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What I found in the National Parks for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

I recently had time to take a 2 week road trip.  Based on the emails I received from Katherine Chesson of the National Parks Foundation, I was inspired to hit the road in my 2019 Chevrolet Bolt, an all electric vehicle, to visit our national parks – many of which I had never been to.  I planned for a two week road trip, but as my vacation evolved, I drove for over 6,500 miles and was gone for 5 weeks.  I visited 10 states, 12 national parks, and 1 national monument.  It was a great adventure that spontaneously just became! 

This post is to share part of the trip and offer some suggestions for the parks to attract a growing segment of the traveling world – Electric Vehicle Owners.

This is a map of the route I actually took.  I started in Carlsbad, CA, travel north up through OR, WA, ID, MT, and then back down to WY, UT, then south to northern CO, then down to southern CO, over to UT, NV and then back home.  Each icon represents where I charged my car.

Charging Map

I want to let you know that as far as the growing EV world, getting to and through these destinations is a lot of work.  Based on my trip that started on 8/2/2020 and ended on 9/5/2020, I had to plan more than I should have to complete the trip.  And even when I got to a destination, I had a hard time enjoying the park at times because I had to worry about where my next charge would be coming from.

If the world really is going green, and the projection of EV car ownership is to be 7 to 10% by 2025, then the National Park Service really needs to step up the game to be EV ready.  From my experience, this is what I found at the national parks for Electric Vehicle Charging:

Lassen – two level two chargers were just installed but not operational in Aug 2020.  However, because of the cell service limitations, even if they were operational, there was no way I could charge my car because most services require data connection to an app to start the charger.

Crater Lake – two level two chargers were available at the south visitor center and they were free.  Very useful, but 4 cars were having to share the plugs to get some charge

Mt Rainier – I didn’t drive through the park but I didn’t notice the chargers

Mount Ranier National Park, Washington

Glacier – There were two Tesla charging stations at one of the lodging areas that provided level 2 power. I happened upon them by chance but too late (and too slow) for me to charge to visit the northern parts of the park.

Yellowstone – several level two chargers in Mammoth and two level two charger area at Old Faithful.  Until I found the Mammoth chargers, I didn’t know if I could complete the full northern loop.  This caused me lots of angst as I kept looking for a charge.  

I camped at Madison Campground in the park and although no official charger was available, I parked in a OFFICIAL PARKING ONLY spot to plug into a 110 outlet that gave me the minimal miles over night before I had to unplug before the staff arrived.  

At Old Faithful, one area was setup for Teslas (which were filled) and another area existed but no one, hotel staff or Park Rangers, could tell me where they were.  I actually had to go to one of the hotels and ask for a WIFI code so I could find out where the chargers were on my app (I have T-Mobile and my service was basically dead – it seems Verizon is the only service that was reliable).  Once I was able to get the location in my Plugshare app, I found the EV charging station very easily, however, there were no accessible restrooms as it was back behind the cabins from one of the hotels.

Grand Teton – I could not find an EV charging station.  However, between travel from Yellowstone, through Grand Tetons, I was able to pull into Jackson WY where there were plenty of charging stations.  The City has done wonders to promote an EV friendliness.  I pulled into the station with just over 20 miles to spare – this is what we EV drivers call Range Anxiety.

Jackson Wyoming Fast Charging Station

Rocky Mountain National Park – I didn’t drive my EV through here but I didn’t see any EV charging stations

Great Sand Dunes – This park was a bit tricky. I left Trinidad Colorado with a full charge with the plan to charge in Alamosa. I didn’t intend to stop at this park until i realized it wasn’t that far off CO 160. I didn’t feel comfortable enough venturing too far into the park as I wasn’t sure how much battery it would eat up because I didn’t know the terrain. As it turns out, I made it to Alamosa with 32% of my battery left. But Alamosa had only Level 2 chargers and I still had to make it to Pagosa Springs for a FULL charge and for that, I had to travel over Wolf Creek Pass and I knew that climb would eat up everything I could put into my battery. Luckily there was a downhill from 10,857 feet so i gained some charge back on regen.

