Life with Middie

littlD

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#1
This thread is all about our life with Middie, our 2018 MSM with Aeros +EAP Tesla Model 3.

I'll be journaling daily to share our highs and lows and what we learn along the way.

And, as I moonlight as a Audiobook Artist (Douglas Birk) for Audible.com, I'll be creating a podcast of the journal so you can listen to "Life with Middie".
 
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littlD

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#2
Day 1 - Delivery and Disappointment

The day started with the promise of Tesla ownership. One of my Pastors was gracious to play the role of "Uber driver" and escorted us to the Saint Louis Service Center.

We had to stop for donuts and show our appreciation to the crew who did the "make ready" on Middie and get her shining for her big day. Learned that from @TheTony.

Once at the service center, we were warmly greeted and taken to Middie. She was there along with three other Model 3s and two Model Ss being delivered that day. This in a place that seems to be the smallest Service Center in the nation.

No rush as we went through the Owners Club checklist (search for this on our forums, you'll find several good examples). All was good except for a small pucker inside the right rear door seal, no leak but just cosmetic, we'll fix during our first service.

We then proceeded to setup Phone Key. I already had turned off Battery optimization with the Tesla app on my Pixel 2 (it's an Android setting). This is known to make the Phone Key work much more reliably. We couldn't initially pair our phone though. Our Delivery Specialist also tried from his phone and Middie wouldn't respond to pairing, so a two scroll wheel reboot was in order. Immediately after, pairing was working. Then, we setup media, and the first song played, a Christian worship song I wrote from my "Praises on the Altar, Volume II" Album entitled "Waiting On You". Seemed so right! ()

After that, our Delivery Specialist pulled the car out to the front of the building for our picture. There was a Model S in the single part of the delivery that had an appropriate "TESLA" background, and I was glad to have the front of the building with the Tesla sign in the background as opposed to cement blocks and conduit!

We then signed one last time to accept the car (MVPA of course was signed the day before so I could get money).

Pictures taken, and we get into Middie. Our dream is now reality.

Then our first drive, and WHAT a drive!

Ride and drive was beyond my expectations, Middie inspired confidence, the Gen 2 seats were SO supportive and comfortable. We tried a little acceleration, Woooooshh! We were delighted with having regen braking again (1st gen Chevy Volt and 1st gen Nissan Leaf in my past).

You need to watch your speed if you're not using Cruise or EAP, man this car can scoot and so smoothly, you look down and say "wow, I'm speeding (a bunch)".

As planned, we listened to the Spotify Model 3 Midnight Silver Roadtrip playlist I created and have shared here on the club (). Man, what a stereo! Very clear, smooth, and that bass!

Close to home, Autopilot finished calibration, the promise of a holiday weekend enjoying our new car was ahead of us.

Pulled into the garage and remembered what it was like to have parking assist again (Volt had this, but not with the graphics and distance measurements, nice!).

Tried out plugging Middie into my old GM Voltec 240V J1772 charger using the adapter. Worked with the Volt, worked with the Leaf, WORKS with Middie! 15A is about all it can do, but that works for nightly charging (drive 80 miles a day).

Then, prepared to get center console protection from RPM Tesla installed and Screen protection from Abstract Ocean. Suddenly, although I had checked with the Service Center that the latest software was installed, I got a notification from the Tesla App, update available.

This was probably my first mistake...

I manually started the update while charging.

All went well until 12:45PM when I noticed the screen said in the upper left (Charging Completed). I had set charging limit to 80% as I should to maximize longer term range.

But the touch screen was frozen, and the Tesla app couldn't connect.

No problem, 2nd reboot in the day. Applied pressure on the scroll buttons.

The screen went blank and hasn't lit up since.

Called Tesla for support. Their support folks are very empathetic and great to talk to. JUST be nice folks, remember they're there to help and help best when you're not upset.

He checked telemetry and said, "looks like the firmware is updating, give in another hour or so".

So we did, actually waited three with attempted reboots thrown in for good measure.

Another call, this time a different support person said, "let me involve our engineers". After several minutes, she returned with "they said this is a rare situation, looks like update and firmware updates completed successfully, they suggest pressing the scroll buttons for one minute, then pause one minute, then repeat until it wakes up".

After 5 rounds of this, also including holding down the brake (not necessary by the way, but you try anything to get a second drive in your new car!), support escalated to the Diagnostics team.

