2014 May-June | East-West US

October 1, 2017

Demise of ‘ICELESS’

On the first of October this battleship-grey steed crossed over to the other shore, aka salvage yard. More than four years of great fun and travel adventures, most notably the 2014 trip out west chronicled here. My first and last wreck, Wyrd willing, in 72 years~RIP_ICELESS.jpgOnce one has driven a Tesla there’s no going back to the internal combustion engine (ICE). So am setting sights on a 100D Model S (4WD) for December delivery. Have made modifications from this 2013 Model S P85+. Though the 100D is not a performance edition, it’s faster than the P85+ and because of the larger battery has an EPA estimated range of 335 miles. This septuagenarian finds its enhanced autopilot-ready features more than welcome. Am foregoing the larger racing rims for a quieter drive and longer-lasting tires (which actually work better in the snow). 0-60 in 4.1 is plenty of power without the prohibitively expensive 1.6 sec faster ‘ludicrous’ option~

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Trip to Wakefield, Massachusetts

There are no TESLA supercharger stations in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, or Arkansas at this point in time as far as I know. We’re heading to Maine in a few days. So I’m trading my Model S P85 for my son’s Acura for the drive north. It has been a year since I ordered my EV, and though I switch to an ICE reluctantly, it’s the only thing to do under the present circumstances.

On August 14, 2014 we “set sail” for a trip north, leaving Greensboro, NC at 9:30 am and arriving in Reston, VA (our first overnight stops with friends) by about 6pm. It was a leisurely trip, with 20-minute supercharger stops in the new South Hill, VA one, then Glen Allen, and finally Woodbridge. We didn’t really need to stop in Woodbridge as it turned out; did so only out of a “range anxiety” I developed on our trip out west this past May. The trip to Reston is actually quite perfect if you’re already charged up when leaving Greensboro. Two 20-minute stops is all that’s required. 

Observations thus far: I-95 anywhere north of Virginia provides the seminal argument for mass transit. 

June 1, 2014 | Palm Springs, CA

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Pano from Hilton window this morning: Palm Springs.

Breakfast once again at Sherman’s Deli. Susan––smoked salmon, capers, potatoes latke, tomato juice, coffee. Bob––Crispy BLT on gluten-free toasts (OK, blame Dr. Perlmutter and his stats!) w/acovado. Also Borscht, cucumbers, cole slaw, tomato juice, coffee. Love the little misters working at the eaves of the al fresco awnings on Tahquitz Canyon Rd. They cheat the arid air with moist waves of cool relief.

Tonight we went to Melvyn’s on the recommendation of a staff member here in Palm Springs Hilton. Paul, definitely a “foodie,” stopped by the pool here today, and we asked him for restaurant recommendations. He looked at our long list and quickly checked them off as yeses or nos. “I’m going to throw you a curb ball now,” he said. The restaurant he’d conjured was Melvyn’s, a 60s era “throwback” (damn, has it been a half century already?) place which many celebs frequented. “This is going to be old-school,” said Paul,” and it certainly was. Every waiter was my age or older. The maitre’d looked looked like Steven Allen (told him how comforted I felt during dinner by this fact, and he cracked up, but appreciately). All staff wore tuxes. Piano bar with singer. Nice spot for our last tryst here.

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May 31, 2014 | Palm Springs, CA

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Well, on this auto-take at least I got Eli in the portrait.

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The man himself. He had other vintage/antique cars aboard both “below and upstairs.”

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Other vehicles aboard

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Eli’s rig

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Eli inspects car for any physical dings

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Inspection for self-protection (Eli’s and mine). He found some small dings (scars from curbside “butterfly kisses”)

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Eli’s 16-wheeler

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Pool at Palm Springs Hilton

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Palm topiary: pipe cleaner?

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Suggest Spa Special

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Sherman’s Deli, Palm Springs, 9am. Nice place for a lox and veggies breakfast. Notice the little hydrator valves, which send a mist of H2O your way to mitigate the arid desert heat.

Well, today I bid adieu to the darling vehicle that’s been serving us so well on this cross-country trip. That means, of course, that I’m throwing in the towel about 2 hours west of San Juan Capistrano, which would’ve been our first coastal destination in California. But…we left on May 1, today is May 31, and it’s time to come home––not drive back through Los Estados Unidos again on that higher latitude supercharger loop through the same 40 or so stations.

