A Trip in Three Phases… Phase 3… The Tesla 2017 Annual Meeting

Phase 3 of the trip was attending the Tesla Annual Meeting in Mountain View on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.  (Phase 1 is here, and Phase 2 is here.)

Phase 3 – Tesla Annual Meeting 2017

We attended our first Tesla annual shareholders meeting last year (Day One, Day Two).  This year, since we were already in the area right before, we decided to attend the Tesla Annual Meeting again two weeks ago.

The previous Annual Meeting trip in 2016 was the central focus of those two days.  However, this year’s (2017’s) attendance was the afterthought to other activities that brought us to the area.

The Tesla Annual Meeting is a great place to spot Teslas and other EVs…

As well as cars that hope to be EVs soon.

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Some one was part of Luke Skywalker’s squadron.

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We figured to boost our charge for the drive home. We want to get home at a decent hour after today’s Annual Meeting.

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Tesla spotting in the row that we parked our cars in.

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On the way to the line-up, I forgot to get a close up of the Blue S with its trunk open on the right side of the photo above.  That’s TMC’s Papa Fox headed out on another Mainland Roadtrip (from Hawaii)

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We waited in the shade of the trees before security let us into the event.

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And here I am chatting with Papafox from Hawaii.

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Chatting with Bonnie as well as Linda and Bill from our home club, the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County.

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And the line started to form… Nanette from Tesla Owners Club of Hawaii was with us as well.

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And we catch Steve Jurvetson shooting video of the line…

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It just gets longer

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Better half gets a better picture of me with Linda and Bill.

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And finally, the queue to get into the building opens and security lets us through…

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The guy ahead of us must have been made of metal, ’cause he should’ve brought a purse with all the stuff he had to empty from his pockets.

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The Annual Meeting was held in the same room as last year.

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We did get a better seat.

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The agenda was relatively brief.

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And lots of familiar faces.

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And hanging with the Hawaiians

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This guy had looked familiar too…

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Better view this trip, but not better pictures.  Unlike last year when Elon and JB really went “off-book” and kept us entertained at the meeting for several hours.  Elon was pretty structured.  A lot of it had to do with IR taking and filtering questions the day before via Twitter submissions.  There was no in-room queuing for live questions.  So, though the IR department let some less serious questions come through, it was all pretty well managed.

No “earth shattering” revelations and even the Model Y tease wasn’t really much.  Still, it was a good way to cap the past few days of Tesla and Active E EV activities and we had a good time.  When we headed out, and finally caught a photo with the Model S with the Hawaii plate.

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Great shot of the Roadster getting its 3rd party netting top. We need to find one of those for the better half’s Roadster.

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Our route is plotted into the NAV…

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and we’re headed home.

We spot a Zero Motorcycle on our way out of the Annual Meeting.

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The Annual Meeting this year let out in the middle of Silicon Valley Rush Hour Traffic… So, that just means more chances to play #EVBingo.  Only drawback was I found out about thirty minutes later that some of my friends caught a Model 3 at the Mountain View Supercharger. As usual, it takes the Belgians on a trip to California to get great pictures of the Model 3.  😜 (Thanks again for the DM Martin and for not “rubbing it in”)

And what cars did we get to catch on camera?  Well, unfortunately, we were only able to catch a couple of #EVBingo cars on this Rush Hour Traffic drive.

This Audi E-Tron was blurry on the camera, but you can make out the outline of the green HOV sticker on the car. It’s the green discoloration on the rear bumper’s right side. (I spotted the car fine with my eyes, but we were fighting traffic here.)

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And the other EV Bingo car we captured on camera was the Ford Focus Electric that was a few cars ahead of me in the carpool lane.

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So, how did we do around the Bay Area/Silicon Valley (not counting the time waiting for the Annual Meeting, or right after…

Bay Area
Total – 6/6 Bay Area On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 29 2 31 1 31
Chevy Volt 26 26 1 26
BMW i3 11 11 3 33
Tesla Model X 12 8 20 5 100
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 1 15 15
Ford Fusion PlugIn 7 7 2 14
Ford Focus Electric 1 1 12 12
Ford C-Max PlugIn 3 3 3 9
Nissan LEAF 22 22 1 22
Fiat 500e 0 7 0
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 0 8 0
Toyota Prius PlugIn 4 4 3 12
Sonata 1 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 3 3 15 45
Audi E-Tron 1 1 12 12
Zero Motorcycle 1 ?
Totals 361

Tried to get a ruling on Zero Motorcycle, but we didn’t have points. So, that’s 361 before the California Handicap, and 180.5 after the 50% discount for the Bay Area spotting.

