Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 21

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

Missed Day 20, click here.

Day 21 – Drive on Friday, May 22, 2015

Predictability in experience is one of the strengths of Hyatt and its Hyatt Place brands. It’s interesting to me because everytime I stay at a Hyatt Place, I can’t tell where I am (as in city). They all look and feel the same. And when one has been on the road for 21 days, a sense of familiarity is good.

Hyatt Place Topeka

If the following pictures had not been geo-tagged, it could have been any Hyatt Place at any city.

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The design of the front lobby desk is definitely one of those “things” that shout out Hyatt Place to me.

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It could be at Nashville or Las Vegas or Topeka, as is the case in this particular location.

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And that’s not a bad thing. Many times a surprise in hotel lodging is usually a “bad” surprise versus a “good” one. So, I’ll take consistent (when it comes to lodging) any day.

With that in mind, we had an ambitious goal to make it to Denver this evening. We normally travel a lot (via airplanes and rentals, and not driving trips in our Model S) and as a result have membership with many hotel and airline programs.

One of the things that we “cashed in” was a “free night certificate” from the Omni Hotel. The certificate actually was expiring as we were leaving for a trip, so we redeemed it. In considering the locations that we will be driving to and from, we redeemed the certificate for the Omni Hotel Interlocken in the Denver metropolitan area. The stipulation on the certificate is that it must be booked ahead and only if the room type and rate was available. After booking, we can only move the room to another date in the same hotel if the same conditions exist. Once redeemed, we can not get the certificate back nor change the certificate to another hotel.

Since we didn’t know when we were going to make it to Denver, we kept moving the booking, and the hotel was not available on Saturday night, so it was either Friday or Sunday, and today was a better day for this attempt.

Besides, we’ve always had very good stays at Omni Hotels and expected the Omni Hotel Interlocken to live up to those experiences. It is, after all, a “proper hotel.”

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Looks like there was no rated range lost last night.

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Well rested, bright-eyed, and bushy tailed. We headed off to the Salina Supercharger.

We saw signs on the road directing travelers to visit the “Little Apple”, Manhattan, KS.  Didn’t have a hankering for that, so we continued on.  Just passed the Manhattan, KS exits, was Fort Riley, home of the Big Red One. The only thing I really know about the Big Red One is what I saw in the movie of the same name.

I spotted the “really cool” helicopters on the side of the highway and we tried to take some pictures.

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And soon after that, we noticed a sign on the side of the road.

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President Dwight David (“Ike”) Eisonhower’s Presidential Library and Museum was ahead in Abilene, Kansas.

We had so much fun visiting the President Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum with the Orange County Tesla Club that we thought that it would be cool to visit President Eisonhower’s Museum.

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After all, the Interstate Highway system that we’ve been traveling on may not have happened had it not been for President Eisonhower and his championship. Besides, this was the start of the Memorial Day Weekend and President Eisonhower was Supereme Commander Allied Forces Europe and one of the architects of the victory in Europe.

Eisonhower Presidential Library and Museum

The parking lot had its fair share of visitors, no other Model S, but quite a bit of folks from many states.

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One of the interesting facets of this Presidential Library and Museum is that it was built around President Eisonhower’s childhood home.  The trustees actually bought out the homes and businesses around his childhood home to create the space for the Presidential Library and Museum.

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Visitors can actually take a tour inside the home as part of their entry to the museum.

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So, we figured, why not.

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The tour was only in the ground floor and we were not allowed to go upstairs.  They at least provided a photograph to show the upstairs rooms.

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The downstairs rooms were quite modest.

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The front door.

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The Front Salon was rarely used and only such when there are distinguished guests.

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The Family Bible where they recorded the births in the family was opened to the page of President Eisonhower’s entry.

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There was a room that the family converted into an indoor restroom

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that is adjacent to the kitchen.  Notice the old phone on the wall.  Apparently it was in the same state as it was when the foundation acquired the home and land around it.

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A shot of President Eisonhower’s family (parents and siblings.)

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And then we headed back to his museum.

