The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons

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

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

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

The Long Way Round – Summary and Lessons.

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

So how did this trip look on the map?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Had great dinner at Ask for Luigi.

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And got to visit Electra Meccanica…

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

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

In Washington State…

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In Oregon…

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In Reno at TMC Connect 2016

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And in Reno at the Gigafactory

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

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

1) Look for that darn PASTA Truck…

After all we saw the Garlic Truck…

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and the Tomato Truck

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

AND

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

Starting with those darn bald spots in the mountains…

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Then followed the raw logs

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cut and shaped wood

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and finished products.

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So, what are some key takeaways with this journey?

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

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

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

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

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

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Considering that the travel is its own reward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for what’s coming up on the blog…

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

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

…Spoiler Alert… …It’s not a Tesla.

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

The Long Way Round – Day 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And there was a small festival atmosphere.

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

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

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Nevertheless, it was well attended.

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

The equipment supporting the superchargers are in a locked shed.

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

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

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

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

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

Truckee Supercharger (Donner Summit)

Needless to say, it was quite full this afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Roseville Supercharger

Our third stop today is at the Roseville Supercharger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We drove through the smoke and slowed down.

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

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

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

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Vacaville Supercharger

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

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

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

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

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

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The city is full of cows.

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

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

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Even more cows…

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

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Yes, they’re windmills, say the cows…

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The windmills keep getting my attention.

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

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Here’s one I call windmills and cows…

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And a close-up of both.

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And we leave windmill country and get closer to Manteca.

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We cross some vineyards…

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

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At least it’s not a one lane road.

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Oh, thank goodness… A freeway sign!

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Back on the freeway.

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

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A nice, wide freeway…

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

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Manteca Supercharger

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

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

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

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

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Harris Ranch Supercharger

We’re back at Harris Ranch Supercharger.

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It was pretty lonely here on a Saturday night…

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Everyone else must have booked their rooms ahead of time.

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

Buttonwillow Supercharger

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

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This is our last supercharge before we get home.

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

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

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

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Set the update to complete later in the morning…

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

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Oh, with new software too…

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

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

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

2016_Day13_Reno to LB

The Long Way Round – Day 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It was more photo op than actual needed charge stop…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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After a quick wash, we headed into Reno.

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

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We drove along the Truckee River toward Reno.

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And are welcomed by the Welcome to Nevada sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There were also manufacturers of some cool two wheeled EVs.

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

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Dinner was good, and the company was better.

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

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

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

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But to take lots of Tesla photographs…

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

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Lots of Model X around.

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And documented a lot of creative personalized plates.

Long drive out from Virginia.

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Someone’s smilin’

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Doug’s car’ Nikola

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

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

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A better shot of Zap 2 Zum

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

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Yes please, No ICE

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

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Frickin’ Lasers

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On a Ludicrous P90D Model X…

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

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

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Across the street were also some charging stations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016_Day11_Sacramento to Reno

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

The Long Way Round – Day 10

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

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 9 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

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

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The drive back to Grants Pass has some interesting undulations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We ordered a Caramelizer and a hot coffee as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, we filled up and continued on.

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

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Until you look behind, or past the next corner.

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We spot another lone windmill.

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Then some more cows grazing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016_Day10_Eugene to Sacramento

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

The Long Way Round – Day 02

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the second 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 1 of this trip.

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.

There are two goals today.  The first goal is to make it to Portland so that I can make the EV Roadmap 9 conference tomorrow morning.  The second goal is to meetup with MelindaV of Model3Ownersclub.com.

Day 2 – North to Portland, OR starting at Red Bluff, CA. July 19, 2016

Hampton Inn and Suites, Red Bluff, CA

When we checked in overnight, there were no convenient parking spots left.  The Front Desk told us to park in its driveway.  Since I wanted to charge on the NEMA 14-50 outlets that were available at the Hampton Inn and Suites at Red Bluff.  I decided to move the car to the RV stalls in the morning.

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The range left on the battery in the morning was 210 miles and we parked the car with 211 miles, so it looks like we only lost 1 mile overnight.  We had enough charge left to reach the Mt. Shasta Supercharger which was only 89 miles away. My desire to charge at this location was so that I can add it to my “places that I have charged” list than anything else.  Furthermore, I wanted to see what speed the NEMA 14-50 outlets would take to recharge a Model S at this hotel.

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So, I moved the car from its spot in the front driveway to the RV spots away from the entrance.  The RV Spots looks interesting…

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And the NEMA 14-50 is easily accessible, there was also another outlet there (pictured below)  that kinda looks like a NEMA 10-30.

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So, plugged in, and headed back to get ready for today’s drive.  It looks like the location is getting a good 25 miles per hour.  That’s a good rate and will make this location a possible stopping point on the way back to Reno on the trip to the Gigafactory.

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So, after breakfast and a few minutes to charge the car,  we’re off to head to Portland.

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Looks like the Deer Crossing signs in California are more common in the Northern part of the state.  We’re still nervous about driving in areas where the wildlife is big enough to damage the car, but had planned on mitigating that challenge by minimizing the amount of night-time driving.

