July 20 (1) Queen in Kingman
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
BACKTRACKS: During my first week on the road, I had trouble connecting to strong enough WiFi to compose and post my daily notes. For the next few days, I will finish these posts and put them out for you. Please accept my apologies that they are out of order of the trip.)
In the morning, the RV plug has done its job. The dash says 97 miles until the Blue Frog needs charge again. Really this means 70 or so miles until the green gauge turns yellow and the message reads, Plug into charge soon. It is 61 miles from Willow Beach to Kingman. I guess the car can make Kingman on this one charge.
However, I begin to worry as soon as I drive the 4 steep miles from Willow Beach back up to route 93. The temp is already 80 degrees. By the time I get to 93, the green gage says 78 miles. Somehow I have lost 19 miles in 4 miles.
Then 93 is a flat ribbon across a dry plane with a big hill at the end. Half way up the hill, the car says 26 miles of charge left and my calculations say 11 miles to Kingman. I can see the crest of the hill where the road goes around a bend. Does go down then, so I can recharge through regenerative braking, or does up some more? If it goes up steeply, can I make it to Kingman or will I end up on the side of the road?
(Despite my worry, I recognize these white Angle's Trumpets, from Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings, growing by the side of the highway. I see them growing no other place for the rest of the trip. They encourage me somehow.)
Here, just before the top of the hill, is Golden Valley RV Park, clearly visible from 93. All I need is an hour or two with a 50 amp hookup to recharge enough to be reasonably confident of making Kingman, even if the ascent continues around the bend. I pull in. But the owners of this small park, nice as they are, can't really help me because their 50 amp outlets are in use by permanent tenants. We try plugging into a 50 amp dryer hookup. The Blue Frog knows and refuses to charge. I use a regular wall outlet to level 1 charge. The car tells me this "trickle" charge will be complete at 7 am - tomorrow! Helpful, but not very. In 3 hours, I add 8 miles of distance, getting to 34 on the green gage. I give up and decide to risk it.
The Blue Frog and I crest of the hill. Before us - a long downhill into Kingman. Joyfully we run down. The car regenerates just from inertia, no braking required. As we roll into Kingman, we have 38 miles on the gage - reverse psychology, electric car style.
Kingman, at the Powerhouse Museum, delivers on its promise of a free (no cost and available) electric car charger. The museum delights me, with its ventige topographical maps, curios from the history of Route 66, and electric car museum. The old topographical maps drive a point home. From the app in my phone, I know the distances between charges but I do not know the topography. Without knowing the lay of the land, I can not accurately predict the car's true range. "Charger anxiety" arises from more than not knowing where the chargers are.
I read every bit of written explanation in the Powerhouse Museum (my dad will be proud) and watching an hour and a half of a mile-by-mile video about Route 66. Then I go across the street to Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner and have a "brown cow" as my mom calls them - a vanilla ice cream and root beer float. In the early 1970's, when my family traveled around the Southwest in our camper in equally hellish temperatures, my parents would buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a quart of root beer or orange soda and mix them together. Lunch!
The video convinces me to stop next at the Grand Canyon Caverns. I will know I am there when the route splits into two parts around a narrow median of sand and rocks. In the 1940's and 50's, the visitors to the Caverns were so numerous, separate two way travel was the only way to relieve the traffic jams of people turning in and out.
At 4 in the afternoon, the Blue Frog and I roll out of Kingman, feeling pretty queenly, on top of the world, heading down old Route 66, into the sage brush and a long, slow sunset. Cue credits and theme music.
Side show- click arrow to see more pictures.
I haven't figured out how to add comments to each element in a slide show, so these are:
1. an example of a rabbit I saw sitting at the Golden Valley RV Park. He is much larger than the bunnies I saw at Willow Beach and his ears are much larger too.
2 & #3. Another blue electric car and explanation from the Powerhouse electric car display.
4. Happy Lou and his skates - this guy was the first (according to Powerhouse) but not the last to roller-skate the length of Route 66. 1920's I think. I went to Peach Springs next to visit the Grand Canyon Caverns.
5. This is for my friend Zoe who ran (!!) across the USA a few years ago in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Portland, Maine. I think her blog is "Zoe goes running." I will post the link as soon as I find it. Zoe appears to be the name you should give your baby if you want it to grow up to a super runner. There are several pages of this name on line.
6. One of several topographical maps from the Powerhouse museum that helped me realize the importance of topography in determining charge length.
7. This sign scares me. Is it a bad omen? Only time will tell.
Links and Acknowledgements:
Mike May, his wife, and the Blue Spirit Tesla Kingman Powerhouse Museum charger image from https://www.electricroute66.com.
O'Keeffe image from https://www.georgiaokeeffe.net/paintings.jsp. Used without permission.
Plant image from https://dengarden.com/gardening/How-to-Grow-Datura. Used without permission.