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Since President Eisonhower spent most of his adult life as a military man, a good portion of the Eisonhower Presidential Library and Museum covers military stuff, for more pictures, let me refer you to my Flickr album.

The military things were cool, but I’d like to highlight a few of the things at the museum that were not military themed (as well as some military vehicles and technology.)

The first is to highlight that President Eisonhower actually drove an Electric Vehicle.

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It was a 1914 Rauch and Lang Electric Automobile with a maximum 100 mile range when driven at 13 miles per hour (top speed was 19 miles per hour.)

We took a photograph of the write-up that was provided for guests beside the vehicle.

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The car itself looked like many cars of the era.

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There were also other vehicles (mainly military) in the museum.

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A Jeep.

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I think that this was an Armored personnel carrier.

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And the sort of vehicle befitting transporting members of the command staff.

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It was interesting to see technology that inspired the modern mobile telephone.

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The Interstate highway system was named in honor of President Eisonhower for a reason.

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And look who took the time to be a little presidential. Or at least a Press Secretary, perhaps?

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This stop was another of those that “just happened” because of a road sign. We were glad to have spotted the sign for the Eisonhower Presidential Library and Museum and glad to have made the stop. Especially for the Friday that started Memorial Day celebrations.

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Besides Abilene, KS is along the route (86 miles) between Topeka and Salina and is definitely worth it. The diversion was probably close to a three mile round trip off I-70.

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Besides, it’s even closer to Salina Supercharger (less than 30 miles away) than the Topeka Supercharger.

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And we were headed to Salina.

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No tour for Russell Stover unfortunately. Besides it’s no Hershey’s (is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

One of the biggest complaints that Model S owners have is the cost of replacement tires. The 21 inch tires are much more expensive than the 19 inch ones.  For those that worry about the cost of tires. I wonder how much these tires cost.  I would guess that these tires are over 15 feet.

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The weather ahead is cloudy and cool. So, I would guess that we won’t have to worry about tornadoes as much. Though I wonder if this is foreboding of pending weather ahead.

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How many of these trucks are there? And what is the vehicle that they need to provide the spare tires for?

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I also wonder how big the nail is that will puncture that tire.

You know that you’re really bored in the Kansas drive when a curve excites you.

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We reached the Salina Supercharger. This supercharger is also hotel adjacent. A Holiday Inn Express this time.

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Salina Supercharger

We arrived at Salina with plenty of rated range to spare.

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When we got to the supercharger stall, another Model S was already charging. We didn’t head into the lobby and the owner of this vehicle was not near the car, so we didn’t meet the owner of this grey Tesla.

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Soon after we started to charge, another grey Model S arrived.  It was driven by a new local Kansas owner who just took delivery of their Model S the prior week.

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I was curious as to why it had temporary Colorado tags. Apparently, Kansas Tesla Model S purchasers need to go to Colorado to buy their car.  It seems that he was unable to purchase the car in a state that has many supercharger locations and stalls. I take it that this means that there probably are no service centers in Kansas either.

After charging in Salina, we needed to make a stop at a Post Office. We had to mail several parcels that required a post office stop. We headed to the Salina post office.

When we were departing the post office we met with the gentleman who was parked beside us in his Ford C-Max Plug-in Hybrid. He was admiring our Model S and was friendly. So, we struck up conversation with him. He spoke how he loves driving an EV. He communicated that he and his family rarely go beyond the 20 mile EV limit of the vehicle.  However, when they do, he appreciates the ability to go beyond. He told us a funny story of how smooth the electric drive train was that he didn’t realize that he had hit 100 MPH when he was driving on the highway.

We had a good laugh and left our new-found PHEV friend and headed to the Hays Supercharger.

Another long day of relatively flat and straight terrain.

The cows must not be worried about that giant snake on the billboard.

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Check out those horses.

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Wait, are those windmills I see?

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They are windmills!  Well, that’s cool.

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The windmills distract me enough that I didn’t even notice that there was our nemesis, the “Deer Crossing” sign in the picture. Besides, I’m only worried about the “Deer Crossing” at night when I sens that they’re just lurking there.

