The Long Way Round – Day 08

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the eight day in a series of posts written about our 2016 EV Roadtrip written in the same manner as our 2015 trip.  Here, There, and EVerywhere Trip – Day 01, i.e. summaries written for each day of the trip, published each day, this time two months from the day of the trip. It may seem funny to some to have a summer trip published at the start of the Fall, think of it as some daily entertainment for those that are back in their offices thinking about their past summer trips that could have been or thinking about their next trip.

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 7 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

So, why the long way round? Well… We got four referrals on the Fourth Tesla Referral Program (May 30, 2016 to July 15, 2016) and we expected to get an invite to the Gigafactory Party, so we thought to start our trip and go to Reno (a nearly 500 mile direct drive from home) via the Pacific Northwest (about a 1600 mile detour) with the intermediate goal of attending the EV Roadmap 9 Conference in Portland, visiting family who were spending time in Seattle, WA and family in Vancouver, BC before turning back for the party.

So, what do we have in store today?  Today’s goal is to continue our visit with our relatives in Vancouver. We’ve visited Vancouver as tourists over 15 years ago and have done some of the basic “touristy” things, so this was really about hanging out with family.  Our entire stay in Vancouver is at the Hilton Metrotown Vancouver, another Tesla Destination Charger hotel.

Day 8 – Visit family – Vancouver, BC.  July 25, 2016

The Hilton Metrotown Vancouver is an official Destination Charger location, it has one HPWCs rated at 80A and a J1772 charger rated at 30A, when we went to bed the previous night, just past midnight, I was already done charging, but there were no hotel parking spots available.  I decided to stay in situ. To alleviate any “EV-hole” behavior (or should I spell it behaviour since I’m now over the border, I parked close to the wall, unplugged our car, and put our EV Hangtag (designed by Jack Brown) with my contact information on the dash so that I can be contacted easily.  This way, in case someone needed me to move to use the HPWC, I can be reached.  Additionally, unplugging our car from it also provides ample reach for a second Model S or Model X to come in and take the spot next to me and charge quickly.


Luckily, no one did overnight, and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.


We parked the car at 380km of range and lost 1km overnight.


Switching to miles, this shows 235 miles of range in the morning, flipping back to the picture from earlier in the morning that showed 236 miles of range. So, for the algorithm, I guess 1 km=1 mile… The vampire drain on this car during this trip has been strange, to say the least. Either way, I’m pretty sure we have enough range to drive around town several times in either kilometers or miles.

As I stated earlier, the plan was to visit with our relatives today and start it with a Dim Sum brunch. Vancouver, BC is one of the better places in the world to eat Dim Sum, and we were not going to miss the opportunity to go ahead and have some while in town. We did get up a few hours earlier than our scheduled meet up with relatives and decided to see if we can catch the Electra Meccanica location in downtown Vancouver.

Electra Meccanica had a functional test earlier in the summer that I followed over the Internet, but were unable to attend and I was hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of this three wheeled EV at their location. So, we headed into downtown Vancouver to visit their storefront location.

On the way there, we spotted an i3.


Just in case you were having a hard time squinting on zooming in on the picture above, here’s one with the Zoom on.


Parking near Electra Meccanica was a breeze, we were able to get good and free street parking nearby.  As a Southern Californian, I always appreciate free parking.


Electra Meccanica has been showing off a Corbin Sparrow as the inspiration for their 3 wheeled EV and a bright, red one was parked outside of their storefront.


The picture rendering for the Solo, Electra Meccanica’s EV, can be seen on the sign. The Solo does not look as “fun” a design as the Corbin Sparrow, but thought to still go in to chat with the guys there.

Any Tesla fan or customer that has visited a Tesla store will recognize some similarities with the way that Electra Meccanica has set up its location in downtown Vancouver.

The chassis of the Solo on display is reminiscent of the Roadster, Model S, and Model X chassis that has adorned the Tesla stores in the Tesla sales network.


The railing that is pulled out on the chassis display demonstrates how the battery packs for the Solo will be installed in the finished product.


Not sure if they mean to have battery swap, or just for ease of maintenance or repair for the vehicle when needed.

