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Old 07-29-2012, 03:28 AM   #46
sraff OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Oddometer: 129
sotano de las golondrinas

I do apologize, like I've mentioned earlier, I'm not a natural photogragher. When things get a bit anxious, pulling out a camera usually isn't the 1st thing that comes to mind, probably not the 101st, so no pics of the short cut. 3 years ago, i rode from detroit- deals gap NC,rode the dragon, cherohala? and a couple other roads in the area and then back home. 1500 miles total in 30 hours, and took 7 pictures, I have to constantly remind myself to take pics.
OK, I'm parked at what looks like a mexican bus stop, half a dozen kids hanging around. As soon as I park, the kids swarm me. It's funny now, but while riding a trail and thinking if I dump this or bury it, I have no idea how I'll get this bike outta here, it aint no fun, it's nerve racking. So, I'm not really using what little bit of brain I do have to it's fullest. I get off the bike, take my gear off and step into the little shack, and start trying to talk with el jefe, head honcho. I say "sotano de las golondrinas?" and get a blank stare,,,,look around and there's a sign right there that says it. NOW, how f'ed up is my spanish, i'm talking to the guy that runs the show, and he can't understand the name of the place. I point at the sign and repeat it. ( this becomes "habit forming") He repeats it back, with correct pronunciation, and says 20 pesos. I reach for my wallet and remember it's in my jacket,which is, OMG, laying on the seat of my bike, surrounded by 6 miniture thieves Make a b-line to the bike and ,whew, they haven't stolen it, YET.
So,what to do with my gear. I'm not about to put anything important away in the panniers while they watch and they aint goin anywhere. So, run my cable lock thru my helmet straps,put gloves and glasses away and put the jacket on with everything important in the pockets. Give the guy my 20 pesos and knowing i'll be swarmed by 6 of the best guides around, I spin around and say "cuanto cuesta a sotano", basically, how much to sotano. The bidding starts at 100 pesos but when I smile and say "20 no mas", there's only one taker.
REMEMBER, little brain. So, I say vamos and start for the stairs. The way down is pretty easy to figure out, follow the stairs, but these kids can use some money. (Thinking back, I should have given him the 100 pesos, still can't get into peso mode, 100 just sounds like a lot) So we do a lot of talking on the way down, him not understanding me, me not understanding him, and it goes by quickly, maybe 10 minutes. We get to the 1st stop, this is where they tie a rope to you and you can step out to a tree. with a big enough set, you can lean out over the hole to get some pics.
But, there's not many birds now. (little brain) It's 1 o clock in the afternoon, after a short conversation with my guide, Fortin,( close as I can get) he tells me it's best at dawn or dusk,that we will wait. I calmly explain to him, "aint no f'ing way, I haven't had a thing to eat or drink yet today". So I devise a plan, we'll walk back up, I'll get something to drink and eat, then I'll take a nap and THEN we'll come back down, Fortin concurs.
The walk down was a snap, what can it take to get back up, 25 minutes? By the halfway point, I was feeling sorry for Fortin. I was doing the 3 steps and rest thing, I considered paying him and sending him on his way but on the other hand if I DO have a heart attack, it would be nice to have someone around. After an hour we make it to the topand I explain to Fortin, I've revised the plan, we're done. I feel like I 'm gonna die. Buy a bottle of water and like a dumbass, chug 1/2 the bottle, 2 seconds later it comes right back out. I start getting dizzy, the whole shot, so I sip a little water while laying down, and doze off, Wake up an hour or so later and realize,I did it again. When we got to the top, I tossed my jacket over the seat of the bike. B-LINE, it's all here. For an hour or better these kids have been playing right here, when I woke up, 2 were playing the bungee cords on my bike like guitars, and it's all here.
I'm still feeling off, so I buy another water and some tacos, much better. So it's 5pm and i have no idea how to get out of this place. IIRC, oyster told me 2 hours of dirt, that didn't sound great right now, I didn't want to go back the way I came. So I ask the guy in the shack if anybody in town had a room for the night. He says something to one of the little girls and motions to follow her. It's a pretty good hill going back up into town, and she's waiting while I get my gear on, get the bike pointed uphill and motion for her to get on, she waves that off and starts trotting up the hill. OK, must be close, half mile later and she's outta air, looks kinda like me 2 hours ago. But she still wont take a ride, a bit further and she points to a house right on the main drag, I guess it's the only drag, and a few minutes later I've got a room for 100 pesos.
Now when I describe the house, PLEASE, don't think i'm making fun of these people in any way, they went way out of there way to help me, I just want to explain how they live. The main house is aprox. 400 - 500 sq' with an earthen? maybe concrete, open fire stove with a hood/chimney over it. I didn't notice any seperate rooms, a few walls breaking it up, but nothing with a door or even 4 walls, a bed in the main room. The structure is block with poured concrete floors and roof. No windows in back because from the "sidewalk" behind the house you can step right onto their roof. The wiring is a bunch of extension cords taped together, I saw only 1 light hanging near the stove, there may have been others. Grandma showed me the bathroom outside and where to get the water to flush with, I saw no running water in the house but it's possible I missed it. My room was actually a seperate building about 15'x15'
Best I can figure, 5 people live in the house, don't know the relations but grandma, grandpa, a girl in her late teens, younger boy maybe 12 and presumably grandma's son, about 55-60
Grandma showed me to my room and within minutes I'm plugging in all my electronics, no power, damn. Oh well, I'll survive. a few minutes later and i hear talking outside so i step out of my room, 2 young guys are coming down the sidewalk/ trail behind the house and step onto the roof of grandmas house and then jump down to my level, which is 8-10' above the street. grandma comes out, starts giving them instructions, one grabs a coil of wire hanging on the bathroom wall, grandma gets one haging from the house. they're hooking up power to my room, they meet in the middle, and one of the guys starts taping connections together. the other walks over to me and in english says " you're from michigan?" I'm shocked, I didn't expect english here. we talk IN english while the hook up completed, grandma flips the switch, nothin. So we go into the house checking connections while i insist it's no big deal, dont worry about it, but they're not hearing that. That's when grandma tells them now there's no power at all in the house. Out to the meter and find a fuse blown. A little Q&A and i'm trying to tell them we should undo the connection to my room before they replace the FLASH .....fuse. I try to explain that the connection to SPARK SPARK.... my room is SPARK SPARK.... the SPARK.... pro SPARK...blem. Then they decide the new connection is the problem, hook the wires up the other way and the Lord said let there be light.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:33 AM   #47
sraff OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Oddometer: 129
sotano de las golondrinas



