Randy Siebert, Sam Astley, Steve Siebert, Dave Noland on NY-to-FL road trip [photo: David Noland]
Randy Siebert, Sam Astley, Steve Siebert, Dave Noland on NY-to-FL road trip [photo: David Noland]Enlarge Photo
But all too soon, it's time to depart--heading back north on the first short piece of the return trip, retracing my East Coast route.
As I drive away from Steve's place, the rain is coming down hard.
Rolling north on I-95 amid clouds of spray, I note with concern that the energy consumption is running inexplicably high--near 350 Wh/mi, instead of the 310 I chalked up on the way down. This despite a warmish 60-degree temperature and the lower 60-to-65-mph speeds dictated by the rain.
2013 Tesla Model S at Supercharger station on NY-to-FL road trip [photo: David Noland]
2013 Tesla Model S at Supercharger station on NY-to-FL road trip [photo: David Noland]Enlarge Photo
What's going on here? At this rate, it will be touch and go whether I make Port Orange.
I can only assume it's the rain--and, ominously, the forecast calls for rain, heavy at times, all the way back to Robin's.
Playing it safe, I decide to stop once again at Port St. Lucie, now just a few miles ahead, for a quick top-off. I add 50 miles, which I figure is enough to get me all the way to Robin's without the planned stop at Port Orange.
I'm wrong. The rain keeps coming, the energy consumption meter hovers around 350, and my cushion for getting to Robin's is rapidly disappearing. Worse yet, the temperature begins to plummet as I re-enter the Vortex.
So I stop at Port Orange after all, for what may be the quickest Supercharger stop on record: 9 minutes, during which I pick up the 30 miles I need to get me comfortably back to Robin's.
It's been a grueling day, nearly 400 miles, much of it through the rain and dark and interlaced with construction zones.
But the Model S was supremely comfortable, quiet, and, with its Internet connection and splendid sound system, nicely diverting.
Best of all, I've accomplished my mission: I escaped the Polar Vortex, navigated the entire New York-to-Florida Supercharger system ... and got to hang out with two old friends.
Time to head for home.