BC2BC: The Untold Story

Saturday, November 16, 2013

BC2BC: The Untold Story

Sabrina and I started the BC2BC rally four months ago, back on June 30th. We covered more than 1,000 miles in the first five days, and more than 3500 miles total. I had published three blog posts by the time we reached San Francisco, and intended to continue the cyber documentation of Team Crazy Daddy’s venture further south, and, likewise, during the trip back home. However, the blogging ceased. The next blog post published was more than two weeks later, after we had been home for two days.

Since returning home in mid-July, the narrative that I share with friends and family has included much more than the time that was originally documented from Canada to San Francisco. Actually, I tend to talk with them more about our return trip than the actual rally itself. For it was after Sabrina and I celebrated at the U.S.-Mexico border that the journey–the real hardship–began.

There was comfort and security during the first half of our trip. While driving in the All Electric Vehicle Rally from Canada to Mexico, we would meet up with fellow drivers every two to three days at rally checkpoints. The camaraderie and rest at the stage locations really did help to alleviate the stress of the drive.

There were certainly moments on that drive south that were trying and stressful. When I am a very old man, I will still be telling people about how I drove from Grants Pass down into the Sacramento Valley past Redding, and finally heading west into Santa Rosa from Williams, California…in 24 hours…in a first generation Nissan LEAF.

There was relief for us at the Santa Rosa stage location, though, as the next rally departure was not for another two days. This allowed us to spend time around the Bay Area recharging our batteries before hitting the road again.

We made it!
When we arrived at the Mexican border, the rally was, in a heartbeat, done for us. We took a celebratory selfie, and I asked Sabrina if she wanted to go home. So just a few minutes after completing the rally, we were back in our LEAF heading due north. It was just after 6:00pm on July 8th and we were heading home!In less than a quarter mile, though, I once again parked the car. I had promised Sabrina days before that I would stop at McDonald’s after we completed the rally, and I knew that there was a Mickey D’s right there at the border. Inside, while Sabrina ate her Happy Meal, I made some calculations to figure out if we could make it to our campground at Caspers Wilderness Park by nightfall. We would not make it.

So we finished eating in the car and continued driving north towards San Diego proper. At 7:00, I received a message from Tony Williams, founder of the BC2BC rally, offering for us to stay at his home for the night. It was an immensely welcomed gesture, and we detoured to Tony’s San Diego residence, arriving late into the evening.

Just before leaving Tony’s house on July 9th.  So tired!
The next day, Tuesday morning, we left the Williams’ residence. Everybody was gone by the time we got up and were ready. It was a reminder that life had returned to normal for Tony; he was home and back to his daily grind.  Leaving San Diego, I was intensely home sick. More than anything, I wanted to see Tanya, eat homemade cookies, and sleep in my own bed.  In that order:)
At about noon, we were southwest of downtown Los Angeles. I was dreading the trip back into the EV badlands of central California. There was a Target just off of the freeway, so I decided to pull off of the 405 at the Westfield Mall in Culver City. The familiarity of a big-box store had a comforting draw. Excitedly, I asked Sabrina if she wanted to go to Target, and she replied, “YES!”
We were in Target just a matter of minutes, and I felt the pull of making time once again. I fought to come to grips with reality, though. There was a little toy train in the mall, so I paid a fella a few dollars to let Sabrina go around for a several minutes while I considered our options. After the ride, I asked Sabrina if she would be okay if I drove through the night. The sweetheart that she is, Sabrina loyally supported my plan.
Last day of the rally

The previous day, before we made the final push to the border, I had arranged for Sabrina to take a surf lesson at Venice Beach. After the lesson, we were both disappointed that it wasn’t going to work out to ride the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier, which was about a mile and a half away.

Since an all night of driving was going to happen anyway on this night, we decided to head west to Santa Monica and ride that Ferris Wheel. The ride was fun, but it didn’t relieve my mind of the burden of getting my precious cargo home to her mommy. We didn’t stay at Pacific Park long, and headed back out to the car to prepare for our trek over the Grapevine.

Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier

While Sabrina ate a snack in the backseat, I spent some time making calculations for the drive. We were due to arrive in Modesto in less than 24 hours, but the drive to get there was going to be tough. There is limited EV infrastructure for the Nissan LEAF between L.A. and San Francisco. The game plan was to drive all night over the Grapevine and into Bakersfield, charge to 100% in Bakersfield, then drive a Range Hero 110+ miles to Clovis.  From Clovis, we would leapfrog charging stations all day on Wednesday, July 10th into Modesto.

I then had a breakdown. I called Tanya, and told her that I couldn’t do it. Even if we made it to Modesto, I knew that I was still looking at some extremely stressful driving north of San Francisco. After hearing Tanya’s stern words of encouragement, we departed Santa Monica.

Last available plug!

We arrived at the top of the Grapevine at a little after 9:00pm, and drove around the large parking area for about 20 minutes looking for the Shorepower units to charge us enough to make it to Bakersfield. Practically every one of the 285 parking stalls was taken by a big rig. We circled around and around, our little car completely dwarfed by the giants. Finally, we found a Shorepower outlet–the last one available!

Cooking up a package of Lit’l Smokies

The timing of the drive from the Flying J truck stop down into the San Juaquin Valley was critical. That expected 110 mile drive into the Fresno area needed to be completed as early as possible to avoid the forecasted 105 degree temps and the Wednesday morning traffic on State Route 99.

113.3 miles w/o turtling=Range Hero!

We arrived at Nissan of Bakersfield in the middle of the night, and tried to sleep in the car as we charged for three or four hours.  Just before sunrise, we departed and started the long drive into Clovis. The drive was as flat as a pancake, so there was no elevation to worry about.  However, I had to drive slower than the flow of traffic which is never safe nor fun. We arrived at Schneider Electric in Clovis after traveling more than 113 miles on the one charge. A new personal best! It took almost an hour to find a Schneider employee, first willing, then able, to get us set up to have access to the electric vehicle supply equipment. It was extremely frustrating to lose this time trying to persuade administrative employees of the company to give us permission to charge at their headquarters. This is a company that makes electric vehicle supply equipment for commercial and home use for goodness sakes. This tough start to the day was just the beginning of a “Groundhog’s Day” experience where we found ourselves unable to get out of the Fresno/Clovis region.

Mini golfing in 105 degree temps?!?

After charging for just an hour, or so, at Schneider Electric, we unplugged to continue our charge at a local Nissan dealership. There was nowhere for us to get relief from the heat at Schneider, and I knew that any Nissan dealership would have free wi-fi, coffee, and an air conditioned lobby for us to wait in while charging.  In just the short trip to the dealership, we used more electricity than I expected because the use of full-blast AC was unavoidable. We charged for a while at Nissan of Clovis, but we were both getting stir crazy.  I offered to take Sabrina to Blackbeard’s to play some mini golf.  So, we drove over to Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment Center…again using up WAY too much energy with the AC.  I have no idea what I was thinking.  Playing mini golf outside in 105 degree temps qualifies me for the bozo-of-the-year award.  To add to the list of why this was a completely moronic decision: the car wasn’t charging while we were there, nor were we making any progress towards home.

We both faked the fun on our quick round of mini golf, and were back in the car in about 45 minutes. There we were, in the same predicament as several hours earlier. We needed a charge to get the heck out of town, so we headed over to Lithia Nissan of Fresno. The AC was up to eleven and we arrived at the Nissan dealership with far less charge than I was hoping for.  Just like a Groundhog’s Day nightmare, we again found ourselves in another dealership waiting area for a couple of hours while the car charged.
There is an animal shelter south of Modesto in the town of Turlock that has electric vehicle supply equipment.  Earlier in the day, I planned on getting about a 30 minute charge at the animal shelter before driving into Modesto to our friends’ house.  However, at this point in the day, I was not interested in another stop before arriving at Paul and Manda’s home in Modesto 95 miles away. I can’t remember what the state of charge was when we left Fresno, but it was about 85% complete. By this point in the trip, driving 95 miles on a less than complete charge didn’t really scare me. Yes, I was always nervous about the long drives, but had developed quite a bit of confidence in my ability to play the range game.
Overconfidence bites me in the bum!

