A Trip in Three Phases… Phase 3… The Tesla 2017 Annual Meeting

Phase 3 of the trip was attending the Tesla Annual Meeting in Mountain View on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.  (Phase 1 is here, and Phase 2 is here.)

Phase 3 – Tesla Annual Meeting 2017

We attended our first Tesla annual shareholders meeting last year (Day One, Day Two).  This year, since we were already in the area right before, we decided to attend the Tesla Annual Meeting again two weeks ago.

The previous Annual Meeting trip in 2016 was the central focus of those two days.  However, this year’s (2017’s) attendance was the afterthought to other activities that brought us to the area.

The Tesla Annual Meeting is a great place to spot Teslas and other EVs…

As well as cars that hope to be EVs soon.

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Some one was part of Luke Skywalker’s squadron.

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We figured to boost our charge for the drive home. We want to get home at a decent hour after today’s Annual Meeting.

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Tesla spotting in the row that we parked our cars in.

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On the way to the line-up, I forgot to get a close up of the Blue S with its trunk open on the right side of the photo above.  That’s TMC’s Papa Fox headed out on another Mainland Roadtrip (from Hawaii)

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We waited in the shade of the trees before security let us into the event.

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And here I am chatting with Papafox from Hawaii.

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Chatting with Bonnie as well as Linda and Bill from our home club, the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County.

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And the line started to form… Nanette from Tesla Owners Club of Hawaii was with us as well.

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And we catch Steve Jurvetson shooting video of the line…

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It just gets longer

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Better half gets a better picture of me with Linda and Bill.

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And finally, the queue to get into the building opens and security lets us through…

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The guy ahead of us must have been made of metal, ’cause he should’ve brought a purse with all the stuff he had to empty from his pockets.

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The Annual Meeting was held in the same room as last year.

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We did get a better seat.

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The agenda was relatively brief.

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And lots of familiar faces.

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And hanging with the Hawaiians

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This guy had looked familiar too…

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Better view this trip, but not better pictures.  Unlike last year when Elon and JB really went “off-book” and kept us entertained at the meeting for several hours.  Elon was pretty structured.  A lot of it had to do with IR taking and filtering questions the day before via Twitter submissions.  There was no in-room queuing for live questions.  So, though the IR department let some less serious questions come through, it was all pretty well managed.

No “earth shattering” revelations and even the Model Y tease wasn’t really much.  Still, it was a good way to cap the past few days of Tesla and Active E EV activities and we had a good time.  When we headed out, and finally caught a photo with the Model S with the Hawaii plate.

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Great shot of the Roadster getting its 3rd party netting top. We need to find one of those for the better half’s Roadster.

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Our route is plotted into the NAV…

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and we’re headed home.

We spot a Zero Motorcycle on our way out of the Annual Meeting.

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The Annual Meeting this year let out in the middle of Silicon Valley Rush Hour Traffic… So, that just means more chances to play #EVBingo.  Only drawback was I found out about thirty minutes later that some of my friends caught a Model 3 at the Mountain View Supercharger. As usual, it takes the Belgians on a trip to California to get great pictures of the Model 3.  😜 (Thanks again for the DM Martin and for not “rubbing it in”)

And what cars did we get to catch on camera?  Well, unfortunately, we were only able to catch a couple of #EVBingo cars on this Rush Hour Traffic drive.

This Audi E-Tron was blurry on the camera, but you can make out the outline of the green HOV sticker on the car. It’s the green discoloration on the rear bumper’s right side. (I spotted the car fine with my eyes, but we were fighting traffic here.)

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And the other EV Bingo car we captured on camera was the Ford Focus Electric that was a few cars ahead of me in the carpool lane.

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So, how did we do around the Bay Area/Silicon Valley (not counting the time waiting for the Annual Meeting, or right after…

Bay Area
Total – 6/6 Bay Area On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 29 2 31 1 31
Chevy Volt 26 26 1 26
BMW i3 11 11 3 33
Tesla Model X 12 8 20 5 100
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 1 15 15
Ford Fusion PlugIn 7 7 2 14
Ford Focus Electric 1 1 12 12
Ford C-Max PlugIn 3 3 3 9
Nissan LEAF 22 22 1 22
Fiat 500e 0 7 0
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 0 8 0
Toyota Prius PlugIn 4 4 3 12
Sonata 1 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 3 3 15 45
Audi E-Tron 1 1 12 12
Zero Motorcycle 1 ?
Totals 361

Tried to get a ruling on Zero Motorcycle, but we didn’t have points. So, that’s 361 before the California Handicap, and 180.5 after the 50% discount for the Bay Area spotting.

Just at the Annual Meeting parking lot and adjacent, supercharger.

