Monday, September 29, 2014

5 days left until my 55th birthday!

Soon I'll be a speed limit!  Some might think this is not to be advertised, but the way I look at it, every day I'm above ground is a day to celebrate.  From the moment we are born, we all are on a path that will eventually lead to a dead-end.  The difference is the journey.  So, I believe every year is to be celebrated and this year I would like to invite you to help me decide how?  Below is a poll that will be open until October, 3rd at 11:55pm.  Please vote (it's anonymous)  for your favorite way to celebrate 55!  Either choose from the list below, or add a new "entry" by posting a comment.  Remember though, the poll is open for 5 days only! 

The choices are:

#1  "Collect"  55 Supercharger pics, like:

#2  Obtain 55 new smashed pennies, like:
#3    Drink 55... Oh, no, no, no. 

Vote now!

How should I celebrate being 55?

Diane and her rescue dog Trevor, a Yorkie mix, live on the top floor of this 1935 tudor style walk up.  There is an European flair, an ease and comfort to the way they live.  Flying regular routes to Paris, speaking 3 different languages, and her long career with American Airlines has given me insight into her wonderful life as a worldly traveler.  

No elevators in this building!  "Great exercise", as Diane says.

Simple, yet elegant living.  Leisurely coffee in the morning, great conversation and life is easy.

Scattered around Diane's apartment are pictures of family and friends, hand written notes, inspirational messages and thoughts to ponder.   This hand written sheath of binder paper captured my eye, my thoughts and my camera. 

The cutest apartment ever!  Such style and grace.

An old friend, long conversations, red wine, laughter, reminiscing, and a crude de te.   Who needs anything more? 

Thank you for your warm and generous hospitality! I'm looking forward to Tennessee. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's time to move on as Fall colors are getting ever closer to peaking.  I'm completely off the supercharger grid now and I've got two long legs to get back on at Normal, Illinois.  My first leg will take me just shy of St. Louis, Mo., to a RV park in Villa Ridge, Mo. 208 miles away.  I charge up to 227 miles (90% capacity) and I'm off.  This means, based on Tesla's algorithm,  I should arrive with 19 miles of charge.  There are many factors that influence how much charge I will actually use; car speed, elevation gain/loss, wind direction, etc.  When I'm in a situation like this, I take a conservative approach and set the cruise control to 60 mph.  I then periodically check the differential between the amount of charge I have, and the distance I have left to travel.  If the differential drops below 19 miles (in this case) I would adjust my speed down to, say, 55 mph. Typically though the differential incrementally increases, allowing me to either, arrive with more than 19 miles of charge, or to increase my speed to 65, 70 or more, as I'm nearing my destination.  On this leg, I arrive at Pin Oak Creek RV Park with 35 miles of charge.  

I check in, pay the unusually high sticker price of $22.21 to charge (grumble, grumble), plug in and plan out my 6 hour, 35 minute layover.

One would think this is an excruciating amount of time to wait for electrons.  Surprisingly, the time goes by pretty fast as I:

  • am hungry!
  • have laundry to do
  • have to catch up on e-mails
  • have blog maintenance
  • make phone calls
  • chat with the folks who stop by, inquiring about the car
  • organize/fine tune placement of stuff
  • am hungry!

Whites, darks, dedicates, perma-press... it all goes into the same tub.

I use the back shelf area to dry any damp items I have as I'm going down the road.  

Then I'm off to my birth state, Illinois.  Pick up another 227 miles at the Normal supercharger and set the GPS to the burbs in Chicago for a visit with Diane, my friend from childhood who I haven't seen since September, 1992 (I only know this, because she told me so).  Diane is a flight attendant with American Airlines; an "elevated" super human calendar who can give you the year, month and yes, often times even the day, of events from a distant past.  It blows my mind!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

At the end of "The Strip" lies Historic Downtown Branson.  Situated to the East is Lake Taheycomo, looking more like a river than a lake.

As I'm walking down the promenade bordering the lake, I notice this cable suspended across to the other side.  It piqued my curiosity and I've got to go check it out.

It's a zip line!... but different than most.  It has a chair-like seat attached to the cable.  After finding out that Parakeet Pete's Waterfront Zipline is running a special for the day, unlimited rides all day long, I decide, Ah, what the heck... I'm in!