After 93 miles of driving, I turtled the car.  “Turtling” an EV happens when there is approximately 1/2 mile of range remaining; a turtle lights up on the dash and the vehicle is limited to 25 mph. I drove around Modesto for a few minutes, then tried my luck at finding an exterior 120v outlet on the campus of Modesto Junior College.  Once plugged in, I called Paul to let him know that we would be late for dinner, and he ended up driving over to keep us company during the hour of charging.

Sending the cord through the master bedroom.
Once at the Hardy residence, we realized that my charging cord was not going to reach the clothes dryer outlet behind the master bedroom. So Paul and I drove to Home Depot to get the supplies I needed to make an extension and adapter. After getting back, Paul and Manda prepared an awesome dinner while Evan, Ava, and Sabrina swam in their pool. Back with Paul at the BBQ, I was busy stripping wires and piecing together my adapter. While working, I couldn’t help but think that one’s ability to make EV plug-in adapters on the fly was likely to become an important 21st century skill.
Sabrina & Ava: Two peas in a pod.
Wish we could’ve stayed longer!
The next morning, Sabrina and I were once again treated to a great meal. The stay with the Hardy’s was just too short. I’ve known Paul my whole life, but it was during those 16 hours at their home that I realized how similar the two of us are. Getting together with both families (complete families next time) would be great!  Maybe halfway between Seattle and Modesto, though;)
What a great city, that San Francisco is.
Leaving Modesto on the morning of Thursday, July 11th, I was again feeling good as we had a chance to do some quick charging in the Bay Area with the bountiful CHAdeMO charging stations there. We were making such good time, if fact, that I got off the expressway to take Sabrina to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Once we were down there, though, I had a tough time finding a place to charge that also wasn’t ridiculously expensive to park at; it was going to be at least $30 for a charge and a couple of hours of parking.
Not having it, I decided to park and charge almost three miles away. Instead of walking to Fisherman’s Wharf, I hoped to make better time with public transportation. We ended up walking nearly a mile in the wrong direction to find a bus, but were able to eventually get to our destination. We didn’t have long to tromp around Fisherman’s Wharf, but did get in the obligatory souvenir shopping and ate fish-n-chips.
On the way back to the car, I got us on the wrong bus!  Oh, misery! The route plopped us off about a mile and a half away from the car, and we had to walk the rest of the way in a brutal headwind.  We finally pulled into our motel in Ukiah at 9:30 that night completely exhausted.
Staying overnight at the Super 8 was a planned stop, as it is an EV oasis. The motel offers free use of it’s EV charging station to guests–a smart move because there are very few EV charging opportunities between Ukiah and Eureka along 101.Leaving Ukiah late in the morning on Friday, July 12th, I wanted to take Sabrina to get some close-up action of the Redwoods.  We found what we were looking for, and drove through Chandelier Tree (one of several drive-through trees beckoning tourist dollars).

At about 1:30, we pulled into the Benbow Inn, a historic hotel located in the midst of the Redwoods. It was another planned stop; another EV oasis. Interestingly, the Benbow Inn first installed electric vehicle supply equipment back in the late 1990s to lure wealthy EV1 owners in for a short holiday away from the weekday slog in the blossoming Silicon Valley. We had a difficult time finding the charging unit, but ultimately found it nestled in some overgrown ivy!
There’s the EVSE!  In the ivy near the front of the car.
We ate lunch in the dining area inside of the Benbow Inn. Our modest meal ended up having a tab of $37.10, though. Now that was a costly “free” charge!  Well played, Benbow Inn.  Well played.
We left the Benbow Inn late into the afternoon and slowly made our way to Eureka, and then ultimately to Klamath, California. It was that drive, from Eureka to Klamath, that was just so god-awful that words on a screen will never convey the impossibility this drive was for me.
One thing that has to be said is that I did not leave the charging location at the Caltrans District Office in Eureka with a 100% charge. Of course I didn’t. When traveling thousands of miles in an EV that has a 75 mile range, one of the first tricks learned is to maximize time, not range.  Arriving at a charging location with anything more than 0% charge means that you wasted time by over charging at the previous stop.  I wouldn’t have experienced stress overload had I taken our LEAF to 100% every time charging.  But instead of needing 17 days to go 3500 miles, it would’ve taken the full month of July.
I cannot remember what the state of charge was when leaving Eureka, but it was likely around 80-85%. That 80-90% was a pretty magic number on the trip, as I was able to drive pretty consistently 80-100 miles on that level of charge, depending on terrain.  And it was the terrain that got me on that leg heading into Klamath.
The net elevation gain between Eureka and Klamath is +47 feet.  However, the whole trip was a roller coaster ride, going from sea level to a few hundred feet, over and over.  Then at the 50 mile mark, Highway 101 shot up 1500′.  It felt like Mt. Hood had been relocated to the Oregon coast.  The ups and downs up to that point had just hammered my range, so all I could do was go slow to conserve the very little range that remained.  So slow, in fact, that had Fred Flintstone helped me motivate the car with foot power, we would have surely doubled the speed I was able to drive under battery power.
The final seven miles before we made it to the Chinook RV Resort & Campground in Klamath were never above 50 feet.  It was about 11:00 at night, with only an occasional vehicle that needed to pass us.  So, driving 20 mph, we limped along. It was going to be just fine.
As soon as I thought that we were going to be okay, I saw a bull elk on the road.  It was a straight section of road, so he and I saw one another some ways out.  I was not making any noise in my EV traveling 20 mph so he didn’t move.  It felt like an eternity for me just to make it to the animal, both of us staring at the other. The bull was, what I hoped, frozen by my headlights.
The encounter took so long that I had time to play some scenarios through my mind:  If the elk rams us, do I stop?  If I stop, will we be in danger of another attack?  If the elk rams us, do I keep going at 20 mph?  I knew that a chicken can run, in bursts, at almost 10 mph. Surely an elk could catch us.  If the elk rams us, should I keep going but floor it?  If I floored it, our car would quickly run out of electricity…in a no cell service area…in the middle of the night…with my 5-year-old daughter in the car…with a pissed off bull elk just down the road.
We passed the elk without incident.  I did feel like an elk whisper, though.  We crawled into the RV campground, and were asleep in our tent by 11:30pm.
The horned-beast encounters continue.
The next morning, Saturday, July 13th, Sabrina and I packed up and hit the road.  I was so excited to get into Oregon and finally be back in the land of the CHAdeMO quick chargers.  These particular quick chargers are installed throughout Oregon and Washington.  It was another planned long day, but at least we’d get our (north) West Coast Electric Highway quick charge sometime that evening.
30 panel solar array powering ONE 240volt station–C’mon!
While I do feel that Oregon has done just about everything right with their EV infrastructure deployment, there are the occasional situations that just leave the EV driver wondering “why?”  In the picture above, we are charging at a Level 2 station in the parking lot of the Bandon, Oregon police department.  Overhead, there was a 30 panel photovoltaic solar panel array, presumably powering the charging station.  To the left, Highway 101 which bisects the town and is the only road that most people will ever drive in Bandon who do not live there.
It sure appeared that the Bandon city officials wanted to put up a glorious “green” project for the folks driving through town to see.  Maybe it was meant to make people like me feel good. Seeing the overwhelming solar array, I suppose that the town folk wanted to encourage our spending of green in their “green” town.
Frankly, all I could think of for the three hours that we were stuck in Bandon was that the elected officials in the town were idiots.  If they really wanted to benefit their town–wanted to bring in EV tourism dollars–they would have funded a quick charger instead of the PV/Level 2 system.  EV drivers will seek out towns and business that have quick chargers.  Instead, the city of Bandon was provided with a true life EV charging scenario in the parking lot of their police department: I gutted the car and did a complete car clean-out, then barbecued right there for all to see who drove past us on Highway 101.
Florence, OR…1st quick charge since Santa Rosa, CA!
We arrived at the Three Rivers Casino in Florence, Oregon at 10:00 on the night of Saturday, July 13th.  During the 25 minutes of charging a couple got to talking with me about our LEAF and charging.  Being regulars at the casino, they said that the charger is often charging a LEAF when they are there.  Now, this is a perfect example of “if you build it, they will come!”
Wait!  Trickle charging in Oregon?
On the night of July 13th, we camped at the Beachside State Recreation Site in Waldport, OR.  The next morning, I made an almost fatal error: I missed a quick charge in nearby Yachats, OR.  I had been so accustomed to getting 80 miles per charge, that when I saw 30 miles had been driven the previous night from the casino to our camping spot, I assumed that we needed to get about 50 more miles in before charging. Glancing at a map, the quick charger in Lincoln City was about 45 miles away. Perfect!
We actually would have made it into Lincoln City without much fuss had I not driven like Mario Andretti the previous night on a celebratory drive over those 30 miles to get to the Beachside State Rec Site.  In Depoe Bay, still 13 miles from the quick charger in Lincoln City, I decided to preemptively get some trickle charging in.  It was early on July 14th, a Sunday morning, so I thought that the theft of a few electrons from a little touristy shop would be of minimal risk.
After about 20 minutes, though, a woman parked her vehicle in the gravel parking lot behind the business, and walked around to the front of our car.  She stood at my front bumper, but our eyes never met.  Instead, I watched in slow motion as her eyes looked at the plug coming from out of the front end of our LEAF.  She didn’t move, but then looked at every inch of charging cable from the car all the way back to the 120v outlet at the front of the shop. Her shop.  The fire was ablaze, as she was obviously onto me.  The woman’s head snapped back to the LEAF, then she pivoted on her heals and stormed into the business next door.
Mistakenly, my thoughts went aloud and I said, “I think that she is going to call the police.”  I now had two problems: 1) The police, and 2) A 5-year-old who thought that the police were going to take us to jail.
As collected as I could consciously control, I stepped out of the car, unplugged, and started making our way, once again, north.  We did have to stop one more time before making it to the quick charger in Lincoln City, but this time at a legitimate, and legal, charging station.  The worst of it was taking the barrage of “why” questions from Sabrina:)
Say, “CHEESE!”
The remaining 350 miles of driving over the next day and a half were worry-free.  No pictures.  No stories of having to hitchhike home.  Just easy, quick-charging interstate traveling!

