Chambers, AZ to Albuquerque, NM
Total Miles: 207
Progress Maps: Close Detail | USA View
The last hour or so of the drive yesterday was in the dark. The moon was not out, and it was absolutely pitch black in the eastern Arizona desert. The stop for the evening was as the Best Western Chieftain Motel in Chambers, Arizona near the state's border with New Mexico. This was my only charging stop in Arizona where I wasn't at an APS facility. I hauled my 75 pound 220 volt wall mount charger out of the trunk for the first time since Desert Center, California. This unit is not intended for portable use, but it's sure nice that it fits into the EV1's large trunk with plenty of room to spare, even with the wheels and handle that I added to it. Fortunately, the trunk opening is rather low compared to most cars, making it less difficult to take in and out of the car. When I organized my charging stops weeks earlier, I contacted the Chieftain's manager Kathy Simshauser. She offered the use of one of her public laundry room's 220 volt dryer plugs for my needs, and even mailed me a sketch of the receptacle so that I could supply the correct adapter which turned out to be a common 220 volt 30 amp dryer plug. I suspect that this is the first of many times I'll need this adapter on my trip.
I let Pam Seymore and APS of the hook for this charge in the northeastern edge of the state. After all, I needed to get accustomed to using my own charger, so why not get started here. APS had been extremely gracious by providing both 220 volt power as well as chargers at all my other stops in this EV challenging state. But it was time to move on into the other states where the EV1 has only been a newspaper story, magazine article, or TV news feature.
This morning was crystal clear and breezy, with a temperature of around 70°. I had breakfast in the Chieftain's restaurant - maybe the largest omelette I've ever seen! Since the EV1's trunk is being used to haul the big 220 volt charger, adapter cables, and other odds and ends, I placed my suitcase behind the driver's seat on the shelf above the battery compartment. In spite of the car's small size, it's amazing how much I was carrying. I organized items that I might want to have access to while driving in such a way that I could get to them easily without a struggle while driving, such as Jeff Church's altimeter, my small ice cooler, and an assortment of compact discs. The EV1 has an excellent sound system, and I took advantage of it during the long desert stretches. I rarely listened to the radio out here in the desert - not much of a selection of stations to my liking. I should mention that the EV1's radio antenna is an unusual design. In order to reduce wind drag to the minimum, the antenna is invisibly placed between the headliner and the roof of the car, out of sight.
After receiving a nearly full charge in Gallup, I headed back into I-40. Within a few miles I would traverse the Continental Divide, the division of water flow that separates the eastern and western halves of the country. On the western side of the mountain range, river water flows to the Pacific Ocean, and the eastern slope rivers flow to the Gulf of Mexico. The Continental Divide requires considerable climbing on some of the northern highways that cross it, but here on I-40 a relatively modest 700 foot climb from Gallup takes me to Grants, New Mexico on the eastern side of the Divide.
By 6:00 pm, I had packed up the charger and was ready to head off to Albuquerque. This stretch of road has had me a bit nervous from the time I started planning the trip. There are eighty miles of desert between Grants and Albuquerque, with little in between but for a few Indian reservations. This would be stretching the EV1's driving range to the maximum. Obviously, running out of battery charge here would be a disaster to avoid at all costs. Fortunately, the land slopes down from the Continental Divide, although there are still many hills to climb as the road works it's way down to Albuquerque. Down slopes require less energy to be consumed, regardless of what kind of vehicle you're driving. I was counting on gravity to work in my favor to get me to Albuquerque without problems. I was extremely surprised to arrive there with 27% charge still remaining in the batteries and an additional 30 miles indicated on the range gauge, even after climbing numerous hills. Notice the readings on the instrument panel in the accompanying photo taken 37 miles east of Grants. From left to right: 101 miles estimated range remaining, 5 bars on the "power use" gauge, 55 mph speed, forward drive gear selected, 37.3 miles on the trip odometer.
Eagerly waiting to provide me with a charge in Albuquerque was Doug Taylor, director of the Alternate Fuel Vehicle Program for the Public Service Company (PSC) of New Mexico. I was given Doug's name as well as most of my other contacts with electric utilities by Kateri Callahan and Chris Hardin of the Electric Transportation Coalition in Washington, D.C. I left my EV1 in PSC's garage, and spent the night at the nearby Red Roof Inn. Across the street I was delighted to find a Waffle House restaurant. I first encountered this restaurant chain on a driving trip from Los Angeles to Key West, Florida ten years ago. In the southeastern part of the U.S., Waffle House's are as prevalent as McDonald's - they're everywhere. I've never understood why we don't have them in California, because their waffles are the best I've ever eaten, and their prices are cheap and the service is consistently excellent. I wasted no time ordering a pecan waffle before retiring for the night. Tomorrow - one last major climb, then downhill all the way to the states of the Great Plains.
|Town or City||Chambers, AZ||Gallup, NM||Grants, NM||Albuquerque, NM|
|Driving Notes||-||-||Charge indicator and range gauge show that the EV1 getting is getting outstanding range.|
|Grades Encountered||-||Climb 900 ' to Continental Divide. Ups and downs both sides of divide||Downward slope with constant ups and downs.|
|Charge Start Time||Overnight||10:35 AM||3:20 PM||9:05 PM|
|Charge End Time||-||1:35 PM||5:45 PM||? -overnight|
|Charge Duration||3h 0m||2h 25m||2h 55m|
|Charging Facility||Best Western Chieftain Motel||Gallup KOA Kampground||Cibola Sands RV Park||Public Service Company of New Mexico -- alternate fuel vehicles facility|
|Contact Name||Kathy Simshauser, manager||Charles Diaz||Paul Weintritt, owner||Doug Taylor|
|11||6 start/11 finish||3 start/11 finish||3 start/11 finish|
|Charge Start (%)||100||46||27||26|
|Charge Stop (%)||97||97||100|
|Ambient Temp (°F)
|Approx. Miles to Next Charging Stop
and Known Grades
|45 miles -- up 900 '||65 miles over Continental Divide||Ups and downs entire route||45 - long, steep climb out of Albuquerque|
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