Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 19

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

Missed Day 18, click here.

Day 19 – Drive on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

As we discussed on our previous post, we decided to take a different route back West (I-70 as opposed to I-80/I-90.) From West Virginia, we were looking at going through Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, then Colorado.  That’s a long drive with parts that are through “Tornado Alley.”  Though to be fair, it would seem that I-80/I-90 is not spared of tornado activity either. Being, Southern Californians, we’ve grown with the expectation that earthquakes, tsunamis or the like are the “normal” things to fear from nature. However, as the weather warms up, the chances of tornado warnings seem to increase.  Now it wasn’t just Deer, Moose, or Bears to worry about, I’m wondering about tornadoes.

With that in mind, today’s goal is to drive as far as we can West, and stop at whatever may be interesting along the way.  We reached out to John, a high school friend, who lives near Dayton, OH, to see if he and his family can meet up for lunch or something.

Hampton Inn & Suites, Triadelphia

After arriving in Triadelphia, WV in the evening, we noticed lights below the hill that the hotel and supercharger is located in.  The view from the hill looks like clouds and colder weather today.  Not great for sunset pictures, but good to keep in mind when worrying about tornadoes, at least that’s what I tell myself is the upside to such days.  (Another bonus, TWO water towers.)

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Walking out of the hotel lobby, the superchargers are at the far right corner of the photograph.

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We parked at a regular spot in the evening with the plan to move the car to the supercharger while we get ready to check out.  This way, we’re able to maximize our time.  As with any plan to charge away from the car, we’ve decided to use our handy dandy EVcard from Plug In America.

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We lost 3 miles overnight. But we’re at the hotel with the supercharger, so it’s no big deal.  Especially since the supercharger will fill it back in no time.

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I moved the car to the supercharger, put the EV Card on the dash and started charging.

Triadelphia Supercharger

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As we were leaving the superchargers another Model S with Virginia plates drove up to the superchargers.  We acknowledged the other car, but we were unplugged and rolling out, so we didn’t make conversation.

We started on the way to Grove City, OH.

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It was a quick drive from the Triadelphia Supercharger that just like that, we’re back in the state of Ohio.

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Since we’ve decided to take I-70 West. As I previously mentioned, this route just became viable when Tesla opened its supercharger in St Charles, Missouri. So we decided to try it out. Besides, I was pretty sure that no one else has checked into those chargers on the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS at the routes along I-70.

Grove City Supercharger

The Grove City, OH supercharger is located on the rear/side of the shops.  Hard to explain why I used the term rear/side it’s because the shops are in a curve and the SCs are technically at the side of the Giant Eagle, but in the rear of the other shops in the center.

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The Giant Eagle is not directly adjacent to the stalls, it just happens to be open 24 hours and available for any traveler through this location that may need to use it.  It’s a pretty full supermarket.

The supercharger is a very large installation with eight charging stalls.  People coming to supercharge at this location need to be wary of the big dip in between the charging stalls. Either drive slowly when crossing them, or enter the charging area from the other side.

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The drive to Dayton was quite EVentful.  We saw London, but not THAT London ;-).

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We were entertained by the “little things”, like this bird that we saw at a highway rest stop.

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Additionally, we passed a truck half-full of Mini Coopers.

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Which led me to three different EV thoughts.

1) The Mini E folks.

Before the Active E program that I participated in was launched, there were a few hundred folks that provided the phase 1 to the BMW electrification program. They all drove Mini Coopers that were all electric.  Most Mini E drivers loved their cars, even though the fit and finish was nowhere near its descendants, the Active E and BMW i3.

2) Paul at SpeakEV.com

Paul, the owner and operator for SpeakEV.com is a “Mini Guy”. Apparently before he founded SpeakEV.com he owned and ran some of the more popular Mini focused Internet forums.

3) The Mini Superleggera.

The Mini Superleggera is BMW’s vision for an electrified Mini platform.  It’s a very attractive little Roadster that has found itself in Go/No Go status over the past few months.

Either way, passing a truck full of ICE Minis make me think of the missed opportunity that BMW has in making a really awesome EV.

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BMW should electrify the Mini, any of them.  The Superleggera is plenty awesome, but an electrified Mini Cooper is ideal.

With those thoughts, I was distracted by…

Ooh a barn.

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No, not the barn, I was distracted by spotting a very familiar headlight behind us.

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An Ohio white Tesla Model S was behind us.  As the car neared us, we were able to read the license plate 1STESLA.  This Model S stayed with us all the way to the exit for the Dayton Supercharger.