We stayed the night again with Deb and Ron at their beautiful nursery on Sunday, July 14th.  And from their place in Cornelius, OR, we zipped home on Monday, July 15th.

BC2BC-2014 starts August 10, 2014 until August 17, 2014


The 2014 third annual BC2BC All Electric Vehicle Rally starts August 10, 2014

The third annual BC2BC-2014, “All Electric Vehicle Rally”, 1500 miles from Mexico to Canada, is planned for August 10, 2014 through August 17, 2014.

The start will be in the Los Angeles, California area, however we will drive south to the Mexico border (but not cross it with a car), then on to Vancouver, BC. Bring your passport for Canada and your A game! Again, we will not be entering Mexico with cars, but we will enter Canada.

We are also planning the World’s Largest Electric Vehicle Gathering for Sunday morning, August 10, 2014 at our Los Angeles launch site.

If the finances / sponsors work out, we would like to also host rally teams with sponsor supplied car. Those teams would consist of folks from EV manufacturers, EV related industry, and government.

As always, your input on proposed rule changes for 2014, cool ideas, etc, are appreciated. This event is primarily to bring awareness to the general public about EVs, and we are all ambassadors in that endeavor. If you have contacts in media along our route, that is probably the single biggest help we could receive.

Stages will be:
STAGE I   – August 10, 2014 – 641 miles MINIMUM – Los Angeles, California area start
STAGE II  – August 13, 2014 – 637 miles MINIMUM – San Francisco, California area
STAGE III – August 16, 2014 – 173 miles MINIMUM – Portland, Oregon area
STAGE IV – August 16, 2014 – 140 miles MINIMUM – Seattle, Washington area
Rally End – August 17, 2014 —————————- Vancouver, British Columbia area

Total MINIMUM miles – 1592

There will be three classes this year:

Unlimited Class – all other street legal cars, no restrictions to battery size

Motorcycle Class – all street legal bikes, no restrictions to battery size

100 Mile Class – any street legal car EPA rated below 100 miles with stock battery capacity

There will be two routes; one for Unlimited Class, and the other for Motorcycle and 100 Mile Class.

Tony Williams
Rally Organizer
BC2BC (aught) AllElectricVehicleRally (daught) org
Twitter: @QCpower #BC2BC, Facebook: All Electric Vehicle Rally
1500 Miles from Mexico to Canada
August 10, 2014 until August 17, 2014


Terry Kershner ready to start BC2BC-2013


The (hidden) Disadvantages of “Splitting” and Going Solo

Georg Khunke

Georg puts on his game face!

by Georg, 10 July 2013

I felt compelled to write a little about my half of the 2013 BC2BC Rally.  In particular after reading some of the excellent blogs from the other participants, and in part to make at least a few observations.  And I am writing in the spirit of kaizen (continuous improvement) for next year’s event.

I appreciate meeting you all … and I just regret not being there from the start.  What I realized only until after the event is that everyone had lots of time bonding at the start of the rally in Blaine, WA, and subsequently in Grants Pass, OR.  I missed out on that.  My apologies to any inadvertent name hiccups I may have made …

One of my objectives after accepting Jack’s proposal to finish the rally for him in Stages 3 & 4 was to minimize my expenses.  I had trouble finding reasonable accommodations for Santa Rosa the night before the start of Stage 3.  I had even considered overnighting at the County Fairgrounds since I had to replenish 130 miles needed to make it to Santa Rosa.  But then Jack came thru and offered frequent guest points he had for the Marriott Courtyard.  This made for a much more relaxed and rested start for me on July 5.  And it was good to meet many of you (and Alan from the local EV club) at the dinner the night before.

For San Luis Obispo accommodations I turned to “PlugShare” … and as I was planning the rally routing, I recalled Tony charging at Linda’s place in Morro Bay.  I contacted Linda, and she was gracious in accepting me at her house for two nights.  I spent quite some time with her, gave her a ride, of course, and also realized it would be great to have a local EV advocate meet the rally participants.  So that’s how the dinner in Morro Bay the eve of Stage 4 came about.


Ready to Rumble!

For San Juan Capistrano I had my son in SoCal contact a friend of his (Eric), and so my Sunday night accommodation was a couch to crash on in Irvine.  In return I offered Eric an extended ride in a Premium EV and a party in SJC.  This is how I ended up with a “navigator” (not co-pilot) for the final 100 miles of the rally.

Because Jack’s car is Nevada-licensed it does not have the White Stickers for the California Diamond Lanes (one person occupancy allowed to use the commute lane).  This fact hurt a little from Santa Rosa to Redwood City.  I was just lucky that this was a holiday Friday (July 5), so traffic wasn’t too horrible.  But it is obvious that having your own navigator/passenger in the car could make for a HUGE advantage.

Naturally, the other advantage a rally participant with two people in the car has is that the driver can fully concentrate on driving.  This adds a critical safety margin.  Here I was at a distinct disadvantage (as was Jack in Stage 1 & 2).  With the full internet connectivity of the Model S, or the ubiquitous smart phone, the passenger can take time to do “proper research” for all those last minute surprises Tony always had in store for us J !

Again … I did not have this advantage.  And so I relied on my co-pilot (formerly pilot for Stage 1 & 2) to feed me strategy advice, as well as updates on other rally car positions.  All other Model S participants had at their disposal a “built-in” support person.  In my case it was Jack … and at other times a wonderful Model S couple from Stockton (you met Bill & Polly in Santa Rosa Friday morning).  Unfortunately, the fact that my support was not physically present in the car, made for a more distracted driver.  And an exhaustion of my monthly calling minutes on my cell plan in one third of the allotted calendar time !  But in the end it all worked out.

So … what can we improve for 2014 ?  Meet with local EV supporters at dinner on the eve of the next Stage.  Publish checkpoints the night before.  Give “spot” to anyone unable to use Glympse.  Get everyone familiar with Glympse (or then improved equivalent) before the start of the rally.  Always pull poker cards for the completed Stage at the dinner (encourages greater attendance).  Allow checkpoint photos only during the official time frame of the Stage in question.  Allow for “splitting” the tour (like Jack & I did), but *NOT* switching driver/passenger during a particular Stage; this “splitting” option may motivate more EV signups around the middle of the rally, rather than “endpoint” participants only.  Add a small time penalty for DCFC (CHAdeMo or SuperCharging) for each fast-charge event to even out the playing field.


