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.


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.


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




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


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


And there was a small festival atmosphere.



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



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.






Nevertheless, it was well attended.


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

The equipment supporting the superchargers are in a locked shed.


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.



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.



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


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.




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


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


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.




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


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.


Roseville Supercharger

Our third stop today is at the Roseville Supercharger.






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…)


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



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


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.


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.


We drove through the smoke and slowed down.


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


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



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



Vacaville Supercharger

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




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.



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.


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.


The city is full of cows.


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




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


Even more cows…


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


Yes, they’re windmills, say the cows…


The windmills keep getting my attention.


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.


Here’s one I call windmills and cows…


And a close-up of both.




And we leave windmill country and get closer to Manteca.





We cross some vineyards…






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


At least it’s not a one lane road.


Oh, thank goodness… A freeway sign!


Back on the freeway.


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


A nice, wide freeway…


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




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.



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”.


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.


Harris Ranch Supercharger

We’re back at Harris Ranch Supercharger.



It was pretty lonely here on a Saturday night…


Everyone else must have booked their rooms ahead of time.


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



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


This is our last supercharge before we get home.


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



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



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


Set the update to complete later in the morning…


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


Oh, with new software too…


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 –

2016_Day13_Reno to LB

The Long Way Round – Day 12

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the twelfth 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 11 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?  It’s the Tesla Gigafactory Party day!

Day 12 – Reno, NV – Tesla Gigafactory Party – Sparks, NV..  July 29, 2016

We picked the Harrah’s Reno location because we had friends that were staying here and the shuttle bus for the Gigafactory party and the pre-party for those of us with four or more referrals were leaving from the hotel across the street (Whitney Peak Hotel).

We had breakfast with our friends at the Hash House A Go Go.  I haven’t had my coffee yet, so everything was still blurry.



The meals at the Hash House are filling and tasty.  The portions definitely rival the size of the Cheesecake Factory.


The waffles were huge.


As were the pancakes.IMG_20160729_113130

We had a great breakfast with our friends, but had to hurry off to the first face to face meetings with the Presidents of the various official Tesla Owners Clubs.  Many of these folks flew in for the Gigafactory party and though some were going to TMC Connect, others were not, so we had a lunch with them at a restaurant close to the Atlantis Hotel.  We found two Model S and decided to take the third spot beside them.  The one in the middle is Greg (ggr) from San Diego’s custom painted Signature Model S.  He had carpooled up to the event with a few of our friends from the TesLA Club (Los Angeles).


The lunch meeting was well attended, and there were members there from Australia, Canada, and Europe, (as well as many from all over the US.)  It was more about meeting the folks than lunch for us (you DID see the size of our breakfast portions, right?)




We gathered around outside to take a picture, and look at all the pretty cars.




And on the way back to get ready for the Gigafactory party, we stopped off at the TMC Connect hotel, Atlantis, to drop off our new friends from The Owners Club of Australia (who needed a ride) and to see if we can take better pictures of the cars from last night.


Definitely better looking in the sunlight than the dark parking lot from the previous evening.




The supercharger station still had availability.


And that’s one SweetEV (with the new R80 badge to denote the 3.0 battery giving approximately 340 miles of range.)


On the way to drop the Aussies off at the Atlantis, I spotted Rob N.’s Electronaut inspired Model S striping at the Convention Center, where TMC Connect was being held during the day and I felt compelled to track it down and take photographs.



California DCPPOWR meet Massachusetts ACPOWR




After taking all the ActiveE like Model S,  we headed back to the hotel. We’re not planning on driving further today, so we park at the hotel and take note of the mileage and range left.



After getting ready for the party, we cross the street to the Whitney Peak Hotel for the pre-party and shuttle buses to the event.



The ore-party for the Gigafactory was at the bar in Whitney Peak Hotel.  They served not only drinks, but Ice Cream as well…


Gelato, actually.


And the toppings were great too.



That’s one Happy Dennis.  Remember all the Ice Cream stops in last year’s trip, Here, There, and EVerywhere, like the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour.


So, the pre-party was also full.  Lots of folks to catch up with.


I even get my few seconds on Youtube (via Bjorn’s channel)! (around the 27:10 mark if I didn’t embed this right) 😉

I suppose I should check to see if KMan has me on his channel too.

A few of the folks drove here to get in the pre-party and some are using the shuttles to the Gigafactory.



The drive to the factory from downtown Reno took about 20 minutes.


There was a line to get into the parking area.




The factory was hidden until one gets into Tesla’s property.


And once you catch a glimpse, it just keeps getting bigger.


It was a pretty orderly line to get in.


And Tesla had a cadre of valet attendants.  I suppose when the cars are fully autonomous these guys will have to do something else.


The queue to get into the party was pretty orderly.


All smiles as we wait in line to get in.




Someone just got their party badge!


And that someone is pretty happy.



We get into the party tent and it’s nice and cool.


Here’s a model of the factory on the desert background.


Looks like we’ll get a peek inside the factory before many people do.


The line to get to the tour.



