A nice start to the day at Lower Mazinaw Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Change of plans, and another busy tour day

This time, the vans arrived to pick us up at just after 8:30am. But first, while everybody was gathered around, we had to have a quick group meeting to discuss how Sherman was going to get caught up with the group.

As the group leaders, we had decided that everyone would spend two extra nights here at Oaxaca, and have the group carry on to the next destination of Puebla on Thursday morning. Ruth and I will return to Sherman on Wednesday. Then, with any luck at all Sherman would be ready on Thursday and we would catch up to the group in Puebla in time for their departure on Saturday morning to Patzcuaro.

Then, Richard suggested we only do one extra night here in Oaxaca, and add a night to Puebla where we only had a one day visit planned. Most thought this was a good idea, so that's what we're going to do. The group will leave here Wednesday morning.

This problem with Sherman has thrown a bit of wrench into the schedule, but when you're traveling with 12 rigs one of them is bound to break down at some point. I think we've been lucky so far, and we're glad that it was Sherman that had a problem rather than one of the customers. Had it been one of the customers, it would have caused even more logistical problems.

So, all we can do now is hope that the (correct) parts arrive either today or tomorrow as we had been told they would. Once they have the parts, it's not really that big of a job and hopefully the alignment isn't out too bad. Won't know until everything is back together.

Anyhow, 20 of our group of 24 hopped in the vans for another interesting day of touring. There is so much to see in the Oaxaca city and surrounding area. Ruth and I spent a week here back in 2013, and still didn't see and do everything we wanted to. So it's tough to try and pack it all in to two days of touring.

First stop, the Monte Alban archaeological site.

Monte Alban. 
Great to get there early when there's hardly anybody around.

Some of the group!

Great views from Monte Alban.

Big Jacaranda tree.

We went to the huge La Capilla restaurant in Zaachila, a suburb of Oaxaca City. I had read mixed reviews on tripadvisor and sure enough that's what we ended up with... mixed reviews! Some people said they had a great meal, while others were average. Ruth and I had a plate of beef enchiladas and we've had better. Some things were a little overpriced, we thought. 

The place is huge, and seats about 300 people.

Anyhow, with food in our stomachs, we moved on to the next attraction... the alebrijes artisans at the town of San Martín Tilcajete.

We visited the studio operated by Jacobo and Maria Angeles, who are world famous alebrijes artists.

The alebrijes are wooden animal figures that are hand carved from the wood of the copal tree. Once carved, the wood is left to dry for about a year. Then, the carvings are hand painted with natural dyes. The paintings are very intricate and detailed, and the painting process itself takes the artist anywhere from six weeks to six months depending on the piece.

The wood carving area.

The people doing this are mostly young.

Jacobo himself began carving when he was 12 years old. Then, he had to learn how to paint. 

Carved figures drying for up to one year. 
They do the carving while the wood is still soft.

These people are learning how to do the painting.

The studio trains new people in the art. These people learning are doing so with water based acrylic paint. Once you become a professional (after one to three years of study depending on your skills), you get to use the natural dye paints.

Learning how to paint intricate designs.

This young man is one of the professional painters. 
Look at the piece he is working on!

Another young professional!

Then we went upstairs to see some of the pieces for sale that were done by Jacobo himself.




Jaguar and snake. 
I think this one was priced at 52,000 pesos.
($3,600 CAD, $2,800 USD)

Our guide at the studio. I can't remember his name, but he has been working here for 25 years. He is holding the piece he is currently working on. 

Amazing stuff. I don't know how anybody has the patience to do this kind of work.

The vans parted ways as some people wanted to go to see the black pottery artists, while others had had enough. There was still one more stop along the way, at the magnificent Tule Tree...

The tree is not really all that tall. 
But it's girth is a world record.

Located in the pretty little town of Santa Maria del Tule.

Hard to get perspective because it is fenced off so you can't get close. 
But you can see the size of the person walking near the right edge of the tree.

Ruth, and the Tule Tree.

Statistics. More than 2,000 years old. 
Estimates range from 1,500 years to 3,000 years.

5:45pm by the time we got back to the campground.

Today is a day of rest! I think it's almost a good thing that the schedule is changed. After two full days of touring, I think everybody needs a rest day although some are talking about going back downtown again.

The RV 30 amp version of Progressive Industries electrical management system has dropped in price again...

And in Canada...


  1. A day of rest is good so many things to take in and absorb.
    Hopefully Sherman will get back on the road soon, good luck.

