Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 22

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

Missed Day 21, click here.

Day 22 ‚Äď Drive on Saturday, May 23, 2015

Omni Hotel Interlocken

If yesterday’s Hyatt Place is the picture of consistency, the Omni Hotel Interlocken is its inverse. We have had nothing but great experience with our lodging at the other Omni Hotels that we’ve stayed at. That’s how we were able to complete enough nights to have a “free night certificate” for last night’s stay. It was free. However, even that price was “too expensive” for the disappointment that was our stay at the Omni Hotel Interlocken.

If you intend on staying at this part of Denver (Broomfield, CO) metro area and expect to stay at a “full service hotel.” Let me advise you to look elsewhere. This hotel needs improvement, a lot of improvement.

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After parking with 199 miles of rated range last night, we’re starting the day at 196 miles, we lost three miles of rated range last night.

When we drove out on our first day, we consciously wanted to drive far from Southern California.  If you remember, we drove 808 miles on our first day. What that day did was sacrifice some of the most beautiful views in the West, the Utah desert.  Today’s goal is to have a plan for either heading home or routing ourselves to the Pacific Northwest. Our main inflection point to make that decision is either Richfield or Beaver, UT.

The next few supercharger stops will be the same ones that we took on our trip East.  With one exception.  We would like to make it to Arches National Park near Moab, UT before or around sunset this evening.  After that, it’s either spend the night in Moab, Green River, or Richfield, UT.

As we were climbing into the Rockies, one of the exits close to the Denver Metro area had a funny sign about a Buffalo or Bison Herd (we were unable to take a picture of the sign.)

However, we were able to take a picture of the herd as we drove by.

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Heading West on I-70 from the Denver Metro area, means a change from the city scenes to the mountain scenes.  Like the Buffalo or Bison herd in the previous photograph.

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It was fairly light rain, to start.

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However, it looks like we were going to be encountering some “weather” on the way to Silverthorne, and perhaps beyond.

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It was getting harder to enjoy the sights outside of the car when the weather starts to be a challenge.

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Some rain starts to turn into showers, and in as cold as it is, some showers turned into snow showers.

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I’ve driven in rain before, not often until this trip (Southern California is in a drought after all).  I’ve driven in snow, not with the Model S, mind you.  But I’ve hardly ever driven in snow showers, and this drive to Silverthorne was the first time that I’ve ever done such a drive in the Model S.

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So, I figured to take my time and go as slow as the traffic will allow it.  We picked the white SUV on the right lane as it was going conservatively, but not irritatingly so.  Additionally, I figured that the SUV is about as heavy as the Model S, so it should react somewhat similarly as the Model S in the current road conditions.

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The weather was quite tough and I was glad that we had a good buffer of rated range miles so that the only thing I had to worry about was the weather and be comfortable in our available charge.

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Did someone not send the memo to tell Colorado that it’s already LATE MAY.

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There’s still snow on the runaway truck ramp

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We used a lot of energy getting to Silverthorne, but it makes for some great energy graphs.

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Just like that, the weather cleared.  It’s as if Silverthorne had a protective bubble from the weather.  We said goodbye to our white SUV guide and exited at Silverthorne.

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Silverthorne Supercharger

We arrived at the Silverthorne Supercharger during the outlet mall’s open hours is different than the last time we stopped here.  Rather than just stay in the car while we charged, we figured to stretch our legs and check out the shops.

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It might only be approximately 90 miles between Silverthorne Supercharger and Glenwood Springs Supercharger, but with the way the weather’s been and the elevation changes, I’m charging it up.

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So, the differential between what we consumed on our drive and the rated range is about 31 miles. The drive from the hotel to Silverthorne was about 76 miles with a consumption of 387 Wh/mi.

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As I mentioned, we got to stretch our legs.  We felt welcome at the Colorado Welcome Center.

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We took the time to enjoy the dry, cool weather at Silverthorne.

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By the time we got back to our car, we had some company.

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These pictures are a reminder of my wife’s suggestion to Tesla that it might be nice for the supercharger stalls to have the name of the location on them for these sort of photo opportunities.

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So, the next supercharger in Glenwood Springs are 92 miles away.

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We have enough for bad weather and elevation and more.  This is significantly more than the 100 mile “whatever” buffer that we’ve settled on.

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But first, it was time to take a picture of dry, happy travelers.

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So with 233 miles of Rated Range in the tank, we drove off toward Glenwood Springs Supercharger.

The last time we were at the Breckenridge exit, it was Winter. We didn’t stop off at Breckenridge, CO on this trip, but the thing with Breckenridge is the altitude sickness when visiting the resort.  Each time I visit Breckenridge from Southern California, I have to take at least a day and a half to adjust to the altitude.  So, if you’re prone to bad altitude sickness, be prepared for it when you visit Breckenridge.

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We’re passing another set of ski runs that would’ve been fun to ski.  Unless it was the same ski run that we photographed on Day 2.

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The drive to Glenwood Springs Supercharger is made easier by the fellow Grey Colorado Model S.

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When the weather turned bad again, we figured to follow the Grey Colorado Model S. He looked like he knew what he was doing.

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This sort of energy usage tells us that there are lots of ups and downs on this route.

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There is hope and a clearing ahead.

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Through inclement weather and clear and sunny routes, it’s always more pleasant to be driving behind another Model S. No fumes.

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I wonder if he’s getting tired of the Blue Califonia plated Model S behind him.

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Now that’s the sight that I was expecting for Colorado in May, and not the snow showers we were being challenged by earlier.

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Still some snow on those mountains.

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I wonder if that Grey Colorado Model S will be supercharging at Glenwood Springs with us.

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My wife is getting good at these interior panoramic shots.

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Before we enter into the White River National Forest part of this drive, we spotted a familiar sight on the Southern side of I-70.  Costco Hot Dogs, anyone? Not us.

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Just before the Glenwood Springs is the White River National Forest, it is the coolest part of this drive.  And it looks like the Grey Model S really enjoyed it ’cause they pretty much disappeared ahead of us.

