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


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.


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.

The view was of downtown Bellevue, and the big buildings feel like many small cities around the country.



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.



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.


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



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



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




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.



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.


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.


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.


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



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.”



We keep getting closer…


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.


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



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.




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.


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


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


The next one was called “Sky Landscape”.



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.


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


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


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


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



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


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.


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



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.


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.



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.


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



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


That Great Wheel looks a little imposing.


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.


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


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


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




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.


A nice view of the sports stadiums in Seattle.




We’re pretty high up there.


That’s what’s behind our seats.





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.


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


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.



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




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.


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.



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


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.


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


At 48 miles per hour, it wasn’t long and we moved the car to a more convenient parking spot.

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.


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 –

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