Just at the Annual Meeting parking lot and adjacent, supercharger.

Annual Meeting
Total – 6/6 Bay Area Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 53 1 53
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
BMW i3 1 3 3
Tesla Model X 37 5 185
Tesla Roadster 1 25 25
Mercedes Benz B250e 1 15 15
Totals 283

The total of 283 points, pre-California 50% handicap of 141.5 points.  Which means that we have 644 total points (322 post handicap) before we leave the Bay Area/Silicon Valley area.  I like to use the Gilroy Supercharger for the spot that we delineate these areas, so past that is between Metro Areas count.

So, we head through, still mesmerized by the progress one really wet year has done for the state’s water levels.

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We pass that duck pond again.

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Furthermore, driving on the Southbound/Westbound side of this drive gives us better views of the reservoir to see how close to its capacity its been since the wet Winter that we’ve had.

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And it wasn’t long until we’re back on Interstate 5 again.

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We stopped off at Harris Ranch for a big boost and had a Red, White, and Blue shot… Too bad we drive an S, and not an X, otherwise it would have been a cool Model X Red, White, and Blue shot.

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After leaving Harris Ranch, my better half played around with her camera with these great sunset shots.

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We were traveling in darkness for quite a bit of that drive back.  Not as late as last year’s Annual Meeting, but still a quiet Tuesday evening drive.

In Between Metro Areas
Total – 6/6 Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 4 1 4
Chevy Volt 2 1 2
Tesla Model X 5 5 25
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 2 3 6
Totals 39

Even though Model S and Model X lights are easy to spot in the dark, we did a decent EV Bingo total of 39 points for inter-Metro travel.  We even beat the total for the LA Metro.

Granted, it was really late and we got home just after midnight.  But we scored a pathetic 1 Model S spotted on the drive. That’s HALF a POINT after the California discount.

At least we got home at a fairly decent hour.

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Lots of bugs gave up its life in this drive… And we’re glad that water restrictions have been eased. ’cause it felt good to clean this car.

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If you want to join us on some of our other trips, here’s day one of our cross-country trip from 2015 or last year’s Long Way Round to the Gigafactory which took us to the Vancouver, BC and back.

A Trip in Three phases… Phase 1… The Tesla Owners Club 2017 Leadership Conference

The beginning of June has been a jam-packed time for our EV life. We packed three differing EV related events into six days on a trip to the Bay Area.  Thus, this series of a trip in three phases.

A few weeks prior to this trip, I’ve been playing #EVBingo with a bunch of fellow EV enthusiasts on Twitter. Derek Osborne, from Glasgow, Scotland sent the following Tweet and I became addicted playing this game with them since the last week of May.  (We decided on Twitter to handicap California scoring from the US system that they came up with by 50%).

EV Bingo Card - US Edition

The game is played by tallying up the points for all the vehicles that is spotted on the road and adding the point totals. There’s a lot of EVs in California, so this particular game had to be handicapped for us at 50% the total value.

So, the first phase of the trip (June 1-June 3, 2017) was focused on meeting with the leadership of the official Tesla Owners Clubs and working with Tesla on the relationship between the clubs as well as the relationships between the club and Tesla.

Phase 1 – Tesla Owners Club Leadership Conference

June 1, The Drive and Reception

The drive on June 1st targeted arriving at the Marriott, Fremont (which is across the freeway from the Tesla Factory) in time for the evening reception for all the participating Tesla Owners clubs at the hotel.  We left home and proceeded North through the I-405 traffic in West Los Angeles because of the #EVBingo addiction.  I figured to spot more EVs in the heavier, more direct West LA traffic than going the longer, but less populated route through the foothills.

Even with my more direct, but heavier traffic route, the in-car Trip Planner only required us to make two stops to make our destination.

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Before leaving the LA Metro area, we spot a very positive sight. The California Aqueduct is flowing with lots of water again.

