Blythe, California to Phoenix, Arizona
Total Miles: 171

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Another beautiful, clear desert morning. I've been looking forward to this day for weeks: crossing the California state line into Arizona in my EV1.Driving over this first of many state borders would be a confidence builder. Blythe, CA is just a few short miles from the state line. The border is defined by the Colorado River, which is wide and lazy at this point. In a few days, we'll see the aggressive work this river has done at the Grand Canyon.


After climbing out of the Colorado River valley into western Arizona, I headed for the town of Quartzsite where Pam Seymore of Arizona Public Service (APS) would be waiting to greet me. When I first conceived this trip months ago, I knew that this incredibly beautiful state would also be the most difficult to get through in an EV1. Long, desolate stretches of highway, mountain grades, and cool temperatures at higher elevations could mean big trouble for an electric car that achieves 80 miles range per charge under optimum conditions on a flat road surface. The range drops dramatically when climbing, although 30% or so can be regenerated when coasting downgrades. Cool temperatures are helpful when recharging because the batteries accept replacement energy better when they are cool, but the driving range is better when the batteries are warm. A rule of thumb: 70 degrees can yield 70 mile range, 50 degrees means 50 miles range, etc. A partner would have to be found to help me locate 220 volt power sources if I had a prayer of getting through Arizona. Enter Pam Seymore and APS. Pam heads APS's aggressive electric transportation department. Fast growing Arizona needs to be concerned with air pollution to protect the wonders of nature and its expanding population. Making it easier for drivers of zero emission electric vehicles is Pam's specialty as I soon found out. When I told her about my plans, she enthusiastically offered not only 220 volt power sources from APS, but 6.6kW MagneCharger setups at every one of my Arizona stops! No need to haul the charger out of my trunk. You can imagine how thrilled I was by her offer. Pam has come through in every way and I owe her and APS an incredible debt of gratitude. As you will see in the days to come, chargers will be waiting for me in the most unlikely places thanks to Pam and APS.
In the winter months, the tiny town of Quartzsite is home to thousands of "snowbirds" -- elderly nomads in motorhomes by the thousands flock to the pleasant winter weather here. As summer approaches, the snowbirds depart before the scorching summer heat arrives. When I arrived, the town was quiet with just a few locals on the streets. APS has a small district office here manned by long time employee Dean Skelton. An Oklahoma native, Dean appreciates the solitude and beauty of the desert. Pam Seymore and I met in person for the first time and it was immediately obvious that the person I had spoken with on the phone was truly appreciative of my efforts to showcase the EV1 and electric cars. After a one hour "partial charge," I was off to the next stop en route to Phoenix.
The stretch of Interstate 10 between Quartzsite and Phoenix is largely uninhabited except for an occasional ranch. The original route to Phoenix was US highway 60 which follows a different path to the city. As is typical with the older highways (like famous US Route 66), the highway was routed through towns. Service stations, motels, and restaurants were built to serve travelers. When the Interstate highway system was built, these towns were often bypassed with more direct routes favorable to speedy travel. Because Pam had no luck in securing 220 volt power on this part of I-10 for my charging needs, we took a pleasant detour onto US 60 for a few miles to the small desert town of Salome, AZ. Chet Kelly made arrangements with Grower's Oil Company to allow APS to connect their 6.6kW 220 volt MagneCharger for my use. I used the charging time in Salome for making phone calls to verify future charging arrangements on the eastern leg of my trip.
After partially charging my EV1 in Salome, I took the wavy, winding Salome-Buckeye road to reconnect with Interstate 10. The next charging stop was near Tonopah, Arizona. Here I found perhaps the largest truck stop I've ever seen, Rip Griffin's Travel Center. Shop manager Mike Baki and APS employee Rich Landon were waiting with a ready MagneCharger. In earlier phone conversations with Mike, he graciously offered power sources at any other Rip Griffin's location that might be on my route. I may take him up on his offer.
Mike's friendly enthusiasm is typical of what I've found as I prearranged my charging stops across America. Mike presented me with a coupon for a free dinner at Rip Griffin's excellent restaurant. Truckers expect high quality meals, and Rip Griffin's delivers in a big way. I stuffed myself on their fried chicken and salad bar while my EV1 got a fresh charge.
Phoenix is one of the cities where GM has made the EV1 available for lease at Saturn dealers. As in southern California, there is an active group of enthusiasts who have formed a chapter of the EV1 Club. I found 11 EV1's waiting for me at the Texaco Star Mart on the western side of town just off of I-10. The Texaco station provides free charging facilities for EV1's. It was an amazing site to see some many EV1's in one spot. We formed a caravan and I was escorted to McDonalds restaurant on Camelback Road in central Phoenix where media coverage of my trip was planned. Why McDonalds? Because they provide free charging for EV1's. Most of us who drive EV1's strongly believe in supporting businesses that support our charging needs. My old friend Doug Huth stopped by and was amazed at the EV1 collection in the parking lot. Doug offered his home to me during my one night stay in Phoenix.
Doug and I took a brief driving tour then headed off for the famous Phoenix-area eatery, Monti's Restaurant in neighboring Tempe. The structure was built in 1871 and is brimming with old southwest atmosphere. Owner Michael Monti drives an EV1, and you guessed it, he has provided two free EV1 charging stations for his customers complete with their own individual carports. Because this was the night of the final "Seinfeld" broadcast, I expected Monti's to be empty, but it was surprisingly busy. We soon found out why. Doug and I enjoyed one of the finest filet mignon dinners I've ever had. By the time we finished our meal, "Seinfeld" was history and hungry customers were pouring into Monti's in droves. The place holds 1,200 people, but the maze of dining rooms gives an intimate charm. We hopped into my freshly charged EV1 and headed for Doug's home where I spent much of the night preparing my daily website update. Sleep is rare these past few days, and I'll have to catch up. Tomorrow, off to northern Arizona on Interstate 17 to picturesque Sedona. But I'm nervously anticipating the notorious Black Canyon grade, a long steep climb that could suck the charge out my EV1 before I arrived at the summit. Tomorrow will be an interesting day...

