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.

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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.

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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 08

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eight 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 7 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 continue our visit with our relatives in Vancouver. We’ve visited Vancouver as tourists over 15 years ago and have done some of the basic “touristy” things, so this was really about hanging out with family.  Our entire stay in Vancouver is at the Hilton Metrotown Vancouver, another Tesla Destination Charger hotel.

Day 8 – Visit family – Vancouver, BC.  July 25, 2016

The Hilton Metrotown Vancouver is an official Destination Charger location, it has one HPWCs rated at 80A and a J1772 charger rated at 30A, when we went to bed the previous night, just past midnight, I was already done charging, but there were no hotel parking spots available.  I decided to stay in situ. To alleviate any “EV-hole” behavior (or should I spell it behaviour since I’m now over the border, I parked close to the wall, unplugged our car, and put our EV Hangtag (designed by Jack Brown) with my contact information on the dash so that I can be contacted easily.  This way, in case someone needed me to move to use the HPWC, I can be reached.  Additionally, unplugging our car from it also provides ample reach for a second Model S or Model X to come in and take the spot next to me and charge quickly.

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Luckily, no one did overnight, and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.

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We parked the car at 380km of range and lost 1km overnight.

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Switching to miles, this shows 235 miles of range in the morning, flipping back to the picture from earlier in the morning that showed 236 miles of range. So, for the algorithm, I guess 1 km=1 mile… The vampire drain on this car during this trip has been strange, to say the least. Either way, I’m pretty sure we have enough range to drive around town several times in either kilometers or miles.

As I stated earlier, the plan was to visit with our relatives today and start it with a Dim Sum brunch. Vancouver, BC is one of the better places in the world to eat Dim Sum, and we were not going to miss the opportunity to go ahead and have some while in town. We did get up a few hours earlier than our scheduled meet up with relatives and decided to see if we can catch the Electra Meccanica location in downtown Vancouver.

Electra Meccanica had a functional test earlier in the summer that I followed over the Internet, but were unable to attend and I was hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of this three wheeled EV at their location. So, we headed into downtown Vancouver to visit their storefront location.

On the way there, we spotted an i3.

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Just in case you were having a hard time squinting on zooming in on the picture above, here’s one with the Zoom on.

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Parking near Electra Meccanica was a breeze, we were able to get good and free street parking nearby.  As a Southern Californian, I always appreciate free parking.

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Electra Meccanica has been showing off a Corbin Sparrow as the inspiration for their 3 wheeled EV and a bright, red one was parked outside of their storefront.

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The picture rendering for the Solo, Electra Meccanica’s EV, can be seen on the sign. The Solo does not look as “fun” a design as the Corbin Sparrow, but thought to still go in to chat with the guys there.

Any Tesla fan or customer that has visited a Tesla store will recognize some similarities with the way that Electra Meccanica has set up its location in downtown Vancouver.

The chassis of the Solo on display is reminiscent of the Roadster, Model S, and Model X chassis that has adorned the Tesla stores in the Tesla sales network.

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The railing that is pulled out on the chassis display demonstrates how the battery packs for the Solo will be installed in the finished product.

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Not sure if they mean to have battery swap, or just for ease of maintenance or repair for the vehicle when needed.

The pictures on the chassis shows the same location for batteries when it is slid back in place.

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The vehicle does not seem to have any DCFC capability and has its charging port in the rear of the tricycle.

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There’s a merchandise wall that shows hats and T-shirts for folks that may wish to go ahead and pick some of those things up.

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In the back is a roadster that Electra Meccanica’s sister-company, Intermeccanica, produces. Unfortunately it’s only available in ICE.

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Too bad, that little car in an EV would be a contender.  Perhaps a successful Electra Meccanica can find a way to bring that ICE Roadster into an EV package.

Apparently we just missed the prototype that I wanted to see by thirty minutes.

Either way, my visit to Electra Meccanica was informative and I am excited to see these little things on the road. They may not be as “goofy” as the Corbin Sparrow, but feel that they can fit a niche. Besides at nearly $20k CAD/$16k USD, it’s a good deal for a nearly 100 mile range commuter EV.

After our visit to Electra Meccanica, we headed over to our relatives to pick them up and have them experience the ride in our Model S.  Our choice for Dim Sum is Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant at Richmond, BC.

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Dim Sum is best experienced with many people so that the diners can order many different items. So. we gladly obliged.

