hjalte's blog



Green Car was covered in ice when we woke up. The batteries were almost frozen, but the car started up as normal. It had the same range as on warm days because the batteries heat up when we use them. The sun was shinning cold on yellow grass from a blue sky. The land seemed empty. In Vernon we found a motel run by Indians  - we could smell the curry in the lobby - and went for a walk. It seemed deserted a long time ago. Gas-stations, billboards and shop fronts from the sixties, all left behind. Only the funeral parlor had new shining cars and a modern house. We charged Green Car from the AC-outlet in our room. We begin to know where to find 220 V. 




We are now zooming in on Dallas along 287. This morning we left the wonderland of Palo Duro Canyon and emerged on the flat, frosty and windy Panhandle Plains. In Memphis cotton was flying in the wind and half the shops seemed to have gone out of business. The little town was closed down for Christmas, a few churches flashed their neon-signs and we could chose from two empty Indian-run motels. Green Car was plugged into the AC-outlet and the only source of heat in our room. We put on more clothes and lit up the Christmas-tree from China. Elliot loved it. Ida heated an Indian dish and Nina warmed a blueberry pie. During the night I listened to the mighty trains. The ground was shaking as countless wagons pulled by massive BNSF locomotives passed by. Hybrid EVs. Electric traction is powerful. 



Tonight we will celebrate Christmas, so we do a solid shopping in Amarillo's only organic grocery. On the way south to Palo Duro Canyon State Park we visit the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon. A super-interesting, engaging, modern and big museum explaining the history of north Texas from the stone age to the Indians, the settlers and the present with oil and industrial agriculture, contrasting past and present in a thought-provoking way. Palo Duro is the second-largest canyon in the USA and we had booked a cabin. It was down in the bottom of the canyon, built by stones, very small and very cold. It was like something out of a fairytale. Unfortunately we could not use the fireplace because of fire-ban so we turned on a AC-heater. On Ida's camp-stove we cooked rice-porridge and brewed glüh-wine. Nina unfolded a small electrical Christmas tree bought in Walmart and lighted our colored lights. We sang all the Christmas carols for Elliot, and he got presents with new toys. Then we listened to our audio-crime novel until we fell asleep in the bunk beds. Green Car had got its own site with hook-up and ate juicy 220 V power under the wintry stars.

Nina and Hjalte




Not before we began packing the car in the morning did we notice our generator was stolen! And a multimeter, a mobile-phone and a blanket. We were frustrated and angry but could not do much. We left New Mexico on a biting cold, grey and sad day and entered Texas. As we now travelled without the safety of the generator we did not turn on the heat in the car to conserve energy. Along the road we saw the modern, industrialized feed-lots with giant feed elevators and KZ-camps for thousands of cattle standing neck to neck being fattened before the slaughter. Then endless fields with corn and cotton. The prairie was numbingly flat and the road bereft of bends. Here and there we saw shacks, rusty farm machinery and old cars. Small industry and farms were pushed aside by big ranchers like the Waggoners with their 500.000 acre ranch. In Amarillo we found Honda generators, but not with 220V outlets and the police in Clovis had not retrieved our Honda. We have to continue without generator or perhaps have one sent from Denmark. In the evening we had dinner at a historic bar in Amarillo on Route 66 with Elliot in the stroller.

Nina and Hjalte



The day began with hot baths at the Charles Bathhouse. With rubbery legs Hjalte and I walked up to the RV-park where we found Green Car fully charged. The camp-host had never before had a electric car visiting and he said we could pay $ 4,5 for the electricity and gave us the best wishes for the journey. EVs seems always to bring out positive reactions from strangers. We collected our stuff and ate brunch. The barren mountains to the East guard the huge White Sands Missile Range, site of the very first atomic bomb explosion in 1945. We had a break in San Antonio, where friendly Anne Lund from Denmark ran the gas pump and a small shop and cafe. Try her cakes - home cooked and a treat! She gave us coffee and electricity for the car. The sun dropped and it got very cold. A full moon shone over the desolate landscape. We had hundred kilometers to the nearest town. We scaled some high hills and could roll down for ages. But not enough. We had to pull out the generator and charge for an hour before we could make it to Rainbow Inn in Carrizozo. 




It was Saturday and in Deming town we could not find an open workshop with a power-outlet. At the city RV-park the host had gone. But there was power and we plugged in Green Car anyway and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Charging takes time so we also went for coffee and cakes at a cosy Christian bookshop. Three hours later we returned to the RV-park and Green Car was almost full, and the host, a tiny round woman, did not want any money for the power. We thanked her and continued into New Mexico. The day's goal was Truth or Consequences, famous for hot springs. Most springs were fully booked and we coasted up and down the town trying to find power for the car. We found rooms at The Charles Bathhouse. Nina and I brought back delicious pizzas to Ida from Bella Lucca and we had a great meal. Finally we drove up to Cielo Vista RV-park. It was around midnight and nobody was awake. We ran around with the voltmeter until we found a 220 V outlet and plugged in Green Car between the big RVs.



With just 62% charge in the morning we had to take a long lunch-break if we should have any hope of doing just 200 km. The weather had cleared up again, and the air was fresh after Ida with a well-aimed kick sent our old leaking camp-stove to Hell, where it belonged. A tree had dripped sap on the car, but Hjalte got it cleaned. In Willcox we had a tasty fish-meal in a restaurant in an old railroad-car while Green Car got power from an auto-shop. One-street historic Willcox boasted Arizona's oldest functioning shop. Here Ida found a a smart warm cover-all and I bought a pair of Wranglers sewn with gold-thread. In Lordsburg the chain-motels could or would not give us power for the car. Instead we found a KOA-camp and had to pay for a small cabin and a RV-hook-up for Green Car. It was first time the owner had to deal with an EV, and we did not bother to discuss too much with him. But KOA should find a better way to host EVs.





Bookman in Tucson is a big bookstore where the owner Mike has put up free charging points for EVs, including the new standard-plug for electric cars in USA called  J1772. The Zero-race EVs we met in Shanghai had also been charging at Bookman's a few weeks previously. It was a very well stocked bookstore with a good WiFi, but nevertheless we wanted to move. At the cafe across the road they laughed at our somewhat out-of-town appearance. The weather got much colder during the day and when we finally had enough power to leave Tucson the rain was pouring down. We said goodbye to Jerry Asher, our good helper from the Electric Auto Association. We made it to Benson on the I-10 and skipped the motels and choose instead a RV-place with a small cabin. Too late we discovered that the whole park only had 110 V outlets. And our generator was only allowed until 22 and from 8 in the morning. 


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