A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the twentieth in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.
Day 20 – Drive on Thursday, May 21, 2015
Today’s goal is to cross Missouri, hopefully be on the other side of the state (around Kansas City, MO) by the end of the day.
Holiday Inn, Effingham
As I read on a T-shirt at the joint Tesla Supercharger-BP Gas Station that we charged in last night, “Where the Effingham am I?”. Looking out from our hotel room is another view of the supercharger and gas station.
The same view, zoomed in.
We lost six miles overnight, not enough vampire loss to prompt us to stop at the supercharger again. So we packed up and headed toward the St. Charles, MO supercharger.
Pay attention to the 518.8 miles on Trip B. That’s what we did the previous day.
A rather impressive cross can be seen at the side of the highway shortly after leaving the supercharger.
Looks like Effingham, IL is on the way to many places. Thinking of Paul Simon’s song, “Graceland” with this sign. i.e. “I’m going to Graceland / Memphis, Tennessee / I’m going to Graceland…” Except, we’re heading to St. Charles, which is just past St. Louis.
It was strange because our regenerative braking is being limited. I wonder if this was because of the weather overnight. Not the sort of thing we normally see as we garage and live in Southern California, so I’m guessing that’s what the dashed limit lines are for. It didn’t stay long for long, but enough to take a picture of it.
We encountered another issue on the drive to St. Charles Supercharger, it seems that the mobile data on the Model S just wigged out. (Yes, that’s a technical term.) If you look at the photo below, there are 3 bars, but neither 3G nor Edge is indicated. The typical fix for these sort of “Ghost in the Machine” errors is to reset the center console and driver display; however, that’s entirely inconvenient to do when driving. So we proceeded on.
Figured that this data connectivity issue was the Model S because my wife’s iPhone 4 is on AT&T 3G. On this trip, more often than not, the Model S actually had a signal when her phone had no signal, I suspect that the Model S either has a stronger antenna or the Tesla SIM card has additional roaming agreements to cover those parts of the country that an AT&T direct product does not. Either way, this was the first time on the trip that we’ve encountered the car’s Internet connection being disabled while her iPhone still worked.
We’ve been traveling with three different mobile networks (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Virgin Mobile), so we tethered the car to my T-Mobile Blackberry and kept on driving. You can see the wi-fi indicator on the car in the photograph below. With that temporary fix in place, we proceeded on our journey with the plan to reset things when we come to a stop.
Is today partly cloudy or partly sunny? Either way, a beautiful view of the countryside.
The view was rudely interrupted by the start of some construction on the roadway.
Looks like we’re passing Lebanon. Again, not the same Lebanon, either. 😉 It seems that a lot of places are named after other locales.
When I spotted the sign, I asked my wife to try to take a picture of it. I found it entertaining to be driving on the Paul Simon Highway away from Memphis, TN. Especially after thinking of his song “Graceland” just a few miles earlier.
The route to St. Charles had us bypass St. Louis by taking the Northern route via I-270.
With that we crossed into Missouri. Like many borders, the river is the border between Illinois and Missouri. This state line sign is over the midway point of the bridge.
We crossed over to the mighty Mississippi River. A river immortalized in the writings of Mark Twain and his characters Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. The river is brown. I wonder if that’s because of the depth of the river, or something worse. Apparently, it’s been brown for a while.
A much nicer state welcome sign was ahead on this route.
We made it to St. Louis on this drive.
St. Charles is just passed St. Louis. The Gateway Arch (aka “Gateway to the West”) is South of us at this point (off I-70.)
It was near lunchtime for us. We didn’t know what to expect when we arrive at the St. Charles supercharger, so we went online and found out that according to Trip Advisor 2015 two of the top three BBQ restaurants in the US were in Missouri, specifically, St. Louis and in Kansas City.
This information gave us the idea for “the BBQ run.” (We thought, why not try to do our own comparison between the two restaurants ourselves.) We were barely passed St. Louis that I proposed to turn around and head to Number Three on the 2015 List (and 2014 as well,) we re-directed ourselves to Bogart’s Smoke House.
Until we decided to re-direct ourselves to St. Louis on our route, we were going to ditch the Arch.
The arch is an impressive sight to behold from afar.
