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So for those who don't follow us on IG, my family and I (Adam) took a vacation from Long Island, NY down to Ormond Beach, FL where I have some family. We decided to take the Lightning over my wife's minivan because it's just a lot more comfortable and... it's a friggin Lightning!

I have a Lariat with the Extended Range battery btw.

STOP 1: NEW CASTLE, DE
We left Sunday (9/21/2022) morning around 10:30am from Long Island. That's NEVER a fun thing to do since we have to deal with Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Believe it or not once you are in NJ traffic isn't bad. We got to our first charging destination at 2:50pm in New Castle, DE. This was at a Wawa Gas Station (gotta love Wawa food/beverages though!).

We charged for about half and hour and put 65kwh in. Then onto our next stop.
1662048960047.png


STOP 2: SPRINGFIELD, VA
Ohhh this was by far the worst place to charge. We were headed to a Target which was part of a mall complex. The charging stations were hard to find and very tight to fit into. They had these weird stalls BUT we made it work. We were going to walk around the mall but NOPE. It was dirty and just not a nice place to visit. My wife said the restrooms were terrible as well. We got here around 6:25pm and stayed for about half an hour. Added 59kwh to the battery. You can see what I mean by tight squeeze. The stations were awkward where they had one station that was shared for both sides. There was a smaller station in the rear but that looked to be a 40amp station, so very very slow. Not to mention they wasted no space and had regular spots right next to the EV. Luckily I fit but they had all these ballards protecting the equipment that made it tricky to open my truck's door

1662049129375.png


STOP 3: RICHMOND, VA
Now onto Walmart. We stopped at a LOT of Walmarts. We got here 2 hours later at 8:35pm. Added 55kwh to the battery to get us to our next destination. I planned my route so that i'd have at least 20% SOC when I got to any charging location. This was to give me a "buffer" in case I had to leave (which was the case actually on a future stop). Nothing exciting here.Just ANOTHER Walmart we stopped at.

STOP 4: ROCKY MOUNT, NC
I think this was my favorite stop honestly. It was at a Sheetz station (gas station). It was empty and late at night (11:25pm). We put 74kwh in because why not. We had time. I took a walk around the lot and just relaxed a bit. It was weird seeing all these people waiting in line for coffee at 11:25pm and they waited about 15 minutes each. Insane!
1662049333292.png


STOP 5: LUMBERTON, NC
This stop forced me to try 2 chargers. The first one (btw we got here at 1:45am) only let me put in 13kwh before it went slow. Switched stations and then put in 55kwh. Again this was at ANOTHER Walmart. I'm starting to like the Walmart locations because they are usually tucked away but close enough you can walk to the store. They are usually pretty wide open as well
1662049419034.png


STOP 6: FLORENCE, SC
This would be our last stop for the first leg of our trip. As we were heading to the Columbia, SC area to stop at see some family. We got here at 3:15am. This stop was REALLY just to give us a charge so that once we got to my family's house, I had enough juice to run around and what not. We put in 41kwh here and that was our last stop for the day/night/first leg of the trip
1662049494959.png

 
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It's now Tuesday, September 23. We spent Monday with family and checked out the Columbia, SC area. Now it was time to continue our trip down to Florida.

STOP 1: COLUMBIA, SC
I used this charging station a few times during our entire trip (4 total). As it was near my family's house. We filled up the truck adding 39kwh at 9:50am and headed on our way. BTW, Lowe's grocery stores are AMAZING! We don't have these up in NY. Where else can you get a beer and grocery shop at the same time!
1662049665251.png


1662049680216.png


STOP 2: WATERBORO, SC
So this is where things get weird. I KNOW I stopped in Waterboro, SC (at least I'm pretty sure I did). But my data logs from Ford don't show this stop. So I have no data here. I know I stopped here because of the time stamp on my photo (we left Columbia, SC at 9:51am and didn't get to Stop 3 until 2:20pm so I KNOW we stopped in Waterboro, SC). WEIRD. No data here. Another Walmart I believe. Based on the time stamp of the photo we were in Waterboro, SC around 12pm
1662049769734.png


