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?

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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…

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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.

The Long Way Round – Day 10

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the tenth 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 9 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 continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

We had hoped to meet up with some EV friends in our drive through Washington and Oregon and we were lucky enough to catch one of four.  We had no planned meetups heading back to California before making the swing up to Reno.  It’s just drive, drive, drive again, and figure out where to stop.

Day 10 – Springfield, OR Southbound to as far as we can..  July 27, 2016

We start the day at the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR.  We selected this hotel because we’re loyal to Hiltons and Tesla Destination Charging.

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We had full intention of charging Level 2 overnight and continue our trip as soon as we woke up. However, as you can see from the picture below, the hotel’s destination HPWC when it is being used, the second charger, the J1772 is inconveniently located to charge a second Tesla.

Basically, if I drove in forward to the second charging location, the charging cable will cross the other Model S and have the cable be in its way. Furthermore, if I drove in backward, the cable will be precariously twisted with the J1772 to Model S adapter, if that charger cable will even reach the car.

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Since our hotel was less than a mile away from the nearest Supercharger, we just opted to skip the Level 2 entirely and supercharge there before heading to Grants Pass, OR and beyond.

So we finished up at the hotel, had our breakfast, checked out and went less than a mile away to get some electrons for our car.

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Was I glad that we did.  It turned out to be a Supercharger powered TMC Meetup. The two other Model S that was supercharging at the time were also headed to TMC Connect in Reno.

The Signature Red Model S was already charging in his car when we pulled up to take our spot and start to charge.  Soon after, the twin to our Model S pulls up beside us.  I notice the license plate on the blue one (an Oregon one with the plate Nikola) and stepped out of the car to compliment him on his plate.

When DBullard introduces himself to me, I recognize his handle and it all clicked. At that point, the driver to the Sig Red S steps out to join in the conversation and it turns out to be ChadS.  First thing that Chad does is stare at me in disbelief and said something to the effect of, “aren’t you out of your way”.  Apparently he recognized me and was confused as to why I’m charging in OR for a trip to Reno… We had a good laugh at that and explained our Long Way Round trip and plans.

The Sig Red on the left is ChadS and the Blue Model S (twin to our S) in the middle is DBullard.

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Chad was there a lot longer than we were and he headed out first.  With three of us heading South for TMC Connect, and several locations with only four stalls means that we can probably expect to have some locations have a short wait.

Chad and Doug both have hotel plans for the night.  We’re just winging it, so it really depends on how it works out.

We left next, but being a more “moderate”-footed Model S driver meant that before we even make it to the next supercharger location, Doug overtakes us on the road and we were able to get him a few great shots of Nikola.

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We continue on and my better half spots another “logging industry” life-cycle truck hauling Stage 2 prepared lumber products…

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I suppose that these “bald spots” on the mountain is probably “logging industry” life-cycle stage 0.  Either that, or someone needs tree rogaine to cover these spots.

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The drive back to Grants Pass has some interesting undulations.

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We were craving coffee in the middle of this drive and thought to seek out the nearest Dutch Bros. coffee.  After all, we’re not going to be in Oregon much longer and we can always grab Starbucks elsewhere.

So, we did a search on Google and found a listing for one at Sutherlin, OR.

Near the Dutch Bros. location, we see one big flag above us…  We also spot a donut.

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It is a donut… but when you put the words Smoke Shop on a Donut and put mushrooms above the building, it makes us think twice before we stop in, and we passed on that “donut” shop.  Additionally, the Dutch Bros. at this location had a LONG line and we’re only 80 miles to Grants Pass.  We decided to skip this location and continued on our drive.

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Success…  At least on my wife’s goal of seeing the “logging industry” life-cycle in action on this trip (we’re still waiting on that Pasta truck from Day one of the drive.) That’s half a wood building we see being carried on a truck.

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And a short while later, the OTHER half of that structure was being hauled as well.

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And then for bonus points, we get to see a completed structure being hauled on our side of the drive.

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Not just a completed structure, but a modern “out house.”  I would normally make a joke about the “Oversize Load” sign on an “out house”, but decide against it.

