Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 17

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

Missed Day 16, click here.

Day 17 – Drive on Monday, May 18, 2015

Everyday we like to set out goals. One of my aunts in New Jersey is celebrating her birthday today. So, we decided to head down to Whiting, NJ to visit her and then continue on our way. We’ve decided NOT to go to the South on this trip as the weather reports don’t seem to agree with us. We’re thinking of positioning ourselves to get to Hershey, PA tomorrow and are looking to find ourselves either in Hershey, PA or on the way to Hershey, PA from New Jersey, depending on how today’s familial parts go.

However, before we get there, the goal is to get to Whiting, NJ.



First statistic we check for is to see what we gained by plugging in 110V/8A. Looks like we gained 27 miles overnight. Not bad. Those miles are enough to get us to the Edison Supercharger.

On the way to Edison, NJ. We spotted another Random NJ Model S. It was raining, trying to follow my cousin in his car in a caravan, and I was in unfamiliar territory, so I may not have been as friendly on the road.



Edison Supercharger


We took the other set of four from the last time we charged.


There were already two Model S in the other set and didn’t want to split anyone’s charge. And because I was curious to see if there was a difference in charge speed from this set than the other set. I didn’t perceive a difference.


Check out the “alien car” that I caught in the panoramic shot.


We stayed in Edison for a near maximum charge as we know we were going to probably be giving a ride to my uncle and aunt when we get to Whiting and wanted to not have to worry about the charge. The current New Jersey superchargers are all further from the New Jersey shore and Whiting is closer to the shore than the chargers. Considering the fact that New Jersey already has three supercharge locations in the state, it is quite confusing not to have one close to the shore. Atlantic City, Long Beach Island, Tom’s River, those would be good locations for the first shore-side New Jersey supercharger.

Originally, the navigation to Whiting, had us taking the Garden State Parkway, but by the time we were done charging, it changed to route us through the NJ Turnpike. The Turnpike would have allowed us a route through Hamilton Marketplace again for a 30 mile boost, but decided to skip it as we had enough charge to make it to my aunt’s, drive the car around a bit, and then get to Newark, DE and beyond. Besides, we’re now going through some superchargers and areas that we’ve already covered for our entries in the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.

So, we headed to Whiting, NJ.

Whiting, NJ

Well, we did it again. I got confused by the exits to get to Whiting from the NJ Turnpike that I ended up having to take the next exit. Now, it’s not as bad as the 15 mile one-way that we experienced in Vermont on the way to Ice Cream (and neither was I distracted by any Bear, Deer, or Moose signs). I think I’ll blame it on jughandle turns.

For those unfamiliar with jughandle turns, aside from the Wikipedia link that I embedded, I’d like to define it.  The jughandle turn is an oddity that seems to exist primarily in New Jersey.  As I understand it, the theory is to take folks that would be making a left or U-turn and force them to make those turns along with traffic that is crossing a highway.

Either way, the exit we were originally meant to exit looked like a rest-stop to me that I ended up bypassing it.  Luckily, we charged enough to do a LOT in Whiting and beyond, and it was no big deal.  Our original route on the NJ Turnpike was supposed to take us 55 miles, so, it looks like we had another 15 mile diversion.



With 175 miles of range left we really didn’t need to charge, but I believe that it was a novelty for my aunt and uncle to see us plug a car into their house. Besides I do like to collect “places that we’ve charged” and it’s even cooler when it’s thousands of miles away from home.



We didn’t really do much driving, we drove around with a few of my cousins, a couple of my aunts and uncles in the Model S. We were able to charge at the full 12A at my aunt and uncle’s house.  While we were visiting, we decided that we would just spend the night at the same hotel in Christiana/Newark, DE as we were impressed with how comfortable that hotel was.


We left my aunt and uncle’s house with 188 miles of rated range heading toward the Hampton Inn and Suites in Christiana/Newark, DE. That means that we gained 13 miles of rated range having birthday dinner.


Hampton Inn and Suites Christiana – Newark

We checked back in to the Hampton Inn and Suites Christiana – Newark.  This was the same hotel that we stayed at on Day 9.



It was raining when we got here and we checked in with 104 Rated Miles on rated range and we know that we’re only three miles to the Newark Supercharger.  Additionally, even if we lost the 10 miles that was the worst vampire loss that we experienced earlier in the trip, we will be fine.

In the parking lot of this Hampton Inn was a fellow Model S traveler, who I found out on TMC’s Random Model S thread was TMC user EdA‘s wife’s Red Model S.



So, a fine few days of Random Model S sightings for us and we made sure to report it on the thread on TMC. Now I had a few goals in mind for this trip, and one of those was to “be” the spotted Model S on that thread. So, as we head West on the return part of our trip, I’m a little disappointed that we have yet to make the Random Model S spotting thread. How often do folks spot a California Model S around here anyway?

Oh well, time for bed, dreaming of Hershey’s Chocolate on the next day’s drive.

Go on to Day 18. Click here.

17_Randolph to Newark

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 16

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

Missed Day 15, click here.

Day 16 – EV Advocacy at Sustainable Morristown Sunday, May 17, 2015

Today’s plan is simple, hang out with my cousin in the morning and join the NJEAA guys at the Sustainable Morristown event in the afternoon.

The previous day, we took the time to figure out what the optimal rate of charge was for the Model S on my cousin’s 110V outlet. We placed it at 8A and the charge held.  As I previously mentioned, the Model S will reduce the speed that it charges when it senses stress on the wire, and here is a picture of the Model S automatically reducing speed of charge (see the “Charge Speed Reduced” message on the dash below.)