Annual Meeting
Total – 6/6 Bay Area Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 53 1 53
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
BMW i3 1 3 3
Tesla Model X 37 5 185
Tesla Roadster 1 25 25
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 15 15
Totals 283

The total of 283 points, pre-California 50% handicap of 141.5 points.  Which means that we have 644 total points (322 post handicap) before we leave the Bay Area/Silicon Valley area.  I like to use the Gilroy Supercharger for the spot that we delineate these areas, so past that is between Metro Areas count.

So, we head through, still mesmerized by the progress one really wet year has done for the state’s water levels.

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We pass that duck pond again.

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Furthermore, driving on the Southbound/Westbound side of this drive gives us better views of the reservoir to see how close to its capacity its been since the wet Winter that we’ve had.

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And it wasn’t long until we’re back on Interstate 5 again.

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We stopped off at Harris Ranch for a big boost and had a Red, White, and Blue shot… Too bad we drive an S, and not an X, otherwise it would have been a cool Model X Red, White, and Blue shot.

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After leaving Harris Ranch, my better half played around with her camera with these great sunset shots.

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We were traveling in darkness for quite a bit of that drive back.  Not as late as last year’s Annual Meeting, but still a quiet Tuesday evening drive.

In Between Metro Areas
Total – 6/6 Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 4 1 4
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
Tesla Model X 5 5 25
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 2 3 6
Totals 39

Even though Model S and Model X lights are easy to spot in the dark, we did a decent EV Bingo total of 39 points for inter-Metro travel.  We even beat the total for the LA Metro.

Granted, it was really late and we got home just after midnight.  But we scored a pathetic 1 Model S spotted on the drive. That’s HALF a POINT after the California discount.

At least we got home at a fairly decent hour.

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Lots of bugs gave up its life in this drive… And we’re glad that water restrictions have been eased. ’cause it felt good to clean this car.

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If you want to join us on some of our other trips, here’s day one of our cross-country trip from 2015 or last year’s Long Way Round to the Gigafactory which took us to the Vancouver, BC and back.

A Trip in Three Phases… Phase 2… BMW Active E Electronaut Reunion 4 in Morro Bay

After completing Phase 1 (click here to start at Phase 1) of this trip.  We had an overnight pause before the start of Phase 2.  The second phase of the trip was a trip to Morro Bay for the 4th BMW Active E North-South Meetup in Morro Bay. This was on June 4, 2017.  Long-time readers remember when we had our last one that culminated in the Active E Wake.

Phase 2 – Active E Reunion – WxNS4

June 4, 2017

In previous years we had done this drive from home to Morro Bay.  Morro Bay was chosen several years ago because it was nearly halfway for all the Active E populations from Northern and Southern California.  The other three times that we drove for this meetup, we drove North to Morro Bay, but this time around, we were staying in Silicon Valley and drove South to Morro Bay.

Before our first stop in Gilroy (more a “human” maintenance stop than anything else…)

We spot someone taking off at the airstrip by the freeway.

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And here’s the route planned for us.

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That’s not a route we normally take for this drive, but thought it looked easy enough.

If you remember from Day 1 drive up from the previous post. This is a pretty big location and it is interesting to see so much empty space. We were the only one in Gilroy.

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It was a quick stop, but glad to have the boost. It looks like the winds were blowing hard today.

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Even Atascadero was relatively empty in the early morning.  We caught up with one of our fellow ActiveE alumnus, Jack Brown, the proprietor for the Take Charge And Go EV Hang Tags that I use to notify folks of my charging intent.  He was ahead of us, so he took off a few minutes before we were done with our charge.

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Our first view of the Rock at Morro Bay.

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Lots of EVs and one hydrogen in the mix.  We met at the Grill Hut in Morro Bay for our brunch.

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I even took the opportunity to tease my #EVBingo competitors on Twitter.

Lots of friendly faces waiting to be served at The Grill Hut.

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Here’s a better shot of that side of the table, George wasn’t moving…

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And a shot of the other side of the table.

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My good friend, Tom Moloughney made the trip out from New Jersey to hang with us for this meetup, he’s to the right of my empty chair.

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We parked our S on the other side of the street, there were enough Tesla Model S represented, besides the car is so large that it sticks out of the lines.  You can spot me in the picre below in the Orange.  I’m between the White and Blue i3s.

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It is a BMW Reunion, so we take a close up of the brave souls that stuck with them.

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I suppose the groupcould have spread out a bit more, but we’re a friendly bunch.

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A candid shot of us chatting away in the sunny Morro Bay day (it was appropriately cloudy during the Active E Wake.)

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The other two Teslas that made this trip today.

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The classic Tom and Dennis shot.

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And with Todd Crook joining us.  Todd’s just replaced his 2nd Gen RAV4EV with a Honda Clarity Hydrogen.

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George brought his yearbook.

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and we signed it.

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And after our reminiscing and conversations, we head back North to some great California scenery on our drive.