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The restaurant was located in a center called Aberdeen. Unlike others who may first think of Scotland or South Dakota, both of which ALSO come to mind for me… I always think of Hong Kong first when I hear Abderdeen, and our meal in Richmond, BC could easily have been experienced in Hong Kong. Albeit with a bill in CAD not HKD dollars.

As I previously mentioned, we had an issue with our windows having a hard time rolling back up at the border. Like many California Tesla owners, our car is tinted. During our border crossing into Canada yesterday, the Canadian border crossing agent asked us to roll our windows down so that he can peer into the back seat. Well, we were able to roll it down, but it was a struggle to roll the windows back up it took us a minute or two to get the windows up.  Additionally, as we mentioned, on the drive between Portland and Seattle, our wipers were skipping (we’ve been living in mostly drought weather, so we hardly ever use the wipers.) Though we were able to eventually roll up the back windows, we didn’t know what was going on with the wipers, we wanted to see if we can get a center to give it a quick look. We were headed to Granville Island with our relatives and it so happens that the new Tesla Service Center Plus that just opened is a short walk from our destination. So, we decided to head over and ask them to take a look at the car. We did not want to be stuck on the rest of our drive without operating back windows.

A Tesla Service Center Plus is basically a location that combines multiple features to the location, much like the one in Day 7 of last year’s journey in Lyndhurst/Cleveland, Ohio. This center combines the Sales, Service, and Delivery Center functions in one location. I don’t know if they also had an in-service center supercharger, but they at least had multiple functions at one location. What sets this center apart from the one in Ohio is that it was not located in a former auto dealership.

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So, we stopped off and dropped the car off for their inspection and went to Granville Island.

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It looks like this bike sharing thing is really taking off all over the world.

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What was different in the Vancouver Bike Sharing stand is it looks like bike helmets are provided with each rented bike.  A good idea, but one that makes me wonder about the previous “bike wearer”…

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We cross into Granville Island on foot.

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Seeing the traffic that was stuck on this little island made me glad that we left the car at Tesla to be looked at and continued our walking tour of the island.

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I think that sign means children at play (or perhaps watch out for the crazy pedestrian kicking a ball.)

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At the edge of the island were these houseboats that would be better called mansionboats.

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There was an interesting industrial complex that was part working industrial complex and part art installation.

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I don’t know who to commend for the absurdity of the piece, the Brazilian artist or the folks who commissioned him.

There were apparently a few more giants hiding.

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There was also a kinetic piece that we captured a video of.

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As we strolled on in Granville Island, my eagle eye spotted two unused EVSEs.

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Those sure look like Chargepoints. Later in our trip, I would find out from Paul Carter, a Vancouver native (and head of the Tesla Owners Club of British Columbia) that these two locations are often used and to find them available was a rarity.

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Now, produce when traveling within the country is pretty free to traverse borders (within limits, the State of Hawaii has agricultural checks at the airport and the State of California at all the land-crossings). However, traveling internationally is another story. As tempting as any of the fruit may be, one has to consider the fact that it must be consumed before crossing the border.

Meat and cheese are even harder to travel with.

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Still, it was cool to look at.

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Now, Maple Syrup would have been tempting, but I don’t really use it that much, or at all.

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We heard back from Tesla a few hours after we started, but definitely enough time to experience Granville Island this Summer day.  So we headed back to pick up the car.

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It would seem that the vaunted Service Center Plus in Toronto has a basic grade for the coffee service.

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So, what was the problem with the car? We were told that the problem with the windows was tree sap and that the windshield had some “coating” on it that made the wipers skip. They did replace the wiper blade assembly and blades and were charged $72 CAD for the service and given our keys to take our vehicle.  The vehicle wasn’t pulled up for us and we had to go searching for it in the garage.

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Looks like some Washington State owners have their vehicles serviced in Vancouver.

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Lots of nice cars at the lot, but it was time for us to head out.

Our next stop today was to see where the Olympic flame was kept at the city of Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.  As we mentioned before, we’ve been to Vancouver as tourists before and thought to just do some of the things that our relatives felt we should see, so we went with them.

At the center around the Olympic torch/cauldron, spotted a cute Canadian bear and a moose in a Mountie outfit.

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Impressive building, it reminds me of the Denver International Airport Terminals.

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I think these folks were either texting or looking for Pokemon.

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At the convention center where the Olympic torch is kept, there was a sculpture called “The Drop.”

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It’s meant to be a single drop of rain.

