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To Atlanta and beyond . . .

Just finished our second trip to areas north of Atlanta and back in the new electric car. I tell ya, it gets better every trip. We’ve scoped out just about every Supercharger Station between here and there and know where to stop and where not to stop. Despite the convenience of Superchargers every few hours of travel, some are better than others . . . and faster.

We nixed Ocala forever after our selected charger failed to connect. Then there’s the getting in and out part. Too much trouble when most of the stations are literally right off the Interstate. And no real good area to walk the dogs (three of ’em with us don’t ya know.) We even found a bad charger in Valdosta this trip. So yes, they are being used and we never had to wait for a charge.

Yes, the sleep most of the time although Redford (L) is more nervous. Grits doesn’t even notice we’re on the road.

When it wasn’t pouring down rain on the way back, I spent the drive dreaming about the new Tesla Model S Plaid. I just read the review by Motor Trend and it sounds amazing. Here’s a short clip. And if you don’t understand just how fast 0 – 60 in 1.98 seconds is, well.

When the final “launch control ready” message is displayed, firmly press your noggin against the headrest (trust us), release the brake, and hang on.

“The Model S Plaid zips down the quarter mile in a staggeringly quick 9.25 seconds at 152.6 mph. The run from 0 to 60 mph happens just 1.98 seconds after the brutally hard launch. The Plaid covers distance so quickly, it’s difficult to even register what’s happening. The yoke gets light in your hands, your neck muscles strain as your helmeted head digs into the headrest, and your surroundings blur into mere shapes and colors as a quarter mile of pavement vanishes underneath you.”

The biggest drawback I can see, or hear, is the growl of a high performance engine. Or rather, the lack of the growl of a high performance engine. Even though the new Model S Plaid has more than 1,000 hp on tap, it’s silent. As in electric car silent.

Be that as it may, the sensation you get when you are accelerating hard is impossible to explain. Even our Model Y screams from 0 – 60 in less than four seconds. I’ve never driven anything that quick and it’s a rush. I can’t imagine what it would be like to do 0 – 60 in less than two seconds (that’s a lie, I can imagine it.)

Perhaps we don’t need that second car for the few times both of us need to be somewhere different. We just need a car that’s quick enough to get us to both places at the same time!

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Another long-distance drive in Electric Car

So we’re heading out again in the new car for Woodstock, GA and points north. Round trip is more than 1,200 miles when all the side trips are included. I think we’ll try a couple of different Super Charger stops this trip to see what’s available on the electric highway. Our range is about 300 miles at “highway speeds” and Super Chargers are every 100 to 150 miles so we have options.

So far we’ve stopped in Gainesville, Lake City, Tifton, Macon and ATL. I think Ocala and Valdosta are definitely on the agenda.

While we’ve loved being a one-car family, we have started looking for a second car in case both of us need to be somewhere at the same time and don’t want to take an Uber. Looked at this little beauty last weekend; a 1964 VW Beetle in fantastic condition.

The original economy car and the most modern economy car in the same garage? Might work. But we’re just starting to look around and will continue the search when we get back.

So for now on to ATL.

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Driving the new electric VW ID.4

We’ve been driving the Tesla Model Y for about two months now and I’ve grown quite fond of the car. Fast, nimble, able to haul more mulch than a weekend can handle and highway range of 300 miles at 75 mph. Plus an incredible network of Supercharger Stations everywhere we’ve been. When I was given the chance to test drive another electric car I couldn’t resist.

The VW ID.4

The VW ID.4 is all new and should compete with the Tesla. It is a mid-sized SUV just like our car and has a big price advantage; around $40,000 before the $7,500 federal rebate available to new buyers. Range estimates are 260 miles, but EPA mileage estimates rarely live up to the claims.

The VW is nicely appointed and is much more similar to a “regular” car than the Tesla. It lacks the wiz bang technology and I found the cockpit busy and hard to understand. Yes, you would get used to all the stems and stalks in the VW but after driving the Tesla it all seems so unnecessary.