To prepare for the Sustainable Morristown event, we decided to go ahead and wash the car.  After all, NJ is not in a drought, so took the opportunity to clean the car and present it in the best possible light (if you want to see how I usually wash the car @ home, you can see my first Periscope (by Twitter) attempt to instruct folks on how to do a car wash of the Model S.)

In the meantime, before we went to the EVent, we found the communities near Morristown, NJ to be a Random Model S spotting bonanza.

The first one we spotted was at the church parking lot.


We spotted the LKTRFYD NJ plates parked across from us.


On the way to the Sustainable Morristown event, we spotted a blue Model S on Speedwell Avenue heading the opposite direction from us.

Sustainable Morristown

The event was held at the U Driveway of the Vail Mansion. The driveway was barricaded, but we were let in by Airton Azevedo. As soon as we parked the car, Chris Neff introduced me to a reporter covering the event for the Daily Record.


Unfortunately my comments didn’t make the reporter’s article. But darn, I was good. I wonder if she didn’t like my answer to the question regarding range anxiety. (I don’t really have it, notice the California license plate?)

Got a few good panoramics of the cars that participated in the event. Most of the NJEAA folks that was at the EV Meetup the previous Monday were here. Unfortunately, I missed Tom Moloughney’s “red” i3.


Pay attention to the 10 x 10 Green Tent that is at the left edge of the picture below. Michael and Pamela Thwaite do a lot of EV advocacy, and they were smart enough to set up some “shelter” from the sun as they interact and educate with the public.


While we were hanging out at the EVent and talking to the public, I spotted a third Silver Model S that drove by on the street.  This car wasn’t participating on the EVent, it seemed to be a Model S that is just passing by.

At the EVent, I was fielding a lot of questions about range.  Hopefully, bringing a California Model S to a New Jersey event hopefully helps hammer home the point that electric vehicles are not only limited to “short trips.”  My wife and I met with a lot of people, both locals and folks from further away, like Westchester County, New York.  People were intrigued by the cross-country travel aspect of the car as soon as they realized that we were there from California.

We were the “go-to” folks to field the question of range anxiety, which [Spoiler Alert] we don’t have.  We had a lot of folks that approached us because, for a while, we were the only Model S at the event and they had questions for that, before they notice the California plates.  To which many first thought that we worked for Tesla (to clarify, again, we don’t.)


Where’s the engine is another common question at these EVents, so we like to open the frunk and show the lack of an “engine.”  Additionally, people really enjoyed seeing the little 18650 Panasonic battery (see below comparing it to a pen, AA, and AAA batteries, it’s the green one) that we carry around for these types of EVents.



My cousin and his wife hung out with us a little, since they had an event in the evening, we walked them back to where their car was parked.

The fourth Random Model S sighting. Though with the California Manufacturer’s plates, that tells me that it’s a Service Center Loaner.



The Sustainable Morristown event wasn’t all just cars.


Some great chalk art at the entrance of the event.



But, you know me, I’m kind of an EVaholic and Andrea Giangone and his blue Model S joined the EVent. Andrea’s Model S has a cool little mod.


There were some blue accents on the Tesla logo on the trunk of his Model S.


Ben Rich showed up later with his modified 2014 Zero Motorcycle.


This one is modified to have faster charging. Notice the two chargers on the side of the motorcycle.  He obtained and installed two Elcon 2.5kW chargers from Hollywood Electrics.  So, adding 5 more kW of charging to the built in 1.3kW charger of the motorcycle yields him 6.3 kW of charging speed.  Not bad.

Many were quick to point out how sharp the mounts were that Ben installed to connect the chargers to his motorcycle. We guess he doesn’t need to carry a passenger with him.




Remember the 10 x 10 tent that Michael and Pamela Thwaite use for their EV advocacy, it’s even more impressive how they carry it.  The trunk of a Tesla Roadster is one of the smallest trunks that I’ve ever seen.  It’s design is such that people can fit one set of golf clubs in it.  The Thwaites, however, are expert at packing things and their chairs and tent fit in the back of the roadster.


Aside from the ZeroMC, there was also a Fit EV that was parked beside our Model S.  Airton’s 2nd Generation RAV4EV and then the Andrea’s Model S.


Sal Cameli‘s Nissan Leaf has a URL for his website.


We spotted a second Ford Focus EV of the trip.


A great shot of the rears of the EVs.




A better shot of the second Ford Focus EV of our trip.


Michael Thwaite’s Roadster.


Chris Neff’s BMW i3.


Another shot of Ben’s Zero MC.  Like we previously mentioned, watch out for those metal blades that he mounted those two chargers on.


Airton bidding us farewell until next time.  Perhaps Tony Williams will figure out how to enable the 2nd Generation Toyota RAV4EV for supercharging.  He’s already on his way to getting it running on CHAdeMO (or as he calls it the JdeMO).


Randolph, NJ

It was a full day and we plugged in for the night and started charging at 8A again.




Go on to Day 17. Click here.

16_Randolph to Morristown to Randolph

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 15

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

Missed Day 14, click here.

Day 15 – Visit Northern New Jersey, Saturday, May 16, 2015

So today’s visit to New Jersey was really about just spending time with my cousin and his wife.

The location in Randolph New Jersey was the same one that we charged at 110V/6A (or approximately 1 mile per hour) on Monday evening (Day 10). We arrived the previous evening with 191 miles of range on the car (from the Paramus Supercharger) but we ended up driving to Rockaway, NJ and back and that consumed 17 miles of rated range.


We returned back to my cousin’s home with 195 rated range left. Since I forgot to take a photograph of the rated range when we left in the morning, I surmise that we added around 20-21 miles overnight.


