Saturday, January 30, 2016


Originally found in NY Times 
March in Guadalajara, when the jacarandas bloom, is glorious. But jacarandas aside, Mexico's second city exists in a near-perpetual spring, with a thrillingly reliable climate that delivers fresh mornings, afternoons that rarely wander far from 70 degrees, and only slightly cooler evenings.

It's fine weather for strolling the Centro Histórico, the district that spreads out from the Cathedral on four main plazas and includes scores of pockmarked limestone buildings from the last four centuries. Whether Baroque, neo-Classical or, like the Cathedral, a potpourri of stylistic mementos from 300 years, they have an undeniable Castilian gravitas.
Tapatíos, as people from Guadalajara are called, wax elegiac when they talk about their gracious, hospitable pre-1950 city. They rue its present state -- creeping Californiazation, they say, and a wanton disregard for neighborhoods and heritage buildings.

That's not how it strikes a visitor. It's true that a few minutes away from the Centro Histórico, the streets descend abruptly into shabbiness, but it's a lived-in, unthreatening shabbiness. And while many old buildings were sacrificed in the heedless 1960's and 70's, many remain and, perhaps in expiation, those in the center look carefully tended.

The old-fashioned stateliness of the Cruz de Plazas, the cross of squares around the Cathedral, made a carriage ride -- something too touristy to contemplate in other places -- inevitable. From the half-dozen antiques parked in front of the Museo Regional, I chose a burgundy cabriolet and a dark brown horse named Fantasma. For $22, Fantasma's owner, Miguel Igaron, directed her on an hourlong tour. Southwest of the center, along Calle Libertad, we clip-clopped past the city's flirtation with Bauhaus houses. Closer to Guadalajara's historic heart, our deliberate pace allowed for admiration of stucco washes, wrought-iron balconies and urn-topped balustrades.


Beginning Feb. 10, the Ballet Fol clórico de la Universidad de Guadalajara dances in the late-19th-century Teatro Degollado, Calle Belén, to the east of the Cathedral on Plaza de la Liberación, every Sunday at 10 a.m. The pieces range from interpretations of pre-Columbian rituals to local folk dances. The red-and-gilt candy-box interior of the Teatro, Guadalajara's main performance space, is another treat. Tickets, from $3.25 to $18.50, are available at the box office, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. The theater's number is (52-333) 613-1115.

Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 12:30 p.m., the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco takes the stage at the Teatro Degollado, with tickets from $3.25 to $13 available at the box office. On March 1 and 3, the program includes Piazzolla's ''Gran Tango'' and Saint-Saens's Third Symphony; on March 15 and 17, it features two Vivaldi concertos for sopranino flute.

From March 8 to 15, a festival of Mexican cinema unrolls at the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, on the Plaza Tapatía, and at the Teatro Dego llado. Some films have English sub titles. Information, (33) 3810-1148 or
''A Voice From Mexico and a Piano From Cuba'' is the title of a recital at the Teatro Degollado on Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. The voice is that of Mercedes Medina; the pianist is Daniel Herrera. Tickets are from $2 to $8.75.

Music is everywhere on Guadalajara's plazas. Men play marimbas and guitars, grandmothers and young girls sing, children in cowboy boots perform charro (cowboy) dances. On Thursday and Sunday around 6:30 p.m., there are free concerts of local music in the flossy, wrought-iron bandstand in the middle of the Plaza de Armas, on the south side of the Cathedral.


The Instituto Cultural Cabañas would be one of Guadalajara's glories for its history and architecture alone. Designed in 1805 by the neo-Classical architect Manuel Tolsa as a vast orphanage with 23 formal, varied courtyards, it acquired its crowning jewel in the late 1930's, when José Clemente Orozco painted his passionately satirical version of Mexico's history on the walls and ceiling of the main chapel. Guided tours of Orozco's masterpiece are available in English with the $1 admission fee. Closed Monday; (333) 617-4322.
Also worth a visit just for its building, a 17th-century Baroque seminary with cloister gardens and arched doorways, is the Museo Regional de Guadalajara, 60 Liceo, (52-333) 614-9957. Those who don't understand Spanish will occasionally be frustrated by text-heavy exhibits, but the beautifully displayed preColumbian pottery, colonial paintings and contemporary textiles and masks need no words to be enjoyed. Closed Monday; admission, $3.25, free Sunday.

