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Rutas en el Desierto, Monclova, Mexico Bike Rally

Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
$%^%*$)! Our latest outing to Mexico was off to a horrible start and I hadn’t even left the house. I’d been trying to get Rocinante cranked for half an hour at dark thirty in the morning, something I’m sure the neighborhood didn’t appreciate, and she wasn’t cooperating. Mike the Mechanic told me when I picked her up Wednesday with the new chain and sprockets that my nearly-new battery wasn’t taking a full charge. I figured it had enough kick to get me through the weekend, but apparently I was wrong. Forty-five minutes total, after two sessions with the battery charger on high output, she finally fired. Once she was running, we were going to be OK.

At our breakfast rendezvous, a phone call to one of our party revealed he had overslept and was running late. Double $%^%*$)! I texted Bato to tell him we were going to be late to our scheduled 11:00 hook-up in Eagle Pass. He was happy to get the news. It was in the sub-30’s leaving Kerrville for him, almost 20 degrees colder than Corpus, and that let him take more time on the ride down from Kerrville. He would arrive at least partially thawed.

Dale, Rick and I were making our last Mexico foray of the year to the Rutas en el Desierto rally in Monclova, Mexico. We went to the rally two years earlier and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. The Tamaulipas governor’s border rally, Moto Fronterizo, November last year, wasn’t being held this year due to the border wars between the narcos and the police, so we decided to wrap up the year in Monclova again.

Some of our Hebbronville Gypsy buddies were also going to the Monclova rally, but they decided to ride there on Thursday and return on Monday, making their trip several days longer than ours. Must be nice to have the time. Bato, a fellow Two-Wheeled Texan, was originally from Monclova and wanted to ride down with us. We never turn down having a local along.

With the crummy start, I figured the trip was bound to be a great one. Our route was FM 624 from Corpus through Orange Grove to Cotulla, up to Big Wells, left to Carrizo Springs, and then Eagle Pass, where we met Bato. The second half of FM 624 is a lot busier from the intersection with Hwy 16 to Cotulla than it used to be. Development of the Eagle Ford shale means lots of oilfield traffic on the road these days and the road surface is suffering because of it. Parts of the road almost look like Corpus Christi streets. There is not a hotel room available within 50 miles of Cotulla or Carrizo Springs these days. We gassed up in Cotulla, texted Bato with our time and kept moving. Bato arrived at the intersection of Hwy 57 and 277 on the outskirts of Eagle Pass at the same time we did, 11:30, perfect timing. Distance from the house, about 240 miles.
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We had fast food for lunch, (note the full parking lot in the cheap hotel next door) then crossed over to Mexico on the Camino Real bridge, fuelling up at a Pemex a mile or two across the bridge and changing money at the same place. Very convenient.

South of Piedras Negras, the scenery is flat. The area is strip mined for coal and there are coal-fired power plants and other industry along the highway, including a shiny new Corona brewery. At the Immigration/Aduana offices 40 miles south of town, Bato and Rick got their tourist and bike papers. Not nearly as much drama as our trip two years ago. Once past the checkpoint, we took the libre instead of the cuota. It turned out to be a good choice, the road was freshly paved and traffic wasn’t bad, just enough to make passing on the two-lane road interesting.

When we rejoined the cuota at Nueva Rosita, Bato took the lead. We were immediately pulled over by two pickup loads of local police. Bato got off his bike and started talking with them. When the group began exchanging abrazos (hugs, for you non-Spanish speaking types) and phone numbers, I figured we were fine (wasn’t really worried anyway). Bato made a phone call, the police checked our drivers’ licences and said we were good to go. We stopped for a bit in Sabinas and Bato said the chief of police in Nueva Rosita was a friend of his and that was who he called. Like I said, it’s usually a good thing to travel with locals.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Part II - Checking in, hotel and rally

Pulling in to Monclova, we checked in at the Hotel Olimpia, downtown just across from the Parroquia de Monclova, the church on the main square.
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The hotel was not very imposing from the street, but the courtyard and rooms were nice. Bato knew the owners, so we got a good room rate, and it came with secure parking.
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The rally was held next to a small park half a mile north of our hotel. Several blocks of the street were barricaded off. We paid our 250 peso registration, got these cool little wristbands clamped on to us and our bikes and started mingling. It seemed the turnout was going to be quite a bit less than were there two years ago. Probably due to the slow economy and increased travel risks.

