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2016 ElMoto 4Corners - Cleveland to Chicago

Riding from Cleveland to Chicago was frought with challenge and near-misses.

The beginning of the day was easy peasy! Ohio Service Plazas have RV hookups at them, so my first 3 stops were all quick and as easy as getting gasoline. I pulled into the plaza, plugged in, grabbed food, unplugged, and was on my way. This is rather different from my normal charging stops.

Typically I need to pre-plan my stops at RV Parks, call ahead to ensure they know I’ll be coming, pull into an RV Park, chat with the office manager for a bit, plug in, perhaps chat some more, then unplug and head out. This takes extra time to negotiate where I’ll plug in and every minute is precious. So the “normal” charging stop for me involves convincing people to let me onto their property to use their electricity.

I always offer to pay and sometimes they take me up on that offer, sometimes they let me charge for free. I have often heard the phrase “if a dollar will break my business, I’m a poor businessman.” just before people let me charge for free.

Now the real adventure begins. I went to a little town in Michigan that has electrical outlets (both 110V and NEMA 14-50) on wooden boards along one street. There are about 30 outlets in total with 5 NEMA 14-50 outlets. When I arrived I discovered that none of them worked. Zero. Nada. So I was nearly out of charge with no plan B and no electricity. Fortunately there was a KOA that was 6.2 miles away.

I rode to the Middlebury KOA in Indiana and cruised on into their parking lot with 0% reading on my battery indicator. This was a bit of a shock because it went into low power mode at 11%, then jumped from 9% to 0% as I was nearing the parking lot. I have read that other 2014 Zero SR owners have had a similar experience. Zero has fixed this issue in their 2015 and 2016 bikes.

I charged up while a thunderstorm soaked my charging bike. That gave me enough charge to get to Purdue where they have a dual Chargepoint station. My chargers only pulled 3.4kW each, so I had to stay at Purdue an extra half hour, but that got me to Chicago to see my cousin and his wife. One of the challenges of charging instead of filling up using fuel is that charging stations sometimes fault. So I had to continually check to make sure the charging stations were working properly, and that my chargers were working properly.

My cousin lives in an apartment with no garage, so I charged at a Whole Foods store that was 5 blocks away while we caught up. Fortunately I didn’t arrive as late as I thought I would since I crossed the time zone! Woohoo!

Had a lovely visit with my cousin and his wife, got some rest on their comfy couch (at midnight) and will wake up tomorrow at 7am to do it all over again. Man, these are long days.

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