MEXICO: Parras de la Fuente

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Pedro Navaja, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    I think the efforts to preserve what can be preserved of pre-Colombian art and history has made some very important strides in the last decades, as opposed to the senseless obliteration before, and also the stealing of artifacts. True, much was lost, but new discoveries are being made, and a much deeper appreciation is now being held.

    As for the social and political aspects, I would love to discuss that, but not in a ride report. That's a topic for JoMomma.
    #41
  2. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    I assure you they think we are crazy :D
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  3. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Wine production is a fairly complicated process, and it has gotten more complicated since its ancient origins. In the following we will see museum aspects and actual production aspects. Keep in mind however, all of the casks that you see are for actual production.

    Grapes are of course pressed. You can stomp them with your feet using the barrel on the left, or you can use a variety of mechanical presses (museum).



    Production also requires distillation (museum). By the way, brandy is also made at Casa Madero.


    Mechanical presses (museum).





    Modern chemistry lab and industry specific chemists are employed (actual).



    The type of wood used for the casks is important. They are categorized. Here we can see that American Oak is being used (actual)




    Here we have Hungarian Oak (actual).




    Casks are stored in temperature controlled environments, miles of it, and in different sized casks (actual).












    There is a lot of wine here! Now it gets bottled (actual).



    #43
  4. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    My time with my guide don Francisco has about come to an end. I want you all notice that in the above pictures of the bottling operation that no people were in there bottling, except for one. They were all at lunch and I came to find out that don Francisco had given me much more than the standard tour. In fact the tour went into his own lunch time. During the tour he had some of the workers give me wine from the production casks as the wine was pumped to the bottling operation, this was before the lunch break. This is not normal. In fact I was in areas not open to "tourists". I had a lot of wine to drink as well! Don Francisco also let me sample quite a bit of the brandy. Below is a special cask containing brandy.




    I sampled freely. I thought I was going to die with my first sip. This stuff goes right through the roof of your mouth straight to the brain. Don Francisco found it quite funny when I started choking after the first sip. "Slow down," he tells me while laughing.

    I enjoyed my conversations about Mexican history with him, and I hope he felt the same. As we are leaving the winery complex he shows me the patron santa of wine. He tells me I was wise to take the bicycle here instead of the motorcycle since he can tell I am tipsy from the wine and the brandy. He is laughing. I insist on tipping him for the tour. He refuses to take the tip. An argument ensues just like with the guy who wanted to let me have the bike for free. I stuff P$100 into his hand, jump on the bicycle and take off.
    #44
  5. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    I like most any report in Latinamerica, but I really like one like this that goes into the history, or explains a particular aspect of life.

    What part of Costa Rica are you from?
    #45
  6. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Mostly Cartago, but with family just about everywhere.
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  7. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    That was cool. I love wineries. You sure do find a lot of little hidden gems south of the border. :thumb
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  8. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Pedaling back to town was a challenge. Like I said earlier, it was a gentle slope downhill from town, so one could actually coast to the winery. Getting back to town, especially with all that wine and brandy in me was tough, plus now going slightly uphill. Then I couldn't get the bike into a high enough gear to make the pedaling easier. I was having a hard time finding my way back to the hostal too. I had actually passed it and wound up at the aqueduct that I showed earlier in the thread. Here it is again.



    This is kinda funny, but I decided to take a nap on one of the benches. This was great for detoxing from the winery visit. So it was like I was this wine-o sleeping out in a public park. I was probably the only vago in Parras on that day. I think I napped for about 20 minutes. I only woke up because some dog had wandered over and had started barking at me. When I sat up he took off running. I found my way back to the hostal. You can see the bench I used to take a nap in the background of the photo.
    #48
  9. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    A ride report about Parras would be incomplete without showing/discussing the Santo Madero chapel. This chapel sits on an extinct volcanic plug. I had pedaled up to it in the morning before touring the rest of the town and the winery. The chapel is dedicated to The Holy Cross. The residents of Parras often make the walk as a good morning exercise.


