Well , here we go again ! With my tired bones from the sleet , rain and snow, I took Brad Henry up on visiting www.casadelpiloto.com . an hour and some south east of Valle Debravo.
It was an uneventful trip , except for the two year old crying next to me. Arriving in Houston, I was stuck overnight at the Super 8 Motel. I really can not believe Houston, the epitemy of American gas guzzling consumerism. We talk of global warming and here is a city so dependent on automobiles, its really hard to fathom. Shuttle by airport shuttle I observed bus after bus with only a few people in them. I wanted to mail something, but it was impossible to buy stamps and the post office of course was an expensive cab ride away- Oh well, let the imperium wallow in their ways until a big reality check hits the States one day and they realise you cant eat money and drink oil once the environment goes to the dogs.
Otherwise, it had a wonderful reception at Toluca airport by Jose Manuel Oribe , a horse veterinarian, co owner and partner in the Casa Del Piloto in Tenancingo. I was on no tight schedule so I happilly accompanied Manuel on a stop at a big Horse Ranch inside Mexico City. Then, we arrived in Tenancingo, got acclimitized to my first Tacos and looked forward to flying the following day ..
Saturday was our first day flying and it was so nice to meet another dedicated forward launcher, Daniel Miller. Daniel is quite the character , very knowledgeable about some alternative and spiritual views. He lives in an incredible little concrete house which is fully painted outside with a blue sky and nice Cumulous clouds . Inside its an amazin little interior with windows with water in between , and lots of black light effect at night. We got a little late to launch as the thermalls were massive. Daniel forward launched and went up like a rocketship, and I am not kidding, straight up to the moon !
I had not flown in a while, so I took my time getting ready, doing the preflight stuff. Unfortunate4ly it was after 1pm when I launched , so it was really turbulent. I did not know the area and Daniel left in a hurry , so I got not too high over launch , then started experiencing some heavy duty collapses. I flew back and forth along the ridge for about 20 minutes but opted to land in the emergency landing field below takeoff as I really did not know the place at all yet.
We returned to the site by late afternoon and experienced more very strong takeoff conditions. But then, it all kind of mellowed out and glassed off . Marco was here, an experienced guide and pilot from Mexico City witha group of Frenchie and Swissie pilots. It was a glorious flight all around and we got some good altitude. I opted to boat around and stick to the Frenchies rather than head to town with Daniel Miller . It was getting dark and I was worried about landing in an unknown zone with lap posts and wire4s , so, I just followed Marcos group till the landing.
The sun actually had already set and we landed in the nick of time before it became pitch black and the moon was not around.. I landed OK although it could have been softer. One of the Swiss pilots augered in right behind me and had the misfortune of hitting a rock with his face. It was hard to judge the landings as it was so dark , and flaring right in time was a challenge.
The Frenchies gave me a ride to where cabbies stop as they were heading in another direction. Thats the beauty of Tenancingo, you can catch a cab for a dollar or two for retrieval on any major road and some tiny villages too.
Next day was blown out at launch in the morning, so we took time to experience the local market, one of the biggest in the area. I also showed my two films SACRED FLIGHT and the new Paracindrella cut to my new Tenancingo friends at the other , Mexica Daniels house . This Daniel is a semi retired policeman , so we were well hooked in with the right protocol here.I got a bit of a cold flu that night so I spent bext day updating crackbook , checking out more of the town, and my explorex site .
Jan 26th, 2011
The cold flu kind of put me under fortwo days but it was blown out anyway and did not miss too much epic flying. But then this morning , Jan 26th, was really something. We got to launch by Noon and I prepped quickly to fly as it was getting strong for my forwards. SAnyhow, had a great launch, caught a house thermal and was off to the moon. I stuck around at cloudbase and watched Daniel launch but did not want to stick around in all these terrain traps and ridges, so I headed for where I thought was Tenancingo , but instead I overshot the town by far, cleared a whole other valley and landed on some huge foundation of concrete that looked like dirt from the sky. The terrain was really spectacular. I was at cloudbase for a while and manage to snap only a few shots dutMy landing was soft and fine. Within minutes a security guy or some policeman guy showed up and asked me not to land there anymore because the architect of the place to be was uptight and some paraglider crashed hard here before ?? . He was super nice and did not even want a bribe when I offered him 10 pesos !? People here really are a lot nicer than a lot of other flying sites in Mexico, a hidden little secret , but probably not for too long . I am still battling that flu , but feel much better today
Thurs Jan 27th
Flew at glassoff again with the two Daniells. Daniel Miller and I really had some fun , getting real close and taking lots of pics in the laminar air . Its so nice not to have to be fighting the controlls whwen you can just take your hands off the brakes and enjoy the ride . We landed in a cornfield just outside Tenancingo and were mobbed by about twenty kids. So, I gave them all a lesson on how to fold their gliders and of course took more shots. My flu has now turned to a real chest cold and I spent an unpleasant night caughuing my gutsa out , but thats all part of the game when you change climates so fast sometimes. We had a nice evening at Daniels place in the evening enjoying his ambience of black lights and painted ceiling above.
