We were in our new home 14 days before our goods arrived. Our initial concern when leaving Florida was that our stuff would get to Washington before us. As it turned out, the stuff did not leave Florida until after we arrived in Washington. Our initial plan was to take about 10 days or so to cross country, but we speeded up the trip because we were tired of driving, sleeping in motels and eating fast food.
We made good use of the time while the house was empty. We unloaded two cars full of things we brought with us because we knew we needed them on day one: PCs, network routers, dog food and the like. Next, we got paper plates, utensils, and some real food. Jason and Dan, who live about an hour and a half away in Seattle, came over for a visit and brought a care package: pots and pans, real utensils, and some basic tools we could use until our stuff got here.
With tools in hand, we started to tackle the house. We liked most of the room colors, however Linda wanted something a bit different. After 7 sample jars of paint, new colors were chosen. Linda started painting while I started fixing things.
During the first couple of days, we created a sizable list of things to fix. The house was built in 1983 and is mostly in great shape. In 2015, there was a major renovation including a total kitchen, new windows and doors, flooring, decking and all top shelf stuff. However, there are a lot of little things that are not right. My task was fixing those things. We spent our first couple weeks painting and fixing while staying out of each other’s way.
The house got mostly painted, at least one room twice. Things got checked off the “to do” list, however the “to do” list seems to be twice if not three times as long as when we started. We keep finding things to add to the list as we work our way through the house. We spent way too much money at Lowes and we are still spending. Most of the remaining projects are not too bad except for replacing the flooring in three rooms. When Linda started to paint the rooms with carpeting, she noticed how filthy the edge of the carpet was in one room. She, of course, decided that the carpets had to go now. After we ripped up the carpets, we found enough dirt at the edge of one wall to grow plants. The house is built on a slope and that wall backs up to the slope. I will have to check out why the dirt is seeping into the house before I install the new flooring. We are installing moisture proof vinyl flooring in those three rooms. It works better when you have pets.
Speaking of pets, Linda found some collie breeders in Washington. Apparently, she started looking with an eye to the future so she could have some company when hiking. Dart is too old to hike with her. One of the breeders about two hours away just had a litter of pups. Linda went to see them last Saturday and is bringing home not one, but two collies in May. One old dog that has to be carried up and down the steps and two puppies. Should be fun. Time to find my boat.
We now live in Bremerton, Washington and when the skies are clear enough, we get impressive views of the snow-covered Olympic Mountains. As we drive down the road, we will make a turn and get the most amazing view. We can see one of the peaks from the top of our driveway. We find ourselves driving a particular route for many of our errands and there is a stop sign about a half mile from the house. When you look left at the stop sign on a clear day, the view is stunning. I love when there is no one behind me so I can stay a few more seconds and enjoy it.
Last evening, Dart and I went to a nearby city park in Tracyton that is only a few miles away and has a concrete boat ramp. We sat at the top of the boat ramp and enjoyed the view. Dart enjoyed people and pet watching while I enjoyed watching the gulls eat clams. The gulls have found the concrete boat launch to be a perfect place to drop a clam and have it crack open so they can eat the insides. They do not have to fly up very high for the drop and they nail it almost every time. I look forward to getting my wet suit and life preserver when our goods arrive so I can go kayaking.
I have been on several long trips with the Tesla, but they have all been in populated areas and warm temps. This trip was different, cross multiple time zones, varying altitudes, varying population densities, varying weather with potentially freezing conditions.
For this trip we knew we would be encountering a variety of whether conditions. The Tesla has “summer” tires on it. It will not do well in any kind of winter slush. We took a longer but more southern route hoping to avoid snow/freezing weather. That didn’t happen. We encountered near freezing temps and even snow through some mountain passes. But given the edge of performance for the tires the Tesla it did well.
The Tesla battery did ok in temps down to about 45 degrees F, below that it consumed twice as much battery to go a mile.
I would surmise the battery usage to be:
1: Driving in cold temperatures will use more battery (Batteries don’t like cold).
