[Oeva-list] An EVentful Weekend (long & nontechnical)

jray3 at aol.com jray3 at aol.com
Tue Jun 14 12:19:00 PDT 2005

Hello Listers and Lurkers, 
Here's an EV Travelogue from this past weekend, so proceed at your leisure- if interested....

I just concluded a very EVentful weekend, beginning with the Friday delivery of 400 nicad cells to John Lussmyer on Whidbey Island.  The attractive log home holds a Cougar habitat that's bigger than my first apartment, and is home to a 70 lb purring kitten that I would've been happy to pet, if she hadn't been contentedly crunching on a chicken carcass at the moment!.... On to the EV shop. Cougar John's place is equipped with an arch-style building that could hold his entire fleet, and besides all the usual electrical paraphernalia, he's got a WWII vintage aircraft engine hoist that's perfect for straddling and lifting just about any vehicle EVer made, with it's 20-ton capacity chain hoist and elegantly simple wishbone design.  From the looks of things, Cougar should be able to show off a nicad-powered Sparrow in no time! ;-) 
We then rolled my much-relieved Ranger onward to Vancouver, BC for a rendezvous with Al Godfrey.  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting Al, he's the sort of  gentleman that anyone would've loved to have as a grandfather or neighbor.  From the open, yet cozy contemporary home of stone and timber overlooking the Fraser River valley that he and his wife Esther built with their own hands, to the remote-control ElecTrak that quietly grooms the lawn, the Godfrey estate oozes tranquility, until one glimpses the sinfully silver Porsche 928 lurking in the garage out back.   This immaculate car would fit in at any Porsche Concours, but the craftsmanship, fit and finish on his EV conversion would also be the envy of any amphead.  Of course, vehicular hygiene is helped a bit by the sano Siemens A/C setup from Victor and TWENTY-SIX sealed Optima blue top batteries that were so skillfully secreted away in the dark recesses of the 928, but juxtaposed against the three decades worth of groovy EV gizmos filling that old garage, the 928 looks more like it's emerging from the lair of a mad scientist than the humble workshop of a retired engineer.  
Unfortunately, some erratic battery behavior has the Porsche on a stress-free diet, and we were unable to unleash it's horses, but my EV Grin quickly reappeared with the arrival of Al's buddy from the boonies, Alan Cumberlidge, who stopped by in his handbuilt Plymouth Horizon for a battery boost before Saturday's show.  Seeing as how an overnight charge was forthcoming, we took a spirited drive around the neighborhood, showing that not only will that old Omni beat any original 25 year-old econoboxer on the road, but it will do so in silence, powered by an early "before they put the squeal in" Curtis controller.     
Saturday brought showers to Vancouver, but it didn't dampen the spirits of REV! participants, who put on a good showing despite the flukey weather.  What really makes this show a standout, (besides the rides in an immaculate 1912 Detroit Electric!) is the involvement at all levels of the hobby.  Electrathon racing continued in a seemingly endless cycle of circles on the short track (the winners completed 120+ laps!), while electric bicycle, scooter, and board buyers got test rides till all comers were satisfied.  Rich Rudman was there manning the charge trailer, but the Madman was a little jumpy amidst all the liquid humidity, hopping every time somebody clapped their hands or slammed a door with a quick "WHAT POPPED!"   He did get to blow off some steam by showing that Goldie brought more to the show than just a pretty face, by laying rubber all over the nice and clean electrathon track during an impromptu all-EV parade.  
After Saturday's excitement and a yawn-inducing trek home, Sunday brought an old friend into town.  Tom is a professor of Aeronautical Engineering and a test pilot at Mississippi State University, and though I had been telling him about this stuff for years, there's nothing like a visit to the Wayland Juice Bar to create a new EV Grin.  We stopped by John's place just in time to see the Yellow Monster unveiled.  It truly was amazing to see the handiwork that turned a junk-pile antique forklift motor into the dynamically-timed monster that will no doubt claim it's place in the NEDRA record books.  Jim Husted's moveable brush rigging operated like it had always been there, and watching that simple lever make dramatic changes in motor RPM while hooked directly to the battery without a single contactor, pot, or other controller sure made me wonder why this trick wasn't standard practice.  The Siamese Eights weren't running yet, but laid out bare in all their copper glory, in between a shining Blue Meany and the quiet White Zombie.  The "Purple Phaze" Datsun minitruck project was awaiting it's fate in a corner of the driveway, rustily oblivious to the racing reincarnation that's coming soon.  It was all a bit much for a newbie to take in, and on the way to our next engagement, Tom kept shaking his head and saying, "You kept telling me, but some things just have to be seen"...
Signing off, 
Jay Donnaway
Vancouver WA
1971 "Karmann Eclectric" Ghia
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