Day 7 (12/30/12) – Urban Hikes and Cruise Control

My tour of Albuquerque consisted of a 10 minute walk from the hotel downtown to the car. It looks like a pretty cool town but is pretty dead on a late Sunday morning. It’s going on the list of places to visit when we have more time. Following Albuquerque was another first on this trip, me driving the Model S. I haven’t owned a car for the past eight years and rarely drive now a days. Although luckily I have never been in a major car accident, I did back a borrowed car into a pole a few years ago. I also remember the last time I drove Peter’s car was when we were freshmen in college. We went up to Chicago for a weekend from the University of Maryland. Peter’s car was a stick shift and he taught me how to drive it in the parking lot of Safeway before the trip. I got out of driving pretty much the whole way until we were coming back Monday morning trying to make it to our classes. Peter and our other friend were really tired and asked that I drive. It was all fine until we got to a toll when after paying I couldn’t get the car to move again. A few minutes later a cop came up behind us and after listening to my rather pathetic explanation of what was happening told me that the “highway was not a practice lot.” After that Peter drove us all the way back to Maryland.

So… you can imagine why I was pretty nervous about driving my good friend’s new and expensive car; however, some things are more important than fear (actually most things), so behind the steering wheel I went. After a short lesson from Peter about how everything works, I was off down a New Mexico highway. One of the cool things was that the car saves your seat settings so that when you switch drivers it automatically adjusts the seats for you. Needless to say, it was easy to drive the S and not really different from a regular car. Being on cruise control felt kind of weird, but that has to with the fact that I don’t think I ever actually used cruise control before. Other than that it was a smooth ride and it was tempting to go really, really fast. I got us into an RV park in Santa Rosa, NM safe and sound.

The RV park was almost completely empty. The desert scenery was pretty cool especially for someone from the east coast. My hat goes off to Tina, who went out for a run even though it was freezing. I made due walking around the RV park to work off those wasabi peas that I’ve been constantly snacking on somehow. We then headed off down the road in another stint of something we called “urban hiking” (AKA walking down the side of a major road to get something to eat). We ended up at Silver Moon, a Mexican-American restaurant recommended to us by the RV park employee. The place was definitely worth the hike. The food was amazing and the atmosphere very homey, just what we electric road trippers needed. My huevos rancheros with the green chili sauce were the best I ever had. Apparently, we were not the only ones who thought the place was great as it had autographed pictures from the likes of Angelina Jolie and Linda Carter. Soon the road beckoned and we were back on our way.

Our stopping point for the night was Clovis, NM. Although Apple maps showed two hotels in the town, neither of these really worked for us or had/were close to a charger. After some loops around town we came across some more motels and started circling them to see if we could find an easy access to a 240v plug we could use. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the adapter for the dryer style that the hotels had.

During one of these circles of a hotel, we were befriended by the most adorable dog that had apparently been abandoned by its previous owners. Tina spearheaded the rescue effort, first talking with the hotel which was giving the dog food and some shelter, then eventually with a few local animal shelters and animal hospitals about having the dog scanned for a chip and finding a home. Eventually, I’m very relieved to say, she found a home. Unfortunately, given the circumstances related to driving an electric car, we could not transport the pet; however, I’m sure that Tina would have adopted the dog on the spot had we not been on this trip.

The hunt for a high power charger continued. It wasn’t looking good there for a while but than a switch to Google maps showed that there was a new campground (K C’s campground) close by. We were able to score a charging post a walking distance from a hotel for a tent fee charge! Granted the walk was through some sort of strange field and it started snowing, but hey, this is an adventure after all. Actually, even after all that we were asleep earlier than any other day on the trip so far. And so ends the next to last day of 2012 for Electric Road Trip S.

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