Life in a Boat Yard

One week into round two of our Baja adventure, and we are happy it hasn’t been all work.

We left our Denver home and dog with my aunt and drove out Tuesday, Oct. 15, as planned. We got an early start – about 5:30 a.m. – so we could make it to Newport Beach by the end of the day. We crossed through the Eisenhower tunnel as the first snow rolled into the Denver area, making our mountain driving a bit icy, but beautiful as daylight broke.

Colorado roads

Driving through the Rocky Mountains on our way to La Paz, Mexico.

I felt like we were driving through winter into fall as we drove down the Rockies’ western slope. It was really a beautiful scene, and a pretty drive all the way from I-70 to I-15. We drove through mountain and canyons the whole way, periodically stopping to enjoy the view in Utah and Arizona.

Fall and winter mountains

We drove from winter into fall. You can see the snow at the higher altitude fade away.

Utah mountains

We so enjoyed the drive through so many types of mountains from Colorado to California.

Utah Canyon

This beautiful Canyon in Utah made us stop to admire it.

We had to drive through the Las Vegas strip, even though it was the middle of the day because I had never seen it. This put us at our day one destination about 8 p.m. to visit with our (pretty-much professional) sailing friends, David and Katie, who we met at Thanksgiving in La Paz almost 2 years ago.

They are always so welcoming when we crash coming or going from Baja. We delayed our morning start just a bit so we could meet their one-year-old daughter, Emily, putting us on our way about 7:30 a.m.

We crossed the border in Tijuana with no issues and booked it for our typical mid-way stopping point in Guerro Negro.

The mountains in Baja were more beautiful than we remembered because they were so green. the Baja had been getting a lot a rain and very wet season, actually washing out a lot of roads on the only highway that runs the length of the peninsula.

Luckily, in Mexico, they will happily divert traffic off-road.

Sunset in Guerro Negro

We arrived in Guerro Negro just at sunset.

Guerro Negro Hotel

This is the hotel we like to stay at in Guerro Negro. It is on the edge of town, always clean and the people are nice.

Broken Baja Road

The roads washed out just 2 days before we drove through here. Baja has had a very rainy season.

Green Baja Mountains

We really enjoyed how green the mountains were because of all the rain on the lower Baja.

We arrived in La Paz around 6 p.m. Our boat broker, La Paz Yachts was our first stop because we needed to get the key to our boat being stored at a local boat yard – Bercovich. Our second stop was Bercovich to check on the condition on the boat, and our third was dinner with our dear friend, Jasna, from the boat Calypso.

The boat was not in bad shape. She was a little dusty and in need of batteries and bottom paint, but mostly just how we left her. We got to work pretty much right away.

Day 1) Wash down outside and clean inside thoroughly. Remove old batteries, buy new batteries – about $450usd

Day 2) Install new batteries, unpack bags and ready v-berth for sleeping

Day 3) Power wash the boat bottom (we were able to borrow one from our boat neighbor, Pete, who came down from San Francisco to work on his boat too.)

Day 4) Had the boat bottom inspected by a local boat surveyor, Cecil – who did our boat inspection before we bought 2 years ago. He was a boat builder most of his life and will be 89 soon. We bought one gallon of ablative anti-fouling paint nearby for about $180 usd and supplies for painting. We got advice to just do a light sanding on the existing paint, power wash again and paint. So we did.

Day 5) Find cayenne pepper and put inside paint – old sailor trick to keep barnacles away. Had paint shaken again to mix all biocide and cayenne pepper inside. Now, we paint the bottom.

We are hoping to get into the water in a couple of days, in which case we would head straight to the islands to finish up the work on the boat. The boat yard has not been as bad as I thought it would be. I just had to accept that I would be dirty, sweaty and eaten by mosquitos every day. But there is unlimited fresh water and electricity, and we have the best spot in the yard with an ocean sunset view.

La Paz Sunset with boat

We enjoyed the sunset walking the ocean boardwalk in La Paz.

In the boat yard

Our boat “on the hard” in the boat yard.

Dirty boat bottom

Our boat bottom before any cleaning.

Clean the boat

Tim power washing our boat bottom.

Painting boat bottom

TIm painting the boat bottom. We went with a darker blue, and I really like it.

