Monday, October 3, 2011


Boise StatehouseUniversity towns – we seek them out.  An active, younger population; greater cultural diversity; a variety of entertainment and events; independent retailers and restaurants; and excellent people-watching all are attractions for us.  Boise is not only a university town, but the state capitol of Idaho as well.  Since we were nearby – and since we needed some urban services – off we went to Idaho when we left Baker City.

Before we settled into Hi Valley RV Park (click here to read our review and see photos), we made three stops: two for the repair of our hot water heater and one to replace our two-year old GPS.  It was a very successful afternoon.

Over the next three days, we enjoyed many of the attractions Boise offers: long walks along the riverside greenbelt parks; a glimpse of the famous blue turf of the Boise State stadium; a self-guided tour of the empty Idaho State Capitol building (we were amazed to learn that their legislative session runs for just 4 months and had adjourned April 7, 2011 – the place was deserted); an afternoon at the Territorial Prison; walking the various interesting “districts” of downtown Boise; and several delicious meals at lively Boise restaurants.

Odel presidesWhen we weren’t out sightseeing or eating and drinking (and even when we were!), we puzzled over our refrigerator.  Eventually, after many, many hours of scouring the internet and obsessively recording our freezer and fresh food temperatures, we have concluded that our refrigerator is working as designed - even though we aren't completely happy with aspects of its performance. 

Though Norcold provides very little information, we learned that our refrigerator is designed to shut off every 48-50 hours (more or less) for 3-5 hours to de-ice the cooling “fins” at the back of the refrigerator.  While the refrigerator is shut off, the temperatures in the freezer and refrigerator climb, until the ice on the fins melts.  For us, that means the refrigerator temperature rises to 40 +/- degrees and the freezer to around 22.  The way to stop the de-ice cycle is to turn the refrigerator off and back on – exactly what we did (as a last resort) three times in the past when we noticed the temps were rising and the cooling unit was not operating. 

ID Territorial prisonBy the time we had gleaned from internet sources this information about the de-ice cycle, our refrigerator was relatively empty, so we decided to let the cycle run its course to prove to ourselves that it WOULD come back on and start cooling.  Yes, almost 5 hours later, when the fresh food temperature climbed to 40.5… ping!  The cooling unit fired up and the refrigerator began to chill. 

Based on what we have read, learned, and observed, we plan to use the on/off button to "manage" the de-ice cycle when we are in warm weather, particularly when we have a major grocery shopping planned. By turning the refrigerator off and on the night before (which restarts the 48 hour cycle), we can make sure the internal temperature won't be climbing as we arrive home with a load of groceries and freezer items – and in hot weather, we’re likely to restart the refrigerator once we see that the frost on the fins has melted, rather than waiting for the secret signal that turns the cooler back on.

Happily, we saw a lot in Boise, learned a lot in Boise, and accomplished a lot in Boise. All of today’s photos are of Boise attractions, and I hope we’ll get back through there one of these years.

The Chocolat Bar At the chocolate shop

Above: Odel enjoys a chocolate break on the convenient bench outside The Chocolat Bar.

Above, right: a fraction of the temptations we found inside!

Right:  Downtown Boise has many beautiful old buildings, and a two block stretch is dominated by restaurants with comfortable outdoor seating.  We visited this area twice for lunch at the
Bittercreek Alehouse, a restaurant with an emphasis on local ingredients and beer - many, many beers!
Old Boise building

Next stop: Crystal Crane Hot Springs – again!


  1. I knew about the fridge going through it's defrost cycle but I didn't know you could either stop and/or speed it up by turning it off and on. I'm glad you told me because sometimes it goes through this cycle and I just don't think it needs to. Thanks.

  2. Great picture of Odel presiding in the legislature. I'm surprised at the access you apparently had. I would have figured a guided tour or something of that sort. Cool!!

    Thanks for the info on the frig. That explains why ours was not stay very cool during the HOT HOT weather we experienced at the Deschutes Campground in August. Now I know!!

  3. We have the same cooling issues with our Norcold. What we learned was to turn it off and then back on again as late as possible in the evening--around midnight if we're up that late. Then the fridge will stay on that cycle and start its de-icing cycle at that time every night.

  4. A long, long time ago, when I lived in Coeur D'Alene, I used to fly to Boise for soil training trips. I always loved hanging out downtown and enjoying the great food and old neighborhoods. Glad you got to see the good parts. At that time the pop was around 80K. It has at least doubled that by now I am sure. Sure glad you figured out the refrigerator! Shouldn't be that complicated.

  5. Boise looks really neat..Haven't done much in Idaho...Stayed once in Wallace, once in Stanley..Both really neat little towns . Stanley is at elevation 7000 ft. Wallace is just off I-90.

  6. I find the differences in everyone's interests quite amazing. While I was stuck in a repair facility in Boise last year at this time, I visited several places of interest to me. I did not visit any of the places you spoke of, and you didn't visit any of the places I found fascinating! :)

  7. Looks like we'll have to add this to our list. With a big emphasis on the Chocolate Bar!

  8. Glad to hear you've figured out the ways of your fridge. Sounds pretty complicated to me and amazing that this information is not very readily available in the manual. Guess they don't feel you have "the need to know" even as your food warms up and up. :-)

  9. Interesting info about the Norcold refrigerator - who knew!
    Love Idaho. We hosted at Farragut State Park up north a few years ago.

  10. We enjoyed Boise when we stopped thro' there earlier this year. A cool little town with quite a bit to see. Some nice shots you've got.
    Glad you figured out the fridge problem!

  11. We're in Boise, too, and will be for another week. Saturday we checked out the downtown market - wow! Best we've seen, including Seattle's. What a great place! Wish we'd have known you were here!

  12. Interesting about the fridge. that must be why we never have a buildup of ice on the fins. Who knew?

  13. What a beautiful spot! We also love to visit college campuses. Makes us feel young again...LOL
    We have not visited Idaho YEA! We hope to hit that area next year.

  14. We love college towns. It just brings a vibrancy to the area. Good info on the fridge.

  15. Howdy Laurie & Odell,
    Odell, you make a very impressive
    'pot-li-tician'!!! In the candy shop bench pic, what's that on your head??
    Thanks, for hauling us around with you, but going to chocolate shops is mean, when we don't get any!!!!!!!

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes!!!!!!!!!!