I'm wondering about this idea soon after I sit down, as I now notice there's no 3 point harness system, just a seat belt.  I convince myself that their rig looks to be of a permanent nature, so I kick off my sandals, lose the hat (before I lose the hat), hand the camera over to the operators and ask if they wouldn't mind snapping a few.

They didn't mind at all!  They were more than happy to accommodate and actually seemed to enjoy their "selfie-fest".  I had such a good laugh that evening when I unloaded the pics from the camera.

View from the top.

Up and down, up and down, back and forth, back and forth.  There was no one else in line, so I just kept riding until I had my fill.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


When I heard Branson, Mo was known for it's live country music, I thought, "Great, that's my kind of place, a definite stop on my cross country journey".  You could have knocked me over with a feather... or for that matter, the whole darn chicken  when I cruised down main street and saw...


It just wasn't what I was expecting.

There are however, remnants left over from the days where it earned its reputation for hosting country legends.

At 78 years young, Mickey Gilley is still performing and putting on a terrific show.  Although he's not playing the piano, due to a spinal cord injury, his voice is strong and his love for the audience/performing carries him through.

Not to mislead, Missouri has some beautiful scenery.  All that is missing is the rainbow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

If this billboard had a tail, it would be wagging!  What a nice welcome.  Too bad I'm going to buzz through this state faster than a greyhound chasing a hare.  I've heard some great things about Branson, MO so I'm making a beeline there.

Six States worth of bugs are now
adorning the front of Kitt (click on the pic to enlarge & see all the glory).  Oh, I'm sorry, where are my manners.  I should have introduced you sooner.  Yes, (head bowed) my car does have a name... her name is Kitt.  Perhaps you may recall Knight Rider: an American television series staring David Hasselhoff, a modern crime fighter assisted by an advanced, artificially intelligent and nearly indestructible car.  I digress...

Actually the adornments could have been much more... should I say "gaudy".  

As I was making my way through Kansas, first the Goodland supercharger, then Hays, a man approached me who had lots of questions about the car.  As Kitt was charging, (and then some time thereafter) I paused to talk with him.  This started a chain reaction that left me with 20 miles of driving in the dark.  The speed limit was 80 and I was going every bit of that, anxious to get to camp and set up.  Kansas is flat and no way would I have expected a deer to "suddenly" appear (I saw none of those yellow signs warning me of such).   I was in the "slow" lane and the deer was standing on the solid white line.  Time went into slow motion and I was thinking, there's no way I'm going to be able to avoid a collision if this deer bolts. Flashing my lights did enter into my grey matter, but then I thought, THAT could make it bolt, so I just kept on course and luckily, there was no further incident.  My.. heart.. was.. pounding.  Deer antlers are pretty cool, but Kitt would have been on the "worst dressed list".  Way too much jewelry!

Okay, let me just get this out of the way.  I don't let any valet park her, any car wash, scrub/wax her, or any mechanic work on her.  It's just me and those nice folks at Tesla.

Cringe!  This is so not my cup of tea, but alas there is good in everything... and considering I arrived in Branson with 18 miles of charge, that NEMA 14-50 looks, downright sexy.  One night to pick up a full charge then it's off to a more "scenic" site like...

Table Rock State Park, MO.  No need to plug in, I have plenty of charge, so I select a "tent" campsite for $13, and the "pop rocks look" is off my face.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nooooo....I'm not ready to leave! There's so much yet that I want to see and do here. 

Yeah, but what about fall colors??  Think, think, think girl...I've got it!  When you circle around from the south, detour back up this way again.  That way you can check out the slopes and the performance of the new 19" wheels with those cables that you've been hauling around in 80 degree weather for 1,400+ miles. 

C'est super, Muybien, Sehr gut, Heel goed, Feii-chang-hau, Very good!  We all agree; me, myself and I.  

Now it's time to make camp.  Here's my setup:

Yes, I have slept spent the night in the back of the car with the seats folded down, but "the ledge" that is formed, proved to be a significant sleep impediment for me.  It didn't take me long to hone in on the 39" x 75" x 8" inflatable twin mattress from Walmart for $15.

