Assault on Mt Evans - the Trek Westward
by, 06-05-2013 at 03:17 PM (4744 Views)
6/5/2013 For my first long distance trip in Lithie, I decided to attend the Assault on Mt Evans. The trip would be roughly 1700 miles round trip. So, I figured I'd give myself 3 days for the trip out. So after a couple of days of calling around I had all my charge stops booked and I just had to wait for the date.
Fast forward to yesterday, which already seems like forever ago. Decided to take the bike to work so I could be fully charged when I got home and leave right away. Got on the road at 5pm and had a very relaxing drive. Managed to get 294 Wh/m driving with the cruise set at 70 mph. Not too bad, since my first night stop was only 180 miles away I could have gotten away without max charging, better safe than sorry though. At any rate I arrived at my first nights stop with 70 rated miles left, not bad.
The KOA Oak Grove I stayed at was pretty nice. The cabin was clean and rustic. The bed was a bit hard for me but my husband would have loved it. He likes sleeping on a rock. Bathroom wasn't bad and it was nice 'cause it was single use so you didn't have to be in there with strangers. Next time though I'm going to bring shower shoes and a robe. With everyone going in and out and showering, the floor got very wet and messy. Overall though it was a nice place, just off the highway. I did have to both rent a cabin and an RV spot. Though they only charged me $15 for the RV spot. The owner also mentioned he was working on installing a charging station.
Did have one mishap last night though. The fridge in the room was set to freeze, unknown to me. So about 4am I was awoken by this loud explosion when the soda I'd but in the fridge exploded. Guess I'll remember to always check the fridge temp setting from now on.
Right now, I'm sitting typing at my midday charging stop at the Salina KOA. Hit some rain on the way here plus the east part of Kansas is really hilly. So I made the roughly 200 miles with 40 miles of rated range left (started with a max charge) using 308kwh/m.
This is a really nice RV park. Cabins look good and the bathrooms are very clean. They're charging me $6.50 to charge up, though they have me on a meter to see exactly how much electricity I use. I figure they are going to set their future charging prices based on what I use. I'm having a very relaxing charging stop. I don't often get to slow down and this is really nice. I bought an anti-gravity chair for the trip and I've been sitting outside just reading. The Staff here let me borrow a shop vac so I could vacuum some of the dog hair out of the car. Then I took the dog for a walk and was pleasantly surprised to find a Starbucks in the Petro Travel lodge just down the street. When I saw the sign I was a little worried they'd just be selling brewed Starbucks coffee. And I hate coffee. Love frappacino's but hate coffee. Yes, they are different.! Anyways, when I got there I found a full coffee bar. Awesome!
So now I'm just waiting to finish getting enough of a charge to get to my next stop, with buffer and then I'll be off. Only about 128 miles to my overnight stop.
6/6/2013 Made it too my overnight stop on Wakeeney with 32 miles of charge to spare. Did have to slow down to 65 as I was using 340 Wh/m at 70. This was partially due to encountering rain and partially to the very hilly area. But I made it averaging 309 Wh/m. Campground was very no nonsense. Kinda the Motel 6 of rv campgrounds. But the bathrooms were clean and more importantly they had 50amp outlets.
For last night's adventure, I decided to sleep in the car with the back seats down. 'D brought the 1 inch foam we use on the fold out couch along for padding and had blankets, thankfully a comforter too, as it got down to 50 degrees.
Now in theory this sounded like a good plan. After all we'd fit a 6 foot tree back there and I had the padding and who hasn't slept in their car before. Might as well save a little money. Yeah. I really should have tested this out at home first. For starters the trunk area is hard. I mean like sleeping on a slab of granite hard. Even with the foam padding I spent most the night tossing and turning trying to find a "soft"spot. On top of that the seats don't actually fold down level with the trunk. Not sure how I missed that before but it was very obvious last night. So I ended up scrunching myself up into a ball in the trunk area and using my jacket in the folded down seat backs as a pillar. Which worked out pretty well since I forgot to bring a pillow.
To keep the heat in and the mosquitoes out, I didn't crack any windows or the roof. So, between the dog and me, it as practically raining in the car the windows had fogged up so much. But I did manage to get several hours of sleep.
I'm sure I also made some friends this morning when I got up at 6:30am to take the dog out and forgot to unlock the car before opening the door. Of course that was compounded by my futile attempt to shut the alarm off with the touch screen and then my mad search for the key fob. Well, at least now I know no one could get into the car without waking me up.
After the excitement of the morning, Showered, packed up and was off to my midday stop where I am currently writing from. Shady Grove in Seibert is a bit rundown, but the owner Jim is very nice. He's charging me $10 for the charge and let me borrow his vacuum so I could de-dog hair the car again. There's not much to do in town but it is very quiet and relaxing. I've found a nice shade tree to put my chair up under and am enjoying the day. Which as actually tuning out to be quite warm and sunny. I have 140 miles to go to get to Denver. Figure I need about 210 rated miles, though I may charge a little longer since I'm not sure how the change in altitude is going to affect my range. I plan on running 65 to be on the safe side.