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The speed limit on this leg seems unusually low for me, it was difficult to stay there. The drive was too tempting. Here’s a fun video of the ride through a tunnel with us. Please don’t mind the person singing along to the music, he didn’t know that he was being filmed. ūüėČ

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With much to see above, we remembered to take some photographs through the panoramic roof.

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And with that, we reached Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

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Looks like our Grey Colorado Model S did exit at Glenwood Springs.

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We crossed over a bridge and saw some rapid seeking adventurers enjoying the Colorado River.

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Glenwood Springs Supercharger

The Glenwood Springs Supercharger were empty when we arrived here.

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Our drive to Glenwood Springs was surprisingly efficient at 232 Wh/mi.  Adding the 93 miles consumed to the 156 remaining rated range puts us at a start mile of 249 miles, since we left Silverthorne at 233 miles mean that the consumption rate was quite efficient.

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It was interesting that we were alone supercharging. The Grey Model S parked in one of the regular spots in the same parking lot and met with people who they obviously knew. We didn’t get a chance to thank the Grey Model S folks for being our guide through the weather. I figured that they must be locals, because they drove off without stopping off at the supercharger.

We charged up to a bit before we rolled out to Grand Junction since it’s only 91 miles.

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We really enjoyed the calm weather that we had on the drive to Grand Junction.  The calm weather was a welcome respite from the rain and snow showers that we went through the first two legs of today’s drive.

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Always like spotting solar panels, I wonder what these ones were used for.

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This drive to Grand Junction gets us really close to the Colorado River.

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We’re really close to Grand Junction now…

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We were able to take a photograph of the grapes and Colorado wine country.

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Grand Junction Supercharger

When we got to Grand Junction, we figured to look up some hotels in the Moab area, but they were all booked up. The challenge with making plans at the last minute during a holiday weekend is the higher demand areas get full fast.  We looked at Green River, but settled on the Holiday Inn Express at Richfield.  After all, we seek to give back to those that are enabling the operation and expansion of the Tesla Supercharger network.

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We met with a Green Colorado Model S that was on its way as we arrived.  They were friendly and on their way toward Denver.

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Our charge was close to 90% as we roll out to our first new stop on this drive Moab Supercharger.  Which means a chance to add another entry in the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.

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The last time we did this drive, the route was at the end of our 808 mile Day 1 adventure.

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We know that we’re back in Utah because the speed limits start to increase.

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We didn’t see this sign the last time we left Colorado, then again that was later at night.

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So, we crossed into Utah again.  It is such a cool state sign.

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And we got an even better shot of the welcome to Utah sign.

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We saw a rest stop and decided to stop and take a photo of the car with a desert background.

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Yeah, it was a little windy here.

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We figure to take a few more Model S nature shots.

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Or at least shots of the car in a Utah rest stop.

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The weather was better than what we’ve had earlier on our drive, but it was still cloudy.  But at least it was dry.

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Things kept looking up as we were getting closer to Moab.  The weather was clearing up and we still have a bit of sunlight as we headed into Moab for the sunset.

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The rocks were amazing, and we’re not even at Arches National Park, yet.

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The folks were making use of the smooth sand to sled down. The dessert [thanks for the edit Brian H, I do tend toward desserts] desert toward Moab looked strangely full of people. It probably has to do with the Memorial Day Weekend.

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The entrance to Arches is before the Moab supercharger, I don’t know how many miles the drive around the Arches National Park is, but we wanted to have enough to do the drive and head to Green River for the night.

So, we tried to find the information out at the visitor center for the park.  We stopped by first before we went to the Moab Supercharger, however, it was after hours and the visitor center was closed.

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Since the visitor center was closed, we couldn’t pick up a map, so I took pictures of the map to help us find our way on the drive.

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Even though we have three different mobile providers on our trip, I don’t expect ANY coverage on mobile during the drive into Arches National Park.

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Rather than find any information from the visitor center, I actually got the information that we needed from a fellow visitor.  They said that the drive around was approximately 40 miles.  Now, we had about 90 miles of range left in the car, so we had enough to do the drive, but I wanted to also have enough to get to Green River, so we headed into Moab to get a charge.

The drive to Moab would have been faster, but since the town was full for the weekend, it did take a little bit longer because of the traffic.

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Moab Supercharger

The Moab Supercharger is located in the parking lot of the Best Western in Moab.

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After we plugged in, the occupants of the SUV parked by our car at the superchargers arrived and was admiring our car and the white Model S parked beside us.  The SUV was filled by a family that was visiting Moab from Colorado.  They were curious about the Model S and EVs and we took the time to talk to them about Model S and EVs in general.

We found a White Nevada Model S occupying a charging stall.  After we finished our conversation with the SUV family, the owner of the white Model S came out to check on his car.

Apparently this person was staying at the hotel.  Rather than move from the supercharger to a parking spot, he mentioned that he was planning on using the supercharger stall as his spot for the evening. He made the comment that he’s never seen the supercharger stalls full the last few times that he has visited this location.  I reminded him that perhaps it would be a good idea to put his contact information on his car, just in case four other Model S showed up to use the chargers, he scoffed at what I presume was his way of taking the suggestion under advisement.  He was not the friendliest or most considerate person we’ve met on this trip.

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And with the necessary and buffer charge completed, we rolled back out to Arches National Park.

Arches National Park

Not being much of a “nature” guy, I really enjoy the Arches National Park way of visiting.  Many of the places in the park can be visited by driving through the park.  No hiking required.

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So, we entered the park and headed in with the express purpose of “having a nice drive” and to get some great pictures of our car for the Model S Nature Pictures thread on Tesla Motors Club.

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The navigation had signal near the entrance to the park, but we will soon lose it when we get deeper into the drive.

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We were soon reminded that not only do we have a panoramic roof that we can OPEN that panoramic roof for better, untinted shots of the view.

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We took many pictures of our visit to Arches National Park, so enjoy.  They say that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, and it’s not often that you will find me “speechless.”

