A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the fourteenth in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.
Day 14 – Drive on Friday, May 15, 2015
Before we head North, we figured that this would be a good time to look at the map that’s been at the bottom of every day of the trip to review where we’ve been. It would seem that we’ve “reached our beach”, (an homage to those guys in Maryland that inspired us to take our trip by their “Reach the Beach” EVent in April. No matter where we go, we’re not planning on going any further East (even if we go South, all the other states will be further West than York Beach, Maine), so we’ve decided to color the lines Yellow now (to signify our Westward journey home to the Golden State.) At this point, we’ve traveled through 19 of the 50 states, supercharged 41 times (at 39 different Superchargers, one of which was un-reported to supercharge.info until I reported it via TMC), charged Level 1 (110V) on four occasions (at two locations) and yet to charge at Level 2 (either J1772 or Tesla HPWC.)
Today’s goal is to get to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour, additionally, we figured to get a charge for both the car (and ourselves) at the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (aka Keurig (or the K-cup) folks) visitor center in Waterbury, VT. Originally we thought that we would go to Maine today, but since we’ve already been to York for dinner the previous evening, it was time to think of either returning West or going South, so we thought to take the traffic filled route to go to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA and/or the Pez Visitor Center that we saw advertised on our first stop in Connecticut.
But first, we had to get charging at the Hampton Inn, White River Junction.
We didn’t use much to get here from Hookset North Supercharger.
Additionally, we lost one mile of Rated Range from last night until this morning. Since we’re not sure of the charging situation ahead, and Plugshare comments on the CHAdeMO that has been installed in Vermont, seem to indicate that they were not very reliable and at lower power (25kW vs 50kW), we figured to range charge and just use whatever we can find.
The statistics before I moved the car to the CHAdeMO station.
Hampton Inn, White River Junction – CHAdeMO
When we initially purchased the CHAdeMO adapter for the Model S, it was as a convenience item. A “just-in-case” item that we got for Southern California. In fact the review and user-guide that I initially published a few months ago was written with that purpose in mind. However, in a state, like Vermont, that has only one supercharger 130 miles away from our destination, this convenience item quickly became a necessity.
The statistics after I moved it to the CHAdeMO station.
Model S charging door is open and ready to accept the Model S to CHAdeMO adapter and begin the charging session.
I signed up for the service, but the card will be arriving at home (in California) later in the week, so I’m hoping that they can do this remotely with a call. The screen requests the RFID card.
However, from the time that I attached the adapter,
read the Instructions to the side of the CHAdeMO charger,
the screen changed from waiting for the RFID card to “Preparing to Charge.” Well, that was a pleasant surprise, apparently the NRG eVgo/Green Mountain Power network partnership has not been officially launched yet and they were offering free 30 minute CHAdeMO service.
So, after timing out of the swipe screen it defaulted to “free charging mode” and we were able to start charging.
Now, we were planning a range charge, so I was going to check to see if we can extend the 30 minutes past the limit.
Per the Model S we’ll need 50 minutes to get to maximum.
Getting a decent 104 miles per hour.
If you notice, I placed my “handy dandy” EV Card from Pluginamerica.org on my dash for any CHAdeMO EV driver to contact me while I headed back to the room for the 30 minutes of the initial charge.
As predicted, it stopped after the first 30 minutes.
As big as the Model S battery is, I figured to start the CHAdeMO for the remaining 20 minutes and stop it part of the way and move to the J1772 chargers, the reasoning is CHAdeMO (and superchargers) slow down to a trickle on the charge for the last few electrons (so as not to burn out the batteries.) During this slow-down, the speed that the car will charge will be no better than a Level 2 connection. However, the Model S battery is very big and even at the last 20% the CHAdeMO can continue at its rapid speed for “quite a while.” Confident that I’m not inconveniencing anyone who might need CHAdeMO, I let the car charge a little more, and ensured that I still had the “handy dandy” EV Card from Pluginamerica.org still on the dash for anyone that might need the CHAdeMO. I returned a few minutes later to move the car to the J1772 stations.
I attempted to get the J1772 working remotely. However, the customer service at NRG eVgo is unable to remotely initiate on a network that is not yet active. Additionally, I had no card to start the J1772 session, so I just went back to the CHAdeMO and relied once again on my “handy dandy” EV Card from Pluginamerica.org should anyone else stop by and need to use the station. Needless to say, the movement between CHAdeMO and J1772 may seem comical to anyone who may have been watching me at the hotel parking lot, but I was trying to be courteous to any other fellow EV driver who may need a charge.
Alas, it was a wasted effort as I could’ve just stayed on CHAdeMO the whole time and been done sooner.
We rolled out of White River Junction, VT at near the maximum, basically, when we were all ready and packed into the car.
In driving toward Ben and Jerry’s I noticed the road in Waterbury, VT that the navigation was telling us to exit on is VT-100.
This made me chuckle because that was the old terminal emulation that was very popular on BBS days as well as early Telnet sessions. That was the old VAX Terminal (VT) 100 emulation protocol. For all you younger geeks and/or non-geeks, it’s a very geeky thing that made me snicker.
