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!