Tesla Weekend Social 2017, a visit to Paramus, NJ

A week ago, January 21, 2017, my wife and I were on a trip to New York and planned to visit my cousin and the new addition to his family in Randolph, NJ for the day.  This is one of my cousins who had kindly housed us both heading to Maine and back from Maine during our Here, There, EVerywhere cross-country trip of 2015.   We were staying in Manhattan the night before and had some time before we were scheduled to see them on January 21st, so it was a welcome surprise when we received an invite to the first Tesla Weekend Social of 2017. We wanted to see what has changed since the first social that we attended last year.

We received the following email on the 14th of January.

TESLA
Weekend Social
Please join us for a Weekend Social New Year celebration at your nearest Tesla location.

Kick off 2017 alongside fellow owners, enthusiasts and Tesla staff. Family and friends are also welcome. Seasonal refreshments will be provided.

To attend an upcoming event near you, please RSVP below. We look forward to celebrating with you

After some challenges obtaining a confirmation (apparently there were some back-end issues that was communicated to us and eventually fixed,) we were able to get a confirmation to be added to the attendee list at the Paramus, NJ Sales, Service, Delivery Center and Supercharger location.  Since our family commitments were not until the afternoon, we decided to head over to Paramus, NJ to attend the first Tesla Social of the year and to spend a few hours with some New Jersey Tesla folks.

To provide ourselves with the most flexibility for this visit, we rented a car from Hertz.  Unfortunately, unlike our experience renting with Hertz’s On-Demand 24×7 product from a few years ago, there are no longer any electric vehicles in Hertz New York locations (nor is the 24×7 product being offered in the USA.)  So, we had to rely on driving an ICE vehicle for this trip, a Ford Focus.

We arrived at the location about 15 minutes before the scheduled 10:00 am program and secured a spot near the front of the store.  Here is a photograph of the area by the entrance of the store that we parked our rental car in.  We were originally parked right beside the HUGE ICE SUV on the right of the photograph.

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Upon exiting our rental, one of the employees requested my keys to move the vehicle to the back of the store. It’s a rental and I had some items in the car that I didn’t feel comfortable to be in a section that I can’t see the car in, so I asked if he needed to move it, that he move it somewhere closer. He decided to move it to the other side of the parking lot, away from the entrance and across the superchargers at the location.

This location was not nearly as convenient as the customer parking spot that I originally used, but I figured there must be a reason why he needed to move my rental.  However, as you can see from the first photograph, this was a strange request as our original parking spot was right beside a large ICE SUV and another ICE vehicle.

We checked in and signed into the paper sign-in sheet that the store had placed at the entrance.  Here is the walkway to the entrance and the sign in is to the left of the photo.

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Directly ahead of the entrance is your typical Tesla Service Center entrance reception desk. (This is not normally situated in a Tesla Store). Remember, Paramus is a combination Sales, Service, Deliver Center and Supercharger location.

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For the event, the store personnel provided coffee, bagels and other breakfast items along the credenza under the apparel, beside the Design Studio wall.

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I walked around the area to get my bearings and took a peek at the Delivery Center part of the store and saw an X and an S awaiting their new owners.  It seems that the New Jersey folks were not one of the stores that cover the vehicles in some sort of drop-cloth as I’ve seen in other Delivery Centers.

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Not being used to weather, we originally walked in with our winter travel coats and realized that there was no place to keep our jackets.  Rather than wear our jackets the whole time, I decided to return them to the car.  I had to look for the employee who took our rental key to get access to the rental car and place our jackets in there. Once I located that employee, who is nameless, not to protect the guilty, but because he never took the time to introduce himself to me. I found the car tucked in between several inventory Model S that they have on the lot, and not by any customer vehicles.

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The rental car was nicely surrounded by Teslas, but I did not ever notice any other customers vehicles being collected in the same manner as our rental car.

It appears that we were particularly targeted for this as when I walked by my original parking spot.  Another monstrous ICE SUV was parked there and not another Tesla or anything related to the event.  I was a little miffed at this considering the fact that all other customers were able to park in the customer section and our little rental car was summarily moved.  Either way, that’s a section of improvement for Tesla Paramus.  Either valet park all cars, or leave them be.

This particular event at Paramus seemed to be more casual than the other Tesla Social events that we have attended in the past. There did not seem to be an agenda and we spent a long time talking to the Tesla employees and fellow owners before we were brought into the lounge for the group discussion portion of the event.

Prior to being brought into the lounge for the group discussion, we spent a lot of time with two members of the staff who were very attentive and we wanted to commend them. Monica and Joey (didn’t catch last names). Monica moved to Paramus, NJ from Pasadena, CA and Joey who just started a few weeks ago.  They were very eager and helpful.  Monica has been with Tesla for a while and we discussed her move to New Jersey from California as well as my wife’s Roadster and Joey, as a new employee, was effectively being trained by us as long-time owners of Tesla.

Don’t get me wrong, I can spend HOURS talking Tesla with people, it’s just strange to invite a group of owners without seeming to have a plan for their time.

We waited until about 10:45 am before the program started.  However, program might be a generous word for this event.  It seems that it was meant to be very free-flow and I suspect that an agenda and some structure could have helped make the event better. The format was very open and thus had a hard time maintaining a flow.  There were many owners there.

 

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Topics ranged all over the place and it was interesting to hear information that was directly contradictory to advice that I have received in Southern California regarding tire rotations and the like from Tesla Service personnel in New Jersey. Perhaps the difference can be attributed to the difference in climate and weather between the states.  In hearing from those involved at the location, it seems that folks around New Jersey have to go through a lot more tires than I do in Southern California.  I didn’t want to be the cause of ire from other owners, so I politely kept this information to myself.

Another subject that was brought up was regarding the $0.40 per minute supercharger idle fee that was recently enacted by Tesla.  It seems that these concerns are quite universal and the discussion around this was interesting.

After the group discussion wrapped up, a few of the New Jersey owners joined us in conversation as they were intrigued by visitors from California attending their session.  It seems that there is currently not an official Tesla Owners club for the New Jersey area and I spent some time explaining how the Orange County, CA club operates versus its other brethren in other parts of the world.  Several of the New Jersey owners seemed interested in forming one for their area and I handed out club cards for them to reach out for more information.

We also discussed Roadster ownership versus Model S as well as our visit to their state from our trip cross-country and how relatively easy and enjoyable that trip had been.