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It was quite cool watching the cruise ships head off, probably to Alaska…

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And the seaplanes land and take off…

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Here is a video of a seaplane landing.

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And around the corner is where the Olympic Flame resided in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.

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It would probably be more impressive with snow around it and fire flickering… So, use your imagination.

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In the distance my better half was able to take a picture of a cool Killer Whale sculpture.

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and back to our car to head out.

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On our way to our family’s home, we spot a funny pile-up.

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During our drive around Vancouver, we kept spotting some weird stickers on vehicles. Turns out NEW drivers and STUDENT drivers in BC (not sure if it’s provincial or federal law) have to stick their respective stickers on their cars to let others know of their status. Here’s a New driver.

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It’s a good idea, I wonder why we don’t implement it either in California or other states.

And, on the way back to their home, we see a properly snow capped mountain in the distance.

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After a brief respite, our long day of sightseeing meant that it’s time for dinner.

We thought, why not test out the sushi in BC. Our cousin recommended Sushi Nordel, a local establishment that is an all you can eat sushi place that they like to go to, so we joined them for dinner there.  We weren’t that hungry, so we just ordered A la Carte.

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I think they’re more of a “roll” place.

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The sushi was good, not spectacular, but definitely a good deal and the company was what we really wanted from the dinner experience, so a good time was had by all.

After saying our goodbyes. We headed back to our hotel.

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We got back at 11:00 PM and we’re headed to Reno starting tomorrow.

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The kilometer numbers were big, but still not really processing, so I switch back to miles.

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And it looks like we took a 106 mile day around Vancouver today.

Parked the car similarly to how I parked last night (to give some space for someone else to park with us.)

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And I finally remembered to document the low ceiling… (and post my findings on Teslarati App (and website).)

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Turned in for the night as we don’t know how far we want to drive tomorrow. All I know is I would like to at least make it to Portland in one day.  We hope to have meet-ups on the drive to Reno.

The next day of this series, Day 9, is 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.

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.

The Long Way Round – Day 06

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the sixth 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 5 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?  So, we’re now on our way to the Gigafactory… But first we continue our visit to family in the Seattle area.

Day 6 – Belleveue, WA to a day in Seattle, WA and back to Bellevue, WA.  July 23, 2016

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Our charging was interrupted in the latter part of the process, in the early morning (after about six hours in.)  The J1772 port that we used did not have the clip to latch on and must have loosened overnight.  Luckily our charging neighbor was done and had moved, so I moved our car to the other spot and re-initated the rest of the charge.  That last charge took about 2.5 hours.

The entire charging process took about 8:24:36 at a cost of $16.82.  The first charging session went for 5:55:32 for a cost of  $11.85 and the second, shorter session went for 2:29:04 for a cost of $4.97.  Not the cheapest fill-up in the world, but provided us with enough driving around range to make several traversals around the city.

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The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is a nice hotel.  The rooms were clean, comfortable, and quiet.  Since we took our niece out for the night, we had two Queen beds rather than one King on which gave us a bigger room.
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The view was of downtown Bellevue, and the big buildings feel like many small cities around the country.

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When we were booking our hotel, it was mentioned that the brunch at Eques, the restaurant attached to the hotel, is one of the better weekend brunches in the area, so we figured to try that out before we headed out to Seattle this Saturday.

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The rating was well deserved.  It seems that the restaurant is used to catering to Asian travelers as I found things on the brunch that I’ve seen on travels to Hong Kong, Hawaii, and other locations which get a large influx of Asian travelers.

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At the same time, the cold cuts and smoked salmon spoke of a more continental traveler.

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There were “healthier” options for breakfast as well, but I opted away from those.

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Planning for a more full day, we went for some protein in our breakfast.

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Having had our fill at breakfast, and having a limited time with our niece because of camp activities today, we finished up and got ready to check out of the Hyatt Bellevue.  The Hyatt has great facilities, a comfortable room, pricey charging, and a really good brunch.  I would probably recommend this hotel for the next traveler.  We packed up our belongings and headed out.

As expensive as the charging was, it seems that the locals don’t mind. We got back to the charging stations and see all the other stations taken.

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Scratch that, though the spots are taken, the Leaf doesn’t look to be charging. Merely parking.  Perhaps some would consider this to be “EV-hole” behavior.  I’m not one to judge.  Perhaps the Leaf was waiting for us to leave.  If it had been a free to use station, and the owner would have left their charging door open, I would have gladly plugged them in.  However, it’s a pricey one, as I noted, and we just left on our way.