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As we continued on our drive, we see a snow covered peak ahead – we’re guessing that’s Mt Shasta.

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We spotted another wildlife sign on this drive.  I must admit, the Bear Crossing signs in California are a little cuter than other states.

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We saw an interesting scenic overlook, and thought to get a nice picture.  Here’s a great shot of us… Mount Shasta was supposed to be behind us, but the sun was a little too sunny.

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The drive was a little bit of a climb, but nothing we couldn’t manage with over 210 miles of range at the start (and more since we convenience charged on the NEMA 14-50 at our hotel) we find ourselves at the Mount Shasta Supercharger.

Mt Shasta Supercharger.

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The Mount Shasta Supercharger is one of the earliest supercharger locations and is located at the Best Western in Mount Shasta.  It hasn’t expanded since its original four supercharger stalls at launch.  We were the only ones charging at this location on our drive, but anticipate some congestion on busy Holidays or at least during our drive back to Reno.

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After a short charge at this location, we headed onward from our last California supercharger stop to our first Oregon supercharger stop at Grants Pass, Oregon.

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We were greeted with the Oregon state sign at the border.  It was a bit understated.

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The drive itself was a bit of a hilly ride, but it looks like we were headed more downhill than uphill when we took this photo of the energy chart.

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This was an unexpected sight.  The formation in the distance hearkened us to our drive through Utah, except these were green and not barren of foliage as the Utah ones were.

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Grants Pass Supercharger

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We stopped off at the supercharger in Grants Pass which was at the rear parking lot of the Black Bear Diner in town.

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Looking at my pictures, one would think that The Black Bear Diner is a store for stuffed teddy bears, it’s not, it’s a chain of restaurants and I decided to take note of the business hours for the Black Bear Diner, just in case we decide to stop for a meal here on the way back.

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This was another four stall location and we shared the charging location with one other car for a short while and then were left alone.

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As we headed toward Oregon, we had scheduled an EV Meetup with MelindaV of Model3Ownersclub.com. She clued us into an Oregon coffee chain called Dutch Brothers. There was one a few short blocks away, so we decided to give it a try.

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We tried two different iced coffees. I ordered an Iced Latte with sweetener and my wife ordered the Caramelizer (on their menu.)  The one I ordered was not as good as the one my better half did, so I ended up sharing her drink.  After fueling both the car and driver, we continued onward to the Springfield/Eugene, OR Supercharger.

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Spotted some cows that were not as penned up as the ones that we saw around Harris Ranch.

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We spotted a few “bald spots” in the tree lines.  Not sure what causes tree-line pattern baldness, but hypothesized that perhaps this was the lumber industry working.

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As usual, the sight of some renewable energy generation on the drive gets my attention, and this was on the drive.

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One of the things that tell us that we’re not in Califronia anymore. The scenery is more green than golden.

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Some more “free range” cows spotted.

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We think that we may have spotted some of those missing trees from the “tree line pattern baldness” that we’ve been seeing on this drive.

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The drive was not as mountainous as Interstate 70 through Colorado, but there were still some interesting differences in elevation on this drive.  We tried to capture the sense of the rolling hills that we had on Interstate 5 between Grants Pass and Eugene/Springfield and thought this shot conveyed it best.

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Oregon is one of the few states that still allow trucks to travel hauling three trailers for one Big Rig.  This practice was stopped in California years ago and we’re surprised to still spot the practice in other states.   I guess that Oregon requires these Long Load signs to be placed for those hauling three trailers.

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Eugene/Springfield Supercharger

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We arrived at the Eugene/Springfield Supercharger needing 108 miles to make it to our destination.  However, I wanted to put as much “in the tank” for driving around Portland charge.  So, we decided to stick around.  Looks like many of the owners in the area understand supercharger pairing.

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We charged at this location for a while and had the opportunity to spot the Red, White, and Blue Model S combination several times.  Though in this first shot, the order is White, Red, and Blue.

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We were patient and were able to get a photograph at this angle which put it in the Red, White, and Blue order.

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We range charged to make sure that we arrived at our hotel with as high a charge that we can.  When we planned our hotel, the hotel we chose had a Level 2 charger show up on Plugshare.  It was not a destination charger under Tesla’s program, it was a pay charger that I did not have an account with.  I got an account with the provider, however, I wanted to minimize using it, if possible.  Besides, I believe that the initial start-up balance required by the provider was $20.  I wasn’t intending on using the network that often however I was setting it up so that I could use the network if we needed to.

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We left the charger with 248 miles and decided to head to the Electric Avenue charger in Portland.  We had scheduled a meet-up with MelindaV from Model3Ownersclub.com and continued on our way.

Spotted more free range cows.

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Some more triple trailer trucks.

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Even more free range cows.

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As we neared Portland, I was surprised to see a supercharger show up on my Navigation.  We were nearing the Woodburn Outlet Stores and our map showed a Supercharger there.  Our original routing skipped this supercharger entirely.  We were getting quite hungry for dinner that we decided to combine a charge stop with our dinner.

