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Old 03-09-2012, 09:59 PM   #93
Cannonshot OP
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: SE Wisconsin
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Chisa Pinto Loop

Chisa-Pinto Loop. If you start in Presidio it is a 250 mile run. If you ride out of Sauceda in BBRSP it is about 320.

Heading back out of the park toward Presidio.

Looking toward Presidio and Ojinaga, Mexico.

As I mentioned, at one time Presidio was a tiny trading center. Shafter, the mining town to the north was much more substantial. Back in the day, we had customs inspectors mounted on horses that would ride the border and collect taxes on the huge herds of cattle being driven into the country (import). Often these collections were cash (silver) and involved big bucks.

One agent, Townsend, was based in Presidio. When he collected customs money he had to get it to the government mailbag that was carried on the stagecoach in Shafter. Bandits knew when the stage came to Shafter and they knew that the customs agent had collected about $7K in taxes recently (a huge sum) so they planned to ambush him and steal the money.

These mounted customs agents had some courage. Townsend decided to load his horse as he normally does for a routine patrol and then leisurely strolled out of town in a different direction as if he was heading out on a routine patrol for which he would have not been carrying the money. Once he got clear, he hauled ass for Shafter and delivered the money thus saving himself a hi-jack and perhaps even his life.

The Presidio area has some of the oldest modern history around the region.

Mexican cattle sometimes wander across the river. More on that problem later on.

Heading from Presidio toward Candelaria on pavement. There are dirt paths next to the road that the border patrol drags to erase tracks so they can check for fresh footprints later on. Lots of border patrol around here.

Ruidosa. Not much here.

The very scenic and entertaining Pinto Canyon run goes from here toward Marfa.

We'll ride that from Marfa back to here later in the loop.

It looks like this at the turn off.

Not much in Ruidosa.

I hope it is front wheel drive. Half off, quite a bargain.

I would guess that the Ruidosa Cantina started to go under about the time the border tightened up a few years back. The casual rural local cross border traffic probably slowed down.

Looks like someone is slowly working on an adobe building.

Maybe a church?

Looks like adobe bricks produced on site.

Left out in the rain?

Candelaria. Not much here anymore either.

There have been some farms in the river bottoms over the years. A guy named Russell used local labor to raise grain on the bottoms and then sold it to Army forts in the area.

Back when we had border trouble after WWI, the Army used to fly air patrols along the border.

Navigation wasn't so good. Neither were airplanes. A couple of pilots burned up some bearings (after losing ther navigation bearings) and set their plane down in Mexico in this area thinking they were on the American side of the Rio Grande. Wrong river. They got captured in Mexico by a gang member named Renteria and his boys.


Renteria was a horse thief and robber that sat on a guy during the Brite Ranch raid while one of his fellow bandits cut the guy's throat with a pen knife.

San Antonio de Bravo (Mexico) across the river.

Anyway, the bandits send a message to the store keeper in Candelaria that they wanted $15,000 for the two US pilots by a certain time or they would be killed. Long story short is that the local ranchers loved the air patrol because of the protection they got so they raised the money right away. They had to do a swap for the pilots one at a time for half the money at a time using an intermediary. After the first swap, the intermediary overheard the bandits say they planned to kill them anyway so he drew down on the bandits and he and the pilot grabbed horses and rode back to the US by a different route to avoid the ambush. This saved the ranchers half their money. I guess they gave $1K to the intermediary for his work.

Once everyone was safe and sound the Army went into Mexico after Renteria and his men. Planes were used to search ahead of the troops and drop messages to guide the pursuers. A plane got shot at by Ruidosa so it turned and attacked with machine guns picking off Renteria, his white horse, and probably some of his pals. Some other bandits that surrendered to the Army, even though they weren't part of Renteria's outfit, were turned over to civilian scouts who took them into a canyon and shot them.

By the way, one pilot not related to this incident said that when he was patrolling for bandits he had a hard time distinguishing between good-guys and bad-guys when he saw groups of riders on the ground. He said one method to find out was to shoot a few rounds from his machine gun in their direction. If they rode off into the brush they were cowboys, if they shot back they were bandits.

Cannonshot screwed with this post 03-10-2012 at 09:30 PM
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