At the rally, about the first people we saw were the Hebbronville Gypsy contingent, Buitre, Shooter and Duh. Shooter (in the middle, facing the camera) accompanied us on our ride to Saltillo in July.
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Shooter said he was famous for putting his bike in the ditch that ride, due to my ride report. Complete strangers approached him afterward and asked if he was OK. He wasn't sure he appreciated the notoriety.

One fellow came up, greeted me warmly, then showed me a picture on his cellphone of me and his grandson at the Saltillo rally. Cool. We started handing out the bibles we brought and gave a number to policemen who were at the rally.

There was the usual variety of bikes, other vehicles and people showing up, for me the major attractions at Mexican rallies.
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Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Part III - Saturday in the Park

In the morning, Dale and I rolled out and went in search of breakfast, chocolate milk (for Dale) and coffee (for me). The streets were blocked off downtown and policemen were out early directing traffic. Turned out November 20th is another Mexican Independence Day, Día de la Revolución, celebrating the day when Francisco Madero began the fight to oust the dictator, Porfirio Diaz, a civil war that lasted 10 years. Virtually every town in Mexico has a street named Francisco I. Madero. Now I know why.

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We found a nearby restaurant open early. The staff was busy preparing fruit for the fruit cups and licuados they would sell to the holiday crowds.

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Our waitress was very curious about what we were doing in town and we told her about the scheduled ride to Lamadrid and the downtown parade to happen later that day.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Part IV - Early to ride

I forgot to mention, our mileage pulling into Monclova was just under 400 miles for the trip from Corpus Christi. There's a more direct route home through the mountains to Candela, then on to Nuevo Laredo, but I wasn't familiar with the route and very sure it would be safe.

Another group of bikers stayed at the hotel, the International New Bikers from Nuevo Laredo. I asked their president, El Rayo, about their route to Monclova and he said they had come through Candela. When I asked about the road, he said it was in poor shape to Candela, but OK from there and we wouldn't have any trouble on the way home. El Rayo said we were welcome to ride with his group on their way home to Nuevo Laredo.

When we left the rally Friday evening, we asked Bato about a place to eat. He took us to a pretty nice restaurant on the main drag. We all decided to order agujas (beef ribs) and the waiter finally told us they only had two orders left. Funny. Except for our table, the place was empty. Once the order was sorted out and the food appeared, it was pretty good. Bato said the restaurant and bar was owned by owners of one of the steel mills in town. They didn't care if the place made a profit or not. I guess it made a good place to entertain business clients.

At the rally Saturday after breakfast, we found out we were early. The 10:00 ride to Lamadrid wouldn't leave until 11:00 or so. A reporter from the local paper came by and interviewed me, asking if I saw the YouTube video about the biker getting hassled for a bribe from the Mexican police. I said, "No, hadn't seen it." "What was my opinion of the Mexican police?" "Hadn't had any problems ourselves." We talked for a bit about CMA and why we were in Mexico and about Veracruz, her home town. None of the interview, pictures or discussion made the paper. I guess we weren't too exciting. The reporter and photographer did pose for a picture with Dale on his bike.

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Another gringo showed up who turned out to be Mexico Bob from El Paso. Bob said he maintained the Amoden page that we often use as a resource on our trips to Mexico. This was Bob's first trip to Mexico in about three years.

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There were a few other bikers around from the states as well, several from Dallas, one guy taking a break from his turnaround jobs in the midwest, who was originally from the area. More gringos than we had seen at a rally in quite a while. Maybe people are getting tired of staying away from Mexico and are coming in spite of the news.

A self-contained sound system trailer was pounding out some sort of techno dance music. I think if that had gone on all night, the neighbors were probably pretty tired of it. But what's a rally without music?

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This is one of the rally organizers. Unfortunately, I forgot his name.

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Bato's cousin, Oscar (on the left) with a friend. Oscar rides a very nice GS1150.

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Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Part V - The ride to Lamadrid

We finally queued up for our ride to Lamadrid, maybe 200 or 300 bikes, and headed off across town, complete with police escort, with police and riders in safety vests blocking off intersections as we went through them. That always makes these group rides fun.

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The guys with the smallest bikes always seem to have the loudest pipes. And they always seem to wind up next to me. Oh well, just part of the fun. We went west from Monclova through the flat, high desert, through a narrow pass in the mountains, then turned a bit north to Lamadrid. There was some farmland along the way, balnearios (outdoor swimming pools, usually naturally fed) and a few streams. The road was torn up at some of the water crossings due to flooding from the hurricane earlier in the year, but getting past wasn't a problem.