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I imagine that in the future the National Park system may want to consider the fact that EVs have less of an impact on driving routes like this than our ICE brethren.  Unfortunately that is not the case right now.

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These rock formations looked like a sculpture of people facing to the right from the shot above. And they look like they’re in a meeting in this closer shot.

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Not sure if we can get to another stop for our Model S Nature Pictures, we stopped off in the first one that had space.

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This one is in the Ancient Sand Dunes part of the park.

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Our next stop was the Balanced Rock section.

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Can you spot the rainbow in the next couple of pictures?

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We headed down to the valley for the Delicate Arch.

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We tried to see if we can see the Delicate Arch from the car.  However on the way there there were several warnings of flash floods and evidence of roads that were washed out (not pictured, unfortunately).  Since we’ve been through a bit of weather before we got here and those rain clouds look like they’re getting closer, we decided to find a different place to take another set of Model S Nature Pictures thread worthy shots.

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We figured to find another point on higher ground so we don’t have to worry about it.

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Our next stop was at the aptly named Panorama Point.

And the next shots are what we plan to enter into Model S Nature Pictures thread.

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Now it’s just a matter of picking which one(s).

We were at our final stop before sunset.

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Arches National Park is what I envision when I think of Utah.

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Time to start heading out of the park as the darkness will drop quickly in the dessert.

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Heading out

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We made it back to the parking lot of the visitor center as the rain started to fall.

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And I for one was glad to be away from the “flash flood” signs that we passed inside the park.

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I took the opportunity to see what our energy consumption was on the drive within Arches.  So, it looks like we used less than the 40 rated miles that we had been told the drive would take.  Then again, we didn’t drive all the routes.

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It looks like our drive through Arches was fun.  Take a look at the energy consumption chart on the right.  However, the 278 Wh/mi since the charge says that we had fun efficiently.

With the sun setting fast, we were on our way back to Green River.

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Green River Supercharger

The last time that we charged at Green River Supercharger it was the middle of the night, now it’s just the night.

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We got to the Green River Supercharger and decided to make our decision on whether to continue the trip North and through the Coast or choose the more direct route home.

After much consideration we figured that it was time to head toward home.  We still have to figure out whether we’re staying in Utah longer or just head to Vegas tomorrow.

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Holiday Inn Express Richfield

We didn’t figure out what to do on the drive to Richfield.  It’s been a long day and the drive to the Holiday Inn Express actually consumed more energy than the drive through Colorado and the Rockies.

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The great thing about checking into a hotel that is supercharger equipped is that we don’t have to worry about the vampire loss.  Besides, we can always park at the supercharger stall overnight if its more convenient for us. (Just kidding) ;-).

Go on to Day 23. Click here.

22_Broomfield to Richfield

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 21

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

Missed Day 20, click here.

Day 21 ‚Äď Drive on Friday, May 22, 2015

Predictability in experience is one of the strengths of Hyatt and its Hyatt Place brands. It’s interesting to me because everytime I stay at a Hyatt Place, I can’t tell where I am (as in city). They all look and feel the same. And when one has been on the road for 21 days, a sense of familiarity is good.

Hyatt Place Topeka

If the following pictures had not been geo-tagged, it could have been any Hyatt Place at any city.

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The design of the front lobby desk is definitely one of those “things” that shout out Hyatt Place to me.

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It could be at Nashville or Las Vegas or Topeka, as is the case in this particular location.

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And that’s not a bad thing. Many times a surprise in hotel lodging is usually a “bad” surprise versus a “good” one. So, I’ll take consistent (when it comes to lodging) any day.

With that in mind, we had an ambitious goal to make it to Denver this evening. We normally travel a lot (via airplanes and rentals, and not driving trips in our Model S) and as a result have membership with many hotel and airline programs.

One of the things that we “cashed in” was a “free night certificate” from the Omni Hotel. The certificate actually was expiring as we were leaving for a trip, so we redeemed it. In considering the locations that we will be driving to and from, we redeemed the certificate for the Omni Hotel Interlocken in the Denver metropolitan area. The stipulation on the certificate is that it must be booked ahead and only if the room type and rate was available. After booking, we can only move the room to another date in the same hotel if the same conditions exist. Once redeemed, we can not get the certificate back nor change the certificate to another hotel.

Since we didn’t know when we were going to make it to Denver, we kept moving the booking, and the hotel was not available on Saturday night, so it was either Friday or Sunday, and today was a better day for this attempt.

Besides, we’ve always had very good stays at Omni Hotels and expected the Omni Hotel Interlocken to live up to those experiences. It is, after all, a “proper hotel.”

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Looks like there was no rated range lost last night.

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Well rested, bright-eyed, and bushy tailed. We headed off to the Salina Supercharger.

We saw signs on the road directing travelers to visit the “Little Apple”, Manhattan, KS. ¬†Didn’t have a hankering for that, so we continued on. ¬†Just passed¬†the Manhattan, KS exits,¬†was¬†Fort Riley, home of the Big Red One. The only thing I really know about the Big Red One is what I saw in the movie of the same name.

I spotted the “really cool” helicopters on the side of the highway and we tried to take some pictures.

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And soon after that, we noticed a sign on the side of the road.

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President Dwight David (“Ike”) Eisonhower’s Presidential Library and Museum was ahead in Abilene, Kansas.

We¬†had so much fun visiting the President Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum with the Orange County Tesla Club that we thought that it would be cool to visit President Eisonhower’s Museum.

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After all, the Interstate Highway system that we’ve been traveling on may not have happened had it not been for President Eisonhower and his championship. Besides, this was the start of the Memorial Day Weekend and President Eisonhower was Supereme Commander Allied Forces Europe and one of the architects of the victory in Europe.

Eisonhower Presidential Library and Museum

The parking lot had its fair share of visitors, no other Model S, but quite a bit of folks from many states.