Mesa Verde – There are Tesla Destination and J-1772 chargers located in the park at the Fairview Lodge. I did note them in plugshare and I did go looking for them. They were nestled in the cabins at the lodge. In some locations, i did feel weird about plugging into “RESORT ONLY” looking chargers because I have gone to several hotels in the past where these chargers were deemed “GUESTS ONLY”. Luckily I didn’t need the charge because I charged in Cortez CO the night before and entered MV on a full charge – but i need that to get to Moab that same day.

Arches – no EV charging stations that I could find but I was able to charge on a free level 3 charging station in Moab.  However, I also wanted to go to Canyon Lands since it was so close, but as my next national park was Bryce Canyon, I couldn’t chance not having enough of a charge to leap to Green River then to Richfield then to Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon – no EV charging stations that I could find, however, Best Western Plus Ruby in had 4 level two stations (3 of them working) but all three were occupied – one with a Tesla and two with gas cars which should have parked somewhere else.  I had to wake up at 4am to see if a parking spot had opened up and luckily it did.  I was able to charge enough to go back into the park and then have enough charge to get me to Zion.

Zion – two level two EV Chargers were located near the visitor center. I had to drive by it twice over a couple of hours to get to a spot that had just opened up.

Bolt at Zion National Park

Now, If I had a gas car, I would have had no problem.  However, if you have ever driven an electric vehicle in anything other than a commuter capacity, you would know that you need to be flexible and you need to plan a lot because the EV Charging Stations aren’t as plentiful as gas stations (part of the reason my trip expanded).

One of my biggest logistical challenges was trying to get across northern Wyoming and South Dakota to visit Badlands National Park and Mt. Rushmore and then over to Minneapolis to visit my baby sister.  As it turns out, I could make it across WY, however, getting through SD was the biggest challenge.  I reached out to the SD department of tourism, however, their answer didn’t give me much hope of crossing the state before I’d have to call AAA for a tow to a charging station.  So, I had to scrap that idea as I reached Wyoming.

As I write this, my hope is that the National Park Service, surrounding communities, and guest infrastructure for the parks have a plan to expand the Electric Vehicle charging system so that more Electric Vehicle owners can take part in the richness the National Park system has to offer.  ChargePoint and Electrify America are making great progress, but some focus to adding more fast charging stations near or in the National Parks would be an incredible help.

My fear is that not many people are comfortable enough to take their EVs on long trips or vacations (that include National Parks) so they either drive their gas cars (ICE) or just don’t go as many families are purchasing all electric vehicles.

I emailed the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service Contact Us page, with no response.

With some planning and EV Charger installations at the parks (or surrounding area), a whole new group of people could participate and visit the beautiful National Parks.

UPDATE SINCE ORIGINAL POST – 10/14/2020

Since the original post, I had a conversation with someone close to the NPS regarding the EV charging infrastructure. As it turns out, NPS is expending knowledgeable resources and has an active commitment to improving what exists. Based on what exists, the NPS should publish what exists and what their plans are. This would be a very useful PSA to put out to the EV driving public.

Taking a Road Trip in my Chevy Bolt – Post 2

As I wrote in my first post, I took a road trip that started in Carlsbad, CA and 5 weeks later I ended up home.  I had the time and I wanted to see how well my 2019 Chevy Bolt would do.  After driving 6,598.6 miles, I ended up visiting 12 National Parks (I couldn’t quite make it to 15, but was close), 1 national monument, 10 western states (missed NM altogether), friends and family along the way, all in just under 5 weeks.  And I learned a lot about driving an EV through the western states.

BOLT EV Road Trip 20200905

This is a map of where I charged.  Each bolt color representing its unique source (ie, Orange for ChargePoint and Green for Electrify America).

Bolt EV Road Trip Charging Stations

This table represents my charging stats.  I got more thorough along my journey.  Not all locations I have charged are included . . . I may have added 100KWH over the trip in free level 1 or free level 2 stations to grab me an extra 10 to 50 miles, but the major activity is recorded here.