STOP 3: BRUNSWICK, GA
And now we get to our first problematic station. This station had reported issues on plugshare. I first charged to 11kwh as it was going SLOW. So I switched to another station, and got up to 28kwh added. I was in the store and went outside to stop it as it had SLOWED DOWN bigtime. So I switched to a 3rd station and added another 17kwh. JUST enough to get us to another charging station in Jacksonville, FL with room to spare (the multiple stops but leaving 20% room paid off). We got here around 2:20pm as I mentioned earlier. For those who followed my posts on one of the F150 EV Facebook groups, THIS was the Walmart I didn't like. It was awkward to get my truck in (what you don't see in the photos are the parking spaces right across from my truck with cars in them, which made it difficult to back in, due to the angles). I had to back in because I needed access to the charging ports. The other side of this charging station had issues (there are 2, one behind the one pictured). I didn't want to leave my truck sticking far out into the aisle (i'm using the charger closest to the driving aisle). BUT we made it work.
1662049963457.png


STOP 4: JACKSONVILLE, FL
YAY. We're almost there. I know Jacksonville. It's only an hour from our final stop (45 minutes really). We got here at 4:40pm. This was my encounter with a "Karen" as well. This station was at a very nice mall. Tucked away in the back. When I got here it was full. So I waited. A few minutes later another car pulls in to wait also. When one EV driver was finishing up the car that came in after me decided to drive BEHIND the chargers and parked behind them. I had a feeling I knew what he was up to. The EV finished charging and pulls out. As he's pulling out "Karen" starts to try and charge. I backed in and said "excuse me, but I was here waiting" and he gives me an attitude yelling that it's not even working. Then he starts to tinker with it more and I said "excuse me are you going to let me charge, I was waiting" he gives me more of an attitude and hands it to me saying "Here have a ball" - What a KAREN!. I did make a friend in the stall next to me who said he'd watch my truck if i wanted to go in the mall with my family instead of watching over it (so that KAREN doesn't touch my truck). Eventually Karen found a spot and started to charge his POS car. Mall was very nice and I had a great conversation about business with the other EV owner (you meet some really nice people at the stations). As I came back I saw a Walmart van charging also, how cool! Added 70kwh here btw.
1662050184944.png


And that was our last charging stop before we got to our AirBNB (for those from the Florida area, YES... we did get stuck in that traffic jam on I-95. We sat for 45 minutes parked on I-95 while they landed a helicopter due to a bad accident). But we were not quite done yet... we had issues with our AirBNB and had to get a different one, so one extra planned stop in Ormond Beach, FL (we were going to stay at my sisters in the Daytona are for a night).

STOP 5: ORMOND BEACH, FL
Ohh this one I know. I used to live near here. I used to go to this Walmart ALL THE TIME. After all was said and done I got here around 9:25pm at night. I was actually on a run to get a baby gate for my 2 year old (sister's house isn't babyproof) and decided to drive to this Walmart to charge up (passing by a closer walmart). Added 79kwh. This was a lot. I actually stalked to another EV charger on a road trip across the country for about half an hour. He had an older EV which charged SLOW due to having NO COOLING SYSTEM (weird). So It was going to take him a few hours to charge. I forgot to take a photo since I was tired from driving and sitting in traffic earlier and having AirBNB issues.
 
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Vacation is over. Time to head home :( We were actually happen to head home. The vacation wasn't a great one. With the traffic we hit on the way down to FL it put a toll on us. That and the AirBNB issues delayed our TRUE vacation a day. So now we're headed back to SC to do a stop-over at my brother in laws house again.

STOP 1: JACKSONVILLE, FL
We're basically going to be hitting the same stations again, with a few added here/there and bypassed. So back to the mall at Jacksonville, FL. I had added 30kwh in Ormond Beach, FL the day before (in the rain, how fun) to give me juice to travel around Palm Coast (where we were staying). So we got to Jacksonville around 10am on Saturday the 27th. BTW here's a shot of me charging the day before at that Walmart in the rain
1662050597196.png


Ohh and I got to visit a Buc-ee's finally in Daytona Beach! What a great store
1662050619067.png


But here we are, back at Jaconsville's Mall
1662050635405.png


STOP 2: BRUNSWICK, GA
Ok. Here we go again. PLEASE work this time. SUCCESS! We got 55kwh here without any issues at this Walmart station. We got here at 11:35am and left around 12:15pm. BTW, what's with all the damn bugs Georgia! Those love bugs were EVERYWHERE. Look at my poor truck!
1662050698767.png


STOP 3: POOLER, GA
This was a new stop for us. I was bypassing something... not sure, but ended up adding this to our route. We got here around 1:25pm and stayed till 1:45pm. Adding 42kwh. I THINK this is a shot from it
1662050776470.png


STOP 4: WALTERBORO, SC
Back at Walterboro, another Walmart (they are all Walmarts honestly). Added 31kwh and got here around 3pm. Only stayed about 15 minutes. A lot of these were just quick charges to top us off. I tended to top off to 80% at every stop.
1662050853973.png


Side Note: I now know why they call this the "Carolina Squat"
1662050877247.png


This was the last stop for leg 1. The next morning we were leaving around 5am to head back to NY.
 
