Of course, as newly weds, we needed to announce it to the world. Perhaps we are the first EVing honeymooners?
Our goal this day was to make two “fast charge” stops with one at Rhinebeck, NY and the other in Albany on the way to Canajoharie New York, a small town on the Erie Canal along the Mohawk River. This is the pattern we hope to follow most of the way with two to three fast charges giving us 50 to 60 miles per charge, followed by an overnight with a “slow” 120 volt charge.
Our “MyFordMobile” cellular connection began to activate (it takes a couple of days for it to link your cell phone to the car, requiring you to “permit” the car to link in. This connection provides different metrics related to your driving, charging, and various vehicle diagnostics. For example, a map in the app shows EV charging stations and your likelihood of making it (“green” stations=easily make it; “yellow” stations=reasonable chance with good driving; “red”=ha..ha…ha!…don’t even think about it).
As we left camp, we stopped at a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) our friend Dave (Fred’s brother, who was unable to be at camp) has established for the camp and local residents. We did get to meet Jeremy, Dave’s son, who is a better looking version of Dave (just kidding, Dave). CSAs are catching on around the country, and provide many beneficial things to a community. The opportunity for one to work on something where you reap the benefits directly. Energy savings through reduction of food transportation. Local employment within one’s community. And great, wholesome food!
We stopped at a couple of historic site visits as we left Camp. This was an area with a lot of Revolutionary War activity. Colonel Ludington gathered his militia to fight against the British advance from Danbury. His daughter, Sybil, was the “female” Paul Revere. Or, should we say Paul was the “male” Sybil Ludington, as Sybil rode twice as far as Paul to gather her father’s troops. In either case, being captured by unfriendly folks would not have ended well.
In an amazing coincidence of historical events, at the very same site of Sybil’s marker, almost 200 years later another occurrence happened that changed the course of our lives. In the summer of 1971 when we met at Camp, the “staffers” headed to “Eddies” (now called “Gappys”), our favorite (ie, the only one for miles) tavern. Unbeknownst to me, it was tradition to for the other staffers to “super wedgie” the new guy. Fortunately for me, I had not updated my underwear for many years, resulting in a clean break (ok, maybe not so clean). With a half dozen people lifting me off the ground by my garment waistband, the under apparel broke and was removed over my head, and then tied to the light fixture above the pool table where it remains today (just kidding, although it did stay there for the whole summer as I recall). You can tell by my hands in the picture below as I sub-conscientiously hold my waist, how this traumatic event left an indelible stain on my memory and on Eddie’s pool table light.
From Gappy’s, we had a comfortable drive to the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie where we picked up Roy Chapin’s route along the old Albany Post Rd (Rt 9). Our first stop was a brief one at Locust Grove, the home of Samuel Morse (dot-dash-dot fame). The home site is beautifully placed above the Hudson River. Equally interesting is the art gallery as Morse was very famous as a painter as well as an inventor. Morse’ technological advancement was a breathtaking achievement, moving information near the speed of light rather than the speed of a horse or the wind.
We continued along the Hudson to our first intended charge stop. Plugshare.com showed EV charging stations at the Zen Dog Cafe in Rhinebeck, which would provide the needed charge on the way to Albany. Unfortunately, Plugshare did not show that Zen Dog Cafe has passed on to the metaphysical plane of defunct eating establishments. Their chargers were still there, but in calling ChargePoint (they are ChargePoint units like the ones in White Plains), the ChargePoint people were unable to activate the units for us. This was quite a bummer, because we now had to go to Plan B, which if that failed, would have been a big problem as there was no Plan C.
It was also a bummer because Rhinebeck is a cute little town with lots of interesting things to see and do while charging. I was looking forward to seeing the house where Cornelius DeLamater grew up (who?….see blog on New York City and information on him and John Ericsson). The Zen Dog folks had the right idea….providing EVers with an interesting location for charging….just a bit ahead of their time.
Plan B was to call the Nissan dealer in Kingston NY across the river, to see if they would allow us to charge. Most Nissan dealers have EV chargers, and they are listed on the AAA and Plugshare EV charging maps. But, would they welcome a Ford? The answer is yes, and it appears that Nissan is making an organized effort to establish the EV market, regardless of the EV brand. The Kingston Nissan dealer is relegated to the outskirts of town, as dealers typically are these days, so we waited for charging at a diner across a busy street at a NY State Thruway intersection. We appreciate the Kingston Nissan’s help very much!
We stayed on the west side of the Hudson River on Rt 9W going north to Albany, which was a beautiful drive. EV’s, as do other cars, get their best mileage performance in the 30 to 55mph range. As speeds exceed 55mph, aerodynamic drag reduces mileage significantly. The Focus EV’s GPS system computes routes based on “fastest”, “shortest” and “eco”, and so far we have kept to “eco” as it does stretch the mileage range quite a bit and seems to take very pleasant routes. The hot weather had broken on Monday, so we kept the AC off, which further stretches the mileage range (and provided fresh country air into the car as we cruised on a fun and winding road through towns and villages along the river.
In Albany, the Downtown Holiday Inn Express has a public charging station. We headed to it, and asked for permission at the desk to charge up, which they cheerily agreed to. They told me they have about 1 request per month for a charge, so not too busy yet. The station is a ChargePoint station, but the desk person brought out their magnetic card to activate the station directly. From my discussions with the staff, it didn’t seem like an organized effort on the part of Holiday Inn to place charge stations at their sites, but rather an ambitious person with foresight to enable the future.
The downtown area of Albany is really nice. Streetside cafes, interesting architecture and a nice river walk area along the Hudson.
In case you’re wondering after seeing me in the “same” tee shirt in many days of pictures, I have 5 of these teeshirts from the 1997 University of Illinois Sunrayce team’s Photon Torpedo. At some point along the trip, I will start wearing the other 4 teeshirts.
After our Albany charge, we headed to The Pineapple House, a bed and breakfast in Canajoharie. We made it there as the sun went down, and our hosts, Bill and Janine helped us get The Sun Catcher plugged into an outlet. And that’s how our day ended.