One of the really nice aspects of crossing the country is the ability to meet with members of this forum - face-to-face after years of corresponding!
Who we didn't
get a chance to visit -
Last year on our Tesla trip to Key West we met with forum moderator Don and his wife in Biloxi, Mississippi. For some strange reason I didn't have to the presence of mind to snap a photo of us, not even with both the Tesla and his i-MiEV side-by-side, with me of course back-in parking.
On our trip this year while in New Orleans I had intended to backtrack the hundred miles to Biloxi to meet with Don again, but my wife (who had flown to Medford from Nashville for a family emergency) had moved up the timeframe for rejoining me and was already booked to fly into Dallas and I was just a bit short on time - Don, catch you next time.
This last July forum moderator Tim (PV1) paid me a visit in California and was successful in seeing a Tesla Model 3 at the nearby Tesla HQ before the car's official delivery! On our cross-country trip we came close to Tim in Pittsburg, but had a schedule conflict which kept us from popping up to see him.
When crossing New Mexico we almost connected with Tony (Aerowhatt) - he left Albuquerque for a family visit the day before we arrived on our way home. Pity, as I had looked forward to meeting him and continuing our debate regarding maximizing EV range on downhills.
Who we did
connect with -
A few days before we left on our Nova Scotia trip, I received an email from John Annen (FiddlerJohn on this forum) in Maryland wondering if we were going to be around as he was going to be visiting California. Surprise! - I allowed as we were heading East and thus we agreed to possibly meet somewhere in the middle of the country. John and his wife are accomplished musicians and entertainers (in his past life John was a serious hands-on NASA instrumentation engineer), and a meetup near Minneapolis looked doable. We made a left turn from Interstate 80 in Des Moines and arrived in Champlain MN just in time to enjoy their performance. We then spent a few hours having a great time chatting away about so many common interests that it was downright scary!
John and his wife Debbie performing -
Photo of our get-together -
Still discussing some esoteric technical topics in the parking lot in front of my Tesla -
John and Debbie in their Tesla in front of the Tesla factory in California.
They also have a photo (just as we do of ourselves) outside the gate at the Tesla gigafactory in Reno NV (they don't let tourists in, even if they're driving Teslas).
I had neglected to keep John informed of our itinerary and on our way back we made contact when we arrived in Nashville TN and it turns out that we had passed each other on the highway earlier that day and missed connecting at a Tesla supercharger by minutes... my bad.
We then headed east from Minneapolis to meet with Ben Nelson at the National Drive Electric Week event in Madison WI - perfect timing. We enjoyed the show and nearby market and after some sightseeing drove 50 miles further east to meet Ben at his place in Oconomowoc, WI. For those of you who might not remember, Ben was the first to show us what the (flooded) insides of an i-MiEV battery pack look like as he had bought and attempted to revive a Hurricane Sandy casualty. He eventually bought a running 2012 i-MiEV and has provided lots of videos about the car and everything related. Here are the links to Ben on this forum:
Taking Apart a Flooded i-MiEVhttp://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1344
New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2917
LED light mods and lots of useful tidbit on yet other threads on this forum.
Ben has a great website: http://300mpg.org
Needless to say, we spent quite a few hours discussing everything from his new solar installation to all things relating to electric power and vehicles. Wonderful technical interchange with, once again, a techie kindred spirit.
Our first meeting in Madison -
Here, Ben is explaining the finer points of electric cars to an attentive admirer -
At Ben's house in front of his new garage with solar system, with his i-MiEV in the background -
Heading on up to Canada we had been in touch with Sandy (sandange on this forum), as he and his wife Angelika had extended a gracious invitation to us. Sandy lives in the mountains up from Montreal, having built a unique round cordwood home in a most idyllic location. Incredibly (especially for that climate), their only car is the i-MiEV, and the distances they need to drive to get to just about anywhere are mind-boggling! They devoted an entire Saturday to us giving us the grand tour of Montreal and vicinity in the i-MiEV - Sandy's got all the charging stations sussed out to perfection as we were able to visit and tour a number of areas while the car charged. i-MiEV owner and forum member DonDakin joined us for lunch and it was interesting chatting about not only energy and EVs and Solar, but some of our mutual avionics experiences as well. The weather was incredible, as we brought the California heat wave with us, and the entire city was out enjoying what was probably the last gasp of summer - partying well into the night. We had a truly enjoyable experience in a great city (and I don't normally care for big cities). For anyone interested in visiting and staying out in the country outside Montreal in a most beautiful and relaxing location, I can't think of a nicer spot - here's a link to their website: http://thecordstead.blogspot.ca/
This is what Sandy and Angelika's unique cordwood house (their "cordstead") looks like - they built it themselves!
The interior is very elegant and tastefully furnished -
The view out of one of many windows -
In front of their garage, Sandy and Angelika are imagining how their future Tesla M3 might fit in...
Our lunchtime get-together with Don Dakin -
Sandy and Angelika are our role models in terms of elegant minimalism - they've managed to pare down the amount of "stuff" that they own and yet, in a beautiful setting, have a most comfortable lifestyle that is far from Spartan.