It’s not fair to compare the drive between the VW and the Tesla because the VW we drove had a single electric motor vs our two. Acceleration was good, but certainly a far cry from the Tesla. Because of it’s more typical chassis and frame design it did feel more car-like and honestly, over bumpy roads, the ride was very good. The Tesla drives like an old Porsche, taught with good road feel, but hard as a rock. The 20-inch wheels and low profile tires certainly exacerbate the bumps.

We bought an electric car because we wanted a change and the Tesla has certainly delivered. We charge overnight in our garage and stop at Superchargers when we’re on the road. But for those who aren’t ready for such a change, the VW ID.4 may be a good choice. It looks and drives like a regular car … yeah, it’s kind of bland. I’d hold out for the dual motor option which should be available early next year, though it will be about $14,000 more expensive. The acceleration and range should be more in line with the Tesla Model Y.

The VW uses the Electrify America charging network and you can find charging stations everywhere. Most do not charge as fast as the Supercharger Stations Tesla has placed along every major highway and for me, that’s a big negative. It’s one thing to make two stops for 20 minutes each on the way to Atlanta in the Model Y vs two stops for 45 minutes each in the VW.

The Model Y can charge at a rate of up to 250kW when connected to the Supercharger, while the Volkswagen is limited to half that, at 125kW. VW says the battery can fill from five to 80 percent in about 38 minutes. However, charging at any of the Electrify America stations is free for the first three years if you buy a new VW ID.4. If all of your driving is around town, and if you have an Electrify America station nearby, that’s hard to beat. Can you say Drive Free!

So, If you are thinking electric, you need to check out the new VW. It’s certainly going to have an impact on the market and worth a look.

One of Many

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The Big Haul … or how many bags of mulch can you fit into a Tesla Model Y

The yard has been looking a little ratty around the edges lately and the wife decided we needed to put new mulch down. Now the yard is pretty big, almost 180 feet across in the back and close to the same on the side. Then there is the garden and plantings in the front. Pretty big job.

Now that we are down to just one car, a Tesla Model Y, I was curious to find out just how much our little SUV would carry. The kid at Lowe’s who helped me load the car pretty much summed it up, “This thing carries a lot more than some of the other SUV’s we see in here. I’m impressed.”

25 Bags of mulch with room to spare

Yep, 25 bags in the back and a new wheelbarrow in the front seat. And we didn’t even use the front or rear storage areas. Honestly, the car is still so new I forgot all about them until I got home. Could have easily fit another five bags in there. Two trips and there were 50 bags in the garage waiting to beautify the yard.

Not sure how much mulch weighs, but the car was still fast as hell with a full load. Granted, we’re only about two miles away from the store and really, how fast can you go when the speed limit is 40 🙂

25 Bags of mulch

So the new Tesla continues to impress. I’ve been a gas and oil guy my whole life and battery power takes some getting used to, but in a good way. Fill up at home when you’re around town, fast with instant acceleration, and glued to the road like a sports car. The future of automobiles?

More to come.

Passion Rules!


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1,200 Miles in the Tesla

We finished our first long-distance ride in the new car last week and I’ve got to admit, it was more enjoyable than I expected. I’m not the type who likes to stop when I’m driving, even if it means 10 hours straight on the highway. You can’t do that in the new car with a maximum range of about 300 miles.

My dad always said you should stop every two or three hours to stretch and walk around the car a little. You’ll arrive more rested and alert, he said. Well, he was right. We stopped three times on the way from Tampa to Woodstock, GA. The longest stop was about 20 minutes, but the breaks were nice. The Tesla Superchargers were easy to find (Macon is a little out of the way) and we never had to wait. On the way up, we followed a family driving a Tesla Model X all the way and we learned something from them; pack your own meals and bring a chair.

Dog is my co-pilot

Since we were traveling with two little dogs that would have been good advice before we left, but alas, we had to stay with Grits and Redford at each stop which meant we couldn’t go into any restaurants or points of interest. There is a DOG setting on the car that keeps the AC running when you’re away from the car so we may try that on the next trip.

