Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 09

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

Missed Day 8, click here.

Day 9 – Drive on Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers’ Day. Today’s goal is to make it to my other cousin’s home at Randolph, NJ, however, we had too much fun visiting my cousin in Ohio that we got a late start to the day.

Copley, OH

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My cousin finally got to take a spin in the the Model S before we rolled out for our trip today. Needless to say, he was floored. I reminded him that we have an S85 and not the P85D, and that the acceleration and torque that he experienced is more “reserved” than the top of the line Model S. I even reminded him that the Cleveland-Lyndhurst Sales and Service Center that we went to a few days before had an abundance of CPO Model S in stock, ready for delivery. So, here’s to hoping that another Model S joins the extended family.

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For some reason, we reset the start of day mileage.  Mental error, I guess.

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One thing that stands out to this California driver, since Illinois, is the abundance of toll roads that one needs to traverse through to get from point A to point B (and many points in between.) Growing up in Southern California, tolls are the exception and not the rule. Additionally, most locations in Southern California now do not take cash for the toll roads. One must use the transponders to use these toll roads. In the East, it seems that most of the toll roads still take cash, and we opted NOT to sign up for any of the toll transponders as we didn’t know where to get it, nor how to refill and the like. Some states toll authority allowed credit cards, while others were cash only. So, I would suggest that California (or other Western drivers who are traveling East from Illinois onward) carry sufficient cash to cover the toll roads.

After driving over 2,500 miles in a few days, the drive of less than a hundred miles seems rather quick. So quick that just like that, we’re almost at the PA border.

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Cranberry Supercharger

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The Cranberry Supercharger was a bit of a distance from the Turnpike. I would surmise that we drove a few miles away from the exit to get to the supercharger. Followed the Navigation to the supercharger but it was sending us to the wrong side of the street. It’s way in the back of the Residence Inn. The last supercharger was blocked by some containers that the hotel seems to be using. It doesn’t seem to be a permanent installation, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

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I didn’t know what to expect to the Somerset Supercharger, so we went back to our baseline for the trip to add at least 100 miles on top of the minimum required to reach the next charger, at Somerset, PA.

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On the way to the Somerset Supercharger, I was pleasantly surprised by a familiar site – a 30A Blink Network Charger at the Oakmont Plum Rest Area.

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Now, this was a stop we made because I had a craving for coffee, and this location had a Starbucks, so it was a pleasant coincidence that there was an EV charger on the Turnpike. We didn’t “need” a charge, so we didn’t plug in.

Good for you Pennsylvania.

Somerset Supercharger

This was a supercharger that required an exit from the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The location was close to the exit and by the Wendy’s.  Since we were a stop away from Maryland, I thought to send a few tweets to some of my EV contacts from Twitter to see if they wanted to meet-up at Hagerstown.  Since it was Mother’s Day, I figured that the chances were slim to none, but decided to give it a try anyway.

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If your car is dirty from the trip, beside the supercharger is a car wash.

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This location might be a good place to clean the car, if you’re on a long roadtrip. On the drive to Hagerstown, MD, we saw a cluster of windmills.  So, good for you for that Pennsylvania.

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After leaving the Somerset, PA supercharger, on the way to Hagerstown, MD we reached 38,000 miles on this drive.

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Longtime readers know how much I enjoy posting about Significant Mileage.

I made a mental note that “you know that you’re East when a few hundred miles of the drive has you going through several states,” as we pass the border into Maryland.

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Hagerstown Supercharger

This supercharger is located in an outlet mall. When we pulled into the supercharger, I checked Twitter, and, as expected folks had prior engagements in Maryland. I’ll just reach out again the next time we’re back through here.

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Arriving here around dinner time had us look for what our dining options are. We opted to go to the Longhorn Steakhouse at the entrance of the Hagerstown Outlet Mall, not quite the Maryland crab cakes I was hoping to have, but sustenance nonetheless.