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Now this former mountain “bald spot” looks like it got some tree Rogaine applied to its slope.

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And with that we find ourselves at our last supercharger stop in Oregon.  Back in Grants Pass, OR.

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At the Grants Pass Supercharger, I took the last remaining spot and it looks like Doug and Chad were already there with one other Model S.  Since the two guys that were traveling ahead of me were sharing the same circuit, I can only guess that the other Model S must have arrived in between the two of them.

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We decided to fill up the car with electrons before we filled up the travelers with some “Dutch Love”…

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We ordered a Caramelizer and a hot coffee as well.

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Before we left the area, we thought to stop by and take pictures of the nearly adjacent West Coast Electric Highway DCFC station at Grants Pass.  The states of Oregon and Washington deployed their stations along the WCEH a lot faster than California or British Columbia. The standard at the time was strictly CHAdeMO and the planners also instituted a J1772 alongside the single CHAdeMO station that they installed.

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It’s a great start to allow CHAdeMO enabled travel throughout both states. Unfortunately, very few US cars are able to use the CHAdeMO stations, but I know of several who have made full use of this network and I am sure they are thankful for it.

Ooh…  a painted bear.  Not sure what the bear was adorned with, but can only guess that it had something to do with the history of the area.

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And we headed out of Grants Pass and back to California.

On this leg of our drive, I spot a Nissan Leaf that was on a truck that was headed in the same direction as us.  It looks like it has no plates and I suspect that its a car that was being sold or has been sold in California that used to be in Oregon.  But I digress.

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Spot a lone windmill in the distance.  Don’t know what it’s powering, but good for them.

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And as we near the California border, our friendly neighbors from the South send us on our way with a thankful goodbye.

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We spot no California sign outside of the “Click it or Ticket” sign.  That was disappointing.

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And the terrain becomes less green and more gold in the Golden State.

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Looks like the cows around these parts are hanging out on the ranch as well.

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My better half captures a nice shot of Mt. Shasta.

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And I needed to make a quick stop and thought it would be funny to take a picture of the Weed, CA sign.  Yes…  I can be a little immature at times,  (remember the Outhouse insinuation?)

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Nearing the Mount Shasta supercharger, we spot some really colorful trucks on the side of the road.  One has to definitely be distracted not to notice any of those trucks.  I spotted them from the OTHER SIDE of the road.

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And we get to Mt. Shasta in no time.  Doug was spending the night here, so we were not going to be seeing Nikola on the road today.  However, I believe that Chad was still going forward.  We arrived to be the last vehicle to take the fourth stall again and proceeded to charge for our next stop in Corning.

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It was still early enough in the day that we decided to keep driving.  We currently selected the Supercharger in Roseville, CA as our next destination, though I don’t think that we’ll be driving there tonight.  The GPS wants us to take CA-99 after Corning.

I ran into Doug at the hotel and we chatted a little and I told him about the great pictures that my better half caught of Nikola and got his business card so that I can email him the JPGs.

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Another four stall supercharger where we ended up being the last one here.

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Going downhill at passes always seems to create the most interesting energy graphs.

So, we filled up and continued on.

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Lots of great tree lined drive.  The curves make it feel like we’re the only one on the road.

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Until you look behind, or past the next corner.

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We spot another lone windmill.

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Then some more cows grazing.

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Before we make it to Corning Supercharger, we wanted to see if we can stay in the Roseville area.  We couldn’t find a hotel to stay at and decided to change locations and target the Hyatt Regency Sacramento for our hotel for the night.  It looked to have a charger or two available for use according to Tesla Destination Charging program and confirmed by our friends at Teslarati.

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Our original goal was Roseville, and that would have been better to take CA-99 over I-5.  Since we’re now considering Sacramento, we decided to just stick with I-5 to our hotel.

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With sunlight and no “strange people” around, the Corning, CA feels reasonably safe.  Besides, there’s an open Starbucks nearly adjacent to the charging location, and that always puts me at ease.

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Looks like most of the cars and people were also attracted to the Starbucks.

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We continue on I-5 to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.

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One of the concerns in driving through these fields at night is the amount of insect activity and how many will find themselves stuck on the car during the drive.