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One of the interesting facets of this Presidential Library and Museum is that it was built around President Eisonhower’s childhood home. ¬†The trustees actually bought out the homes and businesses around his childhood home to create the space for the Presidential Library and Museum.

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Visitors can actually take a tour inside the home as part of their entry to the museum.

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So, we figured, why not.

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The tour was only in the ground floor and we were not allowed to go upstairs.  They at least provided a photograph to show the upstairs rooms.

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The downstairs rooms were quite modest.

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The front door.

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The Front Salon was rarely used and only such when there are distinguished guests.

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The Family Bible where they recorded the births in the family was opened to the page of President Eisonhower’s entry.

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There was a room that the family converted into an indoor restroom

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that is adjacent to the kitchen.  Notice the old phone on the wall.  Apparently it was in the same state as it was when the foundation acquired the home and land around it.

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A shot of President Eisonhower’s family (parents and siblings.)

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And then we headed back to his museum.

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Since President Eisonhower spent most of his adult life as a military man, a good portion of the Eisonhower Presidential Library and Museum covers military stuff, for more pictures, let me refer you to my Flickr album.

The military things were cool, but I’d like to highlight a few of the things at the museum that were not military themed (as well as some military vehicles and technology.)

The first is to highlight that President Eisonhower actually drove an Electric Vehicle.

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It was a 1914 Rauch and Lang Electric Automobile with a maximum 100 mile range when driven at 13 miles per hour (top speed was 19 miles per hour.)

We took a photograph of the write-up that was provided for guests beside the vehicle.

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The car itself looked like many cars of the era.

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There were also other vehicles (mainly military) in the museum.

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A Jeep.

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I think that this was an Armored personnel carrier.

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And the sort of vehicle befitting transporting members of the command staff.

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It was interesting to see technology that inspired the modern mobile telephone.

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The Interstate highway system was named in honor of President Eisonhower for a reason.

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And look who took the time to be a little presidential. Or at least a Press Secretary, perhaps?

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This stop was another of those that “just happened” because of a road sign. We were glad to have spotted the sign for the Eisonhower Presidential Library and Museum and glad to have made the stop. Especially for the Friday that started Memorial Day celebrations.

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Besides Abilene, KS is along the route (86 miles) between Topeka and Salina and is definitely worth it. The diversion was probably close to a three mile round trip off I-70.

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Besides, it’s even closer to Salina Supercharger (less than 30 miles away) than the Topeka Supercharger.

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And we were headed to Salina.

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No tour for Russell Stover unfortunately. Besides it’s no Hershey’s (is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

One of the biggest complaints that Model S owners have is the cost of replacement tires. The 21 inch tires are much more expensive than the 19 inch ones.  For those that worry about the cost of tires. I wonder how much these tires cost.  I would guess that these tires are over 15 feet.

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The weather ahead is cloudy and cool. So, I would guess that we won’t¬†have to worry about tornadoes as much. Though I wonder if this is foreboding of pending weather ahead.

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How many of these trucks are there? And what is the vehicle that they need to provide the spare tires for?

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I also wonder how big the nail is that will puncture that tire.

You know that you’re really bored in the Kansas drive when a curve excites you.

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We reached the Salina Supercharger. This supercharger is also hotel adjacent. A Holiday Inn Express this time.

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Salina Supercharger

We arrived at Salina with plenty of rated range to spare.

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When we got to the supercharger stall, another Model S was already charging. We didn’t head into the lobby and the owner of this vehicle was not near the car, so we didn’t meet the owner of this grey Tesla.

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Soon after we started to charge, another grey Model S arrived.  It was driven by a new local Kansas owner who just took delivery of their Model S the prior week.

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I was curious as to why it had temporary Colorado tags. Apparently, Kansas Tesla Model S purchasers need to go to Colorado to buy their car.  It seems that he was unable to purchase the car in a state that has many supercharger locations and stalls. I take it that this means that there probably are no service centers in Kansas either.

After charging in Salina, we needed to make a stop at a Post Office. We had to mail several parcels that required a post office stop. We headed to the Salina post office.

When we were departing the post office we met with the¬†gentleman who was¬†parked beside us¬†in his Ford C-Max Plug-in Hybrid. He was admiring our Model S¬†and was friendly. So, we struck up conversation with him. He spoke how he loves¬†driving an EV. He communicated that he and his¬†family¬†rarely go beyond the 20 mile EV limit of the vehicle. ¬†However, when they do,¬†he¬†appreciates the ability to go beyond.¬†He told us a funny story of how smooth the electric drive train was that he¬†didn’t realize that he had hit 100 MPH when he was driving on the highway.

We had a good laugh and left our new-found PHEV friend and headed to the Hays Supercharger.

Another long day of relatively flat and straight terrain.

The cows must not be worried about that giant snake on the billboard.

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Check out those horses.

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Wait, are those windmills I see?

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They are windmills! ¬†Well, that’s cool.

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The windmills distract me enough that I didn’t even notice that there was our nemesis, the “Deer Crossing” sign in the picture. Besides, I’m only worried about the “Deer Crossing” at night when I sens that they’re just lurking there.

This windmill design seems to be prevalent in the windmills that we’ve seen around the country.

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Windmills near and windmills far.

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It’s quite a sight.

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Good for you Kansas. ¬†I wonder how much of the wind power generated by these windmills find their way to the superchargers that we’ve been visiting.

We discovered taking panoramics while driving.

This is our first attempt.

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I think the second attempt was better.

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But the built in panoramic function on my¬†iPhone doesn’t seem to like to work in moving vehicles.

Some more windmill shots.  This team, really close to the highway.

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On the way to Hays, we spotted an interesting structure in the distance.

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This is the Cathedral of the Plains¬†–¬†the Basilica of St. Fidelis.

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The structure was impressive from the highway, but we didn’t feel like stopping there, so we continued on. ¬†Perhaps next time.

