The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the thirteenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 13 of this trip.

Looking for the start of the trip, click here to read Day 1 of this trip.

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons.

Many readers know that we took the long way round because we got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party.  Rather than just go from Southern California to Reno, we wanted to combine that trip with a trip to the the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) and attend the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visit family who was attending camp in Seattle, WA and visit family living in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So how did this trip look on the map?

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It looks like we went pretty far to go someplace a lot closer. That’s the “fun” of driving a Tesla powered EV. The Tesla Supercharger network enables travelers to go, wherever they want to go.

So, how did we do?  Well, as is the goal for any long road trip.  We arrived home still happily married.  So, that’s always Goal #1.

After 13 Days on the road, we’ve made it to all our intermediate goals on this trip.

1) We made it to Portland and attended EV Roadmap 9 Conference.

Even got to ride the BYD e6 and write a quick review of it.

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2) We made it to Seattle and had spent a day with our niece as she spent time away from home in a camp.

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3) We visited our relatives in Vancouver and got to hang out with them.

Had great dinner at Ask for Luigi.

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And got to visit Electra Meccanica…

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And pondered why they didn’t just make an EV version of this little car.

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4) Met with friends that we made on the Internet who are EVangelists in real life some for the first time, and others as a catch up.

In Washington State…

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In Oregon…

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In Reno at TMC Connect 2016

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And in Reno at the Gigafactory

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5) And we attended the Tesla Gigafactory Grand Opening Party.

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Throughout the journey, we ended up with two other mini-obsessions…

1) Look for that darn PASTA Truck…

After all we saw the Garlic Truck…

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and the Tomato Truck

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We felt incomplete and left “hanging” looking around for the pasta truck to complete the set.

AND

2) We looked at the “logging industry” life-cycle…

Starting with those darn bald spots in the mountains…

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Then followed the raw logs

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cut and shaped wood

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and finished products.

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So, what are some key takeaways with this journey?

1) It’s good to get food recommendations from a Chef.  The restaurants that we experienced from the recommendations were superb.

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1A) It’s also good to listen to locals for their recommendations for such things.  We enjoyed the Dutch Bros. coffee and didn’t know about them before we were introduced (especially the Iced Caramelizer.)

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1B) This one is not always reliable, but give it a try anyway, our sushi in Vancouver area this trip was good, but not spectacular.  Considering the spectacular Dim Sum we had at brunch, we’d forgive this.

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2) Budget lots of time when crossing International Borders.  Try not to schedule anything too tight from when you assume to cross the border. Or at least take the commercial crossing instead.

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3) Continue to be fearless with taking off highway routes, you never know what you’ll see and experience

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Considering that the travel is its own reward.

4) Continue to have backup charging identified.  Even when picking hotels that are destination chargers, sometimes it won’t work as expected.  When you have a backup, it’s no big deal to go to the alternate.

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5) Read up on notes that others have made on the various charging apps, i.e. Plugshare or Teslarati or others.

6) There might be a benefit to reserving your hotel ahead of time (i.e. Our Day 13 plans was extended by our “winging it.”

For example this map on Day 13 should have been a lot shorter…

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We ended up home at least a day, if not two days sooner than we had hoped.

That being said, what was our final statistics. 3,388 miles driven and 1021.3 kWh consumed and a direct energy cost of $16.82 from one overnight charging session in Bellevue, WA.

Looking at our statistics, the trip average is around 301 Wh per mile (or approximately 3.32 miles per kWh).  That’s below my normal driving of 308 Wh per mile since we bought the car.  The Model S is definitely an EV energy hog compared to some of the other EVs (i3, for example.)

Additionally, the $16.82 that we spent on energy for the trip means that our direct cost was $0.005 per mile directly spent on fueling our car for this trip.  It was cheaper for us to fuel our car on the road than it’s been on the computed $0.008 per mile that we fuel at home on our Solar power.

Thanks for joining us on 2016’s Tesla Roadtrip, The Long Way Round…

…I wonder where next year’s “big” trip will take us. (Perhaps we’ll spot the pasta truck that’s been missing since Day 1!)

Why not subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter to find out…

As for what’s coming up on the blog…

…I still have two National Drive Electric Week stops that I attended in the past month…

…Just got to ride the Bolt EV this weekend, I might have my impressions on that car sometime soon…

…Spoiler Alert… …It’s not a Tesla.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 13

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the thirteenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 12 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  We had no real plans, hang out in Reno to help open the Reno Supercharger with TMC and then head South, our initial plan was to head to Napa Valley area and check out the new Napa Supercharger and possibly do some wine tasting.

Day 13 – Reno, NV – Southbound.  July 30, 2016

We headed to Atlantis Resort to have our final goodbyes at the TMC Connect breakfast. It was an opportunity to say hi and goodbye to friends and join them celebrate the Grand Opening of the Reno Supercharger.

As we headed out of breakfast from TMC Connect, we passed by one of the most NON EV vehicles made and I couldn’t help but take a photo.

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The Hummer must be the nadir of all personal vehicle production and it is always important to note where we came from to see where we can improve to.

Many of those Teslas that were parked here for the weekend were still around this Saturday.

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And there were also some new Teslas to join the party.

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Some came to Reno from even farther locations than we did…

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Some Non-Tesla EVs were there to join in the party.

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And there was a small festival atmosphere.

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All stalls were full and there was a wait in line.

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The Supercharger grand opening in Reno had no official Tesla presence. The closest thing to an official presence is the user community from Tesla Motors Club.

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Nevertheless, it was well attended.

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One thing to note is how the supercharger in Reno is constructed.

The equipment supporting the superchargers are in a locked shed.

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This would be a great if the shed was air conditioned. I did not notice any such air conditioning or ventilation in the shed, so I wonder how this would affect the reliability of this site.

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After the Reno Supercharger Grand Opening, we decided to head South and our plan was to see if we can head to Napa for the weekend. We had no hotel reserved at this time, and went on our way.

Before we left Reno, we saw a new icon on a supercharger on the route and decided to check it out.  It was a warning sign to expect reduced service at Tejon Ranch.  The 395 Route through the mountains also had a supercharger with the same warning sign.  Since we were planning to head to Napa, we’re more interested in the US-101 or I-5 route.

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And we head back to California… After all, Napa is the plan of the moment.

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We opted to stop off at the Original Truckee Supercharger for a quick charge and coffee.

Truckee Supercharger (Donner Summit)

Needless to say, it was quite full this afternoon.

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We took the last stall.  And quickly marvelled at how clean the car looks from a few days ago.

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There were still several more in line when we started our charge.

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I was craving coffee… So, we went to the first Starbucks that we spotted… There was one inside the grocery…

Well, if you don’t care about earning your stars from the Starbucks reward program, or paying more for the coffee, this would be ok… However, there was an actual Starbucks location on the other side of the grocery location.

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We get back to our car to see that there is still a line. Welcome to California, we have supercharger congestion.

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We didn’t really have a destination, but the GPS thinks that we do, and it says to slow down to get there with enough charge.

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Roseville Supercharger

Our third stop today is at the Roseville Supercharger.

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We were a little patriotic with our charge at the Roseville Supercharger.  Heck I think FRANCE would be happy with how those Model S look! (oops, quick Google search and France goes Blue, White, and Red…)

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The stalls were pretty full here too, but it’s at a shopping mall, so that’s sort of expected on a Saturday.

