Steve Rogers, Churpa, and random hitchhiker, Mexico 1983?

Carl and Lorena at fiesta in El Rebalsito, circa 1982?

In addition to slaving away on the upcoming 14th (!) edition of The People’s Guide to Mexico, we have finally made the leap to the 21st century (or thereabouts) with a new website. As you can see, we are now live at; our archives can still be plumbed at our old site, Lorena has been burning the proverbial midnight oil and endlessly harassing our tireless and talented Web guru Kelly, who, in addition to giving us a new look, is now helping us iron glitches, perfect visuals, and fix blank links. If you notice anything weird, please tell us! We want the new site to be interactive, so if you have any suggestions or are interested in contributing to our blog, please email us at managingeditor at peoplesguide dot com.


Churpa weathering Tenacatita storm, 2010

I guess I should introduce myself. I have contributed articles to The PG for awhile now, but this year Carl and Lorena snared me into official duties. If you want to get down to it, this whole appointment reeks of nepotism, as I am linked to The PG via not only recent sweat and tears (helping revise the 14th edition), but also blood. I hope that with only 33 years of Mexico travel and a small gut, I can adequately represent my illustrious dad and People’s Guide co-founder, Steve Rogers. (Though obviously, his shoes are too big for me to fill, either literally or figuratively.) If you have any topics you would like to see addressed on the website, please email me at churpa at peoplesguide dot com.

Rich Peterson

If you have questions about advertizing, please contact mi esposo Rich Peterson (rich at peoplesguide dot com). Rich also writes for the website; if you encounter bizarre or fascinating Mexico news stories you would like to see discussed in our weekly news round-up, he would love to hear from you. Feel free, of course, to continue corresponding with Carl and Lorena at their old addresses.

Speaking of which, we like getting mail and hope to feature reader content in upcoming posts about safety in Mexico. We would especially like to hear from those of you who are in Mexico or who have made the trip recently. Do you feel safe? Do you have any tips for people interested in driving south? What were the best tacos you ate on your trip and how do we find them?

17 Responses to “Bienvenidos!”

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  1. Chile says:

    I remember that boat with the big dent in the captains seat. We would see you and your dad out fishing, the big guy sitting in the dent and the little sprout at the bow trying to get the boat to plane. Good memories.

  2. Tina V. Rosa says:

    The site is looking good! Felicedades!

  3. -El Codo- says:

    Nice fresh look. I am glad that the enthusiasm continues unabated. Your dad was one-of-a-kind churpa and we all miss him. May his happy spirit ply that beach for eternity!

  4. Churpa says:

    Thanks, Codo! I have fond memories of the two of you hanging out. Hopefully we will be hearing more from you on this blog?

  5. -El Codo- says:

    One of the treasured moments of my friendship with Steve is “The Great Cookfest” at Rancho Deadwood. Your dad and I spent hours in a mock contest to whip up our favorite Mexican dishes. I had brought back several kilos of shrimp from Mazatlan. That lead somehow to Steve remarking about how popular his chilaquiles were, which of course lead to my boasting of my version of Huevos Rancheros. Several hours later we emerged from the kitchen, groaning, in overstuffed agony only to have your mom arrive. We heard a shriek from the kitchen. We spent the next several hours, scraping dough from pots and returning the kitchen to normal. Man, we had road maps, and camping notes strewn amongst hand written recipes! What a priceless memory!

  6. Hey Churpa, thanks for the boost!

    John Scherber

  7. Wendy says:

    Hello my beautiful Cousin! Your dad would so proud of you! I have such a profound regret that I did not get to spend more time with him and your Mum. I love seeing the old pictures and hearing stories of him from the people that loved him most! It is a dream of mine to someday visit Mexico and I fervently wish to see the beauty of Mexico the way you and your parents experience(d) it. Thank you sooo much for sharing your memories of him and for opening up the world for me :)

  8. la gitana says:

    > The site is looking bien chilero! Felizidades from Guatemala.
    May we all carry the torches of our legendary parents! Dale’.

  9. Judy Martin says:

    Looking forward to getting an updated version when I get back. Now though, I have a question. Went by mexican bus from home in Oregon via Tijuana. It stopped at aduana in Tijuana, Mexico where I was told my passport would be stamped with a tourist visa further on. In the middle of the night we stopped at another aduana and as staff there politely advised, “INM is closed.” Arrived in Mazatlan on a Saturday and approached INM with assistants on Monday to be advised that tourist visas are not issued in Mexico.

