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-   -   MEXICO: Parras de la Fuente (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=527347)

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 12:22 PM

MEXICO: Parras de la Fuente
 
It's about the time of The Mexican Revolution of 1910. One of the most interesting periods in the collective of Latin American history.

Four men, three Gringos and one Mexican, are escaping across the Rio Grande River into Mexico after just having robbed a bank in the town of San Rafael, Texas. They are on horseback and have just paused as they look across the river that they will shortly ford. The Mexican, Angel, starts the conversation as he looks across the river into Mexico:


Quote:

Angel: Mexico Lindo.
Lyle: I don't see nothin' so 'lindo' about it.
Tector: Just looks like more Texas far as I'm concerned.
Angel: Aw, you have no eyes!
The scene above is from a movie released in July of 1969, but the commentary is applicable to many of today's travelers. Often the collective 'we' travel only the beaten path of tourists. When we do this, "we have no eyes."

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 01:06 PM

Friday, November 20, 2009 Laredo, Texas
 
<o:p> </o:p>I crossed the border yesterday (19 Nov) late afternoon back into the US. This is a planned stop, but I am now holed-up for a day due to inclement weather from Laredo all the way back to Houston. I usually ride in the rain, unless I am looking at a chain of thunderstorms along the route, which seems to be the case from Laredo to Houston today. There are bold pilots and there are old pilots, but there are no bold & old pilots. I am lodged at the wonderful La Posada in Laredo. A pretty good place to hole-up.
<o:p> </o:p>
I've been debating as whether or not to write this ride report being that we have so many ride reports on Mexico already. The database has become rich with data on Mexico for almost any type of adventure, and with respect to riding and the logistics of riding I really would not have anything new to offer in this regard. However, in talking to tricepilot on the phone last night, he raises the point that the town of Parras de la Fuente (simply called Parras) has only slight detail written on it.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
I will focus more on discussing Parras itself and less on discussion of the ride. BTW, also a thanks to my buddy ChangoGS for providing me with some research points on Parras.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
I departed Houston on Monday, 16 Nov
shortly after first light. Typically I like to take a picture of the bike just before the ride. Below is shown my Lady in Red. The choke is out and she is warming up. You can see the morning twilight in the background. Five minutes to go and then I mount up and head towards Mexico Lindo. <o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>
It takes about a day to ride from Houston to Laredo, which was my first stop. You can see from my SPOT tracks (ride now completed) that I generally stay off of the interstates. So then I am overnight in Laredo.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Border crossing, again at dawn the next morning was of course hassle-free as usual. Plenty of info here on ADVrider that discusses border crossings. I took Cuota (toll) roads for the most part, however, you can see on my SPOT tracks where I took Libre roads over ground that I had not previously covered. My general policy is to take the Libre when it is new ground for me, and then take the Cuota only if it is territory I have already seen via the Libre and want to make time to the destination. One gets to see a lot more via the Libre roads, so I recommend Libre roads for first-timers on new terrain.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Northern leg.



<o:p> </o:p>Southern leg.


Total miles from Houston to Parras, ~1,300 miles.
<o:p> </o:p>

GB 11-22-2009 01:09 PM

We can't have too many Mexico reports.... no debate, keep it comin'

:lurk

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 01:54 PM

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
 
The ride along MEX40 is pure desert. Out of Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey the route is along MEX85D, then skirt around to the north of Monterrey and jump onto MEX40 towards the city of Saltillo. The road takes you through the northern part of Saltillo and then out of Saltillo onto MEX40 again, towards the city of <link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CGuardia%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cms ohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Verdana; panose-1:2 11 6 4 3 5 4 4 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:536871559 0 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0pt 5.4pt 0pt 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0pt; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->Torreón. About 90 miles west of Saltillo you will see the turn to the left for Parras de la Fuente. Signage is good the whole way, however, I always suggest that one get a Guia Roji map book (or similar) and study the routes in advance. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
So, here I am out in the middle of the desert on MEX40 where I come upon the left turn (south) for Parras. I turn left on this desert road and proceed south for maybe 18 kilometers. Just more desert scrub. Then all of a sudden I see trees, tall trees that are changing to autumn colors. Hmmm. Am I in the Northeast US now all of a sudden? Wait a minute, I was just out in the middle of the desert. Huh? (Aw, you have no eyes!)<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>
What's that up ahead? Are those vineyards? Am I in Sonoma, California now all of a sudden? Huh? (Aw, you have no eyes!)<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>
I better stop this motorcycle and make sure I am not hallucinating. After all I am out in the desert and this could all be a mirage. I stop the bike. Is that water I hear running? Where is that water coming from? It sounds like it is only a few feet away. It is only few feet away! It's right next to me! Look at it run! Some sort of irrigation channel and the water is clear. I wonder where this water is coming from. Huh? (Aw, you have no eyes!)<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>
Welcome to Parras de la Fuente (Vines of the Fountain). A natural oasis out in the middle of the Coahuila Desert. A tranquil, beautiful, and magical town, known to Mexicans, unknown to most Gringos. The first place in the New World were wine was cultivated. Parras de la Fuente - Un Pueblo Mágico, bello, glorioso y antiguo. Birthplace of benemérito de la patria Francisco Madero.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

tricepilot 11-22-2009 02:03 PM

A Toast...
 
... to consistently classy reporting :thumb

http://photos.smugmug.com/photos/720827022_4M3Z6-M.jpg

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 03:18 PM

Arrival to Parras de la Fuente
 
Entrance to Parras. Here is the monument at the entrance of the town.