Sorry gopro must be on wide angle.....el bano, the bathroom, that's my room on the right

sraff screwed with this post 07-29-2012 at 03:43 AM
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:36 AM   #48
sraff OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
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sotano de las golondrinas



Grandma's house, the tangle of wire hanging on the wall will be the power for my room

sraff screwed with this post 07-29-2012 at 03:45 AM
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:39 AM   #49
sraff OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Oddometer: 129
sotano de las golondrinas



looking out my door
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:41 AM   #50
sraff OP
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sotano de las golondrinas

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Old 07-29-2012, 04:01 AM   #51
sraff OP
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Oddometer: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by SavannahCapt View Post
I'm in. I'm liking your style.
I'm gad to see somebody is enjoying this, I was starting to think I was writing it just for myself
Hopefully there will be plenty more.
Thanks
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:07 AM   #52
sraff OP
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Oddometer: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by oyster View Post
That V-Star is starting to look like a real adventure bike. Ride on.
You've never seen me ride, THAT'S always an adventure.
Thanks for the help, your thread came along at the perfect time, I was starting to feel a little lost in mexico
Does the trail behind grandma's look familiar, I assume that you had your bikes parked up there somewhere
Thanks again

sraff screwed with this post 07-29-2012 at 04:20 AM
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:48 AM   #53
sraff OP
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sotano de las golondrinas

Shortly after sundown it starts to lightly rain, it feels good. Standing there looking across the valley, I'm amazed at the number of lights I see. I'm fairly sure there's no roads over there, these people either own quads or get to and from their houses by horses, burros, or on foot. I dont see very many quads running around town. Me, of all people shouldn't be amazed by this. I lived in alaska, in a similar manner for a bit in the late 80's, early 90's. BUT that was of my choosing, I chose to extract myself from society. I don't know that they have a choice, that's the only way of life they know.
It's getting dark, time for bed. Before lights out, I check to be sure my iphone and gopro are charging. That's when I notice a wasp nest hanging from the non funtioning light fixture on the cieling. (my light is a bulb attached to a hanging cord) Now, I dont fear all that much, but those little bastards bring it out of me. I'd been walking back and forth across the room with them a foot over my head and they were becoming agitated. Every time I'd move one would spin around to face me and raise it's wings. Hate the little bastards.
Lights out, spent the whole night knowing the wind would shake the nest and I'd be to blame.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:02 AM   #54
sraff OP
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sotano de las golondrinas

