Editor’s prologue – Interstate 84 wasn’t exactly choked with electric vehicles leaving Portland for John Day to take partin the SolWest Fair and the John Day or Bust EV convergence that took place the last weekend in July. However, there were three hardy souls and two EVs that did strike out on Thursday, July 28, thereby keeping this event alive for another year.
John Christian, Chair of the Oregon ElectricVehicleAssociation, drove his brand new Nissan Leaf and Ray Blackburn, OEVA Treasurer , was, for the second year, at the wheel of his converted Toyota Yaris. Riding shotgun was Phil Hochstetler, another member of the OEVA.
Many folks think the Leaf should not be pushed beyond its limits and should not be used for long trips like this but here is what the John Day or Bust trip accomplished more than anything. It opened up the eyes of the Port of Cascade Locks, The City of The Dalles and The Dalles Chamber of Commerce, the Dufur Chamber of Commerce and the Condon Chamber of Commerce. All of them were confronted with charging EV’s recently. Now they are contemplating the tourist impact and how it might be beneficial to be “charge friendy” for their respective cities.
The more EV’s that go through these towns the better for EV’s and the infrastructure that supports them. Plus more money coming to these towns from EV drivers that are captivated until charging is finished. I am sure many of the entities above have heard EV’s are coming, but we let them know they are here and the occupants and cars have needs right now, not some time in the future.
A special thanks to Jennifer and Lance Barker, Gary Munkhoff, Ernest Hagel who played a part for us to get charging
points along the way and the people who allowed us to charge. The trip was made possible by folks such as: Kristi Bengtson at Port of Cascade Locks, Nissan of The Dalles, (though Sid in the service department could not confirm the chargers were operating but believed they were), Ron, at the city park in Dufur and Vernon Grey of Grey & Sun Condon Wind. Solar store in Condon (but beware of the .50 cents charge per KW there). The rock solid Kendall Derby at the Juniper Sawmill and Kilm who allows us to arrive anytime day or night and camp in Fossil and charge. In Dayville it was Brian Smith the electrician that let us charge, and in John Day, Jennifer and Lance Barker allow us to charge at the John Day Fair Grounds.
Some interesting point, problems and fun things along the way. At The Dalles Nissan we could not get both cars to charge off one charger, so we called the number on the charger but it was not much help unless we needed a tow. After a few hours of trying to get the charger to cooperate, I left Phil and John in The Dalles and headed for Dufur where I knew there was a 14-50p ,50 amp outlet that would charge my Yaris. As luck would have it there was also cell phone coverage so I could call John and Phil and let them know I was charging on 240V. When John and Phil were fully charged I was only at 91%. Since I am very familiar with my car and had made the trip before, I figured this was enough to make it to our next charge point in Condon Ore.
We arrived at Condon around 8 pm. The Leaf was put on the 240V and the poor baby Yaris was stuck with 120 volts The Yaris does not utilize 120V well at all for charging. We walked all through the town and could not find one restaurant open, and by this time “starvation anxiety” was setting in.
Finally we decided we would tell the Elks Club our predicament as they were the only ones still open and see if they would allow us to eat. A man there by the name of Kay sponsored us and it was goulash all around. In hindsight I should have ordered a hamburger but ate all my goulash anyway. By now it was late and time to push on to Fossil just 21 miles away where we would all spend the night. However, since my car doesn’t charge well on 120 volts, by the time we did arrive in Fossil my batteries had only a 4% charge remaining, which was the lowest state of charge for the Yaris for the whole trip.
We left Fossil the next morning with both cars fully charged. I was bored the last 100 miles and having made the trip before I knew the Yaris was home free as far as making it the rest of the way to John Day. Phil and John were taking it easy on the Leaf, not having made the trip before, so for fun I would pass the Leaf at about 70 mph and keep pouring on the coal until I was well out of sight. and Then I would slow down and look for a place to hide. After a while the unsuspecting Leaf would go by and I would pull out, tail them a while and then blow by them again in the same manner, then find some bushes to hide behind and repeat.
One eventful thing we discovered on the way back from John Day. In Condon, Vernon Grey told us some motorcycles ran into range anxiety because they reached Condon at 8pm and the gas station was closed, the motorcyclists were forced to spend the night in Condon until the gas station opened in the morning.
Oh yeah, John brought back a placard for Best Green Manufactured Vehicle at the SolWest Fair. To be honest, there was no other competition in this category as his was the only Leaf to fall in John Day this year.