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And just past 10:00 PM at night we finally check in to our hotel for the night.

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The parking garage at the Hyatt had a ton of EVSEs installed.  Unfortunately, at the time, only one seemed to be operational.

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I ended up finding the one that was working and plugged in.

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I walked throughout the parking structure and noticed a ton of EVSEs and HPWCs that were installed with no power to them.

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The “Not in Service” signs irritated me, but I guess they’ll be “on” in the future.

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I took a picture of the “EV Rules” for the parking garage attached to the Hyatt Regency.  This location is configured that the EVSEs are MEANT TO BE SHARED. There is an EVSE to share for every three stalls.

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It will be great to see this location in action in the future.  However, when one arrives at a destination charger expecting to be able to charge, it’s been one disappointment after another with two hotels in a row that were supposed to be available for destination charging that was less than ideal.  (At least I was able to plug in.)  Besides, we’re almost at TMC Connect (tomorrow) and the Gigafactory Party in two days.  With that, we turned in.

[In all fairness to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, there have been articles and press releases recently published (September 2016 – Clipper Creek article. Link on Hyatt site. Sacramento Bee article) that announced the “Grand Opening” of these chargers that were inoperative when we visited it in July 2016.  Perhaps the approval process took forever.]

The next day of this series, Day 11, is published and available here.

2016_Day10_Eugene to Sacramento

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 09

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the ninth 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 8 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 continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

The main reason for staying on this route is we are trying to meetup with many fellow EV folks who reached out but were unable to get together during the Northbound journey.

Day 9 – Vancouver, BC Southbound to as far as we can..  July 26, 2016

We got a good night’s sleep and fully charged at our hotel before we rolled out.

Had $30 CAD left in my pocket, and since we’re not planning on being in Canada anytime in the near future, decided to go ahead and apply this cash to our hotel balance.

As I was settling up, it looks like another Model S was just moving in.  Perhaps a single HPWC is all this location needs for now.  I do believe that they just need a little more parking spots dedicated to the hotel.  I’m quite aware that many EV travelers will need to be more cognizant of fellow EV travelers and make accommodations for folks to share a single HPWC.  This means that they should be ready to move their vehicles when done charging (a good plan) or to at least provide their contact information if unable to do so easily (or both, an even better plan.)

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Our range charge at start of today is at 252 miles, nearly the maximum that the car displays when fully charged.

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And with that starting charge, we’re headed back to the United States… Same route, but hope to catch up with friends (and perhaps some Pokemon) along the way.

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We make the border in rather quick time.

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We opted to cross the border at the “touristy” crossing again.  We got there around 10:00 AM.

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There were lines again, but it felt like it was moving faster.

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After all, we’re traveling in miles again! 😉

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Somehow it feels like we’re traveling 1.6x faster on miles than we are in Kilometers!

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This interesting sculpture was installed just behind the border crossing.

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In all seriousness, the crossing back to the United States took about 35 minutes. That is quicker than the crossing into Canada.  Additionally, our rear windows did roll back up unimpeded.

We headed back to Washington State and were accompanied by a famous VW Bug.  It’s an ICE, but with Herbie, the Love Bug striping, I can forgive it a little.

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Not that we needed a charge, but I did need to make a pit stop and were surprised to be greeted by a couple of friends.

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Some free to use Aerovironment EVSEs at the first rest stop from Canada to Washington on I-5.

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And it was sponsored by our good friends at Adopt-A-Charger!  I already feel at home.

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Earlier on our trip, I wrote about my better half’s quest to document the “logging industry life-cycle.”   She took some photographs of cut trees on trucks as step one.  We figure that these pictures of nicely cut lumber is step two of this cycle.

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And we continue our Southbound journey through Washington.

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And quickly  make it to our first supercharger stop of the day at Burlington, WA.

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We had several potential meetups on the drive South, some of whom unfortunately were busy on a Tuesday to meet up, so we ended up missing them on this trip.  One that was able to meet up was Tony Giannini and his wife Vanessa.  Tony and Vanessa both drive Model X and were gracious enough to offer their HPWC for a charge and chat on the way down.  Since we’re pretty well stocked on electrons around their part of Washington state, we just figured to stop off for a snack and chat instead.

