I was surprised at how quickly a month passed. It was finally time to come home. Part of me was ready to be in my own bed. Part of me wanted to keep traveling. At some point, I needed to return home. I’d rather end on a high note while I’m still enjoying my time than linger too long.
Today’s challenge was much like crossing Oregon but with unreliable charging infrastructure. I-84 was peppered with EV chargers all across the state. US 95 had 1. To make matters worse, Electrify America took the only level 3 charger in Boise offline – to raise the price of power. Fuck – you can’t do that. Electrify America. Take them down one at a time. I called around to see if any of the car dealers would let me charge there. I came up empty. I didn’t want to leave my truck at a random charger overnight.
Andy was awesome. He called his buddy, who was an electrician, and was starting to plan how he would get a NEMA 14-50 outlet in the garage. Wow. Super awesome, but I didn’t want to impose that hard. I circled back to Hyundai of Boise near closing time and started charging. No one seemed to care, and I was paying for power, so I didn’t feel guilty. Then the charger cut out after 30 mins. Would it restart? I hope so. With my fingers crossed, the charger reset and kept going. I let Andy know that we didn’t need to install a 50-amp circuit in his garage. Three cycles and 90 minutes later, I was fully charged.
Learning of my challenges, one of the faux country guys in the neighborhood offered me some fuel to blow up my truck so I could replace my “California crap” with a Ram 3500 real man truck. I took all the Southern grace in me to not tort back, “Real country boys have welders in their garages and do all kinds of craft with their trucks, unlike your pavement puppy.” Welders need the same type of circuit I needed. For an EV to work well, you need that outlet in the garage. I expect it to be coded in 10-15 years for new construction.
The challenge with US 95 is there is one charger with bad reviews in McDermott, NV – a town so small you’d blink and miss it. I had to be able to make the drive without getting power in McDermott. A Better Route Planner wasn’t inspiring confidence either. I had to drive 61 on a two-lane road in the desert where traffic was FLYING by me. To add insult to injury, US 95 had three significant areas of construction that had 30-minute waits as well. I could feel the battery go “tick tick tick.”
The drive was not fun. I’d manage my stress by comparing my projected state of charge with the dashboard in the truck. There was a lot of this:
followed by this:
I was way out in the middle of the desert. The Rivian wasn’t helping with the red iconography, indicating I needed more margin. The 29 miles remaining differs from the gas light in an ICE (internal combustion engine) car. Anything can eat those 29 miles in one big gulp: elevation, cold, climate control, and strong headwinds. Ugh.
Fortunatly the chargers in McDermitt worked. Charging took jumping through some hoops as Shell aquired the charging company and needed a different app, different wallet, and different login than anything else I’d used on the trip to date. Can’t I just tap my credit card?
Once I topped up in McDermitt, my stress level decreased, and the miles began to melt away. With no signal and one radio station, I was stuck listening to conservative Christian financial radio explaining how God was punishing Disney’s stock price for acknowledging that gay people are people. Really? Can’t we simply exist without Christian harassment? Disney’s stock price is down due to the pandemic (parks closed for 2 years), macroeconomic contractions, and people spending more time away from home and not watching as much Disney+. Geez.
I did an extended charge in Winnemucca as my batteries were well depleted. I also topped up in Fernley to make the steep climb over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I’m continually amazed at how unreliable the Electrify America really is. Two out of four chargers in Fernley had a kernel panic.
The plan was to spend Friday in Truckee to have one last day of fun in the mountains before coming down the hill. I wanted a few days to stretch and relax before having to show up for work on Tuesday. Truckee had other plans for me (and the 70,000 people at Burning Man).
It rained, rained, and rained. I didn’t want to spend the time in the rain, so I headed back down the hill for a sunny day in the bay.
That was 5 weeks. It was an adventure for which I was genuinely thankful.
Thanks for coming along!