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I think I solved this and it was a simple matter of using a different board in PlatformIO. Turns out the “Thing” board isn’t the same as the “Thing Plus”. Different I2C pins, for example.

After a test using pins 22&23 (Thing Plus’s I2C pins) instead of 22&21 (Thing’s pins defined in pins_arduino.h), to verify, I switched to using the “Adafruit ESP32 Feather” board instead. This should be the same (well, same enough) because both devices, the Feather and Thing Plus, use a WROOM module and have their I2C pins connected to the same IO pins.

I hope this helps anyone trying to use the Thing Plus with I2C devices.

Which brings me to this question: Are there plans for a “Thing Plus” variant for the ESP32 Arduino framework in PlatformIO?
Hi ssilverman,

That's great to hear you were able to troubleshoot the issue and identify the problem was just with the defined pins for I2C. As for a Thing Plus variant for PlatformIO, I am not aware of any plans to add that as we do not have support for that development platform.