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It was hot around us, so we made sure to keep the air conditioning cranked up.

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While charging at Roseville, we tried to see if we can find a place to stay in Napa for the night.  It looks like many of the hotels we would consider were either sold out or very expensive.  (READ: $100 hotel rooms for $450 a night).  Furthermore, the very helpful agent (we decided to call as well) found us a room…  an hour North of where we are now…  We’re not back-tracking…

So, we thought to head South and try our luck with other destinations…  Perhaps San Francisco, or Santa Cruz…

As we headed South, we see another BMWi i3 chasing us…  It seems that we’ve been spotting a lot of these on our West Coast trip.

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We decided to continue the drive and encountered some “excitement on the drive.”  There was a small brush fire started on the other side of the freeway.

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We drove through the smoke and slowed down.

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That looks like the start of a brush fire on a very hot day.

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We decided to head toward the Vacaville Supercharger as we’ve never been there.  So, we took some back roads to get there.

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Back road routes in California definitely feel a little “dryer” and “dustier” than the ones in Washington State.

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Vacaville Supercharger

But the handy, dandy GPS in the car directed us well and we find ourselves at the Vacaville Supercharger.

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This supercharger is also located at a shopping center.  This time at some outlet stores.  Still a pretty full lot, and we were still looking for places to stay.  So far, we’re headed INLAND and away from “fun communities to visit.”  This is one of the drawbacks to “winging it” on a Summer Weekend in California.  Based on what we were seeing at this point of our drive, we consider heading home.

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We were sort of “out of position” to head to Harris Ranch safely that we decided to traverse over to Manteca Supercharger first, and then resume our “usual” Interstate 5 route…

…perhaps we’ll finally catch a Pasta truck on this drive.

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Leaving Vacaville, we can see why the town was named as such when a ton of cows appear on the side of the road.  Though, I suppose from the cow’s perspective, we appeared ON the road.

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The city is full of cows.

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We’re definitely taking the “back roads” to get to Manteca.

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Looks like some sheep or goat join us on this road…

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Even more cows…

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And what do we spot in the distance?  Are those windmills?

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Yes, they’re windmills, say the cows…

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The windmills keep getting my attention.

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It’s a good thing that my better half took over this portion of the drive.  I was getting tired and was supposed to take a quick nap between Vacaville and Manteca…  HOWEVER, she said to do so once I get her on the freeway…  umm…  This is a BACKROAD drive, and has been for a while.  I’m not getting that nap on this leg.

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Here’s one I call windmills and cows…

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And a close-up of both.

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And we leave windmill country and get closer to Manteca.

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We cross some vineyards…

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I really am not getting a nap on this part of the drive. I think we found the parts of California with no freeways.

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At least it’s not a one lane road.

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Oh, thank goodness… A freeway sign!

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Back on the freeway.

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There’s a port in Stockton… I thought Stockton was inland.

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A nice, wide freeway…

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…but the GPS takes us off it again as we near Manteca.

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Manteca Supercharger

And back at the Manteca Supercharger. The better half still doesn’t know about my apprehension for this location because of the July 3rd entry on Teslarati, it’s one of a few comments, so could just be a one-time thing.

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Yup, we’re committed to head home now… Better half decided to keep driving to Harris Ranch, and we’re NOW on a freeway, so I can actually take a nap while she drives.

Pretty uneventful drive to Harris Ranch with the exception of the GPS doing some “weird routing”.

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We decided to just stay on the “usual route” we check our device maps to see if anything pops up that would force us to take the weird route, and just plodded through with no incident.

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Harris Ranch Supercharger

We’re back at Harris Ranch Supercharger.

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It was pretty lonely here on a Saturday night…

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Everyone else must have booked their rooms ahead of time.

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We switch drivers and head to Buttonwillow. Late night driving on Interstate 5 is pretty boring and I’m sure one of those times that one wishes an Auto Pilot version of the Model S. Perhaps when we get our Model 3 our drives will be in that instead.

Buttonwillow Supercharger

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We’re alone at Buttonwillow at nearly 1:00 AM on Sunday morning.

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This is our last supercharge before we get home.

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After being on the road for almost two weeks, It’s always good to get home.

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And that’s why we charge up in Buttonwillow. We get home with 67 miles left “on the tank.”

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There’s a software update available that downloaded while we were driving.

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Set the update to complete later in the morning…

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Go to sleep around 3:30 am and wake up to a fully charged car.

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Oh, with new software too…

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So how was the trip? Give me a few days to rest and digest and come back tomorrow for the wrap-up, trip statistics, and lessons learned. (one quick one from today, there is a benefit to planning ahead for lodging. It would have been more fun to be in the Wine Country, but am glad to be home in my own bed.)

The next post of this series is the wrap-up and available here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

2016_Day13_Reno to LB

The Long Way Round – Day 12

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the twelfth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 11 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  It’s the Tesla Gigafactory Party day!

Day 12 – Reno, NV – Tesla Gigafactory Party – Sparks, NV..  July 29, 2016

We picked the Harrah’s Reno location because we had friends that were staying here and the shuttle bus for the Gigafactory party and the pre-party for those of us with four or more referrals were leaving from the hotel across the street (Whitney Peak Hotel).

We had breakfast with our friends at the Hash House A Go Go.  I haven’t had my coffee yet, so everything was still blurry.

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The meals at the Hash House are filling and tasty.  The portions definitely rival the size of the Cheesecake Factory.

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The waffles were huge.

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We had a great breakfast with our friends, but had to hurry off to the first face to face meetings with the Presidents of the various official Tesla Owners Clubs.  Many of these folks flew in for the Gigafactory party and though some were going to TMC Connect, others were not, so we had a lunch with them at a restaurant close to the Atlantis Hotel.  We found two Model S and decided to take the third spot beside them.  The one in the middle is Greg (ggr) from San Diego’s custom painted Signature Model S.  He had carpooled up to the event with a few of our friends from the TesLA Club (Los Angeles).

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The lunch meeting was well attended, and there were members there from Australia, Canada, and Europe, (as well as many from all over the US.)  It was more about meeting the folks than lunch for us (you DID see the size of our breakfast portions, right?)

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We gathered around outside to take a picture, and look at all the pretty cars.

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And on the way back to get ready for the Gigafactory party, we stopped off at the TMC Connect hotel, Atlantis, to drop off our new friends from The Owners Club of Australia (who needed a ride) and to see if we can take better pictures of the cars from last night.

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Definitely better looking in the sunlight than the dark parking lot from the previous evening.

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The supercharger station still had availability.

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And that’s one SweetEV (with the new R80 badge to denote the 3.0 battery giving approximately 340 miles of range.)

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On the way to drop the Aussies off at the Atlantis, I spotted Rob N.’s Electronaut inspired Model S striping at the Convention Center, where TMC Connect was being held during the day and I felt compelled to track it down and take photographs.

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California DCPPOWR meet Massachusetts ACPOWR

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After taking all the ActiveE like Model S,  we headed back to the hotel. We’re not planning on driving further today, so we park at the hotel and take note of the mileage and range left.

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After getting ready for the party, we cross the street to the Whitney Peak Hotel for the pre-party and shuttle buses to the event.

