Saturday, December 20, 2014

Valle de Bravo - getting there and back.

At the monthly Wings of Rogallo club meeting I presented the logistics of getting to and from Valle de Bravo. Since quite a few of my friends are going to the Worlds in 2015, I thought it helpful to share. The first thing to decide is where to fly into. While Toluca is closer, it is more expensive and flying with a hang glider as luggage might be more hassle on a smaller plane, or maybe not. I've experienced plenty of hassle on big planes too. I flew into MEX - mexico city, without a glider with Southwest airlines, which just started flying there for around $400 - obviously depends on where you are coming from.

Next Choice :
- Rent Car - ? ,
- Bus - cheap,
- Taxi ~ $350 !!
- Shuttle ~ depends on number in party.

There are two ways to get there by bus. Caminante straight from MEX airport, with a change at Toluca airport ( you may not actually have to change buses).

Or with Zina Bus - which runs from Terminal de Autobuses del Poniente - AKA Observatorio stop on the Metro, which is probably the fastest way there. Especially any time around rush hour. Mexico City Metro mapFor the Metro just walk westward through the terminal, out the end on the ground floor, if you are lucky you might notice a metro/subway sign. Keep going you actually can't miss the stairs down.

Here's the schedule on the website. If I were travelling solo without a glider I would go this route.Here's the schedule on the website. If I were travelling solo without a glider I would go this route. Hope this is useful, I sure could have used it before I set off ;)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mexico City

Once in a while it is nice to spend time in a city and do a little cultural touring. We started ours at Chapultepec. There are several landmarks, here is the BBVA Bancomer tower.

We walked by the Monumento a Los NiƱos Heroes, on the way to the museum of modern art.

I'm not such a big fan but sometimes enjoy the bizarre stuff. The main reason of going was to see the works of Frida and Diego on display there.

One of the more famous works, Heidi studied and taught this stuff for years so she was pretty stoked to be around it.

I wonder if Lupe Marin really had hands like that ?

Of course we also had to go see Diegos' Mural near the Hidalgo Metro station. This photo of the two was hanging in the stairwell, in what is now a museum. A few blocks east of there is the Casa de los Azulejos which is totally different than the Casa Azul, which we were actually looking to see. It'll have to be next time since Maddy needed us. Here's a note for myself, so I can bypass all the bad directions and maps. Casa Azul : n19.3550, w99.1623

Heidi wanted a wing seat on the way home... I did the best I could.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

more Valle de Bravo

The Lake has a really cool Yacht club building, I don't know if it is open or finished yet, or even what it was before it was a yatch club. Heidi and I wandered down to see if we might rent a small dingy for a sail round the lake.

Not more than 20 mins later we were on a J24 with nice breeze blowing. It was a lot more boat than I was bargaining for. I was a little taken back they lent to me without any credentials for cash! It is a whole lot of boat for just two people.

In an hour and a half we pretty much went around the whole lake. There was enough wind to make it interesting. The views are nice too.

Another trip we took was down to the cascades and waterfalls. It's worth knowing that these are two different creeks. Danny, Taryn and I went for a short walk at this cascade n19.1724°, w100.1183°, before finding the rest of the group at Velo de Novia falls : n19.1647, w100.1431. Given it was the end of the rainy season which was a pretty wet one, the falls were flowing well.

And just like that our time in Valle de Bravo was up. We thought we had better check out the night scene before leaving, so we walked into to town. The Christmas lights were up already.

We met Jeff, Norma, Majo and a few others at La Mezcal for our last night in town. Mezcal is similar to tequila but different variety of cactus and not quite so refined. Fun times ! I'll be back for sure, Valle.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


One of those happy celebrations, when people and families get together that haven't seen each other recently, often enough, or even ever. And despite the chaos it all came off rather well. The rest are just pictures, for me to share and remember fondly :)

Fabrice and Tamsin

Mum and Dad

Us three siblings and Tamsins two boys.

Amy, Griff, Peri, Danny and Taryn.

Jeff from flymexico arranged the rent out of the top floor of a restaurant down the street. A magnificent sunset played out and the food was great too.
After dinner we went out on the party boat. It was a great time (but I'm not posting any pictures from that scene !) hehe. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Flying El Pinion

El Pinion launch, n19.0615°, w100.0905° at 7700'msl. It doesn't get much easier than this. Thanks to Jeff at for the shuttling and the glider loan. He makes flying a low stress enjoyable experience for everyone.

The El Pinion - a very photogenic rock.

It is the end of a very wet summer there, and many wildflowers are blooming. 

Here is the main landing zone. It's know as the piano LZ 19.0424°, -100.1046° The lush green grass lulls one into a false sense of sea level, but at 5850' msl and plenty of wind shadow you have to pay attention.

I took 4 flights over the course of our stay. 

One flight, I got into the famous convergence to 10.5k not bad for the middle of Dec. Of course it was better the days I wasn't there ;)

Lots of different angles on the rock, this one makes it look like a low orbiting moon.

Catching the sunset on this one, It's amazing how consistently soarable this place is.

I decided to try and make it back to to town this day. Conditions were the best I'd had and it was my last day. The water in the lake is way high this season, leaving a very small LZ.

But I'd left it too late in the day, or plain just picked the wrong day to try.

I'd easily have made it on a topless, and may have possibly made it on this freedom, but the risk was drowning in the lake. I pushed it as far as I could but eventually decided to turn back and bail into the last brown field to my right. So close !

And what a laughably terrible LZ I picked. Rotor behind the tall trees, tall prickly weeds soft lumpy rutty dirt under. Happy to be on a Freedom ! Great flight regardless. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Around Valle de Bravo

Our first trip was to go see some flying critters, I was too tired to go fly myself and feel safe. The Monarchs migrate from where I used to live in Santa Cruz (amongst other places) around the end of October, and were arriving at their winter destination in full force. And for those that don't enjoying being lost here's a coordinate for the sanctuary : N19.1739 W99.9578 The Hike upto the grove goes from 9500'msl to close to 11,000'msl, so flip flops aren't the best ;) It's funny to me how difficult it is to navigate in Mexico. Even two taxi drivers were lost within 5 mins in their own home town ? And it's not that they were trying to scam us. Maybe it's just an education thing?

The video just doesn't do the fluttering millions justice, so here is a picture of us watching the swarms and clusters of Monarchs. We're impressed!

The house had a couple of kayaks to use, so that was one of the first things I did. No better way to relax for me.

The edge of the lake has some scenic spots. But I forgot my waterproof box so no pictures...

Later on in the stay Heidi and I wandered up La Pina, the rock on the pennisular. We took a taxi to near the start, he didn't actually know where the trail was... I couldn't fathom that.

From the kayak it looked like there was some shrine up on top, so I figured we should be able to walk up there and see a view. 

It turns out the top is actually a park and of course there are spectacular views.

The trail up and down is nice, it's shaded and winds through the boulders that must be the remnants of a volcanic column.