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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

W’EV done a thing!

It sure has been awhile since I’ve written a blog but here goes….

If you followed us last year or in years past, you will know that we sold “Newman” our 40 foot Class A Newmar Dutchstar diesel pusher in 2022. Last summer we were missing our ‘footloose and fancy free’ nomadic lifestyle that comes with having an RV, so we started looking for a little, lightweight camper that we could tow with our 2009 Sante Fe.

We ended up buying our trailer ‘George’ second hand from a very nice couple who live about 45 minutes away from us in Vineland, Ontario. They had used it 3 times only to go camp in Algonquin Park with their adult children and grand kids.

Our 2017 Gulfstream Vista Cruiser 20 foot couples travel trailer, aka “George”.

Last September we did our maiden trip with George to Buckingham, Quebec and Upstate New York, with the Sante Fe pulling George. We really enjoyed camping with a smaller trailer; being able to back into camp sites, easily hooking up the trailer and setting up camp, but we realized that the Sante Fe was way too under powered to tow a trailer of this size.

We didn’t make any quick decisions last fall on what we would do about our under powered Sante Fe as we were focused on other adventures like visiting our new granddaughter and our 3 year old grand son in British Columbia, and taking an Alaskan Cruise with our friends Jackie and Gary from our golf club.

Sometime during the winter 0f 2024 I started doing some research on GM pick up trucks. We always knew that we would be purchasing a GM vehicle in the next few years because we had a Scotiabank GM Visa card from the time the card was first launched. GM was my client at Scotiabank and I worked closely with the Scotiabank Visa team to help with consumer adoption of the card. Of course I had to sign up for a card right away with GM being my customer! At or about the same time as the GM card was launched we started Lakeshore Bed and Breakfast at our home in Fort Erie, The GM card was the perfect card to keep our business expenses on, while earning valuable GM points which could only be redeemed towards the purchase or lease of a new GM vehicle. Unfortunately in 2023 GM and Scotiabank abandoned the credit card and notified visa customer card holders that the points they had earned must be used before July 2026.

As I was researching GM pickup trucks, Richard was also looking at GM pickup trucks. Richard had his sights set on a GM diesel pick up. He even went to visit Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City, Florida while I was golfing one day, to see what the diesel pickups looked like. Diesel just didn’t sit right with me though….

I started to see online advertising for a new Chevy Silverado 3WT (work truck) EV pickup truck so I showed the videos to Richard who was very interested in this new technology. The question we both had was: “Would the Chevy Silverado EV be suitable to towing our little George and what would the range be towing after charging?”

I was conflicted after doing some research because there was also a Chevy Silverado 4WT EV and I was trying to understand the difference between the two EV pickups.

The 3WT has a towing capacity of 12,500 pounds vs 10,000 pounds for the 4WT. The 4WT has a larger battery capacity and has a range of 450 miles vs the 393 miles for the 3WT. What to do? Which to purchase? More range or more towing capacity?

Ultimately it came down to towing capacity for us. We know that most of our driving will be done around the Niagara Peninsula where we will be plugged in at home (in our garage using the 40 volt plug that we had installed when we had Newman), so range was not our biggest concern. Being able to tow George or any other larger trailer if we ever upgraded George to a slightly larger trailer, would be of utmost concern, vs range.

So after doing our research I went online and put a $100 deposit on a Chevy Silverado 3WT EV sight unseen at Welland Chevrolet! Our friend Mel from Bridgewater Golf Club is a salesperson at that dealership so we knew we would be in good hands if we bought the truck through Mel.

The biggest question we had would be how quickly could we get the pick up truck? We kept hoping that we would have the pick up truck for the summer as we had a few RV trips planned and we knew we couldn’t do them with the Sante Fe.

We knew our truck was built the 1st week in June as GM has an online search function once we had an order number for the truck, but no one could tell us how quickly the truck would get from the plant in Michigan to the dealership in Welland. Last week I reached out to my contact at GM Canada to see if he had any inside scoop on when our truck would be arriving. We were happy to find out our truck would be arriving on Friday June 21st at the dealership! Richard was so excited he dropped everything to drive over to Welland Chev to take a look at the truck.

Richard was so excited to finally see our new pick up truck last week!

The timing on the arrival of the Chevy Silverado pick up could not have been better as we had planned a visit to New Hampshire leaving today for a week to visit our good friends Gene and Margaret Berg who we met on the 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. We could have driven the Sante Fe and stayed in hotels on our trip, but we really wanted to go for a camping trip in George.

Yesterday we picked up the truck at Welland Chev from our friend Mel at 4pm and I had the pleasure of driving an EV for the very first time!

We have a hard tonneau cover on back order which should be ready for installation in a couple of weeks so the truck bed will be more useable than it is to us right now. The front of the truck lifts up and is called a “frunk’” and it has lots of available extra storage space for cargo. Right now we just have many different charging cords in the frunk.

I really enjoyed how peppy the Silverado EV was driving it home on the QEW to Fort Erie. I found myself speeding without even feeling the acceleration so quickly figured out how to turn on the adaptive cruise control to manage my speed. Richard was surprised when he started getting texts from me on the way home. He should know by now I’m the ‘techno wizard’ and can quickly figure out technology without reading copious manuals!

