First Long Trip in My Bolt
3 min read

First Long Trip in My Bolt

Every two or three years for the last 43 years I have driven to North Carolina where my parents live. At one time they would come to Texas on the years that I did not go there. In that time children have grown up, grandchildren have grown up and my parents have aged a lot (as have I). Now Dad is 90, Mom is 86; their health is poor and they haven't been able to make driving trips in several years.  They were last here in 2018 for my wedding to the wonderful woman I now share my life with (they flew); at that time we all knew it would be their last trip to Texas.  My wife and I went to see them in 2019 (we flew), but could not last year; they would not have survived COVID and we could not be sure of not bringing it.

This year everybody is vaccinated; but, we have to drive. (Our dog has just had surgery and can't be boarded for another two months.)  On top of that the wife graduates with her master's degree the 23rd of May and starts medical school in Galveston in early July.  So, life is full (maybe too full).

We never know when our visit with Mom and Dad will be the last; and my wife desperately wants to see them before medical school starts since it is unlikely that she will be able to go there for the next four years.

When I bought the Bolt I thought I would make several trips to Galveston and get used to the constraints on charging.  But that has not happened. Now, time pressures and my parents health has made the trip to North Carolina imperative and the only really good time is next week.

So, next week, on Tuesday, which is our wedding anniversary, my wife and I will leave here with the dog and drive first to New Orleans then to Atlanta and finally to Sparta North Carolina.

I have planned the trip in gory detail; every charge stop (lots of time the ABRP and Plugshare), hotels that can provide charging, stuff like that.  And it should all be fine; as long as nothing goes wrong.  However, I am aghast at how poorly the southeast is built out with level 3 chargers.  I had looked at Texas before I bought the Bolt. I guess I figured no place would be more conservative about EV adoption than Texas.  

(BTW: if you want a challenge look for pet friendly hotels that have car chargers.  I could not find any in Little Rock at all, but Little Rock has several level 3 chargers; so, no sweat.)

Actually I have planned backup stops and extra charging as much as possible. But there are places (like the middle of Alabama) where there is no level 3 backup. I am dependent on a particular Electrify America station (Greenville, AL) being operational when I get there. Plugshare says it's good. There is even a check-in from today saying everything is fine.  So it should be good.  But, Plugshare does not even show any level 2 chargers in Greenville.

If we loose a day going to North Carolina, we have one less day with my folks, sad but not a disaster.  But, if we loose a day coming back, my wife misses her graduation in Houston where much of her family is planning to be.

I tend to obsess over risk, trying to reduce it to a minimum in all cases. (Its a result of my profession.) On the other hand, I am not too risk adverse. Once the risk is reduced I can decide to take the risk that is left even if it is substantial. My wife thinks this is all silly, she says "Whats the worse that can happen?"

I often take part in sea tests of new experimental hardware/software systems. Sea tests are very expensive, so you do everything you can to reduce risk. But then you have to take the risk that is left, because the system has to be tested at sea.

I want to be able to dive the Bolt as my everyday car. I don't like this particular extreme test, but sooner of later I have to take a long trip in the Bolt or it will just be a commuter car and I will have to acquire another vehicle for long trips. So, risk management says: charge up full in mobile (even at the cost of some time), drive at 60 mph to Greenville, if the charger is dead there should be enough SOC left to push on to Montgomery. Oh, and take the norther route back, it has better charging infrastructure.