And our route took us closer to it.
In fact, the restaurant is on the other side of the arch from us.
My wife was able to catch an interesting shot of the arch through the panoramic glass roof.
As well as our rearview mirror.
We made it to Bogart’s Smoke House and found a line out the door. We queued up and parked the car down the street. However, as we were waiting in line, the prime parking spot in front of the restaurant opened up, and I moved the car.
The barbecue was excellent, went with some ribs and brisket sandwich.
Some happy diners seated outside and enjoying the sun in the picnic benches for some al fresco dining.
The prime parking right in front of the restaurant has a meter, but is a great spot for pictures of the car with a really great restaurant in the background. Or a great shot of the restaurant with a great car in the foreground. Either way, it was cool to get the spot in front.
Now, if you visit Bogart’s we found out later that the parking on the street perpendicular to the entrance is free (right beside the same picnic benches that we sat and ate our lunch on.) But, the picture was worth paying St. Louis street parking.
The line upon our arrival was much longer, however, there is still a line later in the lunch hour crowd.
The barbecue was not only top-notch, but the service was even better. The restaurant staff were very helpful and accommodating. We would not have heard of the picnic benches had we not been assisted by the restaurant staff. As a special treat, the chef was very friendly and welcoming to the diners and even posed for a picture with us.
The barbecue restaurant in Kansas City, MO have very big shoes to fill.
We were full from lunch and happily headed back to St. Charles for our supercharge for our Missouri state crossing.
Before we started on our trip, remember the lack of 3G/Edge on the car’s Intenet connection, so I proceeded to reset the front panel and display by doing the reset pattern (press and hold the top two buttons (right and left) at the same time for a minimum ten seconds AND press and hold the two rocker wheels (right and left) at the same time for a minimum ten seconds.) Unfortunately, this did not resolve the 3G/Edge issue.
We wanted to stop off at the arch for a picture near the base, but the construction and other things made it difficult, so we pressed on.
Until we meet again St. Louis. And now, we’ve officially passed the “Gateway to the West.”
As we headed toward St. Charles, I gave Tesla’s Roadside Assistance to help with the 3G/Edge issue. Roadside Assistance saw the signal from the car just fine. We determined that this was because we had it tethered to my Blackberry. However after we turned off the tether, it resolved itself. The agent said that he was just checking status and had not actually done anything else to fix it. So, we just made note of it and pressed on.
St. Charles Supercharger
This supercharger is interesting in that it had five stalls. Most superchargers are even and the St. Charles. When you’re faced with a choice to charge in a supercharger with an odd number of chargers, I would suggest to pick the sole A stall that does not have a B stall to pair it with. I would guess that that charger will not be split by any other car coming to charge.
As you can see, I didn’t follow my own advice. I was used to charging by myself on this trip.
Forgot to reset Trip B, so we decided to reset at St. Charles and calculate the first miles of the day as 159 miles. Remember the 518.8 miles that was on Trip B at the start. The distance between last night’s charge and the hotel at the start of the day is 0.8 miles, after all.
One of the main reasons why we supercharge extra miles is to be able to go on a “detour.” And we were rewarded with our stop in St. Louis today.
At the St. Charles Supercharger, we wanted to see what the navigation would do when one were to try to navigate from St. Charles Supercharger to the Independence Supercharger, the car will try to route you quite a ways around. 1,148 miles to travel a 213 mile distance. I suppose this is the appropriate time to remind folks that the trip planner on firmware 6.2 is still in beta.
Here is the route when you force it to route directly. (i.e. select the “Remove all charging stops option.”
It’s important to note that the car doesn’t trust that you’ll have enough charge to get from St. Charles to Independence. Note the empty battery with the red triangle through it and “–” percentage under the battery denotes that the car will think that you’ll be empty before you arrive at the location.
Impromptu Tesla Model S Meetup
We’re not nearly as brave as others that have driven this route. We figure to stop off at Columbia, MO at one of the destination chargers enroute. To minimize the time spent at Columbia, MO high power wall charger (HPWC,) we decided to do a range charge. (Realizing that I haven’t defined this term in a while,) a range charge is when one charges the car to 100% of the battery’s capacity.
As we charged the car, other Model S soon started to arrive at this location.
