Help CleanTechnica & Charge To The Parks Beat The Summer Heat!

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(TL;DR: I’m running a fundraiser to make some needed improvements to my trailer for the Charge To The Parks project and then take some regional trips to show EV drivers great spots to avoid the summer heat while camping — you can support this effort at GoFundMe)

I recently got back from a long trip for the Charge to the Parks project, and it was a hard but successful trip. We visited three National Park Service units along the way and gathered intelligence on several more. This helped us to improve the Great Smoky Mountains EV travel guide, add a new guide for the Blue Ridge Parkway, and also create a new guide for Hot Springs National park.

Along the way, CleanTechnica got some great articles, too. We shared information about a great small business in Arkansas that provides EV charging, the improving landscape for electric RV charging, and a new charging station factory in North Carolina that’s going to have a big impact on EV charging reliability in the US.

Your support during prior months made all this possible!

But, we need to keep the momentum going in July and August, and to do that, we’ll need some more help. Instead of taking a long trip across the country, the plan is to fix some weaknesses we identified on the trip and then take some shorter trips to parks closer by to both continue the effort and make sure the trailer’s ready for longer trips again in the future.

Blazing Trails EV Drivers Can Use To Beat The Heat

In some places, the warmest part of the year is the best time to camp. After a cold, cold winter and a cool spring, the hottest days are when many places are the most comfortable.

But, there are other places where the peak of summer is about the worst place in the world for camping and other outdoor activities. In the desert, people say, “It’s a dry heat,” but so is an oven, and you don’t want to be in one of those. In the greener eastern US, the heat isn’t as terrible, but when you add stifling humidity and insects, camping can be about as bad as it would be in Phoenix.

Because the lowlands are so miserable, many people are instead looking for places to beat that heat. It can still be nice to briefly walk around a national park in the heat, but it’s a lot better if you can get back in your car’s air conditioned space and then retreat to the mountains if you’re camping.

During the peak of the North American summer, our plan is to go and see the hottest parks, but then find places where EV drivers can retreat to for camping.

Along the way, we’ll share the story on CleanTechnica and then improve Charge To The Parks EV travel guides. By scouting out and the sharing these great refuges, we’ll make it easier for EV drivers to visit more national parks during the summer (a time when the kids are out of school and it’s easier to get time off!

Trips We Plan To Take

White Sands National Park and the Sacramento Rim

  • White Sands is extremely uncomfortable in the summer
  • The nearby Sacramento Mountains make a great place to retreat to and camp.
  • Other parks in the region, like Carlsbad Caverns National park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park, are also in reach for many EVs.
  • We may also take another short trip for one of the park’s Full Moon Nights.

Saguaro National Park and Mount Lemmon

  • The Sky Islands of Arizona are smaller and have steeper slopes, but they’re also a great place to escape the heat and find a nice place to camp and relax.
  • Like WSNP, Saguaro National Park is roasting, but the mountains provide a great place you can camp.

The Mogollon Rim of Northern Arizona

The Mogollon Rim is not a national park, but it’s a great place to beat the heat and visit the national parks in the region. Parks in reach of the Mogollon Rim include:

  • The South Rim of the Grand Canyon
  • Petrified Forest
  • Tonto National Monument
  • Walnut Canyon
  • Montezuma Castle
  • Tuzigoot
  • Sunset Crater
  • Wupatki
  • A number of state parks

The South Rim’s Grandview Lookout Tower

During the summer heat, many people choose the Grand Canyon’s North Rim over the hotter South Rim, but it can be difficult to get up there in an EV (after all, there is a canyon in the way!). Fortunately, there’s a less popular spot near the South Rim that’s about as cool as the North Rim, and it’s free!

Even better, it’s within easy reach of both Tesla Superchargers and an Electrify America station.

Upgrades We Need To Make To The Trailer To Do These Trips (& Future Ones)

  • 13″ wheels and tires that won’t wear out in 1500 miles ($520 for two new ones and a spare, installed and with road hazard coverage at Discount Tire)
  • Starlink terminal and two months of service so we can post updates and work remotely where there’s no cellular service ($800)
  • Gas struts for the trailer doors ($100)
  • Materials to add a “boat tail” for efficiency and range ($100)
  • Money for four days work ($1,000, but we’ll be spending at least 8-10 days on this!)
  • Money for fees GoFundMe charges

In total, all of this comes out to $4962.09

If you can help, we’d be very grateful for anything you can contribute at GoFundMe. Whether you can help or not, it’s still extremely helpful to share this fundraising drive on social media! Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 2022 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba