Thankful… and the reason, I haven’t been posting as much…

It’s Thanksgiving Day. The day that Americans post their thoughts on things that they’re grateful for.

Two years ago, I wrote an EV Thanksgiving post focused on all the EV choices that we get in California. Since then several other models have been introduced, with the latest one being the Tesla Model X.

Another thing I can be thankful for is the safe, little EV that my mom was drving that met its untimely demise when an SUV merged into her. It did its job and protected her through the whole process and reminds me that i have to re-emerge from the cocoon I’ve been in and help her find a new EV to replace little OB-8.

I’ve been very busy lately and have started, but not finished a few blog posts that have not seen the light of day.

  • Namely a draft of my Tesla Model S 70D experience (it’s what we drove from SoCal to the Bay Area in September for the Model X Launch party.
  • A draft of my month of driving a Tesla Model S P85, P85+, P85D, and 70D in the same month.
  • and so much more… I’ll get to it… eventually.

So, loyal readers, what have I been up to?

A few months ago, I was approached and engaged by EV Connect, Inc. an EV Charging Solution provider [since I started writing this on Thanksgiving Day, I didn’t get formal approval to release my client’s name, so withheld for now] to assist them to manage and file a submission to design, construct, manage, maintain, analyze, and report on the nine electric charging highway corridors that the State of California, via the California Energy Commission (CEC), has decided to fund in its 2012 agreement with the states of Oregon and Washington, along with the province of British Columbia to create the West Coast Electric Highway. It’s been a fun three months of working in a field that I’ve grown into.

As many long-time readers can attest, I really “fell into” this industry and I really enjoy transitioning from a consumer to hopefully a professional in this field. I am thankful for that client and truly hope that we “win” the bid from the CEC for GFO 15-601 (which was due yesterday at 3pm.)

Since, I didn’t get a release from my client, I won’t give out the details of the proposal, but can at least talk about the CEC grant.  I can say that the approach we took gave due consideration to light duty electric vehicle drivers traveling these routes.  It wasn’t that long ago I was driving an 80-100 mile EV with no DCFC capability. (I miss my Active E.)

The CEC identified 9 highway corridors that are in need of additional DC Fast charging (DCFC or CHAdeMO and/or SAE-Combo/CCS.)

The corridors identified by the CEC are:

  1. I-5: Oregon Border to Red Bluff
  2. I-5: South of Red Bluff to North of Sacramento
  3. SR 99: South of Sacramento to North of Fresno
  4. SR 99: Fresno to North of Wheeler Ridge
  5. US 101: San Jose to Buellton
  6. I-5: Wheeler Ridge to Santa Clarita
  7. I-5: San Clemente to Oceanside
  8. SR 99: South of Red Bluff to North of Sacramento
  9. I-5: South of Sacramento to North of Wheeler Ridge

These nine corridors had differing distances, budgets, and preferred number of chargers to install. The first seven were required to have both CHAdeMO and CCS for the equipment to be proposed and the last two were secondary and required CHAdeMO only, though preferred a combo CHAdeMO and CCS, but the budgets were also very tight.

We had several months to find site sponsors, get equipment quotes, find construction partners, obtain additional funds, start the process to participate in the WCEH, and approach other constituents.

As a rEVolutionary, I am glad to see the expansion of the ability of light duty electric vehicles (your approx 80-100 mile range EVs in the parlance of the CEC proposal) to traverse the North-South corridors of California and eventually connect with Oregon, Washington, and beyond, but as a participant in the process, I’m biased. And hope that EV Connect, Inc. [name retracted for now, the awesome folks who hired me to work with them and get our bid in to fruition] win this bid!

I truly am happy and thankful. Hopefully by this time next year, we’re well on our way to having this DC Fast Charge network being completed to get mom in her replacement light duty electric vehicle able to fast charge from the LA Area to wherever North or South she wants to head to… ’cause my input was to ensure that folks like her can travel these distances comfortably without getting stranded… So, fingers crossed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update to CHAdeMO Instructions and Review – Efacec and Greenlots Combo CHAdeMO/CCS

My original instructional post for using CHAdeMO only covered two different CHAdeMO chargers. The Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO chargers. Yesterday, I found a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger from Efacec (the Evapower EV QC 50) at the ARTIC, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.

