Monday, June 28, 2021

Testing the EV Charging Infrastructure

Last week I tested the EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure along a route stretching between Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and all the way across South Dakota. Then back. 

The good news: I made it both ways! Thanks to the car's self-planning feature (it decides which charging stations to stop at, and how long I need to charge there), planning the trip was a cinch. Overall, I enjoyed a lot of alone time, during which I listened to audiobooks galore. It was sweet. And wonderful to see my family, many of whom drove in from their own distant points to be there at the same time.

But that's not to say there weren't a few odd glitches. At one point, about 30 minutes out of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, my car suddenly told me the charging station I was making for was "closed" and my only option was to return to Coeur d'Alene, get a bigger charge, then come back once more with enough charge to make it to the next farther charging station. Well, that whole process added about 3 hours to my trip. All to find that the "closed" charging station was open all along. Some sort of lapse of cell communication in the middle of Idaho was probably to blame.

On the way back toward Washington, I stopped in Mitchell SD, only to discover that every one of the chargers would only let me charge for about 1 minute before stopping, then starting up again 20 or so seconds later, then stop, rinse, and repeat. Luckily I had a really big charge left, and so despite this herky-jerky situation, I was able to gather just enough energy to move on after about 20 minutes of worry.

A few other weirdnesses plagued me. About an hour and a half before I reached my initial destination in SD, the car freaked out, telling me there was no charge to be found at my destination, and that I should GO BACK. It helpfully tried to re-route me. (What it didn't know was that my parents had installed a charging plug in their garage, and that I was going to be fine.) Then, with too little information to go on, it decided that Highway 25 was actually the speed limit, and kept trying to limit my speed to 25 miles per hour.  Easy enough to fix: stop relying on the autopilot function and just drive the car like normal.

So, long story short: I had a great time on the drive (and an even better time seeing family in the middle). And I learned a lot, thanks to the events I've just described. So much that I might try to do it again next year.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Batgirl Vs. The Insidious Ache

Hi folks!

A few days ago,  Batgirl became part cyborg. She got a new hip to replace the one injured in a battle with her arch-nemesis, the Insidious Ache. 

The surgery went well. But we had a tougher first night than either of us expected. The next day's breakthrough pain was so severe I was placing calls to her surgeon (as the instruction sheet they sent us home with said I should).

Thankfully, she turned a corner for the better on day 3 (yesterday). In fact, last night we were able to finally make it upstairs to the bedroom to sleep instead of us sleeping downstairs on the couch. Sleep, I missed you...

It seems like we're heading in the right direction, finally. Soon (well, in a little less than six weeks, if the prognosis holds), she'll be back, better than ever with an arthritis-free artificial hip. (Cue Bionic Woman theme music.)

[Photo by Aaron Barnaby on Unsplash]