'Kick Gas' Movie: Driving Across U.S. In Electric Car & Motorcycles Page 2

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Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

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One of the highlights of my ride was meeting up with a guy named Gavin in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We had found each other on electric-motorcycle discussion boards, and he led me to my favorite ride of the trip: a blistering fast ride up and down Sandia Mountain! Gavin rides a Brammo Empulse, and we had a great time racing up and down the mountain while following the film crew--who had to push their minivan to the limit just to keep us in sight.  

Strangers become friends

Members of the "Ride the Future" Tour met each other just four days before embarking on the journey.  On July 1st, we all got together in Charleston, South Carolina--and we headed out on July 4th. It might be considered a social experiment, going on a trip for a month and a half with people you have never met before. 

Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

Enlarge Photo

The riders and drivers attempting the records included Susan Jones, who organized the trip, on the scooter; Duane Leffel in the Nissan Leaf; Ben Hopkins on the electric bicycle; and me on the electric motorcycle.

We all brought a few friends to help keep us going, including Sean Scott, Rachel McCarthy, and Dominique Arciero. Sean's dad, Stuart, also joined us for part of the trip. The Kick Gas film crew included director Jonathan Becker, cinematographer Evan Scott, and sound man George Wymenga.

Altogether, we were 10 people--and we had quite a journey together figuring out how to keep all the vehicles charged, along with filming a movie, braving the elements, spreading the word about how amazing it is to drive an electric vehicle, and occasionally finding time to relax.

The resiliency and motivation to keep moving forward day after day was incredible, and everyone added to the group effort.  

Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

Enlarge Photo

Tips for next time

The main challenge of the journey was simply that while the motorcycle and car have the ability to travel on highways, the scooter and bicycle travel at less than 30 mph. If you want to take a trip like this, try to make sure all the vehicles can stay together. 

Many days, Ben Hopkins would start his journey on the electric bicycle and I wouldn't see him until I met him and Duane for lunch. However, that meant that for much of the day, we were all traveling separately or in groups of two or three instead of in one big caravan.

Keeping track of everyone given limited cellular service proved to be a big challenge. For much of the journey, only a couple of us had cell service, making the Wild West seem all the more challenging. We had planned to meet media for interviews or meet local electric-car drivers in each city, but not being able to communicate quickly and easily proved frustrating.  

Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

Scenes from 'Ride the Future' electric-vehicle tour across the U.S., Summer 2013, in 'Kick Gas' film

Enlarge Photo

Some of our best memories came from the nights in which we camped out--although camping with a parade of electric vehicles made charging all the batteries even more difficult. We generally camped at sites that had RV outlets, which worked out well. One night, near the Grand Canyon, we camped outside of town while our batteries charged up in a hotel room nearby!

Those are just a few of the exciting stories--we caught a 50-pound catfish by the mouth; stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona (Eagles fans will recognize that one); had a variety of brushes with The Law; ran into Terry Hershner, who ended up joining us to ride for the last week; and met Paul Scott, founder of Plug-In America--and there are many more to be told.

Every day was an adventure!

To see the trailer or download the movie, go to Kick Gas, and for more information on the movie, see the Facebook page for Kick Gas.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: If you're interested in more details about the trip or have specific questions, leave a comment below, and author Ben Rich will do his best to respond.]

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