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Our first activity with our niece is the sculpture garden at Olympic Park.

On our way back to Seattle, we found another interesting sign. Not an ominous one like our “nemesis” the Deer Crossing Sign, but a fairly innocuous and dare I say, a cute sign.

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I think this is a swan or duck crossing (with its young.)  We were on the look out for crossing water fowl, but were disappointed when none showed up.

The bridge toll is discounted for crossing with registered accounts, so as I suggested yesterday, go ahead and register a Good-to-Go visitor account before driving out to the Seattle area.  Looks like the savings is $2.00 at this crossing time.

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The bridge crossing today had no drama.  We were through in “no-time”.

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Looks like the boats in Seattle have “garages” or “boat”-ports (vs. carports.) I suppose it makes sense, with all the rain that Seattle supposedly gets (not that it rained much during our visit) it would be helpful to keep rain from filling up on boats.

Nothing says Seattle to those of us from out of town than the Space Needle, so here’s a few shots of Seattle’s iconic landmark.  Since I have a fear of the sudden stop after a long fall, we opted to skip the Space Needle on our “hang out with our niece in Seattle day.”

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We keep getting closer…

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It turns out our GPS was going to direct us right by the Space Needle on our way to our first destination, Olympic Park.

This next Space Needle shot is my better half’s favorite picture of the series.

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So, after a short ten mile drive, we get to the Olympic Park parking lot.

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Olympic Park

Our niece had to be back at camp for some of her classes for a few hours, so we had to find activities to do with her that would be fun and/or educational and provide us with flexibility on time. So, we thought to check out the sculptures at Olympic Park. Besides, if you remember from earlier on the trip, we figured to play Pokemon Go on this trip and try to catch some Pokemon at the park.  This turned out to be a popular suggestion as our niece had also recently started to play Pokemon Go as well, so, we were hanging with her and our virtual “friends’ ;-).

We arrived at Olympic Park and used the parking lot onsite. We walked right into piece called “Wake” and were greeted with a rather interesting sight behind us of dozens of people doing Yoga at the Park.

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The yoga class was well attended, but aside from having to contort myself to get into my wife’s Roadster, yoga wasn’t on the schedule for this visit to Olympic Park.

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We stayed on course to go catch some Pokemon and see the sculptures at the park.

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So, we walked through the Wake (of copper) to get to the other pieces.

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The next one was called “Sky Landscape”.

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The next large piece was nicely juxtaposed by the smaller red chairs in the background. I had guessed the piece was going to be named “Chair”, but turns out that the piece is entitled “Eagle.” This “fail” on my part shows you how attuned to Modern Art I have become in adulthood.  I used to appreciate modern art more in my youth.

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This is also reflected in that I appreciated the more functional pieces.  This one was calling me (because of my aching feet.)

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Thought this was going to be called “Bench”, but it wasn’t.

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I suppose it would be good to start playing “I spy with my little eye”. But some of the installations look back at you.

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Then there are those that seem to be looking at something…

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I would guess that the large head was enjoying the nice clear, sunny Seattle morning.

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It was a pleasant stroll, but I think my enjoyment for modern art is not quite where it was in my youth.

Another view of the “Eagle” with the Space Needle behind it.

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Just in case I was missing punctuation to join two concepts together, the artist provided one for us.

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And with that, we headed back to take our niece to her late morning/afternoon classes before we briefly take her out again.

On the way to her classes, we randomly spot a new, blue Model X.

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With a few hours from when we need to be back to reclaim her from class, we decided to head back over to check in to our hotel for the evening – the Hilton Bellevue. The hotel for the evening is part of Tesla’s Destination Charger program, so I fully expect a better level of EV charging, the hotel services, should still be pretty good as well.  Hotel rates in Seattle for this weekend rivaled what we experience in New York City, so we opted to just do another bridge crossing, pay the toll, and still save money on the hotel.

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The Hilton labels the amperage on their destination chargers and we select the 80A station to use our dual chargers and recover our used miles quickly.  We tend to follow the “ABC” rule when we’re out and about on these long trips.  That’s “Always Be Charging.”  Especially when the energy is not charged directly.

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Aside from the 80A that we used, there is a 40A HPWC and a 30A GE J1772 charger at this location.