In the end, it was just as advertised, it was a Tesla Social, but one without an agenda.  I felt that an opportunity was missed in that this was the first social after some drastic changes in ownership for those that take delivery of a Tesla after the removal of the included supercharging for the life of the vehicle policy was replaced with the new pay as you go system.  Additionally, it’s been a few days since the release of the Tesla Model S and Model X 100D top range versions of those vehicles and it would have been good to have been provided some sort of presentation on those.  Alas, this was not the plan for the day.

We spent some time with yet another early Model S owner discussing growing pains and we took our leave so that we can head out to visit my cousin and his family.  We said our farewell to the two Tesla staff members, Monica and Joey, who provided such good company and service and left for the day.  These two counterbalanced the unnamed employee who saw it fit to move our Ford Focus rental while leaving all other vehicles unmolested.

The Long Way Round – Day 13

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

Missed the previous day’s post, click here to read Day 12 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

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

So, what do we have in store today?  We had no real plans, hang out in Reno to help open the Reno Supercharger with TMC and then head South, our initial plan was to head to Napa Valley area and check out the new Napa Supercharger and possibly do some wine tasting.

Day 13 – Reno, NV – Southbound.  July 30, 2016

We headed to Atlantis Resort to have our final goodbyes at the TMC Connect breakfast. It was an opportunity to say hi and goodbye to friends and join them celebrate the Grand Opening of the Reno Supercharger.

As we headed out of breakfast from TMC Connect, we passed by one of the most NON EV vehicles made and I couldn’t help but take a photo.

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The Hummer must be the nadir of all personal vehicle production and it is always important to note where we came from to see where we can improve to.

Many of those Teslas that were parked here for the weekend were still around this Saturday.

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

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

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

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And there was a small festival atmosphere.

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

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The Supercharger grand opening in Reno had no official Tesla presence. The closest thing to an official presence is the user community from Tesla Motors Club.

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Nevertheless, it was well attended.

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

The equipment supporting the superchargers are in a locked shed.

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This would be a great if the shed was air conditioned. I did not notice any such air conditioning or ventilation in the shed, so I wonder how this would affect the reliability of this site.

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After the Reno Supercharger Grand Opening, we decided to head South and our plan was to see if we can head to Napa for the weekend. We had no hotel reserved at this time, and went on our way.

Before we left Reno, we saw a new icon on a supercharger on the route and decided to check it out.  It was a warning sign to expect reduced service at Tejon Ranch.  The 395 Route through the mountains also had a supercharger with the same warning sign.  Since we were planning to head to Napa, we’re more interested in the US-101 or I-5 route.

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

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We opted to stop off at the Original Truckee Supercharger for a quick charge and coffee.

Truckee Supercharger (Donner Summit)

Needless to say, it was quite full this afternoon.

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

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

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I was craving coffee… So, we went to the first Starbucks that we spotted… There was one inside the grocery…

Well, if you don’t care about earning your stars from the Starbucks reward program, or paying more for the coffee, this would be ok… However, there was an actual Starbucks location on the other side of the grocery location.

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

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We didn’t really have a destination, but the GPS thinks that we do, and it says to slow down to get there with enough charge.

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Roseville Supercharger

Our third stop today is at the Roseville Supercharger.

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We were a little patriotic with our charge at the Roseville Supercharger.  Heck I think FRANCE would be happy with how those Model S look! (oops, quick Google search and France goes Blue, White, and Red…)

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

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

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While charging at Roseville, we tried to see if we can find a place to stay in Napa for the night.  It looks like many of the hotels we would consider were either sold out or very expensive.  (READ: $100 hotel rooms for $450 a night).  Furthermore, the very helpful agent (we decided to call as well) found us a room…  an hour North of where we are now…  We’re not back-tracking…

So, we thought to head South and try our luck with other destinations…  Perhaps San Francisco, or Santa Cruz…

As we headed South, we see another BMWi i3 chasing us…  It seems that we’ve been spotting a lot of these on our West Coast trip.

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We decided to continue the drive and encountered some “excitement on the drive.”  There was a small brush fire started on the other side of the freeway.

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We drove through the smoke and slowed down.

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

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

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

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Vacaville Supercharger

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

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This supercharger is also located at a shopping center.  This time at some outlet stores.  Still a pretty full lot, and we were still looking for places to stay.  So far, we’re headed INLAND and away from “fun communities to visit.”  This is one of the drawbacks to “winging it” on a Summer Weekend in California.  Based on what we were seeing at this point of our drive, we consider heading home.

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We were sort of “out of position” to head to Harris Ranch safely that we decided to traverse over to Manteca Supercharger first, and then resume our “usual” Interstate 5 route…

…perhaps we’ll finally catch a Pasta truck on this drive.

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Leaving Vacaville, we can see why the town was named as such when a ton of cows appear on the side of the road.  Though, I suppose from the cow’s perspective, we appeared ON the road.

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The city is full of cows.

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

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

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Even more cows…

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

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Yes, they’re windmills, say the cows…

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The windmills keep getting my attention.

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It’s a good thing that my better half took over this portion of the drive.  I was getting tired and was supposed to take a quick nap between Vacaville and Manteca…  HOWEVER, she said to do so once I get her on the freeway…  umm…  This is a BACKROAD drive, and has been for a while.  I’m not getting that nap on this leg.

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Here’s one I call windmills and cows…

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And a close-up of both.

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And we leave windmill country and get closer to Manteca.

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We cross some vineyards…

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

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At least it’s not a one lane road.

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Oh, thank goodness… A freeway sign!

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Back on the freeway.

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

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A nice, wide freeway…

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

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Manteca Supercharger

And back at the Manteca Supercharger. The better half still doesn’t know about my apprehension for this location because of the July 3rd entry on Teslarati, it’s one of a few comments, so could just be a one-time thing.

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Yup, we’re committed to head home now… Better half decided to keep driving to Harris Ranch, and we’re NOW on a freeway, so I can actually take a nap while she drives.

Pretty uneventful drive to Harris Ranch with the exception of the GPS doing some “weird routing”.

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We decided to just stay on the “usual route” we check our device maps to see if anything pops up that would force us to take the weird route, and just plodded through with no incident.

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Harris Ranch Supercharger

We’re back at Harris Ranch Supercharger.

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It was pretty lonely here on a Saturday night…

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Everyone else must have booked their rooms ahead of time.

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We switch drivers and head to Buttonwillow. Late night driving on Interstate 5 is pretty boring and I’m sure one of those times that one wishes an Auto Pilot version of the Model S. Perhaps when we get our Model 3 our drives will be in that instead.

Buttonwillow Supercharger

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

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This is our last supercharge before we get home.

