Port Angeles II, Day 1

Today I made it out to Port Angeles. Here are some highlights of what happened.

The ferry mishap

Apple Maps really sucks at giving ferry directions. I thought it was directing me to Vashon, which I had (wrongfully) assumed had a bridge connecting it to the peninsula like Bainbridge does. It was actually directing me to Southworth, but the stupid instructions just say “Take the Washington ‘Washington State Ferry’ Ferry,” which isn’t, y'know, useful, and at least in CarPlay mode it’s not particularly easy to zoom around to see which ferry line it’s directing you to.

Fortunately, there’s a free ferry from Vashon to Southworth, but that cost me about an hour of time.

At least it’s not like I was in a hurry, and I enjoy ferries anyway. (And this only wasted about 3 miles' worth of range, at least, and the second ferry trip had a better view than the first one.)

Not-so-fast charging

The CHAdeMO fast chargers around here are weirdly spaced. There’s a bunch very close to Southworth, and a bunch very close to Port Angeles, but nothing in the middle. I had erroneously thought that the Sequim Wal-Mart had one, but it turns out that it doesn’t. By the time I’d gotten to Sequim, the battery was pretty low, with about 25 miles remaining.

There are three L2 chargers in Sequim, but the first one I got to was broken and the second one had another Leaf already connected to it. The Leaf appeared to be done charging, so I parked beside it with the hopes that the owner would be out soon. It turned out the owner was in the car next to it; he wasn’t sure if the charger was broken, or if his car was. But he was happy to let me take over the charger, and talk my ear off while I tried to explain that this was my first time taking a long-ish trip in the Leaf and that I was desperate to get a charge. It seemed like he had no idea how the charge indicator on the car is supposed to look while it’s charging. (Anyway it turns out that his Leaf was, in fact, unable to take a charge.)

My car was charging just fine, but at 6kW it was rather… slow. I wasn’t about to hang around there for longer than necessary, and after half an hour or so I had another 10 miles of range, which was enough to safely get me to a Nissan dealership just outside Port Angeles.

Trying to find the charger there was really difficult! But my timing was pretty good; I found it just as another car (that belonged to the dealership) was finishing up, and a couple of employees chatted with me a little bit as I got my car hooked up.

The free charge there is limited to 30 minutes, but that was enough to get my car back up to around 70% capacity.

The rest of my trip showed an ominous yellow icon on the dashboard, but everything ran fine. As soon as I got to the AirBnB I looked it up and it turns out that one fun quirk of the Leaf is that if CHAdeMO charging is interrupted, it shows this as a potential EV system fault. So, that’s a little annoying.

For my trip back I will probably stop at the Port Angeles Wal-Mart (which must be what confused me about the one in Sequim), rather than being a burden on the Nissan dealership, and then also stop at the Poulsbo Wal-Mart when I’m approaching the ferry back.

Nissan ProPILOT: Pretty good, far from perfect

One of the reasons I got the specific Leaf I did was to have the level 2 self-driving functionality. It made the trip a lot more enjoyable. It didn’t completely automate the highway parts away, though; in a lot of spots, the poor road quality kept on turning off or even outright confusing the lane-keeping, and even the adaptive cruise control needed some amount of babying.

However, it was a huge net positive for me. I really dislike driving with regular cruise control because it’s way too easy to lose focus on things like speed or safe following distance, and adaptive cruise control basically outsources (most of) that for you, so I felt a lot more comfortable with my speed.

When lane keeping was active I also felt a lot more comfortable looking around at the scenery, rather than maintaining an anxious death-grip on the steering wheel. I still paid close attention when the roads got curvy, of course, and one of the more obnoxious things about the Leaf is that sometimes ProPILOT would oversteer a little bit which would then trip the lane-departure warning. So like, the car was yelling at me for things that it did on its own.

But at least that ensured that I was alert! And I didn’t have any near misses or anything.

There was one slightly annoying bit where the driver in front of me pulled over to the shoulder to slow down and turn onto a side road, and that led adaptive cruise control to slow me down as well. But that was easy enough to override.

Lane keeping did turn on and off quite a lot, though, and it wasn’t clear to me what the criteria were because many places where it refused to come on were roads with exactly the same lane schema as areas where the lane keeping was fine and dandy.

Of course it was unsurprising when it repeatedly shut off while on “stroads” (which there are quite a few of out here), since the lane markers aren’t consistent. Technically that’s not a situation where you should be using cruise control anyway, but those are a godawful mess from a safety and city planning perspective no matter how you drive on them.

Another annoying Leaf quirk

CarPlay crashed around every 45 minutes or so. Fortunately it restarted itself every time. Still, it was annoying to have my music randomly shut off for a couple minutes each time.

Plans for this week

Tonight I’m probably going to go back to my favorite place in Port Angeles (so far). Update: Turns out its website is full of lies and they’re not open on Mondays. I ended up going to a crappy Mexican takeout place instead.

I was hoping to go to my second-favorite place but unfortunately they are only open on weekends for now. So I’ll have to find somewhere else to go.

If the weather isn’t too awful tomorrow I’ll probably take a trip to Marymere Falls. The weather report says it’ll be 55° and cloudy, with only a 24% chance of rain, so that’s probably as good as it’s going to get this week.

I’m not sure what else I’m going to do out here. Honestly I mostly came here to be somewhere familiar-ish that isn’t home and is away from my stressors. I brought a minimal recording setup in case I decide to work on music but I don’t think that’s very likely.

I also didn’t bring my α6000 this time. I figure my iPhone 13 Pro is good enough for photography these days, and it’s less to lug around while I hike.


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