A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the fifth in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.
Day 5 – Drive on Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Our personal goal today is to get to Chicago and take a picture with “Cloud Gate” aka “The Bean.” Like the previous day, we didn’t book something specifically, but figured we would find a place “on the route.” Additionally, we contacted our friend Cara, in Aurora, IL, to see if she would like to spend some time with us for a meal or coffee (or wine for her, as she isn’t on a long roadtrip) as we decided to charge the car at the Aurora, IL supercharger.
Hampton Inn Rochester
Didn’t take any pictures at Hampton Inn. But this stay was interesting in that the actual rated miles went up to 176 miles in the morning when I moved the car for us to load (we were parked in the back). We had a funny thing happen when I was moving the car. The Model S is so quiet that I started to hear a strange noise as I moved the car from the back of the hotel to the front of the hotel. I started to hear a strange sound, and wondered to myself, “Oh no, what the %*!$ is that!” It took me a few seconds before I realized that it was the Internet Radio and the start of Van Halen’s “Hot for the Teacher.” So, in the future, before you freak out, mute the radio when you hear a “strange sound.”
Additionally, we took advantage of the manual car wash that was adjacent to the property and took the opportunity to clean the car. Rochester, MN is not in a drought and we were collecting quite a few dead bugs on the car.
Believe me, there’s an impressive lake on the other side of the road…
We just couldn’t get a picture of it before we got to La Crosse, unless you squint past my face.
Just before La Crosse was some construction. It looks like they’re working on a bridge, or fixing a bridge.
…and we cross into Wisconsin…
La Crosse Supercharger
The La Crosse Supercharger is in a “weird” location. There really isn’t anything around its immediate location. It’s located in a business park and there seems to be two restaurants behind chargers and at the edge of shopping center. It is located across from Home Depot. Beyond Home Depot away from the chargers is a Walmart.
We arrived there as the Tesla Supercharger maintenance guy was working on the Wisconsin SCs. though some of the superchargers looked to have had pieces pulled off, the supercharger was operational. The Tesla Supercharger Maintenance Employee was very friendly. I got to peek at the innards, but wasn’t allowed to take a picture. So, I didn’t take any pictures. It was nice to see someone working on maintaining these superchargers. I thanked him for his work and let him know how happy we were for the work that he and his colleagues are doing to enable our travel.
Because we were seeking coffee and there was not a convenient place beside the superchargers, we decided to find the nearest Starbucks according to the Model S navigation system (9432 WI-16, Onsalaka, WI) is a drive through and easy to get to or from the superchargers.
The drive to Mauston is all Interstates. So, the view was
The Mauston Supercharger is located at the parking lot of Culver’s. I noticed that they sold Frozen Custard there, and since I wanted to know what the difference between Frozen Custard and Ice Cream, I decided to try it there.
I’m a BIG fan of Ice Cream, especially Soft Ice Cream. Frozen Custard reminds me of a mix of Soft Ice Cream and Gelato. (And yes, I meant to capitalize all these in this paragraph.)
Now, as we pulled out of the Mauston Supercharger, the navigation changed our route from the Interstate to alternate highways. It seems that there were some accidents and/or slow-downs on the direct Interstate route so I decided to give the navigation suggestions a try.
The first route actually tried to route us through a closed road. This would be the second time that the navigation tried to direct us to a closed road (remember the drive to Rapid City for a charge at the Mall, the road was closed.)
This redirection would normally have resulted in my taking the direct Interstate, but I decided to zoom out and see if there could be another alternate highway to use, and started to direct myself in that direction and see if the Model S navigation would adjust itself into that direction.
It did… and a new guiding principle popped up from this experience.
“Sometimes you have to get off the Interstate, you’re on vacation, and it makes for a nice drive.”
So, it was a pleasant detour and we got to Madison, WI within a few minutes of the originally projected time via the more direct Interstate route.
Another supercharger at a mall. This trip could get expensive with all the shopping versus the gasoline.
We didn’t really get out of the car here. Took the time to catch up with friends and commiserate about “deflate gate” findings and Tom Brady’s role in it.
I jumped out to go look around and figured to take a photo of the business hours for Buffalo Wild Wings.
If you’re at this charger late, Buffalo Wild Wings is open late.
So, we’re on our way from Madison to Rockford…
And we’re crossing the border into Illinois.
As we were entering the toll plaza in Illinois, a nice young lady in an ICE car was pacing us and got my wife’s attention. Apparently we got a nice thumbs up and she mouthed the words “Nice Car.” I guess the car wash at the start of the day, helped :-).
The superchargers at Rockford are located at the Cherryvale Mall. It was placed far from the mall crowd to minimize being ICEd and I have to commend Tesla on the strategy. They’ve done well on this plan.
Because I like my “frozen” treats. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is a Red Mango Yogurt at the mall, on the side closest to the superchargers.
Are those windmills that I see on the way to Aurora?
Have to squint to see…
They ARE windmills!
Well, that’s cool. I hope they get pretty windy this close to the Windy City. Regardless, good for you Illinois!
The Tesla Model S navigation was routing us to a different location. Luckily, we used the Teslarati App for iOS and noted that there is a TEMPORARY supercharger location in Aurora at the Two Brothers Roundhouse.
The food and coffee at the Two Brothers is great. However, this is a temporary location that the car (when using Navigation) does not direct you to, so, use the address on the app (or the website above provides.)
According to our friend, Cara (an Aurora resident,) this part of town is “sketchy”. As a matter of fact, when we were saying goodbye, an inebriated non-customer approached us and was panhandling before security showed up. This experience made us painfully aware of how unaware we are of the locations that we’re driving through and we decided to research locations on teslamotorsclub.com before we plan on stopping there in “odd” hours.
That said, I would only come here in an emergency and only when the restaurant/cafe is open.
I wonder if these were the same ones that were in Barstow when they upgraded the location
As we said our goodbyes to our friend and her kids in Aurora, we were determined to get a picture with Cloud Gate.
So we proceeded to go to Chicago.
While on our drive to Chicago, we had a nice red Random Model S sighting of a local Model S that slowed down, acknowledged us, and went on his way. Since we were unsure where to get the next charge, we were driving conservatively and at the speed limit. Something locals seem to ignore.
After many days of traveling in rather sparse four lane divided highways, it was comforting to be back in our minimal eight lanes of traffic with buildings surrounding us. No agoraphobia here. Mild claustrophobia, perhaps. 😉
Cloud Gate AKA The Bean
Doing my “Finding Nemo” impression of the “Touch the Boat” scene.
Our reflection on a curved space…
Selfie with a curved Chicago reflection.
And another picture of me… (’cause the wife said, that picture of you looks good)
The view from Millenium Park.
Decided to stay in South Bend, IN. Using the same theory that netted us the stay at Rochester, MN, we hypothesized South Bend, IN would be an ideal place to stop in the evening. Additionally, South Bend is only a few miles from the next SC for the next morning Mishawaka, IN. When using this theory, it’s important to ensure that there is “nothing” huge going on that weekend, a College Football game, Graduation, that sort of thing. We lucked out in that Notre Dame University’s graduation isn’t until the following week.
On the drive to South Bend, the moon was particularly interesting.
Hampton Inn South Bend
With over 500 miles of driving today, dinner with a friend, and achieving the goal of a picture at “Cloud Gate”, I would consider today’s drive a big “win.”
Go on to Day 6. Click here.