While today's charging went very well, the driving was much more exciting than I would prefer. We had two long legs today. The first was about 117 miles from Sweetwater to Midland and the second about 107 from Midland to Fort Stockton.
I was confident that 117 miles on a full charge would be fine at 50 mph and that was what the Ford Navigation said as well. We started out with about 23 miles of buffer (Distance to Empty calculation > distance to charger).
What I didn't realize was how much of an impact a 15-20 mph headwind would have. By the time we reached a third of the trip, the buffer had been eroded down to about 11 miles. With about 60% of the leg behind us, it looked like we might not make it to the Midland charger.
Fortunately, Texas interstates often have frontage roads running along them for miles. I hopped off and started driving 40 mph on the frontage roads while my wife looked up possible RV parks to stop in for charging. There were no backup CCS or J-1772 chargers to be had. We identified RV parks to use as backups. We found an alternate route that went straight through a town while the interstate bent around it, saving a couple of miles and driving slowly.
The slower speed gave us back the range we needed, ending the leg with 6% and 6 miles of range on the GOM.
Note that the efficiency was down to 1.1 mpk, whereas 50 mph driving had been giving us an average of nearly 1.3 mpk.
We started out the 107 mile leg from Midland to Fort Stockton with a bit more buffer and better informed. Here we are a few miles into the leg:
Knowing we would have similar winds and only a 90% charge, we left the interstate and took a slower speed shortcut.
Wind had killed efficiency on this leg, too. Even with lower speeds we only averaged 1.2 mpk.
We're really glad we decided to overnight in the Marathon Hotel and RV Park, roughly halfway from Fort Stockton to Big Bend National Park. The full drive would have been 140 miles and we could have only easily charged to 90% at the EA station in Fort Stockton. 140 miles with a full battery and 40 mph should have been a piece of cake. However, the 15-20 mph headwind could have sunk us.
It's an interesting feeling when the navigation system tells you that all chargers are unreachable, so you are past the point of no return. There is nothing on the road from Fort Stockton to Marathon except cattle and oil wells. It takes a real leap of faith to keep going.
Tomorrow will be much easier: a short driving day with only 70 miles from Marathon to Big Bend NP with a full charge!