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I first noticed the ARTIC from the side of the 57 freeway as I zoomed by on my way home. It is a strangely modern piece of architecture on the same exit as “the Pond” and Angel Stadium. As we passed it on that first drive and on every subsequent drive since then, my wife and I often wondered what it was. It looked like a Disneyland monorail station, except Disneyland was several miles away from the sporting venues in Anaheim.

In preparing to write this update on how to charge using the equipment at this location, I ran into several links about the site that was not very positive about this $189 Million Transit hub.  From OC Weekly when it first opened.  To an LA Times review a week later.  To an update on its operational challenges from the OC Register, half a year later.  Regardless of what the critics may say about this location.  Many of what used to be free to charge CHAdeMO L3 chargers have now been converted to paid use and it is comforting to still have options that currently do not charge for the privilege to charge at higher rates of speed.

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As mentioned, this particular DC Quick Charger is a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger. What this means is that there are two different “heads” to the Quick Charger, the CHAdeMO one which the Mitsubishi iMiEV , Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Model S (with an adapter) uses, and a CCS (AKA the “Frankenplug”.) The CCS one is what the BMW i3, Chevy Spark, and others use.

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The CHAdeMO is the one on the left and CCS is the one on the right.

In my original post, I had yet to use a CHAdeMO that has been converted to a pay system. During our trip to Vermont, we actually used a couple of Nissan CHAdeMOs that have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge.  However, we lucked out when the NRG eVgo CHAdeMO was still in its introductory free period.

In addition to an RFID Card, the Efacec system at ARTIC also uses the Greenlots App to initiate the charging session. However, there are a few strange things about this particular location. Though there are few Greenlots locations on the map, this particular one does not show up in it.

Since the system has two ports, there is a set of CHAdeMO and a set of CCS instructions.

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We’ll be following the CHAdeMO instructions.

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So, aside from downloading the App before charging at this location, I went ahead and followed most of the instructions and steps that I wrote in my original guide.

We pick up at Step 5, we still need to make sure to follow Step 4 and align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Step 5 is to mate the CHAdeMO to the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

So, on the Efacec L3 charger, it looks like this.

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Like the Nissan CHAdeMO adapter, make sure to pull the trigger on the Efacec CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter. Now, with these App initiated.

Step 6 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S. Here is the Efacec CHAdeMO pictured:

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It looks similar to how the Eaton sits on the Model S.  I use the cable to push the Model S to CHAdeMO adapter up so that the weight is on the CHAdeMO cable rather than pulling on the Model S port.

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Now where we differ from the original steps come in a new Step 7.  Now with this new step, all the other steps get pushed back one.

Step 7 is to authenticate with the charging network.  With this Greenlots App, I scanned the QR Code on the charger. If we had the RFID card, you just swipe it. Additionally, it seems that there is also a Credit Card reader built-in to the charger. However, since this location is free, I chose the QR code method.

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Step 8 is to start the charge. With the method I chose, the Greenlots App shows a virtual button to choose which port to initiate charge with. So, I started the charge for the CHAdeMO, which is on Port 1.

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Aside from starting it from the App, the charger still presents the user with a physical button to complete the charge initiation on the Efacec charger. The soft button on the upper right becomes a START button.

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Step 9 Go back to the car or go about your business, but put a note on the car if you do leave so that anyone who needs to use the charger can contact you.  If you choose a note, let me recommend the EV Card from Plug In America or Jack Brown’s Take Charge and Go tags. Additionally, I would recommend checking into Plugshare so that anyone looking at the location remotely will know that someone is charging, at the moment. On the display of the charger you will notice that the battery capacity and start of charge shows up.

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Green light on the Model S chargeport tells you that the car is charging.

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If you go back to the car, you will notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO. As opposed to the Eaton and Nissan chargers, the Efacec at this location was providing me with 152 to 156 miles per hour. I forgot to photograph the screen on the Model S, but I did take a photograph of the charger display before it completed.

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There is no estimate of how long the charging will take, but it does show the elapsed time charging, the amount of energy provided to the car and the car battery’s state of charge (SOC) percentage in real time.

The Greenlots app does a funny thing somewhere around the 30 minute mark, the app does not provide the status of the current charging session.  Before the 30 minute mark, it actually provides a snapshot of the charging session that is anywhere from most current status to as dated as a few minutes (it batch updates).  When it does provide this status, I believe that I saw it provide for a method to STOP charging from their app.  However, after the 30 minute mark, the session disappears from the app.  In order to stop the charging session, one needs to press any of the buttons on the charger directly.

Since no one was waiting, and I was just hanging out at the car, I figured to get it close to full.

Step 10 When done using the charger, press the STOP button

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When I press one of the buttons and the stop is displayed, the screen goes from black to white. I figured to wait until I got to 47 minutes of charging.

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Then press the Stop button (the upper left soft-key).

If you press that button the screen updates itself, first with the following “Ending Process message”.

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Then the charge ended by user message.

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Since I registered for an account, I actually receive an email and text message with the charging sessions statistics, cost, kWh, and time at charger.

From: “do-not-reply@greenlots.com”
To: {Me, the Happy Greenlots user}
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 5:18 PM
Subject: Unplug / Charging Ends

Your vehicle has stopped charging at 43100, ARTIC. You have used 29.61 kWh for 0 hour(s) 47 minute(s).

Billing Details

Sale Amount : 0.00 USD
Tax & Fee : 0.00 USD
Transaction Charge : 0.00 USD
Total Cost : 0.00 USD

Thank you
The Greenlots Team

Step 11 Detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

The Efacec CHAdeMO is similar to the Nissan charger in that there is a button on top to detach it from the Model S cable.

Step 12 Return the cable back to its proper location.

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Step 13 Return your CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter back to your car and drive off.

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If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream. And if you’re looking for the instructions of the same things on a Nissan or Eaton Charger, here is the link to the original instructional post for using CHAdeMO that I wrote a few months back.

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Since this is a combo CHAdeMO/CCS station, I don’t know if it is one of those sites that only lets one car use the DCFC on EITHER the CHAdeMO or CCS OR if it is one that lets two cars use both at the same time. No one else showed up while I was there the 47 or so minutes at the site. The only other EV was a Leaf that was using the L2 J1772 stations that were next to the DCFC (pictured in the background below.)

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Something to see some other time. Seeing that many of the DCFC are available for at least $5 to initiate charge, I probably will only use this “in a pinch.”

To the Bay Area and Back in One Day

A little over a week ago, we returned home from a day trip to the Bay Area and back. We didn’t set out on Thursday morning to go on a 22 hour road trip. We figured to find a place to stop overnight once we got to the Bay Area.  However, we did end up on a 22 hour drive and this is the post of that particular trip.  After our 808 mile day on our Here, There, and EVerywhere series, a drive of approximately 400 miles isn’t “too bad.”

We started our trip on Thursday morning after an overnight charge in our garage.  Figuring to head to the Bay Area using the I-5 route means driving through the Grapevine and since I haven’t driven that route in years, I didn’t remember if the climb was both ways or if it was just one way, so we range charged.

One question that is often asked by folks waiting for delivery of their Model S is whether to purchase the HPWC and dual chargers.  As you can see below, the Model S was drawing 20 miles per hour on 30A.  At the time we were faced with that decision the HPWC was over $1000 (was it $1500? I don’t remember) for the device alone.  Additionally, because our garage is the furthest point from our Main Electrical Panel, a 100A circuit was prohibitively expensive.  So, we opted to use an existing Chargepoint EVSE that I had installed for the Active E.  We opted to install 2 NEMA 14-50s and a NEMA 6-50 throughout the garage and outside to accomodate up to 4 EVs charging at the same time.

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We rolled out of the garage just a tad under “full” but with enough range to tackle the drive from home to Tejon Ranch.

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Moving the car out of the garage requires a bit of a maneuver and takes a lot of going back and forth.

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Southern California Traffic

One of the challenges of leaving Southern California during the rush hour is the amount of time spent in traffic.  The navigation does an adequate job of routing us through traffic, but it doesn’t calculate “potential frustration” with certain routes and though I-5 is the most direct route to Tejon Ranch, we opted to go I-605 to I-210 (less immediate traffic) and more.  Note the estimate below of a 10:31 AM arrival to the destination through the original route.

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The other benefit of the longer route that we took was access to the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle or carpool) lanes.  In some parts these lanes can be as congested as other lanes, whereas in many they are still beneficial for drivers.  In many of the routes, an HOV only requires two passengers or an HOV eligible vehicle with a sticker (such as an EV, PHEV, Hydrogen, or CNG.)  Though I have some opinions on PHEV eligibility, unfortunately the legislature is fairly lenient about that.