    1. A day of rest is never really a day of rest for us but it sure wasn't as busy as the past few days and it was doing something that we both really enjoy, hiking!

  2. A day of rest would be needed by now I think. That's a lot of touring!!! Hopefully Sherman is ready to go soon and you can catch up with no issues.

    Safe travels.

    1. We were still out doing stuff just not as much and at a much more relaxing pace.

  3. Great pics of everything. I sure will be glad when Sherman is fixed and back in the caravan. It’s like watching a cliffhanger drama on tv and the protagonist has things happening. You know all will be ok but it’s a nail biter until it works out! :)

    1. Thanks Cindy!

      We will be so happy when Sherman is fixed too and we can be back with the caravan properly. It is a little difficult planning when everything is so up in the air waiting on the repairs. Yeah, just a bit of a cliffhanger for sure! As you said it will all work out. :-)

  4. What a lovely outing creative arts and ancient trees. Wonderful!

    1. You would have loved the art work Dianne!

  5. Just fascinating! ❤️ the carvings, the ruins, and the tree! Keep up the positive attitude with Sherman and hopefully you’ll have home sweet home back soon!

    1. Thank you Pam, we loved it all as well.

      We will be back with Sherman later today but he won't be ready to hit the road just yet.

  6. When you said it takes 1-3 years to learn how to paint the carvings, I thought to myself, "How hard can it be?". Then you showed us how hard - wow.

    1. Yep, not an easy task. The work is very, very intricate and it is all done free-hand.

  7. That art work is beautiful. They certainly do have patience. And that tree is amazing. And over 2000 years old!

    Hopefully, Sherman is back with the group soon.

    1. Those painters have a lot of patience for sure. Their work is fantastic!

      The tree is enormous and they say 2000 years old but in truth they don't quite know for sure but they say it is somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 years old. It have seen a lot in it's lifetime.

      We are headed back to Sherman today and hopefully back with the group on Friday if everything goes well.

  8. Another wonderful day in Oaxaca. The Tule Tree is definitely magnificent. Love it.
    Those young professional look like kids that should be playing outdoors. What a awesome job they are doing. I love the Owl!

    1. It was a great day, busy but fun.

      Many of the students are young looking but we have learned that they are often older than they look. The studio looks after them very well, they even get lunch made for them their as part of program/work.

      We loved the owl as well.

  9. Amazing carvings and artwork. The tree is enormous, nice to see an old timer like that. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery of Sherman.

    1. The artwork was indeed amazing. I can't imagine what it takes to do this type of work but everyone there seemed to enjoy their work.

      We love seeing these big old trees too and to see them without all kinds of carvings in them. It would have lots of stories to tell.

      We will be back to Sherman this afternoon, fingers crossed that the parts come in today as scheduled.

  10. I´m sure you saw the descriptive plaques at Monte Alban were in Spanish, English and Zapoteco, the original language of the area.

    1. Yes we did. The town of Santa Marie del Tule also has plaques and signs around in two or three languages and one of those languages is the Zapotec language.

  11. What good leaders you are. Many leaders would not be as flexible. Best of luck.

    1. We like to think we are good leaders but it sure is hard when the group moves on and you are not! Hopefully we will be back with them shortly.

  12. Taxodium mucronatum, also known as Montezuma bald cypress, Montezuma cypress, sabino, or ahuehuete is a species of Taxodium that is native to the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. (Wikipedia)

    1. Yes, that is exactly the type of tree the Tule tree is. Kevin forgot to mention that in the post.

  13. Another amazing travelogue! I cannot say enough praise for the pictures and the narrative that go with them.....I’m learning as lot just being an armchair traveler and these are places I wouldn’t have known of or ventured on our own! You are doing a superbly fantastic job as wagon masters! I feel the same way as Cindy F....hope Sherman gets fixed as scheduled and the caravan will be whole again. Meanwhile, have a good rest while you can! Safe travels.

    1. Thanks you so much for all that praise. We just like to tell people about the things we see and do and hopefully entice others to get out there and explore as well. There is just so much to see and do in this world!

      We are heading back to Sherman this morning and our fingers are crossed that the parts come in on time and that they can get Sherman back on the road as quickly as possible.

  14. Glad when you get Sherman back hopefully will be sooner rather than later! The artisans are amazing and do beautiful work. Rather pricey but well worth it. The tree is huge. Lovely scenery and sites. Enjoy and stay safe!

    1. We couldn't believe the intricate work these artists did, it was totally amazing and the fact that it is all done free-hand.

      We are back in Sherman and it looks like he will be ready to take off first thing in the morning. :-)


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