When I was coming back to the Kootenays from Kelowna in early October in my electric vehicle (a Nissan Leaf), I travelled through the Strawberry Pass on my way to Rossland and noticed that the larches were all a brilliant golden yellow. There is a set of trails in an area just north of Rossland known as Larch Ridge, and I wanted to take my family to show them before all the needles fell, so we decided to go the weekend right after I got home.
From previous trips with my EV to Rossland with bikes, I knew that I could get to Rossland no problem, but the Larch Ridge trails are a bit further and another 450 m above Rossland; so using Google Maps, I figured out how much further, checked the elevation changes I would encounter, and plugged it into my spreadsheet.
I would have preferred to go directly from Nelson, then up Highway 3 from Castlegar and down on Highway 3B through the Strawberry Pass to Larch Ridge, but my Estimator showed this wasn’t going to be possible. (As an aside, the 2016 Nissan Leaf with larger 30kWh battery pack should be able to do this route direct.) I fiddled with the “Avg Speed” setting, but determined that I wouldn’t be able to do it even travelling until I slowed down to 50 km/h… and no one wants to be stuck behind me going that speed!
We could of course have taken our gas car, but once you drive electric, you don’t want to spend money on gas when you know you can get there in your EV, even if it is a bit more inconvenient! So we decided to head to Rossland and only charge enough to get us out to Larch Ridge and back. We left Nelson at 10:30, arrived in Rossland at 11:45, and plugged in. The local chocolate shop, Mountain Nugget, was open so we stopped in for a few ice creams and a box of chocolates. Total spent, $16; however, we saved $25 in gas by leaving our Forester at home, so we still saved money! I would much rather spend our money at an awesome local establishment on goods and services as opposed to shipping our money outside our region (or even our country) by purchasing gas.
Between getting all the kids to go to the bathroom, deciding on ice cream and chocolate flavours, having lunch and enjoying our treats in the park one block west from the chargers in the beautiful sunshine, the car was ready to go again when we were (total time charging, 45 minutes).
We called up our riding friend and headed out to Larch Ridge together. The scenery and trails were amazing! Perfect day to go for a ride, and we saw dozens of other people while we were there. Rossland is quite popular for mountain biking – check out the Kootenay-Columbia Trails Society to see why.
Our friend had us over for an amazing post-ride peanut/yam stew while we let the car charge again for a few hours. I walked the short distance to get the car from her apartment, then went back to play board games before heading home to Nelson later that evening. All in all a wonderful family adventure day!
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