Woodburn Supercharger

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We used 79 miles since we last charged and we decided to stop at this location so that can minimize using the Level 2 at our hotel.  Additionally, in doing so, we can take full use of the high power Level 2 at the location to recover miles while we meetup with MelindaV rather than take up a valuable CHAdeMO station at Electric Avenue.

Here’s a nice panoramic of the multiple stalls at Woodburn.

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The supercharger is located at the parking lot for Elmer’s Restaurant.

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But across the parking lot is a Starbucks and Sora Sushi.

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We decided to have dinner at Sora Sushi. We’ve actually been to this sushi bar a few years prior on a fun weekend trip to Portland to go to the Willamette Valley for wine tasting.  Part of that weekend was a quick shopping trip to the nearly adjacent outlet stores.  The supercharger was not even a potential location at the time that we stopped here previously.

It looks like we missed half-off sushi time.  Perhaps next-time we stop off at Woodburn.

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Sora Sushi is a conveyor belt sushi, so the plates zoom on by.  The prices are reasonable and the fish was tasty.  Additionally, one can also order to have something made for one’s self.

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We had a quick, but satisfying meal and a very nice Red Model X greeted us upon our return to the supercharger.  The Multi Coat Red looks great in person and this X was no exception.

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We packed up and headed to Portland’s Electric Avenue.

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Since we had quite a bit of charge from the superchargers on our drive, we didn’t really “need” to charge.  However, Portland’s “Electric Avenue” is a charging destination for long-time EVangelists.  The original location was relocated a year or so back and though I never got to charge at the original, it would be criminal to visit Portland and not stop off and pay homage to EV predecessors.  So, we stopped off to charge at the High Power Level 2 chargers at Portland’s “Electric Avenue”.  The chargers are free, however, visitors must pay for the parking spot used while charging.

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Since we arrived after 7pm.  Even the parking fees were waived after hours.

We had our meetup with MelindaV (pictured below, photograph by my better half) from Model3Ownersclub.com.  We spent some time talking EVs, her pending Model 3 order, and interesting things regarding the Portland area.  We had a good time meeting with her and appreciated the sampling of local goods she gave us for our hotel.  One of the pleasures for EV Roadtrips is to meet fellow EVangelists and it’s great to see someone who is passionately waiting for her Model 3.

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After hanging with her, we went ahead and checked into the Doubletree Hotel, Portland.

Doubletree Hotel, Portland OR

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As I explained earlier, the network provider for the chargers at the Doubletree required an initial $20 charge to start the account for the location.  Since the network provider was not one that is common in our usual geographic area, this startup charge was somewhat expensive and we since were really close to “Electric Avenue”, we decided not to charge here.  We parked at a regular spot on the other side of the chargers.

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There were lots of Level 2 chargers at the lot.  They did a good job getting ready for use, but it’s really more geared toward locals that would use their network on a regular basis than infrequent travelers such as ourselves.

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Intermediate Mission Accomplished.  We reached Portland in time to get a good night’s rest and head to EV Roadmap 9 tomorrow.  Additionally, we got to hang out and meet a fellow EV enthusiast and looking forward to the first day of EV Roadmap 9.

The next day of this series, Day 3, 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.

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The Long Way Round – Day 01

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the first 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.

After taking 23 days to travel from Southern California to Maine last year, we’ve been on several “long” roadtrips.  Nothing close to the 8000+ miles of that trip, until this past summer when we took off for this trip.

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.

At the end of the day, 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.

Without further delay, put yourself back a few months, and join us on our trip.

Day 1 – North to Portland, OR and stop somewhere in the middle. July 18, 2016

Last year, before we went on our cross-country road trip, we did a lot of pre-trip planning.

We did most of the same things, but since we were planning on a trip to Canada, we added taking our passport with us…. as well as a few other things.

One thing that we did not have readily available on last year’s trip was cleaning supplies. So, rather than purchase these on the road, should the opportunity to clean the car were to present itself, we brought our usual cleaning supplies.

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We figured to add an emergency kit for our trip as well.  We brought a Survival Kit which we originally got for earthquakes, a first-aid kit, and an emergency radio.  Just in-case.

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For the past few weeks, we’ve been driving around town without our spare tire in the frunk, but this trip to the Pacific Northwest is an estimated 2,600+ Mile drive.  We figured to put that spare back in.  Additionally, our cleaning supplies and emergency kit fit in the “microwave” box in the frunk.  (The joys of a rear-wheel drive 2013 Model S).

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As I surmised, all our supplies fit in the “microwave” box and the spare tire keeps it in place.  One thing I had to make sure was to ensure that it didn’t rattle or move about back there.  Nothing more irritating than a persistent noise in a Tesla and didn’t want to “self-inflict” noise in this instance.

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Figured to take a photograph of the mileage and other statistics for this drive.