2: Cold weather will mean you use more climate control to keep the inside warm. (More battery)
3. Whatever the Tesla range is indicating, reduce if by half. If it said I could go 200 miles, I could only count on 100. (When temps were 40-45 F).
Your mileage may vary but for us a max range of 100 miles, in 40F and below was the best we could count on.
And I don’t like the cold!
To put a period on this, I guess I was happy with long distance trips before, but the cold weather puts a different take on things.
The Jeep consumed $726.38 in gas. The Tesla consumed $327.19 in charges. We drove approximately 3,000 miles. That means the Jeep was about 24 cents a mile vs. the Tesla at 11 cents a mile. Plus, we have to get the oil changed on the Jeep. Tesla’s do not need oil changes.
We still do not have our furniture. It left Florida last Tuesday and we will not see it before the end of next week. We have decided to take advantage of the situation to paint and do other chores that area easier to accomplish when you do not have furniture.
The flowers are blooming and it is a joy to see. We have explored the area a little bit, but mostly we are just settling in. We have not pulled out the cameras. That time will come. There has been too much to do to spend much time recreating. We came at a good time because it is spring and beautiful things are happening. I hope in another couple weeks, we can stop doing things with the house and cars and start exploring.
The Jeep arrived in Washington with a potential problem, so we have to get it to a Jeep dealer soon. Our funds from the sale of our house cleared the account today and Regis lost a crown on his tooth. Just in time to pay for it!
Yesterday, I spent a lot of time painting and decided to give the Jacuzzi a try. We have never had one and did not know how to work the controls. As we were trying to figure it out, one of the jets shot water all over the bathroom. It was a wet mess.
We have wood floors throughout most of the house and it is a major problem for Dart. He cannot get traction. We ordered some plastic covers for his toenails, but his back toenails are too short for them to work. We got him some socks and they are working well for him. Once we get our furniture, we have area carpets that will make his life easier.
We locked ourselves out of our house a couple days ago. Regis set up the keypad for the garage door opener and it failed when we needed it. Fortunately, we had Dart with us and we were able to drive to Jason’s house in Seattle about an hour and a half away to get his key so we could get in our house. It was nice to visit Jason, Dan, and Coco but, really, under better circumstances.
While in Seattle, I was starving so we walked about a half mile to a nearby restaurant. Dart could barely make it. The little guy is struggling with arthritis, etc. It is hard to watch, especially since he was a pro at agility trials when he was younger.
Regis is now at the dentist and I am exhausted from painting. Hopefully, pictures next time.
We left Mountain Home, Idaho at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. It is about 40 miles southeast of Boise. We wanted to make as much progress as we could but were very concerned about some weather coming into the Pacific Northwest. We thought we would be okay at the lower elevations but we had some mountain passes to get through. Our shortest route put us through the Cascade Mountains at Snoqualmie Pass and that was not looking good. The sun came up as we were in Baker City, Oregon. We looked at the situation at Snoqualmie and realized that we could not get through that pass any time soon. The pass was open but the tesla does not have any kind of snow tire which made the pass dicey. The other option was to drive along the Columbia River which added 50 miles to the trip. It was the best option.
After we left Baker City, we headed up some low mountain passes and hit a bunch of snow. The Tesla does not have the tires for this but the snow was very light. It was bad for driving but beautiful to see. What’s not to like about fresh snow on conifer trees. Regis informed me that the Tesla cruise control and self-steering would no longer work. The sensors were covered with slush.
When we got to the Pendleton in the valley, we had clear skies. Regis cleaned the sensors and we got food and gas to keep going and all was well. A point to be taken is that Tesla’s are fair weather cars. They do not handle bad weather well.
We hung in there and drove all the way to our new home. It was 13 hours of driving but nice to be in our house and not a hotel. The prior owner left a bed and other good to have items, so it was no problem pulling up late in the day and crashing in the new house.
Regis is my hero because he visited the local Xfinity shop and got the gear to get us hooked up today. I could not have done this post otherwise.
We have no idea where our furniture is and when we will get it. We have a good attitude. We bought some essentials and our son will loan us some other critical items. We should be good for a week or more. It’s better than a hotel!
