24 October 2009

Taking the freeway round trip for the first time

Winter is coming and although I love driving the back roads to work, the hills can be dangerous when it is snowing hard.

So for a couple days I took the freeway round trip to work to see if I can make it.  On Thursday I made it home with 10% left, but I hit all the lights and was at work (charging on the 120 volt cord) for maybe 9.5 hours.  Friday I left a bit early so I only charged 7.3 hours and I didn't hit all the lights.

Coming home on I78 into NJ from PA, the highest point is a couple miles before exit 12, around my midway point.  Knowing I had nearly 40 miles to go, I laughed when the miles remaining said 9.  It is down hill now.

Over the next ten miles the remaining range indicator went UP 10 miles as I knew it would.  I had never seen the "critically low" warning go off without charging from the wall box.  But out it went, with 19 miles remaining.  (By "critically low" I mean the warning that comes on below 10 miles remaining.)

Now I'm off the freeway.  The miles remaining gauge is not going up any more, but it is not going down much either.  For nearly another ten miles it almost holds steady.

At about ten miles from home, there is another minor peak in the Sourland Mountains, and my gauge hits zero.  I laugh again.  I know that there is about 10 miles left after zero although acceleration is limited.  But of course, the needle starts creeping back up as I regenerate my way down the other side of the Sourlands.  I got home at 3%.

Still, that is pretty tight but I know of at least 2 places of business that have let me plug in on the way home if I get in trouble.  And that 10 miles after zero is reassuring.

But I have not used the heater much in days.  We will see how long I can hold out as the weather gets colder.  

I'll talk about my secret weapon, a low tech portable auxiliary heater, in future post.  It costs only a few dollars, "recharges" in minutes, lasts for hours, but both driver and passenger need a separate one.  And you might call it Dorky.  

"Embrace your inner Dork, and let the Magic Begin!"

By the way, the shortest freeway route for me to work adds over ten miles versus the shortest back road route, but this route is still only about half on the freeway.  It ends up around 136 miles round trip and only saves 5 or 10 minutes.  I drive 55 (remember that?) and have not had much trouble from other driver since I stay in the right lane.

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