Since then, one additional call to Tesla Support to understand my options. As I have another car, I didn't want them to go to the trouble of getting me a loaner, especially on a holiday where I'm sure some of them are catching a much needed break.

Our day ended with folks at church disappointed they couldn't see Middie.

And while I was disappointed too, I was also thankful that this happens before our roadtrip to Yellowstone in June and happy I had installed the protection products, albeit not professionally, but good enough to prevent scratches.

Search for #MiddieGoesToYellowstone for more details on our meetups where we'll share Middie with others at a SC near you (MO, KS, CO, WY).
 
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Bokonon

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#3
Great writeup! Sorry to hear the day ended as it did, but I have to commend you on your positive attitude and outlook despite your current situation. Glad to hear that the issue has already been escalated... Hopefully they will be able to resolve it quickly.
 

littlD

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#4
Day 2 - Day of Rest

Sundays are busy mornings for a worship leader like me. You're getting songs ready as well as getting your heart ready, oh and a shower too!

This morning was no different, but there was one family member who was at bedside assembly ALL DAY... Not my wife silly... MIDDIE!

Still no response to the now famous two scroll wheel salute. She emits a faint high pitched sound, likely the sound of a Model 3 sleeping soundly. I didn't bother Tesla with a call today, I like to allow others to rest on Sundays, I have my faithful 2001 PT Cruiser at the ready to take us to service.

And I'm not leaving her plugged in, last telemetry received yesterday showed 205 miles range. Plenty for the very slow drain this car is experiencing at the moment.

But you know, I still wanted to spend time with MIDDIE after church. I had an additional USB-C cable I purchased from Tesla back when they were putting micro USB cables in early cars. I installed it to replace the Lightning cable I'll never use (and before you get ideas... I already promised to swap the Lightning cable with someone else!).

While it is a holiday tomorrow, I will be calling Tesla Support to line up a tech visit for Tuesday morning, my hope is the tech says the famous phrase "well, THERE'S your problem" and then offers a quick fix.

Who knows, maybe I was one of the first to get the ABS patch, hopefully preventing others from running into a similar death grip situation.

Or maybe it was that GM Voltec charger getting some sweet revenge.

In any case, it was a full day of rest, I love Sundays!
 

littlD

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#5
Day 3 - Middie, The Trailer Queen!

Even though it was Memorial Day, I was wondering if I could get Middie flat bedded to the Saint Louis Service Center, ready for techs to breathe life back into her once again Tuesday.

Much to my surprise, I was informed by Roadside Support that all Tesla Service Centers were open for business Memorial Day! Wow, I've NEVER seen a automobile company do that (and we know Tesla is more than just a car company)!

Now, I've had horror stories to tell of prior towing events with other cars I've owned. You can probably imagine the nervousness I was experiencing as I saw the flat bed trailer approach.

They had called ahead and asked the right questions. Yes, it's in a garage. Yes, it's pulled into it (tow hook side facing the wrong way). No, I can't get it in transport mode, I can't even open the frunk!

They assured me it could still be towed using trailer jacks (flat pieces of plastic that are hammered underneath the rear wheels.

We took the rear aero wheel covers off and I succeeded in cutting my finger while so doing. Ah, now I'm bleeding for my pride and joy!

He put a soft but very thick fabric strap through the rear wheels (now showing those beautiful alloys underneath).

Then I saw the tow guy reach for the BIG METAL HAMMER and approach the back of each rear wheel and start hammering the jacks underneath each tire. I prayed... Lord, please let each hit be spot on. God answered!

Then, the tow guy started the winch, Middie was pulled slowly and carefully onto the flat bed.

No bad scratching sounds and no damage, what a relief!

I thanked him for being so careful with my new car. He smiled like he's done this a few times already!

While this dance of machines was going on, Tesla called to ask "are they there". I gave the quick reply that all was well.

Middie the Trailer Queen was off to the Service Center.

Later came a call from the service advisor at the Service Center, letting me know he'd keep me up to date with any news and that the car was still without damage.

Five hours came and went as I worked on yet another audiobook for Audible.com. That helped me keep my mind off things.

Then, a call from Tesla.... I thought it was the service advisor. He asked, "I just wanted to check back with you and see how things are going with your Model 3". And the guy's voice was different... Who is this?

It was the delivery specialist just making sure all was well. He didn't know Middie was back in the shop, so I broke the bad news to him.

He was very apologetic that he didn't know. I wasn't upset, I'm sure he's overwhelmed these days with deliveries anyway.

