No self-respecting Minnesotan would leave the house in winter without an ice scraper in the car, right? Wrong!
Saturday, December 17, 2016
We decided to leave about 6:30 this morning, since we knew we’d need to make three charging stops before arriving at our hotel in Memphis. We discovered a few days ago that Memphis had a supercharger that went on line recently, so we changed our hotel reservations to a hotel near the supercharger. We were able to charge at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, but that takes several hours to get a full charge. With a supercharger, it takes about 45 – 75 minutes depending on how depleted the battery is.
We were also hoping to avoid bad weather. There were winter storm warnings out for the area we were driving through, plus a tornado watch in Memphis. We managed to reach our hotel before the thunderstorm started. There was quite a bit of rain and lightning. The temperature dropped about 50 degrees overnight, and the rain turned to freezing rain after midnight.
Sunday, December 18
This is the second time we’ve been to Memphis. This is the second time we’ve experienced an ice storm in Memphis. Will we ever go back? Not in winter.
On our first trip to Memphis, in the month of February, we planned to fly out of St. Cloud. However, it was so cold that our plane wouldn’t start, so we were booked on a flight out of Minneapolis and transported there by bus. We missed the flight out of Minneapolis, and rebooked one that connected through Atlanta. When we reached Atlanta, our connection to Memphis had been cancelled because of an ice storm. No one was going anywhere for a few hours. We spent about 5 hours in the airport before we finally got a flight to Memphis. This was a 19 hour trip – we could have driven there in that amount of time.
When we got to the rental car office, they were getting ready to close, but they did find a car for us. There was a thick layer of ice on it, and there were no ice scrapers in the car. We couldn’t wait in the office for the car to warm up because they were closing, so we sat in a cold car until it was warm enough to start melting the ice. Then, when we reached our hotel, they had cancelled our reservation because they didn’t think any flights would be coming in that night. Fortunately, they still had rooms available (about 10 feet from the FedEx runway, or so it appeared to us.) The next morning, there was hardly anyone on the road in town. On the highway, we had to watch out for ice sheets flying off the semis along side and in front of us.
When we looked out our hotel window this morning, none of the cars looked like they had ice on them, but ours was on the other side of the building. Deja vu all over again – it was covered with ice, the doors hesitated and crackled when we opened them, the windshield wipers were iced in, and the side mirrors would not open out. Mark turned the temperature on high inside the car, but it kept turning off when he went outside. And, of course, we didn’t have a window scraper. A credit card or room card can do a fairly good job, but you need really long arms to reach the center of the windshield. Neither of us is equipped with long arms.
After about 10 minutes of trying to heat the car, and scraping ice, we were able to head out. We charged to 90% at the Memphis supercharger, and it’s less than 150 miles to the next station so we hoped be able to drive the speed limit and have heat today. However, we had a head wind – range anxiety set in once again. We drove under the speed limit and turned off the heat, but still experienced a 30% reduction in range, arriving at our destination with only 15 miles to spare.
The further north we drove, the more the temperature dropped, reaching two degrees in Springfield, IL. The town experienced an ice storm a couple of days ago, and the sidewalks and parking lots still look like parking lots. We could have stayed home for this.