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With a full car and full driver, we headed out of Hagerstown, MD for the next stop on our drive.  The next supercharger in Maryland is in Bethesda, MD, however, we’re on our way to New Jersey and could get to the Newark, DE supercharger without a stop in Bethesda.  So, we went toward Newark, DE.

You know what time it is when state line crossings end up looking blurry. My cousin in New Jersey and his wife will have to be at work on Monday and based on the time we’re crossing into Delaware, it will be too late to get to his home, so we contacted him and told him that we’ll be there on Monday night instead. Besides, we’ve never slept in Delaware before. Delaware has always been one of those states that I’ve driven through, because the crossing from New Jersey to Maryland is so quick, until now.

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Newark Supercharger

The Newark superchargers are at the Delaware Welcome Center. We drove in with another Model S. As we entered the Delaware Welcome Center and drove toward the superchargers a white Model S was following us. The White Model S driver must’ve been experienced because they didn’t split the circuit with us. We took one supercharger and the other Model S took the other supercharger, we didn’t speak to the other Model S, so aside from it being a white Model S from New Jersey, that was it.

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I went inside the Delaware Welcome Center to get a couple of panoramics of the inside of the restaurants for the welcome center for the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.

There is a Starbucks in the middle of the welcome center.  Additionally, there is a SECOND Starbucks counter to the far left and off the picture (and the far left to the entrance closest to the superchargers.)

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The only restaurant that was blocked by this panoramic was a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.

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In reading plugshare for the welcome center location, it is interesting to note for Roadster drivers that the J1772 charger at this same location is 18kW. That’s a full Roadster speed charge (based on my estimate.) [Of course, based on how the “universe” works, if one were to show up with a Roadster to plug at that location, it would probably be used by a 2011-2012 Leaf or a Chevy Volt that is drawing a 3.3kW at the maximum. But I could just be cynical. ;-)]

Hampton Inn and Suites Christiana Newark

We decided to stay in Delaware as we’ve never slept in this state before. We found a Hampton Inn the next exit North from the Delaware Welcome Center.

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Looks like we didn’t make it to New Jersey this Sunday, but, on the plus side, we finally found “reason” to sleep in Delaware. With 214 Miles of Rated Range left, we parked the car for the night and headed in. The superchargers in New Jersey are quite close to each other.

Go on to Day 10. Click here.

09_Copley to Christiana

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 08

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

Missed Day 7, click here.

Day 8 – Hanging out in Akron, Cleveland, Copley, and Cuyahoga Falls Area on Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday, May 9 was our day to spend with our family in Copley. Today’s activities were spread out for things in the local area.

Westside Market

Our first stop in the morning was the Westside Market in Cleveland, OH.

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The Westside Market reminds me of the excellent food halls in Europe. The Grand Central Market in Los Angeles is a good example of one that is similar in Southern California, but rarely do I find myself at these type of places when I’m home. Food halls are just one of those places that I love to go to when I’m on a trip. Food halls often provide me a sense of “adventure.” The Westside Market is quite fun, it’s no KaDeWe in Berlin or the Harrod’s Food Halls, but it holds its own.

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Picked up some cannolis here. It’s always a good idea to get some food at these sort of places when one is gallivanting about for the day.

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Some cheese, perhaps?

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Some bread?

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Or some healthy fruit options?

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I was surprised to see star fruit. As warm as the day is in Cleveland, it was quite surprising to see something tropical fruit, in decisively non-tropical Cleveland.

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We picked some up for the younger members of the family to try. I don’t really like star fruit. It’s them, not me. 😉

Glass Bubble Project

Adjacent to the Westside Market is a fun activity called the Glass Bubble Project.

The Glass Bubble Project allows participants to gain instruction in AND have the opportunity to blow two pieces of glass. We were observers as younger members of our family took the opportunity to take instruction and craft their own glass pieces.

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This is a picture of the oven where the artist “gathers” the molten glass.

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And uses the molten glass to pick up whatever colors they want to mix in with the piece.  The glass in this picture is glowing red from heat.  There are no red colors in any of the pieces that were crafted by our younger family members that day.

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The next series of photographs are of the molten glass being being melted to the colored glass in the kiln.  My wife got some really great pictures of the piece in there.