Later, the service advisor called. With great anticipation, I asked "have some good news for me?"

I could just see myself again behind the wheel, sitting in a supportive yet comfortable seat, confidence inspired by that well tuned chassis, kept comfortable by that amazing ventless AC...

I'll dream again tonight of that first drive Saturday at 11:30am when Middie was taking me and my wife back home. It'll have to be enough until Miss Trailer Queen comes back home.
 

Quicksilver

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#6
Day 1 - Delivery and Disappointment

The day started with the promise of Tesla ownership. One of my Pastors was gracious to play the role of "Uber driver" and escorted us to the Saint Louis Service Center.

We had to stop for donuts and show our appreciation to the crew who did the "make ready" on Middie and get her shining for her big day. Learned that from @TheTony.

Once at the service center, we were warmly greeted and taken to Middie. She was there along with three other Model 3s and two Model Ss being delivered that day. This in a place that seems to be the smallest Service Center in the nation.

No rush as we went through the Owners Club checklist (search for this on our forums, you'll find several good examples). All was good except for a small pucker inside the right rear door seal, no leak but just cosmetic, we'll fix during our first service.

We then proceeded to setup Phone Key. I already had turned off Battery optimization with the Tesla app on my Pixel 2 (it's an Android setting). This is known to make the Phone Key work much more reliably. We couldn't initially pair our phone though. Our Delivery Specialist also tried from his phone and Middie wouldn't respond to pairing, so a two scroll wheel reboot was in order. Immediately after, pairing was working. Then, we setup media, and the first song played, a Christian worship song I wrote from my "Praises on the Altar, Volume II" Album entitled "Waiting On You". Seemed so right! ()

After that, our Delivery Specialist pulled the car out to the front of the building for our picture. There was a Model S in the single part of the delivery that had an appropriate "TESLA" background, and I was glad to have the front of the building with the Tesla sign in the background as opposed to cement blocks and conduit!

We then signed one last time to accept the car (MVPA of course was signed the day before so I could get money).

Pictures taken, and we get into Middie. Our dream is now reality.

Then our first drive, and WHAT a drive!

Ride and drive was beyond my expectations, Middie inspired confidence, the Gen 2 seats were SO supportive and comfortable. We tried a little acceleration, Woooooshh! We were delighted with having regen braking again (1st gen Chevy Volt and 1st gen Nissan Leaf in my past).

You need to watch your speed if you're not using Cruise or EAP, man this car can scoot and so smoothly, you look down and say "wow, I'm speeding (a bunch)".

As planned, we listened to the Spotify Model 3 Midnight Silver Roadtrip playlist I created and have shared here on the club (). Man, what a stereo! Very clear, smooth, and that bass!

Close to home, Autopilot finished calibration, the promise of a holiday weekend enjoying our new car was ahead of us.

Pulled into the garage and remembered what it was like to have parking assist again (Volt had this, but not with the graphics and distance measurements, nice!).

Tried out plugging Middie into my old GM Voltec 240V J1772 charger using the adapter. Worked with the Volt, worked with the Leaf, WORKS with Middie! 15A is about all it can do, but that works for nightly charging (drive 80 miles a day).

Then, prepared to get center console protection from RPM Tesla installed and Screen protection from Abstract Ocean. Suddenly, although I had checked with the Service Center that the latest software was installed, I got a notification from the Tesla App, update available.

This was probably my first mistake...

I manually started the update while charging.

All went well until 12:45PM when I noticed the screen said in the upper left (Charging Completed). I had set charging limit to 80% as I should to maximize longer term range.

But the touch screen was frozen, and the Tesla app couldn't connect.

No problem, 2nd reboot in the day. Applied pressure on the scroll buttons.

The screen went blank and hasn't lit up since.

Called Tesla for support. Their support folks are very empathetic and great to talk to. JUST be nice folks, remember they're there to help and help best when you're not upset.

He checked telemetry and said, "looks like the firmware is updating, give in another hour or so".

So we did, actually waited three with attempted reboots thrown in for good measure.

Another call, this time a different support person said, "let me involve our engineers". After several minutes, she returned with "they said this is a rare situation, looks like update and firmware updates completed successfully, they suggest pressing the scroll buttons for one minute, then pause one minute, then repeat until it wakes up".

After 5 rounds of this, also including holding down the brake (not necessary by the way, but you try anything to get a second drive in your new car!), support escalated to the Diagnostics team.