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The ore-party for the Gigafactory was at the bar in Whitney Peak Hotel.  They served not only drinks, but Ice Cream as well…

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Gelato, actually.

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And the toppings were great too.

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That’s one Happy Dennis.  Remember all the Ice Cream stops in last year’s trip, Here, There, and EVerywhere, like the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour.

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So, the pre-party was also full.  Lots of folks to catch up with.

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I even get my few seconds on Youtube (via Bjorn’s channel)! (around the 27:10 mark if I didn’t embed this right) 😉

I suppose I should check to see if KMan has me on his channel too.

A few of the folks drove here to get in the pre-party and some are using the shuttles to the Gigafactory.

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The drive to the factory from downtown Reno took about 20 minutes.

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There was a line to get into the parking area.

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The factory was hidden until one gets into Tesla’s property.

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And once you catch a glimpse, it just keeps getting bigger.

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It was a pretty orderly line to get in.

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And Tesla had a cadre of valet attendants.  I suppose when the cars are fully autonomous these guys will have to do something else.

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The queue to get into the party was pretty orderly.

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All smiles as we wait in line to get in.

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Someone just got their party badge!

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And that someone is pretty happy.

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We get into the party tent and it’s nice and cool.

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Here’s a model of the factory on the desert background.

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Looks like we’ll get a peek inside the factory before many people do.

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The line to get to the tour.

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Tesla needs to hurry up and have electric buses for us to use.

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No, that’s not our tour guide.  That’s one of the Tesla executives welcoming us to the Gigafactory.

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These kind folks are the employees who will be taking us on the tour.  They have other jobs at the Gigafactory, but for the tour, they’re our tour guides.

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We drive around the building and into some uncompleted sections and end up at the start of the tour.

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The hallways are nice, cool, and clean.

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We were shown a Tesla battery…  Lots of discussion whether we can tell the difference in mm from the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) format to the new Model 3 (20700) cells.  Some could swear that they can tell the difference…  I lied and said that I could, I’m just NOT THAT GOOD at telling the differences in battery cylinder sizes.

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Here’s a comparison against an iPhone 5. (with a backup battery case hard at work.)

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Part of me was wondering, what’s the worst that Tesla will do if I make a break for it… Then again…  I decided to continue on with the tour! 😉

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Yeah, I don’t know what I’m looking at here.  It’s lots of wires and empty walls.  However, I do remember them saying something about Inputs and Outputs and the ability to drop a wall and continue to expand the building.  Apparently only 12% or so of the factory is complete.  Though it seems to me like a lot of the inside still needs to be filled in.

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It’s good to hang out with friends from faraway and our particular group has Jeffrey Cadman who had a bear of a time flying cross country from the Mid Atlantic States to get to Reno, his airline cancelled the leg from the Bay Area to Reno and had to share a rental car to get here.

Jeff is one of the crazy guys from Tesla Roadtrip whose misadventures inspired me and my better half to get into Tesla LONG DISTANCE Roadtrips, especially last year’s Cross Country adventure, Here, There, and EVerywhere.

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As you can see, even with the misadventures of airline travel, he’s happy now. But what a mess, unfortunately he reached out to us when we were already on our way to Reno from Sacramento and had to split an ICE rental with two other attendees for TMC Connect and/or Gigafactory who were on the same flight.

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I could try to lie outright and say what the heck this device is… But, another thing that I remember is many parts of the Gigafactory is actually Panasonic’s section.  The cooperation between Tesla and its suppliers is amazing in that the factory is really demarcated between Tesla and its suppliers from where the raw goods are brought in, processed, and provided to Tesla for its assembly into battery packs.

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The gentlemen presenting were giving a good detailed explanation of what this part of the process is, but I continued to be distracted and just enjoyed “taking it all in.”

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Some of the machinery is covered up in tarps whereas others are in plain sight.  One can only imagine at what state the production really is at this point that the general public was allowed the opportunity to photograph the factory.  Understanding the umpteen NDAs and warnings against any photography of Tesla’s Fremont Factory, let’s consider what we see with a “grain of salt.”  It’s impressive what Tesla and its partners have done, but if it was producing things that are proprietary, we would not have been able to photograph things.

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It was still pretty cool to walk through.  For crying out loud, there were parts of the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour where we were NOT allowed to photograph as well.

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More impressive machinery…

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I seem to recall something about storing some of the finished products in these racks, but as you can see, nothing is stored, yet.

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One of the things pointed out to us is the use of automation and robots in the plant and the markings on the ground are the pathways that the robots use to follow and move material from one point to another in the factory.

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Here is a stationary robot that we pass.

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And still lots of space to be filled up.

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At this junction, I believe that we were nearing the division between Panasonic’s part of the factory with the Tesla assembly portion of it.

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So, should I make a break for it?

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Move along buddy!

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Off to the Cell Aging Room.  Why we need to age the cells, I don’t know.

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This should give you a good idea at how tight this room is.

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Here I am with a robot behind me.

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And here it is photobombing me.

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It’s a pretty friendly looking industrial robot.  Don’t think we have to worry about Skynet…

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…yet.  Though if Elon and Tesla keep fine tuning the “machine that builds the machine.”  His term for the factories that Tesla uses to get products out there, who knows at what point the machines will decide to skip humans altogether.

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These trays are where the completed battery cylinders are placed when done being made into the battery format before it is combined to make the battery sheets for vehicles and/or power walls.

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You can see some batteries above standing up waiting to be put into packs.

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Once again I don’t remember if these cylinders are for the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) size or Model 3 (20700) size.

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Apparently I mis-wrote earlier.  This is the demarcation between the Tesla side and the Panasonic side.  Either way, the point remains, on one side of a wall is Panasonic and Tesla’s suppliers and on the other side is Tesla.

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Walking into Tesla’s side, the same cylindrical batteries take the shape that we are familiar with.  The battery packs that go in our cars and the ones that will be put on people’s walls and utility and commercial locations

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These red robots look familiar as the X-Men inspired ones in Fremont that help build the cars.

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It must be tempting to hop on a robot, otherwise, why the sign?

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Once again, lots of visible assembly line areas and the whole floor looks “clean.”

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We pause and take a picture of us at the Tesla side of the factory.

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That looks like a Model X chassis.  Those shock absorbers on the back look much bigger than a Model S.

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Some information on the products from Tesla Energy.

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And it looks like wood pallets of Tesla Powerwalls are all ready to ship.  I presume these are Australia and Germany bound as those markets are more mature than the US for the delivery of home battery storage for power.

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We pass more battery packs in various states of construction.

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It’s interesting how such a small cylinder can be combined together to give the capacities of storage that we need for our mobility or home or utility electrical storage needs.

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Didn’t get the time to count all the completed boxes, but I’m sure now that a BIG commercial account was announced recently, these guys are busier than they were two months ago when we were there for this launch party.

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Ok, pallets are for Tesla Powerwall (Residential installs)

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and these refrigerator looking boxes are for commercial PowerPack installs.

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We figured to get someone to take our picture with the big Tesla sign behind us.

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It was cool to see the “battery lifecycle” input/output factory tour, but it looks like a lot of work still to get it fully functioning.  Tesla originally were offering a ride to a lookout with a great picture opportunity for the factory.  However, a quick moving thunderstorm entered the area as we completed our tour and we were ushered back to the party quickly.

