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Thanks for the Help!

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Offline Gearhead Jim

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Thanks for the Help!
« on: May 12, 2019, 08:41:02 PM »
This winter we were considering a trip to BBNP during late January, I learned a lot by reading here and posted a question or two.  Our plan was to go south while driving from Chicago area to Phoenix for a two month winter break.  We did it, and here's the results:

Before we even got out of Illinois, we had hit a massive pothole/frost heave on I-39 near Bloomington.  Delayed by a day getting a new tire.  Ugh.

Spent most of a very windy day dodging tumbleweeds in northern TX.  Like an autocross with moving cones.  Hard work.

Drove from Ft Stockton to Marathon and did our solo version of the Big Bend Open Road Race.  Fun.

The Gage Hotel in Marathon and 12 Gauge Restaurant are outstanding.

The Park itself is good, we were entering from the south just as the two folks (volunteers?) were raising the flag at the visitor center for the first time after the shutdown ended.  Like all the other park people we met, they were friendly and informative.

We spent most of a day driving around the park, stayed at the park "motel" that night, and more driving next day.  Motel was basic but acceptable, restaurant was good.

We took the rowboat/burro ride into Boquillas, a real hoot. 

Next day we exited the park by Terlinguia and took TX 170 to Presidio, another thrilling ride.  Then US-67 to Marfa for the night.  Didn't see the lights.

Then US-90 past Prada Marfa and on to Phoenix on I-10.

Notes:

The weather was cloudy, chilly, and windy for the whole trip.  This is the third time we've had that experience, I've finally figured out that there is no place in the continental United States where one can expect nice weather in January/February, no matter how south.  We've had the same experience in SW Florida.  You might get lucky, but don't count on it.   We spent much less time outside than we wanted.

Texas is big.   We knew that from previous experiences, but re-learned it this time.  If it hadn't been for the gas station in the Park, we would have had to adjust our routing to be sure of having enough fuel.

Despite all this, I wouldn't mind coming back some April.

Question:

There is a song titled "The Gringo Pistolero", about the kidnapping of a rancher's wife and her rescue by a hired Gringo.  The song mentioned Boquillas, Marathon, Castelon, and Ojinaga.  Some people claim the song is based at least partly on real events, others say it's just fiction.   I couldn't find anyone in the area who had even heard of it, so I'm guessing it's fiction.  But maybe I wasn't asking the right people.
What do you know?




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Offline Jalco

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2019, 08:59:58 PM »
This is the first I've heard of "The Gringo Pistolero".  I'm enjoying Damron's original version, as well as Murphey's cover.  Thanks for that

I've been to BiBe over the Christmas break a couple of times and always had nice weather, though my kids and I were chased out of the Chisos by an unexpected snowstorm one time.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2019, 09:11:56 PM by Jalco »

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Offline Flash

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2019, 10:28:08 PM »
Question:

There is a song titled "The Gringo Pistolero", about the kidnapping of a rancher's wife and her rescue by a hired Gringo.  The song mentioned Boquillas, Marathon, Castelon, and Ojinaga.  Some people claim the song is based at least partly on real events, others say it's just fiction.   I couldn't find anyone in the area who had even heard of it, so I'm guessing it's fiction.  But maybe I wasn't asking the right people.
What do you know?

Cool song. First I heard of it. Chico Cano was indeed a bandit. From my little reading on it, there were gringo lawmen hunting him for rustling cattle mainly. Don't know about the kidnapping story though!  :icon_smile:

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2019, 09:07:34 AM »

........

Spent most of a very windy day dodging tumbleweeds in northern TX.  Like an autocross with moving cones.  Hard work.

........

The weather was cloudy, chilly, and windy for the whole trip.  This is the third time we've had that experience, I've finally figured out that there is no place in the continental United States where one can expect nice weather in January/February, no matter how south.  We've had the same experience in SW Florida.  You might get lucky, but don't count on it.   We spent much less time outside than we wanted.

Despite all this, I wouldn't mind coming back some April.



Thanks for the report! That description of driving through north Texas gave me the best laugh in a long time.   Glad you guys survived the trip.

Big Bend weather is unpredictable. Iíve experienced everything from drop-dead gorgeous to just drop dead during every month except the deep summer. Then itís pure drop dead every day all day long.