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And some not so great scenery…  That’s a lot of oil wells.

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But it changed back to great sights soon enough.

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We were thinking of making the turn-off to get some points to plug into Monterey Supercharger, but saw how full the stalls were and with all the traffic, decided to head back and skip it.

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We stop again at Gilroy.  The Gilroy Supercharger on a Summer Sunday afternoon doesn’t look as empty as Sunday morning.

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And then we were back in Fremont for our last night at the Marriott Fremont.  If you squint, you can spot the EVs and chargers at the office building across the street of our hotel.

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We head back to the re-opened Marriott Fremont Executive Lounge to get a great sunset shot of the Tesla Factory.

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We also noticed that this destination had ANOTHER set of chargers in addition to the two that were outside.  We figure to use those tomorrow morning.

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Before turning in, we figure that our #EVBingo totals would be interesting to tally up on a long drive day.

Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 38 1 38
Chevy Volt 14 1 14
BMW i3 5 3 15
Tesla Model X 10 5 50
Mercedes Benz B250e 0 15 0
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 0 3 0
Nissan LEAF 4 1 4
Fiat 500e 0 7 0
Kia Soul EV 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 1 8 8
Toyota Prius PlugIn 5 3 15
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 4 15 60
Chevy Spark 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 0 30 0
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 0 1 0
Total 251

So, that’s 251 Total US points, or 125.5 California handicapped points.

June 5, 2017

We had a free day in-between phases on June 5, 2017.

Since we were re-positioning to a non destination charger hotel without ready access to a supercharger, we moved the car to one of the destination chargers in the morning and range charged it for our drive around the Bay Area.  Here we are using the Take Charge And Go EV Hang Tags to notify anyone who drives up that we will be done by check-out time.

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Even took the opportunity to check in on the TeslaratiApp and make a PSA Tweet from the OC Tesla Club account.

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Looks like the max for the car is at 252. That’s one less mile than last year’s trips, and 13 miles less than when we first picked it up from the factory. Additionally, there were several firmware changes, so not sure if that affected calculations as well.

On our drive to our new hotel for the night, we spotted a full car carrier full of EVs… Unfortunately golf carts are controversial for the #EVBingo points.  There were at least 18 of them in that carrier.

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We drove by Oracle Arena, jealous of the Golden State Warriors opportunity to win the NBA Championship for the second time in three years.

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And enjoyed our night at the Hyatt House in Emeryville. It was less expensive than most hotels that we looked at that was located near the Tesla Annual Meeting. Besides, we used the re-positioning to have dinner and visit a friend that live on this side of the Bay.

So, the second phase of our three phase trip was complete and we have an extra day before the Tesla Annual Meeting and our drive down home. Click here for Phase 3 of the trip.

If you want to join us on some of our other trips, here’s day one of our cross-country trip from 2015 or last year’s Long Way Round to the Gigafactory which took us to the Vancouver, BC and back.

A few thoughts and reactions on today’s Tesla’s impressive re-commitment to charging infrastructure

Impressive supercharger expansion plans were published on Tesla’s blog today.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

In the first couple of sentences of this latest blog,  Tesla reaffirms its commitment to charging for its customers.

As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority. It is extremely important to us and our mission that charging is convenient, abundant, and reliable for all owners, current and future.

Well, supercharging does that for almost ALL the models of cars that Tesla has sold.  Just not ALL the cars that they have sold.

The Roadster and Model S 40 both do not have access to supercharging, but have ample range to make it the distances that are set up between MOST of the North American Supercharger network.  I have not traveled on any of the other Tesla Supercharger networks, so I am unsure of the distances between their sites, but would presume that this statement also holds true for those distances.

We have been blessed to have our Model S available for us to travel these distances, but we know of several Roadster owners who would prefer to travel these distances and I would like to try to do that, one of these days.

To that end, if Tesla’s blog-post is any indication, it would seem that Tesla’s next iteration of supercharging might indicate a LOT more space and dedicated Tesla lounges in the locations that would be dedicated to this activity.  If this is what Tesla is planning to do, why not provide a couple of stalls with Tesla dedicated Level 2 for those that are not in need of a supercharge.  They can even fit these devices with a credit card or other payment system so that those opting for the slower charge can pay for the energy and/or stall that they are using for this travel.  This allocation will then provide for Tesla to follow through on the statements that introduced this latest blog post.

Besides, in terms of costs, it would seem such a high density supercharging location would be more vulnerable to higher utility costs than current density supercharger locations.  Things like demand charges and the like will definitely be a challenge toward the execution of this vision, therefore the costs associated with a couple High Power Wall Chargers (HPWCs) is really quite negligible.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

The other thought I had with this concept release was a feeling of “deja vu…” and I realized as I was writing this article that it reminded me of the Rocklin, CA Sales, Service, Delivery, and Supercharger location from Day 11 of 2016’s Long Way Round Trip to the Gigafactory.