Trip Log

Stop #1
Stop #2
Stop #3
Stop #4
Town or City Blythe, CA Quartzsite, AZ Salome, AZ Tonopah, AZ Phoenix, AZ
Elevation 267 600 740 900 1100
Odometer 14573 14597 14636 14692 14744
Trip Odometer 0 24.0 38.9 55.6 48.9
Driving Notes     Since no 220 v source was avail. on I-10 to Tonopah, APS arranged for 220v power at Salome on old US route 60, causing a detour from I-10. Salome-Buckeye road connects back to I-10 @ exit 81. Take I-10 to exit 103. Escorted by a fleet of EV1's from Phoenix-area EV1 Club to Mc Donalds.
Grades Encountered - 6% 15 mile upgrade from Colorado River Approx 12 mi. climb out of Quartzsite, then constant 3% downgrade into Salome Small ups and down on Salome-Buckeye road connecting back to I-10. I-10 flat. Flat
Charging Information
Charge Start Time Overnight 10:00 AM 11:50 AM 2:25 PM 5:20 PM
Charge End Time 7:00 AM 10:55 AM 1:20 PM 4:00 PM 6:25 PM
Charge Duration 7h 0m 0h 55m 1h 30m 1h 35m 1h 5m
Charging Facility Holiday Inn Express APS office Grower's Oil Company Rip Griffin's Truck Stop Mc Donalds/16th and Camelback
Contact Name - Dean Skelton/APS Chet Kelly/APS Mike Baki-Rip Griffin/Rich Landon-APS Public charging station
Charger Type 1.2kw/120v 6.6kw/240v 6.6kw/240v 6.6kw/240v 6.6kw/240v
Charge Indicator
(In Bars/11=100%)
10 start 6/end 9 start 3/end 9 start 3/end 8 start 2/end 6
Charge Start (%)   48 21 21 11
Charge Stop (%) 84 83 80 72 49
Ambient Temp (°F)
Weather Conditions
60° 70° 75° 80° 80°
Approx. Miles to Next Charging Stop
and Known Grades
24 miles -- climb out of Colorado River Valley 36 miles. 55 miles 48 miles -

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