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Electric Motorcycle Road Trip: What I Learned, What You Need To Know Page 2


It's formally known as Route 129, and crosses the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, with 318 curves in 11 miles of road. I rode it six times in 36 hours, and loved every knee-dragging minute of it!  (OK, I didn't actually drag my knee--but it was close most of the time.)

After riding the Dragon, I headed to Nashville to visit some electric-motorcycle friends, and we headed down the famous Natchez Trace Parkway. This is another phenomenally beautiful road with scenic stops and meandering curves that caress the local terrain. 

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The first half of my journey ended in St. Louis, where I attended my cousin's wedding and visited the Country Music Hall of Fame. My trip was broken up because I had to fly back to New York City for a week, but I'll resume today--traveling to Chicago, Cleveland, and Rochester, New York, on my way to ride up New Hampshire's Mount Washington.

Snapshot from road trip through N Carolina, Tennessee & Virginia on 2012 Zero S electric motorcycle

Snapshot from road trip through N Carolina, Tennessee & Virginia on 2012 Zero S electric motorcycle

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Lessons learned

1)  It's still an adventure to take an electric-vehicle road trip (unless you're driving a Tesla using the company's Supercharger network). 

2)  While it's easy to find charging stations, they're not always guaranteed to be available. They could be in use already, not working at all, or--worst of all--they might be "ICEd," or blocked by a thoughtless driver of an internal-combustion engine (ICE) car.

3)  Most people at RV campgrounds are super-nice! I've shown up to many campgrounds unannounced, and most were incredibly welcoming and let me recharge my motorcycle for free (even though I always offer to pay the dollar or so for the electricity).

4)  To take a road trip in any electric vehicle, you need to plan ahead. At the start of each day, I decided where my stops for charging would be--including alternate locations if available. 

5)  I relied on RV parks that allowed me to charge for about an hour in the middle of each day, and I usually showed up with very little charge remaining. If I don't call ahead, then I basically arrive in a state of emergency--and have to rely on the kindness of strangers to continue my journey. That's why I usually call ahead ....

6)  A couple of RV parks have claimed that they needed to replace receptacles to their 50-Amp hookup after a Tesla used it. This should be further investigated, as electric-vehicle owners very much don't want to burn those bridges or create any distrust of our community on the part of park owners.

7)  When I learn a Tesla has stopped at an RV park, the park operators will often ask me for $10 or more to recharge (my bike uses maybe $0.60 of electricity). This highlights the fact that most people have no idea how much electricity costs--and no one understands how much electricity different electric vehicles use. My motorcycle battery holds one-tenth the energy of a Tesla battery, so the cost for electricity is a factor of 10 less--but I often have to explain that slowly and carefully.

Ride on!

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