Lamadrid was about 35 miles from Monclova, several miles off the highway to Cuatrocienagas. It's a small town with quite a few trees, nicely shaded. When we rolled into town, the ride leaders rode back and forth across town, finally ending up on the main square. It seemed half the town was hanging out in the square, waiting for us. Some of the kids were dressed up for the holiday festivities.

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Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Part VI - Saturday in the Park

This ride is an annual event in conjunction with the bike rally and whole town of Lamadrid looks forward to it. After a bit, I could see why. An announcer told everyone over the sound system that if any of the kids wanted a ride, they could get in line and someone would give them a ride around the park.

The kids didn't waste any time. It was fun to see the bikers carrying the kids around the park on their motorcycles. After a while, the age restrictions were off and anybody that wanted a ride got in line.

This is Bato and his cousin, Oscar (middle left and middle right, respectively) with a couple of their friends. Mexico bike rally pictures, taken by the Mexican riders seem to consist of about 80% shots like these. Everybody is happy to line up for a photo, usually holding a can of beer (or, in this case, diet Coke). I guess that's the Mexican culture, it's all about your friends. They live down there, so they see the scenery and the random people every day.

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Dale is always happy to pose for a picture.

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The Superbikers club of Monclova was responsible for leading the ride and for traffic control. They kept speeds down to about 45 or so for the ride, except for the guys who were always shooting past us on their way to block off the next intersection. Dale said he was waiting for me to grab some throttle when they came past to chase them, but he was disappointed. I never did.

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Bato even got in the act of giving rides.

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During the day, Porfirio Diaz, hanging on the wall at the city hall, got tired, fell down and was relegated to an inside corner, taking a break from the festivities.

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Just a couple more Lamadrid pictures.

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Then it was time for the ride back to town, followed by the bike parade through Monclova itself, our coming and going to Lamadrid not having fouled up traffic enough already.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Part VII - Monclova Bike Parade

Back in Monclova, our breakfast waitress had asked if she could ride with us in the bike parade through town; she was scheduled to get off work about the time the parade was to start. Being the obliging people we are, we said, "Sure." When we went by the restaurant, she asked if two more coworkers could come along, too. "Uh, OK." When the girls were off, one of them needed to go home and change clothes. By the time we arrived at the rally site, all the bikes had left. We finally caught up with them on the main drag, did the final loop of the bike parade heading back downtown, and let them off at central park, where they'd met us. Pretty short jaunt, but they seemed happy. Wanting to protect our reputations, we were reluctant to offer them anything more. Bike parades are a lot of fun, especially the first one.

At the park, everybody lined up for group photos on the steps of the municipal building. It doesn't matter where you are, it's who you're with.

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These are the breakfast waitresses. (Hope this doesn't get me in too much trouble.)

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Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Part VIII - On our way home

Back at the rally site, someone parked their shiny red Ferrari and people were posing alongside it and in it.

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And I had an Islo spotting! One of the vendors had an Islo-powered trike. For those of you new to my posts, Islo are motorcycles that were built in Mexico (Saltillo to be exact) from parts sourced in Italy. And I want one. Most are 250cc 2-strokes. This one had some vice grips clamped on to the transmission to serve as a shift lever. Note the plastic jug for a gas tank. The vendor was selling boiled corn and churros. Churros are fried corn thingies.

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I'm not sure what to say about this picture. The guy driving the trike is Doc. Everyone was yelling at him to take his costume off.

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Then it was time to track down some supper and head back to the hotel for the night. The live music was cranking up, party time was starting and I turn into a pumpkin at 10:00 PM.

In the morning we had breakfast and packed up. We decided to head out before the crew from Nuevo Laredo was ready to roll, but wanted to try the route through Candela anyway.

The 70 miles or so to Candela was stretches of bad road interspersed with repaved sections so the surface varied a bit. We were able to miss most of the potholes, but did clunk through a few of them. There were checkpoints in some of the small towns along the road, but being Sunday morning, no one was out to man them.

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We went through Candela, Lampazos and Anahuac, then turned north towards the International Bridge at Columbia, about 20 miles west of Laredo. Traffic at the border crossing was light. We gassed up, exchanged pesos back into dollars and ate lunch in Laredo before heading for Corpus through Freer and Alice. That route was about 60 miles shorter than crossing at Eagle Pass, but the time worked out about the same. It could be a bit quicker given the right conditions.