The southeastern suburb Tlaquepaque (tlah-kay-PAH-kay) has restored its delightful stucco and stone houses and made itself a shopper's paradise for Mexican crafts. Avoid the chic, not very interesting shops on Independencia, but visit the free Museo Regional de la Cerámica, 237 Independencia, (52-333) 635-5404,, for a quick grounding in Mexico's various pottery styles. Closed Monday.
Two of the best shops are Alfarería Aldana, 40 Progreso, for its wide-ranging pottery selection, and La Luna Descalza, 120 Juárez, for first-rate folk art. Both are close to the genuine, un-glitzy Jardín Hidalgo, which includes the Church of San Pedro Tlaquepaque, a formal garden and a bandstand.

Guadalajara's Cathedral dominates the skyline, but its parish churches are more rewarding. Bijou versions of Baroque or neo-Classical styles, they number more than a dozen in the city center. The wonderfully individualized statues are a highlight. Part of the Franciscans' mission-building enterprise, The small churches of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazú and San Francisco, at the junction of 16 de Septiembre and Miguel Blanco, should not be missed. San Felipe Neri (corner of San Felipe and Contreras Medellín) and Santa Mónica (at San Felipe and Santa Mónica) are neighboring churches with fantastical Baroque facades and cooler interiors with occasional glints of gold.

For 35 cents, enjoy the pleasures of melancholy and a visit to Guadalajara's 19th century at the Panteón de Belén. This smallish cemetery, with picturesquely crumbling gravestones and a tomb-filled arcade washed in faded pink and cantaloupe, centers on an exotic monument with Egyptian pillars and statues of weeping women. Among the cactuses and palms, the statuary and stones range from classical urns to Gothic Revival angels. At 684 Belén, (52-333) 613-7786, the Panteón is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, Saturday to 1 p.m.

Where to Stay

The former convent of the adjacent Church of Santa María de Gracia, the De Mendoza, 16 Venustiano Carranza, (52-333) 613-4646, fax (52-333) 613-7310, www.demendoza, offers deluxe accommodation at moderate prices. If you make a reservation, $70 could get you a generous, well-lighted double room with a balcony overlooking the stylish pool; otherwise, it might cost $93. Steps from the Teatro Degollado, with 110 rooms and a helpful staff.

In 1610, when it opened for business, the Hotel Francés, 35 Maestranza, (52-333) 613-1190, fax (52-333) 658-2831,, stabled guests' horses in the stone courtyard that's now a bar with two-for-the-price-of-one margaritas during happy hour. Popular with North Americans, the 60-room Francés has a fine location in the Centro Histórico and smallish, high-ceilinged rooms that hail from another era -- quaint or dowdy, depending on your taste. Doubles, $60.

Near the churches of Aranzazú and San Francisco, the Santiago de Compostela, 272 Colón, (52-333) 613-8880, fax (52-333) 658-1925, has 94 rooms in a dignified 19th-century stone building. Pluses include a pool and a classy lobby bar decorated with bird cages, Persian carpets and cozy sofas. A double room with golden-toned wood furniture and a bathtub (rare in Guadalajara hotels) costs $110.

Budget: The ceramic tile on the door says ''Welcome friends,'' but there's no indication that the Posada San Pablo, 429 Madero, (52-333) 614-2811, is a hotel until you ring the bell. On a dingy but not scary downtown street, with 10 rooms, the family-run guest house charges $24 for a capacious room with two big beds and a private bath; those with shared bathrooms rent for $18.50.