The first 6-8 inches of the mattress (towards the console) is not supported, due to the lack of a back seat in that area.  This does not present a problem for me, as I can either place my pillow there, or scoot down towards the rear hatch.

I already had a rechargeable, battery operated air pump, so that's what I use.  I tested it at home and found out that I can inflate the mattress 4 consecutive days before I have to recharge the battery.  I have to keep track of this, or I'm back sleeping with "the ledge".   Hence, one more thing that gets plugged into that power strip.

Since space is at a premium for this length of trip, optimization is critical.  All my bedding gets stored in a plastic basket behind the drivers seat and stays there. In addition to the down comforter that is rolled up in a tube, I packed another blanket that I keep in a plastic zippered case.

 I absolutely love the lil cubby in the back of the trunk.  I store all my stuff on that shelf that I don't want getting away from me, when I go to bed at night; key fob, glasses, air pump when I've got it charging, and my flashlight/tazer.  Yep, you read that right, and I'm not afraid to use it!  I love, love, love multi-purpose items like this.   Btw, it's also rechargeable, so it gets plugged into the power strip as well. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Well, that's not the first time I've placed the key fob in the "watch pocket" of those jeans.  I have done it many times before with no ill results. However, I have to say that I've never "rocked" out like I did that night.  I guess just a little too much shimmying and yep, you already know where this is going... I lost the key fob.  So the next morning, once again, I placed a call into Tesla, this time in Denver and got Jack Noack, Service Concierge.  Different city, same treatment.  Before I even had the car in park, Jack came out to the parking lot to greet me.  With the spare fob I had, he pulled the car into the service bay and the technicians went straight to work.  I was offered drinks and snacks while I waited and I did notice that other "options" were available from the Medicinal Oasis next door.  Now, I've always thought Telsa did a great job in selecting the locations for their supercharges, to accommodate food and shopping experiences, but WOW service centers next to "pharmacies" too?  

While service was programming the new fob, I got talking to Jack about what else there was to do in town, (as I had no need for a pharmacy ).  A few questions later, he e-mailed me a list of vegan restaurants, points of interest, and tours based on my responses to his questions.  That alone, goes beyond what I expected, but wait, there's more...each recommendation came with hours of operation, phone numbers, pictures, maps and directions.  Say what??   

This time, Brian H., you will be happy to hear that I got charged, (and rightfully so). Here's what my love of dance cost me:

Total Labor & Miscellaneous 
Total Parts 113.00
Shipping 0.00
Discount 0.00
Subtotal 150.50
Sales Tax 8.61

But what's really cool, is I was given these key fob socks to allow me to rock-on all I want!  They are a thing of beauty and great to hang on a purse or belt loop.

Telsa's service is the Nordstrom of automotive.  Another glowing review!

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO

This place is magical!  It's like a grand slam, a double rainbow, and a Model S, all rolled into one experience.  I arrived a hour and a half before the concert started, and I'm glad I did. Although I didn't count the steps to get to the top, I trust that 192 is spot on.  To give you some idea how that number translates, off to the right of the last set of steps is a sign offering a heart rate monitor check. Yep, that pretty much sums it up.  

If you zoom in, you'll notice I carried my key fob in the right-hand "watch" pocket of my jeans. As it turns out, this is significant and in my next post I'll tell you why.

According to their website, the amphitheatre has 9,500 unobstructed seats. Each seat has an assigned number and like most venues, seat pricing is based upon location.   The honor system is in affect as there are no ushers.   I did notice however, that as the evening progressed and libations flowed,  more than a "normal" amount of those seats tended to be towards the bottom.

"There is a large, tilted, disc-shaped rock behind the stage, a huge vertical rock (that) angles outwards from stage right, and several large outcrops angled outwards from stage left."  That, in addition to the amplifiers on steroids, produce a clear, thunder rumbling, sound.  At one point, I literally felt the cavity in my chest reverberate like Yo-Yo Ma's "Petunia".

The amphitheatre is owned and operated by the City and County of Denver, Colorado and is in the Denver Mountain Parks system. 

Lights, smoke (ah... both kinds) and fireworks, this concert had it all.