View Sidebar

A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

My 14-make-that-17 Day Tesla Road Trip

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/23/2024
Posted: 11/1/2023
Page Views: 491
I intended to spend two weeks driving from Arizona to Virginia to Florida. It took a little longer.

I felt really old and crotchety as I planned this trip. I really didn't want to go. But at 72, and with forever-young-but-also-aging sisters in Florida, I felt like this might be my last chance to see them. And with two daughters in the Virginias, of course I couldn't not see them along the way. Then there were friends along the way with whom I wanted to connect, if possible. So the itinerary grew as I planned, along with my dread. But then, once I went on my way, something strange happened…

My health started to improve. I mean, dramatically. So, not only did I feel better as the trip progressed, I mean, blood pressure, sleep quality, and all, but my mood lifted to the point where I had a wonderful time! So, yes, I am so glad I went!

Oh, and by the way, if there was ever a testimonial to the Tesla Model 3, this is it! Y'know, they promised us flying cars by now, but frankly I'm happier with my Tesla than I ever would be trying to navigate something in the air.

So: below are links to each day of the trip, in order. You'll find photos as well as the occasional insight. Enjoy being a fly on the wall of my Tesla as I travel 5,313 miles (more or less) from Arizona to Virginia to Florida and back again!

To Grants, NM

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/1/2023
Page Views: 197
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Arizona #NewMexico
Day 1 of my 17-Day Trip in my Tesla.

And so, car packed, and taking a deep breath, I limped over to the fully-charged Tesla, already packed for the trip, including the back seat down and a custom-fitted mattress and bedding in place (because I intend to camp along the way), got in, and heading along the route planned by the Tesla's connection to Google Maps, toward my daughter's in West Virginia.

Read more…

To Elk City, OK

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/2/2023
Page Views: 200
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Oklahoma #NewMexico
Day 2 of my 17-Day Trip in my Tesla.

Today's drive took me from Grants, New Mexico, to Elk City, Oklahoma. this had me passing through the Texas Panhandle and the city of Amarillo, though I didn't stop.

Read more…

To Brinkley, AR

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/3/2023
Page Views: 323
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Oklahoma #Arkansas
Day 3 of my 17-Day Trip in my Tesla.

On the third day of my cross-country trip, I drove from Elk City, Oklahoma to Brinkley, Arkansas, along Interstate 40. This route took me through some of the most diverse and scenic landscapes in the country, from the rolling hills and plains of Oklahoma to the rich farmlands and wetlands of Arkansas.

Read more…

To Knoxville, TN

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/4/2023
Page Views: 254
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Arkansas #Tennessee
Day 4 of my 17-Day Trip in my Tesla.

On the fourth day of my cross-country trip, I drove from Brinkley, Arkansas, to Knoxville, Tennessee, along Interstate 40. This route took me through some of the most historic and cultural regions in the country, from the Mississippi Delta to the Appalachian Mountains; but, again, I was focused on my goal of reaching the East Coast as quickly as possible.

Read more…

To Bluefield, WV

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/5/2023
Page Views: 243
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Tennessee #Virginia #WestVirginia
Day 5 of my 17-Day Trip in my Tesla.

On the fifth day of my cross-country trip, I drove from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Bluefield, WV, along Interstate 81. Why Bluefield? That's the town in which my eldest daughter, Dorothy, and her husband, Frank, live. That made this the first day of my trip in which I reached a primary objective! So, yes, it was a shorter travel day as well.

Read more…

To Reston, VA

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/6/2023
Page Views: 274
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Tennessee #Virginia #WestVirginia
Day 6 of my 17-Day Trip in my Tesla.

Today's highlight was visiting my two elder daughters: One in West Virginia, one in Virginia.

Read more…

In Reston, VA

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/7/2023
Page Views: 403
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Virginia #Reston
Spending the day resting in Reston on Day 7 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

A first on my cross-country trip: Two nights in the same location! My daughter Karen and her husband Rob were kind enough to put me up (put up with me?) for last night and tonight, as today Karen and I will spend haunting our old haunts in Reston, which I guess all my kids think of as their home town, since they spent their teenage years there.

Read more…

To Charlotte, NC

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/8/2023
Page Views: 277
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Virginia #NorthCarolina
Day 8 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla, and a visit with an old friend.

The trip from Reston to Florida was too long to make in one day, especially since I could barely tear myself away from the Simpsons (my daughter and her husband, not the TV show). But, as the Tesla Navigator wanted to take me through some of Virginia's most beautiful scenery on the way to Charlotte, North Carolina, I decided to message my buddy Jerry, who left Phoenix about 15 years ago. He lives in Charlotte, now, and graciously offered to put me up for the night.

Read more…

To St. Augustine, FL

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/9/2023
Page Views: 304
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #NorthCarolina #SouthCarolina #Georgia #Florida
Day 9 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

On the ninth day of my trip, I traveled from Charlotte, North Carolina to St. Augustine, Florida, along Interstates 77 and 95. This route took me through some of the most historic and cultural regions in the country, from the birthplace of the American Revolution to the oldest continuously settled, non-military city in the continental United States.

Read more…

In St. Augustine, FL

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/10/2023
Page Views: 370
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Florida #StAugustine
Day 10 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla was spent in St. Augustine.

Today was my St Augustine day. Louise planned dinner for our other sister, Mary, and her daughter Lisa and son Jack and grandson Joshie. Before that, we decided to go on a tour of our old haunts.

