51.557N to 24.1426 N.. road trip to La Paz

November 6 2018

We are presently landlocked in San Diego… having driven down here two weeks ago so that himself could take the 100 ton captain’s license course.

dinner at Todo in Poco, our favourite stop on the drive down in Elk Grove, California
always a pleasure… driving in Southern California in rush hour
Not that he can actually get the license – being Canadian, that is not available to us. I was thinking of taking it too but having seen the work they have had to put into this two week course, and with other ways available to occupy myself during the day, (playing tourist with my sister Eileen while she visited us for the week..

Eileen at the Point Loma Lighthouse
hanging out in Old San Diego – never had a chance to visit before!
And also sewing with Christy every opportunity I got.. never bored… I am glad I didn’t do it.

I was busy! We took a class in making fancy flanged edges on quilts and the rest was history!
Now the guys are down to the wire – today is practice test and review and tomorrow is the actual test. Hopefully they will remember how to tie which appropriate knot needed for whatever purpose, and what lights to display when towing at night… not to mention thousands of other seemingly trivial but wildly Important if you are out at sea and lose all your electronic aides to navigation bytes of information. Considering the pre-reading consisted of three or was it four books and quizzes… yup, glad I didn’t do it.

I did the Power squadron advanced piloting course a few years back and that was almost harder than getting my ham radio license. The frustrating thing about the power squadron course was at that time they hadn’t updated the content to reflect changes in navigation equipment and several questions were pertaining to loran-c… I didn’t have the brain cells available to assimilate what I was supposed to learn about loran-c… and of course guess what, there were a few questions on the test about loran-c. Failed the test part by 1- you needed something like 75 percent? 85 %? But I nailed the charting. And although you could rewrite the test a little later, we were heading out for our first big grand adventure at sea, circumnavigating Vancouver Island… so I didn’t have the time to prepare and write it. Looking at this 100 ton course it is very similar to the Advanced Piloting course so maybe some of those old brain cells would remember a few things… but I greatly doubt it.

So once the class is over, we have a few days to collect whatever it is we need to take down to the boat, and then we start the next leg of our journey south. First stop will be Ensenada where we will check out Northern Ranger 1… still remarkably, regrettably, and surprisingly unsold ( for sale at JMYS – check her out!). We have been keeping her shiny and polished thanks to the work of Johnny our boat guy, just in case someone wants to pop in and see her for themselves.

After that the road trip truly begins.

Saturday November 10… well, it was an evening of celebration as two new captains took turns wearing the captain’s hat and analyzing the one or two things they actually missed on the test. (Poorly written and ambiguous was how they described the erroneous questions)

But considering our two guys had many years on most if not all of the whippersnappers taking the class with them… and the instructors… good on them! They also both took the extra towing test so next time someone needs a tow…

Captain Ken!
Captain T
With that under their belts and life back to relative normal, we can start looking forward to heading back to the boat. But I think today will be spent relaxing on Varnebank –

Varnebank – and my sister Eileen.. nice afternoon on the top deck
as I speak there is a big pot of tortilla soup simmering on the stove, and for once the sun is shining outside without the backdrop of fog and offshore mist clinging to the palm trees. Life is good here at Casa Quimby!

our home base for three weeks… not too hard to take!
Monday November 12… down to the wire. Just a few more days here and then we hit the road.

There is a pile of bits and pieces that have been arriving by Fed ex… some stuff picked up around town…and piles of fabric for me to take to the boat to satisfy my new love of sewing! Hopefully everything will fit in the truck ! Not to mention the boat!

November 14..whew for a minute there I thought we were leaving on a 13th but I lost a day somewhere.

Yesterday was a quiet clean up day while himself recovered from a nasty bug or something he ate. As no one else got sick we can’t blame my cooking… I’m going with the eggs Benedict at breakfast.

So he’s got a few more things to pick up – I am putting Casa Quimby to rights and getting it ready for the rightful owners to move in and enjoy her for a while. Hoping Rodney the Beta Fish I have been looking after for three weeks doesn’t miss me too much… who knew I would get attached to a Siamese Fighting Fish!?