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Summer weather in the desert can be quite interesting.

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They offered to possibly restart the overlook process, but muddy feet was not part of the plan for today.

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We had hoped to ride in the Model 3 on Gigafactory party day, but the rides that they were offering were solely for Model S and Model X.  So, I wasn’t really interested.

We did pass the Model 3 in the VIP section of the party as we quickly went back to the party tent.

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It looks bigger in person.

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And we had to use zoom lenses to capture shots of it from afar.

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One had to be Elon’s guests to get closer to the red Model 3.  However, as many have pointed out this red one is actually a full size mockup without any working innards, so there’s that.

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It still looks pretty and we would still have enjoyed a chance to look at it.

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I took a panoramic from the party tent of the 12% of the building that has been completed.  This party tent and parking lot will be demolished as the factory is expanded.

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On the other side of those lights are Model S and Model X that are being used for the Test Rides.  It’s not even a Test Drive, and since we did drive thousands of miles to get here, a place about 500 miles away from home, I think we’ll let someone else drive and ride while we enjoy the company and the party.

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Some folks had great spots to see and hear Elon and JB welcome us and talk about the Gigafactory.  As with many Tesla events, it was quite full and crowded by the stage, so my better half and I enjoyed hanging out with EV friends and listen to Elon and JB talk in the same room and have the comfort of the AV professionals view.

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We took the opportunity while Elon and JB were speaking to take a few shots of the models of the Gigafactory and surrounding location.

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It’s incredible what the vision is for the site, once built.  And it is important to note that this Gigafactory is the first of a plan to build more of these worldwide so as to deliver vehicles and energy storage closer to where the demand is.  I’m assuming that means an Asian and European Gigafactory along with future Tesla auto factories at those locations as well.

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No detail was missed in the model with a pair of Model S supercharging factory side.

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We stuck around pretty late to see if we can make it to the Model 3.  We tried different avenues to get an invite to go across to see it.  Alas, here’s a great shot of it via zoom lens later in the evening.

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The test rides have wound down and many have left the party.

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As we exit, we figure to take a picture of the sign welcoming us to this party.

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And we head back in our shuttle.  We check into our room at the Harrah’s Reno and take a picture of the little city of Reno.  It was great to see the building and Gigafactory in the state that it is in.  It would be better to see it in greater operation.

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The next day of this series, Day 13, is published here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 11

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eleventh day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 10 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we head North and East toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party and for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception at TMC Connect 2016 this evening. We’re on I-80 headed East from Sacramento today.

Day 11 – Sacramento, CA to Reno, NV..  July 28, 2016

The Hyatt Regency Sacramento popped up as a Destination charger, but only one J1772 station actually was operational for visitors (during our visit.) Though I was worried about being the only one at the charging station, no one contacted me to move the car overnight so that they can use the charger. We were able to charge up quite a bit of the car and would more than likely stop at Superchargers on this route because we wanted to see them more than actually needing a charge.

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We headed North and East towards Reno, but had plans to visit a few superchargers along the way.

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Our first stop is the Tesla Rocklin Sales, Service, Supercharger, and Delivery Center.

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This location is impressive and looks like it took over an old car dealership location.  The supercharger stalls are pull through and convenient for Model X that may be towing something behind it.

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We plugged in for a short while just to ensure that we have a boost and add the supercharger to the “chargers that I have visited list.”

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It was more photo op than actual needed charge stop…

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We even had the other side of our DCPPOWR with the ACPOWRD New fascia Model S that was at this site.

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Lots of great pictures of the charger location, a quick pit stop, met a few more folks who were planning on being at either TMC Connect or the Gigafactory party, and we’re back on the road.

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It’s nice to be back on I-80 going East.  It brings back fond memories of last year’s Here, There, and Everywhere trip.

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Traveling to Lake Tahoe and Reno is a strange sight for me in the Summer.  The past few times that I have done this drive as an adult, it had always been winter and I was on my way to skiing at Lake Tahoe.  I can’t remember a time when Reno was my actual destination.

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The drive was peaceful, and we were at the summit in relatively short order.

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Tesla has two locations for supercharger clusters in Truckee, CA.  We opted to go to the newer one on the inbound drive to Reno.  We wanted to get a charge so that we have enough “driving around” range and back.

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Driving in mountainous areas tend to take energy and though we only drove for approximately 83 miles, we’ve used up over 110 miles of range.

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We were the first to arrive at this second Truckee stop and promptly chose a stall to charge at.

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We were soon joined by a couple with their new White Model X.

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We decided to walk around the area and were reminded that there are wildlife that live in Truckee.  These trashcans look secured from bears.

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The center that these chargers are located have very few amenities, but the folks running the sushi bar were gracious enough to let a weary traveler use their facilities.

 

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The fish at the Drunken Monkey looked appetizing, but I was not hungry, so we skipped it and made a mental note, should we be hungry and be in the area in the future.

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We had a good chat with the couple with the White Model X when more Tesla travelers joined us at the supercharger.

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And we had a good amount of charge we decided it was time to head out.

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We looked at our car and were reminded of our drive through the fields North of Sacramento and all the bugs splat on the car made us seek out a manual car wash that we can use to clean the car and make it presentable to those attending TMC Connect.  We didn’t want to be the only filthy car during any sort of photo sessions that we may be a part of.

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After a quick wash, we headed into Reno.

Oh look, our nemesis was on this road as well.

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We drove along the Truckee River toward Reno.

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And are welcomed by the Welcome to Nevada sign.

This must be one of those few spots in Nevada where there is a border crossing and yet no casino immediately on the Nevada side of the border.

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It would be another few miles before we spot any casinos.

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We’ve decided to stay at the Harrah’s Reno with some friends as it was less expensive than Atlantis, the hotel for TMC Connect.

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The chargers at Harrah’s Reno is a bit of a challenge to use.  It was short and we had to move the car a few times to get it working.

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We had a lot of miles, but we’re on a Roadtrip, and ABC rules always apply. Besides, we’re charging for a short amount of time and decided to get some electrons while we check in and get ready for the TMC Connect dinner reception.

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The Atlantis Resort and Casino in Reno is definitely a newer hotel than the one we ar staying at.

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We thought that the reception was at the hotel, but had to take the long haul over to the Convention Center instead.

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After a long walk, we find ourselves “almost there.”

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And we made it.  Anytime you see a bunch of Teslas parked inside a building, chances are you’re in an EV conference.  TMC Connect is no exception.

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I wasn’t even asking why this Model X was turquoise.  Needless to say, these guys can help you if you wanted to do something “different” with your Tesla.

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There were also manufacturers of some cool two wheeled EVs.

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The folks that are building hitches for those that want to pull something with their Tesla.

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Dinner was good, and the company was better.

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One of my favorite things to try to track down at these events are Rob and Andy (aka Woof) from Massachusetts.  Both these guys are ex-Active E guys who now drive Teslas (like that guy in the middle).

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The hallway had some full tables, but some noticeably absent were folks who flew out for the event who got caught in some weather in the middle of the country.  There were a bunch from the Mid Atlantic states who were stuck on their side of the country because of that.

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We had a great night of conversation, consternation (over the Gigafactory and things) and camaraderie.  And with that we headed over to the Reno Supercharger, not for a charge, though I plugged in for a few minutes (to add it to “the list” again)

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But to take lots of Tesla photographs…

Beside us were a couple of guys who drove up for the Gigafactory party and didn’t even realize that TMC was going on. They were in a new fascia Model S.

