The wrong trip – part 2

Part 2 – The way back…

After I successfully joined the people in misfortune in Pamporovo the previous night now it was time for me to plug in.

With only 10% battery charge, on Sunday morning, without straining myself too much, I succeeded in plugging in the electric mains supply of a nearby hotel at about 9:30.

The process was terribly slow because the power supply was 220 V and with a 25m long extension cable the charging speed is like I’m staying here for a week…

…but I had  no choice. I left my car there, had a short walk around and indulged in a long and lavish dinner. After having several local specialities of the restaurant, I couldn’t stand it any longer,  it was already 13:30.

I had no more patience and wanted to leave back…

I wanted to leave back for Sofia but using a different route from the one I had come through. There is nothing exciting in usual routes, so I chose something more exciting…

From Pamporovo via Bansko to Sofia

It was a kind of decision with quite a predictable result. From this point on, the story turned into a short handbook named

“How to get into trouble with your electric vehicle in three easy steps”

Step 1

Start a trip without having charged your car battery enough!

You must be sure that the next DC charging station is far enough and there is no coming back.

The car battery was 39% charged and the display showed 94 kilometer mileage. The nearest DC charging station was in Bansko at a distance of 164 km.

If we ignore the controlled stress of the travelling, it is a really wonderful route. We pass the towns of Devin, Dospat and Gotse Delchev and go across the southern part of the beautiful Rhodopes till we reach the foot of Pirin mountain. The road is picturesque and full of sharp curves, slopes going upwards and downwards and a heap of views which make you hold your breath.

This so beautiful and pleasant route does not save much energy because of the many ascents, though they are followed by descents, but it doesn’t restore on 100% the used up supply of energy.

All the way I had no heating in the car. I rarely switched the heating on just to warm up a bit and then switched it off.

The mileage on the display was varying all the time which was quite stressful. After about 50 km of strained driving and attempts of recuperation, I reached the village of Borino, where I decided to try the most reckless method for charging.

That is, I plugged in the 220 V power supply of the only gas station in the area.

The day was already coming to its end but it was not so with my adventure. I spent about 2 hours in charging with hardly any result. This definitely wasn’t the best place to stay for 6 hours. Time has stopped for me but I was ready to continue and then, as if to wipe out the petty chance I had to solve this critical situation …

There was a power cut! Really?!#@*

The person at the gas station informed me that there hadn’t been electricity for 3 days and it had been on just before I arrived there. Hearing that, I decided there wasn’t any sense in waiting and it was time to face my destiny.

I left the village of Borino and made for Bansko, having 80 km mileage on the display and the intention of covering 116 km mileage…

Step 2

The DC charging station should be farther than your mileage allows you!

… and so I left, knowing that nothing bright was in front of me, but I had to finish my experiment. That’s why I rang up the road services and arranged with the tow truck driver to take me up from Bansko.

I had decided that the price for a night at a hotel would cost me as much as towing my car to the DC charging station in the town of Blagoevgrad.

It was pitch-dark outside while I was driving. The windows were steamed and I had to waste precious kilowatts to have visibility. I could say a lot about the relief around because I felt it with every fibre of my body. The inertia of free-wheeling down slopes was life-saving for me and I strived for it.

Step 3

Overestimate your vehicle!

When I entered Dobrinishte (10 km from Bansko) the mileage display showed that I could make another 15 kilometers. I felt it like Julius Caesar entering Rome after having conquered Egypt. I was stunned by my success and felt greatly relieved but not for too long.

I decided that I had enough energy to reach Bansko and could afford switching on the heating to warm up a little bit but …

Nope! It was a big mistake!

In a split second mileage display showed only 9 km and the car entered “tortoise” mode, which I hadn’t even supposed to exist!

I was 50 meters away from the gas station in Dobrinishte and with the speed of 2,5 km per hour managed to reach it in about 15 minutes…

Meanwhile, I had rung up the road services again to change the place of our meeting and so we reached the gas station simultaneously.

The rest wasn’t quite difficult. The bewilderment of the tow truck driver was easy to understand. I enjoyed myself a lot while traveling to DC charger at Mr. Bricolage – Blagoevgrad.

The driver was trying to assure me that there is no such a thing as charging station, and that there has never been one, so I must be out of my mind (I was really quite ready to agree with the last assertion).

It was even funnier when he rang up an acquaintance of his to prove he was right. He switched on the speaker of his mobile in order that I could hear how wrong I was. The man on the other side of the line told him in an even tone (obviously irritated by the late call) that the DC charging station has existed since the opening of the store 15 years ago …

Maybe, it was funny only for me!

The tow truck driver left me there and I plugged in immediately. OMG! You can’t imagine what a feeling… the air filling my lungs. What a relief! It was like all day I’ve been breathing in a bag! That was my first DC charging ever in my life and it was unforgettable!

I turned on the heating, the music on the radio and life came back to my car again. I was looking at the charging percent going fast upward and felt real pleasure.

I was exhausted but in the same time enthusiastic that I had finished my experiment successfully. I have survived! It wasn’t that difficult after all and looking back it was even quite funny!

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

Mark Twain

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