Monday, January 13, 2014

The City of the Green Smoke

We spent the night in Denver, CO, arriving late after charging at a slower charger in Fort Collins.  We were hoping to have enough energy to make it to the Silverthorne Supercharger in the morning; however, that's not how it worked out.  The hotel staff told us they didn't know of any exterior plugs and seemed knowledgeable; however, in the morning we did notice a 110 plug by the exterior door.  If we would have been able to plug in overnight it would have made all the difference.  The morning ended up being a huge run-around.  E's sinus infection was turning for the worse with a severe headache and unbearable pressure and pain in his face, despite loading him up on decongestants and analgesics.  The city was abuzz with Broncos fans and traffic was blocked off in some areas.  We ran around to a few different urgent care centers, all closed or with long waits, before we found an open Take Care clinic and jumped on the waiting list.  I was hoping to find a Walgreens Take Care clinic that had an EV plug as well (as many of them do), but unfortunately, the two we found with plugs had closed their clinics for the day.  I dropped him off and went to find a nearby plug.  Plugshare, unfortunately, took me to an empty lot where a firestation and J1772 was supposed to be.  I then went downtown to the cultural center where a lovely parking garage provided free electricity with a well-endowed J1772 and just $5 for parking.  I tucked Brewtus in and headed to a cafe to wait for E.  He was having his own troubles.  He ended up taking an Uber to meet me, but got dropped off at the wrong location and had to walk.  Although we didn't get an early start like I wanted, the morning ended in good spirits as E got the treatment he needed and our lunch at Mad Greens was absolutely delicious.  They also had a coffee shop and Wifi so the almost two hours during which we charged went by quickly.

We stayed at the cafe until Brewtus has about 120 miles rated range on him.  We had looked up the elevation to Silverthorne realizing we were about to double our current elevation in Denver.  The charger was only about 60 miles away, but I wasn't sure what to expect.  Thank goodness we did.

We did decide to make a pit stop along the way.  We saw on Plugshare a pizza joint that had installed two J1772 plugs powered off wind and solar power.  What a cool place!  The pizza place was huge and rustic.  It was also very busy. We would have loved to stick around if we had been hungry.  They covered the entire place with solar panels as well as an Antique store next door where the plugs were located.  Brewtus found his first charging neighbor - an owner in Breckinridge who was pausing before his drive to Denver.  We were questioning why he would have needed to stop in Idaho Springs to charge, assuming he would have had a full charge from Silverthorne, but we soon found out.

The climb to Silverthorne continued to be almost completely uphill, burning through all of our charge.  We were using more than 2 rated-range miles per actual distance mile.  Brewtus was performing flawlessly, but in doing so, he was also vomiting kilowatts all over the mountainside.  On top of it, apparently we were coming through right after a "straight-up blizzard" as the kids at the Marriott in Silverthorne called it.  There were lots of snow drifts and the route was slow-going.  Even worse - the road in the opposite direction was a complete parking lot -- likely why our neighbor had stopped to charge, or at least to get out of the car.

Turns out this was one of my favorite portions of the drive.  The scenery was gorgeous as we passed all the top ski resorts.  We were listening to classical music and the ebb and flow of the music seemed to match the road and traffic.  This, along with the billowing snow drifts, made the whole experience surreal.

As we got close, I was getting nervous.  We were down to 16 miles R-Range and 12 miles of distance and were burning through it at a much faster ratio.  Our average Wh/mi was well over 600.  Fortunately, that happened to also be exactly when we hit about 11,000 feet and stopped climbing.  The rest of the trip into Silverthorne was downhill and using just regen (regenerative braking) down the hill, we actually arrived with 19 miles of range to spare.

Charging in Idaho Springs at Beau Jo's Pizza

E states, "This is the only time I've ever questioned our panoramic glass roof." as he is peering up at the rock walls surrounding us.

Listening to Bach Cello Suite #1 (Prelude) as we wind around, the Funeral March as traffic slows almost to a stop and the Carmen Overture as we hit the top.

Parking lot to our left.

Brewtus' view on the trip.

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