Now that we are here, we will be focused on getting everything set up including car tags, etc. so I do not expect to post for a bit until I am able to spend time exploring. We have the kayaks, but we do not have life preservers and wet suits, so we will explore in other ways when we can. We love the house and the location and look forward to exploring the beauty of the area.
We are in Mountain Home, Idaho. We covered a lot of miles the last two days. There was little traffic, the interstates were in good shape, and we did not have to go far off the interstate to charge. Our hotel window in Mountain Home looks out at a UPS staging area or parking lot. Trucks come in and drop off their trailers and trucks come in to pick up the trailers. Regis is trying to figure out what is going on and whether they are taking advantage of the disconnect to go to the Flying J next door to fill up. Regis is happy when we stay in locations where he can watch activity like the ship port in Savannah, the ship traffic in Puget Sound, the ferry loading in Victoria, and here in Idaho watching trucks. Regis is trying hard to figure out what is going on with the UPS trucks, but he says it’s like a shell game, they keep shuffling trailers around and he cannot keep track. It is interesting to me what entertains him. I could not give a hoot about the trucks but have an ungulate walk by and you have my attention. (Jeff, if you know call Regis.)
The other day, my first tumbleweed on this trip blew across the highway and scared me. I thought it was an animal. I told Regis on the walkie talkie and a couple minutes later Roy Rogers was singing “Tumbling Tumbleweed” on my walkie talkie. Never a dull moment with Regis.
We have been enjoying the scenery as we passed through Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho. There were snow covered hills. Since all of our camping was in the summer, we often only saw snow early in the summer season and only on the tops of the mountains. It was interesting to see the landscape in a non-summer season.
After we arrived in Utah, we descended for a long, long time. It was so long that I told Regis I thought we would soon be in hell. A few miles later, there was a sign for “Devils Slide”, and I felt vindicated.
Dart has not been eating so I bought him a burger patty at Wendy’s the other day. We also bought him cooked chicken at the grocery store to supplement his wet food when it is difficult to feed him during the day. I think he won’t eat his dog food now because he is holding out for better options. He has no problem eating burger patties and cooked chicken, but he does not want his dog food. This is going to be interesting to fix when we get settled in Washington. He is in good spirits and we do our best to let him get in sufficient sniff time. He has trouble walking, so we cannot walk him far.
Our original plan had us getting to our new home on Sunday. If things go well, we will either pull in very late tomorrow evening or, more likely, arrive on Thursday. There is snow coming into the mountains overnight and the Tesla does not have tires for the snow. We either need to go through a pass (shortest route) or drive along the Columbia River. We have about 300 miles tomorrow to see how things are going and decide whether to spend the night and which route to take.
One of my favorite charging stations was in Twin Falls, Idaho and it was located at the Visitor Center along the Snake River. At this point it was raining, but Dart and I checked out the view and got a couple pics.
It was crazy windy today. It impacted the gas consumption in the Jeep, which was probably worse because of the kayaks. The Tesla drained battery fast with the cold temperatures and wind. Regis continued to let me break the wind for him, like the goose in front of the V formation. It became necessary to charge in every substantial town with a charging station. The traffic was light and we were able to maintain our speed consistently, so we covered a lot of ground. We drove about 480 miles today. We have not covered that much ground in a day since our younger days when we were crazy enough to drive all night to get to our destination. We once drove from Maryland to Albuquerque, New Mexico non-stop. Never again. It was doable today because there was not much traffic. The wind was so fierce, I thought it was going to blow the kayaks off the car. When we stopped and let Dart out, he looked at us like “why can’t you do something about this?” He likes the cool weather but hates the wind.
We stayed in a Hilton Tru hotel last night that has an interesting concept. There are no carpets, which we like with the dog. They had a cool automatic pancake maker at the free breakfast. This appears to be a good option for families and people traveling with pets.
We got up this morning before sunrise and we were on the interstate while it was still dark. As the sun rose, we could see flocks of geese flying overhead. I grew up in Maryland and frequented the Eastern Shore where you could see flocks of geese during spring and fall. I often visited the Eastern Shore to see them. I loved seeing that kind of bird activity again.