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Which actually is a further case for this proposal to add High Power Wall Charger (for Roadsters, Dual Charger, or High Amp charger Teslas) at these new conceptual Supercharger locations.  At this stop in 2016, we met with a couple who were also taking their Roadster up I-80 to Reno for the Gigafactory and TMC event.

The direct costs for a stall or two of High Power Level 2 (keep it on Tesla proprietary plug if they must) covers all Teslas built.  Most of the Roadster owners that I know have already purchased my recommended accessories for the Roadster, i.e. Henry Sharp’s The CAN SR/JR, etc. and can therefore work with the Model S/X North American Proprietary plug.

The more analytical may counter that the opportunity cost for two stalls on HPWC vs another pair of Supercharging stalls outweighs the benefits of covering ALL Tesla vehicles, but I say that the goodwill created by such a program is more important than that.  Tesla should execute on its statement today, but for ALL Teslas, not just the ones that can supercharge.

Civil disturbance and Tesla supercharging…

A few months ago, around Thanksgiving Holiday, there have been numerous reports of the Barstow Tesla Supercharger being vandalized and a key route between Nevada and California being taken offline. Our friends at Teslarati (and photo credits to Tony Williams) had great coverage of the event. That event shows the challenge of the current configuration of the Supercharger network and the need for those that travel the long distance supercharger routes to be aware of their options to charge.

Last weekend, January 7, 2017. I found myself running low on charge while visiting family.

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We were 40 miles from home and 39 miles of range left for the car. The family members we were visiting were close to the Tesla Supercharger at the Westfield at Culver City.  I figured to make a pit-stop over there to top up while my better half took care of family commitments.  Rather than risk driving out of charge, I figured to go ahead and top-up.  Besides, January is often a slow month at the mall.

The Culver City Supercharger has a mix of back in and head-in charging stations.  I took one of the stalls that head in as it was not paired with anyone and wanted to get as quick a charge rate as possible.

My plan was to charge to full as it was a slow day.  Besides, I had my iPad on me and took the time to catch up on things while I charged.   I figured that when the station fills up, I can move.  If someone else pulled up and needed to use a stall, I can leave at that time. The entire time I was at the center, the usage was unusually low for this location. I chalked this up to a slow January evening.  With the after holiday sales going on, I decided to head over to the recently opened Starbucks across the parking lot from the supercharger to see if they had any clearance items left.

So, I put my iPad down, stepped out, and looked behind me.

Well, it seems that the mall was unusually empty and I started to take pictures as I saw police vehicles and people mulling about.

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The news was here too, and I thought that was strange.

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There were people standing outside what looks to be a closed mall entrance.

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And there were three more police vehicles parked with no officers in them, nor were their lights flashing.

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I turned the corner to get toward the Starbucks and noticed ANOTHER police vehicle with lights flashing this time.  However, no sign of any officers directing traffic or anything.

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At this side of the mall, the entrance was definitely closed.

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I decided to speak to some of the people and received a wide range of conjecture of what was happening.  Some of their reports ranged from minor things to really serious things that I figured to head back to my car.

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On the way back, I contacted a friend of mine who advised me that the local Culver City news was reporting that there were teenagers in the parking structure about a football field away from the superchargers were causing mayhem and vandalizing parked cars.  He wasn’t sure how accurate the reports were, but that behavior seems to target people IN the parking lot and not at the mall itself.

Needless to say, that motivated me to leave. Prior to departing, however, I made the other owners at the superchargers aware of the reports that I heard and let them make their own decision to stay or to leave.

The reports were finally written and I am linking to the article published in the Culver City News.  I’m glad that these troublemakers didn’t get anywhere close to the superchargers.

This event brings me back to wonder about supercharging and the need to have backup charging sites identified.  In the case of the Culver City Supercharger, it is very close to the original Los Angeles Supercharger at the Hawthorne Design Center or the Redondo Beach Supercharger.

(map screenshot from Teslarati.com)

LAX area superchargers

Granted, we could have plugged in at 120V at the house that we were visiting, but that is cumbersome and events like what happened last week are rare.  I’m just glad that the event was really a “non” event for us, but it could just as easily have been a challenge and one really needs to be more aware of options in charging.  A good part of this blame really is my own, but I assumed that I would have sufficient charge.  The other thing I suppose I should have done more is to take my head off the iPad when I am sitting in my car and charging.  When I have company when I am charging, I spend my time conversing with my traveling companions, but when I am charging at a location by myself, then it’s not a guarantee that I won’t get engrossed in what I am doing.  So, a word of caution, and just something else to learn from.

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the thirteenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 13 of this trip.

Looking for the start of the trip, click here to read Day 1 of this trip.

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons.

