02/14/2013, La Paz
Wow, it's been a year here in La "Pause" and while we really, really, like it here- the time has come to check out someplace new.
Puerto Vallarta look out!
Yeah, decided that since it is only about 400 miles and downwind to boot, that we would take a long weekend and relocate. A bit warmer, a bit greener, and just different.
We will really miss all of our friends here; it is such a great community, actually closer to family. We will miss the Friday morning net with Gunther. We will miss the great taco stands we have on our munchies list. We will miss The Shack!
But there is that dark truth in our chosen lifestyle- as nice as the welcomes are, the departures are painful. And that is a rather different way of life for most. I don't really like saying goodbye, but I am sure that the La Paz bungee cord will pull us back in some way.
So we are out of here in a week!
02/07/2013, La Paz
Sometimes pushing around all of the bits and bytes that make up a modern nav system can actually work in a way we want.
Of course that is "sometimes" and with a lot of planning.
I found that I wanted to design a system that would incorporate things I want, nav charts and programs, integration with instruments, robust, and while not the most important- ranking up pretty high-, fiscally conservative (cheap).
So I started looking for a product that could take all of the disparate data sources and teach them to play nice with each other. I found that the AM43 Multiplexer from Noland was what I was searching for- easy to wrap my head around, simple to wire (kind of) and best of all, not that expensive.
Here's what the wiring ended up looking like- at least until I change things again.
I will start putting together some more descriptions and drawing of the "system" aboard Papillon as I get a chance.
01/27/2013, La Paz
CruiseROWater install on SVPapillon
Papillon had, at one time, some sort of watermaker installed but when we purchased her, that watermaker had been removed and the only things left were some wiring and a hose or two.
After we researched many different watermaker solutions, we decided that the CruiseROWater SM20 was the best product we could find. This decision was based on the product, the price, the output per AH, and most of all, the service behind the product.
Rich Boren, one of the partners behind CruiseROWater is a self-professed "Cruising Bozo" and while the cruiser part is true- a "Bozo" he is not. He stands behind every product personally, and in this day and age, that personal responsibility is worth a lot more than just dollars.
So, here we go- we have this big pile of parts and pieces and have to start thinking in spatial relationships and placement of components. The pile of parts is not that much of an issue but the challenge of where to put everything while keeping as much storage as possible is.
There are certain requirements- filter changes being primary with control panel access being as much of an issue. Access to the face of the 12V boost pump for the inevitable impellor failure was next and then high pressure pump access- OK, a lot of little factors all added up to more than a little head scratching.
Where to stack all of these things while trying to fit it onto a boat? In all seriousness- this took ten times as much effort and calculations as actually installing the equipment. Maybe if I wasn't, 1. A packrat, or 2. anal about functionality this would have been easier, but I really wanted it to be right the first time.
After many hours of sitting in the lazarette facing the location I decided I wanted the unit placed at, and more than a few second guesses, and second opinions from friends, the mounting scheme was decided upon and we were off!
First came the pump mounting. The requirements for that are ventilation space around the rear of the high pressure pump, a fair lead for the hoses in and out, access to the top of the high pressure pump body for oil, access to the front of the boost pump, and some protection from water ingress to the electrical parts- always a bonus round there.
I had some existing shelves where I assumed that either the prior watermaker assembly was mounted or the prior dive compressor was- either way, they are sturdy! I took the bottom shelf and mounted the boost pump under and the high pressure pump over. Under the shelf is perfect storage for all of the consumables- filters and whatnot that are needed.
With that out of the way, the next challenge, and by far the hardest part of all of this, was to figure out where to mount the pressure vessel, at a little more than 48 inches in length and the requirement for it to be within a certain range of the pump and control panel, this was no easy thing. Finally after considering every possible permutation and configuration, it was determined that a little judicious work with the jigsaw was in order.
Next there are the twin filter assembly, the carbon filter and valve assembly, the control panel, and I put in a small sea strainer as well- the requirements for these units are the access to the filters for replacement (a few inches at the bottom works), again the fair leads for the hoses in and out, access to the valves for brining and flushing, and a good view to the front of the panel to see the pressure gauge and flow meter.