Friday Jan 28th
I was going to sleep in as I had not slept due to my caughing fits last night but then, the two Daniells showed up again with two tandem pilots from Mexico City and off to launch it was. I went first and Daniel Miller followed. It was full on Rock and Roll and it was only 11am or so. I had about half dozen collapses . Daniel opted to bail in the emergency landing zone while I fought it out and finally managed to climb out and headed or Tenancingo . I even went right along the ridges a bit XC before turning back and landed in town. I had lots of height above the LZ , so I did a fun spiral down to the landing field , watched for the lamposts and came down nice and soft , although I was ready for anything seeing dustdevils here days before. More to come...
Saturday Jan 29th
Manuel was kind enough to drive me to Valle De Bravo . I was loving Tenancingo for its uncrowded skies and friendly people but I had work to do in Valle. www.monarcaparaglidingopen.com was on and many of my friends would end up being here. Also I had to promote XAWNDE as usual and Pembertongames. I arranged to show my two films Paracinderella and SACRED FLIGHT at a great little bar , LA MEZCA DEL VALLE with a spcial kind of Mescal brewed especially for the establishment.
I must admit the flying turned out to be unreal. I flew three to four hour flights four days now and more to come. I met all sorts of contacts and are already seriously talking about starting an XAZTECAS circut like the XANDES from Tenancingo to Vra Cruz , Mexico. I have met some capabe people and possible coordinators already for the project . My ADVANCE Sigma 6 is still flying like a charm after 3 years of hard use, so I am stoked. Did some interesting outlandings , like at this huge ranch. Had to take a few lines out of a little Pear tree and get escorted out by security. It was all good though , they were really nice. Then , the cops picked me up hitchiking and I sat with a big dogcage and dog in back, quite entertaining. Showing my films tonight..stay tuned, I am curious at the feedback
It was windy and the last task cancelled on Thursday, we flew and it was fine , but probably , maybe not on comp gliders. Friday the task was also just back to Valle and Yassen won it, reaching the goal solo . Film night went great , packed house on Thursd , Feb 3rd. at La Mezca Del Valle Bar. I was thrilled by some good comments..
Friday Night Feb 4th
Friday night my friends Hector and Gerardo showed up in Valle and I caught a ride back to IXTAPAN with them against a train of incoming traffic from Mexico city. Next day Hector and pilots from Mexico city showed up with Tandem passangers. Daniel Pedraza took us on a great tour of he Aztec ruins and carvings above launch. It seemed like such a special zone . The wind never eased up but he hike was great !
Sunday Feb 6th
We drove to Ixtapan launch with Gerardo and I flew . It was windy so I only pejnetrated to nearest village, met up with Gerardo and drove back. Looking forward to IXTAPAN hotsprings ...tonight, and last fly day tomorrow...
Monday Feb 7th
Flew one of my scariest flights ever as far as collapses. Launched in a lull between gusts and went straight up
in the house thermal. But then the 40km per hour gusts kicked in and I fought to keep my wing above me. After two major collapses and seeing my wing like a crumpled hankie below me it was time to land. I was over tghe highway back to town , so picked best logical field and Gerdo followed. It must have been quite a spectacle for the gathering of campesinos on launch as they helped and held up my glider. After landing went to town and caught collectivo back to Tenancingo where I hope for last evening flight before the airplane ride back to the wicked white north, but hey its ski season , and the days are getting longer, finallyy !!