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Lots of Model X around.

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And documented a lot of creative personalized plates.

Long drive out from Virginia.

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Someone’s smilin’

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Doug’s car’ Nikola

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I believe this was ChadS’ ride (his wife’s car)

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Our friend from BC, Paul Carter, drives around in this one… He decided NOT to get Model X.

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A better shot of Zap 2 Zum

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Hard to find that feed for a residential home in North America.

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Yes please, No ICE

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California lets us use some fun characters and this person made good use of theirs.

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Frickin’ Lasers

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On a Ludicrous P90D Model X…

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This time the person with the Model X plate installed it on a Model X.

We got back to our hotel to catch some guys trying to charge their Teslas on the charger, (turns out that one of them was Bjorn Nyland and his friend) and so we headed to find a parking spot in the garage.

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Across the street were also some charging stations.

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Here’s a zoomed in shot of a Model S at one.

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We turned in for the night with slightly higher than a 90% charge.

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Now, I’d like to say that whatever happens in Reno, stays in Reno, but I won’t…  I just won’t have pictures of it.

Like I mentioned on the drive in, we chose the hotel because we had friends staying here and we caught up with them.  Turns out that our friend was friends with KMan and while we were hanging with him, got an invite to hang.  We headed up to a room in one of the towers of the hotel only to find ourselves in Bjorn Nyland’s room with Bjorn live-streaming on Youtube or Facebook, we’re not sure, and Kman waiting for his buddy to arrive so that he can check into his hotel.  So, after trying to stay away from being “caught on video” both the better half and I end up on a live stream with folks who follow Bjorn.  It’s a good thing that we’re NOT on witness protection. 😉

We stayed for a short while to shoot the breeze and talk with the guys about all things Tesla and then took our leave to get some rest.

The next day of this series, Day 12, is published here.

2016_Day11_Sacramento to Reno

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 10

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the tenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 9 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

We had hoped to meet up with some EV friends in our drive through Washington and Oregon and we were lucky enough to catch one of four.  We had no planned meetups heading back to California before making the swing up to Reno.  It’s just drive, drive, drive again, and figure out where to stop.

Day 10 – Springfield, OR Southbound to as far as we can..  July 27, 2016

We start the day at the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR.  We selected this hotel because we’re loyal to Hiltons and Tesla Destination Charging.

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We had full intention of charging Level 2 overnight and continue our trip as soon as we woke up. However, as you can see from the picture below, the hotel’s destination HPWC when it is being used, the second charger, the J1772 is inconveniently located to charge a second Tesla.

Basically, if I drove in forward to the second charging location, the charging cable will cross the other Model S and have the cable be in its way. Furthermore, if I drove in backward, the cable will be precariously twisted with the J1772 to Model S adapter, if that charger cable will even reach the car.

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Since our hotel was less than a mile away from the nearest Supercharger, we just opted to skip the Level 2 entirely and supercharge there before heading to Grants Pass, OR and beyond.

So we finished up at the hotel, had our breakfast, checked out and went less than a mile away to get some electrons for our car.

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Was I glad that we did.  It turned out to be a Supercharger powered TMC Meetup. The two other Model S that was supercharging at the time were also headed to TMC Connect in Reno.

The Signature Red Model S was already charging in his car when we pulled up to take our spot and start to charge.  Soon after, the twin to our Model S pulls up beside us.  I notice the license plate on the blue one (an Oregon one with the plate Nikola) and stepped out of the car to compliment him on his plate.

When DBullard introduces himself to me, I recognize his handle and it all clicked. At that point, the driver to the Sig Red S steps out to join in the conversation and it turns out to be ChadS.  First thing that Chad does is stare at me in disbelief and said something to the effect of, “aren’t you out of your way”.  Apparently he recognized me and was confused as to why I’m charging in OR for a trip to Reno… We had a good laugh at that and explained our Long Way Round trip and plans.

The Sig Red on the left is ChadS and the Blue Model S (twin to our S) in the middle is DBullard.

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Chad was there a lot longer than we were and he headed out first.  With three of us heading South for TMC Connect, and several locations with only four stalls means that we can probably expect to have some locations have a short wait.

Chad and Doug both have hotel plans for the night.  We’re just winging it, so it really depends on how it works out.

We left next, but being a more “moderate”-footed Model S driver meant that before we even make it to the next supercharger location, Doug overtakes us on the road and we were able to get him a few great shots of Nikola.

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We continue on and my better half spots another “logging industry” life-cycle truck hauling Stage 2 prepared lumber products…

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I suppose that these “bald spots” on the mountain is probably “logging industry” life-cycle stage 0.  Either that, or someone needs tree rogaine to cover these spots.

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The drive back to Grants Pass has some interesting undulations.

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We were craving coffee in the middle of this drive and thought to seek out the nearest Dutch Bros. coffee.  After all, we’re not going to be in Oregon much longer and we can always grab Starbucks elsewhere.

So, we did a search on Google and found a listing for one at Sutherlin, OR.

Near the Dutch Bros. location, we see one big flag above us…  We also spot a donut.

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It is a donut… but when you put the words Smoke Shop on a Donut and put mushrooms above the building, it makes us think twice before we stop in, and we passed on that “donut” shop.  Additionally, the Dutch Bros. at this location had a LONG line and we’re only 80 miles to Grants Pass.  We decided to skip this location and continued on our drive.

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Success…  At least on my wife’s goal of seeing the “logging industry” life-cycle in action on this trip (we’re still waiting on that Pasta truck from Day one of the drive.) That’s half a wood building we see being carried on a truck.

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And a short while later, the OTHER half of that structure was being hauled as well.

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And then for bonus points, we get to see a completed structure being hauled on our side of the drive.

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Not just a completed structure, but a modern “out house.”  I would normally make a joke about the “Oversize Load” sign on an “out house”, but decide against it.

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Now this former mountain “bald spot” looks like it got some tree Rogaine applied to its slope.

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And with that we find ourselves at our last supercharger stop in Oregon.  Back in Grants Pass, OR.

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At the Grants Pass Supercharger, I took the last remaining spot and it looks like Doug and Chad were already there with one other Model S.  Since the two guys that were traveling ahead of me were sharing the same circuit, I can only guess that the other Model S must have arrived in between the two of them.

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We decided to fill up the car with electrons before we filled up the travelers with some “Dutch Love”…

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We ordered a Caramelizer and a hot coffee as well.

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Before we left the area, we thought to stop by and take pictures of the nearly adjacent West Coast Electric Highway DCFC station at Grants Pass.  The states of Oregon and Washington deployed their stations along the WCEH a lot faster than California or British Columbia. The standard at the time was strictly CHAdeMO and the planners also instituted a J1772 alongside the single CHAdeMO station that they installed.

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It’s a great start to allow CHAdeMO enabled travel throughout both states. Unfortunately, very few US cars are able to use the CHAdeMO stations, but I know of several who have made full use of this network and I am sure they are thankful for it.

Ooh…  a painted bear.  Not sure what the bear was adorned with, but can only guess that it had something to do with the history of the area.

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And we headed out of Grants Pass and back to California.