As I ride through town I am captivated by the cleanliness of the streets. I see people sweeping in front of their businesses and homes. This reminds of Grecia, Costa Rica which claims to be the cleanest little city in Latin America. I am not so sure about Grecia now after seeing Parras. I see pedestrians picking up the rare piece of litter as they walk about town doing their normal business. These people are very proud of their town.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>
Hostal el Farol<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
I finally find the hostal (bed & breakfast) after stopping a few times to ask for directions. The town is alternating 1-way streets, well sometimes they alternate, some times they don’t, so I have to do a few double-backs before arriving at the hostal. At the last place I ask for directions the man looks at me at says, “we are both standing in front of the hostal right now, look at the sign over your shoulder.” I have to circle the block to get back to the parking entrance for my motorcycle. The parking was secure and I parked the bike right outside my window at the back of the property.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>
Classic Latino architecture with an interior courtyard. I will be here for two nights. Just take a look:<o:p></o:p>



<o:p> </o:p>
My room.<o:p></o:p>



The restaurant and bar were both very good, and a very attentive staff works the place. I enjoyed several cigars, wine & spirits in this courtyard. The hotel used to be the home of a wealthy family. The structure dates from the 19th century. A respectful thanks to my amiga Yolanda in
Cuatro Cienegas for the hostal recommendation. She works at Santa Cecilia hotel in Cuatro Cienegas, another great place to lodge. By the way, rumor has it that the El Farol is haunted :eek1

The hostal is on YouTube.<object width="425" height="344">
<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0Era4VjecUs&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></object>
<o:p></o:p>

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 03:36 PM

Starting to walk about town...
 
It's still Tuesday, 17 November. After checking in at the hostal and doing my standard bike maintenance, I start to tour the town by foot. I find the city hall, known typically as the presidencia municipal. The building looks very familiar to me :wink:



If you have read my other ride reports (
Three Sisters and an Escape to Mexico) , you will notice that the government palace in Saltillo, is the big brother of the municipal palace in Parras.



More later...

crashmaster 11-22-2009 04:24 PM

Very cool stuff Mike, keep it coming. :thumb

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 04:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crashmaster
Very cool stuff Mike, keep it coming. :thumb

Crashy mi amigo! I see them sores on your legs. Yikes! Bro' be careful with them ladies you hang out with on that naked beach :D But feel free to PM your contacts :wink:

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 06:42 PM

The Wild Bunch and San Rafael, Texas
 
In post #1 was mentioned a movie released in 1969 and the town of San Rafael, Texas. The town is mere movie fiction. However, the location of that town actually exists and it is the town of Parras de la Fuente. The opening scene of director Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch was filmed in Parras de la Fuente around the main plaza and in other parts of Mexico.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
In the history of the US Old West there are two gangs that went by the name of “The Wild Bunch.” One of these was Butch Cassidy’s gang which also went by the name “The Hole in the Wall Gang.” The other was also known as “The Doolin-Dalton Gang,” which was much more violent. Both gangs were long dead in reference to the period in time of the motion picture and there is no similarity to the events of the movie or these historical gangs. Interesting, however, is that both historical gangs had an association with the Dalton Brothers.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The building in the photo directly below is shown in the movie with a sign that says “San Rafael”. Unfortunately, this old building is awaiting renovation.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>
The buildings were dressed up with props for the movie and dirt was laid on the streets to make it look like a dusty cowboy town. I spoke with a few residents living in these homes and only a few knew about the movie being made here. Though the movie was allowed to be filmed in Mexico, when it was released, it was banned in Mexico. The movie did not portray Mexico in a very positive light. The Wild Bunch in Spanish is referred to as Pandilleros Salvajes.<o:p></o:p> I am not sure if it is still banned today, but I doubt it.
<o:p> </o:p>
If you rent/buy the DVD, here are relevant shots that you can pick out from the opening scene.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

To the left this is actually a school. Several of the lady teachers came out to talk to me. Only one knew about the movie. They were interested in why I was in Parras and why I knew about some of its history.

<o:p> </o:p>
The central park.

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

ChangoGS 11-22-2009 07:36 PM

:clap Keep it coming ... Let me know if Pike and the boys left any brass
at Mapaches hideout. Great lodging report .looks compfy.


Also , this song was used in the movie ... Very unusual meaning to song but sounded good
in the movie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7etdPmDZsBg

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChangoGS
:clap Keep it coming ... Let me know if Pike and the boys left any brass
at Mapaches hideout. Great lodging report .looks compfy.

We are not going to reveal Mapache's hideout in this thread. That will be a secret we maintain for ourselves. I foresee a trip there by horse, mule, or donkey with ChangoGS, tricepilot, and Pedro Navaja :evil

Pedro Navaja 11-22-2009 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChangoGS
...Also , this song was used in the movie ... Very unusual meaning to song but sounded good
in the movie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7etdPmDZsBg

I'll see if I can find tabs or sheet music for that. BTW, my rasgueados are getting pretty good. I am working on nice solea now, and also a nice rumba. I busted a nail on my strumming hand just after I got home, so I clipped all of them. Chicks always ask me why I have long nails on my right hand but short nails on my left hand. I think they are looking for a wedding ring. :D

urbanXJ 11-23-2009 07:48 AM

:lurk

Pedro Navaja 11-23-2009 08:33 AM

The Oasis
 
Before proceeding on, I would like to emphasize that a definite line can be drawn between the oasis of Parras de la Fuente and the desert. This photo taken from a vantage point within the city, clearly shows where the oasis stops and the desert begins whereby trees that are now exhibiting autumn colors yield to the desert scrub. It is an abrupt change in the vegetation, not a gradual one.


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