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The car’s mileage at departure is 60,896 miles and the Rated Range and we decided to range charge the car this trip. It used to fluctuate to 254 to 255 miles last year, now firmly at 254 miles. Granted, the firmware has had numerous updates since last year, so take that max with a “grain of salt.”

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I took a picture of our trip stats at zero for B trip.  I left home planning on tracking the energy use on a daily basis…  …more on what we ended up using this for later.

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Another difference from last year’s long summer road trip is the community at Teslarati now has many other members who update entries on the the released version of the Teslarati App for the iPhone.  Last year’s big trip was focused on posting something on Teslarati for each stop.  However, we’re not going to be adding too many new sites for this trip as the community has done a good job covering these locations.  We’re actually going to be using what others have already provided for us.

On this first day, our intermediate goal is to reach Portland, OR by tomorrow evening.  Aside from planning the long way around to the Tesla Gigafactory party on July 29, I am registered to attend the EV Roadmap 9 conference in Portland which is held on July 20 and 21.

With those goals in mind, we left home and proceeded North.  Leaving home during Rush Hour is probably not the ideal way to start a trip, but considering this was a Monday drive, it is inevitable in Southern California.

Luckily, we have access to the HOV lanes because we consider two or more people to be a “High Occupancy Vehicle” drive in Southern California, coupled with the white stickers that are available to be issued for EVs.

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Though the HOV access throughout Southern California is vast, it’s not endless… And we encountered further traffic on our Northbound journey.

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Even areas around the Grapevine, which is normally pretty open in the summer had a bit of traffic, though not to the degree we see in rush hour commute.

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Before we arrive at our first Northbound Supercharger, we cross the 61,000 mile threshold very early on in this trip.

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And this achievement was quickly followed by the Tejon Pass summit.

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This summit is at the apex of the approach to/from the Tejon Ranch Supercharger. Since we had enough range to skip this supercharger, and our spot consumption says we can go 999 miles, we decided to go to the Buttonwillow Supercharger instead.

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The Buttonwillow Supercharger is just off the freeway and my wife was able to catch a great shot of the supercharger from the freeway.  The supercharger stalls are installed in a manner where the back of the stalls face the street and the front face the freeway.

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Buttonwillow Supercharger.

So, approximately 165 miles later, and a short visit in between, we arrived in Buttonwillow around 1:45 PM. Not as early as we had hoped. But it’s nice to be out on the open road, or at least Interstate 5.

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The last time we were here, it was the middle of the night. Everything in the same parking lot was closed, so we stayed in the car and charged. Not only that, as previously mentioned, the superchargers are located in a manner that forces travelers to park with their backs facing the street.  This orientation makes one feel exposed in an open, dark parking lot.  However, in the bright light of the day, it’s fine.

This time, not only did we need to refuel the car, we needed to refuel the driver. We drove out of Metropolitan Los Angeles area without getting any coffee and this supercharger is located at a parking lot adjacent to a Starbucks.

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It sure looks like we were not the only ones that had the idea to stop off and get some coffee here.  Considering this was the middle of the day, in the outskirts of Bakersfield, it’s pretty busy.

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Something tells me that I will be stopping here more often than Tejon Ranch and I figured to document the business hours for the Starbucks

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and the Subway, next door.

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After getting charged up, we decided to head off to Harris Ranch, our next stop on our I-5 Northbound route.

It is quite common on this route to see produce moving around in trucks. Considering that the center of California is where many of the farms are, it is only logical to see produce trucks in this route.

As we headed North on this route, we spotted an interesting truck which we couldn’t determine what was on it until we got closer.

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Sure looks like garlic. Which is interesting because the truck is South of Gilroy and headed Northbound.  Gilroy, California is well-known for its Garlic Festival (and for one of the original supercharger locations for Tesla drivers, the Gilroy Supercharger). I guess there are other garlic producing areas in California.

However, the next truck immediately ahead of the garlic truck made us wonder…

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…a Tomato truck! (Not necessarily the one pictured because we drove past that one…)  So, a garlic truck, a tomato truck…. we were wondering where the pasta truck was going to be.

Alas, we were disappointed because we never did see that pasta truck, and now I’m craving Italian food.

Harris Ranch Supercharger

Our next stop Northbound is the Harris Ranch Supercharger.

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We were the seventh to arrive, and it looks like everyone else in this HUGE 13 stall supercharger have done this travel before.

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Every Tesla traveling through this location is not sharing its charge with its A or B twin. I often will try to pick stall 7A when passing through Harris Ranch.  It is the one pictured on the far right, beside the silver Model X.

So far, our drive North has been quite ordinary. The many trips to the Bay Area that we’ve done since last year had traversed through the same routes. (Here is one when we tried to drive up and down the same day.) However, our next stop is the Manteca Supercharger. A location that we’ve never been to.

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To prepare for that new location, I figured to check out the entries for the particular stop on Teslarati’s app (which is now available over a browser.) Looking at the comments, I stumble across one entry (from July 3, 2016) that put me a little “on alert.” Seeing that we won’t make it to the Corning stop (the one AFTER Manteca) I decided not to startle my wife on the entry that I read on Manteca.

