It’s happening!

While Tesla is selling Model 3 faster than it can manufacture it, the current Long Range variant might still be out of financial reach for those patiently waiting for the more affordable, $35,000 variant promised to be available sometime next year. If you are one of those people or were on the fence whether you should wait a bit longer or sell your wife and kids in order to afford one, Tesla just dropped a bombshell that might help you to make that decision sooner (sans turning the loved ones’ lives upside-down)!

As of today, you can order a Mid Range version, with a battery allowing 260 miles of travel on a single charge:


The base version (solid black paint, 18″ wheels with aero covers, premium interior) will cost $45,000 before the tax incentive. If you order before the end of the year, you will be eligible for a full, $7,500 credit, making it essentially a $37,500 car!


The price will not include the Enhanced Autopilot package ($5,000 extra during purchase or $6,000 after delivery), but if you can live without it, it comes closer to the magic 35k figure.

I would say this is big news that deserves to be spread around! 260 miles is plenty of range, even for road trips. Our recent trip to California was accomplished in a Model S that comes with about 240 miles on a full charge, so I speak from experience. Rear-wheel drive is not an issue either, as Tesla offers excellent traction control that will easily surpass a gasoline powered car. Here‘s my recent encounter that can testify to it.

This should further inspire the confidence that despite all the recent negative press that Tesla does not deserve, the company is well on track to continue its mission and delivering on important milestones. If you are ready to support a sustainable future and be a part of this mission, hope this newly introduces configuration will help you to make that decision sooner.

California, here we come! (Road trip 2018 – epilogue)

So there we have it: 18-days-long road trip has officially come to an end. We traveled almost 5,000 miles in an electric vehicle, completely worry-free. Zero emissions and zero range anxiety. While every road trip we took was special on its own and provided its share of unforgettable memories, this one was truly epic. I repeat that word quite often when describing our recent journey, because there’s no better way to describe it. Not because it was the longest one so far (both time- and distance-wise), that is an achievement on its own. I think the expectations were high from the get-go, as we would be traveling to some of the most popular destinations that United States has to offer. Yet, every single landmark or attraction on our list proven to be worth it. As always, there were hidden jewels and unexpected surprises (Death Valley and Sedona quickly come to mind, but there were plenty more) which made the trip even better than expected.

When our daughter was little we had the freedom to plan our travels in the off-peak season, allowing us to beat the crowds. Now that we are bound by school year schedule as everyone else, I was worried that it might throw a kink into our carefully planned itinerary. Luckily, none of these fears were justified and we had an absolute blast.

Weather is always a factor and yet again, we were blessed with absolutely gorgeous forecast. We normally don’t worry much about the weather on our trips (watching for extremes, of course), but I’d never say no to sunny or partly cloudy skies with moderate temperatures :).

Last but not least, here’s a reference to all individual blog entries documenting each day of the trip:

Day 1: Denton, TX – Tucumcari, NM

Day 2: Tucumcari, NM – Flagstaff, AZ

Day 3: Flagstaff, AZ – Twentynine Palms, CA

Day 4: Twentynine Palms, CA – Carlsbad, CA

Day 5: Carlsbad, CA (Legoland) – Los Angeles (Getty Museum), CA – Anaheim, CA

Day 6: Disneyland California Adventure Park, Anaheim, CA

Day 7: Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA

Day 8: Anaheim, CA – Huntington Beach, CA – Pacific Coast Highway – Lompoc, CA

Day 9: Lompoc, CA – San Simeon, CA

Day 10: San Simeon, CA – Big Sur, CA – Seaside, CA

Day 11: Seaside, CA – Fremont, CA

Day 12: Fremont, CA – Muir Woods National Monument, CA – San Francisco, CA

Day 13: San Francisco, CA

Day 14: San Francisco, CA – Yosemite National Park – Manzanar – Lone Pine, CA

Day 15: Lone Pine, CA – Death Valley – Hoover Dam – Las Vegas, NV

Day 16: Las Vegas, NV – Seligman, AZ – Williams, AZ – Sedona, AZ

Day 17: Sedona, AZ – Winslow, AZ (Meteor Crater) – Santa Rosa, NM

Day 18: Santa Rosa, NM – Denton, TX

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a note or a comment and I will be glad to respond. Thanks for checking in!

California, here we come! (Road trip 2018 – part 12)

Day 16 – Las Vegas, NV – Seligman, AZ – Williams, AZ – Sedona, AZ

We left Las Vegas behind and headed towards Arizona. Our first stop was in Kingman – to charge the car and grab a bite to eat at a nearby Carl’s Jr restaurant. For some reason this supercharger became one of my favorites. Maybe it’s because of the still-fresh memories of the journey through New Mexico and Arizona to California? We stopped here on the way there after a joyful drive from Tucumcari. Maybe because of an exceptionally friendly staff that greeted us at the restaurant last time? I don’t know, I just like this particular stop for some reason.


Staying true to our mantra of not following the exact same route both ways we planned to check out some other parts of Route 66 that we haven’t before: Seligman and Williams. Ironically and sadly, the first is where it all started while the latter was the last one to be bypassed by modern Interstate Highway 40. So many people that travel trough here before, so many memories and stories to be told. I am glad that there are still folks that try to preserve whatever bits and pieces are left of this legend of the road, to capture its spirit and folklore. Some of it is cheesy and serves as a perfect tourist trap (thanks to the popularity of the “Cars” movie one doesn’t have to venture far to find yet another Mater or Doc Hudson), but could and should be forgiven to benefit the greater good – to keep the memory of the Mother Road alive and kicking.

As usual, we took our sweet time exploring the artifacts of the Road. Thanks to my wife and her planning we had ample of time to stop as much as we wanted and take pictures. In Williams we came across The Grand Canyon Railway – something we really want to try next time. Arizona is relatively close to us (at least as far as our family driving norms are concerned), so this should make for a fun excursion.

We finished our day in Sedona. I am glad that one of my coworkers recommended this place. The drive from Flagstaff through canyons on scenic route 89A is spectacular. The winding road requires proper attention, but there’s many spots to stop and admire surrounding mountains and famous red rocks. Sedona itself is a jewel well worth visiting. Many of the buildings reflect the natural hues that are present in the rock formations, thanks to the strict building codes that the city imposes on any land development initiative. The traffic can be heavy, especially during peak season, but the city deployed roundabouts wherever possible, which are way better than 4-way stops or traffic lights in my opinion. I would highly recommend Sky Ranch Lodge as a place to stay overnight. Placed on top of the mountain it offers great view on Sedona, day or night. Its well maintained garden (often used for wedding receptions) offers one of the best spots to admire gorgeous sunsets.

Charging stops:

  • Las Vegas, NV (138 miles left; avg 315 Wh/mi; charged to 175 miles)
  • Kingman, AZ (47 miles left; avg 351 Wh/mi; charged to 230 miles)
  • Flagstaff, AZ (42 miles left; avg 322 Wh/mi; charged to 125 miles)

Day 17 – Sedona, AZ – Winslow, AZ – Santa Rosa, NM

We woke up early, partly to catch the sunrise while surrounded by the beautiful red rocks, but also because it would be one of the longest drives on this trip – close to 500 miles to cover in one day. We didn’t want it to be mindless exercise in swallowing the endless miles, so we had some attractions planned along the way.

Before leaving Sedona we have stopped by the supercharger for a quick top up (we would go by Flagstaff anyway), mostly because it is one of the newest additions to the ever-growing network of charging stations. This particular one is equipped with the newer generation and style called Urban Superchargers. Unlike the traditional ones that have the maximum output of 125 kW shared between two stalls, these newer types are independent from one another, but top at 72 kW each. They also have a smaller footprint, being better suited for tight spaces such as city parking garages. The one in Sedona comes with another perk: it is located next to a colorful strip mall that matches the architecture of the rest of the area. Even if all the stores were still closed when we arrived it was well worth checking it out.

On the outskirts of Winslow lies probably the most famous “hole in the ground” – The Meteor Crater. Formed some 50,000 years ago by an asteroid colliding with Earth is one of the best preserved craters in the world, allowing scientist to evaluate various theories that are floating around in attempt to separate facts from fiction, as well as study the impact of celestial bodies that decide to end their life with a big bang on our planet. Needless to say, if you’re in the area it is well worth a slight detour from I-40 to check it out.

