The first day of the return trip covered 470 miles and started rather late in the morning – it is hard to leave the idyllic Amber Bear Inn. Just a few miles down the road we crossed into Idaho and stopped to photograph is picturesque farm. Lots of work, surely, but also pleasant on the eyes.
On our way we stopped at the Pacific Flyway Gallery in Spokane Valley, WA. Patty’s nephew, Todd & Lessie, had some beautiful prints in their home that were done by a local artist – Tom Bowman. This gallery exhibited his work and we wanted to see more of it. Treasure, a framer and salesperson, not only helped us pick out two pieces we really liked, but was thrilled we were driving a Tesla.
The picture shows the full extent of the Montana dirt roads we had been travailing. Rain and driving on paved roads actually cleaned up the car a bit on the remainder of the trip – of course we had to continually remove the bugs from the front.
As the first afternoon wore on we crossed the Columbia River, ran into a heavy rainstorm, and charged our car at the Ellensburg, WA Supercharger. Because we have a 60 kWh battery (not the larger 85 kWh) we can’t go directly from Ritzville, WA to The Dalles, OR.
Our reward for doing this was the Columbia River crossing and this beautiful panorama of the Kittitas Valley, as we climbed the mountains south of Ellensburg. The rainbow in the right third of the photo was much more colorful to the naked eye, so we took another photo of it. This one shows some of the many windmills in this area, used for generating electricity in this energy rich state.
Leaving The Dalles the second morning we drove down the Columbia Gorge. Since all our days were going to be 400 miles or more, we took care to include more daylight hours in our drives. This shot was from inside our speeding car – we didn’t stop to look at the waterfalls on this leg of our journey.
Our last stop of the day was at Grants Pass, OR. When we pulled in we met a family traveling north, Veejay, Archie, and their children. It is always a fun event to meet kids along the way and these asked their mother why they hadn’t been allowed to bring their dog along.
This stop is at the back of the Black Bear Diner parking lot and, after we finished our dinner, we returned to find this beautiful Signature Red Tesla. You could only get a Signature Red Tesla if you order one of the first 1000 cars made. It turns out this car is a European test car for Tesla and driven by the V.P. Of World-Wide Sales & Service. It could only be driven in the U.S. because it wasn’t registered to an individual. This car had the European amber tail lights, the ‘beyond 6.0’ operating system, and all the ‘stuff’ Tesla could put in. Of course he wouldn’t talk much about all the new features, except to say that programmers had been working on GPS changes to the 6.0 operating system for over two years and all Tesla owners should be very pleased when it is finally downloaded into their cars.
We overnighted in Weed, CA and our second Supercharger stop was Corning, CA. This stop is located on old highway 99 – rather famous on the West Coast – in the middle of olive growing country. As the GPS guides you to turn on Hwy 99, the Olive Pit is located just across the intersection. Since this is within walking distance of the Superchargers, we would recommend Tesla owners – and other interested travelers – give this place a try.
With the night spent with our son, daughter, and grandson, we set out on our final drive home. It was Saturday, so the younger generations were biking to the local Farmar’s Market.
At the Harris Ranch stop we were treated to our first ‘fully loaded’ Supercharger location. The next stop, Tejon Ranch, on-the-other-hand, was completely empty – except for us. Go figure! Patty had taken the precaution of being dropped off at the newly opened Tejon Outlet Mall across the freeway before Craig & KiKi started recharging the car. This didn’t give her much time for shopping, but she indicated she would return with a girlfriend in the near future. Tejon Ranch is only about 80 miles from our home and the electrons to get her there are – of course – free at the Supercharger.
Thus ended our final extended trip of Summer 2014. We loved our travels and this blog should keep our memories fresh for years. We hope you have enjoyed our travels in words and pictures. So long for now!