Now that took a day or two of juggling pieces to get settled! Once I did decide, the mounting of the filter units was a piece of cake, but the panel mounting was just a little challenge. How to mount this nicely designed panel so it floated off of the bulkhead? Well, after doing the feed piping there was about 15 inches of ½" poly left- I needed to mount this panel with about 3 ¾" of clearance to the rear- the math worked! Using the ½" poly hose around ¼"x4 ½" lag bolts gave the perfect offset and looks good to boot.
The way this all worked out was pretty nice, but it did seem that there are a lot of hoses going back and forth, but that is a function of the order I had to mount the units in and not of any complexity involved.
The last, and easiest, challenge was to wire everything up. The prior unit was three phase 220 and this is standard 110- that only took a little bit of work behind the breaker panel and we were rewired for 110 and ready for the big test! Firing up the boost pump and bleeding out the air from the filters was pretty rewarding, but after checking for leakage, at the myriad of connections and finding none, I was ready to kick this dawg into gear! It fired up and was flowing great while I turned it up to 600 lbs of pressure- good stuff and a requirement to run it at 600 for ten minutes to break in the pressure vessel.
Cranked it up to 800 and in one of the saltiest seas on earth- the Sea of Cortez- I hit about 28 gph! Happy, happy, joy, joy!
The access to basically all of the fresh water we would ever need is one more line releasing us from shore life and while it isn't the cheapest thing we will ever do for the boat, it is certainly one of the most valuable.
01/22/2013, La Paz
Ok, we trucked across the peninsula from GN towards the Sea and Santa Rosalia. And once more we were astounded at just how pretty this drive is. Coming into Santa Rosalia the road winds down a pretty steep hill with a beautiful view of the Tres Virgenes Volcanoes along the way.
Santa Rosalia is a rather rough and tumble mining town that hangs on the steep shore of the Sea of Cortez- while some have extolled the virtues of this town, and while the people are probably as great as the rest of the residents of BCS- my opinion is based only on the drive through. Rough and tumble is a kind term.
Next on the way is the shore along the SOC and the town of Mulege- this area and the rest of the way along here to Loreto is very reminiscent of areas in Hawai'i- yes Hawai'i! it is as lush and steeply mountained and this was a real surprise. It was a great drive with beautiful vistas all along the way.
We stopped in Loreto for the night at the first well lit hotel as it was getting late and driving at night down here is way too stressful! It is a challenging road when there is enough light to see the cattle, but at night?
We hung out the next morning with a little wandering about- Loreto is a very nice place, but we did want to hit the road. So- the last day trip.
From Loreto we head back over the peninsula to the Pacific side, and after a little bit of mountain driving, the road straightens out for miles. Speed limits are for sissies! But it really does get a bit hairy above 130 ;-)
OK, blah,blah,blah cool road etc etc etc
We arrived back home at Costa Baja and laid eyes on our baby for the first time since the first of June. She needed some unloading before we could even start making her our home again. But we are back and that's just the way living on a boat is- a lot more work than most would expect, but the work itself is part of the adventure.
Thanks to all who actually read this!
11/29/2012, La Paz
Well, not the race, even though it was getting ready to start about the time we headed south. What I was referring to was the approximately 1000 mile drive from San Diego to La Paz.
Reactions to our plans to drive down were met with incredulity most of the time and only encouraged by those that have actually done the drive rather than just parroting mass media.......
So we put away Little Bad Ass for the winter (I am getting really tired of moving my s$%t around just to park a car) and moved the roof rack over to our other German friend - the Audi A6 Avant. We bought the requisite spare wheel and tire to put on top so we looked a little "expeditiony" and loaded the rest of the car to the gills. Not really sure of what we "had" to bring down, but we brought a lot of it.
The first challenge to our sensibilities was to be the border crossing. A few years back there was a collapse of the canopy over the San Ysidro border crossing and rather than rebuild in the same place, the Mexican government built a completely new facility- lucky for us it had just opened. So off we go, down to the "something to declare" area and a visit with the Aduana (Customs) officers.