The only other significant attraction on our way to Santa Rosa was The Jack Rabbit Trading Post located in Joseph City. Despite the fact that Route 66 no longer serves as a main thorough-way, the post is still open for business!

We did our best to keep the returning journey unique. No matter how great and exciting our road trip has proven to be, we were slowly but surely sensing that home is getting nearer – the closer we were, the more we wanted to get back to our own beds already. Such is our nature that after long time on the road there comes a time that you start missing your own pillow in your own house. Not wasting any time then, we zoomed by familiar by now superchargers in Holbrook, Gallup, Albuquerque until we reached Santa Rosa for the night. It was getting late, so after a quick meal at DQ we were more than ready to call it a day. Our hotel was located right next to supercharger. It is true that this place gets busy at night and the spots are often blocked by various gas guzzlers belonging to contractors or other workers who happen to stop by on their way. Knowing this, I plugged the car in, allowing it to charge while we check in and settle in our room. I would come back later to re-park, so I didn’t hog the spot unnecessarily.


Charging stops:

  • Sedona, AZ (100 miles left; avg 142 Wh/mi; charged to 134 miles)
  • Flagstaff, AZ (65 miles left; avg 391 Wh/mi; charged to 195 miles)
  • Holbrook, AZ (94 miles left; avg 256 Wh/mi; charged to 191 miles)
  • Gallup, NM (96 miles left; avg 300 Wh/mi; charged to 200 miles)
  • Albuquerque, NM (64 miles left; avg 259 Wh/mi; charged to 190 miles)
  • Santa Rosa, NM (81 miles left; avg 259 Wh/mi; charged to 185 miles)

Day 18 – Santa Rosa, NM – Denton, TX

It’s official: this was the last day of our trip. It was also the longest distance to drive (600 miles). Knowing well what’s ahead of us we didn’t waste any time. Too bad there is still no supercharger in Wichita Falls, this would allow us to cut some of the driving off, skipping Oklahoma. Nothing against OK, it offers plenty on its own, but we live close enough to explore it some other time. So, whatever powers are involved in getting the charging infrastructure between Childress and Denton, please hurry up. The Tesla community will be eternally thankful to you!


Other than some yahoo drivers serving as a reminder that we were indeed getting closer home, the day went by smoothly and free of unexpected events. As we were getting closer, it was hard not to reflect on the epic journey that we had, the vistas and places we were living behind and the memories that will hopefully stay with us forever. A random thought related to hundreds of emails and numerous issues that would require my attention once I am back at work tried to interfere and spoil the joy, but it couldn’t. There was just too much of the wonderful experience to savor, cherish and relive for as long as we remember that I would not be saddened by return to reality of daily chores and responsibilities. If anything, it would serve as a reminder that we work hard, so that we can step away every once in a while and explore the world around us. I feel truly blessed to be able to have a taste of it. Even more so when sharing it with the people I love – my wife and my daughter. I could not imagine experiencing it alone.

Charging stops:

  • Tucumcari, NM (128 miles left; avg 286 Wh/mi; charged to 176 miles)
  • Amarillo, TX (59 miles left; avg 302 Wh/mi; charged to 165 miles)
  • Shamrock, TX (58 miles left; avg 299 Wh/mi; charged to 167 miles)
  • Weatherford, OK (55 miles left; avg 317 Wh/mi; charged to 130 miles)
  • Oklahoma City, OK (65 miles left; avg 301 Wh/mi; charged to 171 miles)
  • Ardmore, OK (59 miles left; avg 295 Wh/mi; charged to 150 miles)
  • Arrived in Denton with 64 miles left, avg 311 Wh/mi consumption

The Epilogue…

Tesla vs Oil Patch

I have watched numerous videos showing off how the car handles varying weather conditions (snow, rain) in different hardware configurations (single vs dual motor). I have watched demos and read articles explaining the inner works of the traction control system that Tesla puts in its vehicles (one such example here). I’ve had my share of fun in a loaner P85D where it self-corrected its course in a split-second when encountering a wet patch of the surface. I knew the system works very well and thanks to much simplified mechanism as compared to traditional gasoline car it can respond much quicker, too. I was not looking forward to additional ways of proving its effectiveness, but the opportunity came without being asked for.