We have traveled enough under varying circumstances for me to have a strong opinion about a couple things. I love our Tesla for local travels. We can charge it overnight in our garage and never worry about charging issues. On the road, it is a different situation. The current charging situation makes it less than ideal for going long distances. If you need to do it occasionally, it can be done. Regularly, I would not do it. It is too much trouble between finding charging stations and dealing with weather issues that impact battery usage. Most charging stations are not readily available to the interstate, which lengthens the trip more.
I love our Tesla and would not give it up. It works best for local stuff. We use the Tesla first for anything we need to do locally. We use the Jeep if the situation requires us to carry kayaks or drive in less-than-ideal conditions. We are fortunate to have two cars that meet different needs effectively.
Several years ago, I tried to determine whether it was best to travel in an RV or stay in hotels, etc. I was not sure, but we purchased an RV and proceeded to travel in one for several years. Now that we are dependent on hotels, I hate it. I do not want to be a whiner, but I hate it. I miss our motorhome. I prefer my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen, and having all my stuff tucked away in the appropriate places. We hate having to find food elsewhere. We hate having to bring our stuff into and out of the hotel every day. I do not want to keep whining, but think it is worth sharing our feelings now that we have had both experiences. Everyone is in a different place. For me, I much prefer camping.
It’s been exciting learning how the Tesla handles cold temperatures. I have driven several (6) long trips of about 1000 miles each with the Tesla and only on the first trip did I freak out about getting to a charging station. Yesterday (Saturday) we woke to temps in the 20’s (f) and it got colder during the day. I charged the car in the evening and when we went to leave the next morning the car had lost about 30 miles of charge.
The trip in cold temps was interesting. On a normal day the car uses energy at a rate of about 275 watt hours (WH) per mile. (I won’t explain what a watt hour is but the number values will be pertinent.) All day, in the 20 degree temps, the car was using over 400 WH per mile. Almost twice as much. We had to stop and charge more often than normal and extended the day quite a bit.
In thinking about this I could only guess as to why this happened. First, the car is heated and cooled with a heat pump, similar to the ones in homes. Just like at home, when it’s THAT cold the heat pump just doesn’t work. It has to use a resistant heater (like a hair drier) and that uses a lot of energy. Second, I was driving as the lead car and getting a lot of wind resistance, using more energy. Later in the day, I had Linda lead and that helped. Third, just like any battery, the car battery did not like the cold.
The next day (today), I monitored and recorded some statistics. The day started off with temps at the low 40’s (f). I toyed with the idea of wearing shorts. I spent the first 30 miles glued to the energy monitoring apps (full self-driving has advantages). With just a 20 degree rise in temperature the car was using about 310 WH per mile. Much closer to normal, plus the temps rose to the low 70’s later in the day. I continued to have Linda as the lead car as it did make for an improvement for the Tesla. The miles per gallon in the Jeep dropped by driving at 75 mph (the speed limit).
Take aways from this are 1. Plan on more charging stops in cold temperatures. The car doesn’t know the weather. 2. Look ahead on your route for charging stops and plan your speed. The speed limit in Nebraska is 75. If Linda was not in front, I would have had to limit my speed to 65 so as to get to the next stop. The charging stations were far apart.
All in all, not bad, just did not think about cold weather behavior.
We saw a murmuration of black birds yesterday that was amazing to see. Today, we came upon a large number of birds and managed to get a video. It’s not great since I was driving on an interstate at the speed limit, but I had the phone in navigation mode and was able to flip it over to video quick enough to give it a try. I do not know what kind of birds they were. I would have stopped if I could.
On the way through Nebraska, we saw flocks of sandhill cranes. Audubon says, “Between February and April, more than half a million sandhill cranes gather on the Platte River in central Nebraska, staging for a journey that ends as far north as eastern Siberia.” Way, way cool to see. I wish we were in a better position to have hung out in the area to observe more closely.
