HI - I'm Got Plug? I'm a Mini E. That's an electric car being field tested by Mini. I have a few hundred siblings in the United States. We mostly reside on the left and right coasts where brave volunteers are pioneering with us. The volunteers are, for the most part, humans. You know; feet instead of tires, eyes instead of headlamps, pretty weird but they seem likable enough.

So, I am going to try to keep you interested with a diary of my activities here in the USA. I come from Germany which, of course, means I am very smart, good looking, fast, and thrifty.

Me on the MINI E E*Tour

Me on the MINI E E*Tour
All tucked in for the night

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GOT PLUG? Chapter 6 MINI E E*Tour Post 12


@ 1300 hrs. to Nauna’s

We headed South and I got to thinking about my friend EF OPEC that I met few weeks ago at an “East Coast Mini E Meetup” at Nauna’s Restaurant in Montclair NJ. She let me drink 50 amp juice from her straw. Well, I guess Don got to thinking about Nauna’s whole wheat pizza. So we stopped in, said hi to Tom, who drives EF OPEC and own’s Nuauna’s, and filled up. Yum for both of us.


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2009.10.24 - @0800 hrs. to Gordon, Tracie, Lea, Aiden and Kylie’s place

Don and I broke camp in more pouring rain, drove to the Miller’s in Pearl River NY. No people were home but a pre-agreed passcode got me some 50 amp juice. Talk about nice people, opening their home and garage, to a pair of strangers. I did get to see Kylie; that always a bonus because humans can be hard to take after a while. They always want to be in charge - not once has Don let go of the steering wheel.

Anyway, the Millers are as nice as any people I have ever met, including Shawn, the kind Flying Doctor who checked me out before the trip.


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2009.10.23 - Woodstock NY, Bethel Woods, and the KOA

We left the campsite Friday morning and headed back to Woodstock. Don put me back on the charger and went off exploring. He told me about finding the spot where he and his pals circled five VW buses with about 20 people and camped for a week 40 years ago. He kept saying “what a long strange trip it’s been”.

When we left Bethel Woods that day we stopped at Hector’s where Don went in a had a beer. I was warned about people drinking beer and then driving me but I trust Don and didn’t really have much choice in the matter. It turned out really great. Hector, whose name is Jim, is a legend. Apparently 40 years ago he heard hundred of thousands of kids were coming up his way so he wisely bought up all the been in the county, hung out a shingle, and went into business.

When Don brought him out to see me; Hector said: “Pretty cool car, but can she peel out?” Don started babbling about torque but Hector wanted some action. For the first time that we have been together, Don thankfully threw the range thing out the window. He laid on my horn and my accelerator, and obliged him to the cheering of Jim and various afternoon bar sorts. Now they like electric vehicles just fine.


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2009.10.22 - Newburgh KOA - Thanks for the juice, and they even tossed in a bath.

When we cruised out of Woodstock, we headed for a campground. Don had bought a Eureka Sunrise 8 Tent for the trip because staying in B & B’s just didn’t seem in line with the Pioneer spirit. Well, he got his share of pioneering done that night!. When we got to the campground it was pouring and I sat there plugged into 110 with my headlights on watching Don trying to set up his new tent. I got to admit I was proud of him, it had a nice tight floor and a warm, dry sleeping bag. I never could understand why people sometimes love being wet and sometimes do about anything to avoid it; I mean why on earth would a person pretending to be a “pioneer” carry a portable garage to sleep in?

Anyway, I slept like a brand new car enjoying sips of 110v and a free wash.


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2009.10.22 - Woodstock Reunion - Thanks to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

“We are stardust, we are golden,

We are billion year old carbon,

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden!”

What a great run this afternoon. Don had a back-up charger location at Truckstops of America in Maybrook NY, but it was a nice warm day and we had a solid 100% charge from the Miller’s, so we decided to go for it. Two hours later I exited Rte. 17 with 4 miles remaining as I passed a sign that said Bethel Woods, 10 miles ahead. Oops.

I was getting pretty tired, and hoped Don realize the obvious, and slow down . Lucky for us somehow he got the message and we dropped to 40 mph. Then topography took over and saved the day on Rte. 17B. I was re-gening full bore down hills and creeping back up. I arrived at the venue with 14 miles to spare! I received a fine reception and enjoyed a 50 amp charge.

Don got me a great photo op and a nice newspaper article in the River Reporter available at: http://riverreporter.com/issues/09-10-29/news-minie.html .

There was a very cool tour of the Woodstock grounds, Museum, and performance areas for Don to enjoy while I rested and charged up. Although I was not part of it, I could see from my charging station Bethel Wood’s incredible solar lighting successes.


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2009.10.22 @ 1000 hrs. - Solar Breakfast at the Millers, Meeting 217, Kylie, & some people.

Upon my arrival at Gordon Miller’s home I am welcomed by a sweet, wonderful sign on the garage door, courtesy of Lea and Gordon Miller. Tracie and Kylie are home. Tracie is very kind, helps me to get set up, and offers Don a beverage and the comfort of a people garage.

Kylie is a bit suspicious and stand-offish to Don, and why shouldn’t she be? After all, humans are pretty weird and you should never trust them at first sight. Maybe it’s just a boy dog thing but much to my joy, she shows no attraction to my tires.

I’m all set in a couple hours, and before long Don checks on me, and off me go!