Bolt EV Charging Stats

As I stated in the first post, I learned a lot along the way:

  • drive slower than the speed limit (to maximize your distance) – yes, you may piss off a lot of people, but learn to use those pull outs to be courteous!
  • PLAN your next destinations a day or two in advance.
  • Check Plugshare and add new locations when you find them.
  • Be Flexible in your destinations . . . ie, I was planning to go east from Yellowstone, but I didn’t feel comfortable enough to travel through SD to get to Minneapolis, so I punted SD and headed to northern UT instead.
  • Download Google Maps where you may run out of cell signal (Ie, I had to download WY maps because I have T-Mobile and mostly Verizon is the only service that provides good service)
  • Be prepared for some crappy charging locations (Outside a Walmart in WILLOWS CA) and be WOWED when you get to a location that has great amenities and free Level 3 Charging (like Jackson Wy)
  • Learn to hunt and peck for a plug, where ever you can!
  • I purchased a few charging adapters, like the Tesla Tap, and I am glad I did because they came in handy.
  • I met a dozen or so people along the way who were interested in EVs and I was happy to answer their questions! Maybe I sold a few cars . . . maybe I’ll get a sales commission!
  • Take time to thank the providers of these chargers. My top thank yous go to Jackson WY, Dinosaur CO (Moffat County) & Walmart.  Plugshare, Chargepoint and Electrify America were critical services in making this trip a success!

I’ll write a few more posts but wanted to make sure I updated everyone on my SUCCESSFUL 6.5K mile journey in my Chevy Bolt EV.

As I got further along in my journey, I wanted to make sure all EV drivers that think their EVs are only good as commuter cars, they are great for long road trips as well.  They are smooth, fast (when they need to be), reliable and my Bolt carried most everything I wanted to take. 

Feel free to ask any questions.  I am happy to share!

Taking a Road Trip in my Chevy Bolt – Post 1

I lost my job at the end of July and I figured what a great time to take a road trip to see our National Parks and go see some friends and family along the way.  I started my journey from Carlsbad, CA and am currently in Huntsville UT.  I still have a ways to go traveling through CO, NM, AZ, Southern UT, NV before getting back home.

I wanted to share my progress.  As of this morning, I’ve traveled 3,660 miles in my bolt over 18 days.

This is a table of my mileage, charging and efficiency stats.

Charging Locations - Chevy Bolt Aug 2020 - Post 1

CP = Charge Point

EA = Electrify America

I estimate that the electricity cost to charge my car has been $193 hard cash with each mile costing me $0.053 in fuel.  Likewise, had I driving my truck @ $2.75 / g running at 23 MPG, I’d have spent almost $440 with each mile costing me $0.120 in gas.

This is a map of where I have charged.

Charging Map - Chevy Bolt - Aug 2020 Post 1

Not all locations I have charged are included . . . I may have added a couple of 60KWH over the trip in level 1 or free level 2 stations to grab me an extra 10 to 50 miles, but this is the major activity.

I have learned a lot along the way . . .

  • drive slower than the speed limit (to maximize your distance)
  • PLAN your next destinations a day or two in advance.
  • Check Plugshare and add new locations when you find them.
  • Be Flexible in your destinations . . . ie, I was planning to go east from Yellowstone, but I didn’t feel comfortable enough to travel through SD to get to Minneapolis, so I punted SD and headed to northern UT instead.
  • Download maps where you may run out of cell signal (Ie, I had to download WY maps because I have T-Mobile and mostly Verizon is the only service that provides good service)
  • Be prepared for some crappy charging locations (Outside a Walmart in WILLOWS CA) and be WOWED when you get to a location that has great amenities and free Level 3 Charging (like Jackson Wy)

I’ll post more in later posts, but feel free to ask me any questions.

Having Problems Mapping a Network Drive?

This isn’t just for FOCUS, but it is a common problem having to do with not being able to Map a network drive and receiving a windows error code 0×80070035.

This happens when you have a share on a server that you are trying to map to and get the windows error code 0×80070035.

This is a two step check

Step one – Modify the Network Adapter

  1. Press Windows + R on the keybpard, and type control panel in the search box and then press Enter.
  2. Click View network status and tasks under Network and Internet.
  3. Click Change adapter settings in the left pane.
  4. Right-Click on the connection and choose Properties.
  5.   Click “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Version 4” in the list.
  6. Click Properties, and then click Advanced.
  7.  On the Advanced TCP/IP settings windows, go to “WINS” tab.
  8. Under NetBIOS setting, click “Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP”, and then click OK.