The first to arrive was the P85D on the left. The car was driven by recent owners from Colorado on the way to Florida. They did the drive from Independence to St. Charles on one charge (driving very close to 65 mph for that route).
Shortly thereafter, a big SUV drove up to us to welcome us to the city and supercharger. The gentleman driving the vehicle was a member of the city council and helped approve the installation of the supercharger. We had good conversation and we thanked him for his vote.
The other two Model S were driven by a couple of locals. Jim M and Matt M, no relation.
Matt works nearby and decided to just drop in and check out the new supercharger in his area. He was surprised by the number of Model S that were using the SCs when he arrived.
Jim is a very experienced Tesla owner and has actually done some several thousand mile roadtrips before the SCs were even in existence. Jim knew @LithieTWTesla and the HPWC that they share on Plugshare 30 miles West of St. Charles. However, we already had a plan to stop in Columbia, so we stuck with that.
So, this is how an impromptu Tesla Meet-up was borne.
Now I planned to show the new D owners one of the benefits of standard (non Dual Drive) ownership and show our spare tire to him. However, when we tried to open the frunk, it jammed. Looking at a jammed frunk made me somewhat cross, so I called the Tesla St. Louis Service Center to see if they can fit us in. The service concierge went to check. However, one of the benefits with meeting with other Tesla owners is the fact that there is always someone who might know more about the car than you.
By the time the service advisor called back, my wife had told Jim what the problem was and he was in the process of teaching us how to fiddle with the manual frunk release.
There is a release underneath the right side of the glove compartment. Pull it toward you (down and to the rear of the vehicle.)
Once you pull that back, within the frunk is a button around the middle that you can depress and push slightly then pull up to release.
This took some fiddling, but it worked just fine and we cancelled our planned detour to the Tesla St. Louis Service Center.
The appearance of four Model S became the talk of SmashBurger (located right across the superchargers,) that one of the customers at SmashBurger, came out to ask us about the cars. We spoke to him about the benefits of EVs and Tesla and he was intrigued. Nothing drives home the point of limitless driving to someone located in the MidWest than showing him a California license plate. Additionally, those that are prone to purchasing American vehicles have no counter to the fact that Tesla is a decidedly American car, and more so when the Gigafactory is producing the batteries for the car’s use.
With our range charge completed and our EV advocacy completed, we headed out toward Independence, MO with the plan to get dessert and coffee at Glenn’s Cafe at the Tiger Hotel in Columbia, MO.
The route between St. Charles and Columbia is through Missouri Wine Country. We opted to skip it.
The first “classic” water tower that we’ve spotted on this trip.
Tiger Hotel, Columbia
The valet parking at the Tiger Hotel is shared with Glenn’s Cafe.
We switched the car to valet mode and handed the valet our key.
Prior to choosing to stop at the Tiger Hotel, we called ahead and inquired as to the charging policy. We were told that it is complimentary for guests of the hotel or Glenn’s Cafe. We were also told that the valet parking is $4.00 if we opted to just valet/charge the car. We chose to go for dessert and coffee at Glenn’s Cafe.
When the valet parks the car, they will make a right at the first street ahead and an immediate right into the alley around the corner from the entrance to plug it in.
The Tiger Hotel has both the HPWC and a J1772 charging station available to guests in the alley behind Glenn’s Cafe. Each charger is locked up in a box with a combination like below.
The HPWC is located in the rear box. The front box is where the J1772 is located.
We plugged in and started charging with 79A/213V for an approximate 50 miles per hour rate.
The Tiger Hotel is located a comfortable 103 mile distance from St. Charles Supercharger.
Some closer shots of the HPWC behind its locked cabinets.
We made sure to check in to the the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS for this Tesla destination charger.
Though we got to Glenn’s Cafe close to 5pm, we were determined to make it to Kansas City, MO to complete the BBQ Run.
We had Bread Pudding – with whiskey sauce & chantilly cream.
And the Gold Brick Sundae – Brownie topped w/ double bean vanilla ice cream, strawberries & banana topped w/ new orleans gold brick topping & whipped cream.
The coffee was good, nothing spectacular, but the dessert made up for it. So a recharge for the car and travelers and we are good to roll.