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

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

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

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Set the update to complete later in the morning…

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

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Oh, with new software too…

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So how was the trip? Give me a few days to rest and digest and come back tomorrow for the wrap-up, trip statistics, and lessons learned. (one quick one from today, there is a benefit to planning ahead for lodging. It would have been more fun to be in the Wine Country, but am glad to be home in my own bed.)

The next post of this series is the wrap-up and available here.

It’s important to note that our Gigafactory invite would not have been possible had folks not used our referral code. So, I have to thank those that were convinced to pick up a Tesla Model S or Model X and decided to save some money by using our referral code. So, if you’re as inclined as those that took us up on the offer, and in the market for a Tesla Model S or Model X, you can save $1,000 USD/$1,200 CAD/£750 GBP (and whatever the equivalent is in your market) if you use our referral code – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

2016_Day13_Reno to LB

The Long Way Round – Day 10

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the tenth 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 9 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

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

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

We had hoped to meet up with some EV friends in our drive through Washington and Oregon and we were lucky enough to catch one of four.  We had no planned meetups heading back to California before making the swing up to Reno.  It’s just drive, drive, drive again, and figure out where to stop.

Day 10 – Springfield, OR Southbound to as far as we can..  July 27, 2016

We start the day at the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR.  We selected this hotel because we’re loyal to Hiltons and Tesla Destination Charging.

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We had full intention of charging Level 2 overnight and continue our trip as soon as we woke up. However, as you can see from the picture below, the hotel’s destination HPWC when it is being used, the second charger, the J1772 is inconveniently located to charge a second Tesla.

Basically, if I drove in forward to the second charging location, the charging cable will cross the other Model S and have the cable be in its way. Furthermore, if I drove in backward, the cable will be precariously twisted with the J1772 to Model S adapter, if that charger cable will even reach the car.

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Since our hotel was less than a mile away from the nearest Supercharger, we just opted to skip the Level 2 entirely and supercharge there before heading to Grants Pass, OR and beyond.

So we finished up at the hotel, had our breakfast, checked out and went less than a mile away to get some electrons for our car.

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Was I glad that we did.  It turned out to be a Supercharger powered TMC Meetup. The two other Model S that was supercharging at the time were also headed to TMC Connect in Reno.

The Signature Red Model S was already charging in his car when we pulled up to take our spot and start to charge.  Soon after, the twin to our Model S pulls up beside us.  I notice the license plate on the blue one (an Oregon one with the plate Nikola) and stepped out of the car to compliment him on his plate.

When DBullard introduces himself to me, I recognize his handle and it all clicked. At that point, the driver to the Sig Red S steps out to join in the conversation and it turns out to be ChadS.  First thing that Chad does is stare at me in disbelief and said something to the effect of, “aren’t you out of your way”.  Apparently he recognized me and was confused as to why I’m charging in OR for a trip to Reno… We had a good laugh at that and explained our Long Way Round trip and plans.

The Sig Red on the left is ChadS and the Blue Model S (twin to our S) in the middle is DBullard.

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Chad was there a lot longer than we were and he headed out first.  With three of us heading South for TMC Connect, and several locations with only four stalls means that we can probably expect to have some locations have a short wait.

Chad and Doug both have hotel plans for the night.  We’re just winging it, so it really depends on how it works out.

We left next, but being a more “moderate”-footed Model S driver meant that before we even make it to the next supercharger location, Doug overtakes us on the road and we were able to get him a few great shots of Nikola.

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We continue on and my better half spots another “logging industry” life-cycle truck hauling Stage 2 prepared lumber products…

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I suppose that these “bald spots” on the mountain is probably “logging industry” life-cycle stage 0.  Either that, or someone needs tree rogaine to cover these spots.

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The drive back to Grants Pass has some interesting undulations.

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We were craving coffee in the middle of this drive and thought to seek out the nearest Dutch Bros. coffee.  After all, we’re not going to be in Oregon much longer and we can always grab Starbucks elsewhere.

So, we did a search on Google and found a listing for one at Sutherlin, OR.

Near the Dutch Bros. location, we see one big flag above us…  We also spot a donut.

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It is a donut… but when you put the words Smoke Shop on a Donut and put mushrooms above the building, it makes us think twice before we stop in, and we passed on that “donut” shop.  Additionally, the Dutch Bros. at this location had a LONG line and we’re only 80 miles to Grants Pass.  We decided to skip this location and continued on our drive.

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Success…  At least on my wife’s goal of seeing the “logging industry” life-cycle in action on this trip (we’re still waiting on that Pasta truck from Day one of the drive.) That’s half a wood building we see being carried on a truck.

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And a short while later, the OTHER half of that structure was being hauled as well.

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And then for bonus points, we get to see a completed structure being hauled on our side of the drive.

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Not just a completed structure, but a modern “out house.”  I would normally make a joke about the “Oversize Load” sign on an “out house”, but decide against it.

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Now this former mountain “bald spot” looks like it got some tree Rogaine applied to its slope.

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And with that we find ourselves at our last supercharger stop in Oregon.  Back in Grants Pass, OR.

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At the Grants Pass Supercharger, I took the last remaining spot and it looks like Doug and Chad were already there with one other Model S.  Since the two guys that were traveling ahead of me were sharing the same circuit, I can only guess that the other Model S must have arrived in between the two of them.

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We decided to fill up the car with electrons before we filled up the travelers with some “Dutch Love”…

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We ordered a Caramelizer and a hot coffee as well.

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Before we left the area, we thought to stop by and take pictures of the nearly adjacent West Coast Electric Highway DCFC station at Grants Pass.  The states of Oregon and Washington deployed their stations along the WCEH a lot faster than California or British Columbia. The standard at the time was strictly CHAdeMO and the planners also instituted a J1772 alongside the single CHAdeMO station that they installed.

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It’s a great start to allow CHAdeMO enabled travel throughout both states. Unfortunately, very few US cars are able to use the CHAdeMO stations, but I know of several who have made full use of this network and I am sure they are thankful for it.

Ooh…  a painted bear.  Not sure what the bear was adorned with, but can only guess that it had something to do with the history of the area.

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And we headed out of Grants Pass and back to California.

On this leg of our drive, I spot a Nissan Leaf that was on a truck that was headed in the same direction as us.  It looks like it has no plates and I suspect that its a car that was being sold or has been sold in California that used to be in Oregon.  But I digress.

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Spot a lone windmill in the distance.  Don’t know what it’s powering, but good for them.

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And as we near the California border, our friendly neighbors from the South send us on our way with a thankful goodbye.

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We spot no California sign outside of the “Click it or Ticket” sign.  That was disappointing.

