A trip to Rockland Park is (or was) the next major milestone travel destination. Although the round trip is within the range of the CitiCar, there are many hills along the way, making the trip impossible.
There are two things going for me that make the trip possible. First is that there is a public level 2 charging station on the way. The second thing that helps is that the new Lester charger recharges batteries four times faster than what I was previously using. I had the day planned out earlier in the week.
The weather was a bit cool and looked like it may rain soon. A quick look at a local weather forecast indicated that it had rained in the morning, and that it should be clear for the remainder of the day.
A CitiCar with Spunk
On our way over to the charging station, I noticed rite away that the CitiCar had a bit more pep to it. I was getting speeds up to 35 mph under its own power. I’ve not seen that before in this little car. It’s almost like she is showing off, up for the challenge ahead of us. I’ve got a bit of a hunch that maybe the batteries were overcharged last night while I changed over to the new extension cords, restarting the charging cycles.
As I was about to plug the CitiCar into the charging station, someone stopped their car in front of us and asked how it does on gas. I replied that I don’t buy gas, and pointed to a sign on the building behind me that said Electric Vehicle Charging Station. They looked a bit shocked. I don’t think they realized that charging stations existed.
Teddy and I headed over to the walk-up window at checkers and got a small order of fries. With bits of French fries as a reward, Teddy gave people going through the drive-through lanes a show.
Pushing the Limits
This was it, we were about to go off further out of town than we had ever been in the little CitiCar with more hills to conquer and a small trek through a 55mph zone. Thankfully it was a two lane highway, so I wasn’t holding anyone up. The road to turn off towards the park felt further away than I had expected. Every hill and valley feels like a challenge. Turning onto the road, I went up a hill that just kept going on and on.
I hadn’t driven over railroad tracks before. I was getting a bit anxious about how well the car would take it. I think the car behind me was getting a bit of a kick watching us slow down and take the rails at a slow speed. It was worth it. The suspension and small tires on the CitiCar don’t do well crossing tracks.
Once we crossed over, we turned down the road into the park and everything was easy going after that. Although the limit was only 25 mph, we coasted as much as possible to preserve battery power since no one was behind us. There is a bit of a hill once you enter the park that wasn’t all too bad.
We parked by the fitness equipment with a clear view of the mountains along the horizon. I led Teddy over to walk past the pavilions and a playground to get to the walking path.
One of the things that I like about Rockland Park is the blacktop walking path. You’ve got a hard, flat, and level surface that even strollers could be pushed along without any obstructions (except getting to it). There is a Disc Golf course peppered throughout the woods. Smaller dirt paths through the course cross over the main path, and often have benches at various crossings.
The park has one major detriment to its serene atmosphere. Although Rockland park is large, you’ll always hear the humming and crunching sounds of the power plant nearby. The sound of children playing at a music park often brings more peace to the park, overcoming this background noise.
I was in such an adventurous spirit that I decided to take a path that I have always avoided. It goes under some high power electric lines. Listening to the air heat up around the electric lines gives me a fright with thoughts of being struck by a bolt of electrons, or having a device malfunction. I figured if everyone can walk through without damaging their phones, I should be fine. I just kept my focus on Teddy and we kept going.
The path had some nice views of the Shenandoah river. It went down to a fork and a little bench where the asphalt ended. Teddy and I headed left, as it looked like it would take us closer to the river. Sure enough, we got to the end with a little spot where we could sit on some old concrete blocks. The area could use a bench to sit back and enjoy the view.
We watched a few boats pass and wave at us. Teddy would get a bit focused when each boats wake would reach the shore, making sloshing sounds in various places around us.
We headed back on up to the fork. Teddy seemed to be leading the way, excited to come back the way we came. We continued down in the other direction. I could hear golf balls being hit. It eventually brought us to a golf course where the path becomes shared with golf carts. I looked on a satellite map and couldn’t see if any of the paths would lead around, back to the park. Instead, Teddy and I headed back to where we came from.
On the way back under the power lines, I felt more confident walking under them. We continued on our original path on the main loop and walked up onto a white tailed doe on the path. The deer just looked at us. After Teddy started barking, she took off.
We got back to the CitiCar and headed back to the charging station. The battery was down to 70%. A person came up to ask about the car just as I was about to get Teddy out. We are getting stopped often to talk about this car. I went over some details of how I am able to charge an antique car from the 70’s at a public charging station. I got a combo meal at Checkers while we waited for the car to recharge.
It was time to go back home – or was it? There wasn’t much else to do today and the battery meter was reporting a 100% charge. I decided to head over to Gertrude. Along the way, I made another split decision to run on up to the town square instead. While walking around, I noticed a new store is opening called, I want candy. I also grabbed a photo of some painted garden poles outside The Studio – A Place for Learning.
After walking around for a bit, I decided to stop into Lions park and let Teddy have a little walk and quick drink out of Happy Creek. We were shortly on our way back home.
The total cruise was a whopping 15.7 miles – 41% further than the CitiCar’s previous record! With free charging, the average price per mile was brought town to 2.1¢.
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In Other News
Moving the GPS receiver from the dashboard to the front, under the CitiCars’ “hood” area has greatly reduced the time it takes to acquire a signal. It appears that the aluminum frame does play a big part of disrupting GPS signals.