Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Banking on Stupidity

In Newton, Obama told the crowd at TPI Composites that companies like TPI will take a hit if Congress does not act on this item of his “To-Do” list.
“Nobody wants a handout. Nobody wants to get something for nothing,” Obama said. “But if we've got a chance to create energy and create value and put people back to work, why wouldn't we do that?
“So I'm here today because, as much progress as we've made, that progress is in jeopardy,” said Obama. “If Congress doesn’t act, those tax credits that I mentioned--the ones that helped build up the wind industry, the ones that helped to bring all these jobs to Newton, those tax credits will expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn't do anything. If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit.”

     The president has been in full campaign mode for 7 solid years.   He is deranged.  He needs to go to a "rest home".   More folks are seeing through the facade, and are realising that he fully intends to change America into a third world septic tanque.  More folks are daily grasping that the president's "hope" is his own.   He hopes that all black people who are conservative can be thrown to the crocodiles and that the part of the population that would never vote for him can be led into the long grey buildings, 133 miles southeast of Point Barrow.

     Even a Democrat with a graduate degree is not so stupid as to think (1)  TPI could ever stand on its own legs, no matter how much counter-productive tax money were to be dumped on it. (2) that ethanol, solar, wind, tidal, geyser, crematoriums, squirrel cage, or Gloria All Red all put together would provide 1 percent of the permanent employment that the Keystone project would accomplish.   Not to mention the stabilisation of energy supply, or (3) that any dumbass who touts Solyndra's 1,000,000,000 USD flush of tax dollars had anything to do with producing solar panel...(it did not, it was designed to pass money through the hands of Democrat moguls who would then pass it pack to Obamaham's perpetual campaign against America). 

     The President has changed from being a dangerous American hating, racist marxist to being an increasingly deranged aforementioned type of psychopath.   I hope someone can change him before it's too late for simple medication to calm him down.

El Gringo Viejo advises that little will be said on these pages starting to-morrow.   We shall probably be out for several weeks.   Efforts will be made to make submissions when possible.
We shall await the results of the Texas Primary Elections, to-night.  We shall see if Obamaham can carry the Democrat Party's nomination as their pick for president.   And, we shall see if, with reference to the race for the nomination to the candidacy for United State Senator,  Mr. Ted Cruz can upset the country-club, reasonable Mr. Dewhurst who is the choice of the people who do not smell bad and who have caviar smoothies for breakfast.   As everyone here knows already, we have voted for Mr. Cruz and an assortment of rightwing crazy troublemakers in the Republican Primary.   It should be an interesting night.


W A R N I N G:

It really is all about choice.   See and hear how a Planned Parenthood worker guides a woman to a selectomatic anti-girlbaby "choice"....and how to do it on Medicaid....so it's free.   Maregaret Sanger would be so proud of this great leap forward for America's female population. Click on to this link to learn what Miss Flukie really means about "reproductive rights'.

Go away, little girl.   You're not wanted around here.

But wait!  You are wanted over here!   From a grandfather of two and father of one....we dedicate this corney piece of truth and reality....well done by a Frenchman, no less!

El Gringo Viejo

An Old Conservative Republican and Conservative Anglican's Prayer

     This is only slightly tongue in cheek.  It is also substantially substantial.   It speaks to that fundamental reality that the Nazarene did not call on men to be equal, but rather to follow Him and to glorify their father in Heaven.   He did not order us to turn over to Caesar the task of making society fair, or the social composition of the culture somehow equal, one man to the next.   It cannot be done in the political realm, less is it possible in the philosophical realm. 

     The OROG will find a bit of a very informative and inspiring website, from across the pond, and very much up our philosophical channel.   Just type in Cranmer and it should lead the reader to things that are not just Anglican, but also reasoned and clearly thought conservatism.   

I believe in one Party,
Preserver of all that is good in our Constitution,
And of Individual Freedom, Limited Government, National Defence and the Rule of Law:
And in one Party Leader, the only-begotten of the entire Membership,
Chosen democratically by the whole Party,
Centre-Forward, Darling of Conference,
Pre-eminent Parliamentarian of Parliament,
Elected, not appointed,
Being of one philosophy with the Party,
By whom Conservatism is articulated and maintained;
Who for us Members, and for our earthly salvation came down from CCHQ,
And was invited by Her Majesty to form a Government,
And was made Prime Minister,
And was vilified also for us under the BBC.
He was airbrushed and scorned,
And day after day he shrugs it off because that’s his job,
And steps up to the Dispatch Box,
And sitteth on the right hand of the Speaker.
And he shall come again with a larger majority to annihilate the Socialists and the Liberals:
And his Government shall have no end.
And I believe in the Voluntary Party,
The giver of life to the Parliamentary Party,
Which precedeth the Party and the Leader,
Which with the Party and the Leader together should be acknowledged and appreciated,
Because they do all the donkey work.
And I believe in one Conservatism, though it be severally termed 'One-Nation', 'Compassionate' and 'Progressive'.
I acknowledge one Membership for the right to select candidates.
And I look for victory at the General Election,
And for the realisation of the policies to come.

The Anglican Communion has no peculiar thought, practice, creed, or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ's Church from the beginning.
Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1945-1961

O! Great Cosmic Ordering Force,  We request that Thou provideth of Thine own Holy Will,  that Thy Grace and Attention be cast upon the words of your servant, the Humble Father Cranmer, and Thy servant, the AB of C, Father Fisher, who now rest with Thee and in the company of all the Saints, Amen.
El Gringo Viejo


I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.
Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, PC, FRS.
(Prime Minister 1979-1990)

We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts.
Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC.
(Prime Minister 1957-1963)

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
Sir Winston Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can).
(Prime Minister 1940-1945, 1951-1955)

I am not struck so much by the diversity of testimony as by the many-sidedness of truth.
Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC.
(Prime Minister 1923-1924, 1924-1929, 1935-1937)

If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe the military, nothing is safe.
Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC.
(Prime Minister 1885-1886, 1886-1892, 1895-1902)

I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.
Benjamin Disraeli KG, PC, FRS, Earl of Beaconsfield.
(Prime Minister 1868, 1874-1880)

Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs.
Sir Robert Peel, Bt.
(Prime Minister 1834-1835, 1841-1846)

I consider the right of election as a public trust, granted not for the benefit of the individual, but for the public good.
Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool.
(Prime Minister 1812-1827)

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
The Rt Hon. William Pitt, the Younger.
(Prime Minister 1783-1801, 1804-1806)

Check with Cranmer.  It is a worthwhile site.
El Gringo Viejo....