Electricity on the way up cost about $20 and we covered 500 miles. Same with the trip back. Initially I watched my speed and stayed around 70 mph most of the way. After our first stop old habits eventually won out and I pushed the car about 10% above the posted speed limit. No range problems whatsoever and the ride was great. I used the “push to pass” power a couple of times to overtake slower drivers and was blown away by the instant acceleration.

We drove around quite a bit in Atlanta and found the destination charger at the Botanical Garden unoccupied so we added 100 miles to our range…for free. We’re planning a drive to Virginia in December and will be sure to stop at places with charger stations to speed things along and save some money.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

The dogs probably enjoyed the trip more than we did because they were able to explore three stops each way.

Now that we’re back we will charge the car at the house and I plan a trip to Lowes for mulch soon. Fifty bags or so, plus a new lawn cart. We’ll see how the car does hauling that load.

Destination Woodstock

So for now life is getting back to normal, but stay tuned.

All for now.

Passion Rules!


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And the adventure begins

Friday was my last day at the University of South Florida, so what’s the natural response to what has been a most challenging year? Sell both cars and buy a new electric vehicle. Let the adventure begin!

Indeed, we’re about to embark on the next phase of our lives with the two dogs. Not sure if it will be retirement or just a much needed period of rest and relaxation. Time will tell. Our first adventure, taking Grits McGee and Redford (our two Papillons) on a road trip to Woodstock, Georgia to see the Grandchildren. In an electric car. Yikes.

I’ve been talking about electric for quite a while and decided why not now. When I say talking about electric that means doing my traditional due diligence and studying the market obsessively looking for that buy of the century. Found it at Brandon Ford, the largest Ford dealer in the country. Where else would you find a used Tesla with low miles and the performance option, right!

So off we go.

There was a time when I was blogging almost everyday (I did for my first 100 days at NC State University – an awesome place, by the way) but I’ve fallen off the wagon. With the new car and a new look at the life ahead, we’ll see if I can get back to a more regular routine.

Stay tuned.

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Last of their Generation

It has been a rough couple of months for the family.  First my 91-year-old father, Joseph Spurgeon Hice, died in August, then my Dad’s “little” brother, Thomas Searcey Hice died on Oct. 28.

It’s hard to believe that all the “Greatest” generation of Hices are gone.

Little Brother – Big Brother — Thomas Hice, 87 with Joseph Hice, 91

On top of losing two amazing men who were role models for a generation of Hice’s, our 18-year-old dog, Jackson Dudley passed.

Uncle Searcey was preceded in death by my dad, Joseph Spurgeon Hice, brothers, Ewiel Edmond Hice, Margie Jay Dee Hice, Charles Nathaniel Hice and Freeland Eugene Hice and by sisters, Aubania Cecilo Hice, Janie Kate Hice Broome and Willie George Hice McCorkle.

A sad day to be sure. My dad and Uncle Searcey were close and we visited often. They talked on the phone every day.  We took our girls to see him and our Aunt Betty on numerous occasions, and my brother Charlie and I had quite a few “memorable” experiences with cousins Tommy and Jody Hice.

Uncle Searcey was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, gentlest men you’d ever meet. He was the tallest in the family. He towered over dad and used to joke with dad, calling him “little” brother.

They were quite a pair and we will miss them both terribly.


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Jackson Dudley — 2001 to 2019

He was the toughest and most determined little dog I had ever met.  He was the runt of his litter with a deformed front leg and oversized chest.  His tail was almost as long as his body.  He had velvet ears.  He became an instant part of the family.

He was a Wisconsin shelter dog and his bark could scare Babe, the Blue Ox.  It was that big chest the kids said.  He loved the snow and would run, nose buried, the entire block, two girls close behind.

His name was Jackson Dudley, but he answered to Jackie, Jackie J, J Jeru, Jinkus, J-kees co.  You know you’re loved when you have that many nicknames.

His soul mate for 17 years was Rufus, a black and white jellical cat.  They played together, slept together, burrowed under the rug together. Jackson would chase the other cat relentlessly, paws skittering across polished cherry floors.  But Rufus, they were best friends. 

