Emerald to Barcaldine
Heading out of Emerald, it was great to see a solar farm in the midst of coal country. The future is slowly intruding. On the long, straight, seemingly endless roads, it was great to use Autopilot — the car steering, braking, and maintaining an even speed on its own. No more leg cramps from holding my leg in the same position for hours.
We had a lovely stop at a lookout as we passed over the ranges. We shared the lookout with a V8 aficionado. Turns out he knew a lot about electric vehicles — but wouldn’t want to own one as he would miss the sound of his engine!
When we put Barcaldine into the navigation, we got the warning that we wouldn’t make it — the yellow triangle of death! It was only 310 km and the range said 320 km. Fortunately, I had a backup plan! Before the trip, I thought this section would be a little tight, so I rang a motel in Alpha (170 km from Emerald) and had a great chat with the manager, Rav. He said, “No worries mate, I’ve got a 15 amp socket in the driveway you can use.”
Dev opened up the pub for us, made us lunch, and shouted us a beer. While we ate, he told us of the town and how it was doing tough under covid. Many trucks and caravans stop at Alpha, but they don’t seem to spend any money. They use the toilets and have a picnic with food they have bought elsewhere. He thinks it is only the local coal mines that are keeping the town alive. As a thank you for the charge, we took him for a drive. He was very impressed with the torque and the tech.
We talked solar energy. He was paying $23,000 a year in electricity when he got involved. He did the research and put on as many panels as he could. He also installed energy efficient HVACs and light bulbs. Now it is much more manageable.
The owner of the general store was very interested. He was keen to install a destination charger and hopeful that captive EV travelers might spend a little in the town. The bakery made great cakes, so we got some for the trip. Time for a little relaxing in the shade of the trees and a play on our iPads.
Soon, we had enough charge to carry on. We bid farewell to Dev and Alpha and headed back out on the road. It was a reasonable,…