Our little truck is going to be full to the brim, what with parts, gas cans, spare tires, luggage, and several boxes of fabric I am lugging down to the boat. Crazy…

my air conditioner in the truck… been with me on all our little red truck trips!
so tonight a sleepover with Northern Ranger 1… then the real fun begins as we retrace our steps down to La Paz…fingers crossed… I can hardly wait!

An aside.. NRI looks beautiful, a bit dusty because hey, it’s Ensenada… but she has been well cared for and looks great. Lovely to spend a night on hershe has everything anyone would want and more… we just got caught up with wanting that extra four feet!

the lovely Northern Ranger I
looking as good inside as out!
Lawrence and the pizza oven at our favourite Italian restaurant in Ensenada
November 18

We arrived yesterday after a blissfully uneventful three day drive down to La Paz.

Hotel Malaremo – nothing fancy but we like the restaurant
favourite part of the hotel is the carved headboards…
Our hotels were adequate, restaurant meals good, roads relatively clear… more traffic in some cases than we have seen before, and one long stretch of devastation.. disvacion …detour… before we got to la Paz. We like uneventful. There had been some warnings about the army stop in San Ignacio that had me anxious, but we had no problems and as usual the guys were friendly and respectful. Yay!

My favourite part of the drive south is coming down to the coast from the miles and miles of twisty turny roads and seeing the sea from afar… whether it’s coming down to Santa Rosala, Concepcion, or La Paz Harbour…

reaching Concepcion
hotel and brewery in Loreto .. lovely room and great food!
always good to stop for breakfast in Puerto Escondido at Tripu resort
the other favourite thing is fish tacos on the highway just as we clear Concepcion… Cafe Los Palmas….

no fish tacos this time, prawn instead… yum!
they have spruced the joint up a bit, (new tablecloths and sparkly Christmas trees on each table) although the banos are still the same ( take your own bucket of water in to flush and the seat has long gone so your quads get a workout).. but clean and tidy and the tacos are everything. They didn’t have fish… but they did have prawns.. camarons… yummy… and home made fresh sweet lemonade.

La Paz has been doing some face lifting itself in the past year and she looked beautiful as we drove through. The sea looked gorgeous, her usual aquamarine colour … or maybe it’s green, depends on if I am wearing my sunglasses.

driving down the waterfront..
Northern Ranger II – looking good!
The boat looked great when we arrived. We had arranged to have her washed, waxed and polished , so she was a shiny marvel! The best part was that when we opened the door… just like Northern Ranger I in Ensenada.. no smell! Locked up tight for six months and nada. Guess my compulsive cleaning and of course all new toilets and holding tank hoses throughout did the trick.

I cleaned out a few closets and exchanged old clothes for new… organized the guest bedroom so guests would have room to store things…

And discovered a minor glitch in the master head, the sink doesn’t drain. I vaguely remember issues with the shower pump as well.. not remembering if we fixed it or not. Six months is a long time !

So after some discussion about the sink not draining we left it for another time and went for dinner. Early to bed, after we enjoyed the warmth on the back deck, anticipating a day of putting things away and going food shopping. Kids come in three days, lots to do before they arrive, chores and such… the usual beginning of the cruising season stuff. No problem!

Well… maybe. I woke up after the typical restless night, the first night back sleepless kind…stretched my hands up to the top of the bed and discovered..wet. Sliding my hand between the mattress and the hull I found it was soaked. Damn!

Visions of chasing down water leaks coming in from the outside, removing and reseating hatches, a la Ron and Nancy on Duet…raced through my head. We are not Ron and Nancy kind of people. We are “who you gonna call” kind of people. Although I vow I am working on becoming a Ron and Nancy kind of person.