 

 

 

 

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Renovation Wrap Up

Our before and after kitchen renovation photos and my aunt is awesome:

With our trip hovering just around the corner (we plan to leave Oct. 15), we have been trying to wrap up projects around the house and with our clients. Tim is finishing up some contracts in Greeley, and I am completing some website content and blog posts for clients.

My aunt has graciously decided to help us while we are traveling by staying at our house and taking care of our dog Daphne while we are gone. This means the looming projects like the kitchen island needed to finally be completed, so she didn’t have to work around them like we have been. Plus, it’s nice to come home to a mostly finished home renovation.

A quick run through on the kitchen island: We had a very in-the-way pantry column in the center of the kitchen. We cut it in half with plans to make an island early on in the renovation, but lost steam before we completed it. We have been living with a cut-in-half-pantry for 6+ months, until recently when we fully completed the entire island.

in the way pantry

Way before: In-the-way pantry when bought the property.

Kitchen Island before

Way Before: The center column pantry right in the middle of the kitchen.

island before

Island before: with the drawer insert and Daphne dog

Island Before

The walls we used to make the island

Kitchen Island After

The completed kitchen island

Here are a few full kitchen before and after shots.

Kitchen Cabinets before

Kitchen before renovation

Kitchen after renovation

Kitchen after renovation

Kitchen before renovation

Kitchen before renovation

Kitchen after renovations

Kitchen after renovations

Kitchen after renovation

Our Kitchen with complete renovation. Notice we added some window trim and shelving.

 

DIY Traveler

I’m not sure what is more difficult… becoming a sailor or re-entering American society.

The standards of Americans challenge us when we are in the States because we want to feel at home and have all the luxuries we were used to before we decided to travel. So, we have found ourselves at a crossroads between being travelers and just feeling homeless.

How should we continue to travel, yet also have a sense of home and relief from travel. I see travel as a completely different experience than vacationing. “Travel” usually means fewer showers, more street food, language barriers, new forms of transportation and being excited/scared often. Although worth every minute, it can become exhausting. Where do we put up our feet to take a break from this and feel comfortable again?

We are straddling two worlds right now. Do we go back to living comfortably and going on vacations, or do we have a crash pad to stay between countries? We have yet to determine its purpose, but we have bought a little townhome near Denver, Colorado we can call home for now.

Mexico is beckoning, as sailing season is upon us again. We both want so badly to go back to the S/V Luckiest and see the rest of the Sea of Cortez, but we are in the middle of renovations of our new home. We bought a fixer-upper built and decorated in 1974 — the same year as our Cal 35 sailboat. We have a ton of changes to make before we even move in, but we are both excited to see of what we are capable of in the rehab world. After we complete the reno, we will likely be rushing down to La Paz to get a couple of months of sailing in before the season ends. We hope to make it across the sea to the Gold Coast near Puerto Vallarta.

The idea is that we set up American-style lives for part of the year and spend three to six months of the year traveling in different countries. It seems good in theory, so stick around and I will let you know if it works. In the mean time, here are some before shots and renovation photos of our new place.

The before shot of our entry way.

The before shot of our entry way.

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Wallpaper from 1974 covers most of the home’s surfaces including the kitchen. Orange and green flowers and stripes have got to go.

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The flower powder room near the kitchen.

Old dirty staircase.

Old dirty staircase.

Tim is scraping the popcorn ceiling off. It was a huge mess, but we did it before we moved any furniture in.

Tim is scraping the popcorn ceiling off. It was a huge mess, but we did it before we moved any furniture in.

We pulled all the carpet up first.

We pulled all the carpet up first.

I am pulling the wallpaper off the pantry column in the kitchen, which will be an island.

I am pulling the wallpaper off the pantry column in the kitchen, which will be an island.

Tim begins to cut the pantry in half to make an island and a more open concept.

Tim begins to cut the pantry in half to make an island and a more open concept.

We stacked all of our bigger furniture in the living room while we still renovate. All the wallpaper is off, the ceilings are scraped and the shag carpet is gone.

We stacked all of our bigger furniture in the living room while we still renovate. All the wallpaper is off, the ceilings are scraped and the shag carpet is gone.