Once more, we had a great trip, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves (except for trying to start my bike), didn't get shot at or robbed, gave away about 80 bibles, and want to go back again.

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¡Viva Mexico!
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
33
Location
Hidalgo, Texas
Great report! And sounds like you had fun!
BTW, the photo with "Porfirio Diaz" on a corner... It is Emiliano Zapata, famous revolutionary from the south of Mexico.
About the Islo... There are a lot of them still going around in small cities and pueblos, most of them modified so they can keep working.
Saludos desde Reynosa.
macnifico
...
..
.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
8,805
Location
Cibolo, Texas
Re: Part V - The ride to Lamadrid

During the day, Porfirio Diaz, hanging on the wall at the city hall, got tired, fell down and was relegated to an inside corner, taking a break from the festivities.
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BTW, the photo with "Porfirio Diaz" on a corner... It is Emiliano Zapata, famous revolutionary from the south of Mexico.
Correct, it most certainly is not and most certainly would not be Diaz!

In addition to Zapata, it is interesting to note who else is portrayed on the building:

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All of the men depicted in the photo above were significant leaders in the Mexican Revolution and two became President of Mexico

Portraits in the photo from left to right:

José Doroteo Arango Arámbula
a.k.a. Francisco Villa
a.k.a. Pancho Villa.
Assassinated.

Emiliano Zapata. Assassinated.

Francisco Madero, President of Mexico 1911 to 1913, Executed.

Venustiano Carranza, President of Mexico 1914 to 1920. Assassinated.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Re: Part V - The ride to Lamadrid

In addition to Zapata, it is interesting to note who else is portrayed on the building:

1110373187_vGNeA-O.jpg


All of the men depicted in the photo above were significant leaders in the Mexican Revolution and two became President of Mexico

Portraits in the photo from left to right:

José Doroteo Arango Arámbula
a.k.a. Francisco Villa
a.k.a. Pancho Villa.
Assassinated.

Emiliano Zapata. Assassinated.

Francisco Madero, President of Mexico 1911 to 1913, Executed.

Venustiano Carranza, President of Mexico 1914 to 1920. Assassinated.
No wonder I flunked Mexican history! And I don't think I ever want the job of president of Mexico, either.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
177
Location
Kerrville
Re: Part V - The ride to Lamadrid

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Correct, it most certainly is not and most certainly would not be Diaz!

In addition to Zapata, it is interesting to note who else is portrayed on the building:

1110373187_vGNeA-O.jpg


All of the men depicted in the photo above were significant leaders in the Mexican Revolution and two became President of Mexico

Portraits in the photo from left to right:

José Doroteo Arango Arámbula
a.k.a. Francisco Villa
a.k.a. Pancho Villa.
Assassinated.

Emiliano Zapata. Assassinated.

Francisco Madero, President of Mexico 1911 to 1913, Executed.

Venustiano Carranza, President of Mexico 1914 to 1920. Assassinated.
And if I fell in campeing, and my body are going to bury...
I beg you [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3w_x2r8fH0"]Adelita[/ame]
...http://www.twtex.com/forums/%3Cobject%20width=ththat you come and cry me, with your eyes Adelita
http://www.twtex.com/forums/%3Cobject%20width=

http://www.twtex.com/forums/%3Cobject%20width=
http://www.twtex.com/forums/%3Cobject%20width=Carranza And Madero both natives of the state of Coahuila were cried by their ADELITAS equivalent to the [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_dGzwUtjW0"]Escaramuza[/ame]
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
177
Location
Kerrville
My 2¢






On the way back through Eagle Pass it start raining from Sabinas to Uvalde
took the cuota since the pav is rough and less slippery thought ., it was not bad it actually was drizzling but in a couple of times my rear tire wanted to keep going straight in a middle of a curve it was exciting to ride on a 29 degree weather when i left kerrville (glad my fingers didn't fell off) and on wet road on the way back


But the way I stayed in Monclova for two more days came back Tuesday 300mi 6hrs with all the stops left at 9;00am and got here at 3:00pm +or-

The checkpoint on the way back check the fog. overall I had a great time and look fwd to ride again with my new buddys ...
THANK YOU, GUYS
The chief of Police in N.Rosita is Antonio Z(zeta) Cruz
 
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