07. September 2019 · Comments Off on Fun year · Categories: Life & Family, Travel

I have not written a blog post here since my annual review, so I’ve got some catching up to do.

In February, I updated my kitchen by having new countertops installed, putting a fresh coat of white paint on the cabinets, laying new wood-look floor tile and updating the backsplash and window coverings.



In March, I went with Carrie and the boys to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Although Disneyland and California Adventure are our favorite theme parks, we like to visit Florida once every couple of years to catch the attractions we don’t have in California. Since Carrie and Brian have a timeshare, we usually get a condo near the parks, and I pay for the car rental. I have had Southwest frequent flyer miles from my credit card that I have used the last several flights, so it’s actually a more affordable trip than one might think. Of course, tickets into the theme parks are the biggest expense by far, but you really can’t put a price on family fun.

Nathan made Eagle Scout this year, and his troop ceremony was held at Brian and Carrie’s.

I took my Minnie to New Mexico this spring to spend time in the state parks there with Dale, I wrote all about that on my RV blog.

It’s been a very long, very hot summer here. Instead of monsoon, we had “Nonsoon”. Summer thunderstorms have been few and far between, and temps have been in the one teens the majority of the summer months. We decided to celebrate Richard’s recovery from his critical illness earlier this year, and what better way than with a barbecue and swim party at Brian & Carrie’s.

Robin and Ken put in a new pool this summer, and I hadn’t visited since last Thanksgiving, so I flew up to Boise to spend a long weekend in mid-August.

While I was there, I mentioned to Robin that I was doing a quick trip to Disneyland the first week of September, and suggested she sneak away and join me. She said yes, and we had a wonderful three days together experiencing all the Magic. The parks were the least busy I can ever remember, and we walked onto the majority of the rides in both Disneyland and California Adventure. The only downer (and it was a huge downer) was the heat wave Anaheim was experiencing. With temps in the high 90s (one day even hit 101°) and humidity climbing to 85%, we were melting. It was a good thing we didn’t have to spend much time waiting in long lines in the sun or we would have packed it in and gone home. But it was a fun three days and something we haven’t done together since 2003.

I’m getting ready to head out on a fall trip in my Minnie. First I’m going to Gulf Shores in Alabama to join Wendy and Denny’s friends and family celebrating their Golden Anniversary. From there, I’ll make my way back to Mississippi to drive the Natchez Trace Parkway all the way to Nashville. I’ll be blogging about that on my RV blog, so catch up with my adventures there.

By the time I return, it’ll be holiday season. Hard to believe 2020 is just around the corner!

I drove my Tesla to Boise for Thanksgiving week. It’s been quite a few years since I spent a Thanksgiving with the Holsingers. I’ve been up to Eagle for Christmas and New Year’s many times, but they were making travel plans for this December holiday, so I thought turkey day would be a nice change of pace. Besides, it would be another opportunity to take my Tesla on a road trip, and test out a colder climate and the impact on an electric vehicle. I experienced the reduced battery range that cold temps cause, and also the importance of tire pressure. By the time I drove as far as Flagstaff, I started getting continuous “low tire pressure” warnings.

Snow on the Supercharger

Frosty car

Chilly morning in Richfield, UT

Since my Yuma trips in October, Tesla has added “Navigate on AutoPilot” to the firmware. This feature incorporates lane guidance, on and off ramp navigation, and blind spot awareness when driving on the highway. I’ve found the autopilot works great out on the open road, but in crowded cities, especially with lots of semi trucks on the road, I get a little nervous that my car doesn’t give an inch when someone encroaches on my lane. So I typically turn off the auto steer as I come into heavier traffic, and drive with just the traffic aware cruise control engaged.

At 1025 miles from my house to Robin’s, I like to stop at a hotel about halfway between us. I price-checked on Orbitz, and selected economical hotels that were near Superchargers. Hotels with destination chargers tended to be about twice as expensive as I like to spend, so I didn’t book those, but it may be worth it to folks who don’t want to spend extra time charging at the end of a long driving day and who have money to spare.

I admit I was surprised that charging stops took more time than I anticipated, but I really didn’t mind the waits. I always got out and walked around a bit to stretch my legs and to use the restroom. Sometimes I wandered through a store nearby or got a snack, but many times I just got back in the car and perused my phone. I spend a lot of time at home on my phone or iPad reading news, blogs and social media, so I didn’t feel like doing it in the car while I charged to be much different.

When I arrived at the Holsingers, they all ooh-ed and aah-ed over my car, but since it was dark, no one took rides. I made it clear anyone was welcome to do a test drive anytime, but sadly no one took me up on my offer. Instead, we stayed home all week watching TV, doing jigsaw puzzles, chatting and — most of all — EATING!

Steven and I worked on a fun puzzle together while Ken made scrumptious food.

Robin put together a 1000 piece puzzle of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Lucy is a good girl.

Friends of Robin and Ken joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. Casey smoked the turkey in a bacon wrap, and we provided the sides.

Who doesn’t love bacon?!

We had a delicious meal and a lovely day, topped off with silky chocolate pie (the Holsingers fully embrace that Lafferty tradition!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m planning a three day trip to Disneyland next week. My friend Glenda is going with me. It will be fun to enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations and holiday spirit with her in the Happiest Place on Earth. Merry Christmas everyone!

It was time to make my annual visit to the dentist, especially since a) I hadn’t been in 18 months, and b) I had a toothache. Anticipating a possible root canal and/or new crown, I decided a trip to Los Algodones was in order.