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We spoke with the proprietor and were delighted to hear that at least 95% of the glass used at the glass bubble project are from recycled glass.

The Glass Bubble Project folks also had a shop for some of the glasswork that artists were selling at the location as well. The Glass and Metal Swordfish on the picture below was headed in the opposite direction of our travel.  We were told by the proprietor that it was sold to a restaurant in California and will be adorning their dining room.

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Here is a picture of some of the molten glass being shaped by our family members

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This next piece is a bowl being made.

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The same bowl in the kiln being heated up again.

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[WHOOSH… Time warp to the future]

Here are the finished pieces from later in the week (we were already onto other destinations when these pieces cooled and arrived at my cousin’s home.)

Glass Bubble 2

Glass Bubble 1

[WHOOSH… Back to Day 8]

What is it with Cleveland businesses and using birds for mascots.

Yesterday’s visit to the Tesla Lyndhurst Sales and Service Center had the Canada Goose.

The Glass Bubble Project have a Rooster as its “Marketing Director.” Apparently Morty the Rooster, the mascot/”Marketing Director” for the Glass Bubble Project has more Instagram followers than the Glass Bubble Project itself.

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Needless to say, we had a pretty full morning.  We took the opportunity to go grab some lunch at a fun little restaurant at Cuyahoga Falls.

Cuyahoga Falls

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We proceeded to Cuyahoga Falls for lunch at the Blue Door Cafe and Bakery. I would’ve had dessert there as well, but we promised our younger family members that we would go to Rita’s for dessert.

Tesla at Rita's

It turns out that Rita’s dessert is Frozen Custard.  So, I had my second Frozen Custard (or as they call it here, Ice Custard.) As we finished ordering our dessert here, a couple of local young adults asked if we were the ones that drove up in the Model S.

We took the opportunity to discuss the Model S and electric vehicle travel from California to Ohio. We showed them the car and its various features and the discussion with these young adults has led me to be hopeful for the future generation. I sure am glad that we had the car washed the day before as the car does show off better when it is clean than when it is littered with many dead bugs on it.

One of the things that we discussed and carry in the car, is an example of the battery for the Model S. As previously reported, Tesla’s battery sheets are made from off-the shelf Panasonic 18650 cells. So, when we first got our Roadster, we bought two of the 18650 from Amazon to show the type of battery that comprises Tesla’s battery sheets to people. So, whenever we talk about the car to people, we like to pull out the battery below for demonstration purposes.

[picture replaced 2015-06-07 at 11:12 PM PDT]

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Here is a better picture with a AA and AAA for comparison as well as the pen. [picture added 2015-06-07 at 11:12 PM PDT]

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Palladian Palette

We spent the afternoon going to the Palladian Palette in Akron, OH. Rather than explore the city, we explored our artistic talents.

I’m a rather practical sort, and I was trying to figure out what to paint.  Aside from Ice Cream (or now Ice/Frozen Custard), I have a weakness for coffee.  I like coffee.  So, I was attracted to the picture of some coffee cups that I saw in the “inspiration book” that the good folk at Palladian Palette provided for us to draw inspiration from.

So, draw I did.  It’s been decades since I’ve picked up a paintbrush or drawn anything, so I figured that something less “realistic” would probably suit me well.

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I guess my free-hand and pencil isn’t so bad.  I think I did a good job of mimicking the picture that was provided.

After drawing it, one had to go through the multitude of colored paint that was provided for us to use.

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And there brushes of all sorts.

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I opted for a light “mocha” color for the white-space in the work.  I figure that it would be less likely that I would “mess up” that part of the painting before I filled it in.

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A picture of another work of art parked outside for the afternoon.

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So, I finished the work.

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And the last piece that I always remembered from art class, was to sign and date my work.  It’s no Picasso or Van Gogh, but it’s mine.

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While I was busy painting coffee cups to go beside our coffee machine at home, my better half was busy painting a nice romantic scene.

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The cannolis from earlier in the day came in handy while we waited for the “paint to dry.”

