Did I say ‘a piece of cake’? Ha! I can think of more apt phrases, but I must remember this is a family blog.
The conference-goers go, and we start charging. Overnight I wake to flashes: thunder and lightning right above us and pelting rain, but the Leaf isn’t electrocuted; its charge port is well designed.
We have an easy and swift trip of 114 miles to Arnhem; I’ve got my European eye in. We pull into a Van der Valk hotel to charge while we have lunch. With wet roads and a cross-wind, we’ve arrived with the lowest charge yet: 18%. But there’s a hybrid Volvo hooked up to the charger. A sign says ‘Max 30 min’ so we wait. And we wait…
There’s another rapid charger showing on Plugsurfing’s map in the town centre, so we creep down the cobbled hills to the location, which turns out to be an office block. ‘There was a charger here,’ they tell Peter, ‘but it’s moved 200m up the road.’ He goes to look but finds only a slow charger, already in use. As we creep back up the cobbled streets to the hotel, the displays go ‘flatline’ but we make it. At 4pm I cancel my skype session, and we eat lunch. When we come out the Volvo has gone, and we get our charge.
We discuss calling it a day, but decide to press on. The rest of the trip goes smoothly, with two charges taking us 152 miles to Anderen in Holland. We’re staying in a beautiful national park, and Peter has found a new charge network: Fastned, conveniently based at Dutch service stations. Happy days…
I wake with the dawn chorus, and find a lovely walk round this picturesque village, paused in time. The sun is out, and we decide to do the walk together before leaving at about 11am. It takes about an hour to drive cross-country into Germany and to Rhede, along narrow, tree-lined roads beside canals where coots are raising chicks and herons are fishing. Conditions are excellent for the Leaf: dry and warm, with a following wind.
From Rhede it’s a tense drive to Oldenburg – the charger has disappeared from Plugsurfing’s map. The satnav takes us to a vast carpark surrounding a vast shopping complex. Peter gets out to look around, and miraculously finds the charger almost straight away – not only does it exist, but it works, and we can use it with our Plugsurfing card.
Now we have to decide: stop overnight in Bremen where there are only slow chargers, or go on to the next fast charger, 113km away? I’m getting tired, so we play safe and opt for ‘7 Things: My Basic Hotel’, in the middle of Bremen’s university campus.
We’ve done over 800 miles. Our car is filling up, we are full up, sunshine is promised for tomorrow – and what’s more, there’s a rookery outside the window. Another early walk is on the cards!