Tesla needs to hurry up and have electric buses for us to use.


No, that’s not our tour guide.  That’s one of the Tesla executives welcoming us to the Gigafactory.



These kind folks are the employees who will be taking us on the tour.  They have other jobs at the Gigafactory, but for the tour, they’re our tour guides.



We drive around the building and into some uncompleted sections and end up at the start of the tour.


The hallways are nice, cool, and clean.



We were shown a Tesla battery…  Lots of discussion whether we can tell the difference in mm from the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) format to the new Model 3 (20700) cells.  Some could swear that they can tell the difference…  I lied and said that I could, I’m just NOT THAT GOOD at telling the differences in battery cylinder sizes.


Here’s a comparison against an iPhone 5. (with a backup battery case hard at work.)


Part of me was wondering, what’s the worst that Tesla will do if I make a break for it… Then again…  I decided to continue on with the tour! 😉



Yeah, I don’t know what I’m looking at here.  It’s lots of wires and empty walls.  However, I do remember them saying something about Inputs and Outputs and the ability to drop a wall and continue to expand the building.  Apparently only 12% or so of the factory is complete.  Though it seems to me like a lot of the inside still needs to be filled in.



It’s good to hang out with friends from faraway and our particular group has Jeffrey Cadman who had a bear of a time flying cross country from the Mid Atlantic States to get to Reno, his airline cancelled the leg from the Bay Area to Reno and had to share a rental car to get here.

Jeff is one of the crazy guys from Tesla Roadtrip whose misadventures inspired me and my better half to get into Tesla LONG DISTANCE Roadtrips, especially last year’s Cross Country adventure, Here, There, and EVerywhere.


As you can see, even with the misadventures of airline travel, he’s happy now. But what a mess, unfortunately he reached out to us when we were already on our way to Reno from Sacramento and had to split an ICE rental with two other attendees for TMC Connect and/or Gigafactory who were on the same flight.


I could try to lie outright and say what the heck this device is… But, another thing that I remember is many parts of the Gigafactory is actually Panasonic’s section.  The cooperation between Tesla and its suppliers is amazing in that the factory is really demarcated between Tesla and its suppliers from where the raw goods are brought in, processed, and provided to Tesla for its assembly into battery packs.


The gentlemen presenting were giving a good detailed explanation of what this part of the process is, but I continued to be distracted and just enjoyed “taking it all in.”



Some of the machinery is covered up in tarps whereas others are in plain sight.  One can only imagine at what state the production really is at this point that the general public was allowed the opportunity to photograph the factory.  Understanding the umpteen NDAs and warnings against any photography of Tesla’s Fremont Factory, let’s consider what we see with a “grain of salt.”  It’s impressive what Tesla and its partners have done, but if it was producing things that are proprietary, we would not have been able to photograph things.



It was still pretty cool to walk through.  For crying out loud, there were parts of the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour where we were NOT allowed to photograph as well.



More impressive machinery…


I seem to recall something about storing some of the finished products in these racks, but as you can see, nothing is stored, yet.



One of the things pointed out to us is the use of automation and robots in the plant and the markings on the ground are the pathways that the robots use to follow and move material from one point to another in the factory.


Here is a stationary robot that we pass.



And still lots of space to be filled up.





At this junction, I believe that we were nearing the division between Panasonic’s part of the factory with the Tesla assembly portion of it.



So, should I make a break for it?


Move along buddy!


Off to the Cell Aging Room.  Why we need to age the cells, I don’t know.



This should give you a good idea at how tight this room is.





Here I am with a robot behind me.


And here it is photobombing me.


It’s a pretty friendly looking industrial robot.  Don’t think we have to worry about Skynet…


…yet.  Though if Elon and Tesla keep fine tuning the “machine that builds the machine.”  His term for the factories that Tesla uses to get products out there, who knows at what point the machines will decide to skip humans altogether.


These trays are where the completed battery cylinders are placed when done being made into the battery format before it is combined to make the battery sheets for vehicles and/or power walls.


You can see some batteries above standing up waiting to be put into packs.




Once again I don’t remember if these cylinders are for the Roadster/Model S/Model X (18650) size or Model 3 (20700) size.


Apparently I mis-wrote earlier.  This is the demarcation between the Tesla side and the Panasonic side.  Either way, the point remains, on one side of a wall is Panasonic and Tesla’s suppliers and on the other side is Tesla.


Walking into Tesla’s side, the same cylindrical batteries take the shape that we are familiar with.  The battery packs that go in our cars and the ones that will be put on people’s walls and utility and commercial locations




These red robots look familiar as the X-Men inspired ones in Fremont that help build the cars.


It must be tempting to hop on a robot, otherwise, why the sign?



Once again, lots of visible assembly line areas and the whole floor looks “clean.”


We pause and take a picture of us at the Tesla side of the factory.


That looks like a Model X chassis.  Those shock absorbers on the back look much bigger than a Model S.


Some information on the products from Tesla Energy.