Woke up to gloomy skies, could see lightining in the clouds to the east but straight up there was a gap in the clouds. I waited til almost daylight and quietly went down to my bike, at this point I realized I forgot to lock the bike up last night, no cable lock, I didn't even do the fork lock and left my gloves on the seat. I said it's a pretty good hill coming up into town, to the point, once I got my bike onto the street pointing downhill, I coasted to the parking area so I wouldn't wake up town. I'M such a nice guy,then realized I left my helmet sitting on the wood pile in front of grandma's. Fire up, go get it and coast back down. It's steep enough I have to apply the brakes a few times.
Pay my 20 pesos and head down. Get to the 1st stop and today there are 3 guys here, get roped up and start tree hugging, get a few pics and video and step back to be deroped,when one of them starts talking to me.He's does the repelling and he's trying to talk me into it, HELL NO, needed no translation. So what to do??? I climb back up and am talking with el jefe, who, it turns out speaks some english. So I ask him how to get out of here towards xilitla, he corrects my pronunciation " HE LEET LA" and asks how I got there. When I tell him he laughs and says " no senor, es para caballos y burros" and shows me on the map how to get out, it's paved all the way.
So I program HE LEET LA into the gps and say adios ( which nobody says here ) and I'm off. Make it thru aquismon and out to 85 in no time, there's the party store, hotel, yep been here before. A few minutes later I check the gps and, hell, I'm less than 30 miles from the turn off for xilitla and it's beautiful. The clouds have burned off, the roads not too straight, not too twisty and in between topes i can run. Stop for gas and a guy walks up and asks " do you speak english", sure do. He owns a bigger v star, never got the size he said it in spanish, he ask where I was going ,"las pozas" oh, es muy hermoso. That's 2 english speakers today. And then I'm at the turn for xilitla. You start climbing hard immediately, right into switchbacks but it's only 8 miles. About a mile before you get into town you're looking across a valley at it. the town is vertical, stuck to the side of the mountain.
Get into town, wander around on the bike get lost, get found, get lost again, pull over and ask a girl( I seem to communicate better with girls ) " los pasos?" which is nowhere close to right, don't know why that came out. I regroup " donde esta las pozas" she points and a la derecha, thank you. As I head up the road I 'm sure this is wrong, it's basically a residential street with topes every 3'. ask again,yep, it changes to a gravel/rock/broken concrete road. And gets worse, hmmm did I miss it ? ask again "si" he points up the road, come around a bend and I know I'm here. Kids are flagging me into a parking spot. The kid hits me up for 5 pesos, I figure its best to pay, hes gonna be here with my bike while I'm not
Pay 50, that's right, 50 pesos to get in, this better be good. Oh wait thats like $4, sorry. And head for the pools, in the pics from oysters thread it looked like a quiet little swimming hole, so I just tucked a pair of basketball shorts into my belt, figuring on changing at the quiet little swimming hole. The place is packed, I walk up to the top pool and there's a hottie in a bikini lounging in the pool. There's a half wall there so i get a few things in between us, drop the pants and have my shorts on in seconds. That's when I saw the workers above the pool, dont know if they got a free show or not, not that it would be worth anything.
So hotties actually in the 2nd pool down, so I head for the top one. Barely get my toes wet and one of the workers yells something, kinda guessing they dont want anybody below them while they work. So, I just back up into pool #2 with out making any eye contact with hottie and start taking pics of the upper falls. I'm trying to make this as unawkward as I can but it dont work. She packs up her stuff and moves to the upper pool. that's when i see her brother or son has been right under that half wall the whole time. She says something to him and he joins her. Now she hands him the camera and starts posing for glamor shots against the waterfall. I think I should stay sitting in this pool for a while, standing up could be imbarassing. The whole time the workers are yelling at her, but she aint hearing it. Finally the guy with the white helmet works his way down and with a big smile explains why she cant be there. FOR ONCE, he gets the blank stare For a few minutes i didnt think she was gonna move,but then she started to gather up her stuff. Being the gentleman that I am, I vacated pool #2 so she could have it back. She wasn't having that, she was pissed and stormed down the path, SORRY.
After the quick change back to my pants, I checked out the rest of the area. Somebody had some gooooood drugs when this place was designed, GOOOOOD DRUGS. This place is a trip now, cant imagine when it was 1st built. There's a consession stand near the gate and as I walked by I heard clear as day " but was it worth the drive ?" and I answered " sure was ". I had stumbled onto 3 expats living in mexico. The question wasn't meant for me but I pulled up a chair and enjoyed talking with someone in full sentences for a bit. they finished their drinks and it was time to move on.

sraff screwed with this post 03-08-2013 at 07:10 AM
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:06 AM   #55
sraff OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Oddometer: 129
sotano de las golondrinas



pictures cant show the size of this thing
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:12 AM   #56
sraff OP
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sotano de las golondrinas

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Old 07-29-2012, 08:15 AM   #57
sraff OP
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sotano de las golondrinas



must of been outta breath sorry
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:17 AM   #58
sraff OP
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sotano de las golondrinas

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Old 07-29-2012, 08:19 AM   #59
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Talking Las pozas



you can see the workers above
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:22 AM   #60
GuateRider
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Antigua , Guatemala
Oddometer: 1,363
Great RR ! You are in a great area right now, lots of places to see there around .
Keep on enjoying it
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