I'm always happy to see when a fan gets a chance to drive the Roadster. In this case I was even happier since that fan was me!
As DaveD mentioned, he came down last week to check out his car before delivery (which should be today, btw). I stopped by the Menlo Park store on the previous Thursday to take some photos for Dave and the weather was just great, but the precipitation returned that weekend and it was rainy when he made it into town on Monday. On Tuesday, however, there was a break in the weather and Dave called me up to see if I wanted to go for a ride/drive. You can bet I jumped at the opportunity.
Plenty has been written about driving the Roadster. So I won't attempt to give a comprehensive review, just a description of my experience.
I met up with Dave at the Menlo Park store and we took about a 2 hour drive that went through Woodside and La Honda (passing a few locations of Tesla lore such as Bucks and Alice's Restaurant), stretching to the coast and back. You can see the basic route we took here.
We started out going north on El Camino and then west on 84 with Dave behind the wheel and the soft top on. Menlo Park was somewhat overcast and the roads were still a bit wet. I've ridden in the Roadster a few times before (both 1.0 and 1.5 drivetrains), and with the top on, you can hear the motor quite well. I have no idea why someone would want to mask or replace that sound, it's just too cool. A previous ride in VP16 revealed some audible creeks from the suspension and from body flexing. This time I only noticed a few squawks from soft top, which maybe was just settling into place because the noise quickly went away.
Once out of the valley the sky was much more clear and there was plenty of sunlight. So we stopped in the lot of Alice's Restaurant, removed the soft top, and Dave gave me the keys. Continuing on 84, I carved down the mountain twisties towards the coast. Clouds of moisture could be seen rising from the road where shafts of sunlight broke through the trees.
Let me just get this out of the way: The acceleration of the Roadster is very impressive. It came in handy when I executed a legal passing maneuver (that perhaps took Dave by surprise) on the two-lane, two-way road. It really presses you back into your seat and you feel your neck muscles working until you give up and just let the headrest do its job. Modulating the speed with only the right pedal was quite easy to get used to, and it was nice not having to constantly shift gears as I would have to do in my Miata (though arguably that's part of the fun). I did at times find myself using the friction brakes when aggressively approaching a curve before entry. The absence of power steering meant that a bit more effort was required to maintain the line through a curve and I was aware some mild understeer (compared to my Miata's gobs of oversteer).
We proceeded to the coast and stopped at San Gregorio beach. The weather was just fantastic. I need to find more excuses to drive out there regardless of what car I'm using. There was a great blue heron walking in the grass as well as some other wild life. After enjoying the surroundings for a few minutes, I gave the keys back to Dave and we returned up 84 much the way we came, then turned right down Skyline. I suggested we then take Page Mill since it's a road I know well (due to the fact it provides for some interesting driving close to campus).
Stopping at a turnout, I once again got behind the wheel, and we continued down Page Mill. This car is really a lot of fun on winding roads. We then had a brief stretch of highway driving on 280. Like others, I found the 70 to 100 acceleration in the fast lane to be much less dramatic than the 30 to 70 in the on ramp. However, it was still more than adequate. Pulling into the driveway of the Menlo Park store, I was satisfied having experienced a thoroughly exhilarating drive. Heartfelt thanks to DaveD and the fine folks at Tesla Motors for making that experience possible.