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Visitors to Southern California freeways might get confused by the on ramp stoplights. One of my close friends, who is British and was visiting from England, was pulled over when he just passed through one of these many years ago.  The one in the photograph is between I-605 and I-210 and requires all lanes to stop and proceed with 2 cars per green. There are many on ramps in the Los Angeles area that actually only uses the on ramp stoplight for one of the lanes, the other lane is an HOV lane and does not use the stoplight.  This is not the case in the one below.

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As we were driving along, I noticed that we passed 44,000 miles early on this drive, 44,008 miles.

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Grapevine

And we are thankfully out of SoCal traffic.  The folks going the other direction, however, are heading into it.  There is a reason that California is called the Golden State. And part of me wonders if that’s more because of the Golden Brown that the hills take rather than the “Gold Rush” of the 1800s.

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In the Winter, this route can be closed to traffic when it snows.  Which happens occasionally.  But, we’re in a drought and it’s Summer, so, that’s not a worry.

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Ooh a water tower.  We have to build them lower to the ground in “earthquake country.”  I do wonder how much water Gorman actually has in that water tower, we’re in the fourth year of the drought, after all.

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Apparently, the Grapevine drive is downhill when heading North. So, I guess we’ll have to pay attention to what we charge on the way back for that climb.

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Peering West from the car during the descent we capture this view with our camera. The landscape scene is quite stunning and in looking at the picture now, we wonder whether we can pass it off as a painting.

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Tejon Ranch

The exit for the Tejon Ranch Supercharger is ahead, away from the outlet mall on the East Side of the road.

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Take the West exit from the Northbound 5.

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Believe the sign, that’s one weird curve coming up.

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There looks to be two Starbucks in this exit, one East (probably in the mall) and one West, a free standing one with a drive through. We opted for the one up the street from the superchargers on the East side.  We futilely waited in the drive through, but the line was just too long (wasted 20 minutes and gave up.)  I figured that we would probably see another one on the I-5 drive.

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We would have actually beat the original estimate to arrive at the charger by at least five minutes had we not decided to waste time at the Starbucks line.

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Sharing the same parking lot as the chargers is a Yogurtland and Chipotle.  I went to see about using their “facilities” the Yogurtland doesn’t open until 11:00 am, but the Chipotle was open.

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These guys in the pickup truck did ICE the SC, but only for a few minutes. They were so excited to see us charging and had questions that he drove right up, jumped out and started to fire away.  We had a good conversation and they drove off soon after we were done talking.

Supercharging at Tejon. These guys were excited to see a @TeslaMotors Model S, that they stopped by to ask questions

On the next leg of the drive to Harris Ranch, we swapped drivers, so it was my turn to take pictures of the view outside.

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It’s amazing what farmers in the Central Valley are able to grow in such an arid place. Not really sure what they’re planting and my wife and I spent the time guessing what they are.

The cows that we saw on this drive were all penned up and had shade that were installed over them.  They were carport like structures.

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Since I wasn’t driving, I took the opportunity to play with Periscope and Twitter again. The first attempt at Periscope was about a minute.

The second video was a little longer, I didn’t get to archive the questions that folks were asking on the drive.

Is that Corn being planted outside of our window?

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I wonder what those trees are? I was guessing almonds for some reason. I’m not really very attuned to farms and such.

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We passed some kind of processing plant, I was guessing for the trees that we just passed.

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It would seem that farming in California is a lot of water politics. I can’t verify it, but I think these signs have been around before the current drought. I swear that these were here the last time I did this drive on I-5, which is longer than the current drought.

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I really wonder how old those signs are.

Harris Ranch Supercharger and Battery Swap

And just like that we’re at the Harris Ranch Supercharger.  There were already two other Model S parked and charging when we got there. Luckily there are six stalls and we took one of the ones that was not paired with either of the other two Model S.

Each Model S at the Harris Ranch Supercharger was charging at one of the pairs. Reading the notes on this location, apparently we were very lucky because these stalls are often full of other Model S with many waiting for a charge.

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The view in front of the superchargers is a restaurant that we ended up skipping.

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We were getting quite a fast charge at the location. When one doesn’t have to share the feed with another Model S, the speed of charge is even greater than when it is split.

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Harris Ranch is also the site of the Tesla Battery Swap Station. I tried contacting the station to see if we can get an invite to use it early. At $80 for the roundtrip, it’s not cheap, but it will also help save time for a very boring stop in Harris Ranch. Unfortunately I was told that there was no way to get an invite early and that I would just have to wait. So, I took pictures of the signage for the swap station instead.