Either way, we were enjoying the evergreens and mountain routes without snow. (It’s May and we’re not in the Rockies, so it’s all good.)
I don’t know if it’s the construction by the exit for Waterbury, VT that confused me or was it the fact that the following sign was spotted on the drive to Waterbury, VT.
As readers of earlier posts know, since Minnesota we’ve been freaked out by the Deer Crossing sign, but to see a BEAR Crossing sign, that’s even more distressing. Either way, we ended up missing the exit. Of course, I thought that’s ok, I can always turn around.
Well, the sign for the next exit and LEGAL U-turn was 15 miles away. Luckily, with a Tesla a 30 mile detour is also “no big deal.” Had we been driving a Leaf, I probably would have made an illegal U-turn at one of the ones set aside for law enforcement and/or emergency vehicles.
So, that 30 mile detour was filled with more picture taking.
And even more stress, filled with our nemesis, the Deer Crossing.
And in Vermont, apparently they “kick it up a notch.” At first they’ll warn you that they’re crossing, but the Deer brought a friend. And they’re crossing with Moose.
Then if that’s not enough. It’s just Moose.
Glad that the view wasn’t all stressful. A teepee?
Followed by a barn, are those solar panels we see? Good for you Vermont!
I’m stressed enough as it is, and sure am glad that we didn’t miss the Waterbury, VT exit a SECOND time.
Here’s the sign we were looking for.
Ben and Jerry’s Factory – Waterbury, VT
When we pulled into the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, we were surprised to see that the NRG eVgo/Green Mountain Power folks were busy installing a similar set-up as the one we left in White River Junction CHAdeMO/J1772 combination charging location in the parking lot for Ben and Jerry’s.
I approached the gentlemen that were working on the chargers and was told that they expected to complete the installation “later today.” They were somewhat non-committal on the completion of the location. We had a plan to catch some Level 2/J1772 charge at the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Visitors Center (aka GMCR or Keurig) in town, so there’s that if they didn’t finish the charger by the time we finish our visit.
I looked back at the parking lot sending as many “good vibes” that I can to get the guys to complete the installation for us.
We went ahead to sign up for the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour.
We took a picture of this Ben and Jerry’s RV that was parked at the entrance to the factory tour. Apparently, early in Ben and Jerry’s history, they sent their Ice Cream across the country in an RV that burned down, which generated massive publicity that helped them launch their brand. It would seem that the RV tour is the direct ancestor for this year’s Tesla Model S powered #SaveOurSwirled tour.
A display explaining the same #SaveOurSwirled activism that Ben and Jerry’s has launched.
We were not allowed to take photos of the factory floor, so we didn’t take any pictures, but we could take a picture of the room that they served us our ice cream in.
No, I’m not giving you attitude, my better half just caught me with Ice Cream in my mouth as I was taking a picture with my favorite Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Flavor.
Can you figure out what it has in common with our stop in New Jersey?
Here are some of the top flavors.
A shot of the giant “secret” ingredients for Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Even with Ice Cream flavors, Ben and Jerry are trying to retire their use of fossil fuels.
A few more flavors that have been “retired.”
I would’ve loved to try that Creme Brulee, but it’s retired. There were a few more in the “Flavor Graveyard“. We headed back from the tour to the parking lot, with our “fingers crossed” that the CHAdeMO will be operational.
Ben and Jerry’s Factory – Waterbury, VT – CHAdeMO
I like to say that it is better to be lucky than good. And boy were we lucky today. Apparently, we were very lucky according to Henry Sharp (whose response I received as we finished the Ben and Jerry’s tour) as it would seem that many had not been able to get the CHAdeMO at the White River Junction to work for them. Additionally Henry reported the same thing as Plugshare complaints that, many of the CHAdeMO installed in Vermont were all lower powered (25kW and not 50kW).
The guys that I had met with and were completing the installation spotted me and waved me over. They were complete, and though they’ve installed the others before without a car to test it with, I was there to plug in and test the installation.
Both the J1772
and CHAdeMO were available. Guess who is christening the new CHAdeMO.
Of course there was some set up before this very nice picture of you know who at the charger.
We got a respectable 121 miles per hour on CHAdeMO at Ben and Jerry’s.
We were waiting to meet up with the Green Mountain Power Company representative, so we charged as close to 100% as we could. In the meantime, we spent the time in the parking lot meeting people who were curious about the car and what we were doing. We met a nice young family and a set of their parents visiting from India. The family was from Boston and had just looked at the car at the store in Boston the previous week. We discussed driving to Vermont and Maine with the Model S and how much freedom it was to travel without a single drop of gasoline. Furthermore we discussed the economic benefits of EV driving vs. ICE.
After speaking time with the family from Boston, the Green Mountain Power representative, Jenn (whose title is Innovation Champion (how cool is that)) arrived in a company EV (a Volt, if I remember correctly) and we discussed our trip and ourselves with her. We thanked her, her company (Green Mountain Power) and NRG eVgo in providing the L3 CHAdeMO for us to use. Apparently they expect the “free” period to be until the end of May, so timing is everything. Since we had to travel 130 miles to the Brattleboro Supercharger, we stopped charging after our conversation and we rolled off.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Visitor Center
Our next stop is to the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR or Keurig) Visitor Center.
