A Supercharged EV Road Trip

During Covid, when schools shut down, my teenage daughter’s life was suddenly all online. So it didn’t surprise me when she started telling me about a new group of friends she met on an online forum dedicated to One Direction, an English-Irish pop boy band. Aware of the dangers of the internet, I was more than a little wary. I asked her a million questions and was pleasantly surprised to find that she was just chatting daily with a group of fourteen to sixteen-year-old girls infatuated with One Direction. 

Over the next year, these six girls met religiously on Zoom, and became best friends. They lived scattered across the country and even the world- New York City, Orlando, San Diego, Salt Lake City, London England, and Sydney Australia. It didn’t matter the day or the time zone, they didn’t miss a beat of hanging out and comparing One Direction gossip. 

As the country began to open up in the Spring of 2021, my daughter started asking me to take her to meet her new friends. I wanted to reward her for earning straight As during the year online and being such a great kid while we navigated the unknown roller coaster of Covid 19.  

In late 2019 I had given up my gas car to buy a Model 3 Tesla but I didn’t get a chance to really take it anywhere outside city limits before things shut down in response to Covid. One of the main reasons I chose the Tesla was because of the Supercharger infrastructure and the possibility of road trips. And I love road trips! So there we were, in spring 2021, a mom with a Tesla that needed testing, and a teenager with a long-distance friend in Salt Lake City. 

I asked my daughter to map out the trip on the Tesla website. Five minutes later she came back after plugging in her friend’s address and informed me that it would take about fourteen hours, and there were Superchargers the whole way. It was that quick. We picked Memorial Day weekend to travel and we counted down the days. 

Road Trip
We packed our bags, packed our cooler full of snacks and drinks and headed out on a sunny Friday morning. For the first leg we planned to drive to Boise, Idaho where my brother and sister-in-law lived, so that meant three to four Supercharger stops along the way. I hadn’t had the chance to drive east across the whole state and was so very excited to share the experience with my daughter. I wasn’t so excited about listening to the entire 150 song catalog from One Direction and its individual members. But, as the miles passed, I recalled hearing songs from over the year, and we sang along as we drove. Through the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge and the first album, we arrived in The Dalles, OR for our first Supercharge. We backed into a pod of chargers and plugged in. As customary with Tesla chargers, they are usually located in a shopping center where you can grab some food and stretch your legs. We charged up for another 280 miles and grabbed a snack, and in around 20 minutes we were on our way again. Really, it only took a few minutes longer than gassing up my old car. 

Our next stop was in Pendleton and then onto Baker City. Each charge was less than 30 minutes, and gave us a chance to stretch our legs. The Tesla always tracked the distance and the time to the next charging station, with extra power to spare, so I was never worried about losing battery. Coming out of the Gorge and heading into Eastern Oregon was just breathtaking, seeing the wind farms across the hills, the expansive ranch lands and fields, the very green Umatilla National Forest. My daughter was seeing Oregon this way for the first time and I was experiencing it with her.  Boardman, La Grande, Pendleton, Hermiston, Baker City, were all cities she had heard of but never knew where they really were.

What was great about road tripping in the Tesla is that it has the Autodrive feature, which allowed for me to experience the trip a little more easily.  Autodrive is essentially smart cruise control. It speeds up and slows down, keeps pace with the cars around you and if you begin to veer off the lane it will auto-correct for you. It was an incredibly comfortable day of driving while the Tesla helped navigate and I got to sing One Direction songs and enjoy the gorgeous views with my daughter.  

Our last stop before Boise ID, was Ontario, OR  where my daughter got to pose with a green dinosaur and we bought our first bag of cherries of the season from a local farmer. We pulled into Salt Lake City, Utah Saturday afternoon and my daughter meeting her friend will be something she will remember forever. They laughed and cried, and cemented in person the friendship that they’d been building online for a year. 

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to share this time with her and it felt so good to be able to make such a big road trip so easily, and with the knowledge that I was making a smart environmental decision. Before returning home, we were already starting to plan another trip, to meet other friends down I-5 down in Southern Oregon.  I’d tell you about the trip home, but this story is mostly just about One Direction.

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