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Additionally, in the interest of figuring out how many #EVBingo points I would spot on the drive within the LA area vs. between metro areas vs. Silicon Valley/Bay Area totals.  So, as we pass the California Aqueduct in the northern parts of LA County, we ran through our totals for the drive through traffic.

So, before we headed into the parts of California in between the LA Metro Area and Silicon Valley/Bay Area, we did a quick total count.

Total – 6/1 In LA Metro Area On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 55 55 1 55
Chevy Volt 43 43 1 43
BMW i3 16 16 3 48
Tesla Model X 8 6 14 5 70
Mercedes Benz B250e 3 3 15 45
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 5 6 11 1 11
Fiat 500e 6 6 7 42
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 2 2 8 16
Toyota Prius PlugIn 6 6 3 18
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 8 8 15 120
Chevy Spark 0 15 0
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 2 2 30 60
Mitsubishi iMiEV 2 2 50 100
Audi E-Tron 1 1 12 12
Golf Cart 0 0 0 0
Total 675

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 337.5 points.

And we’re reminded of why California is called the Golden State. Dry Brush sure looks like gold.

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#EVBingo was not the only game that I was playing on the road.  I was also helping beta-test TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) from HappyFunCorp. And one of the categories in this Tesla Social/gamifcation app is number of superchargers visited for the week, either for all the folks on the app, or your “friends.”  So, I made a deal with my better half that we would stop in as many supercharger locations and plug in as long as we got to the conference in “decent” time.

Besides, there were several added new superchargers along the route (as well as some expansions to existing capacity.)  We stopped at all these superchargers, but charged for a very short time at each one as the time required to charge in the one stop only required fifteen minutes.  We did stop at the Tejon Ranch supercharger for about ten minutes (Supercharger D in the image below), but that had a lot more to do with the coffee I drank in the morning, than really needing to stop and charge.  If you look at the map below, it was directing us to the Bakersfield Supercharger (which is the end of the BLUE highlighted GPS route, before it turns GREY.)

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If you look above, the Tejon Ranch supercharger has four more supercharger stalls deployed. Granted, they are of the “mobile” supercharger variety, but this is usually an indication that further, more permanent stalls will be placed at this location in the future.

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Our first new, to us, supercharger stop was at the Bakersfield Supercharger. This location is interesting in that it is one exit South of the Buttonwillow Supercharger on I-5. Having stopped at Buttonwillow late night/early morning in the past, we can attest that this location with its placement at a gas station location (and IHOP, as well as being located a block away from the California Highway Patrol) makes it ideal for any late night supercharging that we may have to do on this route in the future.

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Our view while supercharging at the stall perpendicular to the rest of the installation has a nice view of the current gasoline prices on this route.

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What it looked like behind me, before someone else was by to join us at the supercharger.  The Trip Planner had us originally scheduled to stop and charge here for fifteen minutes before we headed to Harris Ranch.  However, I was pining for some coffee and we knew that Buttonwillow (which is the next exit North of us) was collocated by a Subway and Starbucks.  So, we unplugged and headed North.

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Moments later, this white Model X took the spot behind us.

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So, we headed to Buttonwillow, one exit North of the Bakersfield Supercharger.  (approximately 3 miles, I believe.) As I previously mentioned, this stop had a lot more to do with the collocated Starbucks than anything else (that and getting the TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) points. We were joined by a Signature Red Model X with some interesting rims.  Getting our Starbucks order completed took longer than the recommended supercharging stop for our next stop at Harris Ranch.

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On the drive along the I-5, we’re reminded that as long as the grid has a connection, we’re sure to find a way to recharge any EV.

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It’s just great that Tesla provides the supercharger network to do it in a quicker way than most other EVs.

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We continued on to Harris Ranch, an Oasis on I-5 for its great steaks, but also for its industry leadership in supporting clean fueling. From its original Roadster charging station to its Hydrogen station. (note the Hyd sign on the exit.)  The only thing missing is standard J1772, CHAdeMO or CCS at this stop (I’m not sure if CNG is available here as well, I don’t normally check for that.)