Many readers know that we took the long way round because we got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party.  Rather than just go from Southern California to Reno, we wanted to combine that trip with a trip to the the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) and attend the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visit family who was attending camp in Seattle, WA and visit family living in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So how did this trip look on the map?

Recap_Road Trip Full Map LB to LB (Pacific NW)

It looks like we went pretty far to go someplace a lot closer. That’s the “fun” of driving a Tesla powered EV. The Tesla Supercharger network enables travelers to go, wherever they want to go.

So, how did we do?  Well, as is the goal for any long road trip.  We arrived home still happily married.  So, that’s always Goal #1.

After 13 Days on the road, we’ve made it to all our intermediate goals on this trip.

1) We made it to Portland and attended EV Roadmap 9 Conference.

Even got to ride the BYD e6 and write a quick review of it.

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2) We made it to Seattle and had spent a day with our niece as she spent time away from home in a camp.

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3) We visited our relatives in Vancouver and got to hang out with them.

Had great dinner at Ask for Luigi.

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And got to visit Electra Meccanica…

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And pondered why they didn’t just make an EV version of this little car.

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4) Met with friends that we made on the Internet who are EVangelists in real life some for the first time, and others as a catch up.

In Washington State…

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In Oregon…

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In Reno at TMC Connect 2016

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And in Reno at the Gigafactory

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5) And we attended the Tesla Gigafactory Grand Opening Party.

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Throughout the journey, we ended up with two other mini-obsessions…

1) Look for that darn PASTA Truck…

After all we saw the Garlic Truck…

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and the Tomato Truck

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We felt incomplete and left “hanging” looking around for the pasta truck to complete the set.

AND

2) We looked at the “logging industry” life-cycle…

Starting with those darn bald spots in the mountains…

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Then followed the raw logs

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cut and shaped wood

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and finished products.

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So, what are some key takeaways with this journey?

1) It’s good to get food recommendations from a Chef.  The restaurants that we experienced from the recommendations were superb.

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1A) It’s also good to listen to locals for their recommendations for such things.  We enjoyed the Dutch Bros. coffee and didn’t know about them before we were introduced (especially the Iced Caramelizer.)

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1B) This one is not always reliable, but give it a try anyway, our sushi in Vancouver area this trip was good, but not spectacular.  Considering the spectacular Dim Sum we had at brunch, we’d forgive this.

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2) Budget lots of time when crossing International Borders.  Try not to schedule anything too tight from when you assume to cross the border. Or at least take the commercial crossing instead.

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3) Continue to be fearless with taking off highway routes, you never know what you’ll see and experience

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Considering that the travel is its own reward.

4) Continue to have backup charging identified.  Even when picking hotels that are destination chargers, sometimes it won’t work as expected.  When you have a backup, it’s no big deal to go to the alternate.

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5) Read up on notes that others have made on the various charging apps, i.e. Plugshare or Teslarati or others.

6) There might be a benefit to reserving your hotel ahead of time (i.e. Our Day 13 plans was extended by our “winging it.”

For example this map on Day 13 should have been a lot shorter…

2016_Day13_Reno to LB

We ended up home at least a day, if not two days sooner than we had hoped.

That being said, what was our final statistics. 3,388 miles driven and 1021.3 kWh consumed and a direct energy cost of $16.82 from one overnight charging session in Bellevue, WA.

Looking at our statistics, the trip average is around 301 Wh per mile (or approximately 3.32 miles per kWh).  That’s below my normal driving of 308 Wh per mile since we bought the car.  The Model S is definitely an EV energy hog compared to some of the other EVs (i3, for example.)

Additionally, the $16.82 that we spent on energy for the trip means that our direct cost was $0.005 per mile directly spent on fueling our car for this trip.  It was cheaper for us to fuel our car on the road than it’s been on the computed $0.008 per mile that we fuel at home on our Solar power.

Thanks for joining us on 2016’s Tesla Roadtrip, The Long Way Round…

…I wonder where next year’s “big” trip will take us. (Perhaps we’ll spot the pasta truck that’s been missing since Day 1!)

Why not subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter to find out…

As for what’s coming up on the blog…

…I still have two National Drive Electric Week stops that I attended in the past month…

…Just got to ride the Bolt EV this weekend, I might have my impressions on that car sometime soon…

…Spoiler Alert… …It’s not a Tesla.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 13

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the thirteenth day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 12 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  We had no real plans, hang out in Reno to help open the Reno Supercharger with TMC and then head South, our initial plan was to head to Napa Valley area and check out the new Napa Supercharger and possibly do some wine tasting.

Day 13 – Reno, NV – Southbound.  July 30, 2016

We headed to Atlantis Resort to have our final goodbyes at the TMC Connect breakfast. It was an opportunity to say hi and goodbye to friends and join them celebrate the Grand Opening of the Reno Supercharger.

