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Old 11-22-2009, 12:22 PM   #1
Pedro Navaja OP
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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."
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Old 11-22-2009, 01:06 PM   #2
Pedro Navaja OP
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Friday, November 20, 2009 Laredo, Texas

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

Northern leg.



Southern leg.


Total miles from Houston to Parras, ~1,300 miles.
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Old 11-22-2009, 01:09 PM   #3
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We can't have too many Mexico reports.... no debate, keep it comin'

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Old 11-22-2009, 01:54 PM   #4
Pedro Navaja OP
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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 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.

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!)


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


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!)


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.

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Old 11-22-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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A Toast...

... to consistently classy reporting

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Old 11-22-2009, 03:18 PM   #6
Pedro Navaja OP
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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.


Hostal el Farol

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.


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




My room.



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

The hostal is on YouTube.

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Old 11-26-2009, 06:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sourjon
Very nice. I need to point my friends who say I will be killed or kidnapped in Mexico to this report.

John
Thanks. Yes there are a lot of misconceptions with regards to solo travel, or even group travel, in Mexico. Like traveling anywhere, common sense should govern. From the several ride reports you can see that there is quite a bit of myth-busting that ADVrider provides to the potential explorer of Mexico. I think what happens in general, however, is that bad incidents get passed around more than the pleasant incidents, hence the reputation grows that the travel into Mexico is unsafe. Language barriers, unfortunately, usually bring instant mistrust.

In my case, I perceive that there is more aggression directed against the rider here in the US, than what there is south of the border, both on and off the road.
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Old 11-27-2009, 08:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro Navaja

In my case, I perceive that there is more aggression directed against the rider here in the US, than what there is south of the border, both on and off the road.

I think this is very, very true.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:44 AM   #9
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flatmo et al..

Keep politics out of this thread.. and take it to the political forum in the basement.. pruned and punted...

Let the OP tell his story as he sees it.. and read the posted rules for what goes and what doesn't in Ride Reports..

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