Since then, one additional call to Tesla Support to understand my options. As I have another car, I didn't want them to go to the trouble of getting me a loaner, especially on a holiday where I'm sure some of them are catching a much needed break.

Our day ended with folks at church disappointed they couldn't see Middie.

And while I was disappointed too, I was also thankful that this happens before our roadtrip to Yellowstone in June and happy I had installed the protection products, albeit not professionally, but good enough to prevent scratches.

Search for #MiddieGoesToYellowstone for more details on our meetups where we'll share Middie with others at a SC near you (MO, KS, CO, WY).
Great write up @littlD, very sorry to hear about your issues with the update. Looking forward to your adventure stories!
 

littlD

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#7
Day 4 - She's Alive, She's Alive!

I've owned a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser since Sept 11, 2000 when I first saw "Cruiser" sitting at a local dealership. Back then, you couldn't get PT Cruisers as Chrysler was having significant trouble producing them. Hmmm, doubt it was FluffBot! The 2.4 liter engine fit with literally millimeters to spare. This greatly slowed down the line in Toluca, Mexico.

You would normally get charged a dealer markup if you happened to find one. And, that meant someone else had cancelled their order. For me, both things happened! And I was the proud owner after paying $3,000 over list. A prayer answered!

Everywhere Deborah and I went, people wanted to sit, see, and experience "Cruiser". This went on for about a year as the Deep Cranberry color really caught people's attention.

Well... This morning I got into that same PT Cruiser to drop off Deborah at Adult Day Care and drive to work. I thought about those days when "Cruiser" was the star of every parking lot. I'd often find people looking at it and in it. Those days are long gone. No one cares about him but me. He still starts and runs great, albeit with only 82,000 original miles and all maintenance done by the book.

As I drove to work, I then realized we were "back to the future". Middie will be the new star of every place she goes. As with "Cruiser", people will look in "Middie" to see that amazing interior. People will want to sit, see, and experience her. And Deborah and I will be happy to show her off like we did "Cruiser".

But... At the beginning of the day, Middie was still offline, but today Engineering and Diagnostic teams from Tesla CA would be trying to diagnose remotely what caused Middie to stop communicating and not reboot. A call from my Service Advisor later in the morning confirmed that they would use the Service Center's local equipment to finish diagnosis, retrieve the logs, and then restart a firmware recovery process that would return Middie to 2018.18.3, the version she had before I decided to load the new update (which turned out to be 2018.18.13). To be clear, the problem wasn't the 2018.18.13 update, it's good to go and you can load it confidently. It was me freaking out with a frozen screen.

At 2:19PM, I got a ghostly notification on my phone that reminded me of Saturday when this all started, the Tesla App said "software update available". That could only mean one thing, SHE'S ALIVE, SHE'S ALIVE! Sure enough, I saw Middie reporting back her internal temperature, amount of charge, etc. She had been brought back from the brink. Then, I saw the app go dark and then light up several times. They were loading 2018.18.13! Later, six new miles showed up on the odometer, THEY'RE TEST DRIVING HER!

I was expecting good news, and I had it around 5pm from my Service Advisor. Middie will be ready for pickup tomorrow after a wash and left to charge on a wall charger overnight.

But... What caused all this? While I don't have all the technical details, I'll offer a few things to others wanting to avoid a similar fate:

1. If you start an update manually, don't freak out if the touch screen becomes unresponsive! Just leave it be and let it finish. DON'T DO THE TWO SCROLL WHEEL SALUTE! Now, I don't recall seeing ANY message after "Update Started" went away. I'm thinking if that's missing, they'll add it to remind people!
2. Best to allow updates to happen at night. NO chance for a human to mess it up.
3. And YES, Tesla has a firmware recovery process that normally works just fine if the update fails. Just seems like forcing a reboot after starting an update ISN'T a good thing to do as you're forcing a recovery too.

Lesson learned, hopefully the above saves others from trouble. And, the data we waited a day to collect will help Tesla make their update process even more fault tolerant.

Oh, and she's coming home tomorrow!
 