Hays Supercharger

The distances between superchargers on the I-70 route seem to be quite close to each other. ¬†I suppose the effect of winter weather needs to be¬†part of the planning on these parts of the country. ¬†We continued to stop¬†at each location to make sure that we provide content for the¬†beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS. ¬†Besides, we’re a lot more conservative when it comes to charging “insurance miles” than many folks out there.

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The Hays Supercharger is located at an Applebee’s Restaurant. I have not had a meal at an Applebee’s in many years and thought that it is good idea to try to have a meal at the restaurants that had the forethought to support the Tesla Supercharger network.

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The lunch hit the spot, but we had Denver in our target and we need to keep moving.

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It’s been a rather cloudy day today. ¬†Though the clouds make the weather cool, it also signifies the potential for rain. ¬†And the cloud cover looked foreboding.

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It seems that people in Kansas like to build some impressive looking churches. This is another one that we spotted in the distance and decided to skip. I didn’t catch the name of it, but it looked interesting.

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All the lemonade at Applebee’s forced us to seek a rest stop before we got to Goodland, KS. We took the opportunity to take a photo of the¬†Eisonhower Interstate System sign at this stop.

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There was an interesting map of Kansas that was placed at the rest stop building.

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Just before the Goodland, KS supercharger is this giant replica of Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase.”

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The easel is huge, it’s as big as the water towers that we’ve been obsessively photographing on this trip.

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A photograph of your guides on this journey with the Giant Van Gogh.

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The Goodland Supercharger is a short drive from the Van Gogh that we took local streets to get there from the giant reproduction.

The view of the Goodland Supercharger as we approach it.

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Goodland Supercharger

The drive from Hays to Goodland¬†was a good time to discuss our plans for the rest of the trip. ¬†Denver is approximately 1,000 miles of driving to home if we return along the same route that took us East. ¬†At this time, we were toying with the “crazy” idea of heading North to Washington State and go home along the Pacific coast. ¬†But we’ve been on our drive for 21 days and we need to figure out where to go. ¬†The last point of inflection for us to make that decision is around Beaver, UT or Richfield, UT. If we decide to “take the long way home,” we can expect to be on the road for another week.

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The navigation to the Omni Hotel Interlocken had us skipping the Limon Supercharger.  But we figured that we were stopping at each charger to make our entries into the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS, so we figured to charge on the upcoming climb and still stop at Limon.

We made sure to note that the supercharger at yet another Holiday Inn Express was adjacent to a Steak N Shake that was currently closed.

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I haven’t counted all the hotel collocated superchargers, but¬†there seems to be a fair share of Holiday Inns that have one on property. At least two in Kansas. ¬†We don’t normally stay at Holiday Inns, but their support of supercharging needs to be rewarded with a stay.

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The weather was turning chilly and precipitation threatened our continuing journey. ¬†We still had a lot of light and we had “crossed the Rubicon” with our “free hotel certificate” at the Omni Hotel Interlocken. ¬†So, we were committed to sleep there tonight.

When the drive ahead of you is fairly flat, large buildings tend to stand out. ¬†You’ve seen the two churches that have drawn our attention. ¬†One of the other things that seem to pop up were these buildings. ¬†I think they are grain silos, but I’m not sure.

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Ooh cows. (See, I’m getting better with being in the country, I’m not referring to them as steak.)

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We found ourselves departing Kansas and crossing back into Colorado during sunlight.

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The climb to Denver was not the sudden climb that I was expecting. It was a gradual one. I thought that the elevation changes would be more pronounced and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. However, the clouds really are starting to look threatening.

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We had the promise of sunshine ahead, and with it, the sunset photographs that my wife had enjoyed taking.

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We switched panoramic devices to an older Pano App that played with the moving vehicle better.

My wife was able to capture the rainy weather ahead in panoramic.

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She was also playing with taking inside the car panoramic shots.

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And then the rain started to drop.

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The rain was quite refreshing.  After being threatened by it for the day, it was nice to finally have it pour.  Nature is definitely impressive and the backdrop of the country beside it makes one appreciate how much smaller we are in comparison to it.

The majesty of the sunset ahead as the rain took a break was a sight to behold.

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Some chase rainbows, others are chased by rainbows.

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And as we headed toward Limon, we see windmills in Colorado.

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The Colorado windfarms look a lot more dense than the ones to their neighbor East, Kansas.

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I wonder if they get more wind in Colorado, or if it’s a case of “Keeping up with the Kansans.”

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Either way, the pursuit of renewable energy is something to be commended and good for you Colorado!

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Looking at the inclement weather in our rearview side mirror we made it to the Limon Supercharger.

Limon Supercharger

The Limon Supercharger is also located at an Arby’s (like the Topeka, Kansas one.) As much as I like to support those businesses that promote supercharging, we were still full from the stop at Applebee’s. Now if it was an Ice Cream or Ice Custard stop, I might have been able to be convinced.

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It was actively raining at the Limon Supercharger stop.

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In fact, some small hail pellets started to fall. The sunset and rain coupled with the red of the Tesla signs made for some interesting photo opportunities for the car as we charged.

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Now, this was one of those stops that was “not required” by our range, so we intended to take a quick break, charge a few miles and then head on our way.

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As I was taking panoramic pictures of the car with the supercharger and Arby’s behind it,

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another Tesla Model S from California drove in.

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We introduced ourselves to the nice couple that was driving the California Model S. It turned out that not only were they from California, they are from the same city that we live in. What are the odds to run into a fellow Model S traveler from our own city? They were proceeding Eastward to Iowa as we were headed West.

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We rolled out of Limon with 201 Rated Range to get to the Denver/Aurora Supercharger.

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Figured we were still climbing the Rockies here so I wanted to make sure we had lots of charge. ¬†Additionally, I photographed the trip meters because I wanted to see what the effect of this elevation and weather would have on our consumption of rated range. ¬†After all, the day’s consumption was at a pretty inefficient 351 Wh/mi per Trip B, was that the rain or elevation? ¬†Probably both.

Denver Supercharger

It was only 77 miles away, but we used 91 rated miles to travel. So, the usage wasn’t as bad as I thought.

