Around the U.S. in a 60 kWh Model S
Craig Weightman and his wife Patty wanted a change. It was May 2014, and Patty’s mother had just died at age 94, enforcing a period of reflection. The California couple had never traveled across the U.S. together, and they thought it might be a fun way to disrupt the routine. So they decided to do it in their 60 kWh Model S with their 13-year-old Havanese, Kiki. In fact, they decided not just to drive across the country, but also around it.
The Weightmans had been inspired by John Glenney and his daughter Jill, the first people to drive across the U.S. relying only on Superchargers, and they had followed Ethan Weinstein as he documented his cross country journey in a 60 kWh Model S. They were also at Tesla’s send-off event in Hawthorne, CA, for the Cross Country Rally.
And so the Weightmans plotted a course from Los Angeles to New York, then down the East Coast to Florida, and back home along a southern route running through Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. The trip would take them through the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona, the canyons of Utah’s desert, the natural monuments of Wyoming, the skyscrapers of New York City, and the jazz bars of New Orleans, to name just a few stops.
They took with them a little Model S flair acquired after meeting the owner of a West Hollywood audio company at the Cross Country Rally party. Craig had been drawn to a pair of laser lights fitted in the doors of the man’s Model S. When the doors were open, the lights shone Tesla “T” logos on tarmac. Craig got his new friend to install the lights on his car the next day.
“This was just too sexy,” recalls Weightman. “It was too cool, so I thought, ‘I’m splurging, what the heck’.”
The Bat Signal-esque lights served as a conversation starter as the Weightmans made their way around the U.S., meeting fellow travelers at Superchargers and other charge points found via the PlugShare network. “Everybody loves it,” says Weightman of his door lights. “They’ve never seen any before.”
Meeting his fellow Americans on the trip was enlivening, Weightman says. People were curious about the trip and really wanted to help. They suggested places to visit, sights to see, and potential charging points. Others volunteered their cars for temporary use and directed them to hotels.
The people the Weightmans met on their trip, which they documented on a blog, helped restore their confidence in the country. “Anybody who feels like the world is filled with disaster – in other words, they watch the news every day – should take a trip across the United States,” says Weightman. “The people will renew your faith.”
The Weightmans’ faith in Model S didn’t need renewing. It never waned. Weightman describes the Model S as a “fantastic road car,” thanks in part to its size and low center of gravity from the placement of the battery, which makes it great for road holding. Not having a noisy gasoline-powered engine also helped.
“If you’ve driven this car 200 or 300 miles, it makes you realize how much having a quiet car makes a difference in your outlook. It makes you less tense.”
In fact, the Weightmans were so relaxed after the completion of their three-month journey that they waited just four weeks before setting off another long-haul adventure: a tour of America’s northwest.
If there’s a Supercharger that hasn’t been visited by the Weightmans, it’s unlikely to have to wait long.