This visitor center was where we originally planned to stop for J1772 charge, but this time around it was a stop to get some coffee. We figured that they would have some varieties in here as well.
It was a good thing that we already got a charge at Ben & Jerry’s because there was one car charging and another waiting (a Ford Focus Electric Charging and Leaf waiting). This was the only Ford Focus Electric that we noticed on the trip.
Before we left the visitor center, an older couple asked “what the car was.” We told them that it was a Tesla. Though they’ve never seen a Tesla before, they were quite familiar with EVs, apparently their son drove a Leaf and they were impressed with the range of the Tesla. Apparently their son lives far enough that he is unable to reliably take his Leaf to visit them in Waterbury. I wonder if he will hear from his mother
extollingexhorting him to have purchased a Tesla instead so that he would have range to visit his parents.
Henry Sharp has listed his HPWC available on Plugshare and he has an adapter from Roadster to Model S at the location. Apparently a few Model S have already taken him up on it and he reached out to offer us a charge at his home. However, we were running late and we politely declined. We will have to meet the genius behind “The CAN SR/JR” some other time. We stopped at the Brattleboro Supercharger next.
The Ben and Jerry’s location was approximately 130 miles one way from the Brattleboro, VT supercharger.
As late as we ended up in Brattleboro made us reassess the rest of our plans for the day, we decided to skip the Basketball Hall of Fame and Pez Visitor Center for this trip. This decision freed us up from going through what I expect is heavier Friday traffic through MA and CT to get to NJ for the evening, we decided to head to Albany instead.
As for the Brattleboro location itself, we were there later in the afternoon, and I am unsure whether the location is a “safe” one. There was “something” about the location that made me feel inherently unsafe.
Using the skip the Interstate rubric that we incorporated into this trip’s guiding principles from Day 5 yielded us a beautiful scenic route through VT-9 (which is North on I-91 by an exit or two).
It looks like there were a lot of antique stores (not that we photographed any) on this drive between Brattleboro and Albany superchargers. There was also a lot of beautiful country to be experienced.
Fun elevation changes and the like is not a big deal when you have enough charge and the destination is only 85 miles or so away. Which means Model S 40kWH drivers can enjoy this drive. (For that matter, an Active E driver/Leaf or whichever electric vehicle you choose would be fun on this leg between the two spots, as long as you can find an appropriate charger for you (even 110V as Thomas J. Thias aka @TheAmazingChevyVolt) often points out to other Twitter users. As long as you have access and time to charge.))
Before entering New York on this drive, there was an interesting Obelisk on the drive.
In doing some further research after the drive, it would seem that we had passed by the Bennington Battle Monument. Perhaps, if we were not in a rush to head back to Randolph, NJ, we would’ve stopped.
As opposed to the blurry Rhode Island or the obstructed Massachussets signs, here is the state line and sign for the Empire State. It looks a lot better than the one we had taken when we were going to Long Island a few days ago.
We found this interesting store at the side of the road. We didn’t stop, but there was something wildly compelling about it that we took a few pictures of it.
After the foray into Vermont, what we’re now saying about our old nemesis the Deer Crossing sign – “at least it’s not MOOSE or BEAR.”
Some more barns and the like.
Another mall location. Met with a former Roadster, now Model S owner from New York as well as a couple more locals. They were quite friendly here and we had a good conversation with the mostly local crowd. We didn’t feel like dinner at a mall, so we skipped it, but did go to the large Whole Foods Market that was a short walk away.
By the time we left the Albany, NY supercharger to enter the New York State Thruway, it was getting very dark and we didn’t take any pictures.
However, as opposed to the drive to Vermont, we were never alone and there was always another car either ahead or behind us. Going at rather high speeds, but still, it was comforting to note that we “were not alone.”
Paramus Sales, Service, and Supercharger Center
Another place that tells us that “we’re not alone” is at the Paramus Sales, Service and Supercharger Center. The chargers are open 24 hours, the store and service are not. We drove in there later on a Friday evening and the lot was very dark. There were three other Model S charging when we pulled up and at least another four joined throughout the time we spent charging at that location. I tried to take panoramic shots in the dark, but that’s the best look you can see of the location.
The distance from Albany, NY to Paramus, NJ is slightly longer than from Ben and Jerry’s in Waterbury to Brattleboro Supercharger.
We charged “pretty full” as you no doubt remember, my cousin in Randolph was the one that had the outlet where we charged 110V/6A. And 1 mile per hour is fine for “holding off vampire loss” but not for continuing travels.
Even so, plugging at 1 mile per hour, when we’re expecting to be here for a while means we’ll get above that 191 miles of Rated Range and onto the 200+ in no time.
Besides, tomorrow is a pretty casual day in New Jersey.
Go on to Day 15. Click here.