Tony and I have exchanged twitter conversations on many things Tesla and T-Mobile (my preferred mobile provider since Voicestream did the bandwidth swap with Cingular and enterred the California market as T-Mobile) and were delighted to take them up on their offer.  Besides…  They said DONUTS.  And who am I to turn THAT down!

They directed us to Top Pot Doughnuts and coffee and we met up with them and their kids.

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The donut choices were excellent and the conversation was even better.

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As is customary on these EV meetups, we checked out their car. (They brought one of their Model X)

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Here’s a great shot of us with the cars.

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We could have spent more time with them, but had to cut it short because we had the goal to be past Portland tonight and had tentatively scheduled some time to possibly meet some of the other contributors to Transport Evolved, Kate Walton-Elliott, in Olympia, WA, as well as TE’s editor-in-chief Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, around Portland, OR, in real life.  Both these meets were in flux for one reason or the other, and we hoped to be able to time it at a mutually convenient time and meet IRL.

Nikki was supposed to be on a panel the previous week at EV Roadmap, but had to cancel for personal reasons, and we have a chance to meet later today.

Southbound journey to Portland seemed to be faster to ditch Seattle altogether and we pass our Hilton in Bellevue, WA.

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Yup, lots more traffic in the West.

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This Eastern route has given us a better view of snow and glacier capped mountains, so that’s a plus.

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And the traffic was so bad, we decided to follow the interesting alternate routes that was offered to us.

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The beauty of GPS and a sense of adventure on these long roadtrips is the ability to get off the Interstate and see the countryside.

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We got a text from our first potential meet with Kate Walton-Elliott, and unfortunately the timing wasn’t going to work.  So, here’s to hoping for another chance to meet IRL.

In the meantime, we had hoped to catch some well recommended, Chef Jenn Louis stop around Olympia of Tacos La Fuente.  Unfortunately, they’re a daytime only place and we arrived 15 minutes after they close the whole restaurant/bus down.

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Needless to say, I was NOT HAPPY.

This is an unhappy selfie…

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And we’re back in Centralia, WA for a supercharge.

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We make a route to somewhere near Nikki’s part of Portland, as we were still “touch and go” on the meetup plans and wanted to make it as easy on her to come on out and chat.

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We have a little bit of time around here…  Unfortunately there’s a glare, but if you look to the right of the charger on the left, there is a bucket with a squeegee there that has been provided by a generous local for those of us traveling through Centralia, WA.

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We didn’t avail ourselves of the squeegee as the car was relatively clean, and we headed onward…

…apparently toward where Lord Vader resides.

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The better half has been obsessed with the logging/lumber industry on this trip and points out the tall trees.

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It’s amazing to see all this green on the drive.

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Even this bridge is green.  It’s painted like the color of army tanks in old World War 2 movies.

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We’re nearing Battle Ground, WA.  Just an interesting name for a town, wonder what battles were fought there.

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We’re nearing Oregon again.

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Looks like we’re going to miss meeting Nikki IRL today.  We’ll eventually meet-up, but not on this trip.  Will have to continue corresponding over the ‘Net.

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Since we are not meeting up with Nikki, we made plans to supercharge at Woodbury, OR.  This was the supercharger that “surprised us” on Day Two of our Northbound journey when we were headed to EV Roadmap 9.

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So, we stopped off and charged, had dinner next door at the Red Robin.  We got to the location close to the closing time for the site sponsors and we felt like going to a chain that would be open longer.

While at the restaurant, we made plans for our next stop, and found the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR as a viable stop for us.  The hotel is just around the corner from the Supercharger at Springfield/Eugene, OR that we charged in on our Northbound journey, but we felt like we can have the car charged while we sleep.

We made our lodging plans for the evening and did the drive from Woodbury to Springfield/Eugene, OR.

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It was one of our shorter legs for today.  We arrive at the hotel around 11:00 PM and were tired.  One of the two chargers at the location was available, but the way the parking was configured meant that we would have to cross vehicles to charge and didn’t want to run “the risk.”