Monday, 28 May 2012


If George Orwell were alive to-day he would be turning over in his grave (yes, we know it is a Yogi-ism).   But, at least he would know how something as useless as the Homeland Security Department (aka: government employment ubber alles) would be keeping an eye on people who have never been booked, charged, suspected, or even peripherally involved in a crime or criminal activity in 50 or 60 or more years.   This is THE LIST.  It was actually derived from a blog published by a French Roman  Roman Catholic priest.   His church was just stoned by a group of apparently Muslim vandals, during mass.   Yes, the parishioners were stoned, but the Muslim youngsters were good enough to use small stones and refrained from beheading anybody this time.  We diverge.  Please avoid using the words place in columns below, especially while using your computer, lest (Sir Edmund) Hillary take offense.   The dotted line demarcs the c and p from the RC Priest's blog.   This list is not a joke.   Except that the whole Homeland Security thing is a joke....Where are we going ?   The Saints intervene. Please.

 The List:

Monday, 28 May 2012

Now, I am on the list for posting this.......

A four post day, as I could not resist posting this....by doing this, I am now on the list. Wow, all the words on one posting......whoa!

Revealed: Hundreds of words to avoid using online if you don't want the government spying on you (and they include 'pork', 'cloud' and 'Mexico')

  • Department of Homeland Security forced to release list following freedom of information request
  • Agency insists it only looks for evidence of genuine threats to the U.S. and not for signs of general dissent


Revealing: A list of keywords used by government analysts to scour the internet for evidence of threats to the U.S. has been released under the Freedom of Information Act

Revealing: A list of keywords used by government analysts to scour the internet for evidence of threats to the U.S. has been released under the Freedom of Information Act

The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as 'attack', 'Al Qaeda', 'terrorism' and 'dirty bomb' alongside dozens

However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.
of seemingly innocent words like 'pork', 'cloud', 'team' and 'Mexico'.

Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The words are included in the department's 2011 'Analyst's Desktop Binder' used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify 'media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities'.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organisations for comments that 'reflect adversely' on the government.

see site for more

This is the list


We have learned that there are extra words that are being monitored.   They might affect El Gringo Viejo.   What is a person to do?   Become a cyber-deaf/mute?


One would hope that they could at least spell Reynosa correctly.
El Gringo Viejo


Warrior 9-11 American Flag And Bald Eagle


You are gracious in your appreciative editorial regarding yours truly and my predecessor(s) in life Sir.  And honor upon yours as well.

       Regarding “Americans, who did what they understood was correct…”, you state what is probably true for an undetermined number of individuals and is most politically correct.
       However I, for one, believe what our precious country entered into circa 1955 was honorable and the right thing to do unconditionally.  The mistake was the same one that was and still is our leftist “elite” i.e. Federal government and puppet media… Anything at any cost to undermine the Constitution for “fairness”.  (It actually is no mistake but we are supposed to believe it is/was so.)

      The same people (South Vietnamese) who were our friends and surreptitiously became our enemies are thriving in our society after having to escape our governments sleazy desertion of our friends and especially our armed forces in Saigon in April of 1975.  They and our soldiers were the honorable ones, not Robert McNamara et. al.

      I am proud of what we did and am ashamed (“for the first time in my adult life”) of the few cockroaches who did not have the fortitude to finish what they started out of selfishness and an ideology that could very well bury us and our Constitution.

I know how you really feel.

Happy Memorial Day.


     El Gringo Viejo absolutely endorses the notion....the fact....that the Americans and the allied forces backing the Americans, ie Aussie, ROK, ARVN, Montagnard, Lao, Filipino and others finally won the Viet Nam War convincingly.    The NVA grovelling at the "peace table" at the end was proof enough of that.   It was when it became clear that the anti-American, anti-freedom forces prevailed in the United States Congress in blocking efforts to re-arm the finally-fighting-well ARVN forces, that all was lost.   It was the most blatant sell-out by "progressives" to their communist, totalitarian brethren ever.   At least the sell-out to the Red Chinese allowed the free Chinese a chance to swim to Formosa, and to keep a few clumps of sand like Quemoy and Matsu.
     Compare to-day....South Korea, fist-fights in the Parliament, Hyundais and Kias, prosperity and Budhists and bustle and Christians and beauty, pageantry, and food..... while in North Korea, it is essentially an insane asylum, with accompanying starvation.  Taiwan, producing the equivalent of 20% of the GNP of Red China with 2% if the population,  oh! and fist fights in the parliament, food, and no forced abortions, and so forth.   Red China is a stage for the presentation of "Psychotic Wonderland with Alice", full of Mad Hatters and totalitarian thugs and 80% of its population mired in the gulag of abject poverty.
     Never is mine to understand why leftists prefer the drab greyness of poverty and decaying buildings and single party "government",  to the happy disorder, joy, and madness of liberty.

     Some may also have been reasonably mistaken in thinking that El Gringo Viejo meant by "Americans who did what they thought was correct...." had anything to do with the cowards and slugs who essentially deserted and went to Canada or elsewhere. My wording was poor was at best.  Those who fled to Canada were not Conscientious Objectors.   
        No.  The "Canadian Tourists" were cowards and/or collaborators with their communist buddies who were slitting the throats of 5 year old Vietnamese peasant girls.   And, collaborators with their buddies in the American and European press.   All American errors and military crimes were exposed and drubbed into the American Psyche.   None of the thousands of intentional war crimes of the NVA or the VC were ever discussed or even revealed...with very, very few exceptions.
      Those who have not served might be surprise to note that real Conscientious Objectors serve in uniform and frequently in close combat support or even really close to combat.   The Canadian Toursts would never have had the guts or the character to be true COs.  They were just cowards, consumers, spoiled, and generally narcissistic bums.
     To El Gringo Viejo, the phrase "Americans who did what they thought was correct"...has strictly and only reference to those who served in a military and/or civilian capacity the Confederate States of America.

Celebrate and Remember!
El Gringo Viejo

Friday, 25 May 2012

Vote Tomorrow or Vote Tuesday


    El Gringo Viejo and the Boss have already voted.   Like the old man said one time, at this age we are reluctant to buy green bananas.   For those who have not voted, there are still candidates listed for the Republican Nomination to the Presidency.   My preference was for Mr. Herman Cain.  I shall vigourously support Mr. Romney in the coming General Elections.   My preference for the filling of the seat presently held by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson is for Mr. Ted Cruz.  I shall support him in any run-off.   It is a despicable thing that the campaign and supporters of Mr. Dewhurst have done in their attempt to defame a good man through the use of manipulated phraseology and oblique obfuscating misinformation.   What a horrid way to end a political career, Mr. Dewhurst.
    Thanks to all for your attention.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Tennessee Stud? Studies in the Victories of Marxism

This is what the marxist witches' brew becomes after it stews long enough.   This is not a warning of things to come....this is an image of now,  of reality, the "new normalcy", of "wat iz", and why public assistance....any government sponsored "safety net"....must be abolished.

desmond hatchett TrigintaDad:Tennessee Man Who Has 30 Children Wants A Break On Child Support

     TrigintaDad:  Tennessee Man Who Has 30 Children Wants A Break On Child Support. That’s right, Baby Boomers, you read that right. Desmond Hatchett, of Knoxville, Tennessee, is only 33 years old, but already has 30 children with 11 different women.  Tennessee takes half of TrigintaDad’s paycheck and divides it up between the mothers. Hatchett makes minimum wage, so some of the moms receive as little as $1.49 a month to support their child (sic). Hatchett’s oldest child is 14 years old.