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After checking in to our hotel for the evening.  Taking a short breather and getting a little refreshed, we pick up the car from the 80A charger.

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Looks like we gained 37 miles in our brief stop at the Hilton Bellevue.

On the way back to pick up our niece, we spot another EV following us.

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At the same time that the i3 was behind us, we were following another Model S.

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We arrive at her camp slightly early.  This provided us with the opportunity to seek parking near her class location.  Apparently Seattle folks are really good with directions because we parked on the street and had to guess that we were on the “right” side of this sign.  Had to double check on the Model S GPS which direction we were facing and as to where we were in relation to this sign.

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Couldn’t you just paint the sidewalk?  Then again, with all the weather, I wonder if it would wash off, or perhaps the color would get covered by snow(? or mud? or whatever?).

So, we reunite with our niece and take her on one last stop before we feed her something “non” camp related.

We were headed to the Seattle Great Wheel.

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The Seattle Great Wheel is located in the “touristy” Seattle Waterfront and we are, unashamedly, tourists.  So this was perfectly acceptable behavior.  Considering my fear of a sudden stop after a long fall, I felt that I was “taking one for the team” with this amusement park choice.

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We planned ahead and skipped the ticket booth because we bought our tickets online and were able to skip one line to get into another line.

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That Great Wheel looks a little imposing.

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At least the capsules are enclosed. I don’t have a fear of heights, as I’ve said before I have a fear of the sudden stop after the end of a long fall.

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We spot some solar panels across the pier from the Seattle Great Wheel.

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I try to be brave, but I’m having some serious doubts at this point.

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I’m doing a good job hiding my fear in this photo.

 

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We didn’t have enough people in our party to claim our own gondola, so we’re sharing with another party and we have a city-facing seat. Since we’re not local, that’s actually a good view for us.

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A nice view of the sports stadiums in Seattle.

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We’re pretty high up there.

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That’s what’s behind our seats.

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And just like that, we’re back on solid ground.

Thank goodness.

We caught a quick meal at the pier and brought our niece back to camp so that she can join her fellow campers for their Saturday night activity.  We gave her our warmest regards and told her to behave as we checked her back into camp.

We then headed back to Bellevue to our hotel for the night.

On our way to Bellevue, we spotted Seattle’s bike share program. Bike sharing seem to be taking off all over the place.

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We spot some Hybrid-Electric Buses… Not quite the BYD or Proterra full electric buses, but it’s a start.

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We decided to take a different route to Bellevue as our hotel for the night is on the Southern side of the city.  We took the bridge/freeway that goes through Mercer Island.

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And we got back to the hotel with plenty of miles.

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Our cars’ twin from Arkansas was charging on the 40A HPWC. So, we charged on the 80A HPWC again.  We have dual chargers, so that is always a good option for us.

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Looks like it will take shorter than an hour for the car to get charged all the way up, that we made a note of it so that we can move the car when it is done.

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A shot of the two Blue Model S at the chargers.

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We went back to the room to hang. We still had some of the provisions that MelindaV gave us back at Portland, so we figured to have some Washington Apples while in Washington. Beside, we figure we’re not allowed to carry produce across the border.

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Aside from the healthy snacks, MelindaV provided us with some chocolate, and that tasted as good as it looks.

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At 48 miles per hour, it wasn’t long and we moved the car to a more convenient parking spot.
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We went back out and moved the car to park it overnight.  We have an early start tomorrow as we have a quick get together with a couple of buddies from college for breakfast before we head to Canada.

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The next day of this series, Day 7, is published 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.

The Long Way Round – Day 05

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the fifth 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 4 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’ve achieved our intermediate goal and attended EV Roadmap 9 conference at Portland’s World Trade Center.  So, we’re now on our way to the Gigafactory… After we visit family in the Seattle area and Vancouver, BC area.

Day 5 – Portland to Seattle, WA area.  July 21, 2016

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Interestingly enough, it looks like we had no vampire drain last night. We rolled in with 195 miles of range and rolled out with 195 miles of range. We had a little bit of a late start for our drive to Seattle. The distance between the two cities is rather short compared to our other drives that we figured that we should be fine even with the late start.

For those unfamiliar, Portland, OR is actually very close to the border with Washington State.  So, when we headed North from our hotel toward Seattle, it wasn’t long until we saw the following sign on our bridge crossing.

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And we were greeted with signs for Vancouver… Washington.

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You know that the border crossing occurs often when the state sign is pretty understated.

