After a refreshing sleep and some great chats, we headed from Rockhampton to Emerald (271 km) with a short stopover at Duaringa to top up – the just in cases had now become a necessity.
Best Western Stirling Motel had two Tesla destination chargers and I wondered how they had come to install them. The management said that it seemed like a good business decision, and the cleaning staff told me that they got plenty of use. The owners were based in Brisbane and were installing destination chargers in all their hotels. The positive tone of these conversations proved to be characteristic of people outside of Brisbane. I was amazed that I didn’t have conversations around long extension cords, battery fires and other FUD inspired topics. The car received a lot of interest and respect wherever we went.
We stopped at Duaringa — 111 km west of Rockhampton — a tiny town that hosted the Mackenzie Park chargers — 15 amp sockets that were available to the public, according to PlugShare. Well, they had been removed for some reason and we cast around for a backup plan. This came in the guise of the lovely Olive, who ran the information centre. She was most helpful and invited us to use her power for a small donation. Thankfully, it was a 15 amp socket external to the building, so we parked silently (Olive was amazed at how quiet the car was) and began to explore.
First, of course, we used the amenities block, then had to check out the information centre where we purchased some souvenirs. Olive was a mine of information and told us the history of the town. As Fourbys and their attendant caravans came and went, we spent a couple of hours exploring the historic graveyard and chatting to the locals.
The first question was always “how long is your range?” The second was “how long does it take to charge?” I was surprised by Bob, who was selling mandarins from his ute near the toilets — he told me he had shares in companies that mined rare earths and we had a great chat about the new economies evolving around battery development. The state emergency service volunteers dropped in to return a boat and they had lots of questions, sat in the car, and explored the “iPad” screen.
Of course, I was so busy talking and showing people the car that I didn’t realize that I was using charge every time I opened the door. After a couple of hours, we gave Olive a donation, left, and wondered why we had received so little extra charge (30 km of range vs the expected 50 km). My patient wife had plenty of time to explain it to me as we drove the next 160 km to Emerald, passing coal train after coal train.