Hello from Laurel, Mississippi

We arrived at Carole Jordan’s home late last night. We are enjoying a much needed rest from the road today amongst great friends.  Tomorrow we will get up early and drive to Radford, Virginia.  I should be home sometime Sunday and back to my email and phone connections.

This has been a wonderful trip.  We have seen much, met great folks, and endured cramped space, long hours and differences of schedule and opinion with great grace.  Many thanks to Carol Cullar for her advice, knowledge, translation and friendship and to Bill and Susie Fry for friendship and a great sense of humor!

It is likely, that I have lost all but my last two days of photos as my computer now does nothing but flash a file folder with a question mark and I had been downloading and storing everything on it…However Bill and Susie and Carol have offered to send me copies of their photos and I am looking forward to posting and reviewing our monarch (and other) adventures over the next few months and introducing everyone to the return of the monarchs to the Knobs over Union, WV in the Spring.  Please join me!

Ba Rea

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Hello from Matehuala Mexico

I have so much to share.  We went back to the area below the El Rosario parking lot on Sunday morning and watched thousands of monarchs drifting down from their over night clusters…There were few up in Angangueo and we didn{t bother to go all the wy up to the parking lot at El Rosaio. It was an awesome sight.  We saw migrating monarchs in several areas on our way north.  They seem to be still streaming down toward the reserves. I have a few pictures, but nothing that would give you the full effect. 

 Unfortunately my computer has gone on the fritz and I am writing this from the hotel lobby on a computer with a keyboard that is set up for Spanish and not too efficient for me!  I can’t upload any of my pictures and what I write is regularly disappearing! It will take us until sometime on the, Saturday or Sunday, to get home…to a computer that works and I will post the end of the trip then.  We are all well and looking forward to getting home.

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Monarchs Clustering at Lower Elevations

monarchs

Around 2 pm we headed up to Angangueo.  We began seeing monarchs in Ocampo.  We saw them further up the road toward Angangeo than we did yesterday but still very few in Angangueo.  We continued on up to La Chincua.  There were scattered dark clouds around the mountain tops again and we saw no monarchs above Angangueo.

 

Over dinner at Los Arcos (the Rainbows) Restaurant on the square in Angangueo we decided to go visit the pyramids at San Felipe los Alzati. On our way up the road to the pyramids we spotted many monarchs.  As we passed one tree hundreds shot out into the air.  We stopped and watched them form several clusters.  A little further up the road there was another tree with many clusters.  Carol Cullar estimates that the first tree had between 800 and a thousand clustered monarchs. Her great new camera captured much clearer pictures than mine did and she will post them when she gets back to Texas.

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Hello from Michoachan!

We finally found an internet connection!

billpyrofsunBill Fry at the Pyramid of the Sun

Tuesday we visited Teotihuacan, City of the Gods.  Our visit was just a very brief brush with this huge, complex archeological site.  It was election day in the US and we were planning to be in Tuxpan at Quinta Mitzi to watch the election returns that night. We climbed the Pyramid of the Sun, surveyed our surrounds and moved on.  A true explore of Teotihuacan will have to wait for another day.

billand-susieBill and Susie Fry on the Pyramid of the Sun

quintamitziQuinta Mitzi

After many missed turns, detours and topes we arrived in Tuxpan around 5 pm.  We began seeing monarchs again as we entered Michoacan.   Quinta Mitzi and Mitzi and Ranulpho de Mancilla are  a familiar and delightful Mexico stop.

urquhartroomNumber 14 where Fred and Norah Urquhart (and Bill and Susie Fry) stayed

This is the hotel that Fred and Nora Urquhart stayed in when they came to see the monarch overwintering sites for the first time.

ranulphoand-mitziMitzi and Ranulpho

Mitzi was born and raised in Chicago and married Ranulpho and moved to Mexico in 1949.  Quinta Mitzi has featured in all of my Mexico trips.  The motel is not generally open any more as Mitzi is 87( I think) and Ranulpho is 98, but if you call ahead and arrive before dark it is still one of the best places to stop.