Painting a masterpiece is hard work. "Leave the gun, take the cannoli." From Westside Market!

Her painting came out nicer than mine.

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Macedonia Supercharger

The Macedonia Supercharger was about 20 miles away from my cousin’s home in Copley, OH.  We were planning on driving toward New Jersey on Day 9, Sunday and to make sure that we were not heading backward as we headed toward Pittsburgh (and the Cranberry, PA supercharger) we decided to go get a supercharge before we plug in at my cousin’s house at 110V.

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It was raining lightly while we were on the way to the supercharger and the rain picked up while we were there.  As we supercharged at the location, we had several cars drive by.  A gentleman with his daughter stopped by and conversed with us.  He apparently works with GM on the Volt and has never seen anyone use the supercharger.  He asked whether the car was a hybrid, like the Volt and I proceeded to communicate what made the Model S different from the Volt.

Copley, OH

The rain got stronger as we headed back to Copley, so we didn’t plug the car back in when we got back from Macedonia. The 110V installation outdoors would’ve gotten wet as it was raining, and we just got a full supercharge, so we figured to just leave the car unplugged. Between the 21 mile difference from Macedonia and my cousin’s home in Copley, we could afford the “up-to” ten mile loss that we’ve experienced in the past. Our distance to Cranberry, PA Supercharger from Copley, OH is approximately 100 miles away anyway, so we have enough range to work with.

Didn’t take a photo of the mileage that night nor did we log the overnight miles.

Go on to Day 9. Click here.

We’ve decided to overlay yellow lines for marking the return journey from the supercharger.  When we reach the Easternmost portion of the journey, we intend on overlaying yellow for the route back West.

08_Copley to Copley

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 07

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

Missed Day 6, click here.

Day 7 – Visiting Copley, OH and Tesla Activities on Friday, May 8, 2015

We’re spending the day with family this Friday. Granted the kids are in school and the adults are at work, so it’s a “free” day.

We charged the car at my cousin’s house overnight and we rolled out at 130 miles of Rated Range. This means that we added 55 miles in 14 hours and 45 minutes. That’s an average of 3.7 rated miles per hour that was added since the previous evening’s arrival.

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Having traveled close to 2,500 miles over the course of the last week, it might behoove us to have the car “looked” over and possibly washed again, so we contacted the Tesla Motors Service Center in OH Cleveland Lyndhurst Sales and Service Center. When we purchased our spare wheel and tire in preparation for the trip, our “regular” service center installed the rear passenger’s side wheel with a new tire on the rear driver’s side. This would’ve been fine, except our passenger side wheels both have a “rash” from the nearly 35,000 miles of driving and that we did since the factory. So, I requested that the Lyndhurst Service Center swap the two wheels so that all the “rashed” wheels are once again on the passenger’s side.

Visiting the Service Center at this location also gave us the opportunity to fill in information on the service center for the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS. The App not only provides for feedback to Tesla owners on superchargers, but on Destination Chargers, Service Centers, and Sales Centers. So, we were able to do “something” today for Teslarati.

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Understanding that we were long distance travelers and to save us the time of having to stop of at Macedonia for a charge, the Service Center topped us up with their in-service center supercharger. Apparently, this location is not only a Sales and Service Center, but also has a supercharger within the service area. This means that the supercharger is not necessarily for “heavy” use, it could only be accessed “during hours” by cars that are being “serviced.” Current hours in May 2015 are M-F 8-6 for Service and M-F 10-6 for Sales.

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Pictured below and looking like refrigerators is the in-service center version of the supercharger that the Cleveland-Lyndurst Sales and Service Center has in the back (service area). It is within the service center and thus subject to the service center hours.

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The Sales Center part of the location had many CPO Model S in stock.  It seems to be the main distribution point for CPO in this part of the country.  As with most CPOs, check the website for what is offered.  Though based on what was online versus what was at the site, I would surmise that it would behoove interested parties to talk to a sales center to get a more accurate inventory of CPO cars.