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I am NOT a morning person. UGH.

STOP 1: COLUMBIA, SC
Okay so we got here around 5:40am and stayed for half an hour. Charged it up over 80% adding 71kwh. Time to hit the road and get back home. I'm REALLY hoping we don't hit traffic. It's now Sunday btw.
1662051826308.png


STOP 2: FLORENCE, SC
Okay so we're making great time! It's 7:30am and we are adding 65kwh here, leaving around 8am back on the road (we're finding we're charging over 80% because we keep going INTO the Walmarts and lose track of time). I forgot to take a photo though. HOWEVER since we were crossing from SC into NC you know what that means! South of the Border! Okay, this place isn't what it used to be and it's a ghost town now. BUT it's still something we always do. We HAVE to say hi to PEDRO!
1662051934043.png


STOP 3: LUMBERTON, NC
We stopped here at 8:55am and stayed for 20 minutes. Added 42kwh (we're not adding a lot of juice you'll notice, because we're stopping more often in case we have to skip some stations). We're still making great time though on the road.

STOP 4: SMITHFIELD, NC
This one was at a mall. More like a strip mall I guess or a shopping center. We call them "outlets" by us here in NY. It was closed being early on Sunday so we just walked around the perimeter to stretch our legs (damn bathrooms were also closed, UGH!). Added 48kwh at 10:20am and left at 10:45am.
1662052054554.png


STOP 5: EMPORIA, VA
We're seeing a trend here... nobody at the charging stations on Sundays. Interesting. Next stop was at this Walmart at 12:15pm where we added 53kwh and stayed half an hour.
1662052112439.png


STOP 6: RICHMOND, VA
Well NOW we're starting to see packed lots. Richmond had a lot of charging stations. About 8 I think. And all of them were in use when we arrived. But we only had to wait a few minutes for 1 to free up. Arrived here at 2pm and added 49kwh. By the time we left there were only 4 of us out of the 8 originally (9 technically)
1662052175617.png


STOP 7: STAFFORD, VA
So we got here at 5:55pm. No you're not reading that wrong. We left Richmond, VA around 2:30 but got to Stafford at 5:55pm? Wellll SOMEBODY got a flat tire :( Sort of. I had a slow leak in my driver side rear tire before the trip but thought it was a computer issue. As Ford put out a software update a few days prior to my trip to fix the tire pressure system. So I thought my readouts were due to that. I had no issues the entire time until now. My tire pressure started to drop from 44PSIdown to 35PSI where it gave me a warning. I pulled into a gas station and aired back up (I have on-board air) and back on the road I went. BUT the tire pressure started to go down again. So we pulled into a Firestone and sure enough, I had a nail or something through the side wall. So they replaced my tire (I didn't want to use the spare and have it looking WEIRD with a spare on it). So $300 later I have a brand new Dueler Tire (my normal tires are Nitto Terra Grappler G2s but he didn't have any of those). The Dueler matched my tread style closer then my spare tire. But we got back on the road.

ARB1.jpg


Ironically where we pulled over was where traffic was building up, so in a way, we got lucky. We would have sat in a traffic jam anyway. This way, we got to ride back roads. WHIch took FOREVER. It added about 1 hour at Firestone to the trip and 1 hour of back-road driving. BUT it was a nice change so I didn't mind.

Got to Stafford, VA at 5:50pm and added 40kwh. Stayed for around 25 minutes or so.

One cool thing heading into DC now, was that we got to use the Express lanes finally. And WOW look! The monument! I've never seen Washington DC before. I usually go AROUND it like most. But that express lane was great
1662052457096.png


STOP 8: ABINGDON, MD
Another stop at yet another Walmart. This put us in at 8pm and we charged for 25 mnutes, adding 50khh. We're ALMOST home!
1662052497914.png


1662052507849.png


STOP 9: NEW CASTLE, DE
Now... I don't know if New Castle is a nice area or not. But it sure was different being at this Wawa at night (9:20pm). It was very crowded. Bikers were hanging outside and I saw some armed people (i wasn't aware DE is an open carry state, NICE!!!). But we had no issues. Just more crowded then I'd expect at 9:20pm at night. I was the only one at the charger too. We were SUPPOSED to stop in NJ at a charger but I wanted to make it home. So we charged to about 86% or so. Added 36kwh which isn't a lot, but enough to get us about 120 miles to get home.

