The story picks up once I have arrived back in town after aborting the waterfall ride. I drop the bike off at the shop and decide to drive my rental car around a bit. I entertain myself by revving up and down the impossibly steep and narrow streets for a little while, then find myself on the route that I had taken on the bike earlier. Even as I tell myself I’m just looking around, I continue, towards Paso Rancho, and the towns beyond. My first thought is to measure the distance so I can figure out if I even came close to the waterfall earlier.
It turns out that the first fork to the right was the halfway point. I don’t try to go up the insanely steep hill but I estimate that earlier I probably went another 2km on my bike before I got to the ranch and realized I had made a mistake. I probably went another 2km or so past the fork in the other direction, when the parrots were monitoring me. The waterfall would be about another 2-3km past that.
Once I have figured this out, I should be done, but I don’t turn back. I can’t resist. I want to find that waterfall, even if I have to drive to it instead of riding a bike.
So, I take the right fork, then go left at the next one. I tell myself that even though the car has low clearance, the road is actually pretty well-developed and it will be fine to drive on it. I note that unlike in Hawaii, the rental car company has made no prohibitions against driving on undeveloped roads (probably because that would mean one couldn’t drive in much of Puerto Vallarta).
As it turns out, the road is pretty well-developed for about another 2.5 km. At that point its quality drops off precipitously. I hit a wet creek crossing. No matter, it’s barely wet and the car handles it like a champ. Another half km or so on, another creek crossing. This one is pretty deep – so deep I can’t see the bottom. Well, I’m not about to turn back now, I want to see that waterfall. Mindful that anything I do in this direction will have to be repeated in the other direction, I plunge on in. In for a penny, in for a pound (or peso). The car stays grounded and it doesn’t suck water into the engine. Mexican Nissan FTW!
Although, while this car is tough, it’s stripped. I have never before driven a car so cheap that I could hear the gas sloshing in the tank every time I hit the brakes. It’s odd and scary to hear all that gas back there. Exactly how flammable is it, again?
I plunge onward to a section of road that appears to drop straight down at ninety-degree angle, like the roads under the ocean on the SpongeBob show. Eh, if I can ride stuff like that on a bike, driving it in a car will be a piece of cake. Despite my fears, the car does not flip end over end, and I make it through that stretch of road safely.
Tune in next week to learn whether I ever found that blasted waterfall.
I had kind of given up caring if you ever found the waterfall or not. But like your story, I decided ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’. Now I’m on the edge of my seat and can hardly wait for the next installment!
Part of what makes this story interesting for me is that I know PV well. There is a huge disparity between the gringo resorts/hotels and the local landscape. To picture you casually traipsing around the countryside while drug lords are chopping up Mexican cops just down the road… Yikes!
A few years ago I had a week to do a months worth of work on a boat that we were taking much farther off the grid. The local marine supply store was a joke. But luckily there was a mega Home Depot and Costco. It was the first place I had ever encountered that had THREE shotgun armed guards roaming around in a super market! I found out later that two of them were there just to guard the ATM machine.
Mexican Nissan FTW!
Kai, I am glad you are enjoying the story. I did think a bit about safety in the countryside around PV, but from everything I read, the drug violence is mostly closer to the US border, and I figure the likelihood that someone will see me on a bike and decide to dismember me is pretty slim.