So we did what anyone would do in this situation-after we turned off the water… I made tea and coffee and toast and eggs and we mulled it over. Then I ripped everything off the bed and dragged it outside, including the mattress. I am very much missing the marina laundrymat, because my dear Erika would have had all these covers and sheets and such washed for me in no time! But…

So… that over with, Lawrence took over and started looking. Lots of tubes and hoses and such to inspect! I spotted an area that seemed to seep water out at an alarming rate… and it was just a join in the wall .. I relieved the pressure on the water ( opened a tap til water stopped running) and checked again. Seepage stopped.

the offending piece
Lawrence hunting leaks!
This worried me because what was behind that area that would leak? It seemed insurmountable. Until Lawrence did his own digging and came up with the easy answer – a split hose. It was spraying a large amount but it was so fine you could hardly see it.

A search for the bits to fix it (cut out offending area and join together with magic plumbing bits)

got it almost right the first time except there’s not enough hose to make a decent connection so it still leaks. Hopefully tomorrow when we go to town we will find what we need.

So the boat that looked so beautiful last night.. so clean and so inviting… now looks like we just got tossed by an overzealous coast guard patrol. And Lawrence is busy emptying what is in the truck and bringing it all down here to sort out. What were we thinking? Two suitcases each of clothes? I don’t even want to see my big suitcase…

Meanwhile I did a little research about what to do for a clogged sink in a boat. My feeling was it’s the easy fixes we have to try first. Lawrence, on the other hand, is looking for a diver. I am hoping it’s somewhere between those two – so found a site that listed five things to try, starting with making sure the sea cock is open (yup) …. boiling water.yup, nope vinegar and baking soda yup, nope. So – through hull inspection it is. Because after that it’s take the plumbing apart. And what with our leakage in the stateroom we don’t need to create any opportunity for more water to find its way into the boat , at least not yet.

The good thing is… it’s hot and dry and a bit breezy and the boat is open and air is moving through it, so with any luck the floor and carpets and hull and under bed storage will all dry out and we won’t suffer any lasting effects.

So what can be stowed has been stowed. There is a pile of things to go back to the truck ( our travelling storage unit) – and I even found places to put the sewing gear and boxes of fabric.

We still have a lot to do before the kids come, and a few more glitches to deal with.

We have a freezer installed in the pilot house behind the settee.. not a great place ( I tend fo fall into it when I am trying to clean it out) but it’s handy to have more freezer space for the long trips and when you catch big fish… Lawrence turned it on today and … it didn’t. Turn on.

Much consternation and wondering if we have missed a step but apparently not. It’s not young… and like all things appliance, one day it can work and the next day it won’t. So we are tasked with the job of looking into finding a replacement and figuring out how to install it. Not this time around – we aren’t out for long, and can store enough meat in the little freezer for four of us for a week. Just hope we don’t catch a huge fish! Wait, did I just say that?

The other thing I found out today, reading the Gringo Gazette… in December Mexico will start enforcing a new law, that requires drone operators to have licenses. Unfortunately, only Mexican citizens can get a license. And if one is caught operating a drone ( the drone police?) there could be as much as a $20,000 US fine.


Those of us with drones, still struggling to get the perfect calendar shot, and enjoying the experience of immortalizing our boat in some gorgeous far-away exotic cove…are quite distraught.

I am curious about this – I suppose bad drone operators have made it an issue for the regular non-drone operating population… and having a drone operated by some unseen stranger buzzing your boat at a quiet otherwise perfect Anchorage would be more than a little annoying…

I guess we have a few weeks to pull the drone out and get some footage, and after that – away it gets packed. That is too hefty a fine to take a chance that some local won’t rat us out for operating in some anchorage. neurotic? Maybe, but that’s a big fine. We will wait to see how it all pans out.

So – here we are – we are back. It’s warm, we are sitting on the stern deck having watched a beautiful sunset.. listening to Jimmy Buffet … wondering which restaurant to hit tonight ( can’t cook, no water, in fact no groceries due to the unexpected turns of events today, aw too bad!) and hoping that whatever needs doing can get done tomorrow or Tuesday.

And if not – well I am sure the kids will find something to do here for a day or two! Pool! Bar! La Paz! Shopping! No problemo… no bad days!