We pick up the story as I stand in the midst of what is either a ranch or the entrance to the waterfall I have ridden out to see.
I’m surrounded by dogs, chickens and livestock, which makes me think I’ve found a ranch, but just in case, I go to the end of the farmyard, thinking that perhaps the road/path runs through it and continues, perhaps on to the waterfall. I brave the barkiest of the dogs, but on the other side of the yard I see only a dry stream bed. I wonder if perhaps this IS the waterfall, but wouldn’t someone have told me if it was dry?
Is the waterfall maybe beyond the dry stream? I try to imagine riding the rocky chute on the other side of the stream bed, but it doesn’t seem like such a good idea, plus I’m not sure who owns the property I’m standing on and don’t want to make trouble for myself, so I turn to go.
Maybe I was supposed to take the left fork, back at the bottom of the steep section. It’s the only other option I can think of, so I turn myself around, go back through the cattle gates and enjoy the bumpy descent back down to the fork. Beyond the fork, the road climbs for a bit, then starts downhill again. It’s now that I remember – on the elevation profile they showed me at the bike shop the route climbs and descends a bit in the second half.
I go about another mile, up and down. At the bike shop they said something about taking any right turns I saw, so twice, I take these very faint tracks that climb the side of the hill to the right. And, both times I come to … more cattle gates. I have wised up a little at this point so I don’t go through the gates but instead turn back to the main road. As I ride, the parrots are high overhead, calling to each other, patrolling a circle that was at least a few miles wide.
After about a mile on the new road, I start to descend rapidly. I am hungry and out of water and I don’t know where I am going to end up. If there is a waterfall around here, it is very shy and elusive. I have satisfied my desire to get out for a ride away from the city, and I don’t want my dehydrated gringa corpse to be discovered by some hapless rancher, so I turn around to head back to Puerto Vallarta. When I get back to the first of the towns, I stop in a little shop and get a Mexican Coke (they taste better) Hooray for sugar! As I drink it I fend off an insistent gang of 6-year-olds who demand pesos in ascending amounts:
Tyke Gang Ringleader: Uno Peso!
TGR: Dos Pesos!
TGR (pulling himself up to his full height and furrowing his brow for emphasis): SI!
Me (pulling and furrowing in a similar fashion): No!
TGR: Tres pesos!
Me (starting to waver, because he is so darned cute): No!
TGR: Quatro pesos!
Me (suppressing a giggle): No!
They finally give up and go back to playing. I should note – these kids looked well-clothed and fed; they weren’t begging for survival, they were just playing “wind up the tourist.”
I’m starting to feel a bit sick from the coke. Boo sugar! I get back on the bike and make my way back to PV.
Next up: Maybe I can find that waterfall after all.