184 days on the road, 22,000 miles, 25 degrees and sunny no rain for 26 days, it is a little cool at night but in a couple of days we will be back on the beach with 30+ days and warm nights.
The Tie Rod Ends arrived on Tuesday as predicted but too late to be fitted. Turned out 3 of the 4 needed changing so the garage changed all 4 (for £35.00!!) the following day, but finished too late for tracking so we had to stay until Thursday. Thursday was Thanksgiving in the USA and as there are a lot of Americans living in the area the restaurant had a Thanksgiving dinner and it would have been rude not to stay for that.The following day, after 10 days outside the restaurant we said our goodbyes and headed in land.
Our next stop was Aliende and headed for a lake just south to find somewhere to camp, the road we took ended up being barred by a gate, we asked the people there if we could camp and they indicated the field opposite. It was a large open field dotted with small trees, looking just like the Serengeti, we even had what sounded like a couple of hyenas yipping right under the tent!
We were told Aliende was nice and it was, but after spending over an hour trying to find somewhere to park we gave up and moved on as we had another long drive around Mexico City on the Arco Norte to Puebla.
Puebla is a large City and we had decided it was time for a Hotel, close enough to the center to have a walk round, but the traffic was a nightmare and the only Hotels we could find looked dismal so we headed back out again and found a very clean 4* Hotel (for £42.00) just outside the centre. That night we found it was the Publa Marathon in the City Centre the following day, but fortunately not past our Hotel, so next morning we headed out again.
After 3 long days on the road we arrived at the Overland Oasis, a small Camp site at Santa Maria del Tulle, just out side Oaxaca (pronounced (Wahaca). When we arrived there were 4 overlander vehicles and a pair of motorbikes. A couple hours later all, including the camp owners (Calvin and Leanne) walked into town for dinner. The campground is a former restaurant The camp owners are retired overlanders, but still use there vehicle (an old Greyhound bus) as bedroom/lounge, parked inside part of what used to be the restaurant, the remainder being their kitchen/dining room and seating area.
One by one they all left, First a young American couple on their way back to work. Then a young German couple who had to cut their journey short to fly home for medical reasons, leaving behind most of their belongings, including the vehicle they bought in Canada. Followed by a Romanian guy heading to Cancun to pick up his wife, who had been visiting their daughter in Canada. Next the bikers, Mike, Shona and Ducati (the Chihuahua), heading South (we will probably catch up with them on the beach in a few days). And finally Steve in his Unimog, also heading South, leaving us on our own, until Hans and Benta turned up that evening.
We had planned to stay for 2 days, but when Kelvin mentioned a guy down the road that had repaired roof tents we decided to get the zip replaced an our old roof tent cover as a spare. We also showed a problem with one of our chairs, initially he said he could not repair it, but when he brought the cover back he had had second thoughts and ultimately made an excellent job of it, but Kalvin and Leanne are excellent hosts and we have had no problem staying here a few more days.
Santa Maria del Tulle boasts the biggest tree in the world, not the tallest, but at 14m across it is enormous. amazingly (for Mexico) we also found a bike path (formerly a railway line) right into the centre of Oaxaca, so off came the bikes and we finally got to spend some time in the old part of a city.
As I write we have decided to stay another night (7) and visit Montealban, an ancient Zaptec city, but we will definitely be on the road again tomorrow, to the beach!
Saying Goodbye to Joseph at the restaurant at Ajijic
Mike and Shona packing up to leave
And off they go
Leanne, Calvin and Steve.
And then there were none
One of the churches in the area
A Mexican on an elephant?
The largest tree in the world
Note the size of the man on the right!
The view of Santa Maria del Tulle from my bike ride in the hills (followed by a beer in the sun)