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A picture of the Service Center part of the location.  It was nice to see a couple of Roadsters in the Service Center.  I wonder how often folks that experience winter drive their Roadsters.  I know of at least one that used to drive in all sorts of weather, but we tend to be the sort to drive ours in “better” weather, the luxury of being Southern California based.

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The Delivery Center portion of the Sales and Service Center.

A lucky few look ready for the pickup appointment.

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I forgot to take pictures of the waiting area, but I have to complain about the “level” of coffee service at the location. It was at the “standard”/first or K-cup level and not at the premium ones found at the new Costa Mesa and West Los Angeles service center levels.

While we were waiting for the service to be performed on our vehicle, we asked Rudy Graham, the Service Concierge, where the nearest place was for a “meal.” Rather than have us walk to the rather pedestrian choices near the Lyndhurst Sales and Service Center, Rudy was able to provide us with a 70D loaner with the directions to a nearby mall with much better food choices.

The 70D was very new. It only had 43 miles on it. We ended up adding a few miles to the car and I couldn’t tell any difference with the way it drove. It had newer seats and I can tell that Tesla made some changes with the newer seats, namely, it felt “bulkier” with more padding. Additionally, like other recent loaners, the car displays the speed limit of the road on the dashboard as you come up to a speed limit sign.

We were missing “familiar” food to us, so we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory. (Though the chain is nationwide, the chain did start in Southern California.)

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Visitors to the center need to be aware of the center’s “mascot” – a goose, we think it’s of the “Canadian Canada Goose” variety, but we’re not bird-watchers, or experts in anything “wild.” (Remember our trip acquired Deer Crossing-phobia).

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During our entire stay at the service center, this goose was standing watch over the entrance to the service bay area. It was there when we arrived and turned our car in for service and it was there when we did our tour of the facility.

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We were so happy with getting our car back in great condition.

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What can I say, Tesla Motors Service is awesome, no matter where in the country you go. Rudy did a great job representing Tesla and we were happy with his assistance.

Of course the other benefit to having the car worked on, a clean car after we picked it up (something which we normally opt-out on at home as we wash our own cars as I find it very therapeutic.)

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Getting the car back in this condition is a great way to represent Tesla to the folks in Ohio.

We went out to dinner with my cousin and his family for dinner on Friday night. We went to a restaurant called Tre Belle in Bath, OH. The food was good and enjoyable, but the evening was quite memorable (in a “car” sort of way.)

Apparently, the local Porsche club had a meeting at Tre Belle when we pulled in for dinner with our Model S. The valet’s eyes lit up when we pulled in and I handed him the key to take care of the car. I asked for a valet ticket, but he said “I’ll remember you.” And we went in. The valet parked the car in between two Porsche 911 convertibles and seemed to have caused a stir.

However, we were not approached by the Porsche club members, so I hope that they can be convinced to give Tesla a try.

After dinner, we headed back to my cousin’s home.

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We parked the car with 200 miles of Rated Range left.

Go on to Day 8. Click here.

07_Copley to TSC to Copley

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 06

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

Missed Day 5, click here.

Day 6 – Drive on Thursday, May 7, 2015

Our goal today is to get to Copley, OH. A day earlier than we had adjusted to, but enough time to catch dinner with my cousin and his family. Luckily, we eat dinner late, so that can be a lot later than when other people “usually” have dinner.

Hampton Inn South Bend

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We ended the previous evening’s rated range at 79 miles when we parked the car and woke the car up the next morning with 80 miles of rated range. Another one of those days where the mileage went up from when we turned in.

This time, I was able to take a picture.

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I remembered to mute the audio before I started the drive to reposition the car to the front of the hotel to make it easier to load it when we drive off for the day. No “Van Halen” surprises this morning.

Mishawaka Supercharger

The Mishawaka Supercharger was about four miles from our hotel. We took surface streets to get there because that’s what the navigation provided us. So, I don’t know how difficult or easy it is to get to this charger from the Interstate/Turnpike.