      This sounds like news, but when liberals and socialists are involved in "giving opportunity" and "levelling the playing field" and "making up for past injustices",  the field is planted with a wondrous seed.   All leftists hate Negroes.   That is why they try to rename them, class them, lump them, and generally do whatever they can to put obstacles into their lives.   This is based upon the socialists' certain knowledge that Negroes and Mexicans are stupid and  can only survive if they are spoon fed their "help" by an enlightened "progressive".    Once the socialists have them all lumped into the same general group... branded as "African-American", "Hispanic", "Gay", "Native American", "otherwise capacitated", "intellectually impaired",  and other ridiculous catch-all, meaningless terms,  all these groups will be taken to their gulags, gassed, and turned into fertiliser for the communal farms.  Just enough of "them" will be kept around to bring Hillary her caviar and 200 year old brandy for breakfast.   Once a group is sufficiently lobotomised and trained there will be no shortage and people to mow the lawns in Hyannis Port and at Martha's Vineyard.
       Desmond Hatchett is not a rarity.   He is the 'hood-ornament for the Great Society.   He is not, I repeat, a rarity.   Thugs like Hatchett roam the 'hood, bragging about their virility.   They put out the word to potential "baby mothers" that they will facilitate the development of another income stream for an interested "baby mother".   Thugs like Hatchett then make it known what the cost will be,  usually between 10% and 30% of the income derived from AFDC and other cash sources, including access to food stamp cards or checks.   As might be suspected the deals are frequently broken.
       How are these "deals" broken?  If the woman does not agree to a change in the "deal", her babies can be taken out and sold, brutalised, or murdered.  A deal is a deal....especially when a guy like Desmond Hatchett is involved, and more especially when he wants to change the "deal".   He has a rap-sheet 12 pages long.  Much of it is involved with violence.
       Some reporter moans about the "poor women".   No one is allowed so say what El Gringo Viejo is going to say...because it is the truth.   These women have babies so that they can access the "free money gravy train" that bastardy produces.   The are one hundred times lower than a woman who used to be called  three or four terms commonly applied to their deportment in the not too recent past.   They only care about their money for beer, marihuana, cocaine,  and weaves, tatoos, and nails.   The babies are a necessary something to work around.
        So we do have a "marriage" of sorts.   It is, however, not Sacramental.   It is anti-sacramental.   It is not something that the Lord God Yahweh has put together.   It is truly a marriage that Lucifer, the Patron Saint of Barry Soeto and all marxists, has rent asunder at the very moment of  its beginning.  It is an insult against decency and the natural law.

        Jews have a wedding, lots of men dancing together in a circle, a lot of broken goblets, some preacher saying things that only a bunch of old people can understand...everybody is happy, the couple goes off...live a life....grumpy and glad...children...grandchildren...good times and not so good times.   The Greeks, the Irish, the other types of Gentiles have their celebrations, the Japanese ask the ancestors to attend from their lofty place...and their Shinto (or similar) preacher makes some interesting noises and says some profound things....and off go the Japanese to make more beauties with flattish faces and puffy cheeks and boys who are considered mentally slow when they only have an IQ of 130....
        But all the Hatchetts, and all the Baby Mothers, are brought to us from Hell, by the progressives, the socialists, the social engineers, the "community organisers";  those who know so much better than the rest of us.   The Hatchetts' and the Baby Mothers' spawn have brought us to a point that Americans could not and cannot even now truly fathom.   They think that this phenomena is an oddity.   But it is not.   It is the thing that has caused the American murder situation to be much worse than what exists in Mexico, even with the Cartel lunacy,  (both of the situations having been produced by socialism).   

        It seems incomprehensible.   But it is true.  It is a reality that was purposefully foisted upon this country by Bolsheviks, Trotskyites, progressives, National Socialists, nihilists, and anarchists.  They carefully and skillfully, and in cold blood, decided long ago to try to destroy the "inferior races" and America simultaneously so as to prohibit the existence of any country on Earth that would not confess that  Yahweh is not only dead, but also never existed.
        One need only observe the countries who follow the rule of Man, and seduce their citizens with promises of free food, free medical service, free housing, and other free thisandthat.   They are all hell-holes, moderated only to whatever extent that private enterprise is permitted to some small extent among the hoi polloi.   You all will remember when the press heralded the rise of Brazil and Argentina as ascendant States and a refutation of the need for private initiative and self-reliance.   Their adrenalin-fix economic measures have...to no sane person's surprise, resulted in disaster....again.   They have now joined Venezuela on the steady trek to the septic sludge pit.

     Liberals are people who still have souls, for a bit longer.   They are communists without realising such.   They actually think that something can be done by a government that can "help" people who are disposed to not help themselves.   They learn, if they have even the most common intelligence,  that their ideological orientation brings them finally to the end of a road.   They can choose between national socialism or Bolshevik socialism.   It is like wandering through a large and fancy grocery store...watching everything shrivel, rot, and disappear even as one passes by the displays...until finally arriving at the last choice.   That choice  is between a pile of weevil and grub infested white corn or a pile of grub  and weevil infested yellow corn.   The friendly attendant snarls and curses you, demanding that you hurry up...there's a long line....and we're going to close in 3 minutes.    Behind this scene, there is a crew on scaffolding putting up the new heroic pose pictures of Mao, Adolf, Uncle Joe, Ho, Pot, Che, Hugo, Fidel, and Obama, with exhortations to continue to Advance the Revolution.   FORWARD!
File:Chappaquiddick bridge.jpg
Where great American Progressives and people who are better
 and smarter than us commoners can go to practice up on Secretary
 Murdering, Oldsmobile Floating, and impossible long-distance
 Tidal Swimming against an 8 mile per hour current.  It takes skill.