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And the terrain becomes less green and more gold in the Golden State.

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Looks like the cows around these parts are hanging out on the ranch as well.

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My better half captures a nice shot of Mt. Shasta.

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And I needed to make a quick stop and thought it would be funny to take a picture of the Weed, CA sign.  Yes…  I can be a little immature at times,  (remember the Outhouse insinuation?)

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Nearing the Mount Shasta supercharger, we spot some really colorful trucks on the side of the road.  One has to definitely be distracted not to notice any of those trucks.  I spotted them from the OTHER SIDE of the road.

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And we get to Mt. Shasta in no time.  Doug was spending the night here, so we were not going to be seeing Nikola on the road today.  However, I believe that Chad was still going forward.  We arrived to be the last vehicle to take the fourth stall again and proceeded to charge for our next stop in Corning.

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It was still early enough in the day that we decided to keep driving.  We currently selected the Supercharger in Roseville, CA as our next destination, though I don’t think that we’ll be driving there tonight.  The GPS wants us to take CA-99 after Corning.

I ran into Doug at the hotel and we chatted a little and I told him about the great pictures that my better half caught of Nikola and got his business card so that I can email him the JPGs.

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Another four stall supercharger where we ended up being the last one here.

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Going downhill at passes always seems to create the most interesting energy graphs.

So, we filled up and continued on.

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Lots of great tree lined drive.  The curves make it feel like we’re the only one on the road.

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Until you look behind, or past the next corner.

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We spot another lone windmill.

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Then some more cows grazing.

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Before we make it to Corning Supercharger, we wanted to see if we can stay in the Roseville area.  We couldn’t find a hotel to stay at and decided to change locations and target the Hyatt Regency Sacramento for our hotel for the night.  It looked to have a charger or two available for use according to Tesla Destination Charging program and confirmed by our friends at Teslarati.

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Our original goal was Roseville, and that would have been better to take CA-99 over I-5.  Since we’re now considering Sacramento, we decided to just stick with I-5 to our hotel.

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With sunlight and no “strange people” around, the Corning, CA feels reasonably safe.  Besides, there’s an open Starbucks nearly adjacent to the charging location, and that always puts me at ease.

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Looks like most of the cars and people were also attracted to the Starbucks.

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We continue on I-5 to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.

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One of the concerns in driving through these fields at night is the amount of insect activity and how many will find themselves stuck on the car during the drive.

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And just past 10:00 PM at night we finally check in to our hotel for the night.

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The parking garage at the Hyatt had a ton of EVSEs installed.  Unfortunately, at the time, only one seemed to be operational.

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I ended up finding the one that was working and plugged in.

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I walked throughout the parking structure and noticed a ton of EVSEs and HPWCs that were installed with no power to them.

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The “Not in Service” signs irritated me, but I guess they’ll be “on” in the future.

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I took a picture of the “EV Rules” for the parking garage attached to the Hyatt Regency.  This location is configured that the EVSEs are MEANT TO BE SHARED. There is an EVSE to share for every three stalls.

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It will be great to see this location in action in the future.  However, when one arrives at a destination charger expecting to be able to charge, it’s been one disappointment after another with two hotels in a row that were supposed to be available for destination charging that was less than ideal.  (At least I was able to plug in.)  Besides, we’re almost at TMC Connect (tomorrow) and the Gigafactory Party in two days.  With that, we turned in.

[In all fairness to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, there have been articles and press releases recently published (September 2016 – Clipper Creek article. Link on Hyatt site. Sacramento Bee article) that announced the “Grand Opening” of these chargers that were inoperative when we visited it in July 2016.  Perhaps the approval process took forever.]

The next day of this series, Day 11, is published and available here.

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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 – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 09

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the ninth 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 8 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

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

So, what do we have in store today?  Today we continue to head South toward Reno for the Gigafactory Party on the 29th. We’ve also registered to do some of the events for TMC Connect 2016. Our first event is the Dinner Reception on Thursday evening for TMC Connect 2016. Rather than take a different route back to Reno, we’ve decided to stay on the same Interstate 5 route.

The main reason for staying on this route is we are trying to meetup with many fellow EV folks who reached out but were unable to get together during the Northbound journey.

Day 9 – Vancouver, BC Southbound to as far as we can..  July 26, 2016

We got a good night’s sleep and fully charged at our hotel before we rolled out.

Had $30 CAD left in my pocket, and since we’re not planning on being in Canada anytime in the near future, decided to go ahead and apply this cash to our hotel balance.

As I was settling up, it looks like another Model S was just moving in.  Perhaps a single HPWC is all this location needs for now.  I do believe that they just need a little more parking spots dedicated to the hotel.  I’m quite aware that many EV travelers will need to be more cognizant of fellow EV travelers and make accommodations for folks to share a single HPWC.  This means that they should be ready to move their vehicles when done charging (a good plan) or to at least provide their contact information if unable to do so easily (or both, an even better plan.)

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Our range charge at start of today is at 252 miles, nearly the maximum that the car displays when fully charged.

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And with that starting charge, we’re headed back to the United States… Same route, but hope to catch up with friends (and perhaps some Pokemon) along the way.

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We make the border in rather quick time.

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We opted to cross the border at the “touristy” crossing again.  We got there around 10:00 AM.

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There were lines again, but it felt like it was moving faster.

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After all, we’re traveling in miles again! 😉

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Somehow it feels like we’re traveling 1.6x faster on miles than we are in Kilometers!

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This interesting sculpture was installed just behind the border crossing.

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In all seriousness, the crossing back to the United States took about 35 minutes. That is quicker than the crossing into Canada.  Additionally, our rear windows did roll back up unimpeded.

We headed back to Washington State and were accompanied by a famous VW Bug.  It’s an ICE, but with Herbie, the Love Bug striping, I can forgive it a little.

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Not that we needed a charge, but I did need to make a pit stop and were surprised to be greeted by a couple of friends.

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Some free to use Aerovironment EVSEs at the first rest stop from Canada to Washington on I-5.

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And it was sponsored by our good friends at Adopt-A-Charger!  I already feel at home.

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Earlier on our trip, I wrote about my better half’s quest to document the “logging industry life-cycle.”   She took some photographs of cut trees on trucks as step one.  We figure that these pictures of nicely cut lumber is step two of this cycle.

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And we continue our Southbound journey through Washington.

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And quickly  make it to our first supercharger stop of the day at Burlington, WA.

