6th Electric Week: Yorkton SK to Thunder Bay ON

The hardest part this week was to say ‘so long’ to our dear friends in Yorkton SK. We had spent some amazing days with our ‘family of choice’, and knowing we won’t see them again until next year breaks my heart. But that’s part of travelling, the more important to enjoy the moment. Thank you, Christina and Doreen, for a wonderful time (and for organizing a TV, radio and newspaper interview)!

The next stop after leaving Yorkton was very exciting for us: Onanole RV Park & Campground. Rolf had found it by accident on the Internet, and seeing the numerous solar panels they had installed, he made sure we could stay and charge our car there over night. It does make you feel good to know you’re using the sun’s sustainable energy for your own energy needs, I truly would never have thought that.

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42 + 24 solar panels at the Onanole RV Park and Campground. Wonderful!

We got a great welcome, almost instantly felt like part of the family, were accompanied to a nice, shady spot and got our own, personal 50Amp outlet installed right there and then. 😉 Onanole Campground has 42 Solar Panels on the main building (We couldn’t help but smile about the number ‘42’ 😉 since Rolf is a fan of Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’) And there are another 24 Solar Panels on a cabin. With that, they feed the campground and also feed back into the grid. Kudos to the guys at Onanole Campground for providing sustainable energy!

Continuing on, we had the pleasure of meeting Ryan and Amanda in Portage La Prairie. That would never have happened had it not been for the fact that they offer their in-garage, private charger on the Plugshare App for anybody who might need a charge – since there are No.Public.Chargers! anywhere close. We spent a great lunch together and also learned why the lake close to Onanole Campground was called ‘Clear Lake’: Given certain weather constellations, the lake Freezes.Clear! in the winter! Imagine that: You walk on crystal clear ice and can see the bubbles, vegetation and fish underneath you. What an experience that must be! I was so fascinated, I had to share it 😉

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Thank you, Ryan and Amanda, for providing your private EV charger to other EV drivers!

 

On to Winnipeg, we had another ‘nail-biter’ experience; we arrived at the campground with 1km (!!!) range to spare. How did that happen, some asked. Well, when we plugged in the car at Ryan and Amanda’s, we had to unhook the trailer, so it charged without being in trailer mode. When we returned to the car, the trip consumption screen showed us arrival with 16% battery capacity remaining, which would, normally, be a good enough buffer. We had spent over 2 hrs with Ryan and Amanda, so it was time to move on. Once the trailer was hooked up again and the car was back in trailer mode, the prediction went down to 10% immediately. Oops. Hoping it would be enough of a buffer for the roughly 100km to Winnipeg, we gave it a go – and made it. But what a ‘nail-biter’ that was ;-)! Lesson learned!

 

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Rolf doing his ‘happy dance’ after arriving with 1km range left.

That evening, we enjoyed a warm welcome from the Manitoba EV Club. We had arranged another Meet up at a Peavey Mart, the last on our trip, since there won’t be any more Peavey Marts on our way East. We arrived extra early, since I hadn’t had a chance to clean the trailer and the dishes, and were immediately pulled into conversations. It got so busy, I never had a chance to take a photo until the storm hit. Thanks so much, everybody, for coming out! Some even drove over an hour to see us. Wow! Many of you probably already know that this Meet up ended on the dot at 8pm due to the weather. I had never seen clouds like that. The next morning, the news were full with reports of damages. There even was a Tornado touch down close to Portage La Prairie!

 

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Truly scary clouds in Winnipeg!

Next stop at the Willows RV Park & Campground in Kenora was special, because it was the campground who organized a radio interview for us. That deserves another wow! It’s something we struggle with, not knowing the places we go to and having to do the research to find out who to contact with regards to media coverage. It’s exactly what we don’t have the time for between everything else, so we are grateful for any help we can get. We need people who can get the word out ahead of time about our arrival, can organize a Meet up place and time and also get the media involved. Please email us if you are able to help us out in any way. Thank you!

 

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Another beautiful camp spot at Willows RV Park & Campground

Once we arrived in Thunder Bay ON, we showed the car and trailer to two guys we met via Facebook, and both of them offered to set up interviews for us for Monday morning. Thank you, Dave and Mike! They got us a radio and a TV interview! Another wow! We are very grateful for your help! We know that the fact that we can only confirm short-notice where we will be isn’t helping. But I feel it would be worse to set something up and then not make it there for whatever reason, so short-notice and ad-hoc it is and will be. That said, our rough route East will probably look like this: Sault Ste. Marie > Sudbury > Barrie > Toronto > Niagara Falls (not sure about Windsor, sorry!) > Toronto > Ottawa > Montreal > Quebec > Fredericton > Moncton > Charlottetown > Halifax > Wolfville > Sydney > Corner Brook > St. John’s. That doesn’t mean that we will have Meet ups in all those places! And when we will be where, we have no idea 😉 Best to follow us on Facebook for daily location updates.

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Leaving Trowbridge Falls Campground in Thunder Bay for our morning interviews.

Now, apart from our travels, two things happened this week that I would like to mention. First, the more important one: Elon Musk published his Master Plan Part II. For many, this is nothing new, but regardless, I thought I’d mention the fact that Elon’s Master Plan Part I is almost completed, and that Part II comprises the ‘advent of the integration of energy generation and storage’, hence the plan to bring Tesla Motors and SolarCity together. Furthermore, Tesla Motors will look into making heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport, both already in early stages of development with unveiling planned for next year! Yet, another wow! This is how Elon summarizes the plans on the Tesla Motors’ blog:

  1. “Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
  2. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
  3. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
  4. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it”

It’s an interesting read, finding out how Tesla Motors’ actions fit into a grander scheme. Some of it reads like a science fiction novel, but hey, Elon Musk accomplished what he laid out in Part I, so who am I to doubt Plan II will become reality?! 😉

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Enjoying scenery and walks along the way

The other, not quite that important thing that happened this week, is the fact that we found out that two more German media outlets published our story, Focus.de and Rhein-Zeitung.de. Since we are originally from Germany and hope to make a difference in Germany as well, you can imagine that we were very excited.

Now, this is a long blog post, probably too long, and I haven’t even mentioned our Sunday yet. It’ll happen. But there’s one more thing I’d like to address, given what has been going on in the media. A word about our car’s Autopilot: We drove 16,000km from Victoria BC to Ft. Lauderdale FL and back and used the Autopilot 90% of the time. It made our trip more enjoyable and, unexpectedly, a lot more relaxing. Rolf has been missing this feature terribly on our cross Canada trip – it’s not available in towing mode. If used the way it’s supposed to be used, which is responsibly with hands on the steering wheel and in full control of the car at all times, it will NOT drive the car under a truck, or off the road, or into an obstruction. When that happens, it’s the mistake of the driver, not the Autopilot, since the driver was, obviously, not in control. Same as on a boat, same as on a plane. My opinion. There, I said it. 😉

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