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Here’s a picture of the entrance or is it the exit of the Swap station. We enviously took a picture and drove off. Maybe next time.

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We got enough charge to skip Gilroy and head to the Tesla Motors Fremont Factory as our first stop in the Bay Area was in Oakland.

One of the things about the Harris Ranch location is its proximity to a lot of cattle. If the wind blows a particular way, you will smell the cows from miles away. We were somewhat fortunate at Harris Ranch in the daytime as the winds were in our favor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter because the drive through I-5 will have you pass by these cattle pens. And the cabin air filter on the Model S is no match for the smell of cow just North of the Harris Ranch supercharger.

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There were lots of cows for miles.

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The drive toward Gilroy has us go through a reservoir area that truly reflects the sorry state of the California drought.

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The Golden hue of the dry brush is quite stunning.

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The reservoir on the other side of the hill climb shows how really low the water levels have gotten.  If you look at the striations on the shore-side, you will notice rings.  Those rings are where the water should be.  On a positive note, there seems to be an abundance of windmils on that mountain ridge.

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This shot shows the water as it buttresses up on the dam on the other side.

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Better shots of the windmills, why don’t we also have a solar farm out there California? Readers from our Here, There, and EVerywhere series will note a change of tone here.  Since I’m a California resident,  I have higher expectations of my own state.  So, there.

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This route is pretty well traveled.

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My wife captured the scene below and it’s another that leads us to wonder, photograph or painting.

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We ended up passing Gilroy, as planned and was on the 101 North going toward the Tesla Motors Fremont Factory.  I was quite excited when we spotted our first Volkswagen E-Golf in the US.  Had to fumble for a camera, but my wife was able to catch the E-Golf as it took the exit. (Note the white sticker on the rear bumper.)

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Tesla Motors Fremont Factory Supercharger

We arrived at the supercharger at the Tesla Fremont Factory at 4:25 pm, a few minutes passed eight hours from our departure. All stalls were full when we arrived and we had to wait about two minutes before one freed up.

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At this point of the drive, we’ve driven about 400 miles and have to drive another 20 miles North and then back across the Bay to make it to Sparky’s Garage in San Carlos, CA for the party this evening.

It was on the drive that we decided to see if we can just make this drive a “day” trip and head back home today as well.  Our decision was solidified by the very expensive options for lodging in the Bay Area that we were seeing as we looked for places to stay while charging at the Tesla Motors Fremont Factory, so we figured to skip any alcoholic refreshments at the party.

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I attached the car to the open Tesla Supercharger network that I saw while charging, the result was a strong signal, but no connection.  Had to reboot the main display again and disconnect from that network.

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We made it to our destination in Oakland.  Turned back around and headed to the party in San Carlos.  Since we were on the other side of the bay, we decided to take the San Mateo Bridge (CA-92) across the bay. One thing about traveling in our own state is we are able to use the same transponder as we do at home, so it was a lot more convenient to cross the bridge. Additionally, it seems that the bridge toll of $5.00 is half-price for carpools, so we were only charged $2.50 for this crossing.

My wife took a photo of what looks to be “old windmills” on the side of the low-tide entering the bay.  I wonder if that’s what they are.

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It is wildly disconcerting to have water on both sides of us at such a low point.  It felt as if it won’t take that much for the water to go over the side of the San Mateo Bridge.

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Sparky’s Garage, San Carlos, CA

So, the trip up to the Bay Area was two-fold.  The first part involved our quick stop at Oakland, and the second was to attend a party that eMotorwerks and Wattime.org was holding to announce the launch of the first EVSE that plans its charge based upon “cleaner” energy supply.

Thanks for the party @eMotorWerks, great product launch to have folks be able to decide to charge from renewable sources.

 

The party was well attended.  It seems that I find myself behind Jack Brown at many events, and he’s the tall guy right in front of me at this event as well. I need to either get taller, or find a place off to the side of him instead. 🙂

Jack’s Take Charge and Go tags were the giveaway at the party and it’s a great improvement over the free Plug In America EV Card that I usually use.  The hang tags are attached to the charging nozzle with a red and green side to say whether it’s “ok” to unplug the car, provide the operator’s contact information, and an estimate of the time that the operator would be done charging (provided the operator carries a dry-erase pen with them).  I think that I will probably be moving toward this method at charging stations, as soon as I get a dry-erase pen.

