Trip to our first Tesla Annual Meeting – Northbound (Day One)

Go ahead to Day Two. Here’s a link.
Looking for my thoughts and theories on the point to the long history lesson covered at the meeting. Here’s a link.

For as long as we’ve owned stock in Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) we’ve always submitted our votes via the Internet and virtually “attended” the annual meeting via a live video stream over the Internet.

Last week we decided to attend the Tesla Annual Meeting in person.  The meeting was scheduled on May 31, 2016, 2:00 PM Pacific, at the Computer History Museum located at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043.  Tesla’s annual meeting is also available online.  I felt that Tesla’s point to their meeting was important enough for its own post.  Day two of this drive is here.

Now, those not familiar with California geography might think that this is a quick drive down the corner, but Mountain View is in Silicon Valley and we live in Southern California, so, it’s the opportunity for another Tesla Roadtrip.

As with other Roadtrips, we start with tracking the miles and energy use of our drive.  We started the trip at 57,372 miles on the odometer and a 90% charge at 228 miles.

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Not quite the energy use at ZERO, we used a little bit of energy to stage our car in our driveway.

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It was worth it… Considering this will be the cleanest our Model S will look after this drive.

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Now, in contrast with our trip last year which took us up to the Bay Area in one day, we’ve decided to split this trip into two days. This post will cover the first day’s drive and activities.  Day two’s activities will be posted at 10AM Pacific Daylight Time/6PM BST, June 9, 2016.

One of the big challenges is the annual meeting is held at 2:00 PM and we would have to leave very early on the 31st to make that drive versus the drive last year where the event we were attending was later in the day. Besides, it was the opportunity for us to take the “longer and more scenic” route to the Bay Area, the US 101 drive. The last time that we took our car through that route was on our Factory Pickup weekend in 2013.

Since it was a Holiday, the traffic around town was relatively light.

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A lot of the traffic was on the other side of us, and this is the part of the 405 where we have to make our final decision on staying on going on US 101 or go to I-5. We opted to stay with the plan.

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One of the reasons we decided to take the US 101 route is because we’re driving up to Silicon Valley on the Monday day of the Memorial Day weekend.  We anticipated a lot more traffic on I-5 and figure that the route will be a wash.  Not sure whether or not this ended up being the case, but that was my internal justification for taking this route.

The great part of taking a different route is you get different views for this long drive.

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When we did this drive in 2013, the only supercharger in the Los Angeles area was the one at the Hawthorne Design Center.  As mentioned earlier, we rolled out of home with a 90% daily charge at 228 miles of range, more than enough to make it to the superchargers at Buelton.  However, we rolled off without grabbing any coffee, so we opted to stop off at the Oxnard Supercharger.

Oxnard Supercharger

This was not our first time at the Oxnard Supercharger.  The in-car Tesla trip planner had us originally skipping this supercharger, but we’ve been in the car for an hour and a half when we got to the area and I wanted to stretch my legs and grab coffee.  So, we stopped.

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Figured to go grab some coffee at Starbucks and get some electrons and stretch my legs. The Starbucks for this charging station is not directly beside the location (It’s at the corner of Portico Way and Town Center Drive.) It’s a short five minute walk from the charging station, but we figured to get enough of a charge to skip the Buelton Supercharger instead by stopping at Oxnard.

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This particular charging station was relatively free when we got there, but it seems that many that needed to use it started arriving as we rolled off. As we were preparing to leave, I noticed that one of the vehicles that pulled up had Indiana plates that I figured to strike a conversation with the “out of towner.” It turned out that the owner of the Indiana plate Model S just moved to the area over a month ago and was on his way to Santa Barbara Wine Country. With the the driver and passenger fueled up, we headed North.

The next supercharger was Buelton and we had enough to skip that supercharger and head to Atascadero instead. The Buelton supercharger is the first supercharger North of Santa Barbara and on a holiday weekend, we expected traffic to hit us in Santa Barbara.

Normally we would expect to see some nice sunny beach pictures off to the side of the drive, but we were pretty much overcast on the beginning part of the drive, so here’s a beach shot.

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Not much to brag about.

And that traffic that we expected in Santa Barbara, we were not disappointed.

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We were pleasantly surprised because they were headed back to the Los Angeles area and not joining us on our drive North.

And, sure enough as we clear the beach portion of this part of the drive, the sun decided to show.

