EV Blog 6: July 8th, 2021, Northern Ontario (Range Anxiety, Nanaimo to Eagle Lake.)
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I had come to the end of my detailed plan and pre-booked hotels. It seemed too much of a stretch to believe that I could plan every step of the way with so much uncertainty, especially since, at the beginning of the trip we weren’t even sure we were going to go. I had spent a lot of points booking hotels through Regina and if we weren’t going to go I didn’t want to lose any more. When I went to find a hotel in Kenora, there was only one with a charger and it had just had a fire and was closed. We weren’t going to get a full charge start.
This was the first disappointment in Ontario, but not the last. We looked for a hotel in Thunder Bay and didn’t find one with a charger. We found one in Nipagon, but when we phoned, the
J-1772 charger (the type we use) wasn’t working and they couldn’t get anyone in to fix it. The good news is that our friend, Margaret, was going to be home in Thunder Bay, and welcomed us to stay at her place. The Petrocan station was just down the street. We decide to try fast charging followed by our portable level-one trickle charge and see what it would do. (Using this charger from empty, it takes 4 days to get a full charge at 5km per hour. Maybe after a high-speed charge to 80% it would complete the job. I hadn’t even considered it being part of the mix)
July 8: Starting at Kenora with an 80% Charge: 341 km (which quickly dropped to 331.).
Destination: Thunder Bay 489 kms. We would need a charge on the way. Both Dryden and Ignace had PetroCanada chargers. We decided to stop in Ignace.
Kenora to Ignace: 245 km.
As we moved from Manitoba to North-West Ontario, we noticed all the changes in topography-- From the endless fields of the Prairies with occasional wetlands we saw smaller fields enclosed by small woodlands and more wetlands. We watched the trees shift from deciduous to evergreen. We moved into Boreal Forest with Jack Pines, Poplar, Paper Birch and, of course, Black Spruce. I noticed the Tamaracks, still green, lining the road, and remembered the year I passed through here in the fall. I thought the whole forest was dying because of their beautiful yellow gold colour, just before they dropped their needles. From Kenora to Dryden and Ignace, the blasted rock banks became more common at the side of the road, and we curved our way through the Lake of the Woods and the beautiful recreational territory of this part of Canada, with lakes, islands, forests and moose pasture. Great for fishing and hunting.
Ignace. Petrocanada. We arrived in Ignace with 100 km. left. Av. 15.4 kwh/100km. We added 256 km in 53 mins. Cost: $17.55.
Ignace looked pretty depleted. It was a tiny Petrocan station and the restaurant had been shut down. They were not offering public washrooms. You had to walk more than half a km down the street to the information centre. I chose to try the Chinese restaurant across the street, but it was closed. I went in to a small women’s clothing store next door, wearing my mask, and asked if I could use theirs. The salespeople were very wary about any strangers coming in. They weren’t allowed to let the public use the washroom. Everyone was masked. I had been forgetting that Ontario wasn’t open yet, and that COVID protocols were very important. They could see I was desperate and decided maybe they could clean and disinfect the washroom after me. I told them I’d do it myself. I bought a pair of pants, afterword, to show my gratitude. Ron walked the half km to the info centre.
Across the street was a nice public park with some benches and an old Beaver or Otter float plane, so commonly seen on public display in that part of the world. They were the essential infrastructure to move people and goods a century earlier. It was too much trouble to haul our lunch box over the main street so it was another picnic in the parking lot lunch.
Ignace to Thunder Bay: 232.6 kms. Starting Charge: 356 km. Arrived Thunder Bay with 127 km left. Av. 14.6kwh/100km. We dropped stuff off at Margaret’s, and went straight to Petrocan. Added 248 km. Starting charge 371km. 53.5 mins. Cost: $17.70 .
We took the car home and started the trickle charger to top up and try for a full charge.
Let’s pause for a moment of gratitude for a visit with a good friend, a home cooked meal, a really good walk, and warm conversation into the evening. Because of our limitations, we missed several of those along our way. Thanks to Margaret for coming down from Armstrong to see us.
Tomorrow we have to decide which way we are passing Lake Superior to get to North Bay. (Highway 17 or Highway 11.)