426 All Electric Miles in one weekend.
|This route avoided grated bridges|
Every February I attend a conference in Myrtle Beach called Quest. This year I decided that I wanted to take my Zero SR ZF13.0 (with ChargeTank), due to the unbelievably spring-like temperatures forecasted for the weekend. Having gone to Myrtle Beach in the Smart last year, I was already familiar with one route to get there. However, I'm still a novice rider. This wouldn't just be my first long trip, this was going to expose me to a number of environments I've never encountered, mostly wind-related. I did know that there was a grated bridge that I had to cross to get into Wilmington. I had read online that motorcycles are a little scary on grated bridges, and that even the most seasoned rider feels weird when they cross one. I decided that was a little too outside my experience level, so I plotted a different route. This route started out like the last one: first stop Campbell University in Buies Creek. After that I'd head over to UNC Pembroke, then have lunch in Shallotte, NC while charging on a Tesla Destination unit at a Smithfield's Chicken-n-BBQ. From there, the Myrtle Beach Tanger (which was 4 miles from the hotel) was only 25 miles away. I had a departure target for 5:30am. I would up leaving an hour earlier, sometimes you just wake up raring to go at 3:30am. So I hit the road by 4:10am. Google took me a different route to Campbell this time around, down 401 to 55 and through Angier. Usually, it sends me Old Stage Road. But, there was no traffic and 401 is 55mph for most of the way once you're outside the city limits. It was cold, much colder than I had anticipated. I arrived at Campbell around 5:05am, and plugged in. The bike estimated 1.5 hours for a full charge. While I was standing around, the Sheriff pulled up and talked to me about the bike for a good twenty minutes. This would be the first of several conversations I had about the bike on this trip. The Sheriff took off, and wished me a safe ride. I let the bike charge to 95%, which took a little over an hour.
|Charging at Campbell University|
|Charging at UNC Pembroke|
|Cutting in close in Shallotte|
As I expected, an F250 is blocking the parking space. However, this used to be a handicapped space so there was a wheel chair ramp space that was marked off with do not park lines. I pulled the bike right up next to the F250 in the lines, and plugged the Tesla conenctor into my adapter, then plugged it into the bike. The bike started charging, and I went inside to eat. I was a tad keyed up, and left the keys in the ignition of the bike (which was still powered on), but I did lock the Tesla adapter to the bike so no one could have taken off with it even if they tried. I didn't notice this under about 25 minutes into the charge, and after I had my third 20-minute conversation about the bike with an enthusiastic motorcycle riding employee. He told me the Tesla unit was new, had just been changed out two weeks ago because the old one just stopped working. I went outside and got my key after our chat and my meal, came back inside to wait until I had enough power to reach the Tanger 30 miles away in Myrtle Beach. I decided to go check on the bike and was really shocked to find that it had stopped charging.
|QuickChargePower Tesla JDaptor Stub in action|
When I took the key out it was at 24%, and when I turned the bike back on it was at 28%. I really had a panic here, as it attempted to start charging again but all I heard was a clicking coming from the ChargeTank. I really thought the on board charger had just failed, so close to my destination. I disconnected the adapter from the bike, no dice. I disconnected the Tesla unit from the adapter and the bike, plugged it all back in, no dice. Restarted the bike, no dice. Restarted the Tesla unit (which you can't see the lights on in daylight), no dice. I had to know if it was the bike, so I looked up the next closest charging station -- Ocean Isle Beach Welcome Center, 5 miles away. OK, let's go. I set out, and got to the giant bridge that takes you to the island. I am not a fan of heights, and I'm also not used to the sea wind, and I made a hard stop in the median and threw on my hazard lights. I felt like this was it, I was going to end up renting a van to take the bike back to Raleigh. I pulled out my phone and it said there was a Novant Health center with a Charger, 8 miles from where I was sitting. I had 16% power -- enough to get me there. It's worth the shot. I back tracked to 17, and took it down to the Novant Health.
|Novant Health saved the day!|
I rolled up with only 6 or 7% power (I didn't take a photo -- you know, this was a crisis). I plugged in the Schneider Level 2 and heard its relay thunk on, and to my amazement, the bike started charging. It wasn't the on board charger after all! I still need to test the Tesla adapter to see if it was it, or the station... This location was fortunate enough to have a Goodwill next door, so I spent some time in their air conditioning browsing at nick nacks while the bike charged to at least 30% power. When I hit 31%, I headed off to the Tanger. What was only a 20 mile ride from where I was at took me about 45 minutes with all the traffic. I forgot how crazy traffic was in Myrtle Beach, I also forgot there is no helmet law in South Carolina. It's still weird to see people in no protective gear riding 70 down the highway. This ride was really uneventful, and luck was with me as I was able to snag an open EV parking space (in fact, none of the spaces were ICE'd)!
The conference itself was fantastic as it always is. But all good things must come to an end. Sunday morning at 5am, having waken up bright eyes and ready for today's challenge. I chose a new route home - Novant Health to Nissan of Lumberton to Campbell University. The mileage was about the same, but I knew all these chargers worked.
|State of Power at Novant Health|
I got to Novant at 5:37, and plugged in for about an hour to get a full charge. It was dawn when I left, and I could clearly see the roads. I was able to run 55+ mph the entire way to Lumberton. I arrived at Nissan of Lumberton with 7% power. As promised, they left a space open so I could get to the charger (I called ahead and asked permission to use this location). I plugged in and walked down the street to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, and hung out there for an hour. I needed a full charge, which was estimated to be 2 hours and 35 minutes, so when I felt I'd stayed my welcome at Dunkin, I walked back to the dealership and found an old bucket to use as a chair and sit. I mostly read stories on my phone while the bike charged. About 2 hours in I checked on it, and it had stopped charging.
|Charging at Terry Chapin Nissan of Lumberton|