We have a sticker on our camper that reads “I camped at Overlander Oasis“. This is a lie. However, while the camping part is not technically true, we did spend enough time with Calvin and Leanne to feel as though we were part of their overlander family.
We knew, going into Oaxaca, that camping at Overlander Oasis was not to be. With Morena ruling the roost, and a series of not so great experiences with guests dogs, the “no dog” rule stands. No worries, Leanne directed us to the spacious and relatively serene Oaxaca Campground, a mere hop and skip down the road from their place in El Tule.
Not literally staying in their presence, however, did not mean we wouldn’t be spending time there. For one thing, Tequila needed a new floor. Somehow, in 3 years of weekend camping and 8 months of full time camping, the composite flooring had begun to sink a bit near the door. We knew we needed to put in a new, solid, floor and we knew Calvin was just the man for the job.
Not only did Calvin help Jim install a new floor, they fixed our city water flow issue, and found an excellent storage option for our rear camper supports when we removed them. Perhaps best of all, they allowed us to use their address to finally get our bank to send our new debit cards to us, mine arriving a mere 2 days before they would have been shut off.
None of this would come as news to the overlander community. This wonderful couple has been a fixture on the scene since they first made Mexico their home in 2008. After traveling through 30 of the 31 states of Mexico in search of a home, El Tule was it, and overlanders have rejoiced ever since.
They are our heroes, fellow travelers who understand what becomes important on the road; a decent shower, knowledgeable hosts, a secure place to call home for a day or a month. In creating their little oasis, they have met, and assisted, thousands of travelers.
During our time in Oaxaca, which ended up being nearly one month, we saw them often. Sometimes with a new project, sometimes just to stop in and say hi.
We were extremely fortunate to be in town for the annual Grito celebration, in honor of Mexico’s revolt, and eventual win over the invading Spanish. Throughout the country, banners in red, green, and white had been flying for weeks in preparation. I have to admit I am not a fireworks type of gal, but what I WAS excited about was the chance to spend the day making the traditional dish of the Grito, Chiles en Nogada.
A laborious, multi-step, dish, Chiles en Nogada features one very long list of ingredients and, if that was not off-putting enough, an even longer list of instructions. It is absolutely best done with many eager hands to spread the workload around.
While the guys roasted peppers and cooked chicken, we ladies painstakingly picked the skin off of boiled walnuts. Chicken was shredded, fruits and vegetables diced and cooked down, walnuts soaked in milk. Luckily, per Calvin’s advice we had shown up Mezcal in hand, ready to assist with the festivities.
In the end, dinner was shared between Canadians, Israeli’s, Swiss, British, and we Americans~ a true united nations, all celebrating the independence of a country we have known and loved for many years.
These are the memories that will stick with us. In the life nomadic, we experience more in a week than many do in their entire year. But the fact is that sometimes those experiences fade one into the next. Not so moments like this. These memories will last a lifetime.