Jack Bowers was Georg’s co-driver

Oh … and Monday night was a futon at my son’s fraternity house.  Tuesday I drove home 400 miles in 9 hours, SuperCharging twice (Tejon Ranch & Harris Ranch).  And it felt wonderful to sleep in a familiar bed again last night.

I had a ton of fun, and hope you did too.  Greetings and The Best to you all !

Race Results

BC2BC-2013 Results:

The BC2BC-2013 All Electric Vehicle Rally began with all vehicles departing from the Canadian border at the Peace Arch State Park, Saturday, June 29, 2013 with 1508 miles driven to Mexico.

Overall Results, Final Tally, BC2BC-2013
July 7, 2013 at 8pm

Rally #—Time points / Card points —Model

1st) Car #43 —– 1 / 1 — Tesla Model S
2nd) Bike#5 —– 3/5 — ZERO motorcycle
3rd) Car #8 —– 4/4 — Tesla Model S
4th) Car #1 —— 7/3 — Toyota Rav4 EV
5th) Car #6 —– 5/7 — Tesla Model S
6th) Car #45 —- 6/6 — Tesla Roadster
7th) Car #4 —– 8/- — Nissan LEAF
8th) Car #3 —– 9/- — Nissan LEAF
9th) Car #2 —– DNF — Mitsubishi iMiev


Playing Cards
Rally #—– Card Score – Cards

1st) Car #43 – 1 point – Flush, 8 high card
2nd) Car #1 – 3 points – Straight, King high card
3rd) Car #8 – 4 points – Two Pair, 9s and Aces
4th) Car #1 – 5 points – Two Pair, 9s and Kings
5th) Car #45 – 6 points – One Pair, 7s
6th) Car #6 – 7 points – One Pair, 4s
7th) Car #4 – no score
8th) Car #3 – no score
9th) Car #2 – Did Not Finish


Overall time score

1st) Car #43 – 41+08 = 18+13, 09+15, 5+48, 7+52
2nd) Bike#5 – 54+50 = 27+54, 10+35, 5+21, 11+00estimate
3rd) Car #8 – 57+17 = 25+01, 13+59, 10+40, 7+37
4th) Car #6 – 57+35 = 31+06, 10+25, 8+38, 7+26
5th) Car #45 – 70+52 = 33+34, 14+25, 12+20, 10+33
6th) Car #1 – 74+58 = 29+20, 18+17, 16+23, 10+58
7th) Car #4 – 97+21 = 49+12, 23+20, 24+49, enroute
8th) Car #3 – 103+05 = 28+25, 48+59, 25+41, enroute
9th) Car #2 – Did Not Finish


Stage 1 results / Blaine to Grants Pass
Rally # – Hours+Min (departure – arrival) model

1) Car #43 – 18+13 (12.09 – 06.22) Model S
2) Car #2 – 20+35 (12.12 – 08.45) iMiev
3) Car #8 – 25+01 (12.27 – 13.28) Model S
4) Bike#5 – 27+54 (12.31 – 16.25) ZERO
5) Car #3 – 28+25 (12.18 – 16.43) LEAF
6) Car #1 – 29+20 (12.34 – 17.54) Rav4 EV
7) Car #6 – 31+06 (12.24 – 19.30) Model S
8) Car #45 – 33+34 (12.21 – 21.55) Roadster
9) Car #4 – 49+12 (12.15 – 13.27+48) LEAF


Stage 2 results / Grants Pass to Santa Rosa
Rally # – Hours+Min (departure – arrival) model

1) Car #43 – 09+15 (08.45 – 18.19) Model S
2) Car #6 – 10+25 (09.15 – 19.49 ) Model S
3) Bike#5 – 10+35 (09.00 – 19.47 ) ZERO
4) Car #8 – 13+59 (08.55 – 22.54 ) Model S
5) Car #45 – 14+25 (09.20 – 23.45) Roadster
6) Car #1 – 18+17 (09.10 – 03.27) Rav4 EV
7) Car #4 – 23+20 (09.25 – 08.20 +25 min penalty) LEAF
8) Car #3 – 00+00 (09.05 – 11.54+48 ) LEAF
9) Car #2 – DNS/DNF (08.50 -xx.xx) iMiev (Did Not Show/Did Not Finish)


Stage 3 results / Santa Rosa to San Luis Obispo
Rally # – Hours+Min (departure – arrival) model

1) Bike#5 – 05+21 (09.10 – 17.15) minus (10.16-13.00 free) ZERO
2) Car #43 – 05+48 (09.00 – 17.23) minus (10.25-13.00 free) Model S
3) Car #6 – 08+38 (09.05 – 19.43 ) minus (11.00-13.00 free) Model S
4) Car #8 – 10+40 (09.15 – 20.03) minus (11.08-13.00 free) Model S
5) Car #45 – 12+20 (09.20 – 23.20 ) minus (11.20-13.00 free) Roadster
6) Car #1 – 16+23 (09.25 – 03.38 ) minus (11.10-13.00 free) Rav4 EV
7) Car #4 – 24+49 (09.30 – 11.15 ) minus (12.04-13.00 free) LEAF
8) Car #3 – 25+41 (09.35 – 11.38) minus (12.38-13.00 free) LEAF
9) Car #2 – Did Not Finish


Stage 4 results / San Luis Obispo to San Yisidro
Rally # – Hours+Min (departure – arrival) model

1) Bike#5 – 11+00 (09.00-20.00estimate) – ZERO
2) Car #43 – 7+52 (08.30-16.22) – Model S
3) Car #6 – 7+26 (08.35-16.01) – Model S
4) Car #8 – 7+37 (08.40- 16.17))- Model S
5) Car #45 – 10+33 (08.45-18.00+78) – Roadster
6) Car #1 – 10+58 (08.50-18.30+78) – Rav4 EV
7) Car #4 –+– (08.55-enroute) – LEAF
8) Car #3 –+– (09.05-enroute) – LEAF
9) Car #2 – Did Not Finish

Lightning Beats The World Best Gas Motorcycles at PPIHC

Lightning Electric Motorcycle
RIGHTSOWNED_5 Calrlin Dunne - RM_7188-(ZF-9080-24499-1-001)
Lightning Beats The World Best Gas Motorcycles at PPIHC     
     For the first time at a major motorsports event, an electric motorcycle beats all  of the world fastest gas-powered competitors at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Springs, Co. on June 30th . Lightning Motorcycle, the leading pioneer in electric motorcycle , was the fastest of the 82 motorcycle entered  and beat  all  but the 8 fastest cars at PPIHC. Adding to the achievement, the Lightning SuperBike was powered by clean, renewable solar energy. 

Lightning didn’t just win the electric category, they were faster than the closest world-class gas-powered bike by almost 21 seconds. The majority of the electric bike field posted times in the mid-12-minute range.  Lightning Electric Superbike was 2+ minutes faster. Lightning is the leader in high performance electric vehicle development.  Click here to read about “Lightning First”.


“The win at Pikes Peak shows that superior, world-class performance can be achieved today with clean technologies.  The Lightning team is gratified to be a leader in the racing world, testing and driving technology for the future. We love the idea of utilizing the racing platform to push the limits of technology while building a foundation for future industries, ” said Richard Hatfield, founder and CEO of Lightning Motorcycle. “ We hope this milestone will encourage our colleagues,  competitors and other companies in the clean tech industry to  develop their products so that consumers will choose them because they are the best in class, and not just because they are green.”

pikes peak photo 2Powered with Solar Energy

The Lightning SuperBike, the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, was powered with solar energy  via a SMA inverter and Trina panels which charge the EnerDel battery pack   that provide the vehicle with enough power to win the race.

Click here to read more.

Lightning Solar Sprinterphoto (14)
SMA – Our Title SponsorIMG_5649

Team Green Machine heads south – Tales from the 2013 BC2BC EV Rally

Friday, July 5, 2013

Supercharger day

July 4th – well, this day was very calm and relaxing. We looked online for a festival or July 4th party to crash nearby ( don’t want to go too far and deplete the charge before the send-off in the morning). There was one in a park nearby that was to start at 11 am, but when we got there at 11:05, nothing going on at all. So we decided to go wash the car. Uncovered a road warrior wound on the passenger door – a rock dent about 1/2 inch long (help Dumores Collision!!!!!) The first one is the hardest :( we thought the first one would be on the front.)