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Not quite at the border, there was a better state sign.

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But the border was where the understated sign was.

We actually encountered some rain on this part of the drive and were quite happy about that. My expectations for a trip to the Pacific Northwest is to have some rain. As it was, we’ve had nothing but perfect weather. Apparently the rest of the country was suffering from a terrible heat wave.

We were being chased down by a Red Leaf in Vancouver, WA.

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And then we were passed Vancouver, WA

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Still driving along the Columbia River, I think..

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Thanks to MelindaV, we had some good local provisions to hold us in place during this drive.

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And we hit weather again.

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We did have some interesting sights on the drive…

On the way to Centralia, spotted these interesting sculpture. Not sure whether it’s just aesthetic or functional, but looked cool.

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Logging trucks are not one of the things that we often see around Southern California.

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My better half made it her goal to try to follow the “logging industry” life-cycle on what we spot on the road. So, let’s consider this truck of cut trees as step one on this life-cycle plan. Our goal is to follow the wood through its process.

In the meantime, though we had some provisions from MelindaV, we were nearing one of the places that Chef Jenn Louis recommended. It was a Mexican restaurant in Centralia, WA that was about a mile from the superchargers.

As we got closer to Centralia, we saw some strangely colored Washington cows…

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Downtown Centralia, WA

As I wrote about yesterday, Chef’s usually know good places to eat, so we took her suggestion and headed to Downtown Centralia, WA.  The exit was one before the Tesla Supercharger in the same town.

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La Tarasca is apparently an institution in Centralia (1001 W Main St, Centralia, WA 98531.)  They’ve been open since 1997 and only a little over a mile away from the supercharger, a must stop.  Some may supercharge and take local transportation to the restaurant and back.  I would suggest to just stop, enjoy the meal, and then head over to the supercharger.

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Here are the hours of operation for La Tarasca.  It was good that we decided to have lunch here on Friday rather than try to squeeze them into the return drive.  We plan on leaving Vancouver and head South on or around Tuesday and expect to pass Centralia on that day.  It’s also important to note the sign that lets customers know that they do not serve “chips”.

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We parked at the restaurant to eat lunch with plenty of range left on the battery.

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So, we ordered our meal.

I was going to be a smart aleck, and ask for chips, but my shins hurt too much from my wife’s subtle reminder NOT to be a smart aleck. 😉

Instead of chips, they brought out these pickled vegetables.  I tried one, it was ok, but it gets a big thumbs up from the better half.

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The meal was a good authentic Mexican Food from Michoacan.  We ordered the Chile Verde and

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the Carnitas.

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These are provided with freshly made corn tortillas, and not flour ones. Another “house rule”, no flour tortillas.

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It was a filling meal and after fueling ourselves, we headed to the superchargers at Centralia (located at the outlet mall).

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We took local roads to the Centralia Supercharger as it was about a mile away from where La Tarasca was located.

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We had enough charge to get to our next stop, which was our hotel for the night. But not enough to do our driving around the Seattle area.  We had a schedule to keep and wanted to have enough time to check in to our hotel in Bellevue, pick up our niece from Summer Camp in Seattle, and then drive up to Everett to see Billy Elliot, the Musical.  We chose our hotel in Bellevue, the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, for the evening because it had some J1772 chargers according to Plugshare.  The difference in cost for the hotel stay versus hotels on Tesla’s destination charger network made it worth it to pick our hotel, even though we would have to pay fees to charge on the J1772 at that location.

Since this was the start of a Summer Weekend, We noticed that this was a busy supercharger and we were joined briefly by a fellow Californian in a Signature Red Model X.

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To minimize the Level 2 charging and to ensure that we have enough “driving around town” charge when we got to the Seattle area, we range charged at this supercharger.  As we mentioned earlier, we need to travel between Bellevue, Seattle, and Everett for our evening plans.

We did a little outlet shopping at Centralia while the car charged.  We were going to be hanging out with our niece for a few days and picked up a present for her and a few things for us.

So, with our battery near capacity, we rolled out of the supercharger to Bellevue.

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We meet up with traffic in Olympia, Washington.

Spot a California Jedi of presumably Hispanic origin.

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The good thing about traffic is we get to enjoy the sights around us without blowing right past them, like this cool helicopter overhead

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And this beautiful church on the other side of the freeway.

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We pass the Tacoma Dome, the now departed Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), had played there for a season while the Key Arena was renovated or built, I don’t remember my Sonics’ history.