What’s the difference between an Interstate and a Turnpike anyway? Well… It would seem that the difference is the “toll”. Once we entered Illinois the previous day, they started to charge us for driving on the road. I thought my taxes already covered the highway system, apparently I was wrong. So, have to get used to that and factor that in the drive. So, I guess I should be happy that the navigation took us on a surface street to get to the Mishawaka Supercharger from the hotel.

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If comparing the mileage between the 80 that I had in the morning with the 72 on the dash when we started charging with the 4 or so miles to get there, please note that I remembered to COOL the car down with pre-conditioning as it was a HOT (the temperature at 10:00 am was already 85F/29.4C, without wind) day in South Bend when we decided to pull out of the hotel and I turned the air conditioning on full blast.

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When one is traveling on electricity, it’s easy to turn the car on for “convenience” reasons.

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Another one of these mall locations that are located at the far edge.

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We just hung out at the car for this charge. We get a chance to make calls, check e-mails, and the like when we supercharge the car. That Barnes and Noble looks big and as with most Barnes and Noble offer free wi-fi.

Yes, as usual… a WATER TOWER picture.

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Which leads to something that my wife wanted to suggest to the Tesla Supercharger folks. Why not add a LOCATION sign to each supercharger? Whether painted on the supercharger itself or in the location. That way, when one takes a picture of a supercharger, the location is embedded in the photo.

I told her, I didn’t know why, but agreed that this is a good idea.

So, we headed out of Mishawaka on the way to Copley, OH.

The Indiana countryside had a more interesting view.

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Before we left Indiana for Ohio, we stopped off at the Angola Supercharger.

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Angola Supercharger

We had enough range to skip this supercharger, but we did tell our friends at Teslarati that we would be helping with the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS and post content for the stop, so, we decided to swing by and stop.

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We were thrown off by the location of the Angola Supercharger. There is an outlet mall nearly adjacent to the exit from the Turnpike/I-80/I-90, but the supercharger was not located there.

Instead it is located just below a Ramada Hotel a few miles away. This location has a great view of the valley below, but I was concerned that in the winter, with ice and snow, the ascent to the superchargers might be “tough.”

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We tried to capture the steepness of the drive into the supercharger location, but we were unable to get it with the photograph.

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Our friends from @TeslaRoadtrip stuck a sticker at one of the chargers from their 2014 cross-country trip to TMC Connect 2014. I wonder if they’ll be doing the same thing when they head West from the East Coast for TMC Connect 2015.

Which of the @TeslaRoadtrip participants put this in Angola, IN? Stall 1B!

Once again, not a necessary stop, but nice views from the supercharger station.

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This might be the best way to show how steep it was from the driveway to the supercharger. It’s a view from the base of the driveway toward the superchargers.

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We had a quick charge and headed to Ohio, and the short trek through the state to get to Copley, OH.

We had some pretty interesting things that we saw in Ohio, on the way to Maumee Supercharger.

First, we crossed into Ohio.

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Some cool Ohio farms.

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Some really old barns… (shouldn’t they be demolished if they looked like this.)

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It’s interesting to note that folks who live so far apart from their neighbors like they do in the Ohio farm communities.

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Probably know their neighbors better than we do in suburban Southern California. At least I would venture to guess that would be the case.

We had SOME excitement on the drive to the Maumee supercharger, we got some confirmation on how they repair such large power lines.

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I would be SO freaked out by that, and these guys made it look “easy.”

Maumee Supercharger

The supercharger in Maumee, OH was difficult to find. It was not very close to the highway. It was located toward the back of the road that it was installed in.

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Hiding the superchargers from the road were several fast food restaurants in front of chargers.

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The Steak Escape was entrepreneurial in that they offer Tesla travelers a discount.

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Since we were planning on having dinner with family, we didn’t take them up on their discounted meal for Tesla travelers.

As you can see from the statistics, we could easily have made it here and skipped Angola, but was glad to have stopped there, if anything just to take pictures and make notes.

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And with that, we decided to press on. Our original plan was to go to charge at Macedonia, OH as those superchargers are close to Copley. But decided to skip that and just head to my cousin’s house.