One of the benefits of a casual day with family is we get to fiddle with things and found the optimum setting at my cousin’s 110V is 8A and not the 6A that I settled on Monday evening. The additional 2A (or 33% improvement in charging) raises the average mileage gain per hour from 1 mile per hour to 2 miles per hour. Since we figure to be “around Morristown, NJ” by Sunday, we’ve decided to join our NJEAA friends at their Sustainable Morristown event.

Now astute readers will notice that aside from my beautiful wife (and co-pilot), the only other folks that have driven our Model S on this trip have been my cousin in Ohio and my cousin in New York. Readers may wonder what about THIS cousin, the one in Randolph, NJ. He has both the other two cousins beat. He was the same one that visited us in Southern California during our Model S Pickup weekend. He and his wife were the first ones in the family to see and ride the Model S, he actually has driven our Active E and rode in my wife’s Roadster as well. Though I did offer for him to drive the Model S, he declined.

Driving Hybrid and Hybrid Garages

We decided to “drive hybrid” today and leave the Model S charging and we saw that this 8A held in the charge process.

Leaving the Model S in his garage to charge at 110V/8A reminded me of something that we did do to prepare for this long EV trip that we forgot to document on our Pre-Trip primer. As long time readers of the blog know, we don’t just drive Electric Vehicles. We have a hybrid garage that we’ve been running since we first acquired the Active E. In fact, we’ve been tracking the percentage of miles that we add on EV vs ICE as we were inspired by the tracking that Chevrolet Volt owners have published. We moved from approximately 80% EV/20% ICE in our first year of tracking to a 95% EV/5% ICE split in the second year. However, the danger of driving a hybrid garage with such a high amount of EV driving is that we have “killed” the battery on the ICE (and almost kill the battery two more times since then.) So, we figured with a long trip like this we needed to do something for our BMW X5 battery.

The simple solution was to plug the car in.


Basically, the contacts are connected to the battery posts of the X5 and plugged into the 110V outlet in the wall. Basically minimizing the need to start and drive the car once a week.

Blue Morel Restaurant and Wine Bar – Westin Governor Morris

We left the car to continue charging and rode in my cousin’s hybrid (non plug-in) for our night out. We went to the Blue Morel Restaurant and Wine Bar for dinner that night.

The Blue Morel has a great menu and the quality of the food and service was top notch. Normally, when we find ourselves this close to New York City, we go to restaurants in the City. But this trip we’ve decided to skip the City, so we picked a restaurant in Morristown and was duly impressed.

Being in a restaurant in a state located near major airports and the ocean, we opted for mainly seafood options. We imbibed in J.J. Prüm Kabinett Riesling, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Germany, 2011 to pair with our appetizers. The wine was so good, that we carried this same wine choice forward to go with our dinner. I had the Swordfish and my wife had Chilean Sea Bass. For dessert, I shared the S’Mores that the Blue Morel had on its menu with my wife. The quality of the food and service rivaled some of the finer restaurants in the city and we were glad to have dined there.

Go on to Day 16. Click here.

15_Randolph to Rockaway to Randolph

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 14

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

Missed Day 13, click here.

Day 14 – Drive on Friday, May 15, 2015

Before we head North, we figured that this would be a good time to look at the map that’s been at the bottom of every day of the trip to review where we’ve been.  It would seem that we’ve “reached our beach”, (an homage to those guys in Maryland that inspired us to take our trip by their “Reach the Beach” EVent in April.  No matter where we go, we’re not planning on going any further East (even if we go South, all the other states will be further West than York Beach, Maine), so we’ve decided to color the lines Yellow now (to signify our Westward journey home to the Golden State.)  At this point, we’ve traveled through 19 of the 50 states, supercharged 41 times (at 39 different Superchargers, one of which was un-reported to until I reported it via TMC), charged Level 1 (110V) on four occasions (at two locations) and yet to charge at Level 2 (either J1772 or Tesla HPWC.)

14_LB to York Beach, then White River Junction VT

Today’s goal is to get to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour, additionally, we figured to get a charge for both the car (and ourselves) at the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (aka Keurig (or the K-cup) folks) visitor center in Waterbury, VT. Originally we thought that we would go to Maine today, but since we’ve already been to York for dinner the previous evening, it was time to think of either returning West or going South, so we thought to take the traffic filled route to go to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA and/or the Pez Visitor Center that we saw advertised on our first stop in Connecticut.

But first, we had to get charging at the Hampton Inn, White River Junction.


We didn’t use much to get here from Hookset North Supercharger.



Additionally, we lost one mile of Rated Range from last night until this morning. Since we’re not sure of the charging situation ahead, and Plugshare comments on the CHAdeMO that has been installed in Vermont, seem to indicate that they were not very reliable and at lower power (25kW vs 50kW), we figured to range charge and just use whatever we can find.

The statistics before I moved the car to the CHAdeMO station.


Hampton Inn, White River Junction – CHAdeMO

When we initially purchased the CHAdeMO adapter for the Model S, it was as a convenience item. A “just-in-case” item that we got for Southern California. In fact the review and user-guide that I initially published a few months ago was written with that purpose in mind. However, in a state, like Vermont, that has only one supercharger 130 miles away from our destination, this convenience item quickly became a necessity.

The statistics after I moved it to the CHAdeMO station.


The NRG eVgo/Green Mountain Power CHAdeMO station at the Hampton Inn, White River Junction looked operational.


Model S charging door is open and ready to accept the Model S to CHAdeMO adapter and begin the charging session.