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The drive to Denver from Limon was actually more efficient than the drive through Kansas to Limon. Our day’s efficiency went down from 351 Wh/mi to 347 Wh/mi.

Now, the hotel we’re staying at is around¬†30 miles away and we wanted to get to Silverthorne tomorrow without having to charge overnight, so we charged up close to full again.

It was raining while we charged in Denver/Aurora, so we stayed in the car.  It was another hotel location.

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It was getting late and we were looking at the promise of a “full service hotel”, so we charged close to 90% state of charge (SOC.)

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Took a photograph again as I was interested in seeing the consumption from the charger across a rainy Denver metro area.

Omni Hotel Interlocken

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We arrived at the hotel with 199 Miles of rated range overnight. and an improvement from our 347 Wh/mi consumption to 346 Wh/mi.

Go on to Day 22. Click here.

21_Topeka to Broomfield

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 02

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

Missed Day 1, click here.

Day 2 ‚Äď Drive on Sunday, May 3, 2015

So, what did the first day of 808 miles teach us…

It’s not that fun to drive so far in one day. So, we cancelled our scheduled hotels in Rapid City, SD and in Madison, WI and adjusted our plan to get to OH from Tuesday to around Friday, which is when we intended to get there after making a swing to the East Coast on Wednesday-Thursday.

It helps to have booked the first few hotels in a chain that we have “status” in and are able to appeal to the hotel chain’s loyalty program for help with the “non”-refundable first nights.

Doubletree Grand Junction CO

The Doubletree was very comfortable and the cookies were great. We were well rested, after getting to the hotel at an ungodly hour of 4:00 am local time, (3:00 am biological time, since we crossed from Pacific into Mountain timezone in our drive), we slept in.

We didn’t start to roll out until around 2:13 PM

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In looking at the dash and comparing it with the previous night’s dash, it looks like we didn’t have any vampire losses overnight in Grand Junction. We parked the car at 89 Rated miles, we rolled out at 89 Rated miles.

Grand Junction Supercharger

Since we were staying in a hotel six miles away from the supercharger, we decided to go straight to the hotel the previous night. Even if the car were to lose ten miles on vampire losses overnight, we would have been able to make it to the supercharger.

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Our first supercharger stop in Colorado is located in the Mesa Mall. This was one of the first stops outside of California where we checked in on the beta version of the (now released) Teslarati App for the iPhone and there was already content there. (thanks to @DanielSparks for the content.)

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Didn’t feel like shopping, so we didn’t really go into the mall. There was a Taco Bell and IHOP behind the chargers. If you’re visiting this location with kids, there is a Chuck E. Cheese just across the parking lot.

So we spent the time figuring out what we needed to adjust to get to OH by the Friday deadline. Where we wanted to be by the “end of the day”. Our original plan was to be in Rapid City, SD, but we knew that wasn’t going to happen, so we had to come up with a new plan.

By the time we rolled out, we figured to target Cheyenne, WY for tonight’s stop. We didn’t want to be in Denver as we figured Cheyenne was closer to where we wanted to be and lodging would probably be less expensive than Denver.

So, we headed off toward Cheyenne, WY… A much more manageable approximately 350 mile journey vs the much longer drive to Rapid City, SD or the 808 mile drive the night before.

Went by our hotel as we headed East.

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Then the Colorado drive.  The drive to Glenwood Springs is a fairly mild climb and through “Colorado Wine Country”. We didn’t stop to try any Colorado Wines, because, namely, we’re in a drive and drinking and driving doesn’t really mix well.

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The drive was interesting, but not the most memorable one for Colorado, that’s upcoming.

Glenwood Springs Supercharger

We made it to the Glenwood Springs supercharger as the fourth car there…

We spoke with a local who just took delivery of an 85D a few months earlier and just getting a “top up” with his wife in between their kid’s Little League games and he was full of local information.   There was another car that parked beside ours, but she took off soon after we got there.

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The one car that hung out with us was an experienced Colorado owner that was on his way to Santa Barbara.  He gave us a piece of advice that we’ve found to be invaluable since.  We were discussing our relative difficulty of finding superchargers using Tesla’s navigation and he told us his trick for new charging locations.  He turns on the satellite view, and zooms in.  This gives him the perspective of what the area looks like from space and gives a better way of finding the superchargers with less challenge than using the map view.

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The Glenwood Springs location is another location that had at least one hotel attached to it.  So, if you need to rest on your journey, it is good to identify the superchargers with hotels next to it.  Glenwood Springs has a Courtyard and a Residence Inn adjacent to it.

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Additionally, you will note the huge cones that are at this location.  Apparently this has been the only proven way to minimize supercharger ICEing. So, if you arrive at this location and the cones are in the way, do not fret.  Chances are the superchargers are operational.

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Before rolling off, the view of the mountain behind the Residence Inn is quite spectacular, so take the opportunity to look behind it. There is also a community garden that seemed to be well taken care off in that vicinity as well.

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Off we go toward Silverthorne, CO.  This drive was stunning not only in the natural beauty but also in the engineering that was executed to create the split highway with the upper level going Westbound and the lower level that was headed Eastbound.

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Some of the Colorado cities and towns along the way were quite picturesque.

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Additionally, there was still snow in the beginning of May! Yes, you read correctly, there is still snow on the ground.

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One can still ski those runs, with beater skis, but still ski them.

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Really beautiful snow covered Rockies!

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And soon after that, we’re in Silverthorne.

Silverthorne Supercharger

Silverthorne is a different matter than Glenwood Springs.  We arrived at this Outlet Mall location as the stores had either closed or were closing.

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Another eight supercharger location at an outlet mall this time.

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The outlet stores may be closed, but Chipotle is still open.  So, if you need food, or other things, they’re normally open until late.

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Here is the view of the superchargers from Chipotle.  It’s an easy walk without snow or weather, but then again, I’m from Southern California, so not really the best judge of how far this walk will be in winter weather.