As we headed out of breakfast from TMC Connect, we passed by one of the most NON EV vehicles made and I couldn’t help but take a photo.

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The Hummer must be the nadir of all personal vehicle production and it is always important to note where we came from to see where we can improve to.

Many of those Teslas that were parked here for the weekend were still around this Saturday.

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And there were also some new Teslas to join the party.

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Some came to Reno from even farther locations than we did…

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Some Non-Tesla EVs were there to join in the party.

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And there was a small festival atmosphere.

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All stalls were full and there was a wait in line.

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The Supercharger grand opening in Reno had no official Tesla presence. The closest thing to an official presence is the user community from Tesla Motors Club.

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Nevertheless, it was well attended.

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One thing to note is how the supercharger in Reno is constructed.

The equipment supporting the superchargers are in a locked shed.

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This would be a great if the shed was air conditioned. I did not notice any such air conditioning or ventilation in the shed, so I wonder how this would affect the reliability of this site.

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After the Reno Supercharger Grand Opening, we decided to head South and our plan was to see if we can head to Napa for the weekend. We had no hotel reserved at this time, and went on our way.

Before we left Reno, we saw a new icon on a supercharger on the route and decided to check it out.  It was a warning sign to expect reduced service at Tejon Ranch.  The 395 Route through the mountains also had a supercharger with the same warning sign.  Since we were planning to head to Napa, we’re more interested in the US-101 or I-5 route.

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And we head back to California… After all, Napa is the plan of the moment.

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We opted to stop off at the Original Truckee Supercharger for a quick charge and coffee.

Truckee Supercharger (Donner Summit)

Needless to say, it was quite full this afternoon.

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We took the last stall.  And quickly marvelled at how clean the car looks from a few days ago.

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There were still several more in line when we started our charge.

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I was craving coffee… So, we went to the first Starbucks that we spotted… There was one inside the grocery…

Well, if you don’t care about earning your stars from the Starbucks reward program, or paying more for the coffee, this would be ok… However, there was an actual Starbucks location on the other side of the grocery location.

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We get back to our car to see that there is still a line. Welcome to California, we have supercharger congestion.

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We didn’t really have a destination, but the GPS thinks that we do, and it says to slow down to get there with enough charge.

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Roseville Supercharger

Our third stop today is at the Roseville Supercharger.

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We were a little patriotic with our charge at the Roseville Supercharger.  Heck I think FRANCE would be happy with how those Model S look! (oops, quick Google search and France goes Blue, White, and Red…)

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The stalls were pretty full here too, but it’s at a shopping mall, so that’s sort of expected on a Saturday.

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It was hot around us, so we made sure to keep the air conditioning cranked up.

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While charging at Roseville, we tried to see if we can find a place to stay in Napa for the night.  It looks like many of the hotels we would consider were either sold out or very expensive.  (READ: $100 hotel rooms for $450 a night).  Furthermore, the very helpful agent (we decided to call as well) found us a room…  an hour North of where we are now…  We’re not back-tracking…

So, we thought to head South and try our luck with other destinations…  Perhaps San Francisco, or Santa Cruz…

As we headed South, we see another BMWi i3 chasing us…  It seems that we’ve been spotting a lot of these on our West Coast trip.

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We decided to continue the drive and encountered some “excitement on the drive.”  There was a small brush fire started on the other side of the freeway.

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We drove through the smoke and slowed down.

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That looks like the start of a brush fire on a very hot day.

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We decided to head toward the Vacaville Supercharger as we’ve never been there.  So, we took some back roads to get there.

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Back road routes in California definitely feel a little “dryer” and “dustier” than the ones in Washington State.

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Vacaville Supercharger

But the handy, dandy GPS in the car directed us well and we find ourselves at the Vacaville Supercharger.

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This supercharger is also located at a shopping center.  This time at some outlet stores.  Still a pretty full lot, and we were still looking for places to stay.  So far, we’re headed INLAND and away from “fun communities to visit.”  This is one of the drawbacks to “winging it” on a Summer Weekend in California.  Based on what we were seeing at this point of our drive, we consider heading home.

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We were sort of “out of position” to head to Harris Ranch safely that we decided to traverse over to Manteca Supercharger first, and then resume our “usual” Interstate 5 route…

…perhaps we’ll finally catch a Pasta truck on this drive.

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Leaving Vacaville, we can see why the town was named as such when a ton of cows appear on the side of the road.  Though, I suppose from the cow’s perspective, we appeared ON the road.

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The city is full of cows.

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We’re definitely taking the “back roads” to get to Manteca.

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Looks like some sheep or goat join us on this road…

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Even more cows…

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And what do we spot in the distance?  Are those windmills?

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Yes, they’re windmills, say the cows…

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The windmills keep getting my attention.