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This site has expanded again for the third time and is now up to 20 supercharger stalls.  It originally had six charger stalls, then 13 charger stalls, and now 20 supercharger stalls.  The last two are reserved to be used last for handicap access.  I made a mistake on this stop and charged there.  I read the sign for the one I was using when we LEFT Harris Ranch, so I was charging at one of those two chargers that were reserved to be used last on this trip.  To be fair, the last one was the extra-wide that is common for handicap access.

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We’ve been spotting a ton of Tesla vehicles on car carriers on this trip, and we finally caught one on film.  Luckily, the #EVBingo folks said that we can count EVs on car carriers that are NOT found in a dealership or Tesla Gallery.

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It seems that most of the Teslas on the transporters on this day are predominantly Model X.

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Though the better half caught this one carrier with a lot of S on it.

Before making the turn-off for Gilroy, we pass 77,000 miles.

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Now, the navigation didn’t require us to stop anywhere else, but it’s common practice for us to supercharge to near maximum at Gilroy so that we’re not so reliant on supercharging or destination charging while visiting hotels in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area. So, the warning below was for our destination for the evening.

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However, instead of going to Gilroy directly, we noticed that there is a new, to us, Supercharger at Gustline that was about a six mile detour from our route.  So, we decided to go ahead and get the points for the TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) contest.

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Have to be careful of the dip in the charging stalls.  So, if one has air suspension, remember to use it before backing into the stalls.

This is the view from our charging stall.

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We didn’t really need to stop, and after a few minutes of photo taking and documentation and obtaining TezLabApp (iTunes or Android) points, we headed to Gilroy.

The drive to Gilroy we’re greeted with a welcome sight. The reservoir that has looked rather parched in the past few years and previous trips looks like it’s almost at capacity.

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Even the little duck pond that we’ve passed has water in it again.

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The Gilroy supercharger location is another of the original locations in the Supercharger network.

We noticed that this was yet another location that had been expanded for a third time or so.  Originally, when we picked up our Model S in 2013, this location had six stalls.  It’s expanded to twelve last year and now to sixteen stalls.  (Not to mention the CHAdeMO  and CCS stations at this location as well.)

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We decided to check out the newest four stalls and charged at one of them.

Spotted another EV (Golf Cart, which unfortunately has mixed consideration for #EVBingo).

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Did spot a JdeMO powered 2nd Gen RAV4EV pull up to the CHAdeMO/CCS station at Gilroy.

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Spoke with the owner for a few minutes before heading onward to the conference.  The JdeMO from QuickChargePower is a device that adds CHAdeMO DC Fast Charge capability originally for the 2nd Gen RAV 4 and now the Roadster.

We figured that this location was a good one to delineate as “in-between Metro Area spotting” so, quickly tallied our #EVBingo points

in Between Metro Areas
Total – 6/1 in Between Metro Areas On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 26 8 34 1 34
Chevy Volt 8 8 1 8
BMW i3 0 3 0
Tesla Model X 12 16 28 5 140
Mercedes Benz B250e 0 15 0
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 9 9 1 9
Fiat 500e 1 1 7 7
Kia Soul EV 0 15 0
Volkswagen E-Golf 0 8 0
Toyota Prius PlugIn 0 3 0
Sonata 1 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 0 15 0
Chevy Spark 0 15 0
Honda Fit EV 0 50 0
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 1 1 15 15
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 1 1 30 30
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 1 1 0 0
Totals 263

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 181.5 points.  Or 938 total points without the handicap or 469 points after the 50% handicap, for today’s drive, so far.  We headed from Gilroy to the Fremont Marriott and for more metro-area #EVBingo, in the middle of Silicon Valley Rush Hour traffic.  And another Tesla filled Car carrier on the other side of the freeway.

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It wasn’t just Teslas in this part of the drive.  There seemed to be an inordinate number of LEAFs in traffic with us. It was not uncommon on this part of the drive to catch a few LEAFs at the same time. It was like a flashback to 2012 or 2013 when it seems that every other EV was a LEAF.

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Here’s an interesting shot that my better half and co-pilot captured with the former Solar City location sporting Tesla signage and one of many LEAFs that we spotted for #EVBingo in the Silicon Valley area.

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Before heading down to the Tesla Owners Club Leadership Conference Thursday Reception, we do a quick #EVBingo tally.