As a first-time flatbed user, I had some difficulty about engaging a transport company online. Eli of ELT Auto Transport arrived today, and after meeting him, getting the requisite documentation, and talking with him at length I feel comfortable handing him the key to the most expensive vehicle for which I’ll ever be in debt. Eli has his own single-vehicle trucking company––as, apparently, do 80% of the car-transport drivers in the states.

May 30, 2014 | Palm Springs, CA

Today we left La Quinta for Palm Springs. Ran out of check-in time and wanted to be close to an airport. ELT transport should be here between 1pm and 2pm tomorrow to load up the Tesla. Need to be sure to walk Eli through Tesla-specific parking details and card that describes same. It gets cooler here than La Quinta because the mountains block the horizon and the air and ground are cooling while La Quinta’s are still heating up. Still, 110F in car after 7p here but air much, much drier than Greensboro’s. Maybe like a 90-degree day outside in Greensboro. Tonight we went to Tropicale, a restaurant so full of gay denizens that it must be one of the best. Mind you, food was good (however over-breaded-deep-fat fried was the crab cake) but not stellar. Menu selections, however, were mind-boggling in variety. We’re in the area until Monday morning when we fly back to Greensboro. Hate to miss John Salmon’s “breaking in” the piano at St. Andrew’s, but them’s the breaks…IMG_3325 IMG_3323 IMG_3315 IMG_3316 IMG_3321 IMG_3319 IMG_3322

May 29 , 2014 | La Quinta Resort and Spa (La Quinta, CA)

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Gardens by restaurants ain’t quite the same here.

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Susan and Lucille Ball–Palm Springs Thursday street market stroll

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Lovely sunsets over the surrounding mountains

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Gardens abound here.

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Grounds maintenance and manicure are meticulous.

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The Plunge (over 21) pool right next door to our casita, San Ignacio.

IMG_1042 IMG_1043 IMG_1046 IMG_1047 IMG_1048  This is purportedly a travel blog, but here we are doing the veg out thing at a 1926 Old Hollywood resort. Why? Because the place is amazingly beautiful, an alien cactus blossom out here in the San Bernardino sandy, mineral landscape.

I drove the car out to the Tesla Service Center in Palm Springs this morning, maybe a half-hour away. A service warning light had appeared, and one of the three coolant pumps that cools the Lithium battery array had sent a signal to the neural networking at Tesla’s HQ. So brought it in for thermal diagnostic testing. Had a wonderful time talking with Alistair there when he took me back to La Quinta. After servicing the vehicle they would’ve been glad either to drive or flatbed it back, my choice. They replaced a coolant pump, cleaned the car beautifully, and it’s now charging at a NEMA 14-50 in the garage here at La Quinta Resort. There is no car service like Tesla provides elsewhere on this planet, I believe.

Tonight we’re going to the street fair in Palm Springs. They have one every Thursday night.

Later: we had dinner at Pomme Frite, award-winning Belgian bistro (50 kinds of beer) on S. Palm Canyon Dr. in Palm Springs. I had the signature Pommes Frite dish and Susan Coq au Vin.

May 28 | La Quinta Resort and Spa (La Quinta, CA)

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El Mexicali: Just managed to finish this gargantuan shrimp cocktail. There were several dozen in each Campechana Grande. Vaso de vino.

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We would love to have one big vacation blowout here in celebration of our wonderful family and bring the tribe hither unto these hills.

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Susan ostensibly snaps a picture of me swimming while showing off her newly, neatly manicured toenails.

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El Mexicali was very fine. Nor shall I ever forget (me hopes) Garibaldi Plaza. Noithng fancy at either, GP a sports bar diner but with terrific tastes.