MelindaV

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#8
glad they got her back up and running!
When I was car shopping January 2000, I remember seeing the new PT Cruiser at our local autoshow - they had it set up with the back open and an (optional?) foldout table set for a picnic and sign playing the 'PT' off as 'picnic time'. I have thought of that silly display every time I saw one on the road ;)
 

Quicksilver

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#9
Phewww! Glad to see her alive and kicking! ;)

I recall on some posts that when the software update is going on, the car can act a bit strange (lights come on and off, etc...). So when I see an update, I just leave Quicksilver alone and let her do her thing. I don't even check on her until it's time for me to get in and drive - usually the following morning. Your three point advice is great. Enjoy it when she comes home! Take care!
 

littlD

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#10
Day 5 - Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

The morning started with me alone as my wife of nearly 35 years was in the hospital. Four seizures the day and night before indicated an infection of some kind, this time a UTI. Deborah is an amazing woman, the most fearless, brave, and tough lady I've ever met. I've always loved her for that spunk and fire in her spirit. And she's recovering well, we won't miss our roadtrip next week to Yellowstone.

And Middie won't miss it either! The show MUST go on you know. And the star has to make her appearance.

After having been with Deborah in the ER all night, I came home and caught a little snooze. But I had something else on my mind, my second drive with Middie! Called Tesla Service in Saint Louis. My Service Advisor and I worked out getting me an Uber to bring me in for pickup (30 minute drive).

Sue was waiting for me in the driveway as I gathered the two rear Aero covers removed during the tow (we don't want Middie looking weird with two on and two off!). I covered them with a thin blanket to prevent scratches. They would get the back seat as I settled in for a conversation with Sue up front.

She was delightful and obviously enjoyed meeting people. We talked about a number of topics and we got to know each other. The minutes went by quickly, and then we pulled up to the Service Center. There she was, all washed and charged at my set limit of 80%.

While Tesla was picking up the tab, I still wanted to show my appreciation for the truly 5 star service, which Sue appreciated.

Within seconds, I'm greeted by my service advisor who is finishing up helping another customer. I only wait a few minutes.

As we had already talked about how we'd gotten to this point, he asked if I had additional questions:
1. Did using an old GM Voltec charger have any impact on causing the firmware recovery to fail? Absolutely not was his reply.
2. If I just let updates occur overnight, can I avoid having the same issue? Yes, manual updates can be performed, just don't reboot if the screen becomes unresponsive.
3. Did the engineers get the data and logs they needed? Yes, and it'll help them improve the already reliable update process.

Then he handed me my key card and we got Middie fully dressed again (I'm starting to really dig those aero covers).

It had been 3 days since my only drive, and I was even more excited. This time, I would get to use traffic aware cruise and Autopilot. Absence had truly made my heart grow fonder. And this lady didn't disappoint! The ride and drive was again smooth, inspiring confidence and helping me relax. The interior breeds a peaceful feeling with the lack of busyness. I found myself more attentive as I experienced traffic aware cruise control for the first time on city streets. Middie had calibrated right at the end of our first drive. She tends to be more careful than me, but I'm not a back seat driver, I let Middie handle it with me watching out for things she may miss.

Later in the day, I engaged Autopilot for the first time on I-270 in rush hour traffic. My $5,000 investment was worth every penny. Again, Middie showed off her capabilities in maintaining lane position, both within it and distance from the car ahead. And she was gaining admirers as drivers we passed pointed and gazed.

The drive ended with me doing the "Homelink" shuffle. Don't know what that is? Oh, you will when you setup Homelink to work with your garage door opener. Just stick with it, your persistence will be rewarded.

And the star returned home, greeted by a new "Tesla - Electric Vehicle Parking" sign I had put up in the garage. Etsy does make anything, you know. Sure glad she isn't one of those Divas that expect a supercharger in the garage. The J1772 adapter works perfectly.

And Deborah? Recovering well in the hospital, and her absence makes my heart grow fonder.
 

Fredbob711

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#11
Day 5 - Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

The morning started with me alone as my wife of nearly 35 years was in the hospital. Four seizures the day and night before indicated an infection of some kind, this time a UTI. Deborah is an amazing woman, the most fearless, brave, and tough lady I've ever met. I've always loved her for that spunk and fire in her spirit. And she's recovering well, we won't miss our roadtrip next week to Yellowstone.

And Middie won't miss it either! The show MUST go on you know. And the star has to make her appearance.

After having been with Deborah in the ER all night, I came home and caught a little snooze. But I had something else on my mind, my second drive with Middie! Called Tesla Service in Saint Louis. My Service Advisor and I worked out getting me an Uber to bring me in for pickup (30 minute drive).

Sue was waiting for me in the driveway as I gathered the two rear Aero covers removed during the tow (we don't want Middie looking weird with two on and two off!). I covered them with a thin blanket to prevent scratches. They would get the back seat as I settled in for a conversation with Sue up front.