Just North of Harris Ranch is the cattle operation that makes the beef at the Harris Ranch restaurant famous. (This is also one of the reasons why I think that Tesla made the HEPA Filters for the Model X and newer Model S 🙂 .)

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We were lucky in that the “wind” was favorable for us today.

So, we drove North. Where we normally would head toward Gilroy (the Garlic Capital of California), we stay on I-5 to get to the Manteca Supercharger.

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Just after the turn-off for Gilroy is an interesting site.

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Not sure what it was, but it looks like a cool church tower. I wonder if its one of the many “Missions” that Spain and the Catholic Church had set up throughout California.  I suppose if I had spent the fourth grade in California, I would have known about the missions, but I didn’t. So, we zoom pass it.

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We keep seeing tomato trucks on I-5, but still no pasta truck.

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We see different crops. Not sure what these trees are, but it’s pretty orderly.

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Been pretty used to seeing cows throughout the drive, but apparently, there were also sheep.

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After a few hours of driving, we find ourselves at the Manteca Supercharger.

Manteca Supercharger

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This stop is going to be a longer one than our normal stops. We arrived at the site with 58 miles of range left on the gauge. Our plan is to stay on I-5 and charge at the Corning Supercharger (177 miles away) and find a place to stay the night between Corning and Mt Shasta.  We like to have a buffer for our charge, so we planned on getting near a maximum range charge to provide us with flexibility as we head North in the evening.

We were not alone at the supercharger when we arrived at Manteca. One of the things that one starts to notice on heavily traveled supercharger routes are fellow Tesla travelers or at least their vehicles. This stop was no exception, we’ve been traveling with the Model X at the far charger since Buttonwillow.

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This supercharger is located in what looks like an like a recently completed shopping center.  However, upon further inspection, I wonder if the center ever got to the point where it was full.  I was a little comforted with seeing another car here, we figured to head out and forage.

We walked toward some traveler convenient locations and grabbed some dinner.

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Because I was a little “on edge” from the entry on Teslarati and not wanting to leave the car unattended too long, we headed back.

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I was able to speak with our fellow traveler, and it turned out that the X owner was headed to the EV Roadmap 9 conference in Portland, and he was planning on spending the night at Sacramento. We spent some time chatting and getting to know each other. We wanted to get a little further than Sacramento. After he left, we spent the downtime at Manteca Supercharger to finalize our destination for the evening. We booked our hotel at the Hampton Inn and Suites at Red Bluff, CA. There seems to be available NEMA 14-50 outlets at the site, but the information was contradictory as to whether the charging is free to use or if there was a charge. Upon conversation with the agent (who was new) at the front desk, we determined that it was best to supercharge before we get to the hotel as she indicated a $50 charge to plug in (she was new and thought that it was the same as what the Hampton Inn would charge RVs that are staying at their hotel for the night.)

We stayed at the Manteca supercharger longer than the our fellow traveler in the X.

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Without anyone else near us, these superchargers really feel remote from everything else. That entry on Teslarati really perked my awareness for danger, so I thought that it might be good to head out as soon as we had a “good buffer”.

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We proceeded Northward to the next stop for the drive. We’re definitely in the agricultural part of California on this drive.

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A water tower welcomes us to the State Capital.  As long as the drought has been in California, part of me was wondering how full this particular water tower can be.

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We pass Sacramento on our way to Corning and Red Bluff.

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and have the open road ahead of us.

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No matter how open the road is, Interstate 5 is simply not as empty as other Interstates.

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To pass the trip, one of the things that we’ve decided to do on this trip was to see if we can catch up to our 20+ year old nephews in Pokemon Go. Our thesis was that the makers of Pokemon Go would make different Pokemon common at different cities, so we tested this hypothesis and started playing the game.  Here is a picture of my better half playing while I drove to Corning.

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We arrive at Corning in the evening and the parking lot was somewhat empty.

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Corning Supercharger

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It was at this stop that I noticed that I was instinctively resetting Trip B on each supercharger stop.  I basically sabotaged my plan on tracking daily usage and decided to measure TOTAL drive from this point forward for this trip rather than a day-to-day total as we’ve done in past trips.

This location was a little “scary” at night, not Green River, UT “scary”, but a little more unnerving than the Buttonwillow, CA Supercharger at night.

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There was a strange person hanging about, so we stayed for as long as we felt safe and headed twenty miles down the road to our hotel for the evening.

Hampton Inn and Suites, Red Bluff, CA

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I was glad that we decided NOT to rely on charging at the Hampton Inn overnight as the NEMA 14-50 chargers for the hotel is located on the extreme side away from the main desk and at a location of the parking lot that seems to be exposed. It turned out that the new desk clerk I spoke to was incorrect and that we could have parked and charged for free at this hotel.  Having the car parked closer to where I felt the car would be safer was more important than getting a slow charge overnight.  We decided to park the car near the front with a full 200 miles of range left and left the car on “always connected mode” rather than let it go to charge saving mode as we turned in to the hotel for our overnight rest.