I signed up for the service, but the card will be arriving at home (in California) later in the week, so I’m hoping that they can do this remotely with a call. The screen requests the RFID card.


However, from the time that I attached the adapter,


read the Instructions to the side of the CHAdeMO charger,


the screen changed from waiting for the RFID card to “Preparing to Charge.” Well, that was a pleasant surprise, apparently the NRG eVgo/Green Mountain Power network partnership has not been officially launched yet and they were offering free 30 minute CHAdeMO service.


So, after timing out of the swipe screen it defaulted to “free charging mode” and we were able to start charging.

Now, we were planning a range charge, so I was going to check to see if we can extend the 30 minutes past the limit.


Per the Model S we’ll need 50 minutes to get to maximum.


Getting a decent 104 miles per hour.


If you notice, I placed my “handy dandy” EV Card from on my dash for any CHAdeMO EV driver to contact me while I headed back to the room for the 30 minutes of the initial charge.


As predicted, it stopped after the first 30 minutes.

As big as the Model S battery is, I figured to start the CHAdeMO for the remaining 20 minutes and stop it part of the way and move to the J1772 chargers, the reasoning is CHAdeMO (and superchargers) slow down to a trickle on the charge for the last few electrons (so as not to burn out the batteries.) During this slow-down, the speed that the car will charge will be no better than a Level 2 connection. However, the Model S battery is very big and even at the last 20% the CHAdeMO can continue at its rapid speed for “quite a while.” Confident that I’m not inconveniencing anyone who might need CHAdeMO, I let the car charge a little more, and ensured that I still had the “handy dandy” EV Card from still on the dash for anyone that might need the CHAdeMO. I returned a few minutes later to move the car to the J1772 stations.



I attempted to get the J1772 working remotely. However, the customer service at NRG eVgo is unable to remotely initiate on a network that is not yet active. Additionally, I had no card to start the J1772 session, so I just went back to the CHAdeMO and relied once again on my “handy dandy” EV Card from should anyone else stop by and need to use the station. Needless to say, the movement between CHAdeMO and J1772 may seem comical to anyone who may have been watching me at the hotel parking lot, but I was trying to be courteous to any other fellow EV driver who may need a charge.


Alas, it was a wasted effort as I could’ve just stayed on CHAdeMO the whole time and been done sooner.



We rolled out of White River Junction, VT at near the maximum, basically, when we were all ready and packed into the car.

In driving toward Ben and Jerry’s I noticed the road in Waterbury, VT that the navigation was telling us to exit on is VT-100.


This made me chuckle because that was the old terminal emulation that was very popular on BBS days as well as early Telnet sessions. That was the old VAX Terminal (VT) 100 emulation protocol. For all you younger geeks and/or non-geeks, it’s a very geeky thing that made me snicker.

Either way, we were enjoying the evergreens and mountain routes without snow. (It’s May and we’re not in the Rockies, so it’s all good.)



I don’t know if it’s the construction by the exit for Waterbury, VT that confused me or was it the fact that the following sign was spotted on the drive to Waterbury, VT.


As readers of earlier posts know, since Minnesota we’ve been freaked out by the Deer Crossing sign, but to see a BEAR Crossing sign, that’s even more distressing. Either way, we ended up missing the exit. Of course, I thought that’s ok, I can always turn around.

Well, the sign for the next exit and LEGAL U-turn was 15 miles away. Luckily, with a Tesla a 30 mile detour is also “no big deal.” Had we been driving a Leaf, I probably would have made an illegal U-turn at one of the ones set aside for law enforcement and/or emergency vehicles.

So, that 30 mile detour was filled with more picture taking.

And even more stress, filled with our nemesis, the Deer Crossing.


And in Vermont, apparently they “kick it up a notch.” At first they’ll warn you that they’re crossing, but the Deer brought a friend. And they’re crossing with Moose.


Then if that’s not enough. It’s just Moose.


Glad that the view wasn’t all stressful. A teepee?


Followed by a barn, are those solar panels we see? Good for you Vermont!


I’m stressed enough as it is, and sure am glad that we didn’t miss the Waterbury, VT exit a SECOND time.

Here’s the sign we were looking for.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory – Waterbury, VT


When we pulled into the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, we were surprised to see that the NRG eVgo/Green Mountain Power folks were busy installing a similar set-up as the one we left in White River Junction CHAdeMO/J1772 combination charging location in the parking lot for Ben and Jerry’s.


I approached the gentlemen that were working on the chargers and was told that they expected to complete the installation “later today.” They were somewhat non-committal on the completion of the location. We had a plan to catch some Level 2/J1772 charge at the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Visitors Center (aka GMCR or Keurig) in town, so there’s that if they didn’t finish the charger by the time we finish our visit.



I looked back at the parking lot sending as many “good vibes” that I can to get the guys to complete the installation for us.


We went ahead to sign up for the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour.



We took a picture of this Ben and Jerry’s RV that was parked at the entrance to the factory tour. Apparently, early in Ben and Jerry’s history, they sent their Ice Cream across the country in an RV that burned down, which generated massive publicity that helped them launch their brand. It would seem that the RV tour is the direct ancestor for this year’s Tesla Model S powered #SaveOurSwirled tour.



A display explaining the same #SaveOurSwirled activism that Ben and Jerry’s has launched.


We were not allowed to take photos of the factory floor, so we didn’t take any pictures, but we could take a picture of the room that they served us our ice cream in.





No, I’m not giving you attitude, my better half just caught me with Ice Cream in my mouth as I was taking a picture with my favorite Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Flavor.


Can you figure out what it has in common with our stop in New Jersey?

Here are some of the top flavors.




A shot of the giant “secret” ingredients for Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.




