Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 03

A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the third in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Missed Day 2, click here.

Day 3 โ€“ Drive on Monday, May 4, 2015

So, after a short day in the Rockies, and an adjustment to our plans, we’ve figured that for Day 3, we would like to make it to Mount Rushmore at a minimum, if not somewhere passed Murdo, SD or to Mitchell, SD.

Hampton Inn Cheyenne Wyoming

The Hampton Inn Cheyenne Wyoming has a very good spread for breakfast.

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I was intrigued by the make your own waffles and enjoyed the novelty of making my own waffles. Needless to say, the idea was better than the actual execution.

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Looks like we have almost 100 miles to get to a supercharger a few miles away.

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We lost two miles overnight. That’s not bad. However, as you can see, there is a limit (the dashed yellow lines) on the regenerative braking, and power (subsequent picture, see below). Not being based anywhere one can reasonably call a “cold” climate, these limits were not what we’re used to seeing. Our car is normally parked in the garage and therefore, well taken care off before we roll out, even in the coldest of Southern California days.

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Regardless, these limit bars are common in cold weather and when the car starts to warm up, the limits disappear (we called Tesla Service to verify what we suspected and they confirmed it.) Additionally, if one shows up at the supercharger with these limits, the supercharger will operate at a slower speed. So, it behooves one to warm the car up, before rolling. Either by preconditioning the car or driving further as it warms up.

Cheyenne Supercharger

This was the first time we used the “hint” from our fellow Model S traveler from Colorado and used the Satellite view to find the superchargers. This was a good idea at this location as the parking lot around the chargers were turned into a “pop-up” RV trailer store.

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So, though the site was encircled by a “pop-up” RV trailer store, the superchargers are actually located in a mall location.

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We didn’t need to do anything at the mall, so we just stuck around the car. We spoke with one of the RV Trailer salespeople and did our best to educate him about the car and electric vehicles in general. He was thankful to get to see the car up-close and ensured that none of the trailers blocked access to the chargers.

After getting the charge that made us comfortable to reach Lusk, we headed out.

One of the things that changes as you visit other states is the name of gas stations and grocery stores. There are few “national” brands that market with one name in the country. I was amused by the name of this gas station chain in Wyoming (and Colorado too, I believe) called “Loaf N Jug”. Especially since they’re mainly a gas/petrol station. Something tells me they make more money on that than any Loaf or Jug.

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As we drove toward Lusk, we were reminded that the drive won’t be on Interstates and that divided highways would be minimal on this leg in Wyoming.

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Furthermore, not only is the drive going to be on undivided highways, construction “season” is starting and we need to be aware that when the weather warms up in the rest of the country, that is when a lot of states start repairing their roads. We have to be cognizant of the start of construction “season.”

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This was one of those drives that reminded us that the United States is one big country. We’re not even half-way to the East Coast and we’ve already seen so much of the country.  Being “city” kids, a mild sense of agoraphobia seems to permeate both my better half and I as we drive in these “wide open spaces.”

We would take pictures of things we don’t normally see…  Like steak, I mean cattle grazing… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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A wide, empty road without anyone else in it with us…  If we were back in Southern California, we’d probably be speeding in it, but we don’t know what’s ahead, so we’re going the speed limit.

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When they say a “Wide Load” in one of these two lane highways, it actually encroaches on the OTHER SIDE of the road.  Had to remember my driver’s education course and remember the rules on passing a car on a two-lane road.  Not a skill I normally need to use in Southern California.

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Hey…  Or in this case, hay!

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Lusk Supercharger

Then we got the sign we were hoping for…  Lusk, Wyoming.

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We figured to get our charge and keep heading toward Mount Rushmore National Monument.  But first, find the superchargers.  If one is in Lusk, Wyoming and looking for the superchargers, look for the following sign (below) and get to the back of the motel.  They’re there.

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Looks like we were somewhat efficient in our drive from Cheyenne.  282 Wh per mile.

Now, that we’re in Lusk, what do we do while waiting for a supercharge…

…sunbathing?

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Hang out at the supercharger.

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Here’s a panoramic of the fun little “park”/courtyard for the motel.  So, if traveling with kids, they at least have a playground.IMG_0741

I spy a place for espresso on the other side of the street from the superchargers.  However, it was closed when we got there…  So, no latte for me, I was too late. (pardon the pun, I am a little tired from all the driving ;-))

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And just like that, we’re off…  Back on the road to Mount Rushmore.

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The drive between Cheyenne and Mount Rushmore through Lusk is through undivided highways and lots of open roads, but the good folk of South Dakota made sure that they denoted the border between Wyoming and South Dakota with their welcome sign.