He ate anything.  As a pup, he lapped up shaving cream left on the driveway during a Halloween T-P incident.  He got sick but recovered.  Sandy left a bag of bird seed on the floor and he ate it.  All two or three pounds.  He pooped bird-seed cutlets for a week.  A tasty treat for the birds.  I don’t know. What did the birds think.

He traveled like a pro making the drive from Wisconsin to Florida, From Gainesville to Miami, From Tampa to Atlanta.  Put him in the backseat and he was gone until the next stop. Up and at ‘em. A quick pee and poo and back in the car.  Never a complaint.

As he got older car trips were harder.  His legs and hind quarters didn’t always work the way they should after a long drive.  He’d tremble until he knew he was not going to the vet.  He really didn’t have a problem with the vet and I always thought his “fear” was curious.  They treated him like the beloved elder worshiped by the tribe.

Well into his 17th year he’d have a dog fit now and then when I came home.  Circling the couch with his buddies Hominy and Grits, the Papillons, close behind.  Reversing direction so I wouldn’t catch him.  He was the pup I remembered from all those years ago.

When he turned 18 three months ago things really slowed down.  He had trouble walking and mostly slept.  He lost control from time to time and was embarrassed. He’d go into his kennel, head down.  But offer him a treat or “biscuit,” and he’d be out of that crate lickety split. 

In dog years he had 126 great ones.  In people years a little over 18.  He lit up our lives and never complained.  Despite his stature – a big dog in a little dog body with a tail of epic proportions – a deformed left front leg, soft tissue cancer at 13, a cataract that got so bad he lost his eye, and hearing he lost long ago, it was hard to say goodbye.

But as one of the girls’ favorite childhood friends, Winnie the Poo (misspelled intentionally for Jackson), said; 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard….” 

So goodbye old fella.  We’re going to miss you.

Passion Rules!

He was 18+ and a great dog!


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Bullish on “New” USF logo

Dear USF community:
Last Fall we introduced a new academic logo for the University of South Florida that we believed was a positive representation of our pride and optimism. This new logo featured the image of a bull and was meant to help usher in a new era for USF and to celebrate the incredible momentum we have built over the past 63 years.

As you know, there has been a great deal of controversy over the bull image and the new color palette. We heard this from many of you over the past six months through email, on social media and in person. We know that the feedback comes from a place of great pride and passion for USF, and we have listened. As a result, we have decided to stop using the new bull logo. Instead, we will adopt the “Iconic Bull U,” which has been used by USF Athletics for almost 15 years, to represent the entire university. We will also return to the traditional green-and-gold color palette of the university. Implementation of the changes will begin immediately and continue throughout the summer.

Think of what we have accomplished under the Bull U, the students we have attracted, the faculty we have attracted. We became preeminent and were awarded for our performance. We raised more than $1 billion. We created an ever-improving culture of student success and academic achievement. We are building one of the most significant projects in the university’s history, the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute in downtown Tampa, and the story continues.

We wouldn’t be Bulls if we didn’t take risks. That’s part of our nature; to push boundaries; to venture in new directions; to try new things. Even if we have to turn back, we grow and we learn.

And we have learned.

The new “A Future Without Limits” marketing initiative will continue with the “Bull U” logo. It is already paying dividends. Since we launched the effort this Spring, the USF story has been featured in print and digital media throughout the nation and around the world. More than 25 million people have seen our ads. They are taking notice and asking to learn more about USF.

Thank you for your passion for USF. As our most ardent supporters, you play a huge role in advocating for our continued success. We hope we can continue to count on that support through this transition and into the future.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for all you do on behalf of our great university.


Joe Hice
Vice President Communications and Marketing

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And now the really BIG news: President Genshaft to retire

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 7.09.14 PMhttps://tinyurl.com/yaobvvvy
USF System President Judy Genshaft announces plans to step down, effective July 2019 – University of South Florida
TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 10, 2018) –Following another record-breaking year and unparalleled stretch of recent achievements, University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft today announced her decision to step down from her position, effective July 1, 2019.

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