     Best estimates would be that Hatchett, although he is in prison, is making about 5,000 USD per month off his "baby mothers'" welfare harvest.   Members of his posse will make the collections.   When Hatchett leaves prison, he will kill some member of his posse, or be killed by some member of his posse, probably over some domain and possession issue pertaining to the money and/or the ownership of the "baby mothers".     Social progress, as defined by progressives.   Like Madeline Murray O'Hare always said, " Thank God there is no god."
     The first, immediate solution for all the Baby Daddies and all the Baby Mommas is a quick trip to the ACORN Spaying and Neutering Clinic.   Whack, whack...snip, snip. 

As always, our sincere thanks for your comments and questions, time and interest.   This weekend, this Old Confederate will put out his Yankee flag and page homage where it is due. Pray for the Rest of the Heroes in their Peace, and pray for the Republic.
El Gringo Viejo

The Fly will fly and the Flea will flee...

     We are starting to make ready to begin to plan....(learned that working in government programs).....and the time has come to go.    It will probably be in about five or six days.   Alvaro was distressed because the 20 year old licuadora (blender) finally decided to go on to the Ghost Hunters International show.  Very propitious, because as El Gringo Viejo arrived from Central Texas and a few chores that pleasantly befell us to confront, he noticed that there was an apartment being cleaned out by a familty.
      There was a bit of heavy lifting that was needed by the family, and of course since my wife was not available, it fell to me to help.    We moved out the four heaviest pieces, at which time the lady in charge of the moving said "You take anything here that you want!"   So, I noticed a blender that was wrapped in a clear plastic bag.   "Perhaps you all would allow me to buy that licuadora?" I suggested.
       "That old thing.   It never was used.   Who knows where it came from.  I don't even know if it works.   We were going to throw it in the Dumpster." came the happily received verdict.  Since it was new, however, my concience forced me to give them a 5 dollar bill for it.
       Now, upon arrival, Alvaro will have a brand new, (appropriately Made in Mexico, by Proctor Silex) licuadora, and we can be assured of being able to make our famous "licuados", also known as tropical "smoothies" among the Gringos!   It helps with Margaritas, Mexican sauces, frijoles refritos, and other goodies.   The return of a steadier presence of clients and day visitors to our free-range, 100 square mile, free range bird cage.

       El Zorro has communicated from his secret cave located at 111 Elm Street, Somewhere in Northern Texas, BR549.    His father served in the Pacific Theatre and in Korea, as a Marine.   El Zorro served in Viet Nam.   Both of these men did much time hanging around in stifling conditions, working in close combat support, and in many episodes of very close combat.   They and theirs (his father crossed the River not so very long ago), I and mine, are concerned that reasonable reverence be given those who gave that last full measure in defense of our Flag and our Republic.    My thoughts turn even to those honourable Confederates, also Americans, who did what they understood was correct during a time issues were measured differently.    Also my grandfather's two brothers, Union heroes from the Pennsylvania 96th Regiment of Volunteer Infantry  (one was actually a 1st cousin that not even my grandfather was ever aware was not a brother, although he was a very close relative who lived with the family from infancy) who were killed during the War Between the States....in 1863....during hostilities related to the before and after of the affair at Gettysburg.

Please review this salute from the pens and pencils of those
inimitable sages of the American sociopolitical scene, the
 political cartoonist.  Instead of weeping, let us smile a bit,
if only in sad recognition of the large number of everyday
and exceptional heroes who have graced this Nation.

Sent in relays from El Zorro's Posse to our Posse

(this note:   make sure to command the link to 'open images')

We have a lot of stuff to unload.   Observations, opinions, and other bloviating will follow.
El Gringo Viejo

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

NOTES, SOME HISTORY, and OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE COPPER CANYON TRIP (last proofed and amended on 6 May 2012)