Well, my next post should be from Denver. Going to go read my book for a little while longer.
6/7/2103 Sitting comfortably in my hotel room this morning. Made it from Seibert to Lone Tree CO, just outside of Denver, with 90 rated miles left. I left Seibert with 220. My cars nav took me on an interesting route, by passing Denver. I would normally have stayed on the interstate but it turned out be a very beautiful, though bumpy, drive. Definitely some roads out there needing some attention. So I checked into my hotel and then drove over to the Tesla store to charge. This is were evening truly got interesting.
Now, I had emailed several months ago and made arrangements to charge there while in Denver. And I called the store when I left Seibert to let them know when I would be arriving. The person at the store told me they were just finishing up charging the car that was going to Boulder for an event but it should be done by the time I arrive. No problem. So I arrive at the store and one of the guys there shows me where the chargers are. Unfortunately, he can't find the adapter. The store only has Roadster chargers so they need an adapter to charge a Model S. After calling around he finds out it is on its way to Boulder with the car that was just charged. Nuts! After calling one of the local owners he suggests I find a Walgreens to charge at. Not the most convenient option but beggars can't be choosers. So, with my Plug share app in hand I head out in search of a Walgreens with charging. Luckily I find one a couple of miles from my hotel. And luckily my hotel has s shuttle that will come pick me up.
So while I did worry a bit about leaving my car somewhere where I couldn't watch it, I did wake up with a full charge. And when I got to the Walgreens it was ok. Just another reminder to always have a backup plan, no matter where you plan on charging. Tonight hopefully the adapt will be back at the Tesla store and I'll be able to charge there, closer to the hotel.
Today, I'm going to explore the city and then tomorrow I'll be off for the actual Assault on Mt. Evans. I'll let you know how that goes.
6/8/2013 Overall, today was an absolutely phenomenal day. I picked my husband up from the airport last night and this morning I took him to Snooze. What a wonderful restaurant for breakfast. Then we headed out to Idaho Springs to meet everyone for the assault on Mt Evans. There was a great turn out with 29 Model S's making the drive. I got video of most of the Tesla's leaving out Echo lake stop and will post out on Youtube and add the link after I get back home. The drive itself is just breath taking. If you ever get the chance it is well worth it. The views over the mountains are just beautiful and it was fascinating to be able to see over the clouds. Some of the stretches of road were a bit harrowing with no railing and huge drop offs. But we all made it to the top fine. We actually left Idaho Springs with 180 miles rated range. When we got to the top of Mt Evans we had exactly 100 miles of rated range and our energy graph showed 817 Wh/m on the 5 mile scale. By the time we got to the bottom again we had gained 18 miles of range and our energy graph was showing -342 Wh/m on the 5 mile scale, -268 Wh/m on the 15 mile scale.
Afterwards we went to Beau Joes for some really good pizza. It was great meeting all the other owners. Everyone was very nice. Look forward to doing this again. I can't think of a better way to see more of this country and get to meet some other Tesla enthusiasts.
This journey has allowed my to see both the positives of driving an EV, like never having to hit the breaks while going down a steep and long mountain highway. That by the way was an absolute trip. Felt sorry for all the people driving gas cars who had to worry about overheating their breaks.
But I have encountered some challenges. In fact got back to the hotel tonight after eating out at Buckhorns where I got to try Elk for the first time, only to find myself ICEd. Luckily one of the hotel employees was parked in the spot right next to the EV spots. So he moved and we had to park side ways across 3 spots in order to reach the charger. Was very tempted to leave a nasty-gram or at least an informational message. But instead I will be writing the hotel to inform them of this and urge them to put up EV only parking signs as well as suggest that they get 240 service put in. Right now all they have is 120. Hopefully, as more and more Teslas get on the road these challenges will become a thing of the past.
I want to thank Dennis for all his hard work putting this together. It was a great experience.
6/14/2013 - The follow up.
So, I just wanted to add a few last details to this blog before putting it to rest.
First, for those of you who attended and saw the mats that I had made. If you'd like to have your own made you can reach out Kyle at the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The center console mat was $90 and the frunk mat was $285 if I remember correctly.
Secondly, I wanted to give a plug for the Mill Creek RV park in Paxico, KS. They totally saved me when my charging stop at Salina KOA fell thru, they were completely booked. Mill Creek is a great little RV park for a midday stop. Paxico contains a number of small antique shops and gift shops and shortly will have a tavern/cafe.
Thirdly, as I mentioned above I was ICE'd at the Element after returning from the drive up Mt Evans. What I forgot to mention was while the EV spots were not marked as EV only. In another section of the parking lot they had Hybrid only spots specifically marked with no charger near them.
Lastly you can find pictures of my trip out on our meetup group at meetup.com/Saint-Louis-Tesla-Enthusiasts.
And a video of the Model S's that attended the Assault on Mt Evans at A Musk of Model Ss at Echo Lake in Colorado - YouTube