Thursday, November 1st, 2013
- Delaware Welcome Center and Travel Plaza, Newark, DE – Tesla Supercharger
Well, today is the day. The final day of driving to get to my 25 year high school reunion. After breakfast at the hotel, I stopped by the supercharger at the mall in Glen Allen to finish charging the car in the morning. There was a Barnes & Nobel on the other side of the parking lot from the chargers, so I headed over there to start writing up this blog while the car charged. After about an hour the car was fully charged, so I packed up and headed for dear old Philadelphia, PA.
As I drove, I began to recognize more and more landmarks along the way, like the smoke stack along I-95 with BALTIMORE running up its side in huge, bold letters.
As you can see from the photo above, it was yet again a beautiful day for driving. The last of the colorful fall leaves were still clinging to the trees making for some great scenery.
I made it to the Supercharger at the Delaware Welcome Center in the middle of I-95 and had the station to myself. I was able to take advantage of the food court there, which is rather nice I must say, and get some lunch before heading on into Philly. This would be the last supercharger I could use before reaching my sister’s house just north of Philadelphia. My original plan was to go straight to my sister’s house, spend the night, and then head over to Cherry Hill, NJ, for the reunion at noon the next day. However, while I was eating lunch, my friends contacted me and were putting together plans to go out for dinner that night. So, a slight change of plans. I called my sister and worked out plans to arrive at her place later that night. I then contacted my friends and told them to add me to the reservation for dinner at 7 at the Iron Horse Brewery in Voorhees, NJ. After a little over an hour, the car was fully charged and I headed out over the Delaware Memorial Bridge and on in to South Jersey.
Yes, there was the usual Friday evening traffic along I-295, but that’s another nice thing about driving an electric car – you’re not wasting energy idling in traffic like you would in a traditional internal combustion car engine (or ICE for short). In fact, you actually extend your range driving in traffic because below about 40 mph wind resistance no longer has a negative effect on your range. Tesla says the car can go 300 miles on a charge, which you can do if you don’t go over 55 mph. If you keep it below 40 mph you can go even more than that. So as far as I was concerned, my attitude was “Traffic? No problem. I’m in no hurry, so it’s actually better this way.” 🙂
The closer I got to the Iron Horse Brewery, I noticed I was actually heading almost right to my old house in Cherry Hill and began to think “Wait, are my friends meeting at my old house?” Well, no. It turns out I had asked the GPS system to take me to the Iron Horse Brewery in Moorestown, not Voorhees. Bummer. Now I’m going to be late. 😦 I reprogrammed the GPS for the correct location and headed on over. Before I left, I replied to the text thread my friends had going to plan the dinner and told them I would be there in about 15 minutes. Well, it actually took me more like 25-30 minutes. When I arrived, being Friday night in a mall with restaurants, shops, etc. parking was scarce and it took me another 10 minutes to park and walk over to the restaurant.
As I approached the restaurant, I could see my old friends gathered outside, talking, laughing and having a great time as they waited for our table. Once one of them saw me they all yelled out “KEN!!!” I felt like Norm walking into Cheers – everyone knew my name and was happy to see me. As I walked up to them, our friend Chang Lee walks over to be the first to shake my hand and says “I thought you said you’d be here in 15 minutes. It’s been half an hour. Don’t you know how to drive?” This from a man who in high school was famous for making wrong turns and then claiming he was taking a shortcut. Chang’s shortcuts usually took about twice as long as the normal route. So when he was getting on my case about being late, I simply replied, “Sorry, my GPS took a Chang shortcut.” The rest of the gang burst out laughing as that was the perfect comeback and the beginning of reliving lots of memories, sharing new stories and reconnecting with some great friends with whom I’ve been out of touch with for far too long.
We had a great evening and an even better reunion with more friends the next day. We met at our friends Bill and Ami Tabares’s house and spent the afternoon catching up with each other. All in all, there were about 12 or so good friends from high school who were able to make it to our reunion, most of whom brought their kids along. There must have been just as many kids as there were adults, and we all had a great time. Afternoon soon turned into evening, and as the night went on, we all wished we had more time to spend together. A few of us ended up spending the night at the Tabares’s (including me) and enjoyed homemade waffles for breakfast the next morning before heading out.
After breakfast and a quick shower, I packed up my things from the overnight stay, said goodbye to my friends and headed on over to my sister’s place just north of Philly. I arrived around noon and settled in for a slightly more extended stay than I’ve had on this trip so far.
This trip has been a huge success and an absolute fantastic experience for me. I’m not sure if it’s good karma, guardian angels, or just plain dumb luck, but somehow I managed to make it all the way across the country in an electric car, by myself, with some rushed, last minute planning and was able to avoid bad weather, breakdowns, flat tires, or any number of horror stories that could have easily ruined this trip.
When I started this trip, I had a LOT of range anxiety. What if I can’t make it to the charging spot? What if it’s actually not there or not working when I get there? I’m happy to say, I’ve encountered it and conquered it. I have zero range anxiety now. That’s not to say I’m not aware of how much charge I have or that I don’t think about where I need to charge. It’s more that it’s just become part of everyday life now and not something I worry about.
I must say, I anticipated that I would be completely exhausted about half way across the country and would just have to grind out the miles to get to my high school reunion on time. I’m happy to report that it couldn’t have been a nicer drive. Sure, my back started to get stiff on the longer days towards the end of the two weeks of driving day after day, but I expected to be much more uncomfortable. Quite the contrary. Driving this car is so nice, so comfortable, that even after over 4000 miles of driving I still love getting in the car and taking it for a spin. Keep in mind, I love cars and I love driving. Still, after 12 days of non-stop driving, I expected to be drained and completely sick of driving, but I’m not. This is truly a great car. To those naysayers who say, “That’s a nice car, but you can’t take it on a road trip.” I say “au contraire mon frère!” Not only CAN you take it for a road trip, you SHOULD take it for a road trip. It’s so quiet, so comfortable, so roomy – both for passengers and their luggage – so responsive on the road, so smooth, it’s an absolute blast to drive, and perfect for grinding out long miles on highways. Yes, you have to plan out your charging stops. Yes, there are currently limits on how far you can go in a day. Trust me, it’s worth it.