Even with Ice Cream flavors, Ben and Jerry are trying to retire their use of fossil fuels.


A few more flavors that have been “retired.”




I would’ve loved to try that Creme Brulee, but it’s retired.   There were a few more in the “Flavor Graveyard“.  We headed back from the tour to the parking lot, with our “fingers crossed” that the CHAdeMO will be operational.



Ben and Jerry’s Factory – Waterbury, VT – CHAdeMO

I like to say that it is better to be lucky than good. And boy were we lucky today. Apparently, we were very lucky according to Henry Sharp (whose response I received as we finished the Ben and Jerry’s tour) as it would seem that many had not been able to get the CHAdeMO at the White River Junction to work for them. Additionally Henry reported the same thing as Plugshare complaints that, many of the CHAdeMO installed in Vermont were all lower powered (25kW and not 50kW).

The guys that I had met with and were completing the installation spotted me and waved me over. They were complete, and though they’ve installed the others before without a car to test it with, I was there to plug in and test the installation.


Both the J1772


and CHAdeMO were available. Guess who is christening the new CHAdeMO.


Of course there was some set up before this very nice picture of you know who at the charger.



The NRG eVgo/Green Mountain Power CHAdeMO was also a willing participant to the 30 minute free deal. So, we charged away.




We got a respectable 121 miles per hour on CHAdeMO at Ben and Jerry’s.


We were waiting to meet up with the Green Mountain Power Company representative, so we charged as close to 100% as we could. In the meantime, we spent the time in the parking lot meeting people who were curious about the car and what we were doing. We met a nice young family and a set of their parents visiting from India. The family was from Boston and had just looked at the car at the store in Boston the previous week. We discussed driving to Vermont and Maine with the Model S and how much freedom it was to travel without a single drop of gasoline. Furthermore we discussed the economic benefits of EV driving vs. ICE.

After speaking time with the family from Boston, the Green Mountain Power representative, Jenn (whose title is Innovation Champion (how cool is that)) arrived in a company EV (a Volt, if I remember correctly) and we discussed our trip and ourselves with her. We thanked her, her company (Green Mountain Power) and NRG eVgo in providing the L3 CHAdeMO for us to use. Apparently they expect the “free” period to be until the end of May, so timing is everything. Since we had to travel 130 miles to the Brattleboro Supercharger, we stopped charging after our conversation and we rolled off.


Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Visitor Center

Our next stop is to the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR or Keurig) Visitor Center.

This visitor center was where we originally planned to stop for J1772 charge, but this time around it was a stop to get some coffee. We figured that they would have some varieties in here as well.





It was a good thing that we already got a charge at Ben & Jerry’s because there was one car charging and another waiting (a Ford Focus Electric Charging and Leaf waiting). This was the only Ford Focus Electric that we noticed on the trip.



Before we left the visitor center, an older couple asked “what the car was.” We told them that it was a Tesla. Though they’ve never seen a Tesla before, they were quite familiar with EVs, apparently their son drove a Leaf and they were impressed with the range of the Tesla. Apparently their son lives far enough that he is unable to reliably take his Leaf to visit them in Waterbury. I wonder if he will hear from his mother extollingexhorting him to have purchased a Tesla instead so that he would have range to visit his parents.

Henry Sharp has listed his HPWC available on Plugshare and he has an adapter from Roadster to Model S at the location. Apparently a few Model S have already taken him up on it and he reached out to offer us a charge at his home. However, we were running late and we politely declined. We will have to meet the genius behind “The CAN SR/JR” some other time. We stopped at the Brattleboro Supercharger next.

Brattleboro Supercharger

The Ben and Jerry’s location was approximately 130 miles one way from the Brattleboro, VT supercharger.




As late as we ended up in Brattleboro made us reassess the rest of our plans for the day, we decided to skip the Basketball Hall of Fame and Pez Visitor Center for this trip. This decision freed us up from going through what I expect is heavier Friday traffic through MA and CT to get to NJ for the evening, we decided to head to Albany instead.

As for the Brattleboro location itself, we were there later in the afternoon, and I am unsure whether the location is a “safe” one. There was “something” about the location that made me feel inherently unsafe.

Using the skip the Interstate rubric that we incorporated into this trip’s guiding principles from Day 5 yielded us a beautiful scenic route through VT-9 (which is North on I-91 by an exit or two).


It looks like there were a lot of antique stores (not that we photographed any) on this drive between Brattleboro and Albany superchargers.  There was also a lot of beautiful country to be experienced.






Fun elevation changes and the like is not a big deal when you have enough charge and the destination is only 85 miles or so away. Which means Model S 40kWH drivers can enjoy this drive. (For that matter, an Active E driver/Leaf or whichever electric vehicle you choose would be fun on this leg between the two spots, as long as you can find an appropriate charger for you (even 110V as Thomas J. Thias aka @TheAmazingChevyVolt) often points out to other Twitter users. As long as you have access and time to charge.))


Before entering New York on this drive, there was an interesting Obelisk on the drive.



In doing some further research after the drive, it would seem that we had passed by the Bennington Battle Monument.  Perhaps, if we were not in a rush to head back to Randolph, NJ, we would’ve stopped.

As opposed to the blurry Rhode Island or the obstructed Massachussets signs, here is the state line and sign for the Empire State.  It looks a lot better than the one we had taken when we were going to Long Island a few days ago.


We found this interesting store at the side of the road.  We didn’t stop, but there was something wildly compelling about it that we took a few pictures of it.





After the foray into Vermont, what we’re now saying about our old nemesis the Deer Crossing sign – “at least it’s not MOOSE or BEAR.”