Silicon Valley
Total – 6/1 Silicon Valley On Car Carriers Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 7 6 13 1 13
Chevy Volt 22 22 1 22
BMW i3 2 2 3 6
Tesla Model X 2 6 8 5 40
Mercedes Benz B250e 4 4 15 60
Ford Fusion PlugIn 1 1 2 2
Ford C-Max PlugIn 1 1 3 3
Nissan LEAF 35 35 1 35
Fiat 500e 2 2 7 14
Kia Soul EV 1 1 15 15
Volkswagen E-Golf 1 1 8 8
Toyota Prius PlugIn 7 7 3 21
Sonata 0 15 0
Chevy Bolt EV 5 5 15 75
Chevy Spark 1 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 1 1 50 50
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 2 2 15 30
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 0 30 0
Mitsubishi iMiEV 0 50 0
Audi E-Tron 0 12 0
Golf Cart 0 0 0
Totals 409

Which means that with the California 50% handicap, we’re at 204.5 points for Silicon Valley.  Interesting to spot a lot more LEAF and Volt than S and X this close to the Fremont Factory.  Still didn’t spot any Model 3 on this drive.

And adding all the legs of this one day, gives us the totals for this Thursday.

Day Total
Total – 6/1 Total Spotted Points Per Car Total Points
Tesla Model S 102 1 102
Chevy Volt 73 1 73
BMW i3 18 3 54
Tesla Model X 50 5 250
Mercedes Benz B250e 7 15 105
Ford Fusion PlugIn 3 2 6
Ford C-Max PlugIn 3 3 9
Nissan LEAF 55 1 55
Fiat 500e 9 7 63
Kia Soul EV 2 15 30
Volkswagen E-Golf 3 8 24
Toyota Prius PlugIn 13 3 39
Sonata 1 15 15
Chevy Bolt EV 13 15 195
Chevy Spark 1 15 15
Honda Fit EV 1 50 50
Honda Accord PHEV 0 50 0
BMW i8 4 15 60
RAV4EV 2nd Gen 3 30 90
Mitsubishi iMiEV 2 50 100
Audi E-Tron 1 12 12
Golf Cart 1 0 0
Totals 1347

Or 1347 total points without the handicap or 673.5 points after the 50% handicap, for today’s drive.

I’m not even sure if that counts the points for the Teslas that we can spot from outside our window from our room today.

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I know it didn’t include the ones across the freeway at Tesla’s Factory from the Marriott’s Executive Lounge.

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Either way, we headed to our evening reception with fellow Tesla Owners Club leaders.  Aside from folks from all over North America, we had friends fly all the way in from Europe and Australia to join us in this first formal event.  Those that followed us on last year’s Long Way Round trip to the Gigafactory would remember the lunch that we had with fellow clubs before the event.

The evening reception was casual and provided the attendees with the time to “get to know” each other again.

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Zeb (pictured on the right) had done this trip on the furthest drive for the group, having driven cross-country from North Carolina and documented it on Google Plus.

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Our Belgian friends, who would later capture some great Model 3 shots on this trip at the reception were all wearing their club polos.

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And here I am speaking with some of the Europeans again.

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Before turning in for the night, went back up to the Executive Lounge to get a nice shot of the Tesla Factory across the street.

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June 2, Conference at Tesla Fremont Factory

Day 2 of the Conference starts off with a bunch of us that drove to the conference providing Zero emission transport from the hotel to the Tesla Factory. Tesla provided the clubs with a room and the time with quite a few employees and executives to spend the day with us as we brainstormed how to make the Tesla Owners Club Program a bigger success.

At the hotel driveway, before we took off… Here’s the panoramic I took after a few of the cars took off…

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Here are four shots of the driveway before those cars took off.

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A hotel driveway full of Teslas mean that either I’m in Heaven, in California, Norway, or Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport… One of those four things is accurate.

Our event with Tesla was occurring during the same time as the Model 3 VIP Event/Factory Tour for folks from the Referral program, so I’m not sure whether they had us park for our event or the other one, but we parked by the supercharger/delivery center at the Fremont Factory.

We headed through security into the training room set aside for the TOC Leadership were meeting.

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We were asked some ice breaker questions.

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and waited for the start.

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It was a long, productive day and we got a break in the middle to do an updated factory tour.