On one fine morning, while merging onto another freeway I ran over a patch of freshly spilled oil, most likely from a canister dropped by a vehicle that must have just passed that way. I saw a darker patch of the road, but thought it was a standing water (hard to differentiate, especially when it is still dark outside). Before it even registered, my car’s stability control quickly kicked in in two rapid successions: first one must have been due to a wheel slip when it came in contact with the oily surface, second due to both left tires now being covered in a messy grease and continuing to lose the grip. It all lasted only few seconds, all while traveling about 50 miles an hour on a curvy on-ramp. One scary experience for me, but my Model S handled it flawlessly and without hesitation, despite being equipped with just a single motor (rear wheel drive).

I have caught the event on my dash cam (one more reason to invest in one!). Here’s the edited footage:

Shortly after this incident I have found a patch of unpaved terrain, to get rid of the excessive oil from the tires. It also gave me a safe opportunity to scramble and find the local police department’s number, so I could inform them about the spill (they already knew and told me that the cleaning crew was already dispatched).

Thanks again Tesla for an extraordinary safety behind every vehicle you put on the road!

California, here we come! (Road trip 2018 – part 11)

Day 15 – Lone Pine, CA – Death Valley – Las Vegas, NV

Whenever planning our road trips we try to avoid following the same route there and back. It makes for a more interesting journey and allows for seeing more places. This trip was no exception. When the planning and preparations started we were considering a visit to Grand Canyon either on the way to or back from California, but we quickly abandoned that idea. For one, it would add a significant amount of driving to an already lengthy trip. Two, we don’t want to rush things unnecessarily, as you hardly have enough time to see a thing. The Grand Canyon is important of a landmark enough to make it a pivotal point of a trip all by itself. Arizona is not that far from us (we like driving, let’s leave it at that), so why not leave it for our next adventure? The question then: what else should we check out on the way back? I suggested Las Vegas, so my family can experience it at least once in their lifetime, even just to form their own opinion about this place. In order to get there from Lone Pine we would have to drive through Death Valley first.


While driving along Highway 190 you only scratch the surface of this land. I was immediately captivated by its beauty. Many people would quickly associate Death Valley with desolate, flat sands, but there’s so much more to it. Yes, there are sand dunes here as well, but so is Rainbow Canyon (shaped in part by rare – at least in these parts – volcanic activity in the past) and Hells Gate. Each specific area has its unique landscape, but they all have one thing in common: it is really quiet out there. So quiet that one can almost hear their own heartbeat at times. OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit, but not by much. The air was very still during our visit, not even a breeze. There were hardly any cars passing by. The complete quietness that surrounds you can only be compared to an acoustic chamber that I experienced many years ago (part of a mandatory hearing test when applying for a job at manufacturing facility). The major difference: if not for the road that led us here I was surrounded by a vast terrain that seem to stretch all the way to the horizon, no matter which direction I turned my head. In some spots that view was only interrupted by a mountain range or a canyon, but the feeling of being there, in the middle of nowhere, with no other living soul as far as eye can see was something I haven’t experienced for a long time. This is the kind of place to be if one wants to escape civilization, even if just for a while. The place to meditate, heal or whatever our inner call might be. It was special. Magical. Sacred even.

Unfortunately, being creatures of a modern world, we had to get going. We were soon leaving California behind. Shortly after crossing the Nevada state line we stopped at the nearby town of Beatty to charge the car. Despite being a very small place (population of about 1150 according to a recent census) we stepped into one of the best candy stores we’ve even been to: Death Valley Nut & Candy Co. Not something you would expect to find in a remote place. They also have great beef jerky, ice cream and coffee, so something for everyone.

An interesting observation related to the supercharger location was that it also had some standard Level 2 plugs available, making it a universal charging stop, not just reserved for Tesla owners. The L2 charger was a standard ChargePoint’s dual port model, so I am not sure if this has been an initiative of Tesla to invite others to share the space or if the property manager had the necessary foresight. Regardless of which one it was, kudos!