On this leg of our drive, I spot a Nissan Leaf that was on a truck that was headed in the same direction as us.  It looks like it has no plates and I suspect that its a car that was being sold or has been sold in California that used to be in Oregon.  But I digress.

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Spot a lone windmill in the distance.  Don’t know what it’s powering, but good for them.

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And as we near the California border, our friendly neighbors from the South send us on our way with a thankful goodbye.

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We spot no California sign outside of the “Click it or Ticket” sign.  That was disappointing.

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And the terrain becomes less green and more gold in the Golden State.

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Looks like the cows around these parts are hanging out on the ranch as well.

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My better half captures a nice shot of Mt. Shasta.

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And I needed to make a quick stop and thought it would be funny to take a picture of the Weed, CA sign.  Yes…  I can be a little immature at times,  (remember the Outhouse insinuation?)

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Nearing the Mount Shasta supercharger, we spot some really colorful trucks on the side of the road.  One has to definitely be distracted not to notice any of those trucks.  I spotted them from the OTHER SIDE of the road.

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And we get to Mt. Shasta in no time.  Doug was spending the night here, so we were not going to be seeing Nikola on the road today.  However, I believe that Chad was still going forward.  We arrived to be the last vehicle to take the fourth stall again and proceeded to charge for our next stop in Corning.

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It was still early enough in the day that we decided to keep driving.  We currently selected the Supercharger in Roseville, CA as our next destination, though I don’t think that we’ll be driving there tonight.  The GPS wants us to take CA-99 after Corning.

I ran into Doug at the hotel and we chatted a little and I told him about the great pictures that my better half caught of Nikola and got his business card so that I can email him the JPGs.

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Another four stall supercharger where we ended up being the last one here.

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Going downhill at passes always seems to create the most interesting energy graphs.

So, we filled up and continued on.

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Lots of great tree lined drive.  The curves make it feel like we’re the only one on the road.

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Until you look behind, or past the next corner.

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We spot another lone windmill.

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Then some more cows grazing.

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Before we make it to Corning Supercharger, we wanted to see if we can stay in the Roseville area.  We couldn’t find a hotel to stay at and decided to change locations and target the Hyatt Regency Sacramento for our hotel for the night.  It looked to have a charger or two available for use according to Tesla Destination Charging program and confirmed by our friends at Teslarati.

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Our original goal was Roseville, and that would have been better to take CA-99 over I-5.  Since we’re now considering Sacramento, we decided to just stick with I-5 to our hotel.

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With sunlight and no “strange people” around, the Corning, CA feels reasonably safe.  Besides, there’s an open Starbucks nearly adjacent to the charging location, and that always puts me at ease.

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Looks like most of the cars and people were also attracted to the Starbucks.

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We continue on I-5 to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.

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One of the concerns in driving through these fields at night is the amount of insect activity and how many will find themselves stuck on the car during the drive.

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And just past 10:00 PM at night we finally check in to our hotel for the night.

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The parking garage at the Hyatt had a ton of EVSEs installed.  Unfortunately, at the time, only one seemed to be operational.

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I ended up finding the one that was working and plugged in.

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I walked throughout the parking structure and noticed a ton of EVSEs and HPWCs that were installed with no power to them.

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The “Not in Service” signs irritated me, but I guess they’ll be “on” in the future.

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I took a picture of the “EV Rules” for the parking garage attached to the Hyatt Regency.  This location is configured that the EVSEs are MEANT TO BE SHARED. There is an EVSE to share for every three stalls.

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It will be great to see this location in action in the future.  However, when one arrives at a destination charger expecting to be able to charge, it’s been one disappointment after another with two hotels in a row that were supposed to be available for destination charging that was less than ideal.  (At least I was able to plug in.)  Besides, we’re almost at TMC Connect (tomorrow) and the Gigafactory Party in two days.  With that, we turned in.

[In all fairness to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, there have been articles and press releases recently published (September 2016 – Clipper Creek article. Link on Hyatt site. Sacramento Bee article) that announced the “Grand Opening” of these chargers that were inoperative when we visited it in July 2016.  Perhaps the approval process took forever.]

The next day of this series, Day 11, is published and available here.

2016_Day10_Eugene to Sacramento

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 09

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the ninth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 8 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

The main reason for staying on this route is we are trying to meetup with many fellow EV folks who reached out but were unable to get together during the Northbound journey.

Day 9 – Vancouver, BC Southbound to as far as we can..  July 26, 2016

We got a good night’s sleep and fully charged at our hotel before we rolled out.

Had $30 CAD left in my pocket, and since we’re not planning on being in Canada anytime in the near future, decided to go ahead and apply this cash to our hotel balance.

As I was settling up, it looks like another Model S was just moving in.  Perhaps a single HPWC is all this location needs for now.  I do believe that they just need a little more parking spots dedicated to the hotel.  I’m quite aware that many EV travelers will need to be more cognizant of fellow EV travelers and make accommodations for folks to share a single HPWC.  This means that they should be ready to move their vehicles when done charging (a good plan) or to at least provide their contact information if unable to do so easily (or both, an even better plan.)

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Our range charge at start of today is at 252 miles, nearly the maximum that the car displays when fully charged.

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And with that starting charge, we’re headed back to the United States… Same route, but hope to catch up with friends (and perhaps some Pokemon) along the way.

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We make the border in rather quick time.

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We opted to cross the border at the “touristy” crossing again.  We got there around 10:00 AM.

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There were lines again, but it felt like it was moving faster.

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After all, we’re traveling in miles again! 😉

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Somehow it feels like we’re traveling 1.6x faster on miles than we are in Kilometers!

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This interesting sculpture was installed just behind the border crossing.

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In all seriousness, the crossing back to the United States took about 35 minutes. That is quicker than the crossing into Canada.  Additionally, our rear windows did roll back up unimpeded.

We headed back to Washington State and were accompanied by a famous VW Bug.  It’s an ICE, but with Herbie, the Love Bug striping, I can forgive it a little.

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Not that we needed a charge, but I did need to make a pit stop and were surprised to be greeted by a couple of friends.

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Some free to use Aerovironment EVSEs at the first rest stop from Canada to Washington on I-5.

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And it was sponsored by our good friends at Adopt-A-Charger!  I already feel at home.

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Earlier on our trip, I wrote about my better half’s quest to document the “logging industry life-cycle.”   She took some photographs of cut trees on trucks as step one.  We figure that these pictures of nicely cut lumber is step two of this cycle.

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And we continue our Southbound journey through Washington.

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And quickly  make it to our first supercharger stop of the day at Burlington, WA.

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We had several potential meetups on the drive South, some of whom unfortunately were busy on a Tuesday to meet up, so we ended up missing them on this trip.  One that was able to meet up was Tony Giannini and his wife Vanessa.  Tony and Vanessa both drive Model X and were gracious enough to offer their HPWC for a charge and chat on the way down.  Since we’re pretty well stocked on electrons around their part of Washington state, we just figured to stop off for a snack and chat instead.

Tony and I have exchanged twitter conversations on many things Tesla and T-Mobile (my preferred mobile provider since Voicestream did the bandwidth swap with Cingular and enterred the California market as T-Mobile) and were delighted to take them up on their offer.  Besides…  They said DONUTS.  And who am I to turn THAT down!

They directed us to Top Pot Doughnuts and coffee and we met up with them and their kids.