I was too tired to deal with it, we made a mental note to write an entry into Teslarati for this destination charger location and went to bed.  We’re less than a mile away from the supercharger in town that we can easily drive over there in the morning.

The next day of this series, Day 10, is published here.

2016_Day9_Vancouver to Eugene

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 07

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the seventh 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 6 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’s goal is to get to Vancouver, check into our hotel, and visit our relatives. We are staying at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, another hotel that showed up on the in-car Tesla Destination Charger map. This will be the first time that I will be crossing to Canada as an adult. The last time I went to Canada was as a child and it was at Niagara Falls.

Day 7 – Belleveue, WA to Vancouver, BC.  July 24, 2016

We charged when we arrived ar the hotel yesterday evening and promptly moved the car to another spot when done charging. The thing with 80A Destination Chargers is with dual chargers (on classic Model S) or the higher charge option (on new fascia Model S or Model X) one can be recovering as quickly as 50 miles per hour. So it is important to monitor when charging will complete so that one can move one’s car when done charging. Remember that charging is a precious resource and we don’t want to be an “EV-hole” and stop others who may need a charge to use the chargers. I tend to use a sign of sorts, whether my old reliable EV Card from Plug in America or Jack Brown‘s EV Hangtags. However, the best practice is to just move the car when done charging. Especially when charging during waking hours. It’s a little tougher overnight at a hotel, and folks will understand that too.

I like to have at least 90%, but didn’t know what vampire drain was going to be liked outside, so I charged a little bit further. So when we rolled out of the hotel, we were at 240 miles, a range that is about 12 miles higher than our 90% charge, but lower than our range charge of around 253 miles. We had breakfast plans with a few buddies from college who I haven’t seen in decades a few miles South of the hotel, so I wanted to be cautiously above my normal comfort charge.

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Today’s odometer shot was blurry, so we’ll have to settle with the Trip A and B settings…

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As you can see, we drove 0.2 miles since completing our charge and repositioning our parking last night.

From the Hilton Bellevue, we headed to Goldergs’ Deli in Factoria for an early Sunday breakfast with a couple of my friends from college.  I haven’t seen these guys in real life for several decades, though I communicate with one of them via Twitter over the past few years.

It was great catching up with the guys.  Goldbergs’ had a great and filling Bobka French Toast that we had to try, and it was awesome.  The thing with catching up with old friends is we got so caught up in chatting and the like that I did not take ANY food pictures.

Since the guys were local Washingtonians, they often visit Vancouver and were quick to give us some hints on how to avoid the traffic at the border crossing into Canada.  My main takeaway was to take the commercial/truck crossing as that moves faster and regular citizens are allowed to cross there. However, as I mentioned earlier, I’m a tourist and haven’t done a border crossing into Canada since I was a kid, so I figured to just follow the more scenic border crossing.

Here’s our hotel from the freeway as we pass it again, this time headed toward Canada.

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Fans of Costco would recognize the Costco house brand – Kirkland (which was entirely the reason why I asked my better half to get the camera ready and take a shot of this sign.)

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So, I wonder if Kirkland, WA was chosen because Isaaquah (the location of Costco’s headquarters) just sounds strange.  Or perhaps Costco was originally in Kirkland

More snow/glacier-capped mountains in the distance.  It seems that all the states have at least one of them around.

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We spot a water tower… We seemed to have spotted a lot more of these on our cross-country journey.  I wonder if they don’t have as many here because they get all sorts of water that they don’t have to worry about storing it.

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The drive between Bellevue and our only supercharger stop in Burlington, WA was pretty uneventful and we seem to making good time.

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So, after a quick 78 mile drive from our hotel, to breakfast, and back North, we’re at the northernmost Tesla Supercharger in Washington State, Burlington, WA.  Though we chose a hotel with a destination charger, we noted that there was no Superchargers within Vancouver, nor are there any more on our route until we head back South, so we decided to Range Charge here.

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This location seems to be popular as we had some company, including a nice, new Model X.

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This supercharger is located at a hotel, so basically makes it one of many destination superchargers.  We’ve stayed in a few of those.  They’re incredibly convenient, but we didn’t know what our previous day was going to be like, which is why we decided to stay at the Bellevue Hilton instead.