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The product announcement itself was quite interesting. As the title of the blog is quick to point out, I am accidentally environmental. We didn’t join the rEVolution to be green, we just ended up being environmental as we became more involved in electric vehicles. I am sure there are more things that we can do to be better and we’ll get there. The folks at Green Car Reports had a good write-up on the product launch and I suppose that it’s a good compromise for those that don’t have solar panels or their own windmill to try to minimize their use of “dirtier” sources of electricity.

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Wattime’s Executive Director, Gavin McCormick can be seen on the shot below discussing what it is that Wattime is doing. They provide manufacturers with a method to enable the device to know whether drawing power at a certain time will force the utility to source power from power plants that were not using renewable energy.  He was saying that a five minute delay could be the difference between dirty or clean power sources being on or offline.

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As commendable as the goal of Watttime,org is, it is a “guess.”  Granted, it’s an educated guess and it’s better than what is out there, in terms of the environmental concern.  But I am also a capitalist. I am perfectly willing to use the structures in place that motivate me to charge my EV at the lowest rates available. Rather than use an algorithm to see whether we’re carbon neutral or the like, we installed solar panels on the roof of our home to ensure that we offset our usage with as much clean energy as our roof can generate (with summer peaks around 40 kWh of production.)

I suppose the next step for the manufacturer is to allow users of this algorithm to set guidelines of how much they are willing to subsidize others in order to delay their charge for “cleaner” grid power. As with most things, it’s a complicated decision and it’s at least commendable to have this information available to those that wish to make use of it. I wonder how many people will take them up on it. We have enough EVSE and plugs at home to charge four vehicles at the same time, so I wasn’t really in the market for another one.

So, after enjoying the company of fellow EV enthusiasts, and many Electronuts (former BMW Active E Electronauts), who were at the party. We headed South toward home.  Our first stop was to supercharge again at Mountain View so that we can check out the new liquid cooled superchargers and range charge to skip Gilroy, again.

Mountain View Supercharger

The Mountain View Supercharger is the first new supercharger with the liquid cooled cables.  Tesla announced this improvement in supercharger technology during the 2014 Annual shareholder meeting the previous month.  Transport Evolved wrote an article and covered a video that was filmed at the location by another Tesla owner and I wanted to see it first-hand.

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We initially picked stall 3A to charge because it and its partner stall 3B were open.

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However, we saw that stall 3A had a blue note saying that it was designed for disabled access and to use it last. So we moved. Now, to ensure that we get the fastest charge, we moved to 3B, the stall paired with this one, figuring that it we were supposed to use it last, then it should stay free the longest, and thus not need to split its feed with another car until all other paired stalls were full.

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I took photos of the other stalls around us.

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I wanted to capture photos of the thinner/liquid-cooled charging cables.

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Has the new circular proximity button for charge door and cable release.

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Since the cable is thinner, it is more flexible than previous generations of superchargers.

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To show the thickness of the new cable, I figured to compare it to a quarter. (A 25 cent coin for those non Americans and unaware of our terms.)

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Though the first photograph of the charging showed a 197 mile per hour rate, this actually sped up to close to 340 miles per hour.  It would seem that the chargers in Mountain View are faster than others and we were planning on skipping Gilroy again to get to Harris Ranch directly, we decided to range charge the car again.

So, while waiting for the charge to complete, I did another Periscope session that we archived on Youtube.

As I continue to note, Periscope doesn’t do a good job of saving the chat comments from folks, so I transcribed it below.