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It’s a good thing that my better half took over this portion of the drive.  I was getting tired and was supposed to take a quick nap between Vacaville and Manteca…  HOWEVER, she said to do so once I get her on the freeway…  umm…  This is a BACKROAD drive, and has been for a while.  I’m not getting that nap on this leg.

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Here’s one I call windmills and cows…

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And a close-up of both.

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And we leave windmill country and get closer to Manteca.

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We cross some vineyards…

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I really am not getting a nap on this part of the drive. I think we found the parts of California with no freeways.

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At least it’s not a one lane road.

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Oh, thank goodness… A freeway sign!

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Back on the freeway.

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There’s a port in Stockton… I thought Stockton was inland.

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A nice, wide freeway…

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…but the GPS takes us off it again as we near Manteca.

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Manteca Supercharger

And back at the Manteca Supercharger. The better half still doesn’t know about my apprehension for this location because of the July 3rd entry on Teslarati, it’s one of a few comments, so could just be a one-time thing.

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Yup, we’re committed to head home now… Better half decided to keep driving to Harris Ranch, and we’re NOW on a freeway, so I can actually take a nap while she drives.

Pretty uneventful drive to Harris Ranch with the exception of the GPS doing some “weird routing”.

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We decided to just stay on the “usual route” we check our device maps to see if anything pops up that would force us to take the weird route, and just plodded through with no incident.

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Harris Ranch Supercharger

We’re back at Harris Ranch Supercharger.

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It was pretty lonely here on a Saturday night…

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Everyone else must have booked their rooms ahead of time.

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We switch drivers and head to Buttonwillow. Late night driving on Interstate 5 is pretty boring and I’m sure one of those times that one wishes an Auto Pilot version of the Model S. Perhaps when we get our Model 3 our drives will be in that instead.

Buttonwillow Supercharger

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We’re alone at Buttonwillow at nearly 1:00 AM on Sunday morning.

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This is our last supercharge before we get home.

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After being on the road for almost two weeks, It’s always good to get home.

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And that’s why we charge up in Buttonwillow. We get home with 67 miles left “on the tank.”

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There’s a software update available that downloaded while we were driving.

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Set the update to complete later in the morning…

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Go to sleep around 3:30 am and wake up to a fully charged car.

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Oh, with new software too…

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So how was the trip? Give me a few days to rest and digest and come back tomorrow for the wrap-up, trip statistics, and lessons learned. (one quick one from today, there is a benefit to planning ahead for lodging. It would have been more fun to be in the Wine Country, but am glad to be home in my own bed.)

The next post of this series is the wrap-up and available here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

2016_Day13_Reno to LB

The Long Way Round – Day 11

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eleventh day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 10 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we head North and East toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party and for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception at TMC Connect 2016 this evening. We’re on I-80 headed East from Sacramento today.

Day 11 – Sacramento, CA to Reno, NV..  July 28, 2016

The Hyatt Regency Sacramento popped up as a Destination charger, but only one J1772 station actually was operational for visitors (during our visit.) Though I was worried about being the only one at the charging station, no one contacted me to move the car overnight so that they can use the charger. We were able to charge up quite a bit of the car and would more than likely stop at Superchargers on this route because we wanted to see them more than actually needing a charge.

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We headed North and East towards Reno, but had plans to visit a few superchargers along the way.

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Our first stop is the Tesla Rocklin Sales, Service, Supercharger, and Delivery Center.

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This location is impressive and looks like it took over an old car dealership location.  The supercharger stalls are pull through and convenient for Model X that may be towing something behind it.

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We plugged in for a short while just to ensure that we have a boost and add the supercharger to the “chargers that I have visited list.”

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It was more photo op than actual needed charge stop…

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We even had the other side of our DCPPOWR with the ACPOWRD New fascia Model S that was at this site.

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Lots of great pictures of the charger location, a quick pit stop, met a few more folks who were planning on being at either TMC Connect or the Gigafactory party, and we’re back on the road.

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It’s nice to be back on I-80 going East.  It brings back fond memories of last year’s Here, There, and Everywhere trip.

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Traveling to Lake Tahoe and Reno is a strange sight for me in the Summer.  The past few times that I have done this drive as an adult, it had always been winter and I was on my way to skiing at Lake Tahoe.  I can’t remember a time when Reno was my actual destination.

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The drive was peaceful, and we were at the summit in relatively short order.

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Tesla has two locations for supercharger clusters in Truckee, CA.  We opted to go to the newer one on the inbound drive to Reno.  We wanted to get a charge so that we have enough “driving around” range and back.

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Driving in mountainous areas tend to take energy and though we only drove for approximately 83 miles, we’ve used up over 110 miles of range.

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We were the first to arrive at this second Truckee stop and promptly chose a stall to charge at.

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We were soon joined by a couple with their new White Model X.

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We decided to walk around the area and were reminded that there are wildlife that live in Truckee.  These trashcans look secured from bears.

