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



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.


And we were greeted with signs for Vancouver… Washington.


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


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


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.


And then we were passed Vancouver, WA



Still driving along the Columbia River, I think..



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


And we hit weather again.


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.


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



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…


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.



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.



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”.


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


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.


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


the Carnitas.


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


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

Centralia Supercharger

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




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.



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.




We meet up with traffic in Olympia, Washington.

Spot a California Jedi of presumably Hispanic origin.


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.



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.


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.


Seattle traffic was pretty bad.


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.


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

Looks like some boats are parked above ground.


Another bridge…


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!)


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


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.



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


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



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


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.


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.





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.


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

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 –