Dory looking unfazed by any electrical worries.
Here are the answers to the last post’s pop quiz: No. Yes. Some yes, but some mansplained. Yes of course he did. Yes, or at least, that is our hope, fingers crossed.
Before heading to the state park, we took a long time regrouping in Coeur d’Alene, specifically in the Walmart parking lot where there was ample parking and excellent cell service for both of us. We started the day seeking help from our experts. Richard got on the phone with Randy and that helped a lot. Most importantly, Randy helped work out how we could use a portable charger to bump up the batteries in conditions when the solar panels can’t keep up. Getting to the batteries directly is intentionally difficult because lithium batteries are expensive. Richard had some thoughts on how to connect a charger using indoor contact points and he wasn’t wrong. Some of the feedback we got from the Altoistes caused me to doubt Richard’s electrical know how, and I owe him many apologies. I don’t have anywhere near the understanding of electricity to be able to weigh in, and that is a position that leaves me feeling vulnerable. Another Altoistes expert, whom we trust with high level technical thinking, also confirmed the Plan B charging plan. Plus, he gave us some good systematic diagnostic procedures to continue narrowing down the source of the problem. What we needed to obtain in town was: a portable battery charger, and an extension cord. Here’s the thing: we have (at home) an excellent and very expensive battery charger. Richard hemmed and hawed, right up until departure day, about whether he wanted to bring that charger. The last-minute decision to leave it behind is a small source of regret. Luckily, we were able to find a place in town called Batteries Plus and purchased an expensive and lesser quality charger. We will gift it to someone after we get home.
Funny thing about the extension cord. We specifically did our shopping at Walmart because we knew we could get everything from esoteric Blue Apron recipe ingredients (like frozen cauliflower rice) to any length of extension cord our hearts desired, in one place. Picture where we parked Dory as being as far from the entrance as you can imagine. Now picture us returning to Dory with a full shopping cart, packing all the food, getting ready to leave, and then realizing we had forgotten to buy an extension cord. Richard had to walk all the way back. Having done only urban hiking for the day, he was at over ten thousand steps, thanks to the extension cord.
Wait. What was our main job here?
After making those purchases, we decided to move forward. The good thing about the way we camp is that we mostly don’t use or need hookups. All our things run off the 12v batteries and we also have big beefy solar panels charging that system. Meaning, we can keep going as long as we have a way to boost those batteries back up should we be in prolonged periods of minimal rays. So, we went grocery shopping to restock for another 5-7 days and headed to the campground.
Lake Pend Oreille (which means “hangs from ears” in French)
Farragut State Park is huge. We stayed here for one night years ago, but I barely remembered it. It sits on repurposed land that was once home to the largest naval training base in the Pacific Northwest. There are still some concrete pads scattered about where they put turrets for target practice. There are many trails, boating, and a disc golf course. Disc golf seems to be the thing now and we are seeing many places that have courses in the park. There are hundreds of camp sites in multiple loops, most of which have hookups. Our site was in the Whitetail loop, which does not have hookups, but does have an amphitheater where they do evening activities.
Remnants of the Naval Administration Building
Richard was somewhat interested in doing some biking in the area, and I was somewhat interested in getting my boat in the water. Both of us were ambivalent about said activities due to drizzle. Instead, we put on rain gear and went on a nice hike to the little town of Bayview. Lake Pend Oreille (pond-or-ay) was created by a glacier and is very deep. We saw a naval facility near the town that had a small submarine sitting in the dock. I’m guessing they must use that for training purposes. Either that, or they are going deep lake diving looking for relatives of the Loch Ness Monster.
After our hike, we planned out what we wanted to do in terms of biking for the next day. Richard sometimes gets crazy biking ideas due to FOMO, so we sometimes must sift through the fuzzy ideas to arrive at good ideas. We came up with a rational plan and had another great dinner. My irrational plans include finding somewhere to get fresh salmon for one of the recipes. This certainly seems like country where there should be fresh salmon all over the place, but Google searching does not reveal those locations to me. We are proceeding sans salmon for now but will keep our eyes out for fellow campers who have caught too many fish for dinner.
Beautiful Lilac bushes everywhere
This is a really nice state park, with lots to do and very beautiful campgrounds. There are mixed evergreen and deciduous trees all throughout and giant Lilac bushes in full bloom. The sites in Whitetail are not as private as the ones we saw in the Snowberry loop, but there was more solar. You must check in at the Visitor Center when you arrive before proceeding to the campground, so that you can get your tags. We would happily return to this campground in the future. With so many things to see in this part of the world, we feel we are only scratching the surface.
Total miles: 60.3, 16.2 mpg, 5 hours because we stopped in Coeur d’Alene to do adulting. Site 6 (previously in 32). Huge campground. No hookups in Whitetail Loop, but lots of other loops have electric and water hookups. Many good dumps and potable water. Some cell service, not great; better for Verizon.