We saw 100,000 Model 3s produced and ready to go…

…JUST KIDDING…

…We saw the production line and the factory itself seems to be “more full” than I’ve ever seen it before. This was the third time that I’ve visited the factory and it seems like they’re now fully utilizing the building.

But we had NDAs and couldn’t take any pictures whatsoever.

It wasn’t all serious work. In between sessions, the tables were provided some pipe cleaners and folks got creative with what was provided for them.

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Here was a rendering of a Model 3 supercharging.

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Either a Rocket Ship to Mars or La Tour Eiffel from Stephen Pace as well as some chocolate covered macadamia nuts from the Hawaii Club.

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And the better half was not immune from the pipe cleaner fun…

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Doing a Tesla logo and the notebook that we used at the conference.

Here are the selection of pipe cleaner fun that the folks put together.

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Aside from the goodies that Tesla fed us with, our friends from Hawaii brought some chocolate macadamia nuts that were in bite size packages on our tables, the Belgians brought Godiva.

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After a long day of brainstorming and working with our Tesla hosts, we had some dinner and drinks at the Factory.

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and some special Tesla cookies for dessert.

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We had some further interesting happenings that I won’t be sharing with you here… But, let’s just say that I got a good idea of the differences in size between the Model 3 and Model S.

And then we were back at the Marriott. When we got back to the hotel, we found out that Robert R and our friends from Belgium were busy taking pictures of the Model 3, both in the wild and on the Test Track near the Factory.

This was what they first spotted that first evening of #Model3 spotting.

They were also by the Tesla track beside the factory and had a few shots on their Twitter page as well.

Had a good time with some late night discussions at the hotel lobby with fellow club leaders, but decided to turn in.

June 3, Club de-brief, hanging at the Computer History Museum, and Model 3 Spotting

The next morning, we had a half day session left for the conference. But before the start of the conference, I thought to see if I can clean the windshield on the car.

Want to spot Teslas from the hotel window? Our S is parked beside the traffic cones on the bottom right corner of the picture.

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Here are some of the Teslas that I could spot from above.

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Lot of other folks did this drive in their Model X. Zeb from North Carolina had already headed back at this time. I was trying to find his car to show the guy with the farthest drive from this group.

And our friends from Belgium were up to their tricks again…

But eventually, we all met back for our clubs debrief and we had a productive session amongst the Tesla Clubs.

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It was good to get a grasp of what other clubs are up to, what sort of response they get and strategies on how to work within the community and with Tesla. We strengthened our bonds and said goodbye to old friends and new. With the full expectation to spot some of these folks on Tuesday for the Tesla Annual Meeting, which is Phase 3 of our trip.

Besides, we were provided with the last gift from the event planning committee.

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The chocolate was enclosed in this puzzle box adorned with all four Tesla vehicles produced or about to be produced, so that was cool.

The rest of Saturday, the 3rd was hanging out with Trevor Page of Model3OwnersClub. We were in contact with each other because he was flying in for the Referral Program VIP Tour and Q&A Session that was held during the same weekend as the TOC event. We were trying to find a time to hang and I volunteered to take him to the airport, so we hung out for a while before his flight.

He hasn’t visited the area before and I didn’t know what traffic in the area was like, so figured to take him to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The museum is a short drive, even in traffic, from San Jose Airport. Additionally, the museum is the same location as the Tesla Annual Meeting and figured that he would enjoy that.

We’ve been in the building last year for the Annual Meeting, but never really visited the museum.

Needless to say, it was a blast.

We saw some really old computers.

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Here’s Trev taking a photo.

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And a lot of very important historical computers. Like this Enigma Machine.

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Or this really old memory tube that was 2560 bits of RAM.

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Trev in front of some old military computer installation.

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A couple of old Cray computers.

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Of course, video games…

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They even had some kids playing PONG.

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and finally an old Apple 1.

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Before we took Trev to the airport for his flight, we take a picture in front of the Google/Waymo Pod Car.

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He had a little fun with his Twitter followers with this car…

After dropping Trev off at the airport, we decided to charge up at the supercharger at the Tesla Factory. Though our hotel is a host to in the destination charger program, one of the L2 was broken, and it was easy enough to catch a charge there. Besides, I had to get another drink of the Tesla Blend drip coffee that Tesla was serving us during our conference the other day.

