Horse Lake to La Paz… overland adventure

Travelling South – from deepest winter to shorts and a bathing suit in one long drive


When we left our home on Horse Lake with plans to drive to the boat in La Paz, we had just gone through a few days

of minus 30 weather. The snow had come in big fluffy drifts, the lake was finally frozen and ready for ice fishers, and

walking to the mail box meant putting on several layers of clothing and mitts and a toque… and hoping you didn’t

freeze on the way back.

Our plan was to visit as we headed down, so first stop was in Richmond to spend a night with good friends and then

the next evening with our kids and their significant others. We were about two minutes away from our goal the first

night, having driven through snow, sleet, freezing rain, and black ice – and we got rear ended. First reaction was that

this was the end of our almost four month adventure before it had even begun. The back of the truck was smacked

pretty bad and the other guy was even worse. However, he claimed FULL responsibility and after an evening with our

friends and a visit to our local car repair shop we realized that we were fine – they made sure we could open and close our tailgate..lights worked… it was all good. It could have so much worse !!! ICBC waived our deductible and agreed

that we could bring the truck in when we came back from the boat. So after another evening with family and friends, we headed south for our first overnight stop – Bend, Oregon, to stay for a few days with fellow N50 owners the Dents ( their Colibri is currently docked near Puerto Vallarta waiting to head further south) . Highlights included learning how to fly

our new drone.. and when Diana and I went out for a mani-pedi, Lawrence learned how to crash it.

Oh dear. Other than that we had a fantastic visit and the surprise was no snow and it was remarkably warm!

Next leg of the trip was to Lake Tahoe, and again we worried about snow in the passes but ended up having no

problems getting through. It was pretty exciting realizing that we were driving up to 9000 feet, and although there was

snow around us the roads were clear. We made it to our other N50 friends, the Goldbergs, ( whose boat Duet is waiting for them in the South Pacific)..and had another couple of days enjoying their home and driving around the area

checking out how the other .0001% live. Pretty staggering! 

After that we had a long day on the road to San Diego. This one started out OK, weather was good although there was a lot of fog through certain passes. However, the closer we got to southern California the worse the weather got, until

we were driving through squalls that rivalled anything we have seen either on the water or off. It was dark, it was windy, visibility was almost non-existent at times and we didn’t have radar to help us out. oh and the traffic…..yeah…

We were pretty much wiped by the time we arrived at our friends’ home in Point Loma – a few glasses of wine and a

good chicken dinner waiting for us straightened that up pretty quick. We hung out there for several days, with some

shopping and chores to do as well as some visiting with friends. Being able to stay with Ken and Christy from

Varnebank (fellow CUBAR participants) made it easy and fun to be in our

favourite American city! Before we left we had a chance to drop in on James and Claire on Pendana, check out their

upgrades ( beautiful) and the newest addition to their feline family ( also beautiful – pretty exotic for an Ensenada feral! I did warn James that there was a colony of feral cats living at the marina…great to see that they are being taken care of and when possible adopted out!)


So now we are in Ensenada. One of the last things James did was tell us the story of how

bad guys lie in wait for gringoes heading south, forcing vehicles to stop by using various methods and then robbing

them or worse. Needless to say I am approaching our decision to head down by truck with a little more trepidation! I

guess forewarned is forearmed.. just don’t stop, for anything.

Here in Ensenada we are staying on our 46, with Jeff the Broker staying down here at the hotel and helping to sort

through some issues as we try to sell her. I am reminded again of how much we love our 46! Would absolutely be fantastic to be able to keep her and cruise her up north but that isn’t going to happen. We are hoping that someone will

come on board and fall in love with her too – 


Tuesday- last night we took Jeff to our favourite Italian restaurant here, and had a delicious meal. Love it when tomatoes are in season and the salads are fresh. Mmmm and wonderful pizza hot out of the wood burning pizza oven. 

This morning we started up the engine and went for a quick turn around the bay. There was a fairly large swell coming

in, which translates to a good surge at the dock but turns into some high rollers further out. Jeff wanted to shoot some video while we were moving so we accomplished that, gave the Lugger a little workout, and headed back to the dock. Always nice to have extra hands helping us in, but as usual the captain and crew did a great job… textbook landing! 

The boat behaved admirably and our job now is to wash her and put her away, so she is ready for the next prospective to come aboard and check her out. We have removed the last of our stuff that remained; having the truck gives us an

opportunity to really clean her up. I even found a locker full of wine beer and some tequila…life is good…that will go

down to Northern Ranger II and find a new home for sure!



Saturday, January 20…much later… like – we are in La Paz. Waking up to a beautiful day. Feeling very …alive.


I am going to give the condensed version of the past three days – since Ensenada..

Broken tooth (me) bad cold (LT) popped tire and almost impossible spare (made inaccessible because of rear ender) (in a cel phone dead zone so no way to call for help) (thank goodness for friendly Mexican truckers) driving with no spare

on some questionable roads because no one seems to drive small American trucks… driving as the sun went down

looking at the cows and horses getting closer to the road as night approached…

lovely hotel in Loreto with no running water because the whole town was without water..6.5 earthquake as we left



But we made it! The good outweighed the bad but it was close. Yesterday’s drive was amazingly beautiful once I

settled in, and I concentrated on my guide book that gave me information about the geography and biology around me as we travelled through the different areas. And it is breathtaking- you just have to be prepared for any number of

unforeseen incidents. NOT unlike boating.

We found the truck stop taco stand we had stopped at last year ..the kind people warn you about… no running water…dirt floors…weird gooseduck thingies walking around…and when the tacos came, we were transported to taco heaven, truck drivers know where to eat!!! Friendly people,great food, and lots of it. And no adverse effects.


We enjoyed watching the kilometers disappear thinking we were getting closer to civilization, our boat, and perhaps

a decent tire store that carries weird American GM truck tires…and as we came up to the Welcome to La Paz sign I

breathed a huge sigh of relief, took a picture of the malecon and sent it off to everyone who had been watching our

adventures with trepidation… we made it ! You can stop worrying for now!

So while Lawrence reads about the storms and the snow and the ice up north, we are now basking in the sun. Lots to

do and plan but I guess after driving from Horse Lake to La Paz the other half deserves a day off!

Chances are we will be here for longer than we thought, as storms seem to be brewing everywhere and we are looking at a nasty one right about the time we want to cross over to the other side. Thankfully we are not tied to an immediate

schedule but there’s the matter of this broken tooth that will need some repair work soon and I was hoping that

would be something to do in La Cruz. The tires on the truck? That can wait! We are in boating mode now!

The fun never ends!