This windmill design seems to be prevalent in the windmills that we’ve seen around the country.

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Windmills near and windmills far.

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It’s quite a sight.

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Good for you Kansas.  I wonder how much of the wind power generated by these windmills find their way to the superchargers that we’ve been visiting.

We discovered taking panoramics while driving.

This is our first attempt.

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I think the second attempt was better.

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But the built in panoramic function on my iPhone doesn’t seem to like to work in moving vehicles.

Some more windmill shots.  This team, really close to the highway.

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On the way to Hays, we spotted an interesting structure in the distance.

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This is the Cathedral of the Plains – the Basilica of St. Fidelis.

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The structure was impressive from the highway, but we didn’t feel like stopping there, so we continued on.  Perhaps next time.

Hays Supercharger

The distances between superchargers on the I-70 route seem to be quite close to each other.  I suppose the effect of winter weather needs to be part of the planning on these parts of the country.  We continued to stop at each location to make sure that we provide content for the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.  Besides, we’re a lot more conservative when it comes to charging “insurance miles” than many folks out there.

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The Hays Supercharger is located at an Applebee’s Restaurant. I have not had a meal at an Applebee’s in many years and thought that it is good idea to try to have a meal at the restaurants that had the forethought to support the Tesla Supercharger network.

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The lunch hit the spot, but we had Denver in our target and we need to keep moving.

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It’s been a rather cloudy day today.  Though the clouds make the weather cool, it also signifies the potential for rain.  And the cloud cover looked foreboding.

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It seems that people in Kansas like to build some impressive looking churches. This is another one that we spotted in the distance and decided to skip. I didn’t catch the name of it, but it looked interesting.

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All the lemonade at Applebee’s forced us to seek a rest stop before we got to Goodland, KS. We took the opportunity to take a photo of the Eisonhower Interstate System sign at this stop.

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There was an interesting map of Kansas that was placed at the rest stop building.

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Just before the Goodland, KS supercharger is this giant replica of Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase.”

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The easel is huge, it’s as big as the water towers that we’ve been obsessively photographing on this trip.

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A photograph of your guides on this journey with the Giant Van Gogh.

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The Goodland Supercharger is a short drive from the Van Gogh that we took local streets to get there from the giant reproduction.

The view of the Goodland Supercharger as we approach it.

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Goodland Supercharger

The drive from Hays to Goodland was a good time to discuss our plans for the rest of the trip.  Denver is approximately 1,000 miles of driving to home if we return along the same route that took us East.  At this time, we were toying with the “crazy” idea of heading North to Washington State and go home along the Pacific coast.  But we’ve been on our drive for 21 days and we need to figure out where to go.  The last point of inflection for us to make that decision is around Beaver, UT or Richfield, UT. If we decide to “take the long way home,” we can expect to be on the road for another week.

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The navigation to the Omni Hotel Interlocken had us skipping the Limon Supercharger.  But we figured that we were stopping at each charger to make our entries into the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS, so we figured to charge on the upcoming climb and still stop at Limon.

We made sure to note that the supercharger at yet another Holiday Inn Express was adjacent to a Steak N Shake that was currently closed.

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I haven’t counted all the hotel collocated superchargers, but there seems to be a fair share of Holiday Inns that have one on property. At least two in Kansas.  We don’t normally stay at Holiday Inns, but their support of supercharging needs to be rewarded with a stay.

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The weather was turning chilly and precipitation threatened our continuing journey.  We still had a lot of light and we had “crossed the Rubicon” with our “free hotel certificate” at the Omni Hotel Interlocken.  So, we were committed to sleep there tonight.

When the drive ahead of you is fairly flat, large buildings tend to stand out.  You’ve seen the two churches that have drawn our attention.  One of the other things that seem to pop up were these buildings.  I think they are grain silos, but I’m not sure.

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Ooh cows. (See, I’m getting better with being in the country, I’m not referring to them as steak.)

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We found ourselves departing Kansas and crossing back into Colorado during sunlight.