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Heading into Cheyenne, Wyoming…

A really blurry Wyoming State Line.  Probably a good idea to go to sleep when the state line looks this blurry.

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Hampton Inn Cheyenne Wyoming

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Checked into the hotel with 100 miles Rated Range.  It’s amazing to get a 305 Wh per mile for the day through the Rockies. That’s better than what we get in SoCal without the elevation changes.

Go on to Day 3. Click here.

02_Grand Junction to Cheyenne

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 01

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

A few weeks prior to the start of our trip, a bunch of Teslas decided to get together at Ocean City, MD for the third annual Tesla Road Trip.  These folks were the same group that set out to debunk the controversial NY Times Supercharging hack job that was written early in the Model S launch.

We wanted to join them, but didn’t have the time to do so at their event. However, this was without much consternation and effort to plan a Coast-to-Coast U.S. Roundtrip.  This is the first in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Day 1 – Drive on Saturday, May 2, 2015

Aside from the pre-trip planning that I wrote about in the previous post there were some things we wanted to do and document before we leave home.

How clean the car is (because, we don’t expect it to stay that way throughout the trip)

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And what the car statistics are… i.e.

The car’s mileage at departure is 34,697 miles and the Rated Range at 90% daily charge was 229 miles (didn’t do a Max charge for the start of the trip, but it has been around 254 to 255 miles the last time that we did.)  Additionally, our average consumption since the factory has gone back to 308 Wh per mile

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Figured to also use the Trip meters on the car for additional logging. So, we logged that Trip A is used from the statistics since we picked up the car at the factory. We will reset Trip B and used that for the current daily totals. And the automated Since Last Charge is exactly that. Which means, plug it in for a few minutes, and that counter resets back to zero.

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Additionally, we also were approached by our friends at teslarati.com to help with the beta version of the (now released) Teslarati App for the iPhone. Namely, help fill out the information for each spot as we get to it with hints. We committed to at least including a photograph for the site.

So, what is our route… Today? or in general? The answer is complicated. But, to map out scenarios, we used the EV Trip Planner website to help map out guidelines and what we could expect on this trip. So, we figured to use that as a draft and we plotted our trip.

So, to answer the question. The goal for the trip, at least in the immediate plan, was to make it to Grand Junction, CO for the evening. Furthermore, we wanted to be around Akron, OH by Friday, May 8, but felt confident that we could be there by Tuesday evening, so figured that we would go all the way to New Jersey and be back in Akron, OH by Friday and then head back to the East Coast on Sunday, May 10. Since we figured that all plans have to be flexible as to the situation, I only made two other hotel reservations after Grand Junction, CO.  They are, Sunday evening to be in Rapid City, SD and Madison, WI on Monday evening and not much else until we got on the road.

EV Trip Planner advised a stop at the Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger, but we’ve done the drive to Las Vegas and back before (as Southern California residents often do) and decided to just charge to 90% and roll out around 9am.

Of course as we rolled out of home on our trip, we realized that May 2nd may not have been the best day to travel toward Las Vegas. There are a ton of sports going on this day.

1) The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight was going on in Vegas.
2) Game 7 of the first Round NBA series between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs
3) The Kentucky Derby

There may have been something else, but I forget. So, we rolled out anyway, with the expectation of traffic for these sporting events.

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Barstow Supercharger.

So, approximately 124 miles later…

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We’re in Barstow. Well, that was easy.

A few changes have happened in Barstow since we were last here.

1) The construction of the additional 4 Superchargers was completed.

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2) The location now has a solar panel canopy over the original four stalls.

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We arrived around 10:30 AM and Chili’s was closed until 11:00 AM.  Had to use the “facilities”, so I went to the Country Inn and Suites on the other side of the parking lot and they graciously let me use the “facilities”.

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Since we were still on a familiar part of our trip, we figured that we would test out the “Beta” Navigation through superchargers option that was rolled out as part of the latest Over the Air (OTA) Firmware upgrade

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One of the things it does is when you plug in, it gives you an estimate in time of how long to charge so that you get enough to continue your journey. Additionally, the latest version of the software also gives an estimate (while supercharging) of the time it will take to get to full.

With the latest release, the system will let you know when it thinks that you’re ready to go. It pops up with this message:

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We didn’t unplug right away, we added a few more miles, of “just in case miles”.

While waiting at Barstow, we met this nice couple from Nevada on their way to California.  They made some recommendations on the route and we made a note of their advice. They had a nice white Model S with some Carbon Fiber wrap on it.

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So, we rolled out toward Primm, NV with the recommended charge plus a small buffer and went merrily on our way.

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Even R2-D2 was happy…

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That is, until we saw the following message:

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So, we thought… That’s not a good sign. So, we slowed down. Experts have noted that 62 miles per hour is the “ideal” mix of travel speed and “refuel” time to optimize time spent “moving forward” with “stopped and charging.” We were going a bit faster than that.

My wife, who was driving at the time, did what we do when we need to “eek out” those miles and found a slower moving, larger vehicle. (Now this was easier back when we drove the Active E, a LOT easier in the Roadster, not so much in a Model S.)  However, being the experienced EV driver that she is, we did fine.

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So, she picked a few trailers, big rigs, and campers to get behind and the differential in what our expected State of Charge (SOC) on reaching Primm, NV will be. The nasty “slow down” message went away, but the feeling that it gave stayed behind. That is, until we hit some “traffic.”

We never did hit the “now” expected traffic for the “sports” day for Las Vegas betting, but between Baker and Primm, NV, there was some traffic and we crawled to a stop. Now the beta software wanted us to slow down, but we were STOPPED.

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and we were operating with the margin that we added on top of the beta Navigation recommendations (plus a few miles that we added ourselves) so we did what any experienced EV users would do and lightened the accessory load on the car and turned off air conditioning, unplugged all devices and waited until the traffic cleared.

We passed the time by taking nice pictures out of the window.