Daryl had driven to Los Algodones several weeks earlier in his Tesla Model 3 so I knew where the Superchargers were and whether there were any amenities nearby. The Gila Bend charger is at a Carl’s Jr, but the Yuma charger is adjacent to a small hotel and city meeting center with no food options at all. My Tesla Model 3 has enough range to make it from Mesa to Yuma without charging, but since I didn’t relish spending 30-40 minutes sitting in my car or a hotel lobby, I decided to take advantage of the Gila Bend charger and top off on my way through. I have also read on the forums that stopping more often for shorter charge times will result in more range, since charging slows the closer to full the battery gets. So I stopped in Gila Bend and charged while I used the restroom and bought a breakfast sandwich, then got back on the road.

I arrived in Los Algodones just about 10 minutes before my appointment. I turned my phone off since I don’t have free roaming, and walked across the Mexican border. One has to have resolve and determination to push past the dozens of street hawkers asking if you need dental, optical, pharmaceutical or trinket recommendations. I have been to Dr. Sonia’s office once (with Richard & Dianna), and thought I knew just where it was. But after walking down 2 different streets and not finding it, I turned my phone on just long enough to check Google maps, and turned it back off. (Of course, in that two minutes, three What’s App messages came in. My siblings and I are a chatty bunch! 🙂 )

Dr. Sonia quickly determined the ache under my crown was not new tooth decay, but inflammation in the gums. The crown has a bit of a gap between it and the next one, creating a lovely spot for food to get trapped. Although I am a dedicated flosser, Dr. Sonia says food has made its way up into the gum line where floss cannot reach, and I needed a deep cleaning in that location, plus a new crown that seated better and filled the gap. I asked how much this would all cost, expecting between $300-600, and she totally surprised me by saying $180 for the crown and $70 for the deep cleaning. Sign me up! She did the workup and impression for the new crown, and I made an appointment for the following week to have the new porcelain beauty installed.

I stopped at the Yuma Supercharger before heading back up I-8. Daryl was right; there was not much nearby to hold one’s attention. I walked over to the hotel to see if there was anything interesting, but not even a gift shop or vending machine was to be found. (Since I was still numb, a vending machine wouldn’t have done me any good anyway.) By the time I returned to my car, I had plenty of charge to make it to Gila Bend. I made another quick stop at the Carl’s Jr and “gassed up”. This time I charged about 10 minutes to get me home with plenty of range left on my car.

Charging at 483 miles of range per hour!! (My home charger gives 22 mph.)

I’ve used the Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) and Enhanced Auto-Pilot (EAP) around town, but this was my first chance getting out on the highway and really putting it to use. Interstate 8 is a perfect test track because there is much less traffic than I-10. By hanging my hand on the steering wheel, I get enough resistance to satisfy the safety reminder, and also allow the car to handle all the steering. I was listening to a good audiobook, or I might have found myself getting sleepy. I think that’s a possible danger of auto-pilot or self-driving; you fall into a daze and lose focus. I can’t wait for more EAP and self driving features to be unveiled and delivered in future weeks and months that will make this little car even better and safer than it already is.

The following week, I made my way back to Dr. Sonia’s to get my new crown put on. Second verse, same as the first. The drive was a dream. I’m looking forward to driving to Boise for the Thanksgiving holidays, and now I feel like I’ve got some experience under my belt that relieves range anxiety. I love my car, and I love my shiny new tooth!

I picked up my Tesla on Friday, the 20th. It came much faster than I expected, so I had to scramble a bit to get enough funds liquidated and into my bank account, but everything went smoothly. Daryl took me to the Tesla Delivery and Service Center for my 2:00 appointment. It was a nerve wracking drive home because I was in rush hour traffic and I was afraid someone would hit me. I had had a dream two nights earlier that I got into an accident a mile from the delivery center. I’m happy to say, everyone stayed in their own lanes and I made it without mishap.

Daryl followed me home and went over a lot of features that are accessed through the touch screen. He helped me set up the automatic garage door opener, and a temporary 110v outlet for charging. Over the next few days, he has been a go-to answer guru, and assures me “it’s fun!” and that I’m not bothering him with my barrage of questions. We are having a good time exploring the ins and outs of Tesla ownership together.

I contacted an electrician about installing a 240v outlet in my garage, and he came out and gathered information, taking several pictures. He sent me an estimate later in the day that gave me sticker shock. He wanted $850! Both Daryl and Richard thought that was too high, and Richard said if I can wait until the weather is a little cooler (using the 110v outlet temporarily, or plugging into my dryer outlet for occasional quicker charge), he would be willing to install the outlet for me. He has done a lot of electrical work and knows what is required. That should save me $400-600. I think I’ll have to bake a lot of cookies and brownies to pay him and Daryl for their work! The temporary 110v charging is working for me. I just keep it plugged in whenever I’m home, and I’ve had a full battery every morning.

Maybe I’ll clean up my garage while Richard and Daryl are installing the outlet. 😉

I still need to get the windows tinted, and Tesla is going to fix three microscopic paint imperfections in a couple of weeks. I’m amazed they are willing to fix something so small. If I don’t have a dozen road dings of my own by then, I’ll be lucky.


All in all, I’m thrilled with the car. It was a lot of money, but you can’t put a price on happiness, and it sure makes me happy to zip around in this! And it’s a nice feeling to know I’m helping save the planet. Rides, anyone?

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