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The donut choices were excellent and the conversation was even better.

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As is customary on these EV meetups, we checked out their car. (They brought one of their Model X)

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Here’s a great shot of us with the cars.

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We could have spent more time with them, but had to cut it short because we had the goal to be past Portland tonight and had tentatively scheduled some time to possibly meet some of the other contributors to Transport Evolved, Kate Walton-Elliott, in Olympia, WA, as well as TE’s editor-in-chief Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, around Portland, OR, in real life.  Both these meets were in flux for one reason or the other, and we hoped to be able to time it at a mutually convenient time and meet IRL.

Nikki was supposed to be on a panel the previous week at EV Roadmap, but had to cancel for personal reasons, and we have a chance to meet later today.

Southbound journey to Portland seemed to be faster to ditch Seattle altogether and we pass our Hilton in Bellevue, WA.

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Yup, lots more traffic in the West.

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This Eastern route has given us a better view of snow and glacier capped mountains, so that’s a plus.

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And the traffic was so bad, we decided to follow the interesting alternate routes that was offered to us.

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The beauty of GPS and a sense of adventure on these long roadtrips is the ability to get off the Interstate and see the countryside.

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We got a text from our first potential meet with Kate Walton-Elliott, and unfortunately the timing wasn’t going to work.  So, here’s to hoping for another chance to meet IRL.

In the meantime, we had hoped to catch some well recommended, Chef Jenn Louis stop around Olympia of Tacos La Fuente.  Unfortunately, they’re a daytime only place and we arrived 15 minutes after they close the whole restaurant/bus down.

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Needless to say, I was NOT HAPPY.

This is an unhappy selfie…

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And we’re back in Centralia, WA for a supercharge.

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We make a route to somewhere near Nikki’s part of Portland, as we were still “touch and go” on the meetup plans and wanted to make it as easy on her to come on out and chat.

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We have a little bit of time around here…  Unfortunately there’s a glare, but if you look to the right of the charger on the left, there is a bucket with a squeegee there that has been provided by a generous local for those of us traveling through Centralia, WA.

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We didn’t avail ourselves of the squeegee as the car was relatively clean, and we headed onward…

…apparently toward where Lord Vader resides.

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The better half has been obsessed with the logging/lumber industry on this trip and points out the tall trees.

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It’s amazing to see all this green on the drive.

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Even this bridge is green.  It’s painted like the color of army tanks in old World War 2 movies.

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We’re nearing Battle Ground, WA.  Just an interesting name for a town, wonder what battles were fought there.

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We’re nearing Oregon again.

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Looks like we’re going to miss meeting Nikki IRL today.  We’ll eventually meet-up, but not on this trip.  Will have to continue corresponding over the ‘Net.

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Since we are not meeting up with Nikki, we made plans to supercharge at Woodbury, OR.  This was the supercharger that “surprised us” on Day Two of our Northbound journey when we were headed to EV Roadmap 9.

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So, we stopped off and charged, had dinner next door at the Red Robin.  We got to the location close to the closing time for the site sponsors and we felt like going to a chain that would be open longer.

While at the restaurant, we made plans for our next stop, and found the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR as a viable stop for us.  The hotel is just around the corner from the Supercharger at Springfield/Eugene, OR that we charged in on our Northbound journey, but we felt like we can have the car charged while we sleep.

We made our lodging plans for the evening and did the drive from Woodbury to Springfield/Eugene, OR.

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It was one of our shorter legs for today.  We arrive at the hotel around 11:00 PM and were tired.  One of the two chargers at the location was available, but the way the parking was configured meant that we would have to cross vehicles to charge and didn’t want to run “the risk.”

I was too tired to deal with it, we made a mental note to write an entry into Teslarati for this destination charger location and went to bed.  We’re less than a mile away from the supercharger in town that we can easily drive over there in the morning.

The next day of this series, Day 10, is published here.

2016_Day9_Vancouver to Eugene

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 08

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eight day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 7 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today’s goal is to continue our visit with our relatives in Vancouver. We’ve visited Vancouver as tourists over 15 years ago and have done some of the basic “touristy” things, so this was really about hanging out with family.  Our entire stay in Vancouver is at the Hilton Metrotown Vancouver, another Tesla Destination Charger hotel.

Day 8 – Visit family – Vancouver, BC.  July 25, 2016

The Hilton Metrotown Vancouver is an official Destination Charger location, it has one HPWCs rated at 80A and a J1772 charger rated at 30A, when we went to bed the previous night, just past midnight, I was already done charging, but there were no hotel parking spots available.  I decided to stay in situ. To alleviate any “EV-hole” behavior (or should I spell it behaviour since I’m now over the border, I parked close to the wall, unplugged our car, and put our EV Hangtag (designed by Jack Brown) with my contact information on the dash so that I can be contacted easily.  This way, in case someone needed me to move to use the HPWC, I can be reached.  Additionally, unplugging our car from it also provides ample reach for a second Model S or Model X to come in and take the spot next to me and charge quickly.

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Luckily, no one did overnight, and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.

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We parked the car at 380km of range and lost 1km overnight.

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Switching to miles, this shows 235 miles of range in the morning, flipping back to the picture from earlier in the morning that showed 236 miles of range. So, for the algorithm, I guess 1 km=1 mile… The vampire drain on this car during this trip has been strange, to say the least. Either way, I’m pretty sure we have enough range to drive around town several times in either kilometers or miles.

As I stated earlier, the plan was to visit with our relatives today and start it with a Dim Sum brunch. Vancouver, BC is one of the better places in the world to eat Dim Sum, and we were not going to miss the opportunity to go ahead and have some while in town. We did get up a few hours earlier than our scheduled meet up with relatives and decided to see if we can catch the Electra Meccanica location in downtown Vancouver.

Electra Meccanica had a functional test earlier in the summer that I followed over the Internet, but were unable to attend and I was hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of this three wheeled EV at their location. So, we headed into downtown Vancouver to visit their storefront location.

On the way there, we spotted an i3.

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Just in case you were having a hard time squinting on zooming in on the picture above, here’s one with the Zoom on.

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Parking near Electra Meccanica was a breeze, we were able to get good and free street parking nearby.  As a Southern Californian, I always appreciate free parking.

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Electra Meccanica has been showing off a Corbin Sparrow as the inspiration for their 3 wheeled EV and a bright, red one was parked outside of their storefront.

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The picture rendering for the Solo, Electra Meccanica’s EV, can be seen on the sign. The Solo does not look as “fun” a design as the Corbin Sparrow, but thought to still go in to chat with the guys there.

Any Tesla fan or customer that has visited a Tesla store will recognize some similarities with the way that Electra Meccanica has set up its location in downtown Vancouver.

The chassis of the Solo on display is reminiscent of the Roadster, Model S, and Model X chassis that has adorned the Tesla stores in the Tesla sales network.

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The railing that is pulled out on the chassis display demonstrates how the battery packs for the Solo will be installed in the finished product.

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Not sure if they mean to have battery swap, or just for ease of maintenance or repair for the vehicle when needed.

The pictures on the chassis shows the same location for batteries when it is slid back in place.

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The vehicle does not seem to have any DCFC capability and has its charging port in the rear of the tricycle.

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There’s a merchandise wall that shows hats and T-shirts for folks that may wish to go ahead and pick some of those things up.