We are halfway through our journey to Bremerton. We should beat our initial travel plans but weather is always an issue. We can’t drive in the snow and an atmospheric river in the Pacific Northwest could cause problems. Tomorrow looks good and traffic is much better in this area, so we hope to make good time for another day.
Yesterday the temperature was 20 degrees F in the morning. This morning, it was 40 degrees F in the morning and rose to 70 as we made our way through Nebraska. It was likely around 80 degrees F the days before we left in Florida. 80 to 20 to 70 in a few days. I hope it does not plummet again.
Light snow and ice came through Kuttawa, Kentucky last night. Dart got up at 3:30 a.m. I nearly froze while waiting for him. When I got back to the room, I jumped under the covers to warm up and Regis suggested we get started for the day. I said, “heck no!” A half hour later it was clear I was not going to be able to sleep and relented. We loaded up our two cars, both encased in snow and ice. We had no ice scrapers, so we had to wait until the car melted the ice from the windows. Regis had fully charged the Tesla the night before, but the frigid temperatures (it was 20 degrees Farenheit in the morning) drained some of the battery and while he recharged, I bought gas, gloves, and ice scrapers.
As we got to the entrance to the interstate, Regis went the wrong way. No coffee kills him. I failed to follow and went the correct way but pulled over to call him and tell him to turn around at the next exit. I drove slowly hoping he would catch up and finally got off at a rest stop and waited for him.
The Tesla lost charge faster as a result of the cold temperatures and had to be charged more often. Regis has started collecting data on cold weather energy usage for a further post. First impression is that at highway speeds the car consumes MUCH more energy. The low got to 16 degrees F after sunrise and hovered around 20 all day. Poor Dart. Neither Regis nor I could bear the cold long enough to let him stay out long. He was not as bothered as we were.
After the second charge, Regis went to Lowes and bought walkie talkies. I thought we could do without them but found having them made things much easier. It was a wise move.
We saw at least 7 vehicles crashed and abandoned in the median strip and a couple large trucks wrecked on the side of the road. Bad weather went through the area yesterday and was likely the reason. I am glad we missed that.
In Regis’ infinite wisdom, he decided to get dry ice for our cooler. Since we have primarily traveled with a motorhome over the last many years, we only needed a cooler for day trips. Regis did not want the water from the melted ice cubes in the cooler. The cooler traveled in the Tesla with Regis. Yesterday, Regis had to put his sweater on because the cooler was so cold it chilled the air in the car. Today, when I pulled out sour cream to dip my Triscuits in, I thought the sour cream looked off. I checked the expiration date and it was good. Regis noticed my puzzled look and said the sour cream looked odd because he was dipping jalapeno chips into it. Okay. I dipped my Triscuit and found the sour cream was frozen solid. It entered the cooler yesterday morning at refrigerator temperature and was frozen solid this morning.
Yesterday, it rained off and on most of the day. Sometimes it was a light sprinkle and sometimes substantive. Regis does not remember it raining. Might I point out that the Tesla is smart enough to run the windshield wipers at the correct pace based on the precipitation. I had to modify the wiper speed constantly.
There is a difference in how the two cars handle cruise control. Regis is using full self-driving in the Tesla for this trip. If he sets the cruise control for the speed limit and the car in front of him slows down, the Tesla slows down. The Jeep does not. I have worn the plus and minus markings off the cruise control buttons from constantly adjusting the speed based on traffic conditions. I generally stay behind Regis and when the traffic flow is okay, we maintain a fixed distance. If I start to gain on him, I know he is asleep at the wheel (not literally) and is not paying attention that the car in front of him slowed down. When I pass him off, he sees those colorful kayaks go by and wakes out of his reverie.
Regis decided to wait on charging until north of Atlanta and planned on the next charge near Nashville, but after leaving a rest stop about 90 miles south of Nashville, Regis called me to tell me the “car changed its mind” and wanted to charge sooner. If Regis is not paying attention, it’s nice to know the car is on top of things.
The potholes on the road in Tennessee were almost the size of small ponds. It was like slaloming on the highway. At one point, the right lane was closed off because the potholes were so large.