usatquintamitzi

Amidst the bumpy roads and topes Susie had succumbed to Montezuma’s revenge and we were happy to give her a day to  rest and recuperate watching the beautiful 7 foot tall pointsettas outside her door and drinking Mitzi’s chamomile tea.  Bill and Susie took the room with the fireplace that Fred and Nora Urquhart had  stayed in.. We did a day trip to find Carole Jordan’s casita in Zitacuaro and met her landlady Oreilia and Betty from Biocensis (sp?).  They were extremely helpful getting us set up to move in on Thursday. The casita is small but lovely, one of several around a courtyard off of the street.

carolcountingCarol counting thousands of monarchs flying by below El Rosario
–sorry the butterflies didn’t photograph well

Thursday we drove up to the parking lot below El Rosario and then up to Angangeo.  The monarchs are arriving here.  We did not see too many in Angangeo or up in the area near the parking lots at El Rosario but in the forest well below the reserve they swarmed above the trees and were all over Ocampo.  We intend to drive back through Angangeo to La Chincua today.

angangeoChurch on the square in Angangeo

donbrunoThe Don Bruno is not open for the season yet

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The Pyramids and Atlantean figures at Tula

tula

Today we traveled south east to Tula—Toltec archeological site.  Along the way we counted many monarchs. We began to encounter them just outside of San Miguel de Allende and continuously as we drove sout on 57 toward Queretaro.  Most were crossing the highway going northeast.  It was late morning and just warming up.  We guessed that it was primarily nectaring activity as there were many flowers on both sides of the highway. 

 

We continued down to the outer reaches of Mexico city to see Tula.

 billsusieatlante

Bill and Susie Fry at Tula

We have continued on and are spending the night at the hotel Villas Archeologicas at Teotihuacan.  We hope to see some of that site in the morning before heading to Tuxpan and Quinta Mitzi as we approach the overwintering area and monarch reserves.

 

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Good morning from San Miguel de Allende

Our Day of the Dead Altar honoring Jay King, Norman H. Rea II, Bob Fry, Barbara G. Rea and Elizabeth Fry

Susan Fry, Ba Rea and Bill Fry

We put up an altar last night for our loved ones who have died. This morning we are packing up and getting ready to go to Teotihuacan.  I am so far behind on posting my photos! but it is important that I be here as well.   This is a fascinating process.  I am used to editing and checking many times over before exposing my writing to the world.  I have been making mistakes and trying to get them fixed as I find them…several places I have happily reported being in the Sierra Madre Occidentals and it is really the Sierra Madre Orientals, make the shift if you find places I have missed correcting…Eventually I will get it right.  We are greatly enjoying our adventure and I hope when we get to Zitacuaro and the butterfly reserves we will stay put for a few days and I will get a routine down and get more out to all those monarch watchers following along. We are taking lots of photos and handwritten notes…and “Being” here a lot!

Ba Rea

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Day of the Dead in San Miguel de Allende

Saturday morning, we had a great breakfast at Java Time, the coffee shop attached to Hotel Casablanca in Queretaro. I don’t know if any of you have traveled with Carol Cullar but it is always a fascinating adventure.  Coincidences and chance meetings are a regular occurrence. We were joined by the owner of the coffee shop who just happened to have attended junior high school at a school in Mexico when Carol was an art teacher  there. We had a wonderful discussion about our trip and places to see before setting off for San Miguel de Allende.

carolandjeff

Carol Cullar and Jeff Lewis

We arrived at Hotel Posada de  , a place Carol remembered fondly from her graduate school days in San Miguel in mid afternoon.  It is a remarkable place with parking in a courtyard behind big wooden doors off of a narrow, busy street just below the central square of the town.  How incredibly nice.  Nice rooms cloistered away from the road with ancient charm and with roof top sitting areas within easy walking distance of an all weekend celebration of the Day of the Dead—November 1st and 2nd  in the town square.canal-street

Canal Street San Miguel Allende

billandsusie-and-student

Bill and Susie with a student who spoke great English in front of the altar he and fellow students created.

cathedralChurch in the square San Miguel de Allende on Day of the Dead

skeletonfaceCelebrant preparing for Day of the Dead 

Sunday morning Carol and I went on an explore to track down some reported monarch clusters in a little village on the east side of (lake)Presa Ignacio Allende-east of San Miguel.  We found no clusters but were assured by the local folks that we had missed them by only a few days.

nomonarchsFolks we met who told us the “butterflies that hang down from the trees” had passed through several days ago.

 

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