We were supposed to get home with 25miles to spare but ended up getting home with 45 miles to spare (THANKS BROOKLYN FOR THE TRAFFIC JAM!!!)
1662052623858.png


1662052632143.png


We got home around 12:30am - 1am if memory serves me right.
 
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FINAL THOUGHTS

Wow, what a trip. This sure was an experience but I'll probably never do this long of a trip with kids again. If it was my wife and I and we wanted to stop at various cities to explore then it would be fine. But with 2 kids (2 under 4) it was a bit of a hassle. Every time we'd stop they wanted to get out OR we'd wake them up from their naps and they'd be upset. It was just a lot. They can't exactly move around since they are both in child seats.

If I had to do it again, i'd stick to a 5% - 10% SOC at my destinations. This way I could travel further and charge less (but you'd spend more time charging). With the way we routed the trip, we stopped every 2 hours or so.

I used A Better Route Planner to plan my route which was easy to do but also annoying, as I wanted to take certain roads and it's not as easy to do that. If you add a way point it tends to mess up sometimes and has you going in loops to a station twice, very awkward.

But it worked well. It helped us route our plan and we made sure we always had enough juice left to skip a station if we HAD to (which was the case in New Castle, DE on our way back).

I'd say for trips under 6 hours, SURE, we'll take the EV. But on long distance trips for OUR PURPOSES it wasn't a good idea. Again, if we're looking at various cities it's great! Since we'd stop anyway. But since we wanted to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, NOT the best choice. BUT still an experience I'm goad we did.

I love my F150 EV and it's great for driving around locally and short trips.

Hopefully my trip helps others plan their routes accordingly.

BTW, learn to hold VOLUME DOWN and the NEXT SONG button at the same time. My screen froze twice during the journey (GPS got stuck) and this resets your screen.
 


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FINAL THOUGHTS

Wow, what a trip. This sure was an experience but I'll probably never do this long of a trip with kids again. If it was my wife and I and we wanted to stop at various cities to explore then it would be fine. But with 2 kids (2 under 4) it was a bit of a hassle. Every time we'd stop they wanted to get out OR we'd wake them up from their naps and they'd be upset. It was just a lot. They can't exactly move around since they are both in child seats.

If I had to do it again, i'd stick to a 5% - 10% SOC at my destinations. This way I could travel further and charge less (but you'd spend more time charging). With the way we routed the trip, we stopped every 2 hours or so.

I used A Better Route Planner to plan my route which was easy to do but also annoying, as I wanted to take certain roads and it's not as easy to do that. If you add a way point it tends to mess up sometimes and has you going in loops to a station twice, very awkward.

But it worked well. It helped us route our plan and we made sure we always had enough juice left to skip a station if we HAD to (which was the case in New Castle, DE on our way back).

I'd say for trips under 6 hours, SURE, we'll take the EV. But on long distance trips for OUR PURPOSES it wasn't a good idea. Again, if we're looking at various cities it's great! Since we'd stop anyway. But since we wanted to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, NOT the best choice. BUT still an experience I'm goad we did.

I love my F150 EV and it's great for driving around locally and short trips.

Hopefully my trip helps others plan their routes accordingly.

BTW, learn to hold VOLUME DOWN and the NEXT SONG button at the same time. My screen froze twice during the journey (GPS got stuck) and this resets your screen.
I recently did a similar trip (Northern NJ to Orlando FL) in our ICE Minivan with 2 under 4. Also a hassle and took a fair bit of time for potty/fuel breaks (About 30 minutes each every 250 miles). I think i did the math and it would have been an extra hour or two in the Lariat ER but cost I think would be a good bit less. Have you done the math on fuel/electric cost?
 

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With your aftermarket wheels and tires, what was your miles per kWh average?
 