We stopped several more times today than yesterday and I think Dart is getting more comfortable. He is a much-traveled dog, so he should get used to things soon. I made sure to let him get a lot of sniffing time in during charging sessions.
During the last 20 miles into our destination in Kentucky, it started to snow. The Tesla tires cannot handle snow or ice. Depending on how things look tomorrow, we may have to stay another day. It may pass through tonight, but we are prepared to hunker down if needed. We saw many blooming plants as we made our way up to Tennessee, but once we got north of Chatanooga, only the daffodils were in bloom.
Lastly, the traffic was terrible almost all day yesterday and again today. We have traveled this route several times and I do not remember this much traffic. It is difficult to cover too many miles when stuck in so much congestion. Since we usually had our Super C motorhome when traveling through the many lanes of interstate through cities, I often felt I would have preferred to be in a nimbler car. Yesterday, I changed my perspective. While traveling with 18 wheelers on both sides cruising at sometimes decent speeds, I felt rather small and would have welcomed being in our motorhome. It was nice to ascend the Appalachian Mountains at the speed limit. The motorhome would slow down to 40 mph depending on the ascent.
Why do cities treat cars like a deck of cards? They bring many lanes of traffic together, shuffle them up, split them out again, and repeat. It reminds me of what happens when you shuffle a deck of cards.
We recently purchased a home in Washington State and sold our beautiful home in St. Augustine. We signed the papers yesterday, the movers picked up our stuff, our outstanding realtor team of Maureen Nightingale and Nancy Daniels gave us a bunch of goodies for the trip, and we headed west this morning. We tentatively have the trip scheduled for 10 days but will likely reduce that if weather, traffic, the cars, and the dog allow. I am driving the Jeep with Dart in the back and two kayaks on top. Regis is driving the Tesla.
We have had numerous people share a concern about long distance traveling in an electric vehicle, so we will talk about that in the posts on this trip. We left from St. Augustine, Florida and our first stop to charge the Tesla was near Valdosta, Georgia. It also had a gas station and a convenience store. I topped off the tank in the Jeep and Regis picked up a much-needed frosted cherry pop tart. We hung out by the swamp while waiting for the Tesla to finish charging which took about 20 minutes.
Regis indicated we would stop in Macon, Georgia for the next charge. I did not pay enough attention to how far away that was and bypassed a rest stop around 11:30 thinking we could eat while the car was charging. Eons later and much hungrier, we arrived at the Macon Tesla charging facility. This time there was no gas station, but there was a Panera Bread nearby. We had food in our cooler and I sat on the curb between charging stations with Dart and we ate our lunch. Well, I did. Dart was too unhappy to eat. Without a picnic table, I should have saved the food in the cooler for another day and bought food at Panera Break. Although we could have gone to Panera Bread to use the facilities, we chose to wait since we only had 87 miles to go. We both regretted that.
We made good time until we were 40 miles away from our hotel in Atlanta. The traffic was terrible and we slowly made our way. By the time we got to the pet friendly Westin hotel, Regis and I were having a hard time holding it. I do not know what I was thinking when I made the reservation in a downtown hotel. There is a charging station nearby, but it is downtown and we have a dog with us. The hotel has an underground garage with a low ceiling. With the two kayaks on top of the car, I could not fit. The nearest outdoor parking lot has signs indicating you can’t park there unless you are using that shopping center. There is a roving security guard making sure you understand. He was unable to give us advice, so Regis parked the Tesla in the garage to go to the hotel while I called BringFido through whom I made the reservations. Regis and BringFido both determined that I could park in valet. The roof was higher.
Dart was unhappy yesterday while the movers took everything from the house. Since we slept on a blow-up mattress last night, there was no room for him and he had to sleep in his own bed. He got up multiple times at night. I thought he was sleeping during the entire drive today, but that may not have been the case. He was clearly unhappy as we went in the elevator to the 9th floor of the hotel. But, he was hungry enough now that he ate something. Regis put him up on the bed and he fell sound asleep. He barely moved. We thought he was dead. When he woke up, he was a cheered up fellow and is taking it all in much better. I get cranky when I’m tired and hungry too.