They could not have been nicer! It was a really nice experience even though my Spanish is not very good at all. They were able to even process our immigration paperwork- in one place without any running around. It was a lot different than returning to the States can be.
With just a cursory glance at the pile of stuff we had aboard, they bid us Buen Viaje, and we were on our way.
We then drove out of the crossing and right onto the tollway to Ensenada- so very easy.
This was to be the way of this journey- easy, despite all of the anxieties that others had for us. Boogied down the tollway to Ensenada and stopped in there to pick up our fishing licenses and hit an ATM- oh and a couple of tacos!
The run south from Ensenada was great; we found the road to be in great shape. The two lane part is a bit hairy- no shoulder at all. The big rigs have an interesting way of letting you know when it's safe to pass- when you see a left turn signal without brake lights, you are good to pass- right turn signal without brake lights, don't go. That sure keeps the traffic moving as about half of the drive is in the mountains. The other half though is on the flats with little curve and you can really open it up!
Some like to try and make Guerrero Negro in one day as it is the halfway point, but it was getting dark and that is something that did cause even me a little anxiety, so we stopped in El Rosario and got a room at the Baja Cactus.
Since our trip coincided with the pre-run times for the Baja 1000 rooms were at a premium. With sincere apologies the innkeeper said they only had one room available- their most expensive. Two King size beds with two twins in the sleeping loft. All of 450 pesos, about 36 USD- very comfortable and clean- spotless in fact.
Had dinner at Mama Espinoza's, a famous stopover for the Baja racers, then hit the highway for the next leg.
The road from El Rosario to Guerrero Negro is one lonely bit of asphalt. The vistas are immense and certain areas have the effect of making you feel very small. A lot like being at sea!
At the border between Baja Norte and Baja Sur there is a small checkpoint for "Agricultura Inspecion". Which amounts to paying a 20 peso fee and having your tires sprayed with some sort of unidentified stuff.
Speaking of checkpoints- there are as many checkpoints along this road as there are along Interstates 8 & 10 in the US! These guys are very respectful and while toting some well used armament, they are very nonthreatening. The harshest question was "where are you heading?"
So after a food and fuel stop in G.N. we hit the road for the crossing to the Sea of Cortez side of the peninsula.
Next post- the rest of the way!
Before we get to describing adventures in Mexico - a rundown of the rest of the US road trip.
Southbury to Mystic CT and Newport RI for the "sailors pilgrimage" Both really nice places but the weather sucked. That's a technical term for rainy and windy.
Back up to Southbury for a bit more work stuff.
Then we tripped up through Massachusetts to Vermont then New Hampshire for a bit of "leaf-peeping". Wow. We were very pleasantly surprised at just how beautiful it was. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, we have had a bit of experience in natural beauty, a little jaded even. It exceeded my expectations. We drove through a place in the White Mountains called Crawford Notch and as we passed through the little gap in the ridgeline the valley opened up with a vista of spilled paint! We hit the area at "peak color" and it really did take our breath away.
Camped at a little campground on Conway Lake in New Hampshire. Great folks and would return.
On to Maine for the "third corner" state. Kennebunkport for the tourist groove and back to Southbury for the last week there.
We dodged out of the NE and headed down towards Annapolis for the next stop. Then on to Greensboro NC for a customer visit. We had decided that we needed to cross the border into Florida to complete the four corner state tour- I mean, just how often would we ever get that chance again?
So Florida, Alabama, Mississippi- stopped for lunch at The Shed- and into Louisiana. The next day we drove to Rockwall TX for a visit with Kelly's family.
The last leg found us doing a little different route to San Diego- Up to I-40 for a Route 66 run to Flagstaff, down to Phoenix, and a run over to Palm Desert. We then hopped off of the freeway and did the Palms-to-Pines drive. Quite a little challenge for the "Little Bad Ass".
OK Back to San Diego- 15,000 miles later and a lot of the country seen.
Would we do it again? Nope, no desire at all- It isn't an idle decision, we are road warriors of the ultimate sort-but why would we want to? It was just too long of a trip and we found that we rarely got the opportunity to really enjoy any area in depth.
Next entry- On to Mexico!