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With your aftermarket wheels and tires, what was your miles per kWh average?
Varied. 1.5 down south and 1.8-2.0 up north for some reason. I think the speed limits are higher down south so our cruise control was set higher. Also less traffic down south
 

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Varied. 1.5 down south and 1.8-2.0 up north for some reason. I think the speed limits are higher down south so our cruise control was set higher. Also less traffic down south
This trip summary is great. Thanks for posting this. I’m planning to drive my ER lariat to Orlando from south central kentucky (family trip to Disney, 3 kids under 5 😳) in a month and was wondering what strategy to take. I’ve considered doing long stretches of driving and taking the battery down to 10% then charging to 80% versus doing shorter stretches and charging every 2 hours regardless.

with all the recent reports of unreliable charging stations, I’m leaning towards planning to stop every 2 hours at the closest (not out of the way) charger and charging to 80% unless we have to stay stopped for longer.

In general what I have found with our children is we do well to travel anywhere for 2 straight hours without stopping. So I figure in the long run if we are likely to have to stop, I might as well plan it so that these stops can be at a charger even if it’s just for 20-30 minutes.

I could see where stopping that often would be redundant, and maybe when I’ve had this truck a few years I’ll choose the other strategy. But I know it would be extremely stressful with a truck full of kids to get to a charger with less than 10% and not be able to get the stations to charge the truck.

I’ve also seen in YouTube videos where FORD’s charging curve for the lightning is similar to the MachE where for the first few minutes of any charging session, you can get “peak” 150-170 kw speeds before it ramps down. So some YouTubers argue it’s probably faster to charge in the middle of the pack than at super low states of charge because you still get the peak speeds but less overall heat with shorter charging sessions.
 
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This trip summary is great. Thanks for posting this. I’m planning to drive my ER lariat to Orlando from south central kentucky (family trip to Disney, 3 kids under 5 😳) in a month and was wondering what strategy to take. I’ve considered doing long stretches of driving and taking the battery down to 10% then charging to 80% versus doing shorter stretches and charging every 2 hours regardless.

with all the recent reports of unreliable charging stations, I’m leaning towards planning to stop every 2 hours at the closest (not out of the way) charger and charging to 80% unless we have to stay stopped for longer.

In general what I have found with our children is we do well to travel anywhere for 2 straight hours without stopping. So I figure in the long run if we are likely to have to stop, I might as well plan it so that these stops can be at a charger even if it’s just for 20-30 minutes.

I could see where stopping that often would be redundant, and maybe when I’ve had this truck a few years I’ll choose the other strategy. But I know it would be extremely stressful with a truck full of kids to get to a charger with less than 10% and not be able to get the stations to charge the truck.

I’ve also seen in YouTube videos where FORD’s charging curve for the lightning is similar to the MachE where for the first few minutes of any charging session, you can get “peak” 150-170 kw speeds before it ramps down. So some YouTubers argue it’s probably faster to charge in the middle of the pack than at super low states of charge because you still get the peak speeds but less overall heat with shorter charging sessions.
Our trucks ramp down at 80%. I've watched it stay at 170 until it hits 80/81% then it starts to ramp down under 100 and then under 50 as you get closer to 90%
 


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Great write up. I just did a similar trip and was curious about two of the stations that you stopped at that I didn’t. The first was the WaWa in Delaware and the other was Sheetz. I don’t know why I was skeptical of those but I am adding them to the list of good-to-go.

I had an issue when I stopped at the mall with the target in VA. There’s really only three charging ports and people plug and go into the mall. As I wrote in my thread two of the three cars were at 100% when I arrived and another was charging to 100% percent while I waited. It wasn’t terribly long but I’m not risking that one again and it was a pain in the butt to navigate the mall. There are other chargers I could’ve hit but live and learn.

thanks for sharing the details.
 
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Great write up. I just did a similar trip and was curious about two of the stations that you stopped at that I didn’t. The first was the WaWa in Delaware and the other was Sheetz. I don’t know why I was skeptical of those but I am adding them to the list of good-to-go.

I had an issue when I stopped at the mall with the target in VA. There’s really only three charging ports and people plug and go into the mall. As I wrote in my thread two of the three cars were at 100% when I arrived and another was charging to 100% percent while I waited. It wasn’t terribly long but I’m not risking that one again and it was a pain in the butt to navigate the mall. There are other chargers I could’ve hit but live and learn.

thanks for sharing the details.
Yeah one guy wasn't even plugged in I don't think. As I came back I saw him leaving.
 

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Are you a time traveller? 😆 All your dates are for the end of Setpember!
 
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Occupation
Drug Dealer of the LED World
Are you a time traveller? 😆 All your dates are for the end of Setpember!
Yes I came back in time to do it again :)

August 2022 not September 2022. My bad :)

 

 
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