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I thought to add a panoramic shot.  By the time I took the shot, the Red Model S had already completed its charge.

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When we hit 240 Miles, that seemed like enough miles, and figured since it matched what we had on the range when we left Bellevue.  So we went ahead and kept rolling on. We do have late lunch plans with family today, so off we went.

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Now I’m waiting for the Rolls sign…

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Lots of greenery on this drive.  I often get jealous of states that get a lot of water.

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I guess they don’t take kindly to hitch hiking on Washington freeways.  We’ve been spotting these signs and added it to our list of “funny” signs that we’ve seen.

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Another Solar Farm…

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Or should I say a Solar Barn.

Here’s a better “No Hitch-hiking sign” shot.

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If you remember from earlier, my college buddies mentioned taking the faster commercial route to cross into Canada, they mentioned a sign…

I think this was it…

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But, like I said earlier, I’m a tourist and want to see what the more “scenic” crossing looks like.

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We’re not in the USA anymore… Time to switch the car’s settings from Miles to Kilometers.  Besides there was a sign warning us of a speed limit change in Kilometers per hour and I didn’t understand what that was in Miles Per Hour.

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Our first stop is to meet up with family for our lunch.  We got to the border crossing around 1:00 PM and initial estimates had us there so that we would reach our relatives 30 minutes later.  Boy was the GPS off.

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I switched back to miles to get a grip of what the mileage means…

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For those switching from metric to imperial and back, here’s where it is in settings.

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Yes, we’re at the border, just in case we didn’t get it yet.

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Looks like my better half captured me driving through the International Border.  Any closer and that obelisk would look like I had sniffed it into my nose. 😉

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This is the border sign to the US. My better half spotted it as we were entering Canada, and decided to take a picture, we’ll see that in a few days.

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There’s a long line of cars heading into Canada this Sunday afternoon.

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And the Canadian Border Protection folks have to do their job.

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We’re getting close to the border check here.  Remember that GPS estimate, it said that we would be at our relative’s place a minute ago…  The GPS lies. 😉

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The Model X that was charging with us at the last stop in Washington apparently has Nexxus and is in the “special lane.”  Considering the quantity of times that we do this crossing, we don’t really need the Nexxus option.

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Our border crossing into Canada was quick with a minor issue.  At the booth, the Canadian officer asked us to roll down our tinted rear windows to peer into the vehicle.  The windows rolled down easily, however, we had a hard time rolling them back up.  It took us about two minutes to get them closed, the windows kept rolling back down thinking that they hit something.

Finally got through the border process, that took about 51 minutes from the time that we arrived at the border.

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And the city of Surrey, BC makes us feel welcome.

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About 62 miles per hour for the speed limit.  This is one of the few places that I can say that I’ve driven the Model S at a hundred.  I’m one of those that focuses on range efficiency rather than speed.

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I was worried when the car switched to Edge for its data service.  However, this was only for a short while before getting LTE again.

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Cruising at the speed limit. Not sure how friendly the cops are here, and didn’t need to get to know them.  As much as I wanted to see if they all looked like Dudley Doo-Right.

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Looks like they have diamond lanes in British Columbia too, but doesn’t say anything about carpools or EVs, so promptly stayed away from these lanes.

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We finally made it to our relatives place.  We had lunch with family at a local restaurant and took our leave to head to the hotel for check in.

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Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Our hotel for the evening is at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown.

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I switched back to miles again as I had no concept of how much is left in “the tank” when it’s in Kilometers.  Our plan was to head into town for dinner at a restaurant called “Ask for Luigi” and then drop our family members off to their home before we head back to the hotel.  So, we decided to use the charging station at our hotel.

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The Hilton Metrotown has a single Tesla Destination Charger rated at 80A and a J1772 charger rated at 30A. The ceiling for the destination charger is rather low, so Model X users should watch out and Model S with power liftgate should be careful when opening the trunk

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We were getting 74 km per hour on the 80A HPWC.  That should do well to get us recharged.

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We were done in no time.

