Friday, November 7, 2014

Day 4: Winds of Change, part 2

And now we return you to our Day 4 story already in progress…after the Crazy Horse Memorial, we drove south on SD-87  towards Wind Cave National Park.  While we didn’t see the park’s namesake caves, we did see quite a bit of wildlife.

My first sighting was only a few minutes after turning onto SD-87.  I saw a flash of feathers coming up from ground level to a tree near the road and realized that it was an owl.  Within the next couple miles, we saw a 6-point deer with a couple other deer.  But then we saw what we’re pretty sure was a bald eagle!   I was able to take this one blurry photo before he flew away.

Black Hills National Forest: bald eagle?
As might be expected, we saw quite a few more deer.  And then we found the quintessential example of the western wildlife: bison.  We saw this guy grazing by the side of the road where LJ stopped the car to take this photo out the driver’s side window.  Since the car was silent, the bison barely even noticed that we were there.  Seems like it’s a good thing, too, as we saw signs later that warned us of how dangerous buffalo can be.

Black Hills National Forest: Bison
We continued on our way across South Dakota and into Wyoming.  We were driving west through the rolling hills and across the plains with the most amazing sunset off to our left.  The sky lit up with fiery colors the likes of which I’ve never seen.  I’m not one to use the word “literally” but the sunset was so amazing that I literally started to cry.  This is one of those times when the photo really doesn’t hold up to seeing it in person.

South Dakota Sunset
SuperCharger stops at Lusk and Cheyenne (both in Wyoming) on our way into Colorado.   The SuperChargers at Cheyenne was at the shopping mall, which meant dinner at Outback for the second time on the trip.  Sometime around 11 we rolled into Superior, CO.  After checking into a Hampton Inn (our go-to hotel on this trip), LJ took the car across 36 to the Superior Town Hall about 0.7 miles away.   Since we had all night to charge, we could use one of the basic Chargepoint chargers and be able to get across the Continental Divide on Day 5.


We found the Superior charger (not to be confused with a SuperCharger) using, a crowd-sourced website and associated app (PlugShare) that lists EV charging stations across the US.  Users add information to the site about how well the chargers work, if they’re currently in service, what they cost (if anything), etc.

 One of the users had indicated that the Superior chargers seemed to have a 1-hour limit, which would have meant a 1.5 hour detour for us Thursday morning down to the Lone Tree SuperCharger south of Denver.  Luckily, we could check on the charging without being at the car using another cool piece of technology: the Tesla app.

Tesla has an app that allows a Tesla owner to check on the charging status, turn the car on and off, and other functions without being anywhere near the car.  Early Thursday morning, I checked the app and saw that we had a full charge, which meant we could sleep in for the first time all trip.

Day 4 stats:
547.1 miles over 15h for an average overall speed of 36.5 mi (wind + sightseeing)
194.6 kWh used at an average energy rate  of 356 Wh/mi

Top up overnight to start the day and 3 SuperCharger stops:
·         120V outdoor outlet at America’s Best Value Inn in Murdo, SD
·         Rapid City, SD
·         Lusk, WY
·         Cheyenne, WY

Overall trip: 2462.2 miles in 4 days, having used 895.4 total kWh for the trip so far

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