And it looks like wood pallets of Tesla Powerwalls are all ready to ship.  I presume these are Australia and Germany bound as those markets are more mature than the US for the delivery of home battery storage for power.



We pass more battery packs in various states of construction.


It’s interesting how such a small cylinder can be combined together to give the capacities of storage that we need for our mobility or home or utility electrical storage needs.



Didn’t get the time to count all the completed boxes, but I’m sure now that a BIG commercial account was announced recently, these guys are busier than they were two months ago when we were there for this launch party.



Ok, pallets are for Tesla Powerwall (Residential installs)


and these refrigerator looking boxes are for commercial PowerPack installs.


We figured to get someone to take our picture with the big Tesla sign behind us.


It was cool to see the “battery lifecycle” input/output factory tour, but it looks like a lot of work still to get it fully functioning.  Tesla originally were offering a ride to a lookout with a great picture opportunity for the factory.  However, a quick moving thunderstorm entered the area as we completed our tour and we were ushered back to the party quickly.


Summer weather in the desert can be quite interesting.


They offered to possibly restart the overlook process, but muddy feet was not part of the plan for today.


We had hoped to ride in the Model 3 on Gigafactory party day, but the rides that they were offering were solely for Model S and Model X.  So, I wasn’t really interested.

We did pass the Model 3 in the VIP section of the party as we quickly went back to the party tent.


It looks bigger in person.


And we had to use zoom lenses to capture shots of it from afar.


One had to be Elon’s guests to get closer to the red Model 3.  However, as many have pointed out this red one is actually a full size mockup without any working innards, so there’s that.


It still looks pretty and we would still have enjoyed a chance to look at it.



I took a panoramic from the party tent of the 12% of the building that has been completed.  This party tent and parking lot will be demolished as the factory is expanded.


On the other side of those lights are Model S and Model X that are being used for the Test Rides.  It’s not even a Test Drive, and since we did drive thousands of miles to get here, a place about 500 miles away from home, I think we’ll let someone else drive and ride while we enjoy the company and the party.


Some folks had great spots to see and hear Elon and JB welcome us and talk about the Gigafactory.  As with many Tesla events, it was quite full and crowded by the stage, so my better half and I enjoyed hanging out with EV friends and listen to Elon and JB talk in the same room and have the comfort of the AV professionals view.


We took the opportunity while Elon and JB were speaking to take a few shots of the models of the Gigafactory and surrounding location.


It’s incredible what the vision is for the site, once built.  And it is important to note that this Gigafactory is the first of a plan to build more of these worldwide so as to deliver vehicles and energy storage closer to where the demand is.  I’m assuming that means an Asian and European Gigafactory along with future Tesla auto factories at those locations as well.


No detail was missed in the model with a pair of Model S supercharging factory side.






We stuck around pretty late to see if we can make it to the Model 3.  We tried different avenues to get an invite to go across to see it.  Alas, here’s a great shot of it via zoom lens later in the evening.


The test rides have wound down and many have left the party.


As we exit, we figure to take a picture of the sign welcoming us to this party.



And we head back in our shuttle.  We check into our room at the Harrah’s Reno and take a picture of the little city of Reno.  It was great to see the building and Gigafactory in the state that it is in.  It would be better to see it in greater operation.


The next day of this series, Day 13, is published here.

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

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.



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


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


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.


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.”



It was more photo op than actual needed charge stop…




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



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.


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.


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.



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



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.


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.


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



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


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



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.




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.


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




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


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.


After a quick wash, we headed into Reno.

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




We drove along the Truckee River toward Reno.



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.




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


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.







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.


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.


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


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



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


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.


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.


There were also manufacturers of some cool two wheeled EVs.


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


Dinner was good, and the company was better.



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).


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.


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)




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.


Lots of Model X around.


And documented a lot of creative personalized plates.

Long drive out from Virginia.


Someone’s smilin’


Doug’s car’ Nikola



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



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


A better shot of Zap 2 Zum



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


Yes please, No ICE


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


Frickin’ Lasers


On a Ludicrous P90D Model X…


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.


Across the street were also some charging stations.


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




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



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 –

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.”

Holiday Inn Express Richfield

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


No other cars were with us at the supercharger though.


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



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


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



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.





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



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.


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.)


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.


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.


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


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.



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.


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




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.


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.



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.



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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


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.)


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.






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.






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


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



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.


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.



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.


We skipped New York, New York.


We skipped The Excalibur.


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.)


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.





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.



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



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.



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.



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”


or, just the moon.


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.)


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.


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


“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.



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.


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.



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.



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.)



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

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)




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


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.


Additionally, we also were approached by our friends at 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.


Barstow Supercharger.

So, approximately 124 miles later…


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.


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



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”.


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


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:


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.



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


Even R2-D2 was happy…


That is, until we saw the following message:


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.


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.



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.



(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.




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.



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.


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.


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


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.



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.


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.


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






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 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.



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.


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 called Model S Nature Pictures that I was hoping to post a few of our pictures in.


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.


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.


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




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.




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

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.


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.


Another one of those locations that we had to use 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.


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.



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


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