The Tiger Hotel
The Tiger Hotel lobby and entrance looks like it was restored well. This is a shot from where we waited for the valet to come back to take our ticket. The door pictured is the entrance to Glenn’s Cafe from the Tiger Hotel lobby.
From the valet, the entrance is just up these stairs.
The lobby looks good, but we had a goal to cross Missouri today.
A picture of your travelers with the Glenn’s Cafe sign in the background.
And another shot of us with the Tiger Hotel sign in the background.
We got our car back from the valet, switched back from valet mode to me and we were on the way to Kansas City for dinner and try to catch Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que.
Columbia is definitely a University town. That looks like a University building.
As we drove out of town and stopped at an intersection, we noticed a gentleman in a nice Porsche 911 that was checking out our Model S, not an entirely unheard of reaction on this trip. What was comical was my wife noticed the guy in the pickup beside him was checking out the 911.
Challenge of heading West is the sunset is ahead of you. The challenge with taking sunset pictures is choosing the one to share with our readers, so here are a bunch of sunset pictures, enjoy.
Switching devices gives us a different view of the things that we photograph.
Now these sunset pictures meant that it was going to be tough to make it to Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que original ‘Gas Station’ location. So, we figured to call them to see if we can make arrangements to pay for our BBQ ahead and just take the order to go.
The GPS was estimating our arrival at their location around the 9pm closing time (with a variance +/- 5 minutes.) Around 8pm we called and spoke with the person on staff who answered the telephone to see if we can place an order for pickup. That person was unable to assist, so we asked for a manager. The manager was unwilling to take our order even when we offered to pay for the food ahead with a credit card.
So, the BBQ Run ended with a whimper and Bogart’s Smoke House won the contest by forfeit. It’s interesting to contrast the type of service and congenial nature of the staff that we received at Bogart’s with the somewhat irascible treatment that we received from the manager at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. I don’t know about those that got to rank the place, but service is definitely something that I value, so we decided to just skip the place and proceed to the Independence Supercharger instead.
Having nearly completed our Missouri crossing before the evening, we decided to press onto one more supercharger. We figured to find a place to stay at or near the Topeka Supercharger.
We were the only ones at the supercharger.
The superchargers are located beside a Bass Pro Shop. Up until today, we’ve never been to a Bass Pro Shop. Since the shop was still open and I was curious, we decided to head into the shop.
Bass Pro Shops
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, we’re “city kids.”
The Bass Pro Shop is a “trip.”
It is huge and multi-leveled.
The top level is apparel and the bottom level is something else.
There’s an impressive aquarium stocked with fish. I don’t know what the purpose of the aquarium was, to practice fishing in, perhaps?
There were these “nature” scenes with what I hoped were animatronic animals, but would guess were probably not artificial.
So far, this is probably the closest I got to “wild” animals on the trip.
We stayed in the store until it closed and headed back to finish our charge in the car.
Once completed, we headed to Topeka.
Apparently Kansas has a Turnpike, ’cause we had to pay a toll when we took the drive to Topeka.
On the way there, there was this interesting truck and trailer that was ahead of us.
So, a short drive from the Independence Supercharger, we found ourselves in Topeka. We were planning on staying at a hotel about a mile away from the Topeka Supercharger.
We decided to supercharge in the evening as we were still quite awake when we arrived in Topeka. So, we redirected ourselves from the hotel to the supercharger location.
The supercharger is located in the parking lot of an Arby’s that was already closed when we got there.
There were hotels on the other side of the Arby’s but we decided to stay at the Hyatt Place about a mile away from the supercharger.
We charged the car to a high enough level so that we will not need to charge in the morning even if we lost ten miles of rated range.
Hyatt Place Topeka
The Hyatt Place Topeka is a very comfortable hotel. Hyatt has done a good job of ensuring that each location in Hyatt Place sub-brand is very close to how other Hyatt Place locations are. As a result, there’s a baseline one can expect. And this location met the expectations.
We arrived after 465 miles of driving, remember to add 159 miles to the total mileage for the day as we forgot to reset the mileage when we arrived at the St. Charles Supercharger. We checked in with 215 miles of rated range and a drive to the Rockies tomorrow.
Go on to Day 21. Click here.