From Oaxaca City we did not go far initially, we only travelled about 15kms/10 miles to Santa Maria del Tule where Stewart spent a week at Overlander Oasis while Catherine went back to Calgary to take care of some business, see our children and her mother in Edmonton.
We had arranged to have our replacement inverter sent to Overlander Oasis from GoPower the manufacturer, Calvin & Leanne had graciously offered to accept receipt of the unit for us. Catherine departed and two days later the inverter turned up. Stewart removed the old unit and installed the new unit and also sorted out a couple of minor electrical issues that had been bothering us.
Santa Maria del Tule has the worlds largest tree by girth. The state of Oaxaca is renowned for Mezcal, there were dozens of stores in this little town designated to this product and the various distilleries in and around the area.
The bushes within the church yard had been trimmed into animals and other objects.
There were some artistic statues around the town.
There were a couple of friends just hanging out, one sunbathing, the other keeping cool in the shade.
Upon Catherine’s return, she had brought back a water accumulator which Stewart installed into our fresh water system, this eliminated some pump pulsation we were experiencing at low flow.
We actually ended up staying a second week with Calvin & Leanne. They were great hosts and we enjoyed our time there.
When we did finally escape back onto the road, we decided to visit Hierve de Agua.
But on the way we were sidetracked to a Mescal distillery for a tour and a small sample. We stopped at El Rey De Matatlan, where we new they had English speaking guides, the process is similar to Tequila making. We were informed that all Tequila is Mezcal but not all Mezcal is Tequila. The reason being Mezcal is predominantly made with a different Agave (Cactus) type, but can also be made with Blue Agave the same as Tequila.
Then it is time to sample the finished product.
There were several types of Mezcal, from the raw to aged (left to right), even one with a worm in the bottle which is supposed to add flavour (third from the left).
There was all kinds of flavoured Liqueurs.
Hierve de Agua is a natural formation made by minerals flowing out of a hillside over hundreds of years, there is also a petrified waterfall here, as we arrived mid afternoon, we decided we would stay the night. We were hoping that this outflow of water would be of the hot or at least warm variety, alas it was of ambient temperature, which being up at around 2000M/6560ft the temperature during the day was around 20C/68F. Due to the cooler temperature we decided not to soak in the pools.
We left next morning with the intention of making it all the way to Playa Zipolite on the south coast of Mexico. But on the way back into Oaxaca City we stopped at a little town called Teotitlan, where they have been making handmade rugs for five generations, these people are Zipotecs, which is the local indigenise people of the area.
We arrived at the recommended location El Tono De La Cochinilla and asked for Rosario who give us a tour of the process involved in making the yarn for the carpets and the dyes they use to colour the yarn.
They take the raw wool from the sheep and hand comb it until all the lumps and knots are removed (Left: raw wool. Rights: combed wool ready to spin).
Various items are used to make the dye: Moss, Flowers, Herbs, Insects from a Cactus leaf and Indigo made from plants. The base colours are change by adding such things a Lime Juice, Baking Soda and just mixing the various colours together.
They made rugs and tapestries in all many different sizes.
We measured the rugs to see if any would fit inside our little home, but alas most were too long or too wide. We did find one that would work as arug just inside our door.
From here we continued into Oaxaca City to stock up on groceries before going to the coast as we were not sure how long we would be at a remote beach. We set off around 2:30 pm towards Puerto Angel which was only 244 kms/150 miles or 3.5 hours by MapsMe. We drove until just after dark which is against our rules, where we found a small local restaurant for dinner in the mountains, and they allowed us to stay on their property for the night. Next morning, we had breakfast at the restaurant before setting off for the coast which was still 75 kms/47 miles, this would however take us another 2.5 hours to get there. This road is another two-lane road up and over the mountains full of switchbacks, our speed most of the way was 40kmh/25 mph.
We arrived at Zipolite which we had been to a number of times since our first visit in 2010, but not in the last two years. We found a lot of changes. We had planned on staying, but they had expanded the Cabanas area, so there was not much area left for people in RV’s to stay. After being disappointed we decided not to stay and continue on the San Agustin, located a little further east along the coast towards Santa Cruz Huatulco.
We set up Camp and stayed for a week just hanging out.
Next: East to San Cristobal