More barns on the way to Copley.

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Was that hay or a roll of fiber optics?

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Sunset over Ohio.

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Copley, OH

And with that, we finally made our goal for the next few days. We made it to Copley, OH. To minimize losing the ten miles that we did at our worst stop, we plug at my cousin’s home at 110V and get 12A of charging.

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As we used to do with the Active E and to prevent the temptation to steal our really long extension cord, we drive the car on top of the cable so that it can not be taken without rolling the car.

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We’re getting three miles per hour on this connection. (It actually speeds up to four miles per hour later in the cycle.) We plugged in the evening with 75 Miles of Rated Range and went in to have dinner with the family.

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Go on to Day 7. Click here.

06_South Bend to Copley

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 05

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.

Missed Day 4, click here.

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…

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We just couldn’t get a picture of it before we got to La Crosse, unless you squint past my face.

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Just before La Crosse was some construction. It looks like they’re working on a bridge, or fixing a bridge.

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…and we cross into Wisconsin…

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La Crosse Supercharger

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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.

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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.

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The drive to Mauston is all Interstates. So, the view was

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Mauston Supercharger

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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.)

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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.”

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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.

Madison Supercharger

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Another supercharger at a mall. This trip could get expensive with all the shopping versus the gasoline.

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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.

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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 :-).

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Rockford Supercharger

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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.

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Are those windmills that I see on the way to Aurora?

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Have to squint to see…

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They ARE windmills!

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Well, that’s cool. I hope they get pretty windy this close to the Windy City. Regardless, good for you Illinois!

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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.

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I wonder if these were the same ones that were in Barstow when they upgraded the location

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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.

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. 😉

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Cloud Gate AKA The Bean

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Doing my “Finding Nemo” impression of the “Touch the Boat” scene.

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Our reflection on a curved space…

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Selfie with a curved Chicago reflection.

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And another picture of me… (’cause the wife said, that picture of you looks good)

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The view from Millenium Park.

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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.

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Hampton Inn South Bend

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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.

05_Rochester to South Bend

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 04

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

Missed Day 3, click here.

Day 4 – Drive on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The ride’s been good so far, but today’s drive is one of those where we had no real goals, aside from helping our friends at Teslarati fill out the information on the Teslarati App for iOS. Our personal goal is to get to Minnesota, if we can make it to Wisconsin, even better. We didn’t book something specifically, but figured we would find a place “on the route.”

Hilton Garden Inn Rapid City

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The hotel and the accommodations were comfortable. At breakfast, I met a gentleman on a business trip and we spoke about traveling great distances in an EV. He was interested, but was on his way to a meeting.

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We left the hotel at 236 Rated Miles in the morning. That meant that ten miles of range was lost by vampire losses overnight.

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In driving through these areas, one would notice advertisements for Wall Drug. Apparently, one of the things that Wall Drug is known for is its “dinosaur.” Not really something we will be stopping for, but here’s a picture that we took while driving by the Wall Drug dinosaur. They label themselves as “America’s Favorite Roadside Attraction” but we opted to keep on driving.

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There was a sign we saw on this drive, after Wall Drug that was for the Minuteman National Historic Site.

If I had known earlier, we could’ve planned a stop here, but we were planning on using this day for a “drive as far as we can” day, so skipped it. Here’s a link to it, so if you happen to be by this way, you can tell us what you think.

Lots of grassland… Not even trees.

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Not much on the map between Rapid City and Murdo…

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Wait, is that a BLUE Water Tower… You can see how loopy we can get on long “empty” stretches of grassland.

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Murdo Supercharger

Finally got to Murdo!

The superchargers are right there…

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…but if you didn’t spot it from the road as we did, look for the two tall pines.

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Got some great panoramics here.

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The folks at the hotel were very friendly,

The hotel has nice and clean restrooms in the lobby. I was advised that the lobby is open until approximately midnight and may close earlier and may open close to 6am, but could open later. Especially in the winter.