I planned on plugging the car in for a slow charge in the morning so that I can familiarize myself with this location and to “add it” to my car’s “places that I charged” database.  With the plan in place, and shelter found for the evening, we turned in after driving over 575.8 miles for the day.  Not quite the power-drive from last year, but definitely not a leisurely stroll.

Click here to continue on to the next day of this series, Day 2.

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Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 23

A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the twenty-third in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Missed Day 22, click here.

Day 23 – Drive on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Yesterday’s drive was fun and scary at the same time. We decided to head South on I-15 when we reach it rather than North and through a longer way back to Southern California. The question at the start of the day is where do we stop tonight?

There are many National Parks to visit in Utah and we got to the one that was top of my list. Mainly because I like to drive through this process and not necessarily get out of the car, I’m kind of funny that way. The only other place I wanted to drive through in Utah was Monument Valley. Unfortunately, we drove a different direction from that location when we left Moab and proceeded to stay the night in Richfield, a location several hundred miles away. It seems like the superchargers between Blanding, UT and Flagstaff, AZ would be a really hard stretch (251 miles per Google) and though the car on a max charge can do 255 miles, I didn’t want to backtrack to Moab and beyond. Additionally, I’m not sure as to the state of the three mobile providers that we have for that 251 Mile stretch (in case we needed to call for help.) We decided to abandon that area of the country for this trip.

We had a “fuzzy plan” of perhaps staying in Vegas for the night and just doing the “usual” Vegas things. Oh wait, Vegas is like “Fight Club,” after all, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”

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Either way, after the fiasco of a stay that was the Omni Hotel Interlocken, we were glad to have had the comfort and consistency of the Holiday Inn Express. Though the hotel is considered a “limited service” class of hotel, their hospitality was top notch.

Additionally being a hosting site for the supercharger is a huge plus.

Unlike the “gentleman” we met at the Moab Best Western, we practiced “Best Practices” of parking our vehicle away from the supercharger stall when we’re not charging. Notice our Blue Model S, just by the entrance and the tree on the right, as it sat there waiting for us to move it to start the morning’s charge.

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Richfield Supercharger

Colder weather in the UT desert. Notice the dashed yellow lines for power and regenerative braking. This means that supercharging will also be slower until the pack warms up.

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We used 1.353 kWh to move the car to the supercharger stall, but we’ll get that back in a blink when we charge it.

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The car firmly parked in the stall with our filled out Pluginamerica EV Card on the dash while I head back to the room to get ready for the drive ahead.  The speed limits in UT are 80 MPH and we have to travel about 160 miles to St. George as we figured to skip Beaver on this drive, so we range charged to full.

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Must be early or folks are sleeping in. Relative to other hotels that we’ve stayed at on this trip, there are still a lot of people at the hotel when we got up.

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No other cars were with us at the supercharger though.

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So, I got back up to the room and here’s a picture of the car supercharging by itself.

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Before heading out, we decided to pay closer attention to the condition of our car after yesterday’s drive.

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You can see the effect of the wind on how the dirt is moved around.

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We reached out to Mark Larsen, a fellow EV and Solar rEVolutionary to see if he can meet us today and were in luck.  Looks like our schedules match up and we can meet up. We were not able to meet up on the way East over three weeks ago.

We still get 255 miles on a range charge and we timed it so that we roll out when full. Though the Beaver, UT Supercharger is between Richfield and St. George, we opted to skip it as we have enough charge to get to Richfield, even with the insane Utah speed limits.

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It’s interesting to continue to see snow in May.

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The clouds today are not as threatening as yesterday’s clouds, but it still manages to block quite a bit of sunlight.  Rain is threatened today, but compared to what we had in the Rockies, we’re ready for anything.

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As I mentioned earlier we definitely know that we’re in Utah, the speed limit is 80 MPH. (P85, P85+, P85D speedsters, the speed limits alone might be reason enough for you to visit Utah on a Tesla/supercharger powered roadtrip.)

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My wife managed to capture a picture of the Beaver Supercharger as I was zooming by at 80 MPH. That’s pretty impressive.  We didn’t slow down and this was using the Optical Zoom on our digital camera as I was speeding by Beaver, UT.

Besides, we’ve already stopped off at all the superchargers on this route and made our entries in the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.

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It didn’t look like anyone was supercharging there right now.  I wondered whether we should’ve stopped for a wash at the car wash that is supercharger adjacent in Beaver.

A nice sign for Beaver, UT.

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It’s Sunday on a holiday weekend, so I don’t expect there to be any construction at these construction zones.

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We spotted some smoke from the distance. I wonder whether these fires were “controlled” and what it was that they were burning if it was.

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We spotted a bunch of cows on the side of the freeway.  The cattle on the side of the Utah road doesn’t seem to be as “free range” as the ones in the other states that we’ve passed through.  I often think of the Far Side comics as I pass by cows on the side of the freeway.  I wonder what they’re thinking.

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What are they burning?  We spotted a second set of smoke and fires.