The Hotel Las Américas, 76 Hidalgo, (52-333) 613-9622, is on a grimy stretch of road close to the Centro Histórico. Ask for a room away from the street, and it's likely to be adequate in size and clean, with TV and telephone. Double rooms rent for $19 (one bed) or $22 (two beds).

Where to Eat

People in Guadalajara eat their main meal from 2 to 4 p.m., and tend to eat antojitos, or snacks, in the evening, but restaurants supply large or small repasts on demand.

La Fonda de San Miguel, 25 Donato Guerra, (52-333) 613-0809, fax (52-333) 613-0793, began life in 1694 as a Carmelite convent, but these days its cloister is lively with uncaged parrots, a fountain, a guitarist and Tapatíos of all ages eating traditional Mexican dishes. A meal for two with wine, for $70, might begin with quesadillas stuffed variously with pumpkin flowers, mushrooms and peppers, then a surpassingly tender pollo en mole poblano (chicken in a chocolate-based sauce that originated in Puebla) and finally clarisa, a boozy gelatin dessert. Two caveats: portions are hefty, and it's best to arrive not long after 3:30, when it gets crowded.

Housed in a grand yellow 1897 mansion on the Plaza Tapatía, La Rinconada, 86 Morelos, (52-333) 613-9914, fax (52-333) 613-9925, could be the setting for a moody pre-World War I novel. Underneath the ceiling fans and stained glass, the pork loin in green sauce ($7) is succulent, as is the flan ($2.85). Two could dine, with wine, for $45.

Guadalajara is the birthplace of mariachi, and La Feria, 291 Corona, (52-333) 613-1812, takes that seriously, presenting a full-blown mariachi band with well-known singers and dancers daily at 3:30 p.m., at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 on Friday and Saturday, and 10 on Sunday. A dinner for two with wine, for about $45, might begin with tortilla soup, laden with cheese, sour cream and pasilla chiles as well as tortillas, for $3.25. Tampiqueña (beef served with enchilada, rice, beans and guacamole) is a typical entree, for $9.

The proud holder of a Guinness citation, for serving a meal in 13.5 seconds, Karne Garibaldi, 1306 Garibaldi, (52-333) 826-1286, is a busy local favorite worth the taxi, bus or 20-minute walk from the Centro Histórico. Its specialty is a bowl of tasty beef morsels in a broth that comes in three sizes -- medium is $5 -- to be doctored at will with coriander, onion and lime. Two can eat well, with beer, for $12.

With its diner décor and soda fountain, Café Madrid, 264 Juárez, (52-333) 614-9504, is a bit of a time trip as well as a popular spot for a thrifty downtown meal. The white-jacketed, bow-tied waiters serve hamburguesas ($4), but also good local fare, such as sopes tapatíos (chicken and beans on potato rounds, for $3.40). A meal for two with beer or cappuccino would cost about $16.

Photos: The Ballet Folclórico de Guadalajara; the Panteón de Belén, a cemetery established in the 19th century; third floor of the Hotel Francés; a cabriolet seems appropriate for viewing the stately historic center. (Photographs by Sergio Dorantes for The New York Times) Chart: ''Vital Statistics'' lists travel information and statistics on Guadalajara, Mexico. (Sources: National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Information, local businesses) Map of Guadalajara shows tourist attractions and points of interest.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Audobon Society Trail Map

An idea for a future hike. The only downside of this particular trail is that because it is a wildlife sanctuary, there is no pets allowed. Annie would have to hang with a buddy, but definitely want to get back to this area for hiking in 2014.

Forest Park Hike to Start 2014 - Dogwood to Wild Cherry Trail

The allure of Forest Park pulled us back to get a second hike in as many weeks. It was a cold, foggy morning, but it has been very dry, so it was nice when you were moving. Here's the linkage:
The view through the trees near the top of
Wild Cherry Trail.

Wildwood Trail curves around the loop. 

Turning the corner through the Wild Cherry Trail.