She was delightful and obviously enjoyed meeting people. We talked about a number of topics and we got to know each other. The minutes went by quickly, and then we pulled up to the Service Center. There she was, all washed and charged at my set limit of 80%.

While Tesla was picking up the tab, I still wanted to show my appreciation for the truly 5 star service, which Sue appreciated.

Within seconds, I'm greeted by my service advisor who is finishing up helping another customer. I only wait a few minutes.

As we had already talked about how we'd gotten to this point, he asked if I had additional questions:
1. Did using an old GM Voltec charger have any impact on causing the firmware recovery to fail? Absolutely not was his reply.
2. If I just let updates occur overnight, can I avoid having the same issue? Yes, manual updates can be performed, just don't reboot if the screen becomes unresponsive.
3. Did the engineers get the data and logs they needed? Yes, and it'll help them improve the already reliable update process.

Then he handed me my key card and we got Middie fully dressed again (I'm starting to really dig those aero covers).

It had been 3 days since my only drive, and I was even more excited. This time, I would get to use traffic aware cruise and Autopilot. Absence had truly made my heart grow fonder. And this lady didn't disappoint! The ride and drive was again smooth, inspiring confidence and helping me relax. The interior breeds a peaceful feeling with the lack of busyness. I found myself more attentive as I experienced traffic aware cruise control for the first time on city streets. Middie had calibrated right at the end of our first drive. She tends to be more careful than me, but I'm not a back seat driver, I let Middie handle it with me watching out for things she may miss.

Later in the day, I engaged Autopilot for the first time on I-270 in rush hour traffic. My $5,000 investment was worth every penny. Again, Middie showed off her capabilities in maintaining lane position, both within it and distance from the car ahead. And she was gaining admirers as drivers we passed pointed and gazed.

The drive ended with me doing the "Homelink" shuffle. Don't know what that is? Oh, you will when you setup Homelink to work with your garage door opener. Just stick with it, your persistence will be rewarded.

And the star returned home, greeted by a new "Tesla - Electric Vehicle Parking" sign I had put up in the garage. Etsy does make anything, you know. Sure glad she isn't one of those Divas that expect a supercharger in the garage. The J1772 adapter works perfectly.

And Deborah? Recovering well in the hospital, and her absence makes my heart grow fonder.
If I still had a commute that put me on I-270, I would definitely be more seriously considering EAP, that highway is the absolute worst.

As it is, my commute is only 8 miles up MO-141 so EAP is not in the cars... yet.

Glad you got Middie back and she's all right!
 

Quicksilver

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#12
Glad Deborah is recovering well!

Happy to hear your Middie is back in your hands. Enjoy the rides!
 

littlD

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#13
Day 6 - Deborah's "Firmware" Reboot

Ok, sounds weird, we're talking about Deborah, my wife of nearly 35 years, not a computer or a Tesla. For those of you that have a loved one with Epilepsy, you'll get the hidden meaning of the title.

As I parked Middie in the farthest parking lot I could, I met a man getting ready for his work day at Barnes Saint Peters Hospital. I saw him catching a glance at Middie (no surprise, she IS the star in every parking lot she graces with her presence). I exited the car and said a welcoming "good morning". He asked if this was the "new Tesla", and of course you know what happened next.

The Voice Over Artist part of me took over, giving a quick Q & A session. I offered him the driver's seat to sit. At first he said "no, you don't have to do that". But I left the driver's door open... 30 seconds later Middie experiences her first visitor.

His son had recently purchased a used 1st gen Chevy Volt. As a former owner, I shared my love for the vehicle that started my EV journey. He was quick to point out "man, it has the gadgets too". I nodded and recalled my lifetime MPG of 800.

As we parted ways, I mentioned how to get a hold of me and to look me up on Facebook, the Model 3 Owners Club, and Audible.com for the Audiobooks I have on sale. That's when this became what some call "coincidence", I call it a "God connection".

His son was in school to become a VOICE OVER ACTOR! Wow, I quickly shared www.acx.com where anyone can start their career creating audiobooks for Audible.

As I entered her hospital room, Deborah welcomed me with a smile and a "Hi Doug", a total turnaround from leaving her the night before. It reminded me of other times we've gone through together, and I was so happy that she was responsive again, smiling, talking, and ready to eat some amazing biscuits and gravy the hospital served (yea, I know, "hospital food", but Barnes Saint Peters has good food!).

