Left the Motorhome in Mazatlan and Drove the Jeep to Visit La Noria and its Leather Factories

logo
Moving On 1
Spending another Winter in wonderful Mexico
Follow along with our adventures in Jennie the RV and Willie the Jeep
Our 29' Fleetwood Jamboree Jennie and our tow car Willie the Jeep
nav2010
textnavs
Things we've done and places we've been on this trip - Mexico 2009
Cities of Sinaloa visited this trip:    El Fuerte     Las Glorias     Mazatlan     Cosalá     El Quelite     La Noria    Copala
We took a drive up to La Noria the other day. Again this was a revisit - we went there last year too. From Libre MX15 we headed east on the Mazatlan-La Noria road. Again it was about 20 miles. The road was a disaster. The pot holes on this road have progressed beyond pot holes into craters. In some places The Driver had to choose which ones to hit cause there was no way to avoid all of them.
This time we found a couple of the leather factories that La Noria is famous for. They make saddles and huaraches (sandals.)  The first one we found by mistake we were just driving around and I saw a bunch of what looked like either long, wide noodles or narrow leather straps hanging just inside a window. Well of course had to go investigate. But first we had to park. Up and down some dirt streets looking for a place to stop. Sharing the narrow dirt road with a horse and rider heading into town. Then we came upon another horse tied up in front of a tiny market. I had visions of the cowboy inside buying Tecate or Tequila - nope out he came with a handful of rolls of toilet paper. Such a let down.
Finally found a place where there was enough room to park off the road and then we walked down towards the "noodles". They turned out to be leather strips and the factory was in an old brick building built high off the street. The steps leading up to it were worn with age and use. Inside were about ten people. They were happy to show us around the factory. The leather straps I had seen were the straps used to make womenís sandals. Four young, appeared to be about 15/16 years old were working at a table in the front room making sandals. One boy I watched first trimmed a leather strip with a razor blade he then looped it onto the sole of a shoe. After making sure it is secure he selected a form and built the rest of the shoe around the form. I guess that and the sole determines the size of the shoe.  The four of them make about 200 shoes a day.  As the shoes were finished they were lined up on the floor next to a big fan and a very old sewing machine.
In the next room at the back of the building saddles were being made. In one area there were varnished wooden frames waiting for the leather pieces and in another a big stack of stirrups. On tables and in stacks on the floor were the parts that go under the saddle frame and the cinches. One man at a table by himself was stamping designs on the leather.














In town we stumbled onto another factory. And a tour guide was taking his group through it so I tagged along. Lots of leather scraps and tools on a wall. I love the smell from the leather. Then past another old sewing machine. The guide explained that some metal forms on the bench were used to make "10,000 mile" sandals of different sizes. These are the shoes made with old tire rubber for the soles. Saw some tires hanging around with soles already cut out of them. Then the guide was showing how to trim the narrow strips of leather. The worker got a kick out of watching him. Then he showed how it is really done. Metal guide and a really, really sharp knife. People were busy at work all over the shop. The things we just take for granted - I really enjoy seeing how things are made and love to share it.











In the store connected to the shop they sold machete sheaths and bridles and leather masks. We had seen some of these last year but they were really expensive. The big ones were expensive still but I got a small one for Jennie. And Bill bought another piece of fine leather as he wants to try to make some masks when we get home.
On the way back to Mazatlan we stopped at the Tequila Distillery we went to last year but nothing was going on there except a big party of some kind. No tequila in the barrels, no plants cooking - nothing. Donít know if was closed or just shut down for a while. It still smelled good though.
Back down the holey road to home.

La Noria
Worn Steps into Leather Factory

Worn Steps into Leather Factory

Narrow Leather Strips

Narrow Leather Strips

Forms for Saddles

Forms for Saddles

Parts for the Saddles

Parts for the Saddles

Making Shoes

Making Shoes

First Step in Making Shoe

First Step in Making Shoe

Form for the Shoe

Form for the Shoe

Old Sewing Machine

Old Sewing Machine

Forms to Cut Tire Soles

Forms to Cut Tire Soles

Tire with Sole Cut Out

Tire with Sole Cut Out

Watching the Tour Guide

Watching the Tour Guide

Showing How to do It

Showing How to do It

Making Leather Products

Making Leather Products

Machete Sheaths

Machete Sheaths

Click on pictures to make bigger
We took another drive out the pot holey road to revisit La Noria.  Again The Driver managed to miss all of them.
Stopped at the leather shop right on the main street to look around.  This time Bill got a machete in a leather sheath. They showed us a beautiful saddle that had just been finished. Only US$200 - would cost a fortune in the states. Also looked at the masks again and took pictures so Bill will have an idea how to do one when we get home.
I heard music so I left the leather place and followed my ears. A bunch of high school age boys and girls were practicing folkloric dancing in the plaza. They were pretty darn good. They were getting ready to put on a show for Carnaval.
Passed this guy on a donkey as we were leaving. He is almost bigger than the donkey.

Click on photos to enlarge