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.


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


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.


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.)


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.


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.




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




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.



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


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.


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




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.





Now I’m waiting for the Rolls sign…


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


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.


Another Solar Farm…


Or should I say a Solar Barn.

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


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…


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




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.


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.




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


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


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




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. 😉



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.



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


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


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. 😉


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.



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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

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




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.



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


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


We were done in no time.


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.


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.



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




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.


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.



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


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


The restaurant itself was quite cozy.




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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


The chocolate budino


and the Olive Oil Cake.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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



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



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 –

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