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As we were making our way to the Dayton Supercharger, I expected the OH 1STESLA to join us as we charged. It didn’t the White Model S continued driving away on its way after exiting at the same exit as the Dayton Supercharger.

Dayton Supercharger

The Dayton supercharger is located at another shopping complex.  The Meijer store in Dayton looks like it’s in the middle of some construction.  Just in front of the superchargers is a Chipotle, but we were not hungry for Mexican food.

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As we previously mentioned, before we left for Dayton, I reached out to John, a high school friend, who lives near Dayton to see if he and his family can meet up with us for lunch. Aside from the fact that we arrived later in the afternoon, he was in the middle of a contract negotiations and couldn’t pull away to meet up.

A few years before, we had dinner with him and his family at this sushi bar (yes, you read correctly, a sushi bar in Ohio) in Troy, OH that was very good. So, I made sure to get the name of the location from him.

Sakai is located at 2303 W. Main Street, Troy, OH 45373.

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After completing our charge, we proceeded to Sakai for dinner. The quality of the sushi and cooked Asian food is very good. Though we broke our usual rule regarding sushi restaurants (ocean adjacent AND/OR near a major airport (i.e. direct flight from the ocean)) we welcomed the meal.

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The bibimbap was delicious and welcome on such a cool, cloudy day.  After 19 days on the road, we were starting to miss home.  And if there’s anything that Southern California does well it’s Asian food.

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So, if you find yourself with a craving for very good Asian cooking near Dayton, OH, take the detour to Troy and hit Sakai. We’re glad that we did.

Can’t you tell by the photo below?

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We didn’t catch the state line marker from Indiana, but did catch Ohio saying goodbye to us.

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The drive to Indianapolis was uneventful.

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Indianapolis Supercharger

The superchargers are located at a La Quinta Hotel.

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The La Quinta hosting the supercharger in Indianapolis seemed like a “nice enough” hotel for a stop for the evening, except it was still rather early (around 8pm) when we got there and we wanted to have this be a “drive far” day, so we opted to see what was along the way to the St Charles, MO supercharger before we make the cross to Independence, MO.

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The supercharger has eight stalls at this location. I wonder if there’s a large community of Teslas in Indianapolis or if it’s because these superchargers are at a major intersection of travel routes.

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While we were parked and charging at the Indianapolis supercharger, I started doing searches for hotels along I-70.  As I was fine tuning selections, I stumbled across a seemingly well priced lodging offer at Terre Haute, IN.

I proceeded to look at bookings and went to discuss this with my wife. Luckily she did a few things that brought about a new lesson learned from the trip. Just like universities (South Bend, IN) and major medical centers (Rochester, MN,) large federal correctional (i.e. prison) facilities are prone to have a good cluster of hotels near them. So, it’s a good idea to research why there are a lot of hotels before booking a hotel for the night.

I looked elsewhere for our lodging for the evening.

It turned out the Holiday Inn near the Effingham Supercharger was available. It was about double the price of the “deal” at Terre Haute, IN. I’m sure Terre Haute is a lovely place, but like they say is the three rules of real estate, “Location. Location. Location.” We opted to stay AWAY from the prison and book at the bargain 2x hotel near the Effingham Supercharger.

Effingham Supercharger

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Don’t adjust your dial.

Boy was I glad to make that drive. Aside from being “prison-free”, Effingham, IL was located at the best place of all for a supercharger.

It was at the parking lot of a gasoline station.

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The photo opportunities at night were plentiful.

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We arrived at the supercharger after 518 miles of driving. The supercharger is less than a mile away from our lodging for the night. Not quite as convenient as this morning’s Triadelphia supercharger, but the juxtaposition of Tesla with BP is priceless.

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Aside from the picture taking, for a good portion of time that we spent supercharging, a local young man (accompanied by his very understanding girlfriend), approached us and spent quite a bit of time talking to us about the car and Tesla and the future. It was reminiscent of the conversation we had with the group of young people at Rita’s in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. We spent a while talking to him (which is why I mentioned that the girlfriend was understanding) and made sure that we left a good impression to him about those of us who are lucky enough to be driving Model S.

To give us maximum flexibility for the next day, we supercharged close to full and headed to our hotel.

Holiday Inn Effingham

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The Holiday Inn at Effingham was clean, comfortable, and provided a very good Internet connection. We didn’t choose the hotel for anything else other than that and were very happy with the location. (i.e. farther away from a prison than our choices in Terre Haute, IN.) With that, we went to bed and to plan the next day’s I-70 Missouri crossing.

Go on to Day 20. Click here.

19_Triadelphia to Effingham

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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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