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I was trying to do some lazy Model 3 spotting at the factory.

And actually caught the Alpha being loaded back in the truck.

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Except, I was asked not to take any further pictures. It’s cool, but I’ve been way up-close to that car already. It’s the same one that was at the Tesla Solar Roof and PowerWall2 Announcement from a few months back, and I have a ton of better pictures of that.

After being emboldened by our spotting of the Alpha car… I figured to take the long way back to the hotel, and drive close to the track that our Belgian friends spotted the Silver and Red cars being speed tested. And sure enough, we spot two of them.

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There are definitely better pictures, but these are the ones that I spotted. We even captured their drives on video… Have to zoom in though! 😉

Either way, we had some fun on #EVBingo with that…

So, the first phase of our three phase trip was complete and we had a night to recover before our drive down to Morro Bay for the ActiveE West Coast North-South Reunion 4. (or WxNS4 as they’ve abbreviated it.) Click here for the next phase on this trip.

If you want to join us on some of our other trips, here’s day one of our cross-country trip from 2015 or last year’s Long Way Round to the Gigafactory which took us to the Vancouver, BC and back.

A few thoughts and reactions on today’s Tesla’s impressive re-commitment to charging infrastructure

Impressive supercharger expansion plans were published on Tesla’s blog today.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

In the first couple of sentences of this latest blog,  Tesla reaffirms its commitment to charging for its customers.

As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority. It is extremely important to us and our mission that charging is convenient, abundant, and reliable for all owners, current and future.

Well, supercharging does that for almost ALL the models of cars that Tesla has sold.  Just not ALL the cars that they have sold.

The Roadster and Model S 40 both do not have access to supercharging, but have ample range to make it the distances that are set up between MOST of the North American Supercharger network.  I have not traveled on any of the other Tesla Supercharger networks, so I am unsure of the distances between their sites, but would presume that this statement also holds true for those distances.

We have been blessed to have our Model S available for us to travel these distances, but we know of several Roadster owners who would prefer to travel these distances and I would like to try to do that, one of these days.

To that end, if Tesla’s blog-post is any indication, it would seem that Tesla’s next iteration of supercharging might indicate a LOT more space and dedicated Tesla lounges in the locations that would be dedicated to this activity.  If this is what Tesla is planning to do, why not provide a couple of stalls with Tesla dedicated Level 2 for those that are not in need of a supercharge.  They can even fit these devices with a credit card or other payment system so that those opting for the slower charge can pay for the energy and/or stall that they are using for this travel.  This allocation will then provide for Tesla to follow through on the statements that introduced this latest blog post.

Besides, in terms of costs, it would seem such a high density supercharging location would be more vulnerable to higher utility costs than current density supercharger locations.  Things like demand charges and the like will definitely be a challenge toward the execution of this vision, therefore the costs associated with a couple High Power Wall Chargers (HPWCs) is really quite negligible.

Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post
Concept Tesla Supercharging station from 2017-04-24 Blog Post

The other thought I had with this concept release was a feeling of “deja vu…” and I realized as I was writing this article that it reminded me of the Rocklin, CA Sales, Service, Delivery, and Supercharger location from Day 11 of 2016’s Long Way Round Trip to the Gigafactory.

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Which actually is a further case for this proposal to add High Power Wall Charger (for Roadsters, Dual Charger, or High Amp charger Teslas) at these new conceptual Supercharger locations.  At this stop in 2016, we met with a couple who were also taking their Roadster up I-80 to Reno for the Gigafactory and TMC event.

The direct costs for a stall or two of High Power Level 2 (keep it on Tesla proprietary plug if they must) covers all Teslas built.  Most of the Roadster owners that I know have already purchased my recommended accessories for the Roadster, i.e. Henry Sharp’s The CAN SR/JR, etc. and can therefore work with the Model S/X North American Proprietary plug.

The more analytical may counter that the opportunity cost for two stalls on HPWC vs another pair of Supercharging stalls outweighs the benefits of covering ALL Tesla vehicles, but I say that the goodwill created by such a program is more important than that.  Tesla should execute on its statement today, but for ALL Teslas, not just the ones that can supercharge.

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.