After a really refreshing sleep in some nice beds for a change, we woke to cloudless sky and temperatures hitting 35°C; absolute paradise! However, when walking over to the car to see how it was doing, we found the circuit breakers in the charging point had tripped and the car was only at 25% state of charge. Does this situation sound familiar? If anything, it is clear that the general electricity infrastructure has a long way to go to accommodate electric vehicles en masse. Anyway, the only choice we had was to put the car on charge and wait it out until the afternoon/evening.
While this did mean we would get into our destination late, and it annoyed all the cameramen no end as it would mean we would be driving in the dark, it did mean we could devote the next few hours to getting more logistics work done, as well as taking a leisurely lunch.
Walking around outside was stunning what with the weather and the surrounding mountains, half forested and half scrubland. In a similar way to when we crossed the Rockies from Clinton to Vancouver, the scenery was very much like a western film. In fact, it looked a lot how I imagine Mexico looks like which was further complimented by the Mexican restaurant we found just down the road from the hotel. Replete with patio and very Mexican waiter, we enjoyed some delicious fajitas. So tasty were these morsels, that we had it again for dinner later on that day!
As the car was charging, Nik and Toby took the opportunity to do a quick car check which included bleeding the brakes which had become a little soft over the last 6,000 miles. Much work got done from all parties, with Ben from CAR magazine taking team members aside every so often for interviews which will ultimately inform his article.
Before long though, the car was charged and we packed up and got ready to go. As the light was fading, we managed to get a few great video and still shots of the car speeding away with a snow-capped mountain behind us. However the sun quickly dipped below the horizon, and darkness spread out before us. We were once again driving through beautiful scenery without being able to see it; quite traumatising for the team I can assure you! Anyway, as a result, the drive was very uneventful and we arrived in Santa Rosa at around 2am.
Very kindly, Nicholas Carter from the local Electric Automobile Association (EAA) offered up his garage for us to charge off. We called him shortly after the circuit breakers to the chargers tripped and told him we would be late. This did not faze him, and in true generous American spirit, he told us where the key to his back door was, and how to open up the garage from the inside. And when we finally got there, there were extension cords all laid out for us…magnificent hospitality!
Unfortunately, due to the noise we were making, we woke Nick up, but he wasn’t angry and he enjoyed seeing the car in action. The car was quickly plugged in, and off we went to another Holiday Inn about 6 miles away. All in all a very easy and successful day once we had charged up.