Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
- Marietta Nissan, Marietta, GA – EV Plug
- Hampton Inn, Greenville, SC – GE WattStation
Here is where being flexible really helps when owning an electric car. I drove to the Atlanta area where my parents live. I was originally planning on charging up overnight at the Tesla Service Center in Marietta, GA, and staying with my folks in Acworth. However, after some planning ahead, I realized that it would be much better to just recharge there for a few hours and then spend the night further up I-85 as that would get me much closer to my destination much sooner and would make for a much shorter drive the next day.
So, with that in mind, I planned to stop at an office park just off the beltway (a.k.a. The Perimeter) and I-75, around Windy Hill Road. There were four GE charging stations at the Parkwood Point office park garage, so I thought it would make a convenient place to recharge. What I hadn’t thought about was all of the people driving Nissan Leafs to work, then charging them up there for their drive home. My plan was to meet my mom at the charging stations and we would go back to my parents’ place and visit with them while the car charged. However, when I arrived at Parkwood Point, all of the charging stations were full. So, I quickly looked up another place close by via PlugShare.com. We headed over to The Towers at Wildwood Plaza only to find that their charging stations were full as well… with several Nissan Leafs waiting close by to charge up as well. This wasn’t looking good. My mother and I determined that all of the charging stations at business parks would most likely be full, so we drove back up to the nearest free charging point to their house – Town Center Nissan. Fortunately my mother (being ever the mom looking out for her son) had already talked with the folks at the Nissan dealership and they assured her that the charging stations were not only free to anyone (some Nissan dealers aren’t so liberal) but they were accessible 24/7. So, we headed up there and plugged in with no problems.
With the car charging, we drove to my parents’ house for an early dinner and some time to relax and visit. It was still nearly warm enough to eat outside on my parents’ deck, but we decided to eat inside due to the wind. Steaks on the grill – it’s nice to have a home-cooked meal when you’re on the road. 🙂
After a delicious dinner and the car charged up enough to make it to my next stop, we headed back to the Nissan dealership. My mother being who she is, naturally insisted on packing me a sandwich, some snacks, and gave me a box of items to deliver to my sister in Philadelphia, including some cookies and brownies as well as a box of Tide detergent. “They were practically giving it away!” my mom exclaimed. Fine. Whatever. 😛
I put the items into the car (there was certainly enough space), and in exchange gave my mom the fruitcake I picked up for her brother at the Collins Street Bakery in Texas. I seemed to remember my uncle saying that he actually really likes fruitcake, and since this place was claiming that it was famous for their fruitcake, I just had to get him one. Especially since his birthday was coming up. Perfect gift! 🙂
So with the car charged and packages exchanged, I was off to South Carolina. Being well after rush hour, the traffic on “The Top End Perimeter” as it’s known locally was fairly light. As I drove along, I noticed a car sitting on my right side for just a few seconds longer than normal, then all of a sudden there was a horn honk. I looked over to see a Tesla Roadster just before he zipped off ahead of me. I must say, culturally this is a great group of folks. Everyone loves saying hi to one another. If you’re the driver of that Roadster out there reading this, Cheers! 😀
Driving so many hours by myself, I expected to get very fatigued on this road trip. And while I did have a few stiff back muscles, for the most part the car was so comfortable I can’t imagine a better car for such a trip. 90% of my driving was done with the cruise control on, so I was free to put my legs into lots of different positions to help alleviate the slight bit of discomfort in my back. That and doing some stretches at each stop helped as well.
I arrived at the Hampton Inn near Greenville, SC, late in the night. I called ahead to make sure that the charging station would be available. The staff assured me that there was a very high probability that reserving it wouldn’t be necessary, but that they would make a note of it just to make sure. I arrived and sure enough the charging station was available. Sorry, but after hitting so many occupied charging stations around Atlanta I wanted to make sure I would be able to charge overnight here. I plugged in and everything worked perfectly. With the car charging, I went to check in and settle in for the night and watch Game 6 of the 2013 World Series.