Read more…

To New Port Richey, FL

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/11/2023
Page Views: 323
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Florida #NewPortRichey
Day 11 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla and a visit with my elder sister Betty.

And then I had to make a decision. I had carefully planned this trip for 14 days. That's the days' worth of my prescriptions I'd brought. I had two scheduled doctor appointments for the 16th. And yet…and yet…I had learned while visiting my sister, Louise, in St. Augustine, that my 90-year-old elder sister was, at this moment, in Florida.

Read more…

To Carabelle, FL

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/12/2023
Page Views: 511
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Florida
Day 12 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

On the 12th day of my 17-day road trip, I drove from New Port Richey to Carabelle, Florida. Along the way, I admired the diverse and beautiful scenery of the Gulf Coast. I saw white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, lush green forests, and charming small towns. The clouds were getting heavier as I drove, creating a dramatic contrast with the bright colors of the landscape. But first, it was time to wake up, which as usual I did around 6 AM (with a plan to return to sleep), to find an awesome sunrise about to make its appearance out my sister's terrace window.

Read more…

To D'Iberville, MS

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/13/2023
Page Views: 303
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Florida #Alabama #Mississippi
Day 13 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla, which included my first hike in over two years!

I woke in the Florida Panhandle to find the cloud cover had intensified. There was a tropical storm, Eta, that had made landfall along Florida's Gulf Coast near Cedar Key, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, around 4 AM yesterday. However, despite the weather, I felt surprisingly good! Good enough, perhaps, to try a short hike?

Read more…

To Sulphur, LA

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/14/2023
Page Views: 269
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Mississippi #Louisiana
Day 14 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

On the 14th day of my trip (the day I had originally expected to be home in Arizona!), Eta was no longer a tropical storm, but a post-tropical cyclone that was moving away from the Southeast coast of into the Atlantic Ocean. Eta had weakened significantly after making its final landfall in Florida on November 12th, and had lost its tropical characteristics by November 13th. Eta's remnants continued to produce some rain and gusty winds along my route, however, before moving offshore. I'd had a little rain previously, but today was the first heavy weather I'd had to drive through.

Read more…

To Plano, TX

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/15/2023
Page Views: 234
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Louisiana #Texas
Day 15 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

I must admit to entering the State of Texas with the trepidation of Santa Anna entering Texas to attack the Alamo. Unlike him, I hoped to emerge unscathed in two days' time. Texas is very proud of being big but, as they keep telling us, size isn't everything! But please understand; it's the current political atmosphere I loathe, not the state. I love Texas. Texas is very large and diverse, with different landscapes, climates, and cultures. According to the Texas Almanac, Texas has four major physical regions: Gulf Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Basin and Range Province. And at least the sky was beginning to clear.

Read more…

To Pecos, TX

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/16/2023
Page Views: 200
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Texas #Pecos
Day 16 of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

The route I took from Plano to Pecos, Texas, crossed two more of the four major physical regions of Texas: the Great Plains and the Basin and Range Province. The Great Plains cover the western and northern parts of the state, and are mostly flat and dry, with some canyons and plateaus. This region includes the Edwards Plateau, the Llano Estacado, the Rolling Plains, and the High Plains.

Read more…

And Back Home!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/17/2023
Page Views: 222
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Texas #NewMexico #Arizona
Day 17, the final day of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

As I drove west from Pecos, the landscape became more arid and barren, with sparse vegetation and few signs of human habitation…. There was also not much traffic. This is the beginning of the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert in North America, which covers most of the Llano Estacado and extends into Mexico. The Chihuahuan Desert is characterized by low rainfall, high evaporation, and extreme temperatures. It is home to many unique plants and animals, such as the creosote bush, the ocotillo, the prickly pear cactus, the roadrunner, the horned lizard, and the kangaroo rat (one of which startled me once when I was camping in Grand Canyon, but that's another story).

Read more…

But Wait, There's More!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/18/2023
Page Views: 287
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Arizona #Tonopah #ElDoradoHotSpring
I take a 2 day extension to my 17-day of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

When I arrived home last night, I was there alone. All three dogs were at a pet resort, and Jenny and the kids were at a Children's Olympics meet in Prescott. Moreover, I was asked to not mess up the house, because a real estate agent was doing a showing on Sunday at 11 AM. And, truly, my bedroom looked like a catalog shot. So, yes, I slept here last night, very gingerly. But I was already thinking of just continuing my trip by heading a little further west, to one of my favorite hot springs.

Read more…

El-Dorado Hot Spring

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/19/2023
Page Views: 302
Topics: #Cross-Country #Tesla #Arizona #ElDoradoHotSpring #Tonopah
The really, truly, final day of my cross-country trip in my Tesla.

But, as I slept in my car for the first time at the El Dorado Hot Spring, I must admit I had to wonder. The Spring is hot; the weather was not. The night before there'd been a tremendous rainstorm, and though tonight was clear, the expected temperature was to plunge down to a very cold (for Central Arizona) 45°F. I noted the battery's charge when I went to sleep with the car in camping mode: 66%. (That was after driving to Tonopah from Gilbert, from a 100% charge.) According to the Tesla Navigator, if I turned around and headed home right then, I would be left with 34%. That meant I had about 30% for the heater, plus I intended to play soft music all night. I knew there was a SuperCharger in Buckeye, 22 miles away; so I wasn't as concerned as I might have been if I'd been in, say, remote Alaska. But was I surprised in the morning!

Read more…