Valle de Bravo – Round Two

A second group of Lookout pilots are currently back in Valle de Bravo, Mexico for a week of flying. Maybe you’ve heard a lot about Valle (See Denny Pistoll’s post). Once you go though, you want to share the experience. I came down for the first time in January and am already back for round two! Now that a few technical hurdles have been conquered, I plan to post at least a little something each night.

Our group consists of Gordon Cayce, Rodney Farrar, Liz Fortanier, Ralph Miller, Stacy and Don Murdoch, Hank Phillips and his friend Esther and Susan and David Teuscher. Ralph and Hank reside in Lexington, KY, but are known to frequent the sky above Lookout. Rodney is an old friend of Ralph’s who lives in Littleton, CO. For the history buffs in the crowd, Rodney and Ralph are founding members of the Bluegrass Buzzards.

Day One
El Penon del Diablo from launch
Another beautiful day in Valle. El Penon del Diablo seen from launch. Nice cumies!
Photo: Susan Teuscher.

By Sunday evening we had all arrived and settled in. On Monday, we left for El Penon around 10:30. On the first day, we typically start with a tour of the landing area at the lake. After going up to launch, the van will take pilots on their first trip to tour the “Piano” landing area. I accompanied David, Liz and Rodney to walk the Piano.

Back on launch, flying got started around 2:00. Conditions were strong and somewhat turbulent. Everyone had good flights. Flights of the day honors go to all the first timers, but top honors should be shared by Hank and Rodney. Hank just wouldn’t come down, flying for three hours+. Rodney took a quick trip to a small hill to brush up on his launches and landings, then returned to launch and proceeded to soar also.
Liz launching
Liz Fortanier launches. Photo: Susan Teuscher.

I will accept the “Piano Boy” honors for the day, being the first to land. I’m surprised to find only two boys in the field to tear down my glider. In January, I was swamped by kids wanting to help. Today, the first words out of their mouths was, “Stacy?”. Stacy and Don are on their sixth trip here. Stacy always brings clothes and toys for the kids who hang out in the Piano. Apparently word had gotten out that she was coming back. Now that they know she’s here, we expect bigger crowds tomorrow. Once the gliders and gear are stowed, it’s back to Valle so we can eat, sleep and get up to do it all over again tomorrow!

Day Two
Today we decided to go out to El Penon a little later as many of us wanted to fly a little later hoping for smoother conditions. This also allowed us to stop for lunch at a favorite roadside retaurant, El Jovan, on the way. After a tasty repast of quesadillas and rice, I was pleasantly surprised to recognize Matheiu Berube. Matheiu came to Lookout last spring with Catherine Gagnon from Quebec and stayed for two months. Catherine, of course, ended up stealing Steve Bernier away from Lookout. Matheiu reports Steve and Catherine are doing well. He went skiing with them earlier this winter in Canada. Matheiu drove to Valle from Quebec with his glider and is staying in a house friends rented for the season.

The crew on launchThe crew at launch. Left to right. Front row: Gordon, Ralph, Rodney. Middle row: Matheiu, Stacy, Don, Esther, Liz, Hank, Susan, David, Jaime. Back row: Jeffo, Mustang. Photo: Susan Teuscher.

One big difference between this trip and my first is the lack of paragliders. The world championships were held here a week ago and I guess most of them just cleared out. There are a few in the air with us, but no where near the numbers in January. We pretty much have the place to ourselves. Today Ralph and Frank led the way with most of us opting to wait for later conditions. I didn’t launch until at least 4:00. Conditions were strong, but for most of us, smoother. Personally, I was more relaxed in the air. Though it’s only day two, I feel I’m flying like day four of the last trip. Kudos go again to Hank and I guess David. Both had great flights. Ralph Miller has been talking XC strategy non-stop. Today he launched first, got up quickly and went over the back quickly. He encountered strong sink all the way to the landing area called las Pinetas, but still came in with a grand of altitude.

Today in the Piano it’s obvious that word has spread of Stacy’s return. Way more kids at the Piano. Stacy has mentioned she might take the day off tomorrow and stay in Valle. I’m concerned that if she’s not there, the mob might turn ugly. Stacy knows many of the kids by name from coming down for so many years. The kids obviously love her and I think she gets a bigger kick out of them than the flying.

Stacy's kids
Stacy’s kids. Photo: Susan Teuscher.

Tomorrow’s plans call for a group going early to the butterflies, a rendezvous with the rest of us for lunch at El Jovan, then back to El Penon. Mas manyana!

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