Some more barns and the like.





Albany Supercharger

Another mall location. Met with a former Roadster, now Model S owner from New York as well as a couple more locals. They were quite friendly here and we had a good conversation with the mostly local crowd. We didn’t feel like dinner at a mall, so we skipped it, but did go to the large Whole Foods Market that was a short walk away.





By the time we left the Albany, NY supercharger to enter the New York State Thruway, it was getting very dark and we didn’t take any pictures.

However, as opposed to the drive to Vermont, we were never alone and there was always another car either ahead or behind us. Going at rather high speeds, but still, it was comforting to note that we “were not alone.”

Paramus Sales, Service, and Supercharger Center

Another place that tells us that “we’re not alone” is at the Paramus Sales, Service and Supercharger Center. The chargers are open 24 hours, the store and service are not. We drove in there later on a Friday evening and the lot was very dark. There were three other Model S charging when we pulled up and at least another four joined throughout the time we spent charging at that location. I tried to take panoramic shots in the dark, but that’s the best look you can see of the location.



The distance from Albany, NY to Paramus, NJ is slightly longer than from Ben and Jerry’s in Waterbury to Brattleboro Supercharger.


We charged “pretty full” as you no doubt remember, my cousin in Randolph was the one that had the outlet where we charged 110V/6A. And 1 mile per hour is fine for “holding off vampire loss” but not for continuing travels.

Randolph, NJ



Even so, plugging at 1 mile per hour, when we’re expecting to be here for a while means we’ll get above that 191 miles of Rated Range and onto the 200+ in no time.

Besides, tomorrow is a pretty casual day in New Jersey.

Go on to Day 15. Click here.

14_White River Junction to Randolph

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 11

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

Missed Day 10, click here.

Day 11 – Drive on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Today’s drive was going to be one of the shortest for the trip. But it also has the potential to go through some of the worst traffic of the trip. Our goal is to get from Northern New Jersey to my other cousin in Long Island. He lives near the Tesla Sales, Service Center, and Supercharger at Syosset, so another opportunity to write an entry for the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.

Prior to making the plans to visit Long Island, I reached out to EV supporter and Science Fiction Author, Aaron Crocco (whose new book, Spirit Hackers is coming out soon (June 2015)) to see if he would like to meet in real life. It turns out that Aaron’s other job is close to the Syosset location and we arranged to meet during his lunch hour. That means that we needed to target being at the Syosset store around noon. The traffic to Long Island is a challenge because of its proximity to New York City. Traveling from Randolph, NJ to Syosset, NY could take a relatively short time or, conversely, an inordinate amount of time. So, we decided to plan for the latter.

It was a tough night trying to figure out what settings to do for the 110V charge at my cousin’s home in Randolph, NJ. After some fidgeting about, we finally landed on 6A. One of the strengths of Tesla (whether the Roadster or Model S) is its flexibility in handling lower amperage charging. The Model S gained the ability to automatically sense and adjust to a lower draw for “safety” reasons but always had the manual ability to be set to draw at a lower rate than what is automatically sensed by the car.

Soon after we plugged the car in last night, it sensed that the wiring at my cousin’s garage had to be adjusted to 9A from the expected 12A. Many factors add to this result, but from what I can tell, it seems that the spot in the garage is the furthest point from his main panel.

The car kept stopping charge at 9A, so I did the “old” tactic of fidgeting the Amperage to get the right fit. First step is to charge at half the rate to see if that works. So, I went to 6A, saw that it took, and went to sleep.


As you can see, we rolled out of their place gaining one mile per hour. The charge actually topped off at 206 miles, a gain of 17 miles. Seeing that I didn’t really need to charge, I just wanted to minimize losing miles due to vampire loss, I found this rate was adequate for the evening. Additionally, leaving the car plugged in at 110V gave us the option to run pre-conditioning without worrying about range loss as we cool the car before the drive, which I did to get us to 204 miles of rated range before the start of the day. Beside, there is something “cool” about having some “places I’ve charged” marked thousands of miles away from home.

So, we left New Jersey and headed to Long Island. We have to warn drivers that the routes to Long Island from New Jersey is expensive. The toll roads and bridge tolls to get from Point A to Point B may require that someone obtain some sort of financing to make that crossing. We went through 2 tolls that cost $22 one way. That could get expensive on a daily basis.



Crossing over the bridge to New York State from New Jersey.



Decided not to “risk” our car in New York City traffic on this trip. That’s as close a view as we will get of “The City” on this trip.


View from the passenger rear view.


When we were on our way to Syosset, my wife noticed that the gasket on the passenger side was getting shredded. Though we didn’t take a picture of that particular instance, it was similar to the issue we had on the driver’s side at factory pickup (pictured below).


So, we made it a point to see if the Syosset Service Center can fit us in or provide us an appointment to have this taken care of.

Tesla Syosset Sales, Service and Supercharger Center

We got to the Syosset Sales, Service, and Supercharger earlier than our meet with Aaron, so we figured to get a charge before we met with him.




The center and supercharger parking lot was in extreme disrepair.


In fact, Tesla and/or their landlord was in the middle of repairing the entire parking lot and figured to have it completed by the May 17, 2015.

Before we saw the service center staff, we wanted to make sure that we had our car in our “possession” for meeting with Aaron Crocco.

One of the fun parts of the trip is we get to meet folks that we only know on the Internet in real life, so…



We took Aaron out on a spin in the Model S.

Needless to say, we had fun with him.

After our meet-up, we figured to have the gasket thing “taken care off”.

