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Peace & Calm

September 27th, 2020 at 02:56 pm

Hell froze over and I got a week of peace and calm.

There's probably a million things I could/should have done. But... Treated the week as a long overdue staycation and didn't do much of anything productive. I felt like I was figuratively gulping in the fresh air but I guess it was also quite literal. I had to pinch myself that our staycation destinations all had clean air on the days we planned. Was trying to keep it flexible, but locked in reservations one day and it still worked out. (The air quality has been very patchy).

We had a difficult time spending any of our vacation funds. I did some rough math and an old average of $100/month for car gas will now give us 8,000 miles of driving. We enjoyed this incredible freedom. If I want to drive to the beach every single weekend, cost of fuel is no longer a limiting factor.

On Tuesday we took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and had Muir Woods (redwood forest) mostly to ourselves. It was *amazing*. We didn't see another soul once we left the main trail, and had a picnic spot all to ourselves for lunch.

I had been starving for some beach time and so we hit the beach afterwards.



We did end up stopping for a refuel on the way home. We drove 254 miles, stopped and added about 55 miles of charge, and still had 65 miles left when we got home. Third completely different drive, still getting that 260-mile range on one charge.

We learned two things worth sharing:

We played it a lot more loose this trip, just stopping for some fuel on the way home. It's a charger we would use a lot on drives from the Bay Area, so it was nice to check out this one (different location, different route home). All we did was run an errand and grab a couple of grocery items while we were there. I'd say we spent about 15 minutes in the store and then spent a minute or two discussing if we had enough to get home, deciding yes and unplugging. We ended up charging for 17 miles and gaining about 55 miles. & honestly, we didn't even have to charge 1/2 that long to get home. Felt more like a gas car trip. In the short run, we have infinite free charges and will probably be stopping more, but long term when it's not free, it's just going to be much shorter stops. We had spent so much time in the car, it was nice to stop and take a break.

{As a side note, MH wanted me to mention our car had one of the slowest charge times. I had no idea, but that's good to know. Like I said before, every single car model is different. If faster charging is really important, almost any other electric car will be faster}.

We did some windy steep hill driving and that is also worth mentioning. When I mentioned the manufacturer recommended maintenance, there was no mention of brakes. This is not an oversight. The car does have traditional brakes, but those are mostly there for sudden stopping and more emergency type braking. Most of the time, you don't use the brakes on the car. The regenerative braking system slows the car down through the engine (more like a low gear on a gas car). This braking regenerates energy and adds more range back to the battery. So... Not only did we get to zip up the hill with ease. But... We did not have to use the brakes at all to come back down. It was *amazing*.

{Again, I don't get the sense this is universal for all electric cars. So just another reminder that every car is different}.

The next day we went to the family cabin, midway between our home and Tahoe. It's a trip that MH had already done with DL(15). We just enjoyed the peace and quiet. We went on a hike where we didn't see a single other person.

I personally would have stopped for a free charge but MH was feeling "meh" about that. I have no idea why. He usually leans toward the cheap side of things, so it was very unlike him. He was kind of saying, "We don't need a charge, and these chargers won't always be free." So wanted to live life without worrying about fuel, for this trip.

The chargers are so under-utilized east of our city that they have left all of those free. It's the more utilized ones that they started charging more for around the time we bought the car. So there is a completely free charger at the freeway exit we use to get to the cabin.

View from hike near cabin, no other people that day:


Total driving 2 days: 400 miles.
Total fuel costs 2 days: $5

Thursday was our anniversary and we had a low-key day at home. We ordered in a nice dinner.

Because the kids had school, we left Saturday for one more trip/hike, this time with kids. The road to Tahoe was closed. If not, I think we would have gone all the way and tested it out. But our plan was to go visit Camp, which was mostly closed for this season. It's probably about 10 miles away from Tahoe.

We got our camp fix, and there is a nice isolated hike.



Our timing could not have been more perfect. We saw a couple of people hiking back down as we hiked up, but that was about it. We had the top of the mountain completely to ourselves. I would have stayed longer, but MH seemed to be more in a rush. For the best, because we saw at least 20 people coming back up as we hiked down. It was clearly a popular lunch spot. We had debated packing lunch for the third time that week, but decided "meh" with the longer drive and earlier start. But we didn't start too early and had missed the early morning crowd too.

{We hadn't expected it to be crowded because we've never seen too many cars there when we camp during summer. Even though the parking is very limited. Was one reason we left that hike for the weekend. We saw more people than cars, not sure where all these people were coming from}.

Of course, the "up the mountain" 100 mile drive wasn't doing much for our electric range. I believe it was estimating we only had 90 miles left on the car once we got to our destination. We weren't worried about it at all knowing that it would use very little of that energy to go back down.

The stories are true: We had more range when we got home than we did at the top of the mountain. So... 90 miles downhill generated more energy that it used. It's hard to believe it until you see it for yourself.

We did stop for lunch and a free charge. The lunch took longer than the charge. We had two convenient options: a charger right by camp or the charger by the cabin.

We drove 190 miles. Stopped for a free charge that added 100 miles to the battery. Still had 200 miles left when we got home. Although we had consistently been getting a 260-mile range in different weather and terrain, this works out to a 290-range on one charge (if you ignore the extra charge and 100 miles). Which means... even though the uphill used a lot of energy, the downhill still put us +30 miles ahead with the roundtrip.

Obviously, stopping to charge was completely unnecessary.

MH ended up getting an extra free charge. It was the first time he got a survey/free charge offer. I have already redeemed two and got an accidental extra credit, so make that *3* free charges. When showing him how to access the free charge, I noticed my last free charge expires next week (on October 6th?). I asked MH not to plug in the car when we got home. There's enough range for me to drive to work all week and then we can refuel at a free public fast charger next weekend. MH does have some planned day trips with DL(15) during his time off (fall break in another week), but if they go into the mountains where the chargers are always free, I expect that we won't get through all of these extra *free charge* offers.

Oh yeah, our fuel costs for our 190 mile drive yesterday: $2.06

Our higher summer electric rates end October 1. For spring and fall, just means even cheaper driving.

1 Responses to “Peace & Calm”

  1. Wink Says:
    1601225003

    Absolutely beautiful scenery! Sounds like a wonderful week!

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