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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Museum at the Brig

~Thursday, August 27, 2020~

Day 74

What an awesome day. We have much to be grateful for with good health, the ability to be able to take this year off and reboot, and blessed to be meeting such nice people along the way. I don’t mind living in this temporary “bubble” that we’re in for now, because I know there is so much upheaval going on in the world right now. Sometimes, it helps to just shut it out for a while so we can take note of the predominant goodness that is in the world. I really believe that goodness prevails.

I tried to contact a few places in northern Florida, but had spotty wi-fi so guess this will just have to wait until we have steady reception. Leaving Sadie in the air-conditioned trailer, we drove to the Museum at the Brig in the Farragut State Park where we’re staying.

We wanted to make sure we got this in since they are only open Thursday thru Sundays and we’re leaving the area tomorrow. This is a must stop, history buff or not. Due to COVID, they were limiting the number of guests in the museum.

So while we waited we toured the courtyard which displayed all 50 state flags, describing in detail the images and significance of each one. The husband and wife from Washington state are docents for this season. Before coming to Farragut, I had no idea that this 4,000 acre park was once the second largest Naval training facility in the world. It was named after David Farragut, the first Admiral in the U.S. Navy and leading naval officer in the Civil War. The museum is in the old “jail brig”, one of only a few remaining structures left of the 750 or so buildings that were once here. The museum houses an impressive collection of boot camp, naval and war memorabilia dedicated to the nearly 300,000 Navy recruits who received training here. The most fascinating displays to me were the Naval knots (there must have been over 30 different ones), each one with its own style and uniqueness. How would you memorize how to do all of them by name? I also enjoyed reading some of the letters that were sent home many years ago, by Navy recruits. After WWII ended, the federal government shut down the training facility in 1946 leaving 750 structures vacant. Most of these buildings were sold for as little as 50 cents. The catch was you had to have them hauled. Over several summers, the buildings were moved and the land was transferred to the state of Idaho in 1949, and became a state park in 1965. This was definitely a highlight of our stay here at Farragut State Park.

Now the chores call. We gathered up laundry, notepads for trip planning, and Sadie and drove to Bayview which is at the southwest end of Lake Pend Oreille. There is a very nice laundromat there, conveniently located next to Ralph’s Coffee Shop, with a nice view of the bay and surrounding mountains. What better way when waiting for your laundry to get done, then to walk next door to Ralph’s for a delicious ice cream cone followed by a little drive around the wharf? What really stands out are the 200+ float homes here, but is also home to a small Navy base called Acoustic Research Detachment (ARD) which operates and supports unique large scale submarine models, test ranges and acoustic test facilities. When we got back to the laundromat, we ran into our docents from the museum today as well as our camp host/volunteer guy we met yesterday at our campsite while we waited to move. They’re doing the same full-time RV thing. Many of the people we’ve met are from California wanting a change from the high cost of living there, with the mentality that “life’s too short”. Just do it!

We spent our late afternoon/early evening once again, at the perfect beach spot on Lake Pend Oreille… to the Sunrise Day Use Area. If you walk just below the day use area towards the lake, you’ll find your perfect little beach spot. We had such an enjoyable time, staying until late dusk. Shockingly, I had cell service there, so called my sister, my mom (poor thing...she is sick), and our daughter while watching the sunset. And once again, Sadie got in more water time.

When we got back, Jeff made these mini pizzas but this time on pita bread. Sure comes in handy when you don’t have a pizza pan and they were delicious. And Sadie got a nice warm blow-dry after her time at the lake. We’re sad to leave this place tomorrow as we were just getting settled in. Would have liked to have spent more time in Coeur d’Alene, but taking note of what we didn’t get to do, for another time. Hopefully we’ll be back one day.

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