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2009.10.22 - Morning Run Along The Hudson

If you like scary movies with happy endings, do I have a drive for you! Leave Queens NY in peak rush hour, take the Cross Island Parkway North to the Whitestone Bridge (just to get warmed up), and then hop on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Shoulders are for sissies and not available here. You are surrounded by Semis and Box Trucks. The road is more potholes than pavement. Tall, unfriendly buildings lean over you threatening to collapse and crush you. You know if you exit by mistake or in an emergency, you are pretty much dead meat. Every car on the road pushes you to get closer to the truck in front of you, blocking any chance of ever seeing a sign for your exit.

Then here is the George Washington Bridge with a great view of the Hudson River. Sometimes I wish my side marker lights were bigger so I could really take in the view. Suddenly the sun comes out, autumn leaves are in their glory, and I am running up a beautiful clear parkway alongside the river surrounded by trees, water, sun, and an occasional friendly Ferrari or Aston Martin that zooms by with their person giving me a thumbs up! On look, there’s a gas Mini full of smiling faces right behind me.

What a great way to start the day.


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2009.10.21 - Evening Run - Thanks to Holiday Inn Express

Leaving Islip, Don wanted to get close to NYC and recharge a bit to make sure I could make the jump through the city madness to Pearl River NY, so he called a Holiday Inn Express in Lynnbrook NY. He spoke to the manager, who was so excited about a visit from me that he stayed after work to check me out upon my late night arrival. He had me park in a reserved spot right by his office window so he could run my 110 “occasional use” 110v cord through it and into the outlet by his desk.

This manager did a lot of great customer relations job for Holiday Inn Express. Some of his guests were checking me out the next morning. I attract even more attention when I’m plugged in ... everyone loves that the plug goes into the “gas cap”)


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2009.10.20 - Tuesday, departure day - Thanks to Islip Animal Hospital

The weather had been cooling and Don had been told that I wouldn’t feel my oats as much as it gets colder and that the temperature could effect my range. Don decided we would leave the Tuesday night instead of Wednesday morning. At 1900 hrs. on Tues we drove from home on Shelter Island to Islip Aniimal Hospital in Islip, NY. The temperature was still in the mid-50’s, I had 100% charge, and just 55 miles to go. We arrived at the hospital at 2015 hours with a 20% charge and got plugged in to a 50 amp charger, my favorite cause a like a nice strong belt of juice after a run. Lucky for Don a new Greek Restaurant had opened right across the street from Jo’s hospital so Don had diner and hung out with me until I was full and all set to move on.

Dr. Jon Fisher owns Islip Animal Hospital. He is a car guy who had, in his stable, and Olds 442 convertible and a De Lorean. Until I showed up, Dr. Jon was nor particularly Green or EV minded. I fixed that. I let him drive me, and that was all it took for him to install a charger at his hospital.


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2009.10.16 - Trip Preparation

Don got a call from Billy at MINI E saying he had received Don’s email regarding one of my minor charging issues and had noticed that we were planning a lengthy trip soon. He said a Flying Doctor would be at MINI of the Hamptons on Monday to give me a sound physical prior to the trip. Don did not ask for a Flying Doctor and the MINI of the Hamptons Service Department is closed on Mondays. MINI USA did not let that get in the way of checking me out.

Shawn, an FD from MINI , was there at 9AM on the dot. He proceeded to palpate me, drive me, put me through all sorts of scenarios to see if he could find even a hiccup. For four hours he examined and tested me, then patted me on the bonnet and pronounced me ready for the trip.

Pardon me for sounding a bit snooty, but can you think of any other car family where the upity-ups would volunteer and initiate a special trip to check out one lowly little car that might or might not need some attention, and one that was clearing planning on leaving the prescribed 60 mile radius comfort range of the dealership.

So, THANKS TO MINI E for encouraging Don and giving me a thorough physical before the trip.

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2009.10.16 - Trip Inspiration

Don decided that he wanted to show me off, a lot. He also wanted me to see as many of my siblings as possible. So, in his infinite wisdom, he devised a plan.

He next step was to contact some folks in the Facebook MINI E group to secure charging locations. He is a big fan of this group, it gives a community spirit to what could well be a rather lonely endeavor; to drive and spread the word about how cool I am those unfortunate souls that are not currently driving and EV. Using David Fliegler’s Charger Sharing website complete with google maps and contact information, Don laid out a route visiting the most Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern points of the East Coast MINI E Range.

I have a range of about 100 miles and being a very special car I have a very special 220v plug; one you can’t pick up anywhere. I can get a boost from a standard 110v plug but it takes way longer than 220v.

The plan came together, and off we went. I was loaded with a tent, camping equipment, souvenir t-shirts for our “Power Support Team”, and love and good wishes from Jo Young, Don’s wife.

Now we’re back home after 1019.8 miles of charger sharing cruising. I’ve got lots of thanks and stories to tell, so here we go. Buckle up and Motor on!

GOT PLUG? Chapter 6 MINI E E*Tour Post 1

A Series of posts (Chapter 6) tell the story of my epic adventure on the MINI E E*Tour. The reason for the trip was to have fun. Oops, maybe I was supposed to say something more dignified like... "this adventure was dedicated to proving to the world that the MINI E can provide a clean, fulfilling adventure, not necessarily limited by the range of an EV. Rather, that very quality could be employed as a social advantage allowing an interchange of friendship and ideas from like-minded people." Well, that's true too.

Anyway, here goes! Buckle Up and Motor On with Don and me!