Since there was not much of an itinerary left for the day, we decided to stop by Hoover Dam before entering Las Vegas (the initial plan was to do it the following day in the morning). I know my wife is not that much into admiring engineering marvels, but I really wanted to show it to our daughter.
It’s been several years since I visited the place for the last time and quite a lot has changed. The Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (or Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge) is now complete and operational. There’s also a newly erected visitors center, offering guided tours of the dam. They also added more parking spaces in recent years, as it can quickly get crowded. The drawback is that you need to pay 10 bucks to park, but who would argue about that on a 100-degree day? Due to the latter our visit was rather brief. We were spoiled by now by the moderate temperatures that we were blessed throughout our trip. Even at Death Valley it never exceeded 80 F. So after a few minutes of exposure to the typical Nevada heat, plus the strong gusts of wind resembling a hair dryer, we were D.O.N.E.

One additional thing I have noticed is the ever shrinking water level of Lake Mead. It is clearly visible on the rocky walls surrounding the lake and it is definitely lower than the last time I was here. The major contributing factor is the population of Las Vegas that just exploded in recent years. Who’s idea was it to build a city in the desert anyway?

Before entering the city we stopped by the famous “Welcome” sign to take a family picture. I have been to Las Vegas many times before, but I have never had a chance to check it out. All my trips are business related and the events are held downtown, so I don’t ever rent a car. This was an opportunity for ticking it off the list finally.

We haven’t done much while in Vegas (not that we have planned to). I brought my girls for a walk along the strip in the evening, so they can experience it when it all lights up. Between the skimpily dressed girls inviting guys to strip clubs, people pestering you with business cards offering similar services, the ever present stench of pot and rather interesting crowds that the city attracts I really don’t think Las Vegas is as family friendly as the advertisements try to sell it. Neither my wife nor daughter were really appreciative of any of that. I wasn’t either, but I guess I was used to it after years of visiting. I regretted for dragging them into this though. On a positive side, that one is off the list now as well. Enough on the Vegas subject. Tomorrow’s another day of adventure!

Charging stops:

  • Departure: 215 miles of range (rated)
  • Beatty, NV (98 miles left; avg 273 Wh/mi; charged to 196 miles)
  • Las Vegas, NV (56 miles left; avg 298 Wh/mi; charged to 230 miles)

Continue to Part 12…

California, here we come! (Road trip 2018 – part 10)

Day 14 – San Francisco, CA – Yosemite National Park – Lone Pine, CA

Two days in San Francisco went by quickly. There never seems to be enough time to explore everything on the “to do” list, but this just motivates me to come back more. It’s also hard to believe we were on the road for 13 days already. Time flies when you have a great time and this has certainly been the case with this road trip thus far. We’ve managed to visit most of the attractions that we planned for in California, but we were not ready to leave the state just yet. A major feat for the day: Yosemite National Park. That and about 400 miles of driving to cover. Let’s get going!


We woke up earlier than expected and hit the road around 5:00 am. There’s a special calm about big cities before dawn. Except for cleaning crews and delivery trucks unloading their cargo they are very quiet. Hardly any people on the streets and all the cars gone – a stark contrast when compared to the rush of the day that is about to commence. Every big city I’ve been to follows the same rhythm, it doesn’t matter it it is Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Vienna or Singapore. San Francisco is no exception.
On the way to Yosemite we had to stop in Dublin and Manteca for a quick “top up”. The first of the two is notoriously one of the busiest superchargers in the world. Yet both were very quiet in the early morning hours. A perk of being an early bird, I guess.

We haven’t had to stay long in either location. Trusting the on-board trip computer we departed Dublin after 10 minutes and Manteca after 20, respectively (mostly to take turns for restroom breaks). Knowing that there won’t be many options inside the national park to plug a car, we left it to the Groveland supercharger to get to full range. It is the coziest one we’ve encountered so far. There’s a beautiful garden with a gazebo right next door, courtesy of the local school or nursery. A very pretty place to stretch the legs and admire both the beauty of nature and the talent of the people maintaining this little oasis.