Step Two – Try Mapping the Drive with the Drive IP address

If trying to map a drive with a name and you have no success, try mapping the drive with the ip address instead.  Ie

\\DRIVENAME\SHAREDFOLDERNAME – may not work

\\192.168.0.118\SHAREDFOLDERNAME – which should work

Preview URLs before you click the Link

Running multiple blogs, I am always nervous about people who leave links to their websites.  I am ESPECIALLY nervous when those links are the abbreviated URLs.  There is a way to “preview” this non-descript links before actually clicking on them, though.  Although this still does not guarantee safety, it is at least a road bump.

Bitly – after the link http://bit.ly/1dB7AsR just add a “+” so the preview is at http://bit.ly/1dB7AsR+

goo.gl – after the link http://goo.gl/anEIeU just add a “+” so the preview is at http://goo.gl/anEIeU+

TinyCC – after the link http://tiny.cc/gkiebx just add a “~” so the preview is at http://tiny.cc/gkiebx~

TInyURL – in front of the link http://tinyurl.com/mebwphj you can add preview – ie http://preview.tinyurl.com/mebwphj

A safety feature TinyURL has is that you can always default a preview by enabling the preview directly from their site at http://tinyurl.com/preview.php.

Twitterhttp://t.co – a product that is strictly for tweets!  They check all URLs against potential unsafe links.

Ow.ly  – http://ow.ly/tGslQ is the shortened link, but having problems finding out out to preview without one of the consolidaters listed below.  However, one of the nice features about Ow.ly is that it goes through a verification step before creating your URL just to make sure it is not a bot doing the dirty work.

If you want a one stop check for short URLs, you can check out this website . . . it should detect and preview most of the popular ones http://checkshorturl.com/ which uses http://pagekeeper.com to check sites.

I am sure there are a dozen more url shortners . . . I will search more and consolidate here.

 

Focus Launches Online Support Pages on Redesigned Website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Les Abeyta, President
Focus Software Development, LLC
Les.Abeyta@FocusSoftDev.com
760.683.9760

Focus Launches Online Support Pages on Redesigned Website

Oceanside, Calif., (February 10, 2014) — Focus Software Development, LLC, a timeshare marketing and sales C​RM, has redesigned its website and added interactive support pages to allow its growing client base easy access to information that will help them run a successful business.

“Making life easier for FOCUS clients is our goal, and the ability to easily share knowledge through interactive documentation is a proven way to accomplish that,” FOCUS President Les Abeyta said.

As anybody in the timeshare industry knows, documentation is hard to come by. Even when it is done, it’s often incomplete and difficult to follow — shared haphazardly on Post-It notes or filed away in standard-operation-procedure folders or lost in pages of emails. Only a select few have access to these communications, so there are often gaps of knowledge throughout the company. In addition, when employees leave, important knowledge often leaves with them, which can put timeshare business owners in a difficult spot.

FOCUS solves these problems with informative online support pages, available at http://focussoftdev.com/focus-client-support-pages/. Here, you’ll find useful tips and guidelines that will set you on the right course to build a sturdier timeshare business that is primed for sustained success. Among the many topics covered on FOCUS’ support pages are “Best Practices,” “Do’s and Don’ts” and “Field Definitions.”

One of the notable benefits of the FOCUS support pages is that they’re open for teams at different companies, so anyone with access can comment, share tips or answer questions. This leads to faster, more efficient problem-solving and better planning for future growth.

About Focus Software Development

Focus Software Development, LLC, is a timeshare marketing and sales CRM with the small to midsized developer in mind. To learn more, visit http://FocusSoftDev.com or email info@FocusSoftDev.com

FOCUS Starts Work on New Support Pages

We all know that documentation in any timeshare software is hard to come by.  Programmers are so focused on making sure the program runs correctly, that very little of the functionality is documented formally.  We pass functionality by showing the users or on Post-it® Notes or pages and pages of emails that only a select few get to see.

And as employees turn over, a lot of that  knowledge leave with them if proper Standard Operating Procedures are not documented.  Gaps of knowledge are at complete risk when employees leave.  Or the opposite happens . . . you have an employee that is with you forever and they know everything about your system, you are afraid to let them go because your held captive by their knowledge.