IMG_0212  Today we explored this fantastic old 1920’s hotel with its authentic Spanish architecture, miraculously and extensively manicured bougainvillea and gardens, jacaranda and oleander. We also dined at two authentic Mexican diners: El Maxicali for lunch and Garibaldi Plaza for dinner. The large shrimp and seafood cocktails at Mexicali was almost more than I could eat, though I ate all and even sucked down most of the delicious ceviche-briny liqueur. For dinner we had “quail” really Cornish game hen but with achiato, peas, Spanish rice, refried beans, cilantro, lime, lettuce, tomato, and a wonderful fowl jus that jus’ hit the spot.According to Esmerelda, the room cleaner today in our digs, 1/8th of the casita known as “San Ignacio”, ––Garibaldi Plaza has the best authentic Mexican food around here. E is Mexican. In nearby (15 minutes) Coachella Garibaldi has hand-made corn tortillas, topped with cilantro, onion, lime. She had told me the goat meat and pozole were great there. But when we arrived late tonight we could see no goat on the menu. The “quail” dish, however, was absolutely superb. This place gobsmacks you with its savory authenticity.

May 27, 2014 | Joshua Tree National Park

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Tumbleweeds and the peculiar Yucca known as Joshua tree.

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teddy bear cholla cactus

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lots of boulders along Park Blvd. in JTNP.

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Eldritch landscape

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“Joshua tree” was the name given Yucca brevifolia by mid-19th-century Mormon settlers. The plant’s unique shape reminded them of the Biblical story of Joshua raising his hands to the sky in prayer.

_MG_2723 _MG_2721 _MG_2720 _MG_2708 _MG_2707 _MG_2705 _MG_2704 _MG_2703 _MG_2696 _MG_2680 _MG_2679 _MG_2678 _MG_2677 _MG_2676  IMG_0977 IMG_0978 copy IMG_0989 IMG_0993 IMG_1001 IMG_1017_2014-05-27Up at 5:30am with a mission of exploring Joshua Tree National Park. Worried too much about running out of Tesla Reddy Kilowatt juice as it takes 75 miles just to get to the JTNP gate in Joshua Tree. Grabbed an apple, some coffee at the La Quinta Resort’s reception desk after figuring out where I’d parked the car last night. After returning from Cliff House restaurant I’d asked the desk at La Quinta to pick up my car for me and park it as close to our digs (“San Ignacio,” #371. What happened instead is that he carted us to the car, I unplugged it, drove back to guest check in, and parked my steed there. Fortunately, when there’s a good break in the rental cabanas, palm trees, and Jacaranda mimosafolias one can espy the American flag outside at reception.


I was getting a “Tesla needs service” warning message on the dash, and the charge had crept down about seven points––that much, probably, because I’d forgotten to unplug the converter from the cigarette lighter. My iPhone with AT&T service is as dead as a hammer in these here parts, so I asked the concierge to ring Tesla service. They told me that nearby Palm Springs has a service center, that they’d make sure that service center would “follow my log,” i.e., the data uploads on my vehicle that goes to Tesla HQ. The concierge’s desk would be alerted if anything dicey turned up.

Yesterday Susan and I made it as far as the town of Joshua Tree but were concerned about how much energy we’d have left after driving through JTNP. It was a given that we’d not be likely to make the entire circuit (with a driving time round trip of approximately 3 hours). I’m comfortable with two hours of driving and maybe 20 or 30 minutes more before a recharge. But 3 hours and mile-high ascents do not augur well for a secure return, no matter how good Tesla’s regenerator. The desert west of the San Andreas Fault is unforgiving––108 degrees expected today, and the terrain is a tinder box. The Colorado and then Mojave deserts in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains are home to cacti, yucca, reptiles, and prairie dogs. JTNP is half a million acres.

I explained my predicament to a lovely young lady at the VC desk, and she agreed that the 140 “projected” remaining miles, esp. in this rugged terrain, did not offer the requisite blessed assurance I needed. Ultimately what I decided to do was “triangulate” my distance from the Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce (which purportedly had some form of free EV charging) and the HPWC that would be available to me at the Tesla service center in Palm Springs.

Long story short, I managed to drive to the gate entrance, pay my $15 admission, and explore the first dozen or so miles of the park. Many stops and trudges through the sand and creosote bushes…loads of pictures of Joshua trees and boulders. But I want to go further, maybe tomorrow, or even Thursday (perhaps rent a car or motorbike while the service center here in Palm Springs is checks out my battery coolant pump to make sure it’s behaving within thermal tolerance points. Yep, I’m here in Palm Springs blogging while charging. Planning to head back “home” (La Quinta Resort) within a few minutes.