We went in to speak with the service center. Unfortunately, like SoCal service centers they are pretty booked up. However, they were able to fit us in for an appointment tomorrow, and since we’re not on any schedule at this part of our trip, we accepted the appointment.

With that we headed off toward Nesconset. Now the navigation normally would route travelers between Syosset and Nesconset over I-495 (the Long Island Expressway). But, if you remember correctly, we decided earlier in the drive to sometimes choose alternate routes and get off the Interstate, and we were so close that we decided to take an alternate route to Nesconset. We decided to take the Northern State Parkway and meander to our destination.

Stopped off for some grub, and proceeded to Nesconset.


My cousin’s son had a baseball game at Baseball Heaven that afternoon and we spent the time with them.

In speaking with my cousin and his son, we found out that their school has been undefeated so far this baseball season. Now the pressure is on us. We didn’t want to be the “jinx” that brought about their first loss.


So, how did the game go? My cousin’s son did great (went 3 for 3, with a triple for one of those hits) but the team was behind all game Until he scored the run that tied the game (off that lead-off triple.) Aside from startin get the game in Second Base, he pitched in relief to get the win if they counted those things at this level of baseball. It would’ve been a long ride back home (all the way to California) if we had been the “jinx.” It was fun to watch a “Hollywood Ending” to a baseball game in Long Island, NY.


We had to drop off my cousin’s son’s friend home, so I had my cousin drive us back in the Model S. He was impressed.

We had another home cooked meal that was topped off with a second Banana Cake from the Brothers Bakery of Allwood.


Since there was a little precipitation that evening and we were headed back to the Syosset Service Center the next day, we didn’t need to charge at his home and we turned in for the night.



Go on to Day 12. Click here.

11_Randolph to Nesconset

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 10

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

Missed Day 9, click here.

Day 10 – Drive on Monday, May 11, 2015

So, how was Delaware for the night? It was quite relaxing, actually.

Aside from spending the evening with my cousin in Randolph, NJ, we had several goals in New Jersey today. One thing that was high on our list was to pass by the Allwood Bakery (now known as Brothers Bakery of Allwood) in Clifton, NJ and to visit the EV destination of Nauna’s Bella Casa in Montclair, NJ.

Prior to reaching New Jersey, we made arrangements to meet some fellow BMW Active E Electronaut alumni (Airton Azevedo, Tom Moloughney, Chris Neff, and Michael Thwaite). These guys also happen to be involved with the New Jersey Electric Automobile Association (NJEAA), so we scheduled an EV meetup at Nauna’s for 6:00pm that evening. It was an open invitation to other EV drivers, and the guys invited other members of NJEAA and we were glad that they did.

Hampton Inn and Suites Newark

But first, we had to get out of our hotel in Delaware.

No, the car did not spring a leak. It’s condensation from the preconditioning.






So, we lost four miles after pre-conditioning. So, it’s not a great test of what the conditions were overnight. Though I didn’t have a picture of it, I checked my notes and had written down that there was 213 Miles of Rated Range in the morning, so that’s a one mile loss overnight, and another three due to pre-conditioning. The distance between Newark, DE and Hamilton Marketplace, NJ is around 75 miles, so we had a LOT of buffer. Actually, the distance between Hamilton Marketplace Supercharger and the Edison Supercharger is around 35 miles (or a total of 110 miles,) so we didn’t even need to stop in the next two New Jersey superchargers.  One of the main reasons that we did was to help with the entries for the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS.

The times that I’ve driven through Delaware over the years, the only thing I remembered was the Delaware Memorial Bridge.


No, it is not time to stop and check in to a hotel, we just started the day for crying out loud. The camera was just out of focus for the bridge and the “Welcome to New Jersey” sign.


Hamilton Marketplace Supercharger

The Hamilton Marketplace Supercharger was the first supercharger in the state of New Jersey and it was the first New Jersey supercharger that we stopped at.  As previously mentioned, we really didn’t need to supercharge there, so we stopped for a quick charge.



Went inside the Barnes and Noble.  On the way in, I spotted something that made me stop and ponder.


I wonder if the Barnes and Noble at the Hamilton Marketplace Supercharger stocked this book by the door, and close to the supercharger on purpose.  As tempting as it was to pick up a book on Nikola Tesla, I just passed on it.

If you do end up at the supercharger at Hamilton Marketplace, NJ, you will note that there is a Starbucks inside the Barnes and Noble. The store hours at this location are 9:00 am – 10:00 pm except on Sundays where it’s 10:00 am – 9:00 pm.

It started raining before we got to the Hamilton Marketplace Supercharger, and it remained actively raining by the time we got parked to charge. So, I waited for the rain to abate a little before I plugged in. Seeing that it was just raining and not thunder and lighting, we felt that it was safe to charge.




The six superchargers at Hamilton Marketplace is at the side of the Barnes and Noble.  A location that is closer to a shopping center than some of the other
shopping mall located superchargers from earlier in the trip.  Seeing that it was raining before I ran into the store, I appreciated the fact that the chargers were so close to the store.

After getting a little charge, we left for the Edison supercharger, and was met by even more rain.  Lots of rain.  As fast as drivers were going when the road was dry, it was notable how much slower the traffic adjusted to the wet weather.   We only had to travel 35 miles to Edison from Hamilton Marketplace.



Edison Supercharger

And just like that, we ended up at another mall located supercharger. This time though, the superchargers are at the edge, like most other mall locations in the country. The superchargers are split between two sets of four chargers. There was another Model S from New York a few stalls away, however, it was raining, and we really didn’t socialize.