For such a simply named destination, and a one-way-in and one-way-out configuration, it ought to be fairly simple.   But, The Chihuahua al Pacifico rail adventure is full of variations and choices, almost all are good.   Our particular experience begins during the Summer of 1968, while El Gringo Viejo was still a Gringo Nuevo.   Wild Bill Matern, a German-ancestried Texan from the Fredericksburg area in Central Texas and the Gringo Viejo were working for the Institute of Texian Cultures.   Since we wore "cowboy" clothes the bosses sent us out to the extreme most outlying area of the Republic, which was in the Trans-Pecos and beyond.
     We were to gather data on the Kokernot and Faver ranches and any material from living persons who might have recollections of the Goodnight - Loving and Chisholm cattle-drive trails of the period 1870 - 1905.   Also of interest were any tales, lore, or artifacts concerning Texans who supported one side or another of the various, ever changing sides of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
       While milling around on the Rio Grande between Fort Leaton, Lajitas, and Presidio we were advised that from this Thursday through next Wednesday, our orders were in flux.   There was a meeting to determine what our new mission would be.   Stay close to a telephone, but no later than Tuesday we'll give you your new instructions.   It was like Heaven and Hell at the same time.   We were being overpaid and over-accommodated for doing a Summer job that was very close to being on vacation.   Our research was being catalogued and processed for use in the massive Institute of Texian Cultures museum located on the HemisFair World Fair compound in downtown San Antonio...openning in April of 1968.
        But here we were in Presidio, full of Republic of Texas per diem money, our hotel (?) paid for the week, and nothing to do except comb through the old instructions, even if it all had to be flushed later.   The owner of the "New Phillips Hotel", an interesting facility next to the downtown area of Presidio, suggested that we could use our time to take the Mexican train from Ojinaga, Chihuahua across the Rio Grande and go to Chihuahua, and  then catch a fancy little train to a place called the Barranca del Cobre.    "How long does it take?"  we wondered aloud.  And our host figured he had seen people do it, "....there and back, over a couple of nights...". 
     The next morning found us taking a "taxi" of sorts over to Ojinaga, which was a respectable looking dump, actually quite a bit more substantial than Presidio, and to the Chihuahua al Pacifico train station.   Our train was about 20 cars long, with two Pullman cars, two first class special cars, a diner, and six second class cars, a baggage/express car and a couple of boxcars  full of some kind or another of freight behind the locomotives.    Because we were at the end of the time zone, the morning was still darkish.   We bought our tickets for the first class special car, and boarded.  The train left about 15 minutes later, just as the sun was breaking over the eastern horizon.
      Our car was pleasant, about half-full of families travelling on vacation and a few business people and ranchers.   It was clean and airy, with ventilation and air-conditioning that worked.    So we were happy.  The rest rooms were even clean.   "When do we arrive in Chihuahua City?" ....we asked the Auditor (conductor).   "Probably in a little while...." he responds.  That was an interesting answer, but Wild Bill and I knew that clocks in Mexico were engineered to run sideways, so it did not really matter.   During the entirety of the journey, our train rumbled, squeaked, clanged, hooted,  and clunkity-clickity-clacked between fifteen and fifty miles per hour.   It stopped with some frequency at isolated, unlikely places.  People would board and de-board.   The train was obviously an institution for these people who lived in the absolute middle of nowhere.   The scenery changed from torturous mountains to desert-like plains, and then back to low mountains, and the rock-scapes.   It was, oddly, pretty much the stereotypical image of Chihuahua, and because of the extent, most impressive.
        We reviewed the card the Auditor gave us with the times and stations...he knew the Gringos liked to have predictability and punctuality...."Sometimes this works", he smiled as he passed us the card.  "The diner is open, first we feed the Gringos."
        "Oh, no,no! " we protested, "We don't want to go ahead of the families and their children."
        "No, no, Gringos, you have to go and eat first.   If you survive, then the other people will go eat."  He said with a very straight face.  (this is all in Spanish)
         Wild Bill says, "Did he say what I think he said?"
         We laughed heartily, and then rambled up ahead, boots and hats, looking every bit the image of what the children thought Texas cowboys would look like.   The people seemed glad that we caught the joke and could take some ribbing....and the ice was broken for the rest of the trip.    Wild Bill was surprised that the menu of the hour was breakfast, but El Gringo Viejo told him that since Mexico was based on Manana Savings Time everyone seemed to eat a little later than "normal".   "Does this mean I can't have beer?" seemed to be his concern.  So, after flapjacks, bacon , coffee, scrambled eggs and a couple of Carta Blancas, Bill was happy.
        Our clicking and clacking continued, and we fell steadily behind schedule.   We slept for a bit, woke up, and noticed that we were almost on schedule.    "Can we brush our teeth with the water in the dispenser?"   "No, because the relief engine is a steam locomotive and we have to maintain a reserve just in case our engine breaks down."   "ha, ha , ha...."  again another joke.   We brushed our teeth after eating a far better than average club-sandwich each.   Once again Wild Bill washed everything down with as couple of Carta Blancas.   In those years, El Gringo Viejo scarcely if ever used anything with alcohol, save for communion, but he decided to join Bill in drinking one of the cold brews....and then promptly fell asleep again for and hour and a half.    We were on a siding when I woke up, and another passenger train was going past us in the other direction.   It seemed amazing that our passengers were waving at the other passengers as they went by....'' Look, there Aunt Minerva!  Hello...hello!"....wave, wave, wave....repeated three or four hundred times, all passengers considered.
      The Auditor came by, calling out the name of the next stop....and then declaring, "...Chihuahua, one hour!  Chihuahua, one hour!"   We looked at the card and it appeared as though we would be about 10 minutes late...arriving at four in the afternoon, or thereabouts.   Nine hours to go 220 miles.   Such is life on a train in mountainous country with 40 intermediate stops.    But we had just ridden through a time machine experience, with cowboys for real, with pistols stuck in their belts, horsemen and big sombreros, autos and pickups from the 1930s, adobe villages, all such things....already in rapid diminishment, but still quite common.
       Once in the train station, we asked about the train to the place called La Barranca del Cobre....but the ticket agent says only..."You buy your tickets at 05:30.  It leaves at 06:05." and the ticket window closed.   So, then we were left to our own devices in a strange city that was, oddly enough, fairly familiar.   Cowboys, regular looking people, Indians in native attire, and then the Mennonites (we hadn't anticipated that).   The city seemed prosperous enough, and there were smelter stacks in the near distance, with smoke indicating some thing to do with gold, silver, and iron.   There were numerous...even the majority....of the people who were of total or near total white racial ancestry....blue and green eyes were not comment worthy.   "Hey! Cowboys, you wait for the train to-morrow?"  It was Fulgencio the the taxi man.  "I take you to the good place."
      We were dumber than a dead rock, so the Lord guided the issue and Fuli, (pronounced 'fool-ee, really) took us over to the Hotel Victoria, which was a nice enough place that had an entrance that came through what had been a stone-block, Victorian-era mansion.   It was a remnant of what had been a considerable English investment and occupation of Chihuahua City during the later quarter 0f the 19th Century.   We opted to hang around in the bar for a while, and then finally decided to take a room....It was the equivalent of about 6 USD for a double room.  Our friend had changed a hundred dollars for us back in Presidio...I had felt pretty spiffy with 625 units of any currency in those days.   As an aside, the 1,250.00 pesos that he changed to us lasted until our return to Presidio, and we had 400 left over, which we used to liquidate our hotel bill at the New Phillips Hotel.    And we still had money left over.   It was a different time.
       After a pleasant stay....boring, but pleasant....and a good night's sleep, we carried our little bags out and we pleased to note that Fuli was there in the darkness...."Hey! Cowboys, let's go!"
       "Yeah, we have to get our tickets," grumbled the Gringo Viejo.
       "You Gringos!  You think you are the only ones who can organise an army!'' Fuli laughed.  He flipped Wild Bill an envelope."There are your tickets.   Ida y vuelta...come and go...same day.   You owe me 33 pesos."
        We were impressed, "How did you get the tickets?   The guy said 05:30," protested Wild Bill.
        "I work that cabbie station. I know all those guys.   You just board the train and show these tickets."
        "Where did you learn to speak English, Fuli?"  I enquired.
        "I was born in Waxahatchie (Texas).  Went to primary six grades there.   My family moved here when my grandfather died and my dad came and took over his store.  My mom is media-gringa."   We pulled into the parking lot and witness the line...perhaps 100 people long, buying tickets. "They sell for the 2nd class trenecito, and the 1st class trenecito at the same time...too many people....wait and everyone gets nervous when the departure comes," Fuli informs.
        True to form, we go directly to the boarding area, and there is a strange assembly of two self-propelled, shiny lacquered blue Fiat Autovias.   Very glitzy.   In front, about 100 yards ahead, are three Fiat Autovias coloured in cream with orange-red trim, also boarding passengers, albeit in a less organised manner.  The blue ones are the 1st class and the cream/tangerine ones are  2nd class/all stops.   Both intend to make it over the Sierra Madre Occidental to-day, and arrive in Los Mochis, Sinaloa nearly adjacent to the Sea of Cortez sometime before midnight.  The 2nd class will depart earlier, but then by the time the first major station ahead is reached, it will be overtaken and then passed by the 1st class Autovia that has many fewer stops.
      We expressed our appreciation and admiration for Fuli...El Gringo Viejo never saw him again even in all my other comings and goings with groups or alone in Chihuahua.   He had charged us the equivalent of 4 USD for everything.   In those days.