The pictures on the chassis shows the same location for batteries when it is slid back in place.


The vehicle does not seem to have any DCFC capability and has its charging port in the rear of the tricycle.


There’s a merchandise wall that shows hats and T-shirts for folks that may wish to go ahead and pick some of those things up.


In the back is a roadster that Electra Meccanica’s sister-company, Intermeccanica, produces. Unfortunately it’s only available in ICE.



Too bad, that little car in an EV would be a contender.  Perhaps a successful Electra Meccanica can find a way to bring that ICE Roadster into an EV package.

Apparently we just missed the prototype that I wanted to see by thirty minutes.

Either way, my visit to Electra Meccanica was informative and I am excited to see these little things on the road. They may not be as “goofy” as the Corbin Sparrow, but feel that they can fit a niche. Besides at nearly $20k CAD/$16k USD, it’s a good deal for a nearly 100 mile range commuter EV.

After our visit to Electra Meccanica, we headed over to our relatives to pick them up and have them experience the ride in our Model S.  Our choice for Dim Sum is Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant at Richmond, BC.




Dim Sum is best experienced with many people so that the diners can order many different items. So. we gladly obliged.




The restaurant was located in a center called Aberdeen. Unlike others who may first think of Scotland or South Dakota, both of which ALSO come to mind for me… I always think of Hong Kong first when I hear Abderdeen, and our meal in Richmond, BC could easily have been experienced in Hong Kong. Albeit with a bill in CAD not HKD dollars.

As I previously mentioned, we had an issue with our windows having a hard time rolling back up at the border. Like many California Tesla owners, our car is tinted. During our border crossing into Canada yesterday, the Canadian border crossing agent asked us to roll our windows down so that he can peer into the back seat. Well, we were able to roll it down, but it was a struggle to roll the windows back up it took us a minute or two to get the windows up.  Additionally, as we mentioned, on the drive between Portland and Seattle, our wipers were skipping (we’ve been living in mostly drought weather, so we hardly ever use the wipers.) Though we were able to eventually roll up the back windows, we didn’t know what was going on with the wipers, we wanted to see if we can get a center to give it a quick look. We were headed to Granville Island with our relatives and it so happens that the new Tesla Service Center Plus that just opened is a short walk from our destination. So, we decided to head over and ask them to take a look at the car. We did not want to be stuck on the rest of our drive without operating back windows.

A Tesla Service Center Plus is basically a location that combines multiple features to the location, much like the one in Day 7 of last year’s journey in Lyndhurst/Cleveland, Ohio. This center combines the Sales, Service, and Delivery Center functions in one location. I don’t know if they also had an in-service center supercharger, but they at least had multiple functions at one location. What sets this center apart from the one in Ohio is that it was not located in a former auto dealership.





So, we stopped off and dropped the car off for their inspection and went to Granville Island.



It looks like this bike sharing thing is really taking off all over the world.



What was different in the Vancouver Bike Sharing stand is it looks like bike helmets are provided with each rented bike.  A good idea, but one that makes me wonder about the previous “bike wearer”…


We cross into Granville Island on foot.


Seeing the traffic that was stuck on this little island made me glad that we left the car at Tesla to be looked at and continued our walking tour of the island.


I think that sign means children at play (or perhaps watch out for the crazy pedestrian kicking a ball.)


At the edge of the island were these houseboats that would be better called mansionboats.



I’m not used to seeing two story houseboats.IMG_20160725_160825

There was an interesting industrial complex that was part working industrial complex and part art installation.



I don’t know who to commend for the absurdity of the piece, the Brazilian artist or the folks who commissioned him.

There were apparently a few more giants hiding.


There was also a kinetic piece that we captured a video of.


As we strolled on in Granville Island, my eagle eye spotted two unused EVSEs.


Those sure look like Chargepoints. Later in our trip, I would find out from Paul Carter, a Vancouver native (and head of the Tesla Owners Club of British Columbia) that these two locations are often used and to find them available was a rarity.



Now, produce when traveling within the country is pretty free to traverse borders (within limits, the State of Hawaii has agricultural checks at the airport and the State of California at all the land-crossings). However, traveling internationally is another story. As tempting as any of the fruit may be, one has to consider the fact that it must be consumed before crossing the border.