When Richard arrived home we jumped back in the pick up truck so he could take it for a spin around Fort Erie; including jumping on the QEW to see how quickly the truck accelerates!

Our neighbour Horst came over to take a look at the new pick up truck. Being a mechanic he is always interested in the latest technology and really enjoyed seeing the new truck. Horst was giving Richard good advice as he hooked up the anti sway bar to the pick up.

While Richard was away this week visiting his mom Shirley in Buckingham, I spent most of the week packing up George with clothes, toiletries and supplies so we would be ready to leave first thing Saturday morning. We only had golf clubs, golf shoes and camping chairs left to pack in the morning, until we checked the weather forecast for Saturday. Torrential rain was forecast! We quickly got the pick up packed up last night so we would be ready to leave early today. Being a long weekend in Canada we knew the U.S. border would be busy if we left late in the day.

I woke up at 6am today and went down to the sunroom to have my tea while waiting for Ricahrd to wake up. The rain was coming down sideways with torrential waves of rain and heavy winds. Not the kind of day for doing a road trip with a new pick up truck and the first time towing a trailer with the pick up truck!

The Peace Bridge (which is 5 minutes from our house) was backed up for about 19 minutes before we could access the Nexus lane into the USA.

We saw this pick up truck next to us on the Peace Bridge and couldn’t figure out if they were going on vacation or were moving! They had so much stuff roped on top of the bed of their pick up truck and all of it was getting soaking wet!

Very ominous skies over Buffalo today.

Last week I had picked up my friend Jackie at the Flying J gas station, Exit 48A Pembroke so we could travel together to Rochester to play a 2 gal golf tournament at Penfield Country Club. While we were stopped loading my car with her golf clubs I noticed that there was a GM EV charging station at the Flying J gas station which featured a ‘pull through’ charging option. Since we had not had breakfast yet this morning we decided to stop at the Flying J; charge up; get a bite to eat and use the restrooms.

We left home with 72% charge and by the time we got to the GM Energy charging station we were at 54%. The GM Energy charger was surprisingly a super charger station. Once we plugged in the charging cord, and tapped our credit card, we were told that we would be at 80% charge in 20 minutes. It was time to hit Flying J for some breakfast sandwiches and the rest rooms.

The benefits of pull through charging stations are many. Not having to unhook the trailer to get into the charging station; saving time and energy. GM has partnered with Flying J as they expand their EV pickup truck lineup to ensure that work trucks and people with trailers like us have pull through charging stations. There will be 500 GM Energy stations at Flying J locations throughout North America in the next few years.

We were surprised how expensive this GM Energy station turned out though. At 75 cents a KW hour that was an ‘ouch’ for our first time charging on the road. We will look for better priced options in the future as we get into the hang of charging ‘Cosmo’ aka ‘Kramer’ our EV pickup truck.

We punched our final destination for the day into our GPS on the dash of Kramer and the navigation system adjusted our range based on the fact that we are towing a trailer. We do have to hit a button to tell the vehicle that we are towing a trailer. We thought we might be able to get all the way to our camp site with the charge we just did at the GM Energy Station but as we kept driving on the New York Thruway in horrible rainy weather it became very clear that we would need to stop and charge again. The EV charger we found in Syracuse was 45 cents a KW hour, so a lot better than what we had paid at the GM Energy station. This trip is definitely a learning experience!

Luckily we didn’t have to do anything with George while we charged as we used this electric charging station. Unfortunately the super high speed charger was in the middle of all of the charging stations and it was awkward for us to use so we used the high speed charger instead at the end of the line of chargers. Unfortunately the charging station was not next to Trader Joes, but while we charged, I made us lunch in George. We were going to need to stop anyway to use the washroom in George, so we only charged to 45% while we had lunch and then we made our way to Trader Joes.

Of course no RV trip with us would be complete without a stop at Trader Joes!!

As we left Syracuse after stopping at Trader Joe’s, our GPS told us we would have less than 30 minutes to our destination and we would have 24% charge on Kramer when we arrived and 53 miles or range. Check in time at the RV park is 1pm, and we would be arriving around 2pm, so we were right on time.

Our campsite for the evening at “The Villages at Turning Stone” Resort & Casino. We have full hook ups with 30 amp service, water and sewer for $75 for the evening. The loop we are in Green Ash Village campsite 520. As we drove through the RV park we were very impressed with this park. There is a Fishing Pond, a Boating Pond, store, Arcade, 24 hour laundromat, horseshoe pit, bocce ball, tennis, basketball, pool, volleyball and a kids playground. The RV park is spotless and very quiet too! WOW! After travelling all over North America we found a hidden gem not far from home. Turning Stone Resort also has 5 golf courses too! We won’t have time for golf this visit, but we will keep this destination as a place to come to in the future!

We set up camp in the pouring rain and rather than unhook Kramer and George and get more soaked, Richard took a nap while I started working on the blog.

We have dinner reservations at 7pm at Peach Blossom at Turning Stone Restort and Casino a short 5 minute drive away, and we know there is a Tesla Super Charger we can use to top up Kramer in the casino parking area!

We are super happy with our decision to buy an EV pickup truck after Day 1. Lots of learning but we are learning and everyone at the charging stations have been so helpful to help their fellow EV’ers.

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