Left the car at Nissan across the street from our hotel to charge, then pool day! Had the pool to ourselves.
Next was meeting the gang for dinner at Chevy’s Mexican and met the new driver of Jack’s Model S. His name is Georg (pronounced Gay Org ). Jack had a family do to get to, so this was in the plan from the beginning. Jack’s car is in the lead time-wise, so Georg has his work cut out for him!
Just having a quick breakfast then off to the drivers meeting, then off to SUPERCHARGER land!!!!!
Until the next wifi…..
Team Green Machine on the road again with all our plans for the checkpoints in place!
C & R

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Santa Rosa day 1 report from Charlie Brown town

The first day in Santa Rosa was fairly relaxing.
We left the Hyatt Vineyard & Spa at 6:30 am to go find charging as we did not know if there were any media plans for the day. Tony came in around 3:45 am so we didn’t expect to hear for him til noon.
Found a free plug at Sonoma County administration building just a few miles away. There are quite a few broken chargers in this city, and the first one we went to was indeed out of commission. The next building over had a bunch more chargers so that worked out. Talked briefly to a Leaf owner who was arriving at work beside us. What a nice bunch of people EV owners are!
Had a breakfast bite to eat in the county cafe where wifi was present and found an RV park with bigger power to head to. It was at the County fairgrounds, so for $5 we got to charge up for 3.5 hours. We used our time to search for a more reasonable hotel that was close to a charger, then went for a long walk around the perimeter of the fair grounds. Jack, the RV park host told us that the fairgrounds has a huge 4th of July fireworks show and that the RV park would fill up by the end of the day. It was good timing that we got the last 50 amp plug early in the morning!
Then headed to the Best Western Plus and Santa Rosa Nissan for the rest of the charge.
Finally heard from Tony and then walked back over to the Hyatt. The lady at Nissan said it was just up the street and left on 3rd Street -yeah, if you’re driving! It is a mile and a half, in the heat of the afternoon! But we did it, although I was a little red when we got there.
Tony and Terry ( biker) were the only ones there, so we decided to grab a bite at the Mexican place nearby -nummy! FYI – Santa Rosa is all about Charlie Brown, so there are life sized 5′ cartoon statues all over town-so cute!
During lunch we decided to all go together to the county airport to get our checkpoint picture of the CAFE foundation’s only charger for electric aircraft in the world. We took our car and had a blast! We got to the CAFE hangar via a back road. The charger was not in plain sight, and Tony wanted to get behind that fence that said no trespassing, trespassers will be prosecuted, no unauthorized entry etc – you get the drift. They don’t want unauthorized folks in there.
We proceed to try different codes on the keypad and after less than a minute, we’re in!
There was nobody around, just a bunch of buildings and wide open grass fields. We walked around looking for the charger, and lo and behold, there it was! So that just made Tony’s day. We all took a bunch of pictures to prove its existence, then headed out before the Calvary came!
We had a lot of laughs on the way back to town about the adventure!
Dropped Tony & Terry off back at their hotel and headed back to our hotel. Relaxed for the evening, and now are ready for July 4th and all its glory! Going to a festival in the park nearby, then some pool time this afternoon, then dinner with the gang tonight at 7, then off to the races again tomorrow morning at 8 am for stage 3 to San Luis Obispo. Daniel from the Tesla store in Bellevue has given us contact info for his sister-in-law there, so we will look her up.
We can hardly stand the anticipation of using the Superchargers in this next stage!!
Until next time…
Crazy Canadians Team Green Machine
Cheryl & Randy
FYI – this blog link will go onto the Facebook page for BC2BC All Electric Vehicle Rally

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stage 2 report

The stage 2 log: Grants Pass OR to Santa Rosa CA

The criteria given at the send-off gave us a choice of routes:
1. Go coastal and get a checkpoint picture to get another poker card, or
2. go inland I5 and save time
The driver’s meeting left us nervous to stick with our plan of I5 to get to Santa Rosa the quickest. They talked about possible brown-outs with the power, and extreme temps expected inland. We weren’t worried about the car – it was all about us sitting in an RV park along I5 charging up for 4 hours. Most RV parks have little or no shade.
So, we opted for the coastal route checkpoint picture choice figuring that we have the efficient driving down pat ie. the right speed & technique on hills to get the max range. We headed west from Grants Pass and came out at Crescent City. Stopped there at a lovely shaded RV park for a few hours while we had lunch and explored the park. The crusty old RV park owner was extremely helpful and curious about the car. We then headed out down the coast-it is always so exciting to get the first glimpse of the ocean. The trip went well, with minimal traffic, beautiful scenery and reasonable range mileage. We had to make one more charge-up at the KOA in Willits CA at about 6:30 – 9 pm. We talked to some German travelers who where heading up to Vancouver in an RV. He knew all about Tesla, as they are also available in Germany. We gave them some Canada pins.
We arrived at the Hyatt stage 2 check-in at 10:55 pm, and were the 4th vehicle in. It was car 43 (Jack’s Model S), then car 6 (Dave & Helen Model S) , then bike 5 (Terry), then us, then car 45 (Ashoka’s Tesla roadster), then car 1 (Tony’s Rav4), then car 4 (Steve’s Leaf). Eric’s Leaf car 3 had a bit of trouble but he is on his way today, so all are accounted for!
One of the reasons that the other 2 Tesla Model S get to to the stages so quickly is that they have a $650+ Tesla roadster adapter which allows them access to some specific fast chargers along I5. Without that adapter, we are left with 50 amp charging which is basically only available in RV parks. This is temporary until Tesla finishes installing the Superchargers at approximately 200 mile intervals along major routes. They are coming online daily, and we will have a much easier time charging on our way home. We will go from 3-4 hour charging to 20 minutes woohoo!
A bit if rally gossip: so Lee in car 2 started at Blaine in a Mitsubishi iMiev. It is the smallest and least range of the bunch. He actually made it to the first stage in Grants Pass in second place, but carried on with the route on his own. The rules state that stage 2 began on July 2 from Grants Pass. Therefore, he was not there to begin the second stage and have a proper send-off time in order to check-in at the end point of stage 2 in Santa Rosa. He is somewhere south of San Francisco apparently doing just fine on his own rally.
He is posting and tweeting that there is no way he could make it under Tony’s rules, but Tony specifically made the timing work for his car. It appears that Lee has his own agenda, but he is now disqualified from the rally due to the stage 2 send-off no show.
Tony has invited Lee to the finale party in San Ysidro though, so hopefully all will be well in the end.
We are now settling in to Santa Rosa. There are fireworks close by tomorrow night, so we are looking forward to that.
Until next time………Team Green Machine on the loose in Santa Rosa (Charlie Brown town-google that!!)
Cheryl & Rand

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Grants Pass interlude day

Our lay over day in Grants Pass:

We slept well at La Quinta Inn and woke up refreshed. Since there were no official events planned, we decided to head down to Ashland OR to do a pre-visit for our next possible checkpoint at Brammo Electric Motorcycles. They welcomed us with open arms, and Adrian (the Marketing exec) gave us a box of Brammo hats to take back for the rest of the participants. They felt bad as they had not responded to Tony’s request for participation in the rally. Charles from Brammo even escorted us to town with his Brammo to show us where the park was for our picnic lunch. Awesome!
We had a lovely lunch in the park, then meandered back towards Grants Pass via hwy 99 ( the old Pacific Highway). Very nice drive sort of like Route 66 in that there are lots of old motels and gas stations from the 50’s and 60’s.
Upon return to Grants Pass we went to the visitors center a block away from our hotel to use their charger to top up for this morning’s take off. We met up with the Tesla Roadster driver and ended up having dinner with him and learning all about data management. He is currently working on his masters in this field ( he explained his field as being sort of like what John Snowden whistle blew about the US govt tracking everyone’s data too closely). Another brainiac to hang out with -FUN!
So, now we are off to the lobby to hand out the Brammo hats and find out the details and checkpoints for stage 2. Wish us luck!!!
Team Green Machine car #8
Cheryl & Randy