Meat and cheese are even harder to travel with.



Still, it was cool to look at.


Now, Maple Syrup would have been tempting, but I don’t really use it that much, or at all.



We heard back from Tesla a few hours after we started, but definitely enough time to experience Granville Island this Summer day.  So we headed back to pick up the car.


It would seem that the vaunted Service Center Plus in Toronto has a basic grade for the coffee service.


So, what was the problem with the car? We were told that the problem with the windows was tree sap and that the windshield had some “coating” on it that made the wipers skip. They did replace the wiper blade assembly and blades and were charged $72 CAD for the service and given our keys to take our vehicle.  The vehicle wasn’t pulled up for us and we had to go searching for it in the garage.



Looks like some Washington State owners have their vehicles serviced in Vancouver.



Lots of nice cars at the lot, but it was time for us to head out.

Our next stop today was to see where the Olympic flame was kept at the city of Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.  As we mentioned before, we’ve been to Vancouver as tourists before and thought to just do some of the things that our relatives felt we should see, so we went with them.

At the center around the Olympic torch/cauldron, spotted a cute Canadian bear and a moose in a Mountie outfit.



Impressive building, it reminds me of the Denver International Airport Terminals.


I think these folks were either texting or looking for Pokemon.


At the convention center where the Olympic torch is kept, there was a sculpture called “The Drop.”


It’s meant to be a single drop of rain.


It was quite cool watching the cruise ships head off, probably to Alaska…


And the seaplanes land and take off…


Here is a video of a seaplane landing.


And around the corner is where the Olympic Flame resided in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics.



It would probably be more impressive with snow around it and fire flickering… So, use your imagination.


In the distance my better half was able to take a picture of a cool Killer Whale sculpture.


and back to our car to head out.


On our way to our family’s home, we spot a funny pile-up.



During our drive around Vancouver, we kept spotting some weird stickers on vehicles. Turns out NEW drivers and STUDENT drivers in BC (not sure if it’s provincial or federal law) have to stick their respective stickers on their cars to let others know of their status. Here’s a New driver.


It’s a good idea, I wonder why we don’t implement it either in California or other states.

And, on the way back to their home, we see a properly snow capped mountain in the distance.


After a brief respite, our long day of sightseeing meant that it’s time for dinner.

We thought, why not test out the sushi in BC. Our cousin recommended Sushi Nordel, a local establishment that is an all you can eat sushi place that they like to go to, so we joined them for dinner there.  We weren’t that hungry, so we just ordered A la Carte.




I think they’re more of a “roll” place.




The sushi was good, not spectacular, but definitely a good deal and the company was what we really wanted from the dinner experience, so a good time was had by all.

After saying our goodbyes. We headed back to our hotel.


We got back at 11:00 PM and we’re headed to Reno starting tomorrow.



The kilometer numbers were big, but still not really processing, so I switch back to miles.



And it looks like we took a 106 mile day around Vancouver today.

Parked the car similarly to how I parked last night (to give some space for someone else to park with us.)



And I finally remembered to document the low ceiling… (and post my findings on Teslarati App (and website).)


Turned in for the night as we don’t know how far we want to drive tomorrow. All I know is I would like to at least make it to Portland in one day.  We hope to have meet-ups on the drive to Reno.

The next day of this series, Day 9, is available here.

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

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 19

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

Missed Day 18, click here.

Day 19 – Drive on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

As we discussed on our previous post, we decided to take a different route back West (I-70 as opposed to I-80/I-90.) From West Virginia, we were looking at going through Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, then Colorado.  That’s a long drive with parts that are through “Tornado Alley.”  Though to be fair, it would seem that I-80/I-90 is not spared of tornado activity either. Being, Southern Californians, we’ve grown with the expectation that earthquakes, tsunamis or the like are the “normal” things to fear from nature. However, as the weather warms up, the chances of tornado warnings seem to increase.  Now it wasn’t just Deer, Moose, or Bears to worry about, I’m wondering about tornadoes.

