Thursday, August 4, 2016

Death Valley isn't really that hot, is it? - Day 10

Today we travelled through Death Valley and then then on to Mammoth Lakes. We drove below sea level and then up to 8000 feet above sea level. This was a new test for us as we haven't take the Tesla on many mountain trips, we were fully loaded, and had no idea what to expect in terms of energy usage. Other than charging stops, our planned stops were the bottle house in Rhyolite at an entrance to Death Valley, Stove Pipe wells, and some place called Vista Point. Well, it turns out that there are lots of Vista Points. We had much to see.

Our first stop was Rhyolite. The first time I visited Rhyolite was on a band trip in 1977, in 40 years the place has changed a bit. I believe the house has been rebuilt and items rearranged. It's also now fenced and received the national park treatment. Oliver was intrigued by the construction of the house and the artifacts contained within.

Our next stop was at the sand dunes of Death Valley. This would be the hottest stop of the trip so far. The reading in the car indicated 123 degrees. So, pretty much a typical summer day in Las Vegas. It felt good to be in the heat, but Oliver wasn't having it. He wanted to get back into the air conditioned comfort of the and out of this furnace. We spent just enough time to look around, get a few pictures, and sand into our shoes. That sand would end up staying with us for a few days.

After the dunes, we stopped and had lunch at Stove Pipe wells. We had lunch in the car as it was too hot for Oliver, the North Carolina native. After lunch, we continued onward through the valley and stopped at Vista Point...a few times.

Our last charging stop before Mammoth Lakes was Lone Pine. According to our Tesla navigation system, the chargers were functioning intermittently. In Beatty, before entering Death Valley, we called Tesla customer service to assess situation. The agent indicated that it was because there was intermittent power in the area and not an equipment failure. So, we went for it rather than go around Death Valley. Fortunately for us, the chargers in Lone Pine were working great and we had no issues. While there, we visited the Cowboy museum and I was able to tell Oliver some things about his Grandpa Hines. It was a good stop.

We reached Mammoth Lakes in time to get a nice swim in the pool. After our swim, we ran into Oliver's cousin Cash and his mom Michelle. It was just a happy coincidence that they were vacationing here at the same time.

Traveling through the mountains produced some very interesting energy curves. While we used more power than usual going up the hills, we regenerated gobs of power going down the hills. In one downward trek, we travelled 13 miles but had more range at the end of that portion than the beginning. Perhaps we should have kept more accurate records so that Oliver could have data for a future math project.

Day 10 was a very memorable day!

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