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Looks like there’s a cool museum that we’re skipping.

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Another lumber truck for the “logging industry” life-cycle project.

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We were lucky because it looked like a lot of the traffic was headed South and not North.

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We did hit some traffic, but luckily Washington also use HOV lanes with a 2+ person count like California, so I used those lanes.

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We made it to Bellevue.  Seems like a nice looking city.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever been here before, but now I can say that I have.

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We arrived at our hotel in Bellevue with enough time to check in and get our room assigned.  But we were nearing the time we needed to depart to pick up our niece from her dorm.  We headed to her camp which was using a dorm from Seattle Pacific University.

First we had to traverse Bellevue and it’s interesting to see so many trees interspersed with the city.  Considering all the building off the freeway, I didn’t expect this much foliage.

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Original estimates had the drive at a leisurely 30 minutes or so, but the estimates changed drastically when we were getting on the bridge connecting Everett with Seattle, we ended up taking about an hour longer to traverse the distance because of an accident on the bridge.

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Additionally, this was a toll bridge, now there was a way to sign up as a visitor in the area to at least pay for the tolls like a resident before getting a fine. So I made a mental note to fill that out.  The system was called GoodToGo and one should consider signing up for a visitor account before heading in, that minimizes your toll costs.

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Seattle traffic was pretty bad.

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Spotted traditional electric trolley buses with the constant power connected overhead rather than full EV buses with its own battery pack like the BYD ones at the conference the other day.

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We pass through some interesting parts of Seattle to get to our niece’s dorms.

Looks like some boats are parked above ground.

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Another bridge…

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It made me think of “Many Rivers to Cross”… (though I’m sure it was just one)

And some Portland area coffee has made in-roads into the Seattle Coffee scene. (quick alert Starbucks!)

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And after the traffic filled journey, we make it to her dorm.

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Our plans for the Seattle area for this evening is to catch a musical, Billy Elliot at Everett Washington.  Still a little bit of a drive from her dorm, but we can make it.

We’re not proud of it, but we fed her (and ourselves) burgers and fries.  I’m a big fan of the spicy fries that Five Guys Burgers produces and am glad to see the quality is the same all over the country.

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At the parking structure for the play, we found our WA state twin for our Model S and parked beside it.

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Crossed the street in Downtown Everett to the Village Theater and found our seats with ten minutes to spare.

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We figured to take our niece out for a nice musical on her night of freedom from her summer camp.

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I was impressed with the production in Everett.  It wasn’t Broadway, but it was a high quality traveling production.  The acting and direction was entertaining and the singing and dancing were superb.

We were going to take our niece for Ice Cream after the show, but she was tired and it was time to take her back to the hotel.

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After all the driving for the day, we parked at the hotel with 78 miles of range. Had to do a little driving around the hotel parking lot, but figured a 200V/30A feed would be fine for an overnight charge.

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We’re not going to charge it up to full, but at least have enough to do our driving around Seattle area day on Saturday.

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The charge rate improved a little when I checked on the App and we went to bed.

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The next day of this series, Day 6, can be found here.

2016_Day5_Portland to Bellevue
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 04

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the fourth 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 3 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’re still in Portland attending the second day of EV Roadmap 9 conference at Portland’s World Trade Center.  So, we have the intermediate goal to complete.

Day 4 – EV Roadmap 9, Portland OR.  July 21, 2016

Though we have In and Out privileges for our car at the hotel for the conference, I opted to use other means to get from our hotel to the EV Roadmap 2016 conference. I still had a few Lyft credits left, but felt it wasteful to use this because all the cars that came out to help us in Portland have all been ICE. As cool as it was to have someone else drive us around and as cheap as it was because of the credits from T-Mobile, I figured to do something different.

So, for day two of the conference (or day three, depending on how you look at the agenda, considering the previous day was “by invitation only”, I’m counting that as zero.) I decided to forego the high cost of downtown Portland parking AND gasoline. I decided to take the Trimet Trolley system. This method of transport was actually $1 more for me than Lyft because of the credits and the $2.00 tip versus $2.50 each way pass, but I thought why not.

The Trimet station was just across the street from my hotel and a few blocks away from the conference.

The first tram to stop was going the other way, so I took a photo and waited for the one toward City Center.

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It wasn’t a long wait.

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The Trimet tram is similar to the Blue Line/Red Line in Los Angeles, but had the additional cool factor of crossing over water on the bridge.