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We had several potential meetups on the drive South, some of whom unfortunately were busy on a Tuesday to meet up, so we ended up missing them on this trip.  One that was able to meet up was Tony Giannini and his wife Vanessa.  Tony and Vanessa both drive Model X and were gracious enough to offer their HPWC for a charge and chat on the way down.  Since we’re pretty well stocked on electrons around their part of Washington state, we just figured to stop off for a snack and chat instead.

Tony and I have exchanged twitter conversations on many things Tesla and T-Mobile (my preferred mobile provider since Voicestream did the bandwidth swap with Cingular and enterred the California market as T-Mobile) and were delighted to take them up on their offer.  Besides…  They said DONUTS.  And who am I to turn THAT down!

They directed us to Top Pot Doughnuts and coffee and we met up with them and their kids.

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The donut choices were excellent and the conversation was even better.

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As is customary on these EV meetups, we checked out their car. (They brought one of their Model X)

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Here’s a great shot of us with the cars.

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We could have spent more time with them, but had to cut it short because we had the goal to be past Portland tonight and had tentatively scheduled some time to possibly meet some of the other contributors to Transport Evolved, Kate Walton-Elliott, in Olympia, WA, as well as TE’s editor-in-chief Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, around Portland, OR, in real life.  Both these meets were in flux for one reason or the other, and we hoped to be able to time it at a mutually convenient time and meet IRL.

Nikki was supposed to be on a panel the previous week at EV Roadmap, but had to cancel for personal reasons, and we have a chance to meet later today.

Southbound journey to Portland seemed to be faster to ditch Seattle altogether and we pass our Hilton in Bellevue, WA.

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Yup, lots more traffic in the West.

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This Eastern route has given us a better view of snow and glacier capped mountains, so that’s a plus.

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And the traffic was so bad, we decided to follow the interesting alternate routes that was offered to us.

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The beauty of GPS and a sense of adventure on these long roadtrips is the ability to get off the Interstate and see the countryside.

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We got a text from our first potential meet with Kate Walton-Elliott, and unfortunately the timing wasn’t going to work.  So, here’s to hoping for another chance to meet IRL.

In the meantime, we had hoped to catch some well recommended, Chef Jenn Louis stop around Olympia of Tacos La Fuente.  Unfortunately, they’re a daytime only place and we arrived 15 minutes after they close the whole restaurant/bus down.

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Needless to say, I was NOT HAPPY.

This is an unhappy selfie…

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And we’re back in Centralia, WA for a supercharge.

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We make a route to somewhere near Nikki’s part of Portland, as we were still “touch and go” on the meetup plans and wanted to make it as easy on her to come on out and chat.

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We have a little bit of time around here…  Unfortunately there’s a glare, but if you look to the right of the charger on the left, there is a bucket with a squeegee there that has been provided by a generous local for those of us traveling through Centralia, WA.

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We didn’t avail ourselves of the squeegee as the car was relatively clean, and we headed onward…

…apparently toward where Lord Vader resides.

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The better half has been obsessed with the logging/lumber industry on this trip and points out the tall trees.

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It’s amazing to see all this green on the drive.

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Even this bridge is green.  It’s painted like the color of army tanks in old World War 2 movies.

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We’re nearing Battle Ground, WA.  Just an interesting name for a town, wonder what battles were fought there.

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We’re nearing Oregon again.

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Looks like we’re going to miss meeting Nikki IRL today.  We’ll eventually meet-up, but not on this trip.  Will have to continue corresponding over the ‘Net.

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Since we are not meeting up with Nikki, we made plans to supercharge at Woodbury, OR.  This was the supercharger that “surprised us” on Day Two of our Northbound journey when we were headed to EV Roadmap 9.

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So, we stopped off and charged, had dinner next door at the Red Robin.  We got to the location close to the closing time for the site sponsors and we felt like going to a chain that would be open longer.

While at the restaurant, we made plans for our next stop, and found the Hilton Garden Inn, Springfield, OR as a viable stop for us.  The hotel is just around the corner from the Supercharger at Springfield/Eugene, OR that we charged in on our Northbound journey, but we felt like we can have the car charged while we sleep.

We made our lodging plans for the evening and did the drive from Woodbury to Springfield/Eugene, OR.

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It was one of our shorter legs for today.  We arrive at the hotel around 11:00 PM and were tired.  One of the two chargers at the location was available, but the way the parking was configured meant that we would have to cross vehicles to charge and didn’t want to run “the risk.”

I was too tired to deal with it, we made a mental note to write an entry into Teslarati for this destination charger location and went to bed.  We’re less than a mile away from the supercharger in town that we can easily drive over there in the morning.

The next day of this series, Day 10, is published here.

2016_Day9_Vancouver to Eugene

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 – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 05

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the fifth 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 4 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

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

So, what do we have in store today? We’ve achieved our intermediate goal and attended EV Roadmap 9 conference at Portland’s World Trade Center.  So, we’re now on our way to the Gigafactory… After we visit family in the Seattle area and Vancouver, BC area.

Day 5 – Portland to Seattle, WA area.  July 21, 2016

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Interestingly enough, it looks like we had no vampire drain last night. We rolled in with 195 miles of range and rolled out with 195 miles of range. We had a little bit of a late start for our drive to Seattle. The distance between the two cities is rather short compared to our other drives that we figured that we should be fine even with the late start.

For those unfamiliar, Portland, OR is actually very close to the border with Washington State.  So, when we headed North from our hotel toward Seattle, it wasn’t long until we saw the following sign on our bridge crossing.

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And we were greeted with signs for Vancouver… Washington.

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You know that the border crossing occurs often when the state sign is pretty understated.

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Not quite at the border, there was a better state sign.

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But the border was where the understated sign was.

We actually encountered some rain on this part of the drive and were quite happy about that. My expectations for a trip to the Pacific Northwest is to have some rain. As it was, we’ve had nothing but perfect weather. Apparently the rest of the country was suffering from a terrible heat wave.

We were being chased down by a Red Leaf in Vancouver, WA.

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And then we were passed Vancouver, WA

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Still driving along the Columbia River, I think..

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Thanks to MelindaV, we had some good local provisions to hold us in place during this drive.

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And we hit weather again.

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We did have some interesting sights on the drive…

On the way to Centralia, spotted these interesting sculpture. Not sure whether it’s just aesthetic or functional, but looked cool.

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Logging trucks are not one of the things that we often see around Southern California.

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My better half made it her goal to try to follow the “logging industry” life-cycle on what we spot on the road. So, let’s consider this truck of cut trees as step one on this life-cycle plan. Our goal is to follow the wood through its process.

In the meantime, though we had some provisions from MelindaV, we were nearing one of the places that Chef Jenn Louis recommended. It was a Mexican restaurant in Centralia, WA that was about a mile from the superchargers.

