We all have to make our choices each and every day, some big some small. I’ve used this picture before but it kind of illustrates our day:
“it seemed like a good idea at the time”
Today was in fact one of the last challenges of this year’s WAVE. As I mentioned yesterday, we would drive a total of three mountain passes, amongst them the Stelvio, which is one of the highest mountain passes in Switzerland at 2760m / 8300 ft.
We started on time at a local school, where our cars were judged for decoration and design. There was a slight drizzle but nothing to worry about. When we started driving east, things cleared up very quickly.
First, we had to cross the Fuorn pass, slightly less spectacular at 2150m / 6500 ft. but still a blast to drive and very scenic. (I’ll try to avoid saying that over and over again but you get the point)
We stopped at Gomagoi to recharche car and crew and after coffee, we decided to (literally) pull the plug and leave. We weren’t fully charged since that’s near impossible during the day without a fast charger, but it seemed that we’d have enough to get to the top.
Well, to make a long story short, we didn’t. David took a rather sporty approach to the Stelvio road and that took its toll. About 400 meters from the “finish line” (the top of the pass) we got stranded with the car blinking and beeping in all directions. After the turtle mode set in, we picked the safest spot we could find to stop the car and pulled out the towing rope.
It took several attempts to find the right towing vehicle, mostly because the cars we stopped didn’t have a rear towing hook. In the end, we managed to flag down team Streez and indeed, the BYD had the possibility to attach our rope.
So that’s how we managed to complete the last six turns of the uppermost portion of the Stelvio road. At the top, we talked the local restaurant owner into letting us plug the car into one of his 16A outlets.
We charged for about half an hour, just enough to get the car functional again and left the parking lot with four kilometers of indicated range and zero bars, while the lady living inside the dashboard kept yelling at us that battery was extremely low and that we should find a charging station, pronto.
We did however take advantage of the local relief and managed to cover the distance of 74km between the Stelvio and Poschiavo, our next stop, strictly by regenerating downhill, then using that energy again to get uphill from Tirano to Poschiavo. It was right on the edge, for the last five kilometers the range calculator refused to issue any statements and the lady in the dashboard got angry again.
In the end, we entered the parking lot about ten seconds before the turtle mode set in – we wouldn’t have made it another mile.
The tradeoff for having fun and getting stranded was that we were now stuck with no battery whatsoever and a slow charge, with just 41km to cover but another mountain pass! Indeed, we would have to cross the Bernina pass, yet another climb to 2330m / 7000ft.
We did take advantage of that time to visit the town of Poschiavo and have dinner with other WAVE friends – stranded or not. At some point we decided that we had had enough (in terms of charging) and took off.
We made it to the top without trouble and – well, getting down never seems to be a problem.