With that in mind, today’s goal is to drive as far as we can West, and stop at whatever may be interesting along the way.  We reached out to John, a high school friend, who lives near Dayton, OH, to see if he and his family can meet up for lunch or something.

Hampton Inn & Suites, Triadelphia

After arriving in Triadelphia, WV in the evening, we noticed lights below the hill that the hotel and supercharger is located in.  The view from the hill looks like clouds and colder weather today.  Not great for sunset pictures, but good to keep in mind when worrying about tornadoes, at least that’s what I tell myself is the upside to such days.  (Another bonus, TWO water towers.)


Walking out of the hotel lobby, the superchargers are at the far right corner of the photograph.


We parked at a regular spot in the evening with the plan to move the car to the supercharger while we get ready to check out.  This way, we’re able to maximize our time.  As with any plan to charge away from the car, we’ve decided to use our handy dandy EVcard from Plug In America.


We lost 3 miles overnight. But we’re at the hotel with the supercharger, so it’s no big deal.  Especially since the supercharger will fill it back in no time.



I moved the car to the supercharger, put the EV Card on the dash and started charging.

Triadelphia Supercharger



As we were leaving the superchargers another Model S with Virginia plates drove up to the superchargers.  We acknowledged the other car, but we were unplugged and rolling out, so we didn’t make conversation.

We started on the way to Grove City, OH.


It was a quick drive from the Triadelphia Supercharger that just like that, we’re back in the state of Ohio.


Since we’ve decided to take I-70 West. As I previously mentioned, this route just became viable when Tesla opened its supercharger in St Charles, Missouri. So we decided to try it out. Besides, I was pretty sure that no one else has checked into those chargers on the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS at the routes along I-70.

Grove City Supercharger

The Grove City, OH supercharger is located on the rear/side of the shops.  Hard to explain why I used the term rear/side it’s because the shops are in a curve and the SCs are technically at the side of the Giant Eagle, but in the rear of the other shops in the center.



The Giant Eagle is not directly adjacent to the stalls, it just happens to be open 24 hours and available for any traveler through this location that may need to use it.  It’s a pretty full supermarket.

The supercharger is a very large installation with eight charging stalls.  People coming to supercharge at this location need to be wary of the big dip in between the charging stalls. Either drive slowly when crossing them, or enter the charging area from the other side.





The drive to Dayton was quite EVentful.  We saw London, but not THAT London ;-).


We were entertained by the “little things”, like this bird that we saw at a highway rest stop.



Additionally, we passed a truck half-full of Mini Coopers.


Which led me to three different EV thoughts.

1) The Mini E folks.

Before the Active E program that I participated in was launched, there were a few hundred folks that provided the phase 1 to the BMW electrification program. They all drove Mini Coopers that were all electric.  Most Mini E drivers loved their cars, even though the fit and finish was nowhere near its descendants, the Active E and BMW i3.

2) Paul at

Paul, the owner and operator for is a “Mini Guy”. Apparently before he founded he owned and ran some of the more popular Mini focused Internet forums.

3) The Mini Superleggera.

The Mini Superleggera is BMW’s vision for an electrified Mini platform.  It’s a very attractive little Roadster that has found itself in Go/No Go status over the past few months.

Either way, passing a truck full of ICE Minis make me think of the missed opportunity that BMW has in making a really awesome EV.


BMW should electrify the Mini, any of them.  The Superleggera is plenty awesome, but an electrified Mini Cooper is ideal.

With those thoughts, I was distracted by…

Ooh a barn.


No, not the barn, I was distracted by spotting a very familiar headlight behind us.



An Ohio white Tesla Model S was behind us.  As the car neared us, we were able to read the license plate 1STESLA.  This Model S stayed with us all the way to the exit for the Dayton Supercharger.



As we were making our way to the Dayton Supercharger, I expected the OH 1STESLA to join us as we charged. It didn’t the White Model S continued driving away on its way after exiting at the same exit as the Dayton Supercharger.

Dayton Supercharger

The Dayton supercharger is located at another shopping complex.  The Meijer store in Dayton looks like it’s in the middle of some construction.  Just in front of the superchargers is a Chipotle, but we were not hungry for Mexican food.