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As we were getting closer to St. George, in Cedar City, UT, we spotted a strange sight on the side of the Freeway.

A lighthouse on the side of I-15.  Apparently, this is not the ONLY lighthouse in Utah off the side of I-15.  Because I was searching for the answer when I was researching this lighthouse and the first hit on the search was one North of Salt Lake City.  Here is what others have written about it. We just continued on, we had a meet-up in St. George to make.

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Normally if one were to see 80 MPH on the speedometer, one could surmise that we were speeding.  Not so in Utah, besides we just hit 42,500 miles on the odometer there.  Not only were we going 80 MPH, our 30 mile average consumption was less than 200 Wh/mi.  That’s fast AND efficient.

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Each state in the Union has a distinctive feel to its place.  We noticed that there seems to be a change with every state crossing that we’ve done.  And Southern Utah and these deep red hues speak of the St. George area for us.

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Just North of St. George is a BIG Walmart distribution center when we originally passed it on Day 1 of our drive, I was impressed by it, but forgot to take a photograph.  I suppose when you operate one of the world’s largest retail establishment, you need really large distribution centers and I was impressed with the size of this location.  Traversing the freeway at 80 MPH we were still able to capture the center in three shots.

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When we made the exit toward, St. George’s, we spot a really large D on the side of the hill.  We passed a “P”, a “C”, and some other letters.  Considering all the humor regarding the D launch event, figured to capture another D on our blog.

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We arrived in St. George making the long trek across town to get to the oasis that is Starbucks and the Tesla Supercharger.  In contrast with the various other supercharger locations on this trip, the St. George location seems to be a ways off from the highway.  I suppose that Tesla had to find a willing participant to host the site and we’re glad that Starbucks and their landlord was good enough to oblige.

St. George Supercharger

Traveling at 80 MPH for most of the drive was fun, but I was more impressed with the 290 Wh/mi figure that we were able to sustain.  Even with some light rain on the drive.

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Since the area around the Las Vegas Supercharger felt unsafe, we decided to get as much a charge as possible.  Besides, we were going to be meeting Mark Larsen in real life. So, we had pleasant EV company to discuss all things EV and Solar with.  Mark has done a great job creating and maintaining a graphic representation of EV sales through the years.

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Aside from Twitter, Mark also writes on his own website.  Before the establishment of the Tesla Superchargers in St. George, Mark was one of the first people to share his plug on Plugshare to provide folks with a charge when they visit Utah.

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Both Mark and I are big fans of the Transport Evolved, so it was nice for a couple of rEVolutionaries to meet up at the St. George Supercharger (my wife is taking the picture of the two of us.)

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Another Model S from Riverside, CA pulled in during our meetup to get a charge and head back South. They were friendly enough, but we didn’t spend much time talking to them. They were up in the area playing golf and out for the holiday weekend.

After getting our charge and spending time with a fellow rEVolutionary, we headed off to Vegas.  At this point, we were planning on playing it by ear.  Hotel rates in Vegas were a little higher because of the holiday, but not too bad. Additionally, we wanted to see how we felt when we got there since we knew that traffic between Vegas and Southern California on Monday would probably be worse than the traffic today or on Tuesday.

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The drive between Utah and Arizona is through a canyon pass that was under construction.  No active work being done on a Sunday during a holiday weekend, but the number of lanes was restricted.

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We missed taking a photo of the Arizona State line, but we’re not missing the crossing into Nevada.

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What is that mirage (not the Mirage, just a mirage) that we see?

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It was strange to see Vegas from this view.  It’s not the angle we’re used to seeing on the drive from California.  We usually see the Strip first, but that’s because we approach it from the South.  We’re coming in from the North and we see Downtown Las Vegas first.

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Under the auspices of “Whatever Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”  I can neither confirm nor deny any “gaming” activities that occurred between seeing Downtown Las Vegas and stopping off at the Las Vegas Supercharger.  But, between you and I, I was doing pretty well at the table that I sat in… If you know what I mean. 😉  However, not well enough to stay in Vegas for another couple of days.  We decided to head home.  We’ve been out for 23 days at this point and the allure of the “short” drive home from Vegas was overwhelming.

Las Vegas Supercharger

We could have made the drive to Primm Supercharger from where we were (it’s approximately 40 miles) but we decided to get an insurance charge.  After all, it was in the desert on our first day that we decided to charge often and charge lots.

We arrived at a near full house at the Las Vegas Supercharger.  We didn’t take a photograph of the charger stalls at this time because folks were all in their cars. We did notice that the car from Riverside that was charging beside us when we arrived was the same one that we met in St. George earlier in the day.  They lapped us, i.e. we left them charging when we left St. George.  We greeted them when they got out of their car to unplug from the supercharger as they prepared to leave.  Because of the heat many stay in their cars in Vegas and run their air conditioning while supercharging.

We had the detour, which I can neither confirm, nor deny, and now we met up with them again at the Las Vegas Supercharger.

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Satisfied with our insurance charge, we skipped the famous Las Vegas Strip and headed to Primm.

