There and Back Again... 600 Miles of a Dragon Slayer

I did a three day riding trip with a buddy recently, me on my 2015 Zero SR (equipped with 9.9kW DigiNow bellypan) and my buddy on his Honda Valkyrie.

We spent a day riding from north Alabama up to the Tail of the Dragon in the Tennessee / North Carolina mountains, spent a day in the area with a pair of Energicas, and rode back on day three... about 600 miles all told. Given this was my first long trip on my Zero, I had conservatively mapped out a route with charging stops about every 50 miles. Given that our riding pace was "enjoy the ride" rather than "hurry up and get there", this worked out to using about 50% battery on each leg (my bike has the ZF12.5). Each charging stop lasted roughly 30 minutes, which passed by generally quickly by having conversations going on. My buddy said he's accustomed to stretch stops about every 110 miles, but I'm still new enough at this to *want* leg stretches about every hour... thus the charging stops matched that interval of mine.

Most stops had me pulling 8 - 10 kW while charging whenever I had two stations to connect to. When I had only one station, they did well by giving me around 6kW.I was ICE'd once... so I parked directly behind the car and stayed with the bike while charging. I had to divert away from in-use chargers once, due to a Tesla and a Bolt... but found two available chargers just down the road.

Since we avoided freeways, I generally kept our speeds below 50mph early in the days, but admittedly crept up to 55mph and up late in the days as the tiredness translated into a bit of "let's get home already". This easily prevented any bouts of thermal issues with my Zero components, the ambient temps in the high 80s notwithstanding.

During our "day in the area", we rode east to Sylva, NC to meet up with a pair of Energicas, using the town's free L2s to charge while having lunch at a brewery nearby. They rode back to Deal's Gap with us, patiently following the slowest lead dog I'm sure they've ever experienced (*me*). They were staying nearby that evening, so we had plans to ride the Tail of the Dragon all together that afternoon. Alas, an errant big rig decided to block the Dragon for most the afternoon, so that got nixed. Still, it was a good visit over some beers. My buddy and I had ridden the Tail on our way in the day before, and would again on the way out the next day... and the Energicas got their Dragon ride in the next day, later in the morning after we'd already headed home.

On our long ride back to Alabama, my confidence in my SR's range had improved enough that we completely skipped one of the charging stops we'd done on the way up. Looking back over the round trip, I now think I could probably find a route with only one or two stops each way.

The whole trip was a great experience... I'll be lucky to have another trip sometime that meets even 50% of my enjoyment of this one.

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