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stage 1 Grants Pass Oregon

After breakfast and blogging at the RV park yesterday, we thought we’d be charged and ready to go, only to find that the breaker had blown! Frustrating as now we had to wait another 1.5 hours. We had found out by then that the first driver had checked in at 6:22 am at Stage 1.
The thing with charging is figuring out a balance between how far you have to go with how much “juice” you have in the tank. The tank is measured in miles stored up in the battery (range). (Km when we are at home).
So, we had to go 142 miles and it is recommended that you have a buffer of 50 miles on top of that for unexpected detours, wind, rain, hills etc in order to get to the destination in case there are no chargers in between. So we needed 192 miles in the tank/charged battery. We finally decided to live dangerously and only have a 20 mile buffer so we left the RV park with 162 miles-what rebels you say!!!
The drive was very fun as we tried many different ideas and EV driving tips that the members of VEVA (Vancouver Electric Vehicle Assn) had suggested to get the most range that we could out of the charge. Things like maintaining lower speed on flats (58 MPH was our sweet spot), drafting behind semi trucks so they pull us along, coasting down shorter hills, limiting A/C use.
This all worked such that we actually got to Grants Pass within our 20 mile planned buffer no problem. Now we will use that instead of needing to wait until we have a 50 mi buffer at future charges.
We arrived at Grants Pass stage 1 at 1:28 pm in 34 deg C heat as the second car to check-in. We were so happy with that and could not figure out how the other model S did it 7 hours quicker, as all we did was charge and drive with no breaks, and there are no fast chargers for our model S’s yet along the way. We soon found out the answer to that!
We met in the lobby with the teams that had arrived at 4’ish. By now 4 cars and the electric motorcycle had checked in. 2 model S (us & Jack from Nevada), 1 Nissan Leaf (Eric), 1 Rav 4 (Tony-the rally organizer) and the Zero electric motorcycle (Terry from Florida). We went for a beer down at the tavern, and man oh man what an experience that was!
These people have absolutely brilliant minds with regard to electric vehicles!  They proceeded to discuss their extra charging gadgets in their vehicles that enabled them to boost their charging via simple Home Depot electrical supplies and things they buy on ebay etc. My head was swimming, and I was basically smiling and nodding. Randy was holding his own and really understood what they were saying and was fully conversant. I thought to myself – wow – if this is just an inkling of the kind of minds that are working on improving electrical vehicles, then we ARE going to be able to move forward with this technology without question. It turns out that Jack is an electrical engineer, Tony is a retired commercial plot turned engineer type, and Terry – OMG he is a passionate soul about off the grid living! He is on Off The Grid on Facebook-worth checking him out.
We left there feeling very fortunate to be involved in this experience with these uber passionate people!
Now we have had a great sleep, and have a relaxing day to spend in Grants Pass while we await the arrival of the rest of the cars. We leave on stage 2 tomorrow morning -hope you all enjoy Canada Day (and Happy Birthday to our dear niece Vickie!)
Fully converted EV enthusiast – there is no turning back for me now! :)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

First day/night

OK so, we left Blaine at 12:26 pm. They changed up the checkpoints at the last minute, which really confirmed that we are in an “Amazing Race” of sorts.
First checkpoint was the Spark Museum of Electricity in Bellingham. They had a parking spot reserved for us rally participants, and a welcome crew that met us outside, escorted us into the museum, and took our picture beside the big antiqueTesla coil. This is an optional stop to increase odds of winning, so of course we did it! That museum is very well laid out -wish we had more time to go through it.
Next, we headed over to Bellevue Square Mall to get a faster charge at the Tesla store. Stayed about an hour, then had to be at the Lemay Antique Car Museum before it closed at 5. We made it, and wow-that is some building and car collection! Google it to check it out – reminded us of the music museum in Seattle with the unique building design. We had to get a picture with one of the electric cars on display, so we got ours in front of the 1912 Detroit Electric. We also have a picture of us in front of the VEVA Detroit Electric (same model) as our blog pic.
Needed more juice on the way to Portland, so stopped at RV Park for 2 hrs -lots of Tesla time there as little league state championships are on this weekend, and the teams and parents were extremely interested. Tons of questions and they even offered us coffee and burgers! Gave out Canada pins to the kids.
So, the next question was – where to power up overnight? There is a big gap in chargers that are located at or near hotels/motels. They seem to be at retail outlets and food outlets, so not the best place to leave the car overnight. (We sure miss Sun Country’s well placed chargers in Canada!)
Problem solved! We drove to the Tesla store in Portland, arrived at 11 pm to the mall parkade and tucked ourselves in next to the demo Tesla’s and settled in for a night in the car. No obvious hotels around, and didn’t fancy walking blindly around that ‘hood. The Cheesecake Factory was open in the mall, so we went for a night cap and bathroom break.
About 2:30 am a knock on the window -SECURITY was doing their job. He was freaked out to see bodies in the car, but we explained the rally to him, and he had no problem letting us stay.
Up at 6 am, then down the road a couple of hours and now at an RV Park 50 amp charger. Showered, breakfasted, blogged, and now on our way to Grants Pass, where the 1st stage happens. So curious to see how the others faired. We saw a few co-ralliers along the I5 yesterday – so fun to wave and share the excitement.
TTFN – til the next wifi!

C & R. Team Green Machine

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day before we leave

So, today was a very busy day. Randy attended the Powertech DC fast charger launch in Surrey.This jargon means that Nissan Leaf owners will now have the ability to fast-charge their cars in BC. It took a while to start installations, but now these stations will be popping up fast and furious! There were 25 Nissan Leafs, 6 Tesla Model S, 1 Tesla Roadster and 1 Chev Volt, all flanked by the 1912 Detroit Electric car to celebrate this great day for EV’s.
Randy old them that I was busy at home fine-tuning the “hamster generators” and sewing battery leads onto our fuzzy sweaters for extra static electric power for the car! Do you think he wants to win this rally or what?!
In reality I was tieing up loose ends at home from this whirlwind week since we decided to embark on the BC2BC last Thursday.
So, the car is packed ( with lots of extra room if you can believe it)!…and we are ready to go.
Mum visited the local MP James Moore office and got a bunch of Canada pins to give to along the way -thanks Mum!  and we have our window Canada flag to fly along the way. I think we are ready to take on this thing with  a gusto!
Early morning at the “Golden Plug Ceremony” at Peace Arch Park Blaine in the morning.
Tata for now!

Team “Crazy Daddy” Blog

Goodbye Oregon–We’ll Miss You!

Monday, July 1, 2013

We will be departing Grants Pass, OR in the morning. Our last DCQC for a couple of days will be in Ashland, OR tomorrow morning. Not having to quick charge is bitter sweet, as we won’t have the ability to drive hundreds of miles in a day but we also won’t have the worry of the high temperature battery packs. Those high temp battery packs were just aweful today. Before sharing the end-of-drive battery temp stresses, I need to back up with some highlights from Sunday…

Upon leaving the Hochstein Nursery on Sunday, Sabrina was given an archery lesson by her cousin Kayla.IMAG0218

For her next lesson, I bet that Kayla will review safety with Sabrina. Just after the photo was taken, Sabrina shot the arrow and narrowly missed her cousin:)IMAG0225

The Nissan LEAF has several route options in the navigation settings (quickest route, shortest route, eco route, and avoid highways). For the first half of the trip from Cornelius to Albany, we avoided highways. The resulting drive was a spectacular one! This picture was taken of the road that we drove on–no traffic, no signs, no lane markings, and beautiful scenery.IMAG0228

Last night was the first night of camping, and the first time I have charged the car at an RV campground. It was pretty fun being the little car plugged in amongst the RVs. There was some great conversing with neighbors and the EV-curious. It was a nice, relaxing end to a relaxing day.

Today, on the other hand was not so relaxing. When we left the campground this morning, the average battery temperature was 83 degrees. With only three quick charges needed to reach Grants Pass, I thought I could let the electrons flow on the freeway and not have to worry about high battery temperatures. Things were going as planned for about the first 120 miles of the day, as I was fully enjoying my role of spreading the “EVs can be really fast” word to my fellow road mates. After the second quick charge, the battery temperature was getting high–about 108 degrees. I wasn’t too worried, though, because I knew that I only needed one more quick charge.