Hope you make it back soon. Looking forward to future reports.



Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2019, 09:18:27 AM »
Chico Cano was a very interesting and divisive figure along the frontera during the revolution.

Here's an article written by historian Glenn Justice about Cano:
http://www.rimrockpress.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry080824-100349
"The greatest happiness possible to man ... is to become civilized, to know the pageant of the past, to love the beautiful,... and then, retaining animal instincts and appetites, to live in the wilderness"
- J. Frank Dobie

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Offline miatarchy04

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2019, 03:02:00 PM »
I believe the "Gringo Pistolero" was based on Army Captain Leonard Matlock who was a sometime friend sometime opponent of bandit Chico Cano.  I should say "very loosely based" because I think the kidnapping and confrontation in the song did not happen in real life.

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Offline Gearhead Jim

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2019, 04:33:40 PM »
I've heard the same thing, but it's hard to find much information about Matlock.
The author of the song died years ago without really explaining much.

The gun writer Chuck Taylor wrote an article many years ago saying that the song is true, and it occurred in the 1960's, featuring an anonymous lawman from that area .  I guess that's possible but too many little details point to a time frame between the two World Wars. 

But as the old saying goes, "It's all true, or at least it should be!"

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Offline Jalco

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2019, 05:37:40 PM »
But as the old saying goes, "It's all true, or at least it should be!"

When I was in college, I would listen to this old raconteur on the radio.  He would invariably end his long "windies" with a couple of sayings (which my children have heard on many occasions):
1)"That's no lie.  I'd never lie to you.  Why, I'd tell you the truth 4 or 5 different ways 'for I'd lie to you"
2) "Now, that didn't really happen.  But, if it had, it would have happened just the way I told it"

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Offline miatarchy04

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2019, 08:32:30 AM »
I should've spelled it "Matlack".  The best source is probably Elton Miles, More Tales From the Big Bend. It has a chapter: "Bandit, Cowboy, and Trooper: Chico Cano, Evan Means, and Captain Matlack".

I'm reminded of a bit of dialogue from "No Country for Old Men". Sheriff Ed Tom Bell has just told a story about a rancher being gored by a steer he was trying to kill without having the proper equipment.
Carla Jean Moss: (incredulously) Is that a true story?
Sheriff Bell: Well . . . It's true that it is a story.

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Offline Flash

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2019, 08:56:25 AM »
I should've spelled it "Matlack".  The best source is probably Elton Miles, More Tales From the Big Bend. It has a chapter: "Bandit, Cowboy, and Trooper: Chico Cano, Evan Means, and Captain Matlack".
Have read that story. Might be time to visit it again. If I recall correctly, it is set in the remote SW corner of the Big Bend near the Sierra Viejo Rim?  :eusa_think:

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Offline Gearhead Jim

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 09:12:16 PM »
I remember holding a copy of that book in one of the stores in/around BBNP.  Too bad I didn't realize what I had.

It's listed on Amazon, can someone tell me if it sheds any light on the Gringo Pistolero story?

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Offline Flash

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2019, 09:19:13 PM »
I remember holding a copy of that book in one of the stores in/around BBNP.  Too bad I didn't realize what I had.

It's listed on Amazon, can someone tell me if it sheds any light on the Gringo Pistolero story?
I got mine used I believe. Try Half Priced Books in the Texana section.
All three books from Amazon

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Offline alan in shreveport

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2019, 10:25:24 AM »
Chico Cano was a very interesting and divisive figure along the frontera during the revolution.

Here's an article written by historian Glenn Justice about Cano:
http://www.rimrockpress.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry080824-100349

Whoa, looks like I've got some reading to do.
From what I have read elsewhere, the portrait of Chico Cano given on Glenn Justice's site is veryfavorable to Cano. Most other accounts paint him as more of a good old fashion opportunistic bandido.

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Offline miatarchy04

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Re: Thanks for the Help!
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2019, 12:19:30 PM »
Chico Cano is still divisive. If you want to read favorable opinions of him, there's Cano & Sochat, Bandido (cowritten by his great nephew) and the very difficult to find Means, Pancho Villa Days in Pilares (rev. ed.). A view more consistent with that of Texas law enforcement during the Mexican Revolution is Alexander, Lawmen, Outlaws and S.O. B.s Vol II.

 


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