The trip up Wild Cherry Trail from Leif Erikson.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Forest Park Hike to end 2013 - Lower Maclaey to Audobon Society

 We took a quick 2 hour hike into Forest Park. The trip was about 3.5 miles and started at NW 31st & Thurman just above MacLeay Park. The hike took us up from the neighborhood into the Park through the Holman Trail and then onto the Wildwood Trail.

The GPS tracks of the trip are included here: 

The kids kept each other motivated and they really enjoyed stopping at the Stone House which was about half way through the hike.

The trail follows Balch Creek for awhile and offers some great views with trees down across the valley. The trail raises up out of the base of the floor to the top where the Audobon Society. The sanctuary at the Audobon Society has 4.5 miles of trails within their area of 150 acres south of NW Cornell Road.

The Audobon Society had a couple of kestrels in cages at their Wildlife Care Center facility.

The Portland Audobon Society has a great Guide for the plants that are throughout the area
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

2014 rides

Beer Here! Six Brewery Rides

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Abby's 4th Grade Homework Assignment - Presentation Explaining a Topic

Abby picked Playmobil as her assignment for what to describe to a group of five classmates.
Here's what she came up with. She typed the first part and I helped her upload the photos and take some of them.
My Subject is Playmobil
I selected this because it is my favorite toy brand and I like animals.

I brought several animals today. The animals are:
A leopard and her kittens
Young giraffe

I need four volunteers to help me with the habitat design. WAIT FOR ANSWER

Each of you will get an animal and you are supposed to try to find out where it lives. If you need help ask me.

Before I give out your animals, I am going to use the meerkat as an example.

Meerkats live in the desert and so I have cut out a space for them on the yellow paper and drawn a hole that is its home.I can add some green plants using the pencils and markers that you have here. I have also drawn a frog because they eat them.

A good animal habitat requires lots of space, food from plants and other animals, water, and places to hide (different types of homes). We have paper for cutting out

mud wallows
pond or rivers

The steps for designing habitat are the following:
1. draw the outline of what you are going to cut (you might want to know how big the animal is - see above)
2. cut it out
3. place it in your square
4. ask for the next piece of paper
5. repeat until done

We're not using glue because if you want you can take your land pieces home to play with, or you can leave them with me.

Pulling the habitat together, we're going to place the land around the hut. You can see from the picture that we had someone do a grassy (green) one, a mostly water (blue) one, and the black is the hut footprint and my meerkat desert is the yellow portion (not a square).

Another part of the presentation is putting the hut together and the other pieces.

Two of you will build the cage and two of you will build the hut with me and the land terrain and I will need one person to help with the station. The other two will build the landscape
how to build the Oambati station, which is the main piece of the setup.
1. put the walls together

2. snap the walls in place on the platform
3. place the roof on the top of the walls

The cage gets put together with the following steps.
1. Cage wiring goes inside the silver frame
2. Snap the back to the side pieces.
3. The front frame which is about the same size as the back snaps onto the wall side pieces
4. two columns go on the back to complete the shelf
5. the final step is to snap the gates into the front of the frame. The one without the lock goes on the right side (it is a little tricky, but it should swing out).

The Habitat
1. The tree limbs need leaves and those snap on top.
2. The plants can go in the holes any where they fit.
3. This is the easiest of the sets to put together.

The Animals
I am going to tell you where the animals go. This is where I use my imagination and what I have learned about animals from books and watching a movie called Life, which is about animals and plants and how they live.
the cats can go in the cave or in the cage because the leopard just had cubs,
the zebra and the giraffe can go on the plants (because that is their habitat), and
the monkey can be in the tree.
The human can stand in front of the hut.


Amelia turns 7 - Grandparents on the big day!

We hosted both sets of 'rents on the big day and had Amelia's favorite dinner: tacos (soft pan fried tortillas, hamburger, and beans) with dessert of Lemon Meringue pie made by Nana. Suddenly Chocolate Tillamook ice cream was the backup, but Nana made a great dessert we could all enjoy.