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Then more open road…

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We took a picture of this advertisement for the Flintstones RV Park because the first time, in my youth, that I visited the Mount Rushmore area, I really wanted to stop off, and we didn’t.  Now, that I’m an adult, we STILL opted to skip it.

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On the Northbound drive from Cheyenne, the Crazy Horse Memorial is on the way to Mount Rushmore, we skipped it, but here’s a view from the highway.

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Mount Rushmore National Monument

So, our goal for the day was to make it to Mount Rushmore, and we made it. The visitor area for the monument looks like it was refurbished since the last time I’ve been here. The parking for the monument is good for the entire year, but this is attached to the specific vehicle that you used to get into the monument. So, if you’re visiting Mount Rushmore in a rental car, then the arrangement isn’t really very useful to you, and, if like us, you’re visiting from over 1000 miles away, then that just means that you need to make the drive to the location again.

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The monument is actually lit up in the evening, we got there in the afternoon, seeing that they would light up the monument at sunset and we were several hours away from that, we decided to enjoy it in the afternoon and then move on.

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Everyone has a favorite on Mount Rushmore, I think mine is President Lincoln.

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Here’s the mandatory picture with the Presidents.

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And a rare sighting of the better half on the blog.

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How was the drive to Mount Rushmore? Not bad actually. It was a lot of uphill to get here, but only used 322 Wh per mile on the average, so we did pretty good on the climb.

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So, the drive to Rapid City, SD from Mount Rushmore is mostly down-hill. Which means a LOT of opportunity to use Regen for the drive.

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a LOT of Regen. Love seeing charts that look like this…

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The drive to Rapid City, SD is quite fun, and after all the wide open spaces we welcomed the opportunity to see buildings and the like.

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It was a little strange to see a replica of Independence Hall on the way back to Rapid City, SD made us think if we wanted to swing over to Philly on this trip. I guess we’ll figure it out as we get closer to the East Coast.

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One thing that we did experience on the way to Rapid City Supercharger was a “Navigation Failure”… Not a technical one, just that the navigation system directed us to the superchargers through a road that was “under construction/repair”. So, we had to zoom out and figure out an alternate way there.

Rapid City Supercharger

Once we got to the superchargers, we figured to charge up. This was another location in a mall, the Rushmore Mall, and there were several restaurants behind the superchargers.

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The road that was closed/under repair is pictured below.

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There is a mall in front. There is a Starbucks and beside it is a Fuddruckers. Behind the superchargers is a Texas Roadhouse and Red Lobster. We decided to give Texas Roadhouse a try. Figured, seafood in South Dakota might be a bit of a challenge.

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The next stop on the route in South Dakota would be Murdo, SD and as lovely as the town sounds, we were a little “wiggy” about staying in a town that sounds like murder. So, we either make the decision to stop in Rapid City for the night OR drive all the way to Mitchell or somewhere in between Murdo and Mitchell while budgeting in at least a five mile loss (double what we lost overnight in Cheyenne plus one additional rated mile). We decided to book a hotel in Rapid City that just ended up being a mile away from the superchargers.

Hilton Garden Inn Rapid City

The hotel we chose to stay in for the evening was the one we originally planned on stopping at the night before. Since they were gracious enough to let us cancel the previous stay without penalty we would reward that generosity by choosing to stay there and let them recapture the “lost” revenue.

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It was a pretty short day of travel for us today, but a fulfilling one as we got to visit Mount Rushmore, I’ve been there before, but my wife has not. A little short on the checkins for the beta version of the (now released) Teslarati App for the iPhone but we do have thousands of miles to go, and ample opportunity to get more content in there.

We figured that we won’t have to supercharge on our next day’s trip. We checked into the hotel with 246 Rated Miles in the predicted range overnight.

Go on to Day 4. Click here.

03_Cheyenne to Rapid City

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Dennis

rEVolutionary armed with a Tesla Model S S85 and a Tesla Roadster, when his wife let's him borrow it. Formerly driving a BMW Active E (2012-Feb to 2014-Feb). Dennis has been driving EVs since he found himself on the BMW Active E trials on February 2012. As a result of his involvement in the Active E program, he became Accidentally Environmental. Aside from this blog, he often tweets @dennis_p. When not driving, he can be found on the following Tesla/EV forums - teslamotorsclub.com, teslamotors.com, and model3ownersclub.com as AEdennis or on speakev.com as Dennis. In the interest of full disclosure, Dennis has an inherent bias toward electric vehicles and has an investment in and is LONG Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

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