As recovering from four seizures (caused by a UTI) goes, the brain literally "reboots". So, it's kinda like Middie in a sense. Both the lady loves in my life were unresponsive, and now, Deborah joins Middie as being responsive again.

I'm married to an amazing woman, dang she just don't quit, doesn't give up, she stays positive, living life to the fullest and being thankful to God for every day. and so am I. To be part of her life all these years, I wouldn't trade them. Yep, it can get overwhelming being a care giver. For those of you that also share in that experience, all my best to you and MAKE SURE you take care of yourself. Otherwise, you can't be there for the long haul.

So my day ends giving Middie her first bath. I'm glad she's in my life now too, I'm just avoiding the two scroll wheel salute during a firmware update. We know that story already (see tale of woe in previous journal entries).
 

littlD

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#14
Day 7 - A Full House

It's been quiet here at our house since Deborah went in the hospital. While it functions as a respite for this care giver (and I'm not ashamed to take a much needed break), I don't sleep well and my life is definitely out of whack. When you don't have the love of your life with you every day in a familiar setting, you aren't complete.

June 11th 1983, I made a vow to love her in sickness and in health. Like many young men, I didn't think that would kick in until much later in our married life. But 5 years later, Multiple Sclerosis and later Complex Partial Epilepsy were additional things I had to learn about on top of the latest computer programming techniques.

I've learned that hospitals do one of two things on Fridays: Dismiss a little earlier than normal, or keep the patient over the weekend even if they could go home (because the people needed to dismiss are out for the weekend). Today, it was the former. I would have liked to have had more physical therapy for Deborah, but other than that, she could safely be dismissed.

Of course, the hospital gave me no advance notice. BUT, with Middie, I can change my schedule and be flexible. After all, I am no longer constrained by my 1st gen Nissan Leaf's limited range. Middie has my back.

So, we're back to a full house, both the ladies in my family are home. And only one of them likes her coffee at 124 degrees with some Original Coffeemate. And a good night's sleep for me... Finally!
 

littlD

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#15
Day 8 - Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I've been looking forward to this day for weeks, a day with my brother, his son, and his son's son. Our family has been Cardinal fans for many years, going back to my dad (be kind fans of other teams, I tip my cap to you).

I had already contracted for a care giver to be with Deborah while I would play bachelor. And again, Middie was ready, having charged up to 80% from the old GM Voltec charger in her garage (yea, she's a diva, it's hers now, and there's a Tesla parking sign that marks her spot just to make sure). Our care giver arrived a little early. Time to go through medications, emergency contacts, what food I had in the house for lunch and dinner, oh, and a quick demo of the Keurig machine (my girl LOVES coffee).

With everything squared away, it was time to leave for the Saint Louis Metrolink station at Hanley Road. They have a nice free parking garage to protect our Diva from the elements (bird droppings, rain and possible storms today). It would be my first time trying out the Auto Wipers, and Middie did a great job, keeping the windshield clear. I'm starting to get used to the way this Diva rolls!

Anyway, today was all about family and Cardinal baseball. My grand nephew doesn't fall far from the tree, he's an avid car enthusiast, quickly pointing out the cool cars from their 11th floor hotel room right across from Busch Stadium. And yes, that included some Model Ss!

We took in the game from some great seats my sister-in-law picked. A quick text during the game to thank her, we were at field level and yet out of the direct sun and covered in case more rain came. It never did.

The prior storm had cooled things down, and it was fantastic. We were treated to a electrifying finish courtesy of Kolten Wong, who, while batting a buck 80 before his turn in the 9th, sent the hometown faithful home very happy with a walk off home run. It just couldn't have been any better! And a day after my brother's birthday too.

Then, time to eat... In years past, we would go to Dierdorf and Harts, a great downtown restaurant that served the finest prime beef, chicken and seafood. And, the last time we were there, yours truly proudly said, "next time is on me". Well, that didn't happen in time. But, true to my promise, I offered to pay for tonight's meal. Turned out a family favorite when visiting me and Saint Louis is Imo's Pizza. Now, I know some may have their opinion of "The Square Beyond Compare", but we love it, ordering chicken wings (not soggy and undercooked, freshly deep fried and seasoned (not drowned) in buffalo sauce, Toasted Ravioli (with MEAT inside and properly breaded), and several different pizzas. And, a salad for me to at least say I ate something "healthy".

After eating literally two table's full of food (we barely had room to eat), I gladly paid the bill. Mind you, it wasn't anywhere near what D & H cost 7 years ago ($250+ for four guys), it was greatly appreciated. We'll do it again.