    Thus is the reason you advise taking the bus from Nogales across the border to avoid this and to get the tourist visa and get another bus to ultimate destination or do you go to a Mexican Consul and and get a tourist visa before you get anywhere close to the border? I don´t recall reading about this dilemma in The Peoples Guide to Mexico during the hours I spent pouring over it. It sounded to me as though the aduana and INM were pretty much at the same place. Silly me. I remember the airline passes out a form which you complete and hand over as you pass through the terminal. Do some buses provide this service?

    Please advise. Will be grateful for insights.

    • churpa says:

      Good question! I’ve got Carl on the case and he should produce an answer shortly.

    • Carl Franz says:

      Hola Judy,

      Well, the situation you describe is something of a puzzle. First of all, it is good to understand that the Mexican “aduana” is their Customs service, which is separate and distinct from INM, the Immigration service (and the people who issue visas). “Customs” deals with goods and import duties, Immigration (better known as “Migracion”) deals with people.

      None of this really helps, of course, in your particular situation, which appears to have been the failure of the bus company to offer you the proper tourist card form. Why don’t you tell us the name of the bus company, so others might avoid this problem?

      I also wonder if you visited a government tourism office once you arrived in Mazatlan? I would expect them to help you clear this up but of course, this could be wishful thinking. Some official tourist offices in Mexico can be quite helpful, others can be quite worthless.


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  11. Dane Pikkola says:

    Hello Carl and Lorena…I was just listening to your interview with Rick Steves, and really wanted to connect on the air. But, alas, I couldn’t get the number. In fact, the program was probably pre-recorded anyway. Just the same, here’s my story.
    I was sitting at the bar in the Fairhaven Tavern in Bellingham, Wa. when you two came in with a stack of fresh off-the-press editions of your brand new travel guide. I happen to be on the staff of the Inside Passage at the time, and wanted to review it. I think you may even have given me a free copy. (Was I the very first reviewer?) Not sure on that point.
    In any case, you also invited me down to your place in Stanwood for dinner…with world renown chef…Steve. I brought my young son with me, if I recall. But, what I do remember for sure was the moment I walked into your place, a parrot (Arturo?) headed for me and got tangled up in my long hair! (Still have hair; no longer long) I also remember the great ambience, and Steve’s great cooking!
    I just want to say that I read, and re-read, your book so many times that it now has Scotch tape holding the spine together. It has many unexplained stains (some of which seem to be wine colored), and has been transported to every location I have lived since. One of the biggest reasons it became so bedraggled is because my young son insisted that I read him bedtime stories from the many you inserted in the midst of an otherwise informational chapter. I still think that was brilliant.
    Just so you know, I have actually been to Mexico for one month. I did have a wonderful time, but I have also lived in Central America for a few years, and Africa as well. My point being…reading (breathing) PG set me on the right path for fully engaging in wherever I was. (there must be a motto in there somewhere) Even in quite dicey situations in apartheid South Africa, I was never afraid, and I was never in danger. (Smile, be cool.)
    So, to wrap it up, I’m so delighted to know you are still out there, doing what you do so well.
    My tattered old 1972 (fully autographed copy) will be passed on to my grandson, so that he will understand the correct way to live in other cultures. People’s Guide is far more than a guide book, but I’m sure you have heard that before. It was a fine interview, and it was great to just hear you voices again.
    Ciao, Dane (Ed) Pikkola…PDX

    • churpa says:

      Hey Dane,
      Thanks so much for your excellent story! I always love hearing new anecdotes about my dad, Steve…

    • Lorena says:

      Dear Dane,

      Good to hear from you. I must admit that my memories get a bit vague when we get back to the really old, good old days. But I do remember walking into the Fairhaven Tavern with a stack of the first edition of the PG. And I definitely remember the very nice review that the Inside Passage (you ;-) gave us. It sure could have been the first review. Do you by any chance still have a copy of it?

      The aggressive parrot would most likely have been Arturo. Farout was much calmer, relatively speaking.

      As for the bedtime stories, there is a new Steve story, by his daughter Churpa, in the latest, 14th edition,. I think it’s in the driving chapter. If you send us your address to (2 mexico @ peoples guide . com {removing the spaces] ), I’d like to send you a copy of the 14th edition.

      Yes, the interview with Rick Steves was pre-recorded. So thanks so much for taking the time to write and share your memories.

      Que le vaya bien, Lorena & Carl