As we previously mentioned, before we left for Dayton, I reached out to John, a high school friend, who lives near Dayton to see if he and his family can meet up with us for lunch. Aside from the fact that we arrived later in the afternoon, he was in the middle of a contract negotiations and couldn’t pull away to meet up.

A few years before, we had dinner with him and his family at this sushi bar (yes, you read correctly, a sushi bar in Ohio) in Troy, OH that was very good. So, I made sure to get the name of the location from him.

Sakai is located at 2303 W. Main Street, Troy, OH 45373.


After completing our charge, we proceeded to Sakai for dinner. The quality of the sushi and cooked Asian food is very good. Though we broke our usual rule regarding sushi restaurants (ocean adjacent AND/OR near a major airport (i.e. direct flight from the ocean)) we welcomed the meal.



The bibimbap was delicious and welcome on such a cool, cloudy day.  After 19 days on the road, we were starting to miss home.  And if there’s anything that Southern California does well it’s Asian food.


So, if you find yourself with a craving for very good Asian cooking near Dayton, OH, take the detour to Troy and hit Sakai. We’re glad that we did.

Can’t you tell by the photo below?


We didn’t catch the state line marker from Indiana, but did catch Ohio saying goodbye to us.


The drive to Indianapolis was uneventful.


Indianapolis Supercharger

The superchargers are located at a La Quinta Hotel.



The La Quinta hosting the supercharger in Indianapolis seemed like a “nice enough” hotel for a stop for the evening, except it was still rather early (around 8pm) when we got there and we wanted to have this be a “drive far” day, so we opted to see what was along the way to the St Charles, MO supercharger before we make the cross to Independence, MO.



The supercharger has eight stalls at this location. I wonder if there’s a large community of Teslas in Indianapolis or if it’s because these superchargers are at a major intersection of travel routes.


While we were parked and charging at the Indianapolis supercharger, I started doing searches for hotels along I-70.  As I was fine tuning selections, I stumbled across a seemingly well priced lodging offer at Terre Haute, IN.

I proceeded to look at bookings and went to discuss this with my wife. Luckily she did a few things that brought about a new lesson learned from the trip. Just like universities (South Bend, IN) and major medical centers (Rochester, MN,) large federal correctional (i.e. prison) facilities are prone to have a good cluster of hotels near them. So, it’s a good idea to research why there are a lot of hotels before booking a hotel for the night.

I looked elsewhere for our lodging for the evening.

It turned out the Holiday Inn near the Effingham Supercharger was available. It was about double the price of the “deal” at Terre Haute, IN. I’m sure Terre Haute is a lovely place, but like they say is the three rules of real estate, “Location. Location. Location.” We opted to stay AWAY from the prison and book at the bargain 2x hotel near the Effingham Supercharger.

Effingham Supercharger


Don’t adjust your dial.

Boy was I glad to make that drive. Aside from being “prison-free”, Effingham, IL was located at the best place of all for a supercharger.

It was at the parking lot of a gasoline station.


The photo opportunities at night were plentiful.


We arrived at the supercharger after 518 miles of driving. The supercharger is less than a mile away from our lodging for the night. Not quite as convenient as this morning’s Triadelphia supercharger, but the juxtaposition of Tesla with BP is priceless.



Aside from the picture taking, for a good portion of time that we spent supercharging, a local young man (accompanied by his very understanding girlfriend), approached us and spent quite a bit of time talking to us about the car and Tesla and the future. It was reminiscent of the conversation we had with the group of young people at Rita’s in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. We spent a while talking to him (which is why I mentioned that the girlfriend was understanding) and made sure that we left a good impression to him about those of us who are lucky enough to be driving Model S.

To give us maximum flexibility for the next day, we supercharged close to full and headed to our hotel.

Holiday Inn Effingham



The Holiday Inn at Effingham was clean, comfortable, and provided a very good Internet connection. We didn’t choose the hotel for anything else other than that and were very happy with the location. (i.e. farther away from a prison than our choices in Terre Haute, IN.) With that, we went to bed and to plan the next day’s I-70 Missouri crossing.

Go on to Day 20. Click here.

19_Triadelphia to Effingham