As we got closer to Centralia, we saw some strangely colored Washington cows…

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Downtown Centralia, WA

As I wrote about yesterday, Chef’s usually know good places to eat, so we took her suggestion and headed to Downtown Centralia, WA.  The exit was one before the Tesla Supercharger in the same town.

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La Tarasca is apparently an institution in Centralia (1001 W Main St, Centralia, WA 98531.)  They’ve been open since 1997 and only a little over a mile away from the supercharger, a must stop.  Some may supercharge and take local transportation to the restaurant and back.  I would suggest to just stop, enjoy the meal, and then head over to the supercharger.

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Here are the hours of operation for La Tarasca.  It was good that we decided to have lunch here on Friday rather than try to squeeze them into the return drive.  We plan on leaving Vancouver and head South on or around Tuesday and expect to pass Centralia on that day.  It’s also important to note the sign that lets customers know that they do not serve “chips”.

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We parked at the restaurant to eat lunch with plenty of range left on the battery.

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So, we ordered our meal.

I was going to be a smart aleck, and ask for chips, but my shins hurt too much from my wife’s subtle reminder NOT to be a smart aleck. 😉

Instead of chips, they brought out these pickled vegetables.  I tried one, it was ok, but it gets a big thumbs up from the better half.

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The meal was a good authentic Mexican Food from Michoacan.  We ordered the Chile Verde and

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the Carnitas.

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These are provided with freshly made corn tortillas, and not flour ones. Another “house rule”, no flour tortillas.

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It was a filling meal and after fueling ourselves, we headed to the superchargers at Centralia (located at the outlet mall).

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We took local roads to the Centralia Supercharger as it was about a mile away from where La Tarasca was located.

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We had enough charge to get to our next stop, which was our hotel for the night. But not enough to do our driving around the Seattle area.  We had a schedule to keep and wanted to have enough time to check in to our hotel in Bellevue, pick up our niece from Summer Camp in Seattle, and then drive up to Everett to see Billy Elliot, the Musical.  We chose our hotel in Bellevue, the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, for the evening because it had some J1772 chargers according to Plugshare.  The difference in cost for the hotel stay versus hotels on Tesla’s destination charger network made it worth it to pick our hotel, even though we would have to pay fees to charge on the J1772 at that location.

Since this was the start of a Summer Weekend, We noticed that this was a busy supercharger and we were joined briefly by a fellow Californian in a Signature Red Model X.

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To minimize the Level 2 charging and to ensure that we have enough “driving around town” charge when we got to the Seattle area, we range charged at this supercharger.  As we mentioned earlier, we need to travel between Bellevue, Seattle, and Everett for our evening plans.

We did a little outlet shopping at Centralia while the car charged.  We were going to be hanging out with our niece for a few days and picked up a present for her and a few things for us.

So, with our battery near capacity, we rolled out of the supercharger to Bellevue.

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We meet up with traffic in Olympia, Washington.

Spot a California Jedi of presumably Hispanic origin.

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The good thing about traffic is we get to enjoy the sights around us without blowing right past them, like this cool helicopter overhead

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And this beautiful church on the other side of the freeway.

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We pass the Tacoma Dome, the now departed Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), had played there for a season while the Key Arena was renovated or built, I don’t remember my Sonics’ history.

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Looks like there’s a cool museum that we’re skipping.

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Another lumber truck for the “logging industry” life-cycle project.

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We were lucky because it looked like a lot of the traffic was headed South and not North.

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We did hit some traffic, but luckily Washington also use HOV lanes with a 2+ person count like California, so I used those lanes.

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We made it to Bellevue.  Seems like a nice looking city.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever been here before, but now I can say that I have.

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We arrived at our hotel in Bellevue with enough time to check in and get our room assigned.  But we were nearing the time we needed to depart to pick up our niece from her dorm.  We headed to her camp which was using a dorm from Seattle Pacific University.

First we had to traverse Bellevue and it’s interesting to see so many trees interspersed with the city.  Considering all the building off the freeway, I didn’t expect this much foliage.

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Original estimates had the drive at a leisurely 30 minutes or so, but the estimates changed drastically when we were getting on the bridge connecting Everett with Seattle, we ended up taking about an hour longer to traverse the distance because of an accident on the bridge.

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Additionally, this was a toll bridge, now there was a way to sign up as a visitor in the area to at least pay for the tolls like a resident before getting a fine. So I made a mental note to fill that out.  The system was called GoodToGo and one should consider signing up for a visitor account before heading in, that minimizes your toll costs.

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Seattle traffic was pretty bad.

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Spotted traditional electric trolley buses with the constant power connected overhead rather than full EV buses with its own battery pack like the BYD ones at the conference the other day.

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We pass through some interesting parts of Seattle to get to our niece’s dorms.

Looks like some boats are parked above ground.

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Another bridge…

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It made me think of “Many Rivers to Cross”… (though I’m sure it was just one)

And some Portland area coffee has made in-roads into the Seattle Coffee scene. (quick alert Starbucks!)

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And after the traffic filled journey, we make it to her dorm.

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Our plans for the Seattle area for this evening is to catch a musical, Billy Elliot at Everett Washington.  Still a little bit of a drive from her dorm, but we can make it.

We’re not proud of it, but we fed her (and ourselves) burgers and fries.  I’m a big fan of the spicy fries that Five Guys Burgers produces and am glad to see the quality is the same all over the country.

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At the parking structure for the play, we found our WA state twin for our Model S and parked beside it.

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Crossed the street in Downtown Everett to the Village Theater and found our seats with ten minutes to spare.

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We figured to take our niece out for a nice musical on her night of freedom from her summer camp.

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I was impressed with the production in Everett.  It wasn’t Broadway, but it was a high quality traveling production.  The acting and direction was entertaining and the singing and dancing were superb.

We were going to take our niece for Ice Cream after the show, but she was tired and it was time to take her back to the hotel.

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After all the driving for the day, we parked at the hotel with 78 miles of range. Had to do a little driving around the hotel parking lot, but figured a 200V/30A feed would be fine for an overnight charge.

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We’re not going to charge it up to full, but at least have enough to do our driving around Seattle area day on Saturday.

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The charge rate improved a little when I checked on the App and we went to bed.

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The next day of this series, Day 6, can be found here.

2016_Day5_Portland to Bellevue
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 – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 04

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the fourth 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 3 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

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

So, what do we have in store today? We’re still in Portland attending the second day of EV Roadmap 9 conference at Portland’s World Trade Center.  So, we have the intermediate goal to complete.