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The climb to Denver was not the sudden climb that I was expecting. It was a gradual one. I thought that the elevation changes would be more pronounced and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. However, the clouds really are starting to look threatening.

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We had the promise of sunshine ahead, and with it, the sunset photographs that my wife had enjoyed taking.

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We switched panoramic devices to an older Pano App that played with the moving vehicle better.

My wife was able to capture the rainy weather ahead in panoramic.

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She was also playing with taking inside the car panoramic shots.

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And then the rain started to drop.

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The rain was quite refreshing.  After being threatened by it for the day, it was nice to finally have it pour.  Nature is definitely impressive and the backdrop of the country beside it makes one appreciate how much smaller we are in comparison to it.

The majesty of the sunset ahead as the rain took a break was a sight to behold.

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Some chase rainbows, others are chased by rainbows.

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And as we headed toward Limon, we see windmills in Colorado.

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The Colorado windfarms look a lot more dense than the ones to their neighbor East, Kansas.

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I wonder if they get more wind in Colorado, or if it’s a case of “Keeping up with the Kansans.”

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Either way, the pursuit of renewable energy is something to be commended and good for you Colorado!

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Looking at the inclement weather in our rearview side mirror we made it to the Limon Supercharger.

Limon Supercharger

The Limon Supercharger is also located at an Arby’s (like the Topeka, Kansas one.) As much as I like to support those businesses that promote supercharging, we were still full from the stop at Applebee’s. Now if it was an Ice Cream or Ice Custard stop, I might have been able to be convinced.

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It was actively raining at the Limon Supercharger stop.

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In fact, some small hail pellets started to fall. The sunset and rain coupled with the red of the Tesla signs made for some interesting photo opportunities for the car as we charged.

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Now, this was one of those stops that was “not required” by our range, so we intended to take a quick break, charge a few miles and then head on our way.

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As I was taking panoramic pictures of the car with the supercharger and Arby’s behind it,

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another Tesla Model S from California drove in.

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We introduced ourselves to the nice couple that was driving the California Model S. It turned out that not only were they from California, they are from the same city that we live in. What are the odds to run into a fellow Model S traveler from our own city? They were proceeding Eastward to Iowa as we were headed West.

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We rolled out of Limon with 201 Rated Range to get to the Denver/Aurora Supercharger.

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Figured we were still climbing the Rockies here so I wanted to make sure we had lots of charge.  Additionally, I photographed the trip meters because I wanted to see what the effect of this elevation and weather would have on our consumption of rated range.  After all, the day’s consumption was at a pretty inefficient 351 Wh/mi per Trip B, was that the rain or elevation?  Probably both.

Denver Supercharger

It was only 77 miles away, but we used 91 rated miles to travel. So, the usage wasn’t as bad as I thought.

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The drive to Denver from Limon was actually more efficient than the drive through Kansas to Limon. Our day’s efficiency went down from 351 Wh/mi to 347 Wh/mi.

Now, the hotel we’re staying at is around 30 miles away and we wanted to get to Silverthorne tomorrow without having to charge overnight, so we charged up close to full again.

It was raining while we charged in Denver/Aurora, so we stayed in the car.  It was another hotel location.

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It was getting late and we were looking at the promise of a “full service hotel”, so we charged close to 90% state of charge (SOC.)

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Took a photograph again as I was interested in seeing the consumption from the charger across a rainy Denver metro area.

Omni Hotel Interlocken

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We arrived at the hotel with 199 Miles of rated range overnight. and an improvement from our 347 Wh/mi consumption to 346 Wh/mi.

Go on to Day 22. Click here.

21_Topeka to Broomfield

Published by

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).

5 thoughts on “Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 21”

  1. Enjoying your story!

    “The C-Max Energi is capable of reaching a top electric-only speed of 85 mph (137 km/h), exceeding the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid by more than 20 mph (32 km/h).[16] The top speed in hybrid mode is 115 mph (185 km/h).” — Wikipedia

    1. Thanks…

      It’s definitely interesting to meet other EV drivers in parts of the country that are not nearly as EV friendly to drivers as California.

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