Coyote Gulch’s excellent EV adventure, Grand Valley edition — Homeward bound #ActOnClimate

Buffalo Mountain from the Frisco Town Center September 30, 2021.

I left Grand Junction with a full charge after a short wait using the DC Fast charger at the Stop and Shop on Horizon Drive. I decided to use Old Highway US-6 when I could to conserve charge avoiding the 65 m.p.h. and 75 m.p.h. speed limit on I-70. That turned out to be a great decision.

The first leg was from the free Level 2 charger at the DeBeque Fire District facility to the next charge in Rifle where there are multiple DC Fast Chargers at the Kum & Go. US-6 parallels the interstate pretty much until Rifle and from there to just before Glenwood Springs. I missed getting back on US-6 at Dotsero but rejoined it at Gypsum.

There are multiple DC Fast charging facilities from Gypsum to Vail where I charged for the climb over Vail Pass to Frisco and you can stay on US-6 until just before Vail.

Charging in Frisco and Silverthorne is only Level 2 for EVs that have a CHAdeMO connector. You’re okay at Walmart if you have a CCS/SAE connector but the Electrify America’s CHAdeMO was out of service (The Glenwood Springs Electrify America CHAdeMO was also out of service.). The best setup is at the Frisco Town Center with five free Level 2 charging stations, where a Volvo and Tesla were also charging. The facility is convenient to a retail shopping area.

There is a lot of extra time added to a drive like this looking for charging facilities and charging. Level 2 charging takes more time. The battery in my Leaf is not representative of EVs on the market today and it is nearly five years old so my range is more limited and that equals more time spent at the charger. During charges I incorporate stuff that I would be spending time on anyway like doom-scrolling through Twitter, processing my email, or getting a meal.

The ride up US-6 along the Colorado River and the Eagle River was great, irrigation infrastructure, hay fields, cool old farmhouses and town buildings. The fall foliage display this year is pretty amazing.

The two-lane US-6 six route had an extra bonus — Loveland Pass with a dusting of snow. It was worrisome when I used 40% of my charge to get to the top of the pass, but thanks to the regenerative breaking system I only used 10% more charge all the way home to Denver on I-70 and US-6 along Clear Creek. EV car owners love downhill stretches and much as bicyclists do.

Leaf charging at the Lionshead parking facility in Vail September 30, 2021.