However, my wife was able to take photographs of some of The Strip properties as we passed it from the freeway, The Mirage.

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We skipped New York, New York.

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We skipped The Excalibur.

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And we skipped Luxor.  Though it’s pretty cool to have a pyramid in the shot.  I sent this photograph to my East Coast cousins telling them that I must’ve made a wrong turn somewhere (implying Egypt, of course.)

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Primm Supercharger

And a short drive of about 40 miles later, we find ourselves at the border of Nevada and California at the Primm Superchargers.

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There’s plenty to do at Primm while supercharging.  Aside from “gaming” there is a big outlet mall attached to the Primm Valley Resort and Casino.  We opted to do the activity which shall remain nameless.  Let me just say that we ended the “gaming” part of the trip with $0.77 in profit.  (Penny slot machines really do pay out in pennies.  Though you don’t get the coins anymore, it’s printed out on a claim ticket that you have to redeem at the casino cashier cage.)

It’s been a while, but my wife graciously offered to drive the leg back into California.  So, I accepted.  I’ve seen some of her photographs (as you have too as she’s been the main photographer for this blog) from the trip and I needed to ensure that I didn’t embarrass her.  So, I made sure to capture the state line photograph.  (Oh the pressure…)

I did a two device technique for the crossing back to California shot and was glad with both of them.

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Up next is that huge solar farm at the border of California and Nevada that’s been in operation for a year or so.

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Good for us California, but not good enough! Let’s get more! (I’m a Californian, I can complain about the progress.)

It’s my turn for the sunset pictures.  There are several more on Flickr, but these are the ones that I thought to share on the blog.

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As we expected, the Sunday of a three day weekend usually shifts the traffic to Monday and the traffic this evening was quite moderate for this trip.

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With all the newfound time that I found in being in the passenger seat, I start to do some photographic compositions of “The Moon and I”

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or, just the moon.

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Some more sunsets.  My theory on photography is akin to the theory of the thousand monkeys typing the works of Shakespeare.  A good composition “could happen” in volume.  That’s one of the great things about the exponentially cheaper cost of digital photography versus the last time I took a cross country trip and the photographs had to be shot on film (and the cost to develop, etc.)

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Back then film was expensive.  Additionally, I was barely an adult, and still needing assistance from my mom.  Her rule with photographs was that there better be someone we “know” in the shot.  So, I wasn’t much for “nature” photography or anything like that.  So, boy am I glad that digital photography is now the norm.

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I can do this picture in two shots that I am calling “Passing a Truck 1” and

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“Passing a Truck 2”.  Yes, that’s the same truck.  I had a LOT of time to snap away, I’m not driving this leg, remember.

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I was supposed to rest and nap, but I couldn’t.  I was having too much fun taking pictures.  And getting loopy as we got closer to home.

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And just after sunset we reached the Barstow Supercharger.  Now, the handy-dandy navigation trip planner originally had us routing to the Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger, but we know from experience that we can make it home on a full charge in Barstow, so we ignored the beta software again and just charged up.

Barstow Supercharger

We arrived in Barstow with plenty to spare and plenty of time to charge.

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As we charged away at the site, another Model S pulled up to the hotel next door and was letting its passengers out for the night before he pulled into a couple of stalls over from us.

In the meantime, a new brown 70D pulled up on the newer stalls (not covered by the solar canopy.)  Since we haven’t seen that color before, I stepped out and introduced myself and my wife and had a pleasant conversation with the father and son that arrived in the 70D.  They were on a long Sunday drive that the son was using to convince his dad to go Tesla.  The son is a Service Concierge at the Palm Springs Tesla location and they took some back way to the supercharger from there.  We spent the time helping the son make the case for Tesla before we wished them well as they were on their way to dinner.  Here’s to hoping that the dad followed his son’s advice.

Long Beach, CA

We arrived in our home city just passed 11:00 PM and decided to counter our Atlantic Ocean view with a photo of the car by the Pacific.  We headed to Seal Beach for the beach parking lot shot, but it was too late and dark.  So, we opted for a Marina shot in Long Beach for our arrival night.

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Besides, readers of previous days of this blog know what time it is when our shots are REALLY blurry. And after 23 days on the road, it is definitely time to get to sleep.

We were fairly efficient on the last leg from Barstow to Long Beach and more efficient than how we’ve been driving around home for the day (304 Wh/mi.)

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After 23 days on the road. 25 other states visited. 8,245 miles. As varied an experience that we’ve had in our various hotels, it was great to once again sleep on our bed and be home.

We’re taking tomorrow off, it’s a Holiday after all, and publish our trip conclusions and such on Tuesday, three hours later than we’ve been publishing. So, come back and join us for that, will you?

As we’ve neared the end of this series of posts, after the post on Tuesday, I will be updating the blog somewhat randomly. So, if you’re interested in being notified, just subscribe to the blog (there’s a choice to do so in the sidebar) or follow me on Twitter, I tend to auto-tweet new posts there.

Go on to Lessons Learned.

23_Richfield to Long Beach