The drive from Mexico City to Oaxaca was a little longer due to losing and finding Tera’s iPhone. We stopped overnight in Oaxaca, and had a great evening walking around the main square, eating street food, treating ourselves to Domino’s pizza. The Oaxaca temple was closed, but we were able to take some pictures. The next day, the drive to Tuxtla Guttierez was a long, long day. It was 8 hours of solid driving, with stops and rests adding up to 9 hours + in the car. Once we got to Tuxtla however, we stayed an extra day to visit the stunningly beautiful Sumidero Canyon, which was definitely worth the extra night stay. Plus, we went to the Tuxtla Guttierez temple, and met some really wonderful people. . . . . (to read more click more to the right)
#1 – Beautiful driving through Southern Mexico
#2 – Walking around Oaxaca at night
#3 – Sightseeing in Sumidero Canyon
#4 – Meeting new friends in the Tuxtla temple
#5 – Constant packing and repacking the car
#1 – Beautiful driving through Southern Mexico – Mexico really is a beautiful country. We have driven through the wildest, crazy cactus forests, and single pole saguaro cactus forests, and pine forests, and beautiful farmland, and huge agave crops, and spectacular mountain ranges. We have been thrilled over and over again by vistas. The driving up to Oaxaca was pretty easy driving, on good toll roads. Up into Tuxtla though, the roads turned up into the mountains and onto less well-maintained roads. The scenery was beautiful in either case. As we drove to Tuxtla, we drove right through the isthmus of Central Mexico during a windstorm (60kph). We passed an overturned semi-truck, and the wind was so strong that when I got out to tighten up some straps, it blew my glasses right off my face 20 feet away into the weeds.
#2 – Walking around Oaxaca at night – We stayed in a hostel, put up all our things in the room, and then went out into the town. Oaxaca is a beautiful city, full of brightly colored buildings, and churches and museums. We ate tacos on the main square, and watched one of the strangest bands we’ve seen in a street show: saxophones, drums, a bass, and two enormous marimbas, with 3 men at each station. Emily was thrilled to recognize a Shostakovich Waltz that they played, and we all paired up and enjoyed an impromptu waltz together.
#3 – Sightseeing in Sumidero Canyon – This was a beautiful place. The city of Tuxtla lays right in the shadows of the highest mountains of the canyon. First, we drove up to the 5 overlook points, looking down onto the river and across to the other side of the canyon. Nathan brought his video drone to fly out over the open canyon and got some fun footage. After the drive along the top, we went down to the river and hopped into a boat to go up through the canyon on the water. The views were stunning!. At one point, we looked up a cliff that rose a kilometer into the air, straight up. above the water. It reminded us of the Norwegian fjords, or the Milford Sound in New Zealand. We saw crocodiles sunning themselves on the river banks, some spider monkeys, and the most interesting cliff face stalagmites and limestone craggy features.
#4 – Meeting new friends in the Tuxtla temple – We did baptisms in the temple, which was very similar to The Hague temple in the Netherlands, so we were a little bit nostalgic. Afterwards, we spoke for a long time with some of the American workers there who were also very excited to speak with us, since so few English speaking people pass through Tuxtla Guttierez. It turns out that one of the workers came from an old Mormon colony in Mexico, called Colonial Juarez, and she spoke at great lengths about the beauty and general wonderfulness of the place, and she invited us very earnestly to consider making a stop there. Another of the couples came from north Utah, and spoke half-way jokingly about the exciting fact that for their family, any trip to Salt Lake City was pretty exciting, and some of their children had even been all the way down to Provo. It gave Nathan a new appreciation for the uniqueness of his own globe-trotting upbringing.
#5 – Constant packing and repacking the car – By the time we left Tuxtla, after having unpacked and packed the car 6 times in succession, we were sooooo ready to be somewhere where we could unpack for good. It was a constant challenge to get everything to fit, because I kept changing things around, so as to better distribute the weight, hoping that the trailer and hitch wouldn’t be so low to the ground. Luckily, the driving part of our trip was about to be over.
Plan? What plan?
Our 2018 will be filled with family travel, with all 8 suitcases! After going to Hawaii, we are planning on driving through Mexico, to Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. We'll spend about a month there, then drive to (tentative) Costa Rica for maybe a month. Then we'll make our way back up to Texas and fly to London! After that, the plan is to drive around Europe, go back and visit Holland, and maybe navigate Eastern Europe, maybe go back to some old haunts, but whatever it is, it'll be great.