While charging in Canyonville, OR, I was closely watching the temperatures of the battery packs. When the temps rose to 116* (average) and I hit 11 temperature bars on the dash, I stopped the charge. It was 42 miles to Grants Pass and we had a projected 42 miles of range. For those familiar with the drive into Grants Pass from the north, you’ll remember the STEEP climbs and downhill sections. Going up the grades, I kept the power usage to 20 kWh. This resulted in speeds of 28-40 m.p.h. Coming down the hills, things were just as steep. I had two problems going, though, as I needed range and the batteries were too hot. Because of the heat issue, I decided not to use regenerative braking. On each trip down, we got going pretty fast; 88 m.p.h. on the steepest grade actually. I do think that it is fitting that terminal velocity in our electric car is eighty-eight miles per houuur!

The whole thing was rather embarassing actually. There we were, in all of our vinyl-covered rally car glory driving on the shoulder “slow truck” lane going up the grades, being passed by everybody. I can only imagine what drivers were saying when we flew past them on the way down. And then it happend all over again…sloooow, then fast!

Quick charging is not going to be an issue for heat tomorrow, but the ambient temperature is going to be rough on Sabrina and me, if not also our car. I have spent dozens of hours planning this trip. My goals are to complete the rally and do so having a great time with my Sabrina. Tomorrow and the next day will be taxing the limit of what Sabrina can handle, I am affraid. I am now going to look at the plans and see if it is best to continue down I-5 into Redding and Sacremento, or to divert and head for the coast. Changing plans this drastically will be very challenging. I have to make sure that I can charge the car and also do so while having a memorable time with Sabrina.

I suppose the memories are inevitable. Hopefully they’re good!

BC2BC: Here We Go!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sabrina and I drove our first day of the BC2BC All Electric Vehicle Rally yesterday.  In total, we covered  420 miles going from Bellingham, WA into Canada (more on that in moment), and south to Cornelius, OR.

To start the trip, we stayed with Dave and Ilene Green in Bellingham on Friday night.  The stay with the Greens was such a nice visit.  They afforded me plenty of time to evangelize and promote electric vehicles, and stretched my thinking on other sustainable endeavors.  Sabrina and I had two fantastic vegan meals while at the Green’s house!
After putting Sabrina to bed, Dave and Ilene stayed up late with me to go through our 17 day itinerary.  There was a point when we each had our phones/computers going while searching for fun activities and sights to see while Sabrina and I are in California.  I am so excited to show Sabrina the Morro Bay Rock on the central-California coast.  Dave actually let us borrow his binoculars to maximize the viewing opportunities!
In heading to the Peace Arch Park in Blaine for the start of the rally, I accidentally ended up driving into Canada.  This, of course, is not a problem unless a daddy does not have ANY identification showing that the child in the backseat is, in fact, legally his and that they are not on the run.  It took us about 45 minutes to get back across the border and into Blaine.  The border patrol agent that we worked with was very thorough, and rightfully let me have it for attempting to take a five-year-old across an international border without the appropriate documentation.
The start of the rally fun, as a few dozen EV owners showed up to show their support.  I was extremely nervous in those couple of hours leading up to the rally start, and sure appreciated everybody’s excitement and enthusiasm to help keep my mind off of the challenges of the trip itself.  Sabrina and I departed Blaine at about 12:15 in the afternoon.
The 13 hour drive yesterday was a definite haul.  Something that I did not expect was the comradery from fellow EV drivers on the road and the fun bantering with other rally participants all competing for places to charge.

Yesterday helped me realize that I may not be in this thing to win it.  Actually, last place is all but guaranteed.  This is fine with me because this trip is really all about the memories I am making with Sabrina (as I write this, Sabrina is playing with her cousins and uncle and having an absolute blast).

Today, we will be covering less than 100 miles.  Every summer when I was a kid, my sister and I would spend a week at our Grandma and Grandpa Coram’s house in Salem, and the highlight of the trip was always the trip to the Enchanted Forest.  I am sure that this will be a fun time!

Asoka’s Blog

Asoka’s Blog

Preparing for stage 2

Tue, 02 Jul 2013 Asoka


I expect that this will be the most challenging stage for the vehicles. Distance, heat, and hills all combine to make for a lot of travel. The terrain is also sparsely populated, so although charging stations can be found, they won’t necessarily be within a mile when you need one. I have learned a fair bit from going up and down hills (we gained about 1000′ climbing up to Grants Pass, with more up and down beyond the net elevation gain). Even with that hill climbing, I can get close to the ideal miles on the Roadster, or at least I did for the run into Grants Pass.

I know that won’t be the case during stage 2, but it also gives me confidence that I’ve got a good ballpark estimate of what the extra elevation gain will take over the course of the day, and that I can plan for that from the beginning. The map says I’ve got 367 miles to cover, and I estimate the net effect of the elevation gain and loss will be about 30 additional miles of charge. I figure that means about 6-7 hours of driving (I’ve been setting cruise at 59), and an additional 3-4 hours of charging at ~50 miles of range/hour (I start with 233 miles of range and I will use 400 miles of range if my estimate is correct; I want a 50 mile buffer at the end). Others in the rally have been pulling in with 2-5 miles of estimated range – I’ve decided I’m on vacation and don’t need to cut things that fine.

The rubric I’ve read is to figure about 7 miles lost climbing 1000′, and 4 miles gained descending 1000′. It looks to me like we have about 10,000 feet of upping and downing (or more accurately, 10 climbs and descents of 1000′), with a net descent on the day of close to 1000′. The net at the end of the day will be nice, but the front end is going to cause some wild variations in estimated mileage.


Stage 2 BC2BC profile, with desirable charging stops marked

You will also see in the Glympse tracks we’ll be posting, that there will be some degree of scattering tomorrow. It looks like many participants are heading from Grants Pass to the coast for the run down to Santa Rosa. The advantage I see there is less up and down, less truly steep hills to climb, and along the coast – less heat (to cool via AC, and more comfortable period). The disadvantage is about 30 extra miles to drive and therefore, charge.

I’ll be taking the I-5 route. The advantage for me is I’ll be able to use Roadster specific chargers that will let me charge at 70A (about 12 kW each hour, or around 45-50 miles of range/hour). Alternative chargers would take me down to 20-30 miles of range per hour. Needing ~200 miles of charging over the day, that would be 6-10 hours of charging rather than 4 hours (and a really, really long day). I expect the other cars that can make good use of the higher charging rates to also be taking I-5. As there are 2 chargers with 2 plugs total between them, the three of us will need to share (or at least, one of us will end up sitting – we draw cards in the morning to determine departure order, and that will probably determine who sits).

One tip I got from somebody today that I expect to be trying tomorrow – when charging, get the car into shade. Alternatively, open the trunk in such a way that it shades the PEM (Power Electronics Module?) that handles the conversion of AC to DC, pushing power into the battery, and other power distribution stuff. The PEM is air cooled on the Roadster and the battery pack liquid cooled (and heated – not an issue this time of year). In the heat we’re seeing lately, it seems the PEM can get hot enough that it basically stops funneling power into the pack. Opening the trunk will help it breathe. Creating some shade, or draping it in light cloth will help. I might also wipe the top down with a damp cloth now and then to further cool it – all in an effort to keep the charge moving along.

One of my early takeaways is that this trip is actually quite doable, and is comfortably within the limits of at least the cars I am primarily contending with. The points that make this trip challenging are stuff that I would expect to make the trip challenging to anybody doing this in a small sports car – very little room for luggage, no cupholders, road noise from hours of driving. I’ll add a photo of my Roadster Center Console Insert (RCCI) that is working quite well – both cupholder and right side armrest.

I’ve also learned that the Roadster is surprisingly spacious in some odd ways. I’m about 6′ tall, but I can get my legs completely stretched out straight. I might use all of the cabin, but it’s pretty easy to stretch as I’m rolling along.

After tomorrow, we’ll see how close what I think is going to happen, is a reflection of what actually happens.

Stage 1

Tue, 02 Jul 2013 Asoka

For those not completely clear, the “race” component of the rally isn’t a big deal for me. This really is more about the journey and doing something new, as well as learning about the car.

In Stage 1, we departed from Blaine, WA in the early afternoon on our way to Grants Pass, OR. My plan was to make my way home in the Portland area, sleep the night, and then carry on to Grants Pass on Sunday the 30th. And that’s what actually happened – more than less.