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The center that these chargers are located have very few amenities, but the folks running the sushi bar were gracious enough to let a weary traveler use their facilities.

 

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The fish at the Drunken Monkey looked appetizing, but I was not hungry, so we skipped it and made a mental note, should we be hungry and be in the area in the future.

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We had a good chat with the couple with the White Model X when more Tesla travelers joined us at the supercharger.

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And we had a good amount of charge we decided it was time to head out.

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We looked at our car and were reminded of our drive through the fields North of Sacramento and all the bugs splat on the car made us seek out a manual car wash that we can use to clean the car and make it presentable to those attending TMC Connect.  We didn’t want to be the only filthy car during any sort of photo sessions that we may be a part of.

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After a quick wash, we headed into Reno.

Oh look, our nemesis was on this road as well.

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We drove along the Truckee River toward Reno.

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And are welcomed by the Welcome to Nevada sign.

This must be one of those few spots in Nevada where there is a border crossing and yet no casino immediately on the Nevada side of the border.

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It would be another few miles before we spot any casinos.

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We’ve decided to stay at the Harrah’s Reno with some friends as it was less expensive than Atlantis, the hotel for TMC Connect.

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The chargers at Harrah’s Reno is a bit of a challenge to use.  It was short and we had to move the car a few times to get it working.

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We had a lot of miles, but we’re on a Roadtrip, and ABC rules always apply. Besides, we’re charging for a short amount of time and decided to get some electrons while we check in and get ready for the TMC Connect dinner reception.

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The Atlantis Resort and Casino in Reno is definitely a newer hotel than the one we ar staying at.

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We thought that the reception was at the hotel, but had to take the long haul over to the Convention Center instead.

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After a long walk, we find ourselves “almost there.”

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And we made it.  Anytime you see a bunch of Teslas parked inside a building, chances are you’re in an EV conference.  TMC Connect is no exception.

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I wasn’t even asking why this Model X was turquoise.  Needless to say, these guys can help you if you wanted to do something “different” with your Tesla.

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There were also manufacturers of some cool two wheeled EVs.

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The folks that are building hitches for those that want to pull something with their Tesla.

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Dinner was good, and the company was better.

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One of my favorite things to try to track down at these events are Rob and Andy (aka Woof) from Massachusetts.  Both these guys are ex-Active E guys who now drive Teslas (like that guy in the middle).

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The hallway had some full tables, but some noticeably absent were folks who flew out for the event who got caught in some weather in the middle of the country.  There were a bunch from the Mid Atlantic states who were stuck on their side of the country because of that.

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We had a great night of conversation, consternation (over the Gigafactory and things) and camaraderie.  And with that we headed over to the Reno Supercharger, not for a charge, though I plugged in for a few minutes (to add it to “the list” again)

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But to take lots of Tesla photographs…

Beside us were a couple of guys who drove up for the Gigafactory party and didn’t even realize that TMC was going on. They were in a new fascia Model S.

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Lots of Model X around.

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And documented a lot of creative personalized plates.

Long drive out from Virginia.

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Someone’s smilin’

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Doug’s car’ Nikola

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I believe this was ChadS’ ride (his wife’s car)

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Our friend from BC, Paul Carter, drives around in this one… He decided NOT to get Model X.

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A better shot of Zap 2 Zum

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Hard to find that feed for a residential home in North America.

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Yes please, No ICE

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California lets us use some fun characters and this person made good use of theirs.

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Frickin’ Lasers

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On a Ludicrous P90D Model X…

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This time the person with the Model X plate installed it on a Model X.

We got back to our hotel to catch some guys trying to charge their Teslas on the charger, (turns out that one of them was Bjorn Nyland and his friend) and so we headed to find a parking spot in the garage.

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Across the street were also some charging stations.

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Here’s a zoomed in shot of a Model S at one.

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We turned in for the night with slightly higher than a 90% charge.

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Now, I’d like to say that whatever happens in Reno, stays in Reno, but I won’t…  I just won’t have pictures of it.

Like I mentioned on the drive in, we chose the hotel because we had friends staying here and we caught up with them.  Turns out that our friend was friends with KMan and while we were hanging with him, got an invite to hang.  We headed up to a room in one of the towers of the hotel only to find ourselves in Bjorn Nyland’s room with Bjorn live-streaming on Youtube or Facebook, we’re not sure, and Kman waiting for his buddy to arrive so that he can check into his hotel.  So, after trying to stay away from being “caught on video” both the better half and I end up on a live stream with folks who follow Bjorn.  It’s a good thing that we’re NOT on witness protection. 😉

We stayed for a short while to shoot the breeze and talk with the guys about all things Tesla and then took our leave to get some rest.

The next day of this series, Day 12, is published here.

2016_Day11_Sacramento to Reno

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.