The cell service in Murdo, SD on AT&T iPhone is 1 bar, nonexistent on Virgin/Sprint and T-Mobile is spotty. We don’t have Verizon, so I have no comment on that.

We switched drivers at Murdo, and the better half decided to drive the next leg or two… This freed me up to play with Periscope.

[Click on the image and let it play from the Flickr photostream]

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or play on YouTube –

There were lots of wide open spaces between Murdo, SD and Mitchell, SD.

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Ooh a truck…

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This was not something we expected… a Lake along the highway.

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While we were driving along, we got another signal, so I figured to try another Periscope session…

[Click on the image and let it play from the Flickr photostream]

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or play on YouTube –

We had a random sighting of a Signature Red Model S heading West when we were about fifty miles to Mitchell. We didn’t flash lights because the better half was driving and I forgot to let her know how to do that. But that was exciting.

Then, just like that, we made it to Mitchell, SD

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Mitchell Supercharger

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The Mitchell, SD location is right beside a Goodwill store. So, if you’re here during hours, it’s a good place to just browse through. You never know what you’ll find. I picked up a few books. Sue Grafton hardbound books.

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There is a Dairy Queen next door that is open 10-10 and I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream. Aside from that, there is a County Fair Food Store that is open 24 hours adjacent to these stores as well.

I chose Ice Cream and books.

And then we’re off… Minnesota is next…

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One of our favorite State Line signs…

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You can tell the California traveler, we’re obsessed with water

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You can tell that we’re rEVolutionaries as we get really excited when we see renewable energy sites…

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Good for you Minnesota! Love to see places use what they get power from renewables. Seeing that it was all foggy when we were driving through, wind power might be a better solution there than solar power.

Worthington Supercharger

Next up is Worthington, MN.

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There is a hotel right beside this supercharger, but we still feel like we can keep going, so we took the time while in the car to figure out where to stay for the night. My original plan had us in Madison, WI after staying the night at Rapid City, SD. That’s not going to happen tonight. That drive is just too far. So, we started looking at places to stay near superchargers; however, there were no hotels that really appealed to us.

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So, we figured to look for something where there is either a University or something else on the way and settled on Rochester, MN. Rochester is about sixty to seventy miles past the Albert Lea, MN Supercharger and before the La Crosse, WI Supercharger. Rochester, MN is a good place to shop for hotels because it is located where the Mayo Clinic is located and large, world-class hospitals have to have good lodging for a transient population of patients and their families.

So, we now have a plan of where to go next, and that means going past the Albert Lea, MN Supercharger.

The drive to Albert Lea was in the dark and we didn’t take any pictures, but we got there fine.

Albert Lea Supercharger

If looking for the chargers, look for the hotel sign…

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The superchargers are just on the other side.

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It was late, but as friendly as the inn keepers were at this supercharger location, it was not the type of hotel that we’re used to staying at, and we were determined to get to the Hampton Inn at Rochester, MN.

Besides at sixty-five miles per hour, it’s about an hour to our next hotel.

Now, this should’ve been fine, but we didn’t realize how thick the fog gets in this part of Minnesota. At least it did during our drive. Now, we ordered our Model S with the fog lights and they’ve helped us on our drive down from our factory pickup weekend but the fog was nowhere near the “soup” we found ourselves in.

The drive was a little scary, and the persistent “Deer Crossing” signs are a little rattling for a couple of “city” kids from Southern California where the only wildlife we normally have to watch out for are “party animals”.

This drive also reminded me of my high school drivers’ education courses on why a driver does not use the high beams in fog. And I was glad to have remembered it and turned the fog lights on.

Hampton Inn Rochester

So, the hour estimate was a little off. But, we did arrive in Rochester, MN before midnight.

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We turned in with 175 Miles of Rated Range when we parked the car for the evening.

After 583 miles of driving, it was time to get some rest. Our goal for tomorrow is to get to Chicago. As many times as we’ve visited Chicago, we have yet to take a picture with “Cloud Gate” or as locals call it “The Bean.”

Go on to Day 5. Click here.

04_Rapid City to Rochester

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 – 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… 😉

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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