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In the back is a roadster that Electra Meccanica’s sister-company, Intermeccanica, produces. Unfortunately it’s only available in ICE.

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Too bad, that little car in an EV would be a contender.  Perhaps a successful Electra Meccanica can find a way to bring that ICE Roadster into an EV package.

Apparently we just missed the prototype that I wanted to see by thirty minutes.

Either way, my visit to Electra Meccanica was informative and I am excited to see these little things on the road. They may not be as “goofy” as the Corbin Sparrow, but feel that they can fit a niche. Besides at nearly $20k CAD/$16k USD, it’s a good deal for a nearly 100 mile range commuter EV.

After our visit to Electra Meccanica, we headed over to our relatives to pick them up and have them experience the ride in our Model S.  Our choice for Dim Sum is Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant at Richmond, BC.

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Dim Sum is best experienced with many people so that the diners can order many different items. So. we gladly obliged.

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The restaurant was located in a center called Aberdeen. Unlike others who may first think of Scotland or South Dakota, both of which ALSO come to mind for me… I always think of Hong Kong first when I hear Abderdeen, and our meal in Richmond, BC could easily have been experienced in Hong Kong. Albeit with a bill in CAD not HKD dollars.

As I previously mentioned, we had an issue with our windows having a hard time rolling back up at the border. Like many California Tesla owners, our car is tinted. During our border crossing into Canada yesterday, the Canadian border crossing agent asked us to roll our windows down so that he can peer into the back seat. Well, we were able to roll it down, but it was a struggle to roll the windows back up it took us a minute or two to get the windows up.  Additionally, as we mentioned, on the drive between Portland and Seattle, our wipers were skipping (we’ve been living in mostly drought weather, so we hardly ever use the wipers.) Though we were able to eventually roll up the back windows, we didn’t know what was going on with the wipers, we wanted to see if we can get a center to give it a quick look. We were headed to Granville Island with our relatives and it so happens that the new Tesla Service Center Plus that just opened is a short walk from our destination. So, we decided to head over and ask them to take a look at the car. We did not want to be stuck on the rest of our drive without operating back windows.

A Tesla Service Center Plus is basically a location that combines multiple features to the location, much like the one in Day 7 of last year’s journey in Lyndhurst/Cleveland, Ohio. This center combines the Sales, Service, and Delivery Center functions in one location. I don’t know if they also had an in-service center supercharger, but they at least had multiple functions at one location. What sets this center apart from the one in Ohio is that it was not located in a former auto dealership.

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So, we stopped off and dropped the car off for their inspection and went to Granville Island.

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It looks like this bike sharing thing is really taking off all over the world.

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What was different in the Vancouver Bike Sharing stand is it looks like bike helmets are provided with each rented bike.  A good idea, but one that makes me wonder about the previous “bike wearer”…

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We cross into Granville Island on foot.

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Seeing the traffic that was stuck on this little island made me glad that we left the car at Tesla to be looked at and continued our walking tour of the island.

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I think that sign means children at play (or perhaps watch out for the crazy pedestrian kicking a ball.)

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At the edge of the island were these houseboats that would be better called mansionboats.

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I’m not used to seeing two story houseboats.IMG_20160725_160825

There was an interesting industrial complex that was part working industrial complex and part art installation.

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I don’t know who to commend for the absurdity of the piece, the Brazilian artist or the folks who commissioned him.

There were apparently a few more giants hiding.

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There was also a kinetic piece that we captured a video of.

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As we strolled on in Granville Island, my eagle eye spotted two unused EVSEs.

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Those sure look like Chargepoints. Later in our trip, I would find out from Paul Carter, a Vancouver native (and head of the Tesla Owners Club of British Columbia) that these two locations are often used and to find them available was a rarity.

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Now, produce when traveling within the country is pretty free to traverse borders (within limits, the State of Hawaii has agricultural checks at the airport and the State of California at all the land-crossings). However, traveling internationally is another story. As tempting as any of the fruit may be, one has to consider the fact that it must be consumed before crossing the border.

Meat and cheese are even harder to travel with.

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Still, it was cool to look at.

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Now, Maple Syrup would have been tempting, but I don’t really use it that much, or at all.

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We heard back from Tesla a few hours after we started, but definitely enough time to experience Granville Island this Summer day.  So we headed back to pick up the car.

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It would seem that the vaunted Service Center Plus in Toronto has a basic grade for the coffee service.

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So, what was the problem with the car? We were told that the problem with the windows was tree sap and that the windshield had some “coating” on it that made the wipers skip. They did replace the wiper blade assembly and blades and were charged $72 CAD for the service and given our keys to take our vehicle.  The vehicle wasn’t pulled up for us and we had to go searching for it in the garage.

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Looks like some Washington State owners have their vehicles serviced in Vancouver.

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Lots of nice cars at the lot, but it was time for us to head out.

Our next stop today was to see where the Olympic flame was kept at the city of Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.  As we mentioned before, we’ve been to Vancouver as tourists before and thought to just do some of the things that our relatives felt we should see, so we went with them.

At the center around the Olympic torch/cauldron, spotted a cute Canadian bear and a moose in a Mountie outfit.

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Impressive building, it reminds me of the Denver International Airport Terminals.

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I think these folks were either texting or looking for Pokemon.

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At the convention center where the Olympic torch is kept, there was a sculpture called “The Drop.”

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It’s meant to be a single drop of rain.

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It was quite cool watching the cruise ships head off, probably to Alaska…

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And the seaplanes land and take off…

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Here is a video of a seaplane landing.

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And around the corner is where the Olympic Flame resided in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.

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It would probably be more impressive with snow around it and fire flickering… So, use your imagination.

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In the distance my better half was able to take a picture of a cool Killer Whale sculpture.

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and back to our car to head out.

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On our way to our family’s home, we spot a funny pile-up.

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During our drive around Vancouver, we kept spotting some weird stickers on vehicles. Turns out NEW drivers and STUDENT drivers in BC (not sure if it’s provincial or federal law) have to stick their respective stickers on their cars to let others know of their status. Here’s a New driver.

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It’s a good idea, I wonder why we don’t implement it either in California or other states.

And, on the way back to their home, we see a properly snow capped mountain in the distance.

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After a brief respite, our long day of sightseeing meant that it’s time for dinner.

We thought, why not test out the sushi in BC. Our cousin recommended Sushi Nordel, a local establishment that is an all you can eat sushi place that they like to go to, so we joined them for dinner there.  We weren’t that hungry, so we just ordered A la Carte.

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I think they’re more of a “roll” place.

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The sushi was good, not spectacular, but definitely a good deal and the company was what we really wanted from the dinner experience, so a good time was had by all.

After saying our goodbyes. We headed back to our hotel.

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We got back at 11:00 PM and we’re headed to Reno starting tomorrow.

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The kilometer numbers were big, but still not really processing, so I switch back to miles.

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And it looks like we took a 106 mile day around Vancouver today.

Parked the car similarly to how I parked last night (to give some space for someone else to park with us.)

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And I finally remembered to document the low ceiling… (and post my findings on Teslarati App (and website).)

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Turned in for the night as we don’t know how far we want to drive tomorrow. All I know is I would like to at least make it to Portland in one day.  We hope to have meet-ups on the drive to Reno.

The next day of this series, Day 9, is available here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.