Since Eri took Melissa to Disney for her birthday, I needed to pick up the kids from school. And today was a busy day, too: Tatiana had forgotten her homework, so I needed to pick up Kayla, drop off Tatiana's homework, pick up Tatiana less than an hour later, drive Tatiana to her pottery class an hour after that, and pick Tatiana up again an hour after that.
Estimating 15 minutes from all these locations in downtown Oviedo to my house, that left only 30 minutes of charging for each 6-mile round trip. I can't put 2kWh in those batteries in only 30 minutes! I needed a new plan.
The plan was to drop off Tatiana's homework and hang around the school if they let me charge. Get some new books at the library, and see if they'd let me charge. Drop Tatiana off at pottery, eat at a restaurant that would let me charge, pick Tatiana up, and go home.
Things didn't work out that way, though.
The school was happy to let me charge. The outlet they provided was way in the back, which made picking up Tatiana slightly more inconvenient, but I was quite happy with it. (Action shots when I get the chance.) Kayla and I read some of The Princess and the Pirate, drew a picture, and played with the milk cartons outside the cafeteria.
The library wasn't willing to let me plug in. The head librarian said it was "the county's electricity", and she couldn't make decisions for the county. I understand that reasoning. Maybe I'll attend a county meeting and see if they'll give me permission. We stayed for almost an hour anyway, picking up books (including The Woman Who Rides Like a Man; great series so far).
When I dropped Tatiana off, I still had plenty of charge left. I could probably make it home with no problem, but topping off is always a good idea. I went to the Oviedo Town House, a local landmark. Our daughter and the owner's son have a few classes together. I expected no problems.
But they acted like my car was a ticking time bomb. They said that the fire station might know where I could plug in, but "it's definitely not going to be around here." I had thought that if I ever had a problem, it would be the perception of expense (which I always eliminate right off the bat by offering to pay). In this case it seemed like there was a perception of danger. I don't know what to do about that.
I tried the Popeye's next door, but they dismissed me quickly, saying they didn't have an outlet.
I tried another, less popular, local landmark: closed for Easter. Just not my day, I suppose. I had wasted more than 30 minutes by this time, and I was getting a little frustrated.
MadHatter's Pizza was willing to let me plug in, if I could get my extension cord to reach. I couldn't, but that made them my restaurant of choice. The fire station was only two doors down, and they let me charge with no complaints about "the county's electricity". They even brought out their own extension cord and plugged the car in for me!
They were very interested in the car. They liked that I had used orange cables, that I used redundant contactors and fuses, and that I had a cutoff switch. They informed me that they couldn't tell whether the car was energized or not, and recommended that I add a well-marked Emergency Disconnect under the hood. They said the first thing they do is open the hood anyway, and a big red triangle would make them much more confident if I was ever stuck and unconscious.
One nice fella even showed Kayla around the fire house while I was talking with the others. When they went back inside for dinner, they said I could drop by for a charge any time.
Of course, by that time it was almost time to pick up Tatiana. Kayla and I walked to MadHatter's and placed a to-go order. When we got back to the car, we had been charging for about 15 minutes. That was enough, though. We picked up Tatiana, parked next to the fire station, and went to pick up our food.
The girls wanted to eat at the table, so we did. The owner was very accommodating. Kayla loved her cheese pizza, Tatiana loved her spaghetti and meatballs, and I enjoyed my chicken Marsala. (The meatballs were pretty good, too; I won one from Tatiana by betting that Kayla would finish both slices of pizza. :) )
We also got some garlic knots, which were fantastic.
We reached home without ever really stressing the batteries. Everything worked out well, and now I know where I'm going to eat in the future.
I don't see any reason to shop where they won't let me charge.