Hotel Divisadero on the edge
 of the Copper Canyon.
  Picture is circa
     We left the Chihuahua Chihuahua al Pacifico (Che - Pe, pronounced Chei - Pei) Terminal and headed west by southwest for the next five hours.    We passed through several busy communities scores of villages.   The Blue Fiat did not stop except for the bigger towns.    We went through Cuauhtemoc, San Rafael, San Juanito, Creel, had a bit of a meal on board, sold by children carrying buckets full of somewhat identifiable stuffing wrapped by tortillas.   It was a bit disconcerting however, when we noticed that nobody bought anything until after they had seen us eat on or two.   I had given the little Indian girl a one peso silver coin, for which she returned five smallish, fat, rolled tacos...called "flautas" (flutes), and a little paper cup with some salsa verde.   So that all will know how cheap money is now, she pulled my shirt a few seconds later, and gave me my change, which was 50 centavos...The tasty little meal had set me back 4 cents USD.   I motioned that there was no need for change, but she insisted.   Then she pointed shyly at my pocket.   It dawned on me that she wanted my ball point pen...official State of Texas pen.   Ask and ye shall receive.
      To make a long story a bit shorter, we arrived at a place called Divisadero.   The Auditor told us we had 30 minutes to "look at the Canyon", that the FIAT would whistle three times and depart two minutes after that warning.    Then he told us,"You gringos will wait here after we leave.   The big train will come 15 minutes later.   Where do you go, finally? "
     "We have to make it back to Ojinaga."
     "Then tell the auditor that you want a dormitorio," and with that he went about his duties.
So then Wild Bill and the Gringo Viejo strode on down to where everyone else seemed to be going.   There was a small, rustic, but pleasant looking lodge...apparently finished, but under the process of improvement or expansion.   There was a small restaurant, and everywhere there were Tarahumara (Rura'muri) Indian women sitting in mounds of petticoats and palm leaves (?), making baskets.   Their daughters, dressed identically, down to the bandanna head coverings, drawn tightly over the ears, were playing with rough Indian dolls which, like the baskets, were all for sale.
     I went to the rail at the edge, where a substantial group was taking pictures with the new instamatic cameras (remember?), and leaned on the wobbly, one-pole wide, "fence".  Looking down, it was shall we say, disconcerting.    It was 4,000 feet straight down.   My first remembering is that I looked over to the right and down about 1,000 and about a half mile off, and saw a convoy of Tarahumara women and girls, perhaps 50 persons, carrying huge bundles of palm leaf up to the patio where others were labouring.   Wild Bill suggested that we ought to have brought our State of Texas cameras, but they could not have captured the dimensions in any regard.   We had heard a series of train honkings and whistlings....it was from a unit out of view.   People began to go back.  Various honkings and whistlings continued.

NDEM 316
FIAT Autovias,
 like the 1st class category.
This picture taken in Mexico City, 2009.
Colour motif is different from our ride
 in1967, between Chihuahua and
    Before long the Blue FIAT Autovia pulled away with all its charges, and in short order another regular train with about 14 cars of various type replaced it, but heading back towards Chihuahua.    We located the Auditor, and said we were heading back to Ojinaga.   He said we could travel in 1st class on our ticket, or for 100 pesos more we could take a "bedroom".   We decided to indulge ourselves.   The trip would be at least 17 hours.    We had a pleasantly uneventful trip back, sleeping from midnight until our arrival in Ojinaga, and completely unaware that we had avoided, miraculously, all the delays, avalanches, rail failures, and equipment problems that had plagued the line since it had finally made the complete passage from Chihuahua to Los Mochis...only 5 years before.   After 100 years of effort.
     The difficulties had been mentioned about the Chihuahua to Los Mochis stretch, but only in passing.   Our host at the New Phillips Hotel in Presidio, Texas confided to us on the night of our return that he had made the same trip with his brother and sister-in-law three months before, and had been stuck at the Divisadero for three nights.   One has to consider in these days that for 25 years after the completion of the railway, it remained the only way in and out for traffic involved in making it from Chihuahua to the other side of the Sierra Madre Oriental.   No cars, trucks, busses....only trains....almost all on a single track line.


     The problem with the Copper Canyon is that there are many different Copper Canyons on many different levels, figuratively and literally.    The trip can be done in such a way that it would only require two days on the rails, and one night's stay at a terminus, either Los Mochis or Cd. Chihuahua.     This would involve stopping for a couple of fifteen minute photo-ops at the edge of the Copper Canyon's easiest overview...and perhaps the least impressive.   Make no mistake, it is a blow your socks off overview.
     But for all the trouble that it takes to make it to Chihuahua and/or Los Mochis, it seems a high physical and monetary price to pay for fifteen minutes of fame.   For several years, many tour operators did the tour exactly this way, citing that it was far too cold to stay there during the Winters (temperatures can go well below 0 F in the area...San Juanito, Chihuahua registered -26 F back in the 1980s...and it is on the rail line further to the east).   Others pointed out that it is far too hot to go in the Summer, although almost all Texans, for instance would find the heat anything but uncomfortable.   Once one makes into the innards of the cordilleras of the Sierra Madre Occidental, any place in the shade is cool even during the heat of the day.

A picture of the period of our last year of
 group operation, 1992 at the Divisadero.
  Things had changed!  The Chihuahua
 al Pacifico, reassumed ownership
 from Nacionales, and has since
 been melded into a Mexican/
 American Corporation
     The best time to go is probably in the Autumn.   Both the going up and the coming down from the mountains are blessed with magnificent Fall Foliage presentations, especially in latest October and November.   Nights can be nippy, but all the facilities along the way have adequate heating.   Your train, especially the first class train, has heating and air conditioning that works dependably.    The rivers and brooks are running from the Summer rains still, and so things are lush.   It is apple harvest time in the Mennonite areas just to the west of Chihuahua, near Cuauhtemoc and thousands and thousands of acres of fields of wheat   being machine harvested.  All in all it is pleasant  and temperate, and comfortable.
     Winter is problematic.   Heavy snows can be enough....15 to 50 inches....in a couple of days....to bring trains to a stop.  The newer highways, although generally well-built and drained, can be cut off for three or four days....at times....perhaps once every other year or so.   Side touring away from the traveller's estancia can be more easily interrupted by more common snows of 3 to 10 inches, that occur several times every Winter.

Copper Canyon
Tarahumara (Rura'muri)
 Man and son, in
 ultra-traditional garb
     Three or four hundred years ago, we ran our tours in the Autumn, like October, and as late as possible in the Winter, like latest February and early March....a majority of our clients were winter tourists from the North who wintered in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

     As seasons went by, we finally determined to do a set of four double-excursions that would meet over Mazatlan, where both groups, the one departing and the one arriving would arrive at the same time, at the same hotel.   We used the Oceano Palace and its sister the Luna Palace on the beach at Mazatlan, and the stay was for three nights.   It was summarily pleasant.  Mazatlan is a place where Howard Stern and Lawrence Welk could both get along.    However, returning to the issue, it is a pleasant waste of time, moderately scenic, and affords access to the very nice toll expressway between Los Mochis and Mazatlan.   The trip can take as little as four hours now, but in my day it was generally six to eight hours, depending on the traffic.

