Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Often, the Best Thing to Do is Laugh - Pt 2

Break Down #1 So, there we sat in the parkng lot with a car straight from the mechanic, with a dead battery. We have battery cables on board but since we use them in lightning storms to create a circuit from mast to water (we attach one end to a stay and throw the other end over the side into the water) they had stopped being able to jump our car. Patrick went into a nearby auto store, purchased new cables and got a jump start. With the car loaded, we piled in and started off.
Break Down #2 We didn't even get past the place we were stopped the first time we tried to leave Santa Rosalia. The "Low Coolant" warning light came on. Patrick was ready for that one - the mechanic had told him to buy some antifreeze since he had to take the radiator system apart to reach the alternator. Patrick had already added coolant several times in his trip from the mechanic's to the marina, but the light was still coming on as we headed toward the city limits. We pulled over and added some more water and antifreeze. We started up again and the sign was gone.
Break Down #3 Then the warning light came back about 1 mile later outside the city limits. So Patrick pulled over to add more antifreeze and water. And more water. And more antifreeze. The car's engine temp just kept climbing. But we can't shut the car off because the battery is not strong enough to start us up again. Then the radiator hose just pops off and water and coolant gushes out. Panic! Frantically, Patrick reattaches the hose and tightens down the hose clamp. Thankfully, I had insisted on loading up 5 gallons of water before we left (we're traveling through a desert!). We hastily pull that out and dump about 3 gallons in, and the rest of the coolant, yet the car's temp keeps climbing. It gets up to the red death line and holds for a minute. We were just reaching to turn off the engine when the needle stops, then slowly lowers. Fiasco averted. After our hearts slow down, we load up and start off again. It seems that the mechanic had not tightened down the radiator hose clamp when he put the car back together.
We keep going to San Ignacio and find a lovely campground for the night.
Breakdown #4 The next morning, we start off and it seems to be going well. I fell asleep. Only to wake up to a sort of panicked sounding, "What happened?" from Jack. The car was sputtering to a stop and we were totally encased in a thick cloud of dust. The car won't start. Patrick tells Jack to jump out and wave off anyone coming up from behind because the dust is so thick we could get hit by an unsuspecting driver. Patrick tries the car several times with no result as the dust clears. I get the scoop from Patrick - there was road work going on and we were traveling on a stretch of gravel road that was several miles long. Everything was fine until a huge semi passed and threw up a thick cloud of dust. When the car was enveloped in the dust, it just died.
Then the dust cleared off enough and the car starts up again. Jack jumps in and off we go. We are a little wary since we are still traveling on a long stretch of gravel road and dust is flying from every car passing. We kept going until the road went back to paved. Then we found the first shady spot and stopped to shake out the air filter. Thick dust comes out. After that, the car is just not running right. It won't idle well and often sputters to a stop if we are going slow. We keep going to El Rosario to a lovely hotel we know there to spend the night.
In the parking lot, Patrick figures out that the 3" air hose that runs to the turbo charger is hanging loose. No hose clamp to be seen. Evidently the mechanic also did not reattach that hose and tighten it when he put the car back together. Patrick calls a friend with a lot of mechanical knowledge and finds out that the loose air hose would cause the stuttering and idling problems. Since the car had kept running for hours despite the loose hose, Patrick decides to press on to San Quentin (a large town two hours away) before looking for a hose clamp to firmly attach the hose.
Breakdown #5 So bright and early that morning, we start out of town, headed up a large mountain. The car just sputtters to a stop on a steep incline. Except this time, it won't budge an inch uphill. Patrick can start it up but when he puts the gas on, it just dies. Jack and I jump out to wave off any other motorists as Patrick lifts the hood and reattaches the hose. Once it is on, it pops off again, almost as soon as he puts the gas on. So after reattaching it a couple more times, we get it to the side of the road and turned around to coast down the hill back into El Rosario. Thankfully, there is a ferreteria in town so we park the car and find the hose clamp we need. Once the hose is clamped on good and tight, we start off again headed to the border.
For the rest of that day, and the next two that follow, everything is working great. The car is running like a champ.
Breakdown #6 After several more days of travel, we are camping in the redwoods of California, traveling up the coast along Highway 1. One afternoon, we pull into a store parking lot and pick up a nail in our tire. We don't find out until we stop the car a few miles further on in a campground. Thankfully, we stopped while the tire was still deflating, and no further damage was done to it. We decide to just camp for the night and get the tire fixed in the morning. We were lucky because our good friend Ethan on Eyoni had loaned us a little 12 volt air compressor for just such an emergency! We fill up the tire so we can cruise the campground to pick our spot. Then we get a big log to prop up the car and let the tire go flat. The next morning, we inflate the tire and drive into town to get it fixed. Ten dollars and 15 minutes later we were good to go.
And that was our last breakdown. We are currently in Everett enjoying cloudy skies, drizzling rain and cool temps. It is heaven.


  1. Welcome back to the land of trees, green and coolness! I can't believe how tall Jack is - WOW!! Have enjoyed reading about your adventures (as a lurker!!). Enjoy your visit "home!" Ann Schwab

  2. Well Hi Ann!
    How the heck are you? It's so great to hear from you. You were always one of my favorite Moms from SMM. Hope all is wonderful. Thanks for following our adventures.
    Laura s/v Just a Minute

  3. Wow, more adventure than you bargained for! This threw me back to our first family trip to MX... we drove ~5 hours south from Cancun in a beater of a rental car, and let's just say the first Spanish I learned was "auto caliente, necesito agua por favor!" Glad to see you are all safe back up north... when is the return trip?

  4. Hi Behan!
    It's just so great to be back that it's hard to think about the return trip. We are keeping an eye on the hurricanes and they will set the pace, but we are hoping to stay until Aug 5th? We shall see.
    Laura s/v Just a Minute