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(as well as re-thinking our initial plan of following the Beta software.) Part of me was wondering if our trip was over before it even began at this point. (not going to lie to you, it was tense in the car, my better half wanted to go with our “usual” buffer of at least 40 miles, if not more, and I wanted to give the Beta a “chance”.)

Needless to say, after this “experiment” we went back to our “regular” method of adding at least 40-60 miles to the range. (since we’re on vacation and decided to have the option to “go off trail” we upped this to 100 miles, where possible, i.e. where the range to the next SC is lesser than 155 miles away.)

The downhill ride toward Primm, NV had a lot of regeneration on it that we were gaining rated miles as we neared it.  Took some fun shots of the rather impressive Solar Farm that was built and activated recently at the California and Nevada borders.

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Additionally, there were some folks that were enjoying the desert that fine Saturday. Now, if they used an EV to bring their land yachts/sand yachts then they could have been powered by all renewable energy. One could only hope. But considering the number of folks who bring ATVs, and the like, have to be thankful for those enjoying the desert with wind power instead.

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Primm Supercharger

So, our next stop was at “the Border”.  Primm, NV has been a popular Southern California to Vegas or back stop for as long as I’ve been an “adult” and it’s gone through a bust to boom to bust cycle.  The superchargers are located in the edge of the parking lot near McDonald’s and the gas station.  There are a total of eight superchargers there and there are “lots” to do in the area.

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The Primm Valley Casino and Resort has a factory outlet mall attached to it for those that do not feel like gambling or “gaming” as they call it.

Needless to say, with the challenge that we faced with the drive from Barstow and leaving with less than what we’re comfortable with, my wife had to be very efficient in her Model S drive, and as you can see, she was. Averaging 292 Wh per mile on a series of climbs and descents is pretty impressive.

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As you can see, our 40 mile “regular” buffer would not have been enough.

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So, this is where we decided to really just go ahead and up our buffer for this trip and not worry about it again. The algorithm that Tesla has created are for those that can follow the car and be as efficient as it wants them to be, but we’re not in a rush, and we’re on a vacation, for crying out loud.

Las Vegas Supercharger

The Las Vegas Supercharger is only 44 miles away from the Primm Supercharger. Not really worth a stop. But, when heading into Utah, and after our “experiment”, we both agreed to get a supercharge “security” charge in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Supercharger is in the middle of Downtown Las Vegas, in a “sketchy” part of town.

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As “sketchy” as the location is, it is quite busy. But like superchargers in the LA area, there are a lot of folks getting charge here.

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However, like in most urban superchargers, we all pretty much stayed in our cars and didn’t socialize with the other Model S charging at the location.

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I was surprised to enter Arizona on the way to Utah, didn’t really think about it.  But get camera ready as the canyon passes in the 15 are very iconic West

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St George Supercharger

So, the first supercharger stop outside of our “normal” range of travel is the supercharger in St. George, UT. This supercharger is different from others in that the location is deep within the city and further off the highway. Now, if we used the app from teslarati.com that we were beta testing or the fairly reliable plugshare app, it would’ve mentioned the Starbucks prominently, but we used the in-car navigation and it gets a little confusing to find superchargers in that way.

Regardless, we found the chargers.

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I would advise those that are backing into these chargers to be wary, as the curb is a hazard and they really should put air suspension on “high” as one backs into the spots. Additionally, the Starbucks drive-through is in front of these chargers, so watch out for the curving curb of the drive-through.

You can see the curved Starbucks curve here.

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This next shot is one of our favorite ones and have shared it on a few forums and Twitter. It’s as close to nature as we’ve been on the trip, so far. There’s a thread on teslamotorsclub.com called Model S Nature Pictures that I was hoping to post a few of our pictures in.

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The Tesla beta navigation recommend a very limited stop, however, we recommend a longer one because you get 75- 80 mph speed limit on the drive to Beaver. The inclines feel steep and we’re pretty inefficient in wh use, but a lot of fun to go Zoom, if you ditch Tesla’s recommended charging pattern. Additionally, Utah has some of the highest speed limits and MANY motorists tend to go faster.

Beaver Supercharger

Now, the navigation had us going to Beaver next and skipping Richfield, but, we had a heck of a day so far, so decided to hit both. Boy, was I glad to. The Beaver Supercharger had a Dairy Queen and one of the first ones to have a car wash adjacent to it. So, if you feel like washing your car, this would be a good stop.

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Trying to keep up with the speed limit at 80 mph, and a climb will yield a higher than normal average usage of 367 Wh per mile.

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However, stopping at this location can reward the traveler with Dairy Queen Ice Cream…

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So…

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What can I say? I haven’t had DQ in a while.

Richfield Supercharger

The next stop at Richfield has a brand new Holiday Inn Express at the location. We made a mental note of how friendly the staff was when I went inside to use the “facilities” and decided to swap driving duties at this location. The better half has been driving all day, and it’s my turn to drive.

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581.5 miles of driving and the stress between Barstow and Primm, I got lucky with finding my wife and partner-in-crime. ūüėČ

If we had not already booked a hotel in Grand Junction, CO I would’ve proposed that we stop at Richfield, UT. However, we had booked a hotel in Grand Junction, CO and pressed on.

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Green River Supercharger

Now the next stop was a bit stressful because it was another of those locations that was difficult to find. Even harder in the dark. The four supercharging stations of the Green River UT Supercharger are in a dark parking lot of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum.

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Another one of those locations that we had to use plugshare.com to find the location.

We arrived here around 2:00 AM and boy were we tired. I took a quick cat-nap while charging, while my wife stayed awake.

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Doubletree Grand Junction CO

So, looking at our mileage and distance from our hotel, made us decide to drive directly to our hotel in Grand Junction for the evening.

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The hotel looked like a beacon in the desert and we decided to stop for the night.

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Parked the car with full 89 miles of range left and turned the car to full sleep mode (turned off the “always connected” option) as we turned in ourselves.

And the promise of “Doubletree cookies” at the end of this very, very long 808 mile day.

Go on to Day 2. Click here.

01_LB to Grand Junction