On Thursday morning a week ago I unplugged my Chevy Volt at 6AM, put my suitcase in my trunk and started driving north.
I had just bought a used 2013 Chevy Volt on January 9th, so I figured the best way to test it would be a swing from Atlanta to Louisville to Little Rock to Houston and then back home.
By 2PM on the first day I was in Kennesaw, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. I had a late lunch with the top leaders on Balloon Distraction’s Atlanta team, then continued on to Louisville.
Life Leadership had a huge conference in Louisville on Friday and Saturday. A bunch of folks from my LIFE team attended the conference, so we saved money by renting a house from Air B&B.
Renting a house was a great idea, I could plug in my Volt in the garage, and we cooked meals in the kitchen. Its always less expensive to stay in and cook, one morning I made French toast for everyone! The people who gravitate towards the LIFE business tend to be very nice, so we had a great time hanging out together.
The house we rented was built in the 1920’s, it reminded me of the first home I bought in Baltimore back when my daughters were just babies. There was a warmth to the home, a certain aura that is hard to nail down or measure. It felt different than staying in a hotel room, more restful.
10,000 people attended the Life conference, the speakers onstage really knocked the ball out of the park. If you have never gone to one of these conventions you should check it out, wow. I got a ton out of the convention, and so did my team.
On Sunday morning I unplugged my Volt and headed towards Little Rock. That afternoon I held interviews in the search for a Regional Leader for a new Balloon Distractions team in that area. I met some great people, only time will tell whether they take action or not.
I choose Little Rock because it was halfway between Kentucky and Texas! Since I was driving through anyway it made sense to try to get something going there. In business you never know what thin threads will lead to your next team!
I got to Houston at 2AM early Monday morning, and fell into bed exhausted!
On Monday and Tuesday I worked with our Balloon Distractions leaders to sell new clients and recruit artists from the local colleges. I’ve been in and out of Houston since 2005, so I’m familiar with the layout of the city and many of the local brand restaurants found there. Houston is just a huge city, with business everywhere, linked by giant dusty highways that always seem to be busy.
I’m always amazed by the size and scope of the restaurants in Texas, there are so many places that seat 400 or more people, huge restaurants that are not common in the East.
The restaurant managers we pitched were all very nice, another thing I’ve noticed about Texans in general. I don’t know if everything in Texas is bigger, but the restaurant chains seem to adhere to that rule, from what I’ve seen over the years. One gets the sense that there is a ton of money in Houston, even though the oil business is down right now.
In many ways Tampa Bay feels sleepy compared to Houston, but in our defense the drivers on our roads are not as stressed or insane as what one finds on Houston highways. I was tailgated, cut off in my own lane, and a car in front of me came to a dead stop in 70 mph traffic in the middle of an 8 lane freeway!
On Tuesday night we had a “Balloon Jam” with our Houston team, it was great to see how nice the team was, very professional, and how they had mad balloon twisting skills. I spoke to them about increasing their income by becoming trainers, and they were receptive to the idea.
I strive to love everyone, and expect nothing. Leaders always emerge in any group, my role is to find them and simply encourage them to take the next step.
On Wednesday morning a massive thunderstorm woke me up at 4AM. It sounded like all the oil refineries in Galveston were being blown up. My stuff was packed, so I braved a downpour to start the 980 mile drive home.
Route 10 east for 12 hours, then 4 hours south on route 75 to Wesley Chapel!
At one point along I-10 I needed a quick nap, so I found a charge station on my GPS and charged the Volt for free at a Nissan dealership. It was only a 120 volt charger, so my 30 minute nap gave me 8 miles on full electric mode.
8 free miles folks, on Nissan’s dime!
It took until 9:30 Wednesday night to get home, just under a week after I left Tampa.
980 mind-melting miles in one day, 3400 miles in 7 days, less than 100 gallons of gas burned for the entire trip. Most of those miles were at 80 mph or faster, and I tend to drive aggressively. If I drove like a Grandma I might have done the entire 3400 miles in under 90 gallons.
The Volt was a great car for the trip, I charged it up when possible and filled it with gas when charging was not convenient. It rode as fast and smooth as my old Toyota Avalon, and used far less gas along the way.
I think any entrepreneur could benefit from buying a used Volt (new ones are too expensive). My 2013 Volt cost me just a little more than my used Avalon, yet I’ll spend $6,000 LESS in gas over the next 100,000 miles.
The Volt is fast, like a car with a V-6, but without spending $50 a week on gas.
The Volt rides better than the Toyota Prius, and has far better efficiency if you can charge it on a regular basis. In my opinion the Chevy Volt is the best road car you can by used for under $15K, especially for anyone who drives over 20,000 miles per year.
If you need to replace your current vehicle go test drive a used Volt, you’ll see what I mean.
Benjamin T. Alexander
January 20th . 2017