     There are perhaps as many as three first-class or deluxe busses departing Mazatlan for Los Mochis and points north,  on a direct or express basis per every 15 minutes.   There are various....hundreds..... of places to rent an auto  throughout Mazatlan.   Of course, in those days we did the transfer on a deluxe charter touring coach from our adjunct company in Mexico City.  Los Mochis is a town that was built pretty much in the very late 1800s, by American agricultural interests.   All the area to the north of Culiacan (the capital of Sinaloa) up to and beyond Los Mochis is serious tomatoe and truck production.   It is also famous for sugar cane, but the money is in tomatoes.
     In the days of yore, we would stay either at the old Holiday Inn, way out on the edge of the city, or at the old stand-by, the Santa Anita, a nice enough place with a really fine dining facility.    It is in the middle of town.   It is really not important about placement in Los Mochis, because we are just going to get up and go...very early in the morning.

El Gringo Numero Uno arranging the
supper at the Copper Canyon Lodge
 in Creel, Chihuahua
     NOW! Here is where is starts to become interesting.  All that stuff about staying here in Los Mochis, or there in Los Mochis?  Perhaps not.  Perhaps a person would prefer to stay in a more interesting place, picturesque, typical, clean, nice, and relaxing.   To take such an alternative, after leaving Mazatlan, and passing through Los Mochis's outside, we would head by highway to the East, into the mountains and making it up to El Fuerte (The Fortress) abot 39 miles east of Los Mochis.   This is quite a nice city, and we would recommend to go ahead a splurge by staying at the  Hotel El Fuerte, in El Fuerte.  It is summarily pleasant.   We recommend two nights in El Fuerte, to catch ones breath and to see the little city up close.  It would be good to have your tickets, so part of the day could be spent in buying the necessary number of 1st class tickets, for your departure tomorrow.   The train will arrive about an hour after departure from Los Mochis...and that would mean around 07:00 hours at the station in El Fuerte.
     From El Fuerte, the rail ride begins to become really interesting. From there on, the engineering, maintenance, and operation of the engines are a marvel, approaching the level of disbelief at times, and then sometime crossing the frontier between real and imaginary.
      It is hard enough to make any kind of train move, but this one will have to increase its elevation by 8,000 feet in about four hours, and within 120 miles.   It will do the first 40 miles in less than an hour and a half....that is the part about going from Los Mochis to El Fuerte.  The next 80 miles or so will take every bit of three hours.   All the tales about 80 some odd tunnels and 37 bridges are true, but they almost become incidental.  It is rather much like saying, "It's a lot easier to use a toothbrush if you want to brush your teeth".    It is compelling, however, to see that it was done, and that the railway people manage to maintain it as well as they do.   Obviously, 90% of the bridges and tunnels are found in the middle 33.3% of the trajectory.   There is even a place where your train will manage, in spite of its short length, to cross over itself.   There is another place place where the train will enter a tunnel and come out going in the opposite direction.   There is a place near that where a passenger will see three tiers of track, all of which pertains to his trip, to-day.   With all that is going on, one must remember that there is a bar, and that the staff is also preparing meals in a very adequate, almost elegant diner.  And then, one has to be prepared to jump off the train should he wish to comply with his planned itinerary and/or take advantage of his pre-paid reservations.   One choice would be to travel as far as from El Fuerte to Bahuichivo, deplane and take the bus or whatever to the little community of Cerocahui, about 15 miles to the south of the railway.  This community is a ranching and mining community.

     The rustics, mainly hillbilly whites and/or mestizo type cowboys, come up to the little hotel where you will stay "in town" and present little balls of a v
El Gringo Numero waits for folks to finish
their photos, back when folks took photos.
This is the road to Batopilas before it was
paved and finished, the last 90 miles.
ery heavy metal.   One of the little balls might be 1/2 inch in diameter and he might want 500 pesos for it.   My mother fell for this ruse on her first trip.   She asked me 312 times if she should buy one or more of the little balls.   Finally, El Gringo Viejo told her to go ahead and risk it, because he would beat the guy up on the next trip in if they turned out to be compressed marshmallows.  She was a true trader/scavenger and a court qualified authority in matters of value of collectibles, antiques, and such things.  She had a great deal of experience in pricing Estate Sales for people, and for many years she ran the "exclusive" charity and foundation store for a significant and historical Episcopal Church in the center of Texas.    When her jeweller and "metals man" did  the test on the little metal balls, he called her and said," Mrs. Viejo, those little balls of metal, you paid 24 dollars for them, no?"   She answered in the positive.  "Well they have some sand, but the metal is come out to 22 karat gold even with the silicate, copper, and silver in it.   It's about 288 dollars in scrap.   Do you want to jeweller them, leave them like they are, or melt them into something fancy?"
       Of course that was back in the mid-1980s.   The gold, silver, and copper never run out.   But whether those fellows are always there, who knows.    Usually when we were there for the two night stay, they would, almost shyly, come slouching around like timid children.  By now they might have publicity agents and a smelter.    They made the little balls of heavy metal by rolling the flecks of gold around like a child rolling a clay ball.   It would take hours of hand heat and rolling to make a little ball of 1/8th inch.   The biggest one I ever saw was about 5/8's of an inch in diameter.   Much effort, but it solves the problem about the Devil's workshop.
       El Gringo Viejo, his better half, and his 5 year old daughter went into the Copper Canyon during one of the early days, to make arrangements for the groups.   There was one little Rura'ruri girl about my daughter's age, her name was Dominga, and she and my daughter interacted like long-lost buddies, at least by the Indian standards.  My daughter bought a little Indian girl doll from her...it's around here somewhere.
    Leaving Cerocahui and Bahuachivo a person can travel on to Cuiteco where there are places to stay and other places of interest to visit.   As in all places, some of the attraction is human...the Indians themselves, and some is the overwhelming imperatives forced by the geography and geology of this area, which is larger than New England.   Cuiteco is interesting because it is right on the railway, but oddly remains almost untouched by tourism.  There are places to stay that are pleasant, but the guest will have the impression that he is staying as a family member...or at least that he is staying as something like an exchange student with a nice family.   Cuiteco has apples and other cold weather fruit production.  There are also access points to the Canyon's edge within a reasonable hike from "downtown" Cuiteco (pop. 315).
     It is almost obligatory that one stay at the Hotel Divisadero, which is the place that grew out of the little place described during the trip we made with Wild Bill Matern in 1967.  Many people of note have stayed there.   Helen Hayes...ambassadors, governors, presidents, John Wayne, and of course El Gringo Viejo.   It really does cling to the edge of the Barranca.   It is a bit pricey, but of course it is all meals included, and the stuff they serve is good.   There are two ways to attack the stay there.   One is to head over to the bar at about 8:35 am and stay there all day.  Others trade in tranquillity for hikes...some quite lengthy....some including overnight camping...or overnighting in very humble Indian villages with basic services only.