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The few times I took the Metro in LA, none of my trains did that.

So, for a little longer than what the Lyft ride took me, but a lot cleaner transport, I found myself back at the conference.

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One of the drawbacks with commuting to the conference is missing some of the earlier parts, I missed some of the earlier sessions, but I was able to make the session from the auto manufacturers.

I then continued to the sessions on deploying Fast Charging networks.

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It is interesting to note that many other charging network providers have learned from the lead that Tesla has provided and folks are now ensuring that future deployments should consider a redundant deployment of fast chargers rather than a “ready” state in addition to a single DCFC as has been deployed in the past. The industry is looking to design for future success rather than have single points of failure along the charging corridors that are being deployed. (Common Sense rules!)

At lunch, I ended up with a table full of many of the same folks that I have had the pleasure of talking with the previous day.   There was an award presentation for employers regarding Workplace Charging.  Even though EV Roadmap is one of the premiere North American conferences for the EV industry, it is still focused on Oregon and I believe all the awards were for local businesses.

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After lunch there were several more sessions that I attended.  The most interesting one was the one for Electric Vehicles in the Media.  I had hoped to meet Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield of Transport Evolved as she was originally scheduled to be in that session, but had to bow out for personal reasons.   Nevertheless, the three presenters and moderator did a good job being one of the more entertaining sessions.

I walked by a full Electric Avenue charging location on my way back to the Trimet Trolley.

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I caught the train across from the Apple Store in Downtown Portland.

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And the ridership for the particular train I was on was “quite healthy”

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Not as packed as a London or New York train in the middle of Rush Hour, but definitely a good sign of a well received public transport system. Besides, it’s an EV.

Another crossing of the bridge.

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One of the interesting things that launched in Portland during the conference was a Bike Sharing system that looks to have had a good uptake in ridership as well. The Portland system is called Biketown and is sponsored by local employer Nike. (Similar ones have been launched in other cities, such as the Boris Bikes in London and Citi Bikes in New York.)

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Biketown actually sponsored the conference and could have been an option to try for my commute back to the hotel, but decided to have someone else drive. Though I know how to ride a bike, I haven’t done so in a while, and riding a bike in a busy downtown area may not be the best way to re-introduce myself to the pleasures of cycling.

We had plans to return to Lincoln Restaurant for our last dinner in Portland on this leg of the trip and took our Model S back out for the drive.

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It looks like we started the drive to the restaurant at 208 miles, so that’s another seven miles of vampire loss from sitting in the parking lot all day.

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Lincoln is a wonderful restaurant owned and operated by Chef Jenn Louis. This dinner would be the second time for us to visit this restaurant. The Chef is actually the sister of a high school classmate of mine and we originally dropped in a few years ago to check out the restaurant. We were impressed by the entirety of our restaurant experience, from the meal to the service to the dessert,  that we have added her restaurant to our list of places we “must visit” everytime we’re in her town.

Started off with the Octopus on the Plancha

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and the Baked Hen Eggs

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Grilled Dates and Marcona Almonds

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Since Jenn’s first cookbook was called Pasta by Hand, have to try her pasta (besides, I prefer to have someone else’s hands make and cook the pasta for me ;-),) and decided on the Bucatini with herb pesto, oil-cured olives, and walnut.

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and a nice NY Steak with prosciutto, blackberries, blue cheese, and panzanella.

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The desserts were also awesome

We had the Popcorn Panna Cotta to share…

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…and each had a bon bon. White chocolate.

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and Dark chocolate.

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After a great meal, here’s a picture of us with Jenn.

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It’s good to get to know chefs because they’re a great source of information for places to eat when one travels. We talked about our plan to go to Vancouver on the way to Reno and Jenn had a few places to recommend in Washington and a restaurant to go to in Vancouver. She recommended a great hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Willamette Valley a few years back that had great food, so we took notes on the restaurants to visit on our Pacific Northwest trip.

We headed back to the hotel and parked the car with a 198 miles of range overnight.

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We had more than enough range to make it to our next supercharger stop at Centralia, WA tomorrow and headed back to our hotel room to rest for the drive to the Seattle, WA part of our trip.

The next day of this series, Day 5, will be published on September 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM Pacific (/1:00 PM Eastern/6:00 PM British Summer Time/September 17, 2016 at 1:00AM Hong Kong Time/3:00 AM Sydney Time)

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.