FOCUS is making an attempt to turn that tide.  Support pages will be made available on http://focussoftdev.com/home/focus-support-pages/.  These pages will guide the new and existing clients on “Best Practices”, “Do’s and Don’ts”, “Field Definitions” and more.  In addition to this, these pages are open for teams at different companies to comment and add their tips on a screen, report, or general best practices.  As these comments come in, they will get added to the support page documentation for everyone to see.

Making life easier for FOCUS clients is our goal.

Supporting our clients with better interactive documentation will help everyone in the long run.  After all, we don’t operate in a bubble.

At the end of the day, everything we do is to help create happier Timeshare and Vacation Club owners

FSD Announces College Scholarship fund for the 2014-2015 academic year

FOCUS SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT, LLC announces a College Scholarship fund for the 2014-2015 academic year

 

Oceanside, CA (January 3, 2014) — Focus Software Development, LLC, a timeshare marketing and sales C​RM, is proud to announce their College Scholarship fund for the 2014-2015 academic year.

​Knowing that a college education is an important step in any adult’s life and also knowing that climbing secondary education costs keep growing, Focus Software Development wants to help fund even a small portion of this. “I know college costs are high. My son just entered his first year and try as he did, scholarship money was difficult to come by” says Les Abeyta, CEO of Focus Software Development. “We wanted to make a contribution to our leaders of tomorrow, and this is a real and positive way we thought would do that.”

The scholarship is open to entering freshmen or continuing sophomores who have a family member in the timeshare sales or vacation club industry.

Albeit it a modest amount, there will be two $500 scholarships awarded on August 1, 2014. “that’s not enough to pay for tuition at most universities,” Abeyta says, “but it can sure help to pay for fees and text books for classes”.

The scholarship application and terms and conditions can be found at http://FocusSoftDev.com/scholarship.

Focus Software Development, LLC is a timeshare marketing and sales CRM with the small to midsized developer in mind. To learn more, visit http://FocusSoftDev.com or emailinfo@FocusSoftDev.com

PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: Focus Software Development, LLC

New, Affordable CRM Platform Introduced for Timeshare Sales & Marketing Management

New, Affordable CRM Platform Introduced for Timeshare Sales & Marketing Management

InsideTheGate.com
9/23/2013

San Diego, CA (September 23, 2013) — Focus Software Development, LLC(FOCUS) announced today the release of their desktop Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution, designed to manage small to mid-size timeshare developers’ entire marketing and sales process utilizing a simple, uncomplicated and easy to use platform.

Unlike a variety of other applications on the market, under the leadership of 20 + year timeshare industry veteran and company CEO Les Abeyta the FOCUS CRM management tool has been created by seasoned professionals with a rich industry history coupled with the rare backgrounds of programming skills to develop this invaluable software solution for timeshare developers, clubs, etc.

Headed by timeshare industry professionals who thoroughly understand the unique needs of the shared ownership industry FOCUS will appeal to those developer and club operations that are in need of a robust client-management tool at an attractive, fixed and affordable price point.

Key components of the FOCUS solution include, but are not limited to, the ability to manage Bookings – Tours – Premiums – Sales – Multiple Sales Products – Timeshare Inventory – Employees – Vendors – Contracts and more without the immense overhead traditionally associated with other CRM software programs.

Of the many other unique benefits, features and uses of the FOCUS system Mr. Abeyta says he is confident that the industry will embrace the software program knowing that the data is cloud based and accessible from anywhere, including a tool for vendors to enter their information while at the same time keeping the data secure.

He added, “Clients retain ownership of their data and FOCUS serves as a conduit to manage day to day transactions. Focus helps the developer navigate the often murky waters in what can be a time consuming, laborious, expensive and confusing CRM process. A simple and affordable CRM is absolutely necessary in today’s business environment.”

Additional FOCUS features include: Microsoft Data security; Servers are cloud based hosted by Microsoft Azure; SQL (Structured Query Language) capable; complete efficiency, booking, confirmation, referral, sales and marketing reports; exports to key industry service providers – and more.

For complete details today contact:

Les Abeyta, CEO – abeyta@att.net

760-683-9760

Focus Software Development, LLC

http://focussoftdev.com