    Here I park the bicycle at the base of the steps that lead up to the chapel.


    At the summit.


    Viewing the city from the chapel, the two main churches of Parras may be viewed.


    And those churches up close. Green trim.


    Blue trim.
    #49
  10. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    My short tour has now concluded.

    Summary

    Total mileage: ~1,300 from Houston to Parras de la Fuente.

    16 November 2009: Depart Houston arrive Laredo, TX. Overnight at La Posada.
    17 November 2009: Depart Laredo, arrive Parras. Walk the town. Overnight at El Farol.
    18 November 2009: Tour town and winery/vineyard on bicycle.
    Overnight at El Farol.
    19 November 2009. Arrive Laredo. Overnight at La Posada.
    20 November 2009: Inclement weather keeps me in Laredo. Overnight at La Posada.
    21 November 2009: Return to Houston.

    Special notes: (1) Banks in Parras are not prepared to exchange dollars for pesos. However, ATM machines abound so get your pesos like that. (2) El Farol did not have a laundry service for guests. (3) No bicycle rentals as a business are to be found in town.

    Nice video on Parras.
    <object width="425" height="344">
    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/BGIu4kQUaH8&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></object>

    I have purposely avoided pictures of my motorcycle other than on my departure day. And while Parras may not be on the radar of most US riders, it is certainly on the radar of Mexican riders.<object width="425" height="344">
    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/AYByeyG0Zxc&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></object>


    A special thanks to ChangoGS, a Latino-ized Gringo who spent some time in Parras as a kid and got me interested in doing further research. Also a thanks to tricepilot who I suspect is a Latino trapped in Gringo skin. La Posada was a great place to be holed-up during the bad weather. I was able to conduct work via the free PC in their business center, and their bars/restaurants are great places to cut up with others. I had a blast there each night and closed down the bars after a great dinner. So thanks for the recommendation Bob.

    Thank you for reading.

    Mike
    #50
  11. kennyh

    kennyh Been here awhile

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    Very nice, thanks for taking the time to post it.
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  12. Irak

    Irak Adventurer

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    No te pareces en nada a Maribel :rofl
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  13. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Quieto! :rofl
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  14. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    A couple of people mentioned stuff like "romance" or "romantic" and it being a good place to take your significant other. So true for Parras de la Fuente. Mexico is really close-by for those of us living in Texas. So if your wife, g/f, b/f, doesn't ride, you can always go by car, or even 1st Class bus.

    Here's a song for that type of mood, titled as Romanza or Spanish Romance. The author is unknown but the song is famous and is played everywhere in the Spanish-speaking world. There are lots of different versions of the song out there, and there are many professionals who play it better than amateurs like me. Enjoy it with some wine

    Mike
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  15. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Love the traditional songs throughout Mexico/CA, and the many variations that you hear repeated, over and over. You play well, and must make lots of friends via music south of the border. Gracias para tu reporte.
    #55
  16. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Can't carry a guitar on the bike, but I generally will have a headstock tuner and capo with me. There's always a guitar laying around somewhere. One thing I miss from my younger days living down there are the parties. Somebody always had a guitar and people would sing and dance at these parties. Poetry being recited in cafes, restaurants and bars is another thing I miss. In fact the first place I heard the poets was not in Costa Rica, but in Guatemala. I somehow think it has been dying out.
    #56
  17. ksmdigital

    ksmdigital Adventurer

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    Great Report.

    Some reports need to depend heavily on pictures and some just need the addition of a few, I like the flavor of you report!

    Kevin
    #57
  18. cymruduc

    cymruduc Lost In Translation

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    Bravo Pedro,

    I enjoyed the historical and wine aspects of your RR.

    Jim in Tejas
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  19. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    :clap Very nice. I need to point my friends who say I will be killed or kidnapped in Mexico to this report.

    John
    #59
  20. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    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.
    #60