@Tim61588: Is that an Eaton supercharger?
@Tim61588: or roush
@Legibly: How long does that last on full?
@ThaddiusT: Insane mode!
@Tim61588: how long to charge from near empty?
[Unknown]: Is that the new P85D?
@ThaddiusT: Meh. Still cool tho. Love tesla
@Tim61588: can it do a burnout
@torfn: and your happy with it?
@DspkMsn: Please show the centre display
@ThaddiusT: Damn. That’s ridiculous. Never seen the display
@Tim61588: Have you done the battery swap program
@DspkMsn: Wow
@STenczynski: Tesla?
@Legibly: Pretty badasa
@JeremyHolleb: Does A/C use really destroy battery life???
@Legibly: Badass
@BradlyBurgundy: This thing have insane mode?
[Unknown]: [missed question]
@DspkMsn: Does it get 400 mi range?
@ThaddiusT: I see model s’ all day around Sunnyvale
@JeremyHolleb: 2.7 seconds
@Tim61588: Have you raced anything yet
[Unknown]: [missed question]
@BradlyBurgundy: How long to charge?
@STenczynski: Doesn’t one of the tesla model drive by itself?
@Legibly: Does it take gas too?
@ThaddiusT: There should be a burger joint there too. Make a killing.
@trprevett: Autopilot
@Legibly: So if you were to go for a cross country drive you’d have to find a charger station?
@STenczynski: @trprevett yes
@ThaddiusT: Meh. Starbucks. All about Philz.
@Legibly: Alright I’ll check it out cool
@tprevett: You tesla employee?
@ThaddiusT: You from around here?
[Unknown]: P85d?
@ThaddiusT: You check out the plant while your here today?
@tprevett: Gonna get a 3 when they come out
@Legibly: How long have you had it?
@ThaddiusT: Nice. Good drive
@tprevett: Any problems with it?
@ThaddiusT: Mind if I ask the final cost?
@Legibly: He said any problems with it?
[Unknown]: What’s your opinion on the bmw i8?
@ThaddiusT: I hear the i3 engine was optional
@ArguablyDefined: Talk about the gaskets. Please.
@ThaddiusT: Chassis flex?
@ArguablyDefined: That’s unusual. Thanks.
@Legibly: Can you show us outside the car please?
@ThaddiusT: They look sexy

We got a full charge and left Mountain View to head to Harris Ranch directly.  Seeing that we were planning on making it all the way home from the Bay Area, my wife, and co-driver, went to take a nap as I drove us to the next supercharger.

On our way to Gilroy, the car hit a repetitive, significant mileage of 44,444 miles.  We’re really racking the miles on this car with all the “short range” driving we’ve done.  😉

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After passing the Gilroy superchargers and on the way to Harris Ranch, crews were doing overnight construction with only one lane open on a two-lane road.

So we found ourselves stopped for what I would estimate to be 20 to 30 minutes.  We were parked on our side of the road waiting for the other side to complete their drive through the construction zone.

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When it became our turn to go ahead, we were led through the construction site slowly by a pilot vehicle.

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It was a dark drive, but still not as dark as what we encountered in other parts of the country.  Additionally, there were no “Deer Crossing” signs to worry about.

Harris Ranch Supercharger and Battery Swap (part deux.)

And a few hours later, we find ourselves back in Harris Ranch Supercharger again.  We joined another Model S charging here.  The Model S was a family from Napa on the way to San Diego for vacation. They told us of pending overnight construction and possible detour. They had spoken with the CHP earlier. So, we decided to fill up the car with at least 40 miles additional rated range.

When not sharing a charger, the rates can get really fast.  The one in Harris Ranch was going around 315 miles per hour.  The Tesla battery swap station is closed and only available from 9 am to 5 pm local time, so that would not have helped on the return journey this evening.

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I wanted to compare the Mountain View supercharger cable that we photographed earlier, so, here is the Harris Ranch one.

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I wanted to give two views of the cable with the quarter, so the older cables really are that much thicker than the new ones at Mountain View.

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I wonder how much faster the liquid cooled cables will be able to charge. I saw it them peak around 340 miles per hour when I was charging.  The original cables are quite bulky and others have found them harder to work with.

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Had my wife continue to rest while I went over to grab some “gas station coffee” from the station close to the supercharger and proceeded South to Tejon Ranch.

The construction zone that we were warned about ended up being a non-event, though at times, we found ourselves on the “other” side of I-5 at times as they were working on the Southbound side of the freeway.

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Tejon Ranch

You know what happens when we show blurry pictures.  Normally, it’s time to stop and find a place to sleep for the night, but we were so close to home from Tejon Ranch.  We plugged in and charged up. We only need to go a little under 120 miles to home.

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My wife felt rested from our drive from Mountain View to Tejon Ranch, so we swapped drivers and she proceeded to take us home, after we got a charge. She took the tough climb up the Grapevine and decided to just drive all the way home, skipping all three superchargers on the West Side, Culver City, Hawthorne, and Redondo Beach.

At that time of the morning, if we had stopped at any of the superchargers, we could have gotten stuck in traffic on the freeway, besides our bed was calling us home.