Amelia's Birthday Party

We had a lot of fun with turning 7 today. The original plan was to take a nature hike in the park for some flower picking but because the rain was heavy at times we scratched that idea and went to plan B which was art projects, snacks, and cheesecake.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Signs of Spring by Abby - 2nd Day of March

One of the class assignments for 4th grade was to walk around the neighborhood and find a few signs of Spring. Here's Abby's report. 
These look like Silver Bells!!! 

Michle , Jackie ,and Snowflake eating grass.
Disorderly Chicken named Hog 
Jackie and Stripe looking for food
Camillias are bright pink and blooming
Don't these look like tulips?!
So do these!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Wine Tour for Llewellyn Elementary Tour

Susan and I joined the Trillium Elementary School Bike Tour last year and had a great time. We visited four different wineries in and around Carlton. There was a bit of riding on gravel (which I would have us avoid if possible) but the weather was fantastic and the company was even better. We had a superb time and it was a great fundraiser for the school.

Here's pictures from Jonathan Maus:

The route for folks that are interested in how far we're likely to go is here at this GPS Link.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Amelia designs her first bicycle facility - Put her on the Greenlane Project

In an early sign of future greatness as a transportation engineer, Amelia designed what was supposed to be a bridge for cycling. After a few attempts her project path follows my career in that it turned into a conceptual transportation project as opposed to a bridge that could handle structural loads.

In the engineering curriculum, I realized it was enough work to just worry about the striping on the street.
Amelia's project turned into just the cycletrack that she saw in the Netherlands.She said "the bike is a different level so it's safer." Amen, kid!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sun River Ski Trip

The family ventured into Central Oregon for a post TRB week of skiing, hiking, and relaxing. It was the first vacation we can remember where there was no list of things to see or clear plans for each day. We spent 3 days on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor and the rest around the town. I blogged about the latter on my professional site.
Skiing is still relatively new for the kids so there is a bit of exploration there. They enjoyed three days of the bunny hill with the exception of a trip down Home Run and one spectactular challenge (for Abby and I) of getting across the mountain on a different lift.

Amelia's Spelling Test - 1st Grade

I am proud to say she is following in her big sister's spelling prowess.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Father's Day from Amelia

I recovered this from the art bin and thought it was worth saving. Note the colors of the bikes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Skiing with the kids at Bachelor

 We had another great day of skiing on Mt. Bachelor. It was a warm one with the high reaching nearly 50 degrees. That was a bit surprising given that when we left the condominium in Sunriver it was 15 and there was frost on the windshield and it was frigid. The kids were ready to go when we got to the parking lot and it seemed like it was going to be a good day.

 Amelia wanted to ski with Dad in the morning and so I was backwards for most of the time helping Amelia get started down the hill. I was lucky to have the old hockey skating experience to be able to do that in a reasonable way. After a bit, I got her to say "Pass" when she was going to fly by her dear old Dad! Once she did pass me, it was hard to catch up. She was moving down the mountain at a screaming pace.  There wasn't that many times that we were all together, so I was glad to get all three of the girls in the same photo.
 This picture was from the top of the run called Home Run, which was the one that Ameila wanted to stay on the entire day. Abby was a little more adventurous today then on Saturday, so she did Milky Way which was adjacent to the Home Run.
The sun was obviously out and we were really lucky to have such wonderful weather as a part of the visit. It wasn't all perfect skiing though as  Abby demonstrates in this fun photo. Susan is enjoying the moment laughing at her oldest daughter in a wicked sort of way :)
 Amelia dominated the time with Dad and Abby and Susan enjoyed the time together crusing the hill alternating between the two runs. I love taking pictures of the kids in front of the signs as they get ready for the trip down. There's obviously a sense of accomplishment as they make it up and down the hill throughout the day.
The girls were so fast down the hill at the end of the day it seemed like we were on the lift more than we were skiing. The good news with that on a day like today was that the weather was perfect, almost too warm.