Day 4 – EV Roadmap 9, Portland OR.  July 21, 2016

Though we have In and Out privileges for our car at the hotel for the conference, I opted to use other means to get from our hotel to the EV Roadmap 2016 conference. I still had a few Lyft credits left, but felt it wasteful to use this because all the cars that came out to help us in Portland have all been ICE. As cool as it was to have someone else drive us around and as cheap as it was because of the credits from T-Mobile, I figured to do something different.

So, for day two of the conference (or day three, depending on how you look at the agenda, considering the previous day was “by invitation only”, I’m counting that as zero.) I decided to forego the high cost of downtown Portland parking AND gasoline. I decided to take the Trimet Trolley system. This method of transport was actually $1 more for me than Lyft because of the credits and the $2.00 tip versus $2.50 each way pass, but I thought why not.

The Trimet station was just across the street from my hotel and a few blocks away from the conference.

The first tram to stop was going the other way, so I took a photo and waited for the one toward City Center.

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It wasn’t a long wait.

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The Trimet tram is similar to the Blue Line/Red Line in Los Angeles, but had the additional cool factor of crossing over water on the bridge.

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The few times I took the Metro in LA, none of my trains did that.

So, for a little longer than what the Lyft ride took me, but a lot cleaner transport, I found myself back at the conference.

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One of the drawbacks with commuting to the conference is missing some of the earlier parts, I missed some of the earlier sessions, but I was able to make the session from the auto manufacturers.

I then continued to the sessions on deploying Fast Charging networks.

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It is interesting to note that many other charging network providers have learned from the lead that Tesla has provided and folks are now ensuring that future deployments should consider a redundant deployment of fast chargers rather than a “ready” state in addition to a single DCFC as has been deployed in the past. The industry is looking to design for future success rather than have single points of failure along the charging corridors that are being deployed. (Common Sense rules!)

At lunch, I ended up with a table full of many of the same folks that I have had the pleasure of talking with the previous day.   There was an award presentation for employers regarding Workplace Charging.  Even though EV Roadmap is one of the premiere North American conferences for the EV industry, it is still focused on Oregon and I believe all the awards were for local businesses.

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After lunch there were several more sessions that I attended.  The most interesting one was the one for Electric Vehicles in the Media.  I had hoped to meet Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield of Transport Evolved as she was originally scheduled to be in that session, but had to bow out for personal reasons.   Nevertheless, the three presenters and moderator did a good job being one of the more entertaining sessions.

I walked by a full Electric Avenue charging location on my way back to the Trimet Trolley.

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I caught the train across from the Apple Store in Downtown Portland.

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And the ridership for the particular train I was on was “quite healthy”

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Not as packed as a London or New York train in the middle of Rush Hour, but definitely a good sign of a well received public transport system. Besides, it’s an EV.

Another crossing of the bridge.

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One of the interesting things that launched in Portland during the conference was a Bike Sharing system that looks to have had a good uptake in ridership as well. The Portland system is called Biketown and is sponsored by local employer Nike. (Similar ones have been launched in other cities, such as the Boris Bikes in London and Citi Bikes in New York.)

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Biketown actually sponsored the conference and could have been an option to try for my commute back to the hotel, but decided to have someone else drive. Though I know how to ride a bike, I haven’t done so in a while, and riding a bike in a busy downtown area may not be the best way to re-introduce myself to the pleasures of cycling.

We had plans to return to Lincoln Restaurant for our last dinner in Portland on this leg of the trip and took our Model S back out for the drive.

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It looks like we started the drive to the restaurant at 208 miles, so that’s another seven miles of vampire loss from sitting in the parking lot all day.

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Lincoln is a wonderful restaurant owned and operated by Chef Jenn Louis. This dinner would be the second time for us to visit this restaurant. The Chef is actually the sister of a high school classmate of mine and we originally dropped in a few years ago to check out the restaurant. We were impressed by the entirety of our restaurant experience, from the meal to the service to the dessert,  that we have added her restaurant to our list of places we “must visit” everytime we’re in her town.

Started off with the Octopus on the Plancha

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and the Baked Hen Eggs

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Grilled Dates and Marcona Almonds

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Since Jenn’s first cookbook was called Pasta by Hand, have to try her pasta (besides, I prefer to have someone else’s hands make and cook the pasta for me ;-),) and decided on the Bucatini with herb pesto, oil-cured olives, and walnut.

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and a nice NY Steak with prosciutto, blackberries, blue cheese, and panzanella.

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The desserts were also awesome

We had the Popcorn Panna Cotta to share…

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…and each had a bon bon. White chocolate.

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and Dark chocolate.

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After a great meal, here’s a picture of us with Jenn.

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It’s good to get to know chefs because they’re a great source of information for places to eat when one travels. We talked about our plan to go to Vancouver on the way to Reno and Jenn had a few places to recommend in Washington and a restaurant to go to in Vancouver. She recommended a great hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Willamette Valley a few years back that had great food, so we took notes on the restaurants to visit on our Pacific Northwest trip.

We headed back to the hotel and parked the car with a 198 miles of range overnight.

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We had more than enough range to make it to our next supercharger stop at Centralia, WA tomorrow and headed back to our hotel room to rest for the drive to the Seattle, WA part of our trip.

The next day of this series, Day 5, will be published on September 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM Pacific (/1:00 PM Eastern/6:00 PM British Summer Time/September 17, 2016 at 1:00AM Hong Kong Time/3:00 AM Sydney Time)

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 – http://ts.la/dennis5317.

The Long Way Round – Day 03

With a hat-tip to the 2004 TV mini-series from Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This is the third 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 2 of this trip.  You’re just joining us on this trip?  Click here for Day 1 and start from the beginning!

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

So, what do we have in store today? We’re in Portland attending the EV Roadmap 9 conference at Portland’s World Trade Center.  So, intermediate goal started.

Day 3 – EV Roadmap 9, Portland OR.  July 20, 2016

Though we have In and Out privileges for our car at the hotel for the conference, I opted to use other means to get from our hotel to the EV Roadmap 9 conference.  As with many cities, downtown areas parking costs can get expensive and thanks to T-Mobile and its various T-Mobile Tuesday promotions, I had a few $15 Lyft credits on my account to use.  So, I opted to do that instead.

