Three Country Tour on an Electric Motorcycle – Tupelo

2 years ago by Ben Rich 4

Trespassing to get my first charge of the day.

Trespassing to get my first charge of the day.

I trespassed twice today.

Today was supposed to be about the triumphant return to beautiful riding (which it was), but it also was very stressful in terms of charging.

First, riding up the Natchez Trace Parkway in the morning was a bit magical. The fog was softly lifting through the slanted rays of sunlight peaking through the trees. It was beautiful!

However, I also had other things on my mind. Like the fact that it is Sunday and I may be locked out of my first charging station at a Nissan dealership. I was right.

Since I ride a motorcycle it was pretty easy to get onto the lot and start charging, so I didn’t lose any time. But I would prefer to charge at stations where I am welcomed or at least not locked out.

Leaving money after charging at a national park without permission.  I love our park system!

Leaving money after charging at a national park without permission. I love our park system!

The second charging station wasn’t much better. It was at a national park and the person I spoke with on the phone was the lowest man on the totem pole, so he didn’t actually give me permission to charge. Once I got there I couldn’t find anyone in the office so I just charged up, left a couple of bucks for the 4kWh of charge and headed on my merry way.

The last charging stop was fine. I had spoken to the RV Park in the morning and they gave me the okay, so I felt good about that one. But having permission to charge at only 1 of 3 spots today was stressful. Also, each charging station was between 5 and 15 miles away from the parkway, making me “spend” extra miles today.

Relaxing at Lake Choctaw with my toes in the water.

Relaxing at Lake Choctaw with my toes in the water.

On the other hand, I found lake Choctaw, and it was beautiful! I grew up on a lake so they have a special place in my heart. It was a nice break after all the running around.

Most of the day was spent on the Natchez Trace Parkway enjoying nature and fundamentally having a private road through the woods to enjoy! Looking forward to another day of riding on the Trace, hopefully with better luck with places to charge!

Map of the route along the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Charging stations are inconveniently located.

Map of the route along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Charging stations are inconveniently located.

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4 responses to "Three Country Tour on an Electric Motorcycle – Tupelo"

  1. Mike777 says:

    Wow, very quiet. Great for touring.

  2. Mart says:

    The Trace is always beautiful, and free of commercial traffic. I love the area from the Barnett Reservoir to River Bend. There’s a charger at the Whole Foods in Jackson, just a bit further down I-55 @ Northside Drive (Highland Village that’s always open.

  3. Ben,
    Glad to see you are still happily whirring along. It was truly a pleasure to meet you while you were charging in Houston at Whole Foods. You are a class act and a pioneer, not to mention a talented journalist (and rider!).
    Best wishes on this journey and beyond. I can’t wait to read about one of your trips 10 years from now where you went coast to coast on one charge!

    1. protomech says:

      “10 years from now where you went coast to coast on one charge!”

      That’s probably a little wishful thinking! Realistic gains in range in 10 years are more along the lines of 50-100%, some due to packaging a physically larger battery. If coupled with some improved aerodynamics on touring models, it will be comparable to gas bikes and “enough” for most riders.

      But the better gains we can look forward to are significantly cheaper batteries as well as all other EV-specific components, more manufacturer selection and competition, and a standard, well-maintained, densely-distributed quick charging grid.

      The goal is for the leg duration, rest duration, and route selection to be driven by the rider’s preferences and NOT the bike range or available charging points. I think we can get there in 10 years. And then perhaps the question won’t be “why electric”, it’ll be “why gas”.

      In 20 years maybe we’ll read about an exciting 5000 mile trip made on an antique petrol bike (gas will mean “natural gas”) on the crumbling petrol network, on the website insidepetrol.com. And maybe by then FCEVs will be practical too :>