We stopped at a couple of museums on Saturday after we started – a museum devoted to the history of electricity in Bellingham, and a car museum in Tacoma that had a display of electric cars (including one of the very few EV-1′s that wasn’t crushed). Though we did tend to bump into each other at these stops and at some of the public charging locations, we are each making our way from stage start to completion, at our own pace and using our own route. We had a bit of a crunch in Centralia as it seemed most everybody needed a charge about then. The end result for me was about 3 hours of charging when I had planned more like 90 minutes. That turned into a later arrival than I planned, but I still got home Saturday evening for the first half of stage 1.

On Sunday, I had originally planned to depart in time for the Portland gathering at noon. That fell through, but had already planned to do some morning errands (farmer’s market, that sort of thing), and didn’t end up leaving Portland until around 2. My only charging stop of the day was at the self described “coolest gas station in the world” – and I agree with their description. They sell biodiesel that, as best I can tell, they collect and make themselves. They also serve hot and cold organic food in their deli / convenience market, and they also provided wifi and somewhere to sit while my car charged; that let me get my homework complete that was due for week 1. I got into Grants Pass and stopped the clock on stage 1 about 9:55pm; I believe I sit firmly in last place for elapsed time.

Between Saturday and Sunday, I’ve covered around 550 miles now, and I am now highly confident in my ability to get actual miles that closely resembles the ideal miles, anytime I want. On a range charge, that means I could theoretically cover 230 miles. In practice, I don’t want to be in the car for 4-5 hours doing that distance, so 150ish is about the limit I’ll aim for between stops – for my own sanity and comfort, as well as to avoid pushing too deep into the battery, or spending too much time with a red energy bar glaring at me.

I learned Saturday night, in the last mile before arriving home, that if the charge level goes low enough (about 20-25 miles in range mode), that the Roadster will inform me that the charge is now so low that estimates are inaccurate and that the car can stop at any time. Though I know it usually doesn’t actually stop immediately in that situation, I won’t be targeting 20-30 remaining miles at my destination – I’ll aim for closer to 50. That translates directly to 20 more miles of charging during a travel day, but that’s as little as 10 minutes and as much as an hour, and coming up short is a whole lot more than that. I believe I was at 45 ideal miles when I arrived at Grants Pass, so my first attempt to target 50 remaining miles was pretty close.

On the Eve of BC2BC 2013

Friday, 28 Jun 2013 Asoka


Tesla Roadster charging at Burgerville; Centralia, WA

As I make my way to Blaine, WA for the start of BC2BC 2013, I am pausing for a moment (while the Roadster is charging, and an excellent Burgerville lunch is settling) to reflect on how I find myself here. I first started driving an electric car in March of this year, so I’m still pretty new at this. If I turned around right now and drove home, then I would match the longest previous electric trip that I’ve made. Instead, I am now about 100 miles into what I estimate will be 3500 electric miles over the next few weeks.

I’ve been following Tesla (primarily) and electric vehicles in general from afar for a few years. I think it was the video of the launch of Model S where the first few owners got their keys that really hooked me – that was about a year ago. Those people had enough faith in the company and the willingness to put down a deposit on an idea; and then wait 2+ years for the car. Wow. And it worked.

In August / September of last year I realized two things. The first was a financial one – yes I could drive one of these cars. The second realization was that there are all sorts of problems I would like to be able to fix in the world, but mostly they’re too big for me to fix or even do much about. But here was something I see going awry, and even if I couldn’t fix it myself, I could stop contributing to the problem. I could drive electric, and I could put up enough solar panels to offset the energy I consume in personal transportation. It’s the lowest rung of energy independence as I see it, but I could do that much.

It’s not like I was a major contributor before – the car we replaced with the Roadster gets about 35 MPG, and as much as I drive, it only sees a gas station every 3 weeks or so. Still, I could stop doing even that.

In February of this year, our solar panels got switched on (who puts up a solar panel system in the winter in Oregon anyway?). In March, a 6 month hunt for a Roadster ended when #969 showed up in the mail.

Why did it become so important that I drive electric? It seems to me that people drive electric for a mix of reasons, but the ones I see most often subdivide into 1) national security, 2) health of the national economy, 3) environment, and 4) fun (or drive an excellent car). I never really cared about #4 for myself – cars have always been necessary tools that I use to get myself from A to B. Turns out though, now that I’m driving the Roadster, that I like driving excellent cars too.

As with others, I’ve wanted to drive electric for a variety of reasons. I like the idea of being free of the oil and gas industry, at least for my personal transportation, because I want to stop transferring my wealth out of the country. I believe that in this small way, I will contribute to the security of our country. I also believe that our national economy is better off relying on local energy sources.

These contribute to my thinking, but my primary reason is that I want to stop contributing to pollution and CO2 emissions. People have commented that electric cars and solar panels go together well, and I agree. Ask me which is most important, and I would say the environment is. But attempting to separate them into “important” and “doesn’t matter” isn’t possible, at least for me.

Someday I’ll be looking to extend my personal energy independence. I would love to have a home that generates and stores its own energy – enough for the modern conveniences, and enough to keep the car charged. That’ll be for another day. I can’t do everything, all at once, but I can do something.

Why drive border to border, and back? Why participate in BC2BC – especially with so little experience at EV road tripping? Many reasons – I anticipate having an excellent vacation. I expect I’ll be meeting all sorts of new people. My family took annual road trips when I was growing up, and that has largely disappeared from my life. I don’t know that this will be an excellent trip, but I have high hopes. I would like to make the road trip part of my life again.

In addition, I don’t really experience range anxiety in the Roadster (181 miles of range when I leave the garage each morning), but after this trip, I’ll know that my world isn’t constrained by driving an EV. It might take me a bit longer to get there though, but that’s just a good excuse to slow down, and blog from the road.

On this trip, besides the events and experiences surrounding BC2BC itself, I am looking forward to cruising the ocean front highway for as much of the California and Oregon coast as is practical. That will be most of it. I’m looking forward to driving the Avenue of the Giants (and if I can get it working, make a video of that part of the trip – I’m told that driving that road in a car with little or no engine noise is magic). I’ll get to meet other Tesla and EV enthusiasts throughout the next few weeks, and that’ll be another good reason to be doing this.

The real reason is simple though – when you’re looking for an excuse to do something (drive the Roadster in my case), then most anything will do.

More to come as I wander up and down the coast!



Washington, British Columbia dignitaries host “Golden Plug” celebration

BLAINE – Nearly 150 years ago, the driving of the ceremonial “Golden Spike” signaled the completion of the first transcontinental railroad across North America. This weekend, electric-vehicle (EV) owners will converge near the USA/Canada border to symbolically connect the charging networks along the West Coast Electric Highway, before unplugging and departing on an unprecedented international adventure.

This Saturday, June 29, the public is invited to attend a “Golden Plug” celebration at the Peace Arch State Park, where a dozen EV drivers will begin the journey from Canada to Mexico powered solely by electricity. Drivers will make the 1,500-mile, nine-day road trip – called the BC2BC (British Columbia to Baja California) – without using a drop of gas.

Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson, Parliamentary Secretary to the British Columbia Premier for Intergovernmental Affairs Norm Letnick and other dignitaries will lead the celebration for the EV rally at 11 a.m. Guests at the event will have opportunities to test-drive EVs and speak with rally drivers before they set out on the trip south.

After the ceremony, the vehicles will make their departures in five-minute intervals. Guests are encouraged to wave flags and cheer for the drivers as they take to the road.

The BC2BC is the brainchild of event organizer Tony Williams who, along with his 10-year-old daughter, completed the same nine-day voyage in an EV in June 2012. That experience led to the newly created BC2BC, an invitational rally which Williams hopes will turn into an annual event.

International Golden Plug ceremony and launch of BC2BC 2013

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 29

Where: Peace Arch State Park, Blaine, Wash. (I-5 Exit 276 at USA/Canada border)

Directions: Traveling north Take I-5 north to Exit 276, the last exit before the Canadian border. Take second right at the roundabout on 2nd Street and follow the signs to the park. At the entrance, a parking attendant will direct guests to the event.

Traveling south – Take BC 99 south through the border crossing and follow the signs to the park. At the entrance, a parking attendant will direct guests to the event.


10 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Public display of electric vehicles; show-and-tell with EV drivers.
11 a.m.: International “Golden Plug” ceremony.
Noon:  Launch of all-electric vehicle rally. Crowds wave flags and cheer EV drivers leaving every five minutes.