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After nearly 22 hours on the road, we were home. That was a LONG DAY. Of course, we did do a few things, attended a party, and such. And another interesting mileage pattern in our garage – 44,800 miles. The 852.9 mile journey actually felt shorter than Day One of our Here, There, and EVerywhere trip, perhaps it was the long break in between each half of the drive.  Either way, it’s good preparation for next week’s TMC Connect 2015.

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.

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Richfield Supercharger

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

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

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

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

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No other cars were with us at the supercharger though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A nice sign for Beaver, UT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. George Supercharger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Las Vegas Supercharger

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

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

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

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

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

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We skipped New York, New York.

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We skipped The Excalibur.

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

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Primm Supercharger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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or, just the moon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barstow Supercharger

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

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

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

Long Beach, CA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go on to Lessons Learned.

23_Richfield to Long Beach

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 – 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. 😉

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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 – 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 20

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.

Missed Day 19, click here.

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.

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The same view, zoomed in.

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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.

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Pay attention to the 518.8 miles on Trip B. That’s what we did the previous day.

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A rather impressive cross can be seen at the side of the highway shortly after leaving the supercharger.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Is today partly cloudy or partly sunny? Either way, a beautiful view of the countryside.

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The view was rudely interrupted by the start of some construction on the roadway.

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Looks like we’re passing Lebanon. Again, not the same Lebanon, either. 😉 It seems that a lot of places are named after other locales.

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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.

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The route to St. Charles had us bypass St. Louis by taking the Northern route via I-270.

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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.

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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.

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A much nicer state welcome sign was ahead on this route.

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We made it to St. Louis on this drive.

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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.)

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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.

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Until we decided to re-direct ourselves to St. Louis on our route, we were going to ditch the Arch.

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The arch is an impressive sight to behold from afar.

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And our route took us closer to it.

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In fact, the restaurant is on the other side of the arch from us.

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My wife was able to catch an interesting shot of the arch through the panoramic glass roof.

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As well as our rearview mirror.

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Bogart’s Smoke House 

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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.

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The barbecue was excellent, went with some ribs and brisket sandwich.

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Some happy diners seated outside and enjoying the sun in the picnic benches for some al fresco dining.

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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.

On the way to @TeslaMotors St Charles MO Supercharger... Bogart's BBQ in St. Louis! Roadtrip 2015!

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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.

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The line upon our arrival was much longer, however, there is still a line later in the lunch hour crowd.

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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.

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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.

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Until we meet again St. Louis. And now, we’ve officially passed the “Gateway to the West.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is the route when you force it to route directly. (i.e. select the “Remove all charging stops option.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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There is a release underneath the right side of the glove compartment. Pull it toward you (down and to the rear of the vehicle.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The route between St. Charles and Columbia is through Missouri Wine Country. We opted to skip it.

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The first “classic” water tower that we’ve spotted on this trip.

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Tiger Hotel, Columbia

The valet parking at the Tiger Hotel is shared with Glenn’s Cafe.

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We switched the car to valet mode and handed the valet our key.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The HPWC is located in the rear box. The front box is where the J1772 is located.

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We plugged in and started charging with 79A/213V for an approximate 50 miles per hour rate.

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The Tiger Hotel is located a comfortable 103 mile distance from St. Charles Supercharger.

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Some closer shots of the HPWC behind its locked cabinets.

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We made sure to check in to the the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS for this Tesla destination charger.

Glenn’s Cafe

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.

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We had Bread Pudding – with whiskey sauce & chantilly cream.

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And the Gold Brick Sundae – Brownie topped‏ w/ double bean vanilla ice cream, strawberries & banana topped w/ new orleans gold brick topping & whipped cream.

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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.

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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.

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From the valet, the entrance is just up these stairs.

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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.

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And another shot of us with the Tiger Hotel sign in the background.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Switching devices gives us a different view of the things that we photograph.

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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.

Independence Supercharger

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.

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We were the only ones at the supercharger.

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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.

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Bass Pro Shops

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, we’re “city kids.”

The Bass Pro Shop is a “trip.”

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It is huge and multi-leveled.

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The top level is apparel and the bottom level is something else.

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There’s an impressive aquarium stocked with fish. I don’t know what the purpose of the aquarium was, to practice fishing in, perhaps?

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There were these “nature” scenes with what I hoped were animatronic animals, but would guess were probably not artificial.

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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.

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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.

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Topeka Supercharger

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

20_Effingham to Topeka