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We had 8:00pm dinner plans and one of the things that I like to demonstrate to ICE driving family members is that pre-conditioning the car.  It’s so much more convenient to do when the car is plugged in.

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Because of our frequent guest status, we often get access to the Executive Lounge at many Hilton properties.  This particular Hilton has a lounge and we thought to try it before we headed out for dinner.

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Just had a few snacks and sodas to get us refreshed and ready to go to dinner.

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Ask for Luigi

Ask for Luigi is our dinner destination in Vancouver this evening was recommended by Chef Jenn Louis from Lincoln Restaurant in Portland.  She is friends with the chef/owner for Ask for Luigi.  They normally do not take reservations, but she called ahead and they recommended that we swing by around 8:30 pm.

We didn’t know what we were in for, but knew that the food would be good.

Apparently, the restaurant was adjacent to some “scarier” parts of Vancouver.  They were on alert, so we ended up on alert as well.  We found street parking nearly adjacent to the restaurant and it would seem a “scary” Vancouver neighborhood is just “sketchy” for Los Angeles.

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I think that the restaurant owners were betting that the neighborhood is on the upswing and looking at the building across from it and beside where we parked, I would have to agree.  This would be what I would consider the start of gentrification.

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Being a presidential election year, I had my better half take the following picture of an “interesting” Al Gore sighting in Vancouver.

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We arrived at the restaurant ahead of our 8:30 PM reservation, so, after a brief wait, we were seated.

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The restaurant itself was quite cozy.

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We had selected a few items to share “family” style.  We started with Luigi’s meatballs.

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I think that this was the crispy polenta, escargot, and watercress.

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When I visit a foreign country and drive our own Model S, I tend to stay away from alcohol as I don’t know how they enforce their DUI laws, so we went ahead to check out the bottled sodas that they had in their menu.

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We also had the tuna crudo, stracciatella, and pickled mushrooms.

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I think that this was the baccala fritters and saffron aioli.

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We had two different sodas, and this was the other one.

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I’m a big fan of spaghetti nero, and this was made with braised octopus and clams.

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And the other pasta we got was the mafaldine, duck sugo, and black olives.

The meal and service was fantastic.  But the family really went bonkers for the dessert.

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With five of us to share the dessert, rather than choose a few desserts, we just ordered all three that desserts that the restaurant had.

Starting with the panna cotta.

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The chocolate budino

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and the Olive Oil Cake.

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We had a wonderful dinner with family and headed back to their house to drop them off and return to our hotel for the evening.

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The meal was so good that our relatives forgot about their apprehension with the neighborhood until we started to drive out of the area and encountered a soup kitchen a few blocks away.

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We drove 68.6 kilometers from the hotel to dinner and back.  And we switched to miles so that I can comprehend what I just typed.

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I guess that means 42.6 miles…  It looks like all our worries about lack of supercharging in the local area was overblown.  As long as we have access to the destination charger in our hotel, we’ll be fine.  Even the J1772 at 30A will work overnight.

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I figured to go to sleep, but provide some information via the hangtags.

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It turned out that this was going to be a short charge session of approximately 40 minutes to get to where I wanted to be, I figured to move the car when it is done.

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And the car was done charging around midnight, and I was still awake.  So, I went back down to see if I could find another spot to move the car to.

All the hotel spots, with the exception of the two charging station locations, were taken, so I decided to stay in the spot, but park close to the railing, so as to give space for any other Tesla that might show up so that they can also use the Tesla charger, if they needed to. I moved the EV Hangtag with my information on the dashboard so that anyone who may need me to move overnight can call.

I would have preferred to find another spot, like I did in Bellevue, WA, however, the number of spots assigned to the hotel were all taken, and I was unfamiliar with the rest of the parking nearby, so I felt this was the best course of action.

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As you can see from the picture below, the EV spots are quite wide and two other cars could fit with our car scooted over to the wall as I did on this day.

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I took note of the mileage and “kilometerage” of the various cars’ settings after unplugging and went back to the room.

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In order to be ready for driving in Vancouver, I switched back to kilometers.

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The next day of this series, Day 8, is available here.

2016_Day7_Bellevue to Vancouver

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.