Though we didn’t need to charge to full, we were tracking early for our meetup with the NJEAA guys and gal, so we charged up to not be reliant on any other charging going forward. Nauna’s does offer several charging options, but we’re meeting with other EV drivers, and I didn’t know if any of them would need to use any of the available chargers at Nauna’s.

Brother’s Bakery/Allwood Bakery – Clifton, NJ

Our first stop, prior to getting to the meetup, was the Brother’s Bakery of Allwood.


Whenever I find myself in Northern New Jersey, it has been a tradition that I’ve adopted to stop off at this bakery for its banana cake. The banana cake is not “famous” as it is “sentimental” (aside from being delicious.) My best friend’s grandmother used to live in Clifton and he used to share the banana cake with me when his family would travel back to Southern California after visiting her in New Jersey. I just adopted their family tradition as my own (and it does help that the banana cake is tasty!)


We got “primo” parking by the bakery. But, getting there when they have banana cake is the real “win” here.


Nauna’s Bella Casa – Montclair, NJ

Clifton and Montclair are very close to each other. So, we were able to make our meet-up in no time. When we got there, the first ones at the site were Doug Stansfield and Sal Cameli (pictured below left to right). A couple of Leaf guys we met this evening.

Sal likes to take photographs of vanity license plates and posting it on Instagram, so apparently we got some likes for our license plate that he posted earlier in the evening (May 11, 2015).

Meetup at Naunas Doug and Sal

I’ve written a review of Nauna’s from 2012. Since we had plans to meet with my cousin for dinner, we just had some appetizers at Nauna’s, I opted for “Grandma’s Rice Balls” and my wife had the “Spinach Ravioli” and they were both satisfying.

Arriving later in his Electric Motorcycle was Ben Rich (not pictured, but his bike is).


Chris Neff was here in his i3.


One of my biggest questions was what car would the Thwaites arrive in? The Roadster? Ford Focus EV? i3? Nope… They showed up in their Electric Smart Car.  As tight as the parking lot of Nauna’s became, the Smart did what all Smart cars do, and fit in at a niche.


Doug’s Leaf was next and it was parked at the other charger and right beside our Model S.

Airton parked his “Tesla Inside” powered RAV4EV 2nd Generation beside our Model S. Seeing that RAV4EVs are “usually” limited to California purchasers or lessors, Airton is taking a big “risk” in having a compliance EV outside of California. He really enjoys it.


Another shot of Chris Neff’s i3 and Sal Cameli’s “pimped out” Leaf (Sal not only possesses the most complete set of charging adapters for his car, but he also connected the biggest speakers I’ve seen on a Leaf.) And boy did we feel the bass when he drove off in his car.


We figured to take a panoramic with the cars, so, pictured here are (from left to right) Sal Cameli, a Nauna’s customer and Plug-in Prius driver whose name escapes me, Tom Moloughney, Michael Thwaite, Pamela Thwaite aka Transport Evolved’s own ElectraGirl, Chris Neff, Doug Stansfield, me, and Airton Azevedo. Not pictured is my wife (who was taking the picture) and, because he had another commitment, EV Motorcycle Rider Ben Rich.


A nice close up of Airton and I from Airton’s camera…


I’ve been visiting Nauna’s for a while now… However, usually it’s a picture with Tom and his car, however the red i3 was in for service when we had the meetup, so we didn’t get a picture of Tom’s red i3.

Here is a throwback to October 18, 2012 with the ActiveE version of “EFOPEC.”


So, we took the opportunity to take the picture with our car. After all, we did drive from California for this picture!


It was a great meet and not only did we just meet a bunch of the Active E guys and gal in real life for the first time, we also got to make some new EV friends with Sal Cameli, Doug Stansfield, and Ben Rich.

This dinner was a nice inflection point for the trip.  Since we didn’t know where we planned to go to next, we figured to ask our NJEAA friends where to go next, North or South, and it was a unanimous suggestion from the crowd to take advantage of the good weather and go North from New Jersey. So, we figured they were onto something and decided to go to New England.

Additionally, the NJEAA had let us know that if we were back in town the following Sunday that they were doing some EV advocacy at the Sustainable Morristown event on the 17th of May. Since we didn’t know where we would be, we made a soft commitment to make it, if we happen to be near New Jersey on the 17th.

Asahi Sushi – Morristown, NJ

We figured that we were close enough to New York City and my cousin is reliable for food suggestions that we would go to sushi. From the EV Meetup at Nauna’s, we proceeded to dinner at a sushi bar in Morristown, NJ called Asahi Sushi.



The sushi was very good and definitely worth going back to and we made a mental note to add it to the “good to go back” list.

Randolph, NJ

After dinner with my cousin and his wife, we headed back to their place in Randolph, NJ. Randolph is considered rural New Jersey, and our drive back to their home was a little nerve wreaking because of our new-found “nemesis”… The “Deer Crossing” signs. We developed an irrational fear of deer, and there were several points on the drive from Morristown to Randolph that we passed these same signs.  I suppose when your only means of getting home is the car that you’re driving in and it’s close to 3,000 miles drive to get back, you get to be a little conservative in your drive.

We were also challenged by the quality of the 110V feed in my cousin’s garage. It turned out that his garage outlet was the farthest feed from his main panel, so we found ourselves charging at 6A overnight. That looks to be a 1 mile per hour rate. Seeing that our goal for tomorrow is to visit another cousin (in Long Island this time) I was just trying to not lose the miles overnight.  We plugged in the evening at 189 miles of rated range. However, throughout the night, the charge kept tripping at 12A then 9A, worked at 6A.



It was a pretty fun-filled full day. Short on the miles, but long on the fun.

Go on to Day 11. Click here.

10_Christiana to Randolph