So, for day one of the conference (or day two, depending on how you look at the agenda, considering the previous day was “by invitation only”, I’m counting that as zero.) I ordered a Lyft at my hotel and waited to be driven over to the World Trade Center complex in Portland.  In a ironic twist, the Lyft driver that took to the premiere North American EV conference drove up in a Cadillac Escalade.  A very non-EV, gas burning ICE SUV.  At least I was “rolling in style” (if it were a decade earlier or so…)

The Lyft would have cost about $10.00, but with the credit from T-Mobile, the cost was a $2.00 tip for the ride. (as well as some guilt over burning dead dinosaurs for the transport, but it’s only 2 miles attributable to MY use of Lyft.) The driver dropped me on the other side of the street and I passed an almost full Electric Avenue on my way to join the conference.

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As this conference was for the EV industry, there were several auto manufacturers with their EVs on display and some even provided a Drive event during the first day.

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Not the bus, however,

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that was going to serve as the transport for the activity through the Willamette Valley wine tasting for day three that we’re opting to skip.

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The conference itself was very informative with a focus on the current state of the industry as well as what is coming up next.  There were discussions and presentations on what the best practices are as well as what the leaders in the industry are doing.

I focused on areas of interest and attended sessions on public charging network deployment and regulatory challenges and solutions.

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It would seem that many of the sessions I attended were filled up and some were standing room only for some.

At lunch, there was a demonstration of Vehicle to Grid using a Leaf to power an Ice Machine and Ice Shaver to make Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

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I expected cold and rain in Portland, but apparently they get nice sunny summers up there too. Aside from the vehicles available to drive, there were some that were just sitting around.

Here’s a nice red Chevy Bolt EV that looks like it’s ready for release.

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Additionally, there was also a plug-in mini-van (PHEV) (a Chrysler Pacifica, I believe)

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Nice to see these improvements by a couple of the manufacturers for their offerings.

I got the pleasure of having lunch with John Voelcker (Editor in Chief of Green Car Reports) and Bengt Halvorson (of Car and Driver). We were also joined by Chelsea Sexton. In conversation, I was alerted by Bengt of an opportunity to actually drive a car that has so far eluded me: the BYD e6.

BYD e6

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On the side of the car is some marketing of what makes the e6 an attractive car (to some).  Of course, a lot of these items can also be found in other manufacturers that we know.

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The BYD e6 is not a pretty car, nor would it ever be a car that would appeal to us I am intrigued about it because part of the strategy implemented by BYD is a lot like the one that Elon espouses with Master Plan #2.  BYD is further along on the mass-transit portion of that plan than Elon (as is evidenced by the EV Bus that will be taking folks from Portland to the Willamette Valley for wine-tasting on Friday.) Not to say that BYD is Tesla or that Tesla is BYD only to say that they are playing in each others’ space.  BYD is only providing the e6 in for fleet use in the US.  As such, they aren’t even equipping the cars with J1772.

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I believe that is a Mennekes connection or something that looks like it. The BYD representative basically said that fleets that deploy the car will install BYD chargers because it is a fleet application, they expect users to go back to a central depot to charge. The car itself did have an adapter on it to use J1772, but this was for the demonstration vehicle only and not provided to North American fleets.

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A strange decision, if I say so myself.

That being said, how does it drive? I would sum it up in one word: Sluggish. The plan for the test drive included being in the first of two modes, Eco Plus, which is the mode with the most range and slowest acceleration (if you could call it that.) I drove first and Bengt joined me as a passenger in the back. We did a loop around Downtown Portland and I was unimpressed with the acceleration. I’ve been in ICE vehicles that accelerated better. Even when the representative took the car off Eco Plus mode to the Eco mode, it was still a lumbering beast.  I tried to change lanes ahead of another car and was shocked at how slow the e6 was in accelerating.  I felt like an iMiEV would have been quicker.

After completing my circuit, I got to go to the back and took some interior pictures.

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The controls, fit, and finish of the vehicle was acceptable.  What I really did not like was the lack of “Zip” that one typically gets in an EV.  This car did not have any of that.

I did not get pricing information or the like, but it does seem like a car with a lot of heavy batteries and an unmatched motor is how this car gets its range. Not being able to take it too far may not give it justice on how serious a threat they can be, but I can honestly say that I can check off BYD e6 from my list of cars that I’ve “driven.”

Back to the conference.

Here’s a picture from above to show the expo area.

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(And yes, there was a BMW i8, new Chevy Volt, and Prius Plug-In (or whatever they’re calling those nowadays) there too.)

After several more sessions in the afternoon, including a very interesting live look in to a focus group of Portland public to discuss electric cars, it was time for the conference’s cocktail hour.  Met a few more folks throughout the day like writer (and some would say outspoken Tesla critic) Ed Niedermeyer of the Daily Kanban and Matt Teske of Drive, known for his Chevy Jolt EV fan site.

Rather than have my better half putting about town, we bought tickets for her to join the cocktail hour for the conference.  There were several firms at the expo during the cocktail hour and the illustration below hearkened back to some illustrations that I was familiar with during Active E days about four years ago.  At the time BMW were postulating using lamp posts for EV charging and lo and behold, Eluminocity was at the expo.

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A demonstration unit was shown mounted on a pole.

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We spent the time at the cocktail hour exchanging information, and getting to know some of the folks that we met that day. It is fascinating to speak to some of these writers whose work I have followed over the years of getting into the rEVolution and hearing their thoughts and hopes for the industry and society. It was interesting to hear varied opinions on the challenges facing EV adoption and appreciated the candid and respectful exchange of ideas.

Though some finger food was provided at the cocktail hour, I’ve always found it difficult to fill up when I go to these things that I find that I often have to go to a restaurant to have a proper meal. The sushi from the night before was fine, but was not quite the quality that I expected, so we opted to go to another sushi bar for dinner that evening. We took Lyft back to the hotel and took our car out to go to Bamboo Sushi in Portland.

Dinner at Bamboo Sushi

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When I don’t know what to get at a sushi bar, I often will start with the Chirashi. A Chirashi is basically sashimi on a bed of sushi rice. It’s a good way to have a sample of how good a sushi restaurant is in its product.

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I then supplement with individual orders, if I am still hungry.

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The sushi at Bamboo Sushi was very good quality. It hit the spot and I was glad to find hiqh quality sushi. The drive from our hotel to the restaurant and back was a very short 3 miles and we parked the Model S with 215 miles left on the range.

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We lost more from vampire drain than we did for the 2.2 miles of driving. (226 was the range when we parked it the previous night.)

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I guess it’s a sign of EV maturation when you don’t sweat the small stuff. We’re only a few miles from the Electric Avenue DCFC and we have a CHAdeMO adapter, should we need it.

Either way, went back to bed looking forward to the second day of the EV Roadmap 9 conference.

The next day of this series, Day 4, is 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 – http://ts.la/dennis5317.