco” hill ( just outside Mexico City, showed snow this morning. I was born and raised in Mexico City and I can assure you that this never happened before (40 years back, at least) this late in winter. This usually happens once or twice a year in late December or early January.

Saludos desde Mexico

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mexico’s Peso Biggest Drop in a Year

Mexico’s peso tumbled the most in more than a year, prompting the central bank to sell $200 million to help stabilize the currency.

The peso fell 1.8 percent to 15.4726 per dollar, the biggest drop on a closing basis since August 2013, joining a slide of global counterparts. The Mexican currency is now at its lowest level in six years, approaching the record of 15.5892 reached in March 2009.

A report Friday showing strength in the U.S. labor market bolstered speculation the Federal Reserve is closer to raising interest rates, reducing the appeal of emerging-market assets that typically offer higher yields. The central bank’s dollar sales, held under a program started in December, usually are triggered when the peso falls more than 1.5 percent in one trading session. The last time the bank intervened was Dec. 11.

“I would increase the size of the daily auctions,” Eduardo Suarez, a strategist at Bank of Nova Scotia, said in an e-mail. “This is too broad-based. I don’t think you can stop a move like this.”

Central bank board member Manuel Sanchez said in a speech in Mexico City Friday that weakness in the peso is spurring inflation.

By Isabella Cota

25 Increíbles Paraísos para el Ecoturismo en México

México cuenta con gran variedad de flora y fauna, así como un gran número de refugios para especies extraordinarias. Nuestras costas son elegidas por la ballena gris para reproducirse, nuestros desiertos y bosques son grandes santuarios naturales, contamos con el segundo arrecife más grande del mundo, en nuestros mares habita el 39% de los mamíferos marinos y además, a lo largo y ancho de México hay más de 176 áreas naturales protegidas, 5 de ellas consideradas por la UNESCO como Patrimonio Natural de la Humanidad. Tan solo por esto y mucho más, creemos que México es un Paraíso para el Ecoturismo.

Mexico has wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as a large number of shelters for extraordinary species. Our coasts are chosen by the gray whale to reproduce, our deserts and forests are large natural sanctuaries, we have the second largest reef in the world, 39% of marine mammals dwells in our seas and the length and width of Mexico must also more than 176 natural protected areas, 5 of them considered by UNESCO as Natural World Heritage. Just for this and much more, we believe that Mexico is a paradise for eco-tourism.

Conoce los 12 Destinos más Coloridos de México

Cuando vemos colores cálidos solemos tener sensaciones positivas pues estas gamas van muy relacionadas con la alegría y el movimiento ¿Qué ocurre cuando estos colores se combinan con la cultura y el folclor de México? Claro, llega la magia.

When we see warm colours we tend to have positive feelings for these ranges van very related to the joy and movement what happens when these colors are combined with the culture and the folklore of Mexico? Of course, comes the magic.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Art of papermaking proves to be a draw in Mexico

Sandy Bernat, left, and Terry Ann Tomlinson stand in front of Ms. Tomlinson’s largest paper piece to date, a sculptural fountain that drips into the copper trough in the entryway of her studio. – Photo by Valerie Sonnenthal

MV Times features Valerie Sonnenthal - Mar 4, 2015 writing about West Tisbury paper artist and Seastone Studio owner Sandy Bernat who recently treated herself to a month in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She rented a home in Centro so she could walk everywhere and immerse herself in the history and life of the cobblestoned town, founded 500-plus years ago and situated on a mountainside. When Ms. Bernat travels, she makes a point of learning about the local art scene, its artisans, and of course the hand papermakers. During the third week of her trip she found an ad in the weekly local newspaper for contemporary paper artist Terry Ann Tomlinson. Rather than wait another week until the next open studio/gallery time, she called and made an appointment for later that day.

Ms. Tomlinson’s gallery of handmade paper art was only two blocks from where Ms. Bernat was staying. Once inside the ancient wood door of the self-designed home, built on an empty lot and created to function as a gallery/studio, Ms. Bernat was overcome not only by the tranquil open-air water garden, but by a sculptural wall piece of vertical paper spheres. Ms. Tomlinson offered to turn on the sculpture so Ms. Bernat could see its true function as a wall fountain.

Sandy Bernat, left, and Terry Ann Tomlinson stand in front of Ms. Tomlinson's largest paper piece to date, a sculptural fountain that drips into the copper trough in the entryway of her studio. – Photo by Valerie Sonnenthal Sandy Bernat, left, and Terry Ann Tomlinson stand in front of Ms. Tomlinson’s largest paper piece to date, a sculptural fountain that drips into the copper trough in the entryway of her studio. – Photo by Valerie Sonnenthal Ms. Tomlinson first discovered handmade paper when visiting San Miguel de Allende in 2002, and promptly enrolled in a papermaking class at the local Bellas Artes Cultural Center during her stay. Up until this time, sculpture had been her medium. When Ms. Tomlinson returned home to Woodstock, N.Y., she continued her studies at the Women’s Studio Workshop with Melissa Jay Craig, an artist that Ms. Bernat once brought to the Island to teach a workshop at her studio, and someone whose work she included at the last paper show she curated at Featherstone Center for the Arts.

Ms. Bernat wound her way through Ms. Tomlinson’s work and gallery discussing technique, fiber sources, and all matters papermaking. It was an inspiring and wonderful visit. Should you find yourself in San Miguel de Allende, be sure to stop by the Tomlinson Gallery/Studio and learn more about artist Terry Ann Tomlinson, or visit

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

10 Romantic Getaways to Get You Through Winter

Alyssa Brown for Architectural Digest.
With more than three weeks left of dreadful winter, we're calling out some of the most romantic places to warm up with your significant other.

For a culture-rich feast for the senses, look no further than Rosewood San Miguel de Allende. The charming artists' village of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico is packed with museums and beautiful old churches to explore. From $385/night.