Not wanting to wait any longer and confident that we will make it through, we left Groveland with 222 miles of charge (out of 240 rated). When planning the trip we were considering to visit both Tioga Pass and Glacier Point at one go. This would be a stretch to cover in one day, especially considering all the stops for picture taking. We were also concerned about availability of charging stations – there are some EV chargers at Yosemite Village, but I didn’t feel comfortable taking chances. This gives a nice pretext to come and visit again. Instead, we focused on Tioga Pass only.


I am glad we did that. After visiting Yosemite Tunnel and Bridalveil Fall, we drove towards Yosemite Village to check out the visitor center. Unfortunately all the parking spaces were taken. We joined the hopeless “musical chair” of cars trying to loop around to take any spot that was just vacated, but it was pointless. It was clear that the park was getting busier as the time went by, so without much hesitation we continued towards Tioga Pass.

It is no wonder though that there are so many people travelling through here, as the scenery is truly breathtaking. Tioga Road (Highway 120) is only open during summer months, weather permitting. In 2017 there was a record snowfall that pushed the opening till late June. It is hard not to spare a thought for people who risked their lives and endured hardship of the terrain to construct the very road, so we can admire nature at its best. Once again I felt like EVs are just made for this kind of journey – quietly hugging the winding road without leaving any nasty fumes behind. Ancient people considered this land sacred and knew how to live in symbiosis with nature. We too should learn how to leave no footprints behind and minimize our impact. It is really not that hard and I wish more people would abandon their gas guzzlers already. I digress.

Continuing on Tioga Pass Road we have passed by Olmsted Point, named by the famous landscape architect and conservationist Frederick Olmsted. The place offers another vantage point for Half Dome. It is also very close to Tenaya Lake, the largest in Yosemite, a popular picnic spot. We took upon this offer, as we didn’t have any meals since breakfast and the scenery was truly too spectacular to miss it. One almost doesn’t want to leave, it is so captivating.

The scenery along Tioga Pass is changing with every turn. It’s hard to capture the full beauty of it and pictures only do partial justice here. I am glad we could witness this with our own eyes and to experience how magnificent Yosemite is. Hopefully we will have a chance to return one day and to further explore, as we barely scratched the surface!

For those of you that are curious how the car handled the winding road and continuous elevation changes, I am happy to report that we had absolutely no issues. There were moments that I was watching the energy graph closely as the remaining miles were disappearing faster than I would anticipate. Thanks to regenerative braking kicking in on the descents it all evened out eventually. We arrived at Mammoth Lakes supercharger with 45 miles of range remaining.


It was about 5:00 pm when we left from Mammoth Lakes towards Lone Pine. I started growing skeptical that we will have enough time to check out Manzanar – a historic camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. I’ve heard about this place many years ago, but my memory was refreshed when my friend gave me Ansel Adams’ book documenting the very place. I wanted to visit it ever since. The more I was getting anxious that I might miss it if we don’t get there on time. Luckily, the place is open for visitors from dawn to dusk (only the visitor center closes at 4:30 pm). So there was hope.

We could not have planned it any better, as we have arrived at the golden hour. It must have been Ansel’s spirit or something else, but the timing was spot on to take pictures. There were only a few other people visiting when we were there, making the quiet place even quieter. I know the story very well, the more I felt the gravity of the events that took place here. Everyone should make it a point and visit here in their lifetime at least once – it’s a good reminder that we are all capable of committing atrocities, no need to look far. Hopefully we can learn from it and prevent such a thing from reoccurring in future.

Before going to our hotel we stopped at Lone Pine supercharger. It’s a small one (only 4 stalls), but we ran across a nice couple who just bought a Model 3. A quick charging stop extended to a lengthy conversation – a typical scenario in the Tesla community. It’s one of the things that make it so special.

Charging stops:

  • Dublin, CA (64 miles left; avg 299 Wh/mi; charged to 105 miles)
  • Manteca, CA (67 miles left; avg 264 Wh/mi; charged to 148 miles)
  • Groveland, CA (64 miles left; avg 334 Wh/mi; charged to 222 miles)
  • Mammoth Lakes, CA (45 miles left; avg 310 Wh/mi; charged to 155 miles)
  • Lone Pine, CA (81 miles left; avg 199 Wh/mi; charged to 220 miles)

Continue to Part 11…