      With the picture, above right,  one can appreciate El Gringo Viejo's impatience with a client's insistence upon having a good time.   This particular picture shows the construction of the road to Batopilas, a remote village that at one time served as an R & R site for Pancho Villa.   The road leads from Creel, which should be an inclusion on a person's trek through the route of the Chihuahua al Pacifico.   Since the 1992 period, it has been paved, possible for the entire distance.   Creel is a good place to spend two or three nights...there are folks who come there for the summer.   In town there are several, eight or ten now, decent places that are probably worth the charges.   The people own and operate the facilities, in my opinion, really seem dedicated to complying with the idea of fair value, plus a little more.
     The last time we were there, there were only five places to stay, including the one about 9 kilometres south of town.   Now, one need only click onto a general search, Creel, Chihuahua Hoteles.   The first entry, or thereabouts, will have a listing of about fifteen accommodations ranging from about 20 USD per night up to a ritzy place with a tag of about 170 USD per night.   One must make do with ones willingness to tolerate and the level of friction his soul has with the idea of parting with money.

    When the stay is up a fellow can get back on the train, usually arriving in mid-afternoon, and head for Chihuahua City.   Arrival will be after dark.   There are usually numerous talkative taxi drivers....you know, gabbie cabbies...and ask to go to the very central San Francisco (half-block from the main Plaza) or the Posada del Sol, downtown.   It's a short drive.   The San Francisco is a bit gloomy but has really good moments, food, bar, etc.   The Posada is glitzier...or tries to be...but the restaurant is excellent and most of the rooms are deluxe.

     FINALLY:     If there ever were a reason to do something effectively rather than efficiently, this is one trip where such is indicated.    Think about what has been listed above.   At each stop there are things to do...or not.   There are other places that represent investments of less or more time and money quite nearby.   One notices in the write-up that there are immediate things to include or exclude.   "I don't really care about beaches and Mazatlan." or "I've alway wanted to see that place.   What magic does it have that keeps it in business when there are so many glitzier, up-scale sea-side destinations?"
     This is a trip better suited for a single person, a couple, or for a group of really, really close friends....a group of six or eight persons....who have travelled together successfully.   There should be at least three or four planning sessions....all the while allowing for the inevitable happenstantial contretemps that might occur when dealing with trains and boats and planes and other worthwhile things:
    There must be complete satisfaction and willing agreement on the various choices of 2nd class, 1st class, and deluxe accommodation.   For instance it should be considered to use the 1st class train to go through the entire train route on one day from Chihuahua to Los Mochis...fourteen hours....and rest up a couple of days at the Santa Anita and then take the 2nd class train back in stages....El Fuerte, Cuiteco, Cerocahui, Divisadero, Creel.
     Although the security situation around Batopilas and areas to the west has improved substantially since the disorders of 2010, a recent flare up, a little further to the west yet, has been intense and quite successful for the "our side".     There are several write-ups by back-packers, elderly right-wing hippies, curmudgeons, and dumboes who have been down to that beautiful place and reported that normalcy has returned.    These are people who sneer that no one should visit a post office or a Virginia university campus, or a Luby's in Temple if they think they are too important to be exempted from reality....I see their point, actuarially they are correct...pero,  para ser prudente requiere algo de prudencia....which, of course, means "To be prudent requires something of prudence."
     El Gringo Viejo would go down to Batopilas without a second thought.   For someone going to the Copper Canyon for the first time, however, it would be a long waste of time, due to the length of time required for the drive there and back.    That time can be better invested in getting to know, getting to feel, getting to enjoy the millions of brain impressions that the nearer destinations provide in abundance.
     The food on this trip ranges from okay to excellent, with excellent selections in Los Mochis, El Fuerte, and Chihuahua, and a bit more limited within the train route.   However, El Gringo Viejo never had a really bad meal along this route, nor did he ever receive the merest hint of a complaint about the fare.   If folks want to throw in Mazatlan, that particular destination is nothing short of astounding in terms of great grub...from the push-carts to the linen and crystal places.
     One of the best write-ups we have found contains about 40 glaring inaccuracies, and it is terribly dated, since it comes from 2001.  But, it does point out that anyone can do this trip and be substantially "un-babysitted"....because it was taken, and remains being taken by geezers....one of the participants on this trip, for instance, being 88 years of age.   In spite of the inaccuracies and dumboe information the poor people were given, it was a fair trip for the price, and they had a good time.   It seemed that there might have been some anticipation on the part of some of the participants that they were going to downtown Vienna, or to some really primitive place, like Round Rock, Texas.

     One should also be aware of the main sport of the Rura'muri men is the making and taking internally of tesquino.   This sport is much more popular than their sport of running one hundred miles without stopping all the while kicking a wooden ball.   The running and kicking sport has no winner, apparently, no score keeping, so perhaps it fits into the new American Public School concept of  "Goals and Objectives".   The tesquino drinking involves a lot of stumbling and mumbling, but there is no distance requirement.    This more important sport is described in this link:

     As is noted, this is not a traditional travel guide.   This is the voice of experience that also is the voice of recognition of reality.   Each person should stand at the bat with his own stance.  This expedition, in particular, should be done only after setting aside about 3,000 USD per person, including roundtrip airfares, and investing an absolute minimum of 10 days, leaving by air in various settings:   San Antonio, or Dallas/Ft. Worth, or Houston Bush to Monterrey to Chihuahua.   Also LAX to Mazatlan.   Phoenix to Mazatlan.    AeroCalifornia from Tucson to Los Mochis or Mazatlan.   Upon returning home, one should have up to half of the money remaining, depending upon bar bills, bail bonds, and shopping alternatives.
 For veteran travellers to Mexico:
 El Gringo Viejo sees no problem in taking a taxi to the main bus Terminal in Cd. Juarez and taking any of several different departures via Express deluxe or first class bus to Chihuahua.   It will be about 3.5 hours, and there are literally three or four or more different departures every hour, twenty four hours per day.   Transportes del Norte, Transportes Chihuahuenses, Tres Estrellas de Oro, are all recommendable.

Typical Consist of a Chihuahua al Pacifico
 Ist Class Train To-day

For further information, advice, and/or commentary, please email us at the linkage provided on our home page or within our website.   Thanks everyone for the time and interest expressed by having read these observations.
El Gringo Viejo