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Buelton Supercharger

So, we were planning on skipping the Buelton Supercharger, but I really should have just ordered a Tall Latte at Starbucks and not a Grande. Though we had plenty of charge left to make it to Atascadero, I figured to do a quick pit-stop at Buelton.

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We only traveled about 80 miles from Oxnard, and the car can outlast me, but I always figure if I need to stop, I might as well make it a multi-purpose stop.

The Buelton Supercharger is located at a Marriott and they are in the middle of renovations at this location that is expected to last a few months in 2016. Buelton is right beside the Santa Barbara County wine region and as such we get treated to some nice views of grapes that are growing.

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Though, I was teasing the better half at this point and discussing with her whether these were the “raisin” farms. Come to think of it, if someone can plant grapes to make wine, why would you plant grapes to make raisins? Or sell grapes for food instead? The thoughts that pop up on a drive.

When we drove this on our Factory pickup weekend, we were nearing the end of our journey and it was very early in the morning. It was nice to be able to see the scenery on this drive. However, we had some strong flashbacks of our time in Vermont and New Hampshire.

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At least in California, our BEAR signs are a LOT more cute.

And another 80 miles later, we’re at Atascadero.

Atascadero Supercharger

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The Atascadero Supercharger stop is another legacy stop for Roadster owners. When one walks from the Supercharger to the Rabobank there is an EVSE there (now converted to J1772) that was originally configured for Roadsters.

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When we were there charging, a Honda Fit EV was there charging at full 6.6kW speed. The Roadster is capable of charging at 70A (not sure if that means 16.8kW or 17.5kW) and many of the Roadster owners donated HPWCs to form the precursor to the Supercharging network. There are still some of these chargers out in the wild (the one in Harris Ranch, for example is still there and set up for Roadster charging) though many have been converted to J1772.

This particular location was the busiest of the ones on the drive North so far.

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And we decided to stop here because there was a very imposing string of red on our route ahead. I contend that this is the holiday traffic headed home and wanted to ensure that we topped up to be able to drive in comfort and maximize cooling. The temperatures outside were in the 90s and sunny now that our drive was more inland. Go figure.

As long as this drive has been relative to our usual I-5 route, it was a little refreshing because there were lots to see.

Even things that we are hopefully shutting down as we move to a more EV centric transportation network.

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Such orderly plants.

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Of course, more and more fellow Tesla travelers on this route.

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It’s not all solar either. Wind is there too.

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At first, I had designs on “going off-route” and checking out the supercharger in Monterey Bay, but the traffic on this Holiday weekend had something to do with changing my mind.

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We spent a lot of time in traffic because I did not want to follow the GPS which kept trying to re-route us around the traffic and onto “less traveled” routes. We spent the time entertaining ourselves with interesting visual clues.

Like the multi-colored “cow”.

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Or the “Cell tower Trees”

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The traffic was relentless and accompanied us through the trees…

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and open spaces

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It wasn’t until we were near Gilroy when traffic lightened up.

Gilroy Supercharger

We could have skipped Gilroy and checked into our hotel, but I wanted to take a break because of all the time we spent in bumper to bumper traffic. Besides, a strategy that we often use for visiting the Bay Area is to supercharge enough “driving around” charge once we hit Gilroy, so we decided to do that.

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Because of the elevation differences and the heat, our consumption on the Atascadero to Gilroy stage of the drive was pretty wasteful. I have averaged between 307 to 309 Wh per mile for as long as we’ve owned the Model S and the leg between Atascadero and Gilroy we used 346 Wh per mile. I wonder what the readings would have been if we were rolling along rather than stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. I would surmise that it would be even worse consumption figures.

Gilroy was packed.

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If in a pinch, however, there are two NRG EVgo CHAdeMO/CCS combo chargers across from the Superchargers.

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or one just waits.

Either way, we waited and charged up. As packed as the location was, no one had to wait. As we were nearing time for us to go, we actually ran into a couple of Tesla Owners Club of Orange County (OC Tesla (meetup group and our group page on TMC) members who were also headed to the annual meeting. We spent a few minutes catching up and making plans to meet the next day. Before it got dark, we rolled off to our hotel.

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We grabbed some dinner and then headed to our hotel.

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So after 438 miles of driving, we checked in for the night.

What wonders will we see tomorrow at the Annual Meeting Day?

We didn’t know at that time and went to bed.

Day two of this drive is here. For my theories on the point and meeting content, click here.

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).

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