Getting back to the hotel, the food coma hit hard for the weary travelers. They had been up at 5:30am local time to drive two states over. So, we said our good byes and off I went, carrying with me the leftovers, and two hours earlier than I had planned.

The Metrolink train ride was ALMOST uneventful, until a young man seated behind me started chanting "trade your food". I ignored him because, although the smell of Imo's was filling the train car, this was a snack for tomorrow I wasn't giving up.

Got off the train and back into Middie. I had set the climate while walking over to her, and she was ready to go when I arrived.

I thought... let's stop by and get a SC on the way home. Who knows, maybe someone will want a look at Middie.

Sure enough, as I finished a quick 15 minute charge, a 2015 Titanium Model S pulled in. We traded pleasantries and the demo began. I love meeting other Tesla owners, and he was nice to this Newbee.

Back home, all was well, Deborah had a great day and enjoyed her new friend.

And I was a very happy man, Middie had taken me to the ball game, she's becoming a trusted friend.
 
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littlD

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#16
Day 9 - Middie Poses For Pictures, Then Proves She's Boss By Throwing Me In Autopilot Jail

Earlier this week, I offered up my lightning cable to the first person in the Saint Louis Tesla Enthusiasts Facebook group that wanted it. It was quickly snapped up by a member, and we started figuring out how to swap his extra USB-C cable for my Lightning.

As we started a Facebook Messenger, a friend I gained during our mutual quest for our Model 3 spoke up on my Facebook post with a "Dude, I would’ve taken it!". Well, we share some history (our Model 3s shared the same transport!). So, I had to make it up to him. AND, maybe we could all three meet for lunch to smooth things over. Before we knew it, two others wanted to join, so we made it into a "meetup for breakfast Sunday morning".

But, Middie needed a quick bath, and I had wanted to try a good touch free car wash (no brushes or so called soft cloth), so off to Country Club car wash. I had paid and, gladly, no one behind me when I realized "how do I get Middie in neutral"? I had the same problem when I took my Leaf for a bath, I'd forget how. A quick check of the manual told me how, but, I messed up once I got in the track. Here I was with Middie's left rear hopping up and down as the track tried to push us, and me freaking out (again), this time pressing the gear stalk too far (one position, not two) as I held it for two seconds. Finally, I figured it out but too late to not have the car wash put the track into safe mode! So, I had to drive perfectly straight and I crawled hoping not to hear grinding or scratching sounds. Thank God, I was successful. And, the car wash did wash, rinse, and dry my car anyway as I drove very slowly. A quick hop out showed no damage, phew!

Then, we were off to meet up with four other Model 3s, one made in January, one in March, and others either in April or May. As we got to know each other, we started checking out the difference between Gen 1 and Gen 2 seats. I sat in a January car, both front seat and back. And I can confirm the back seat is MUCH more comfortable. One of us made the comment about the Gen 1 back seat that it "feels like a Corolla!". Everyone tried out Middie's back seat (Gen 2), and all were impressed with the much improved thigh support. As for the front seat, I didn't feel much difference, but I'm sure no one will be disappointed with Gen 2.

We then took some pictures as our cars were all lined up, here's an example:
IMG_20180603_081403.jpg

Breakfast at The Shack in Frontenac was excellent, and we shared some great conversation, and not JUST about Model 3. Being a part of something special is good, but gaining friends who are also part of it is even more special.

Once done eating, one of the group had called ahead to a newly discovered cousin who had a beautiful house in Frontenac. It was a perfect place for a photo shoot with the arch shaped driveway and sloped front yard. Middie showed off her Aero covers on this one as our host brought out his Model S:

IMG_20180603_100255.jpg

Many pictures from many angles later, Middie was ready for a shakedown cruise before our #MiddieGoesToYellowstone trip. So, we drove to Columbia MO, using Autopilot the whole way via I-70 West. Only once did Middie hand over to me (tight turn). After 90 minutes of driving, I was as fresh as I was when we started, I could have easily gone another 90 minutes if we hadn't planned on turning around after a supercharge (we had 90 miles of range left (24% remaining).

When we pulled in, we couldn't believe our eyes, another "Middie" had just pulled in to charge, Twinsies!
IMG_20180603_122402.jpg
After charging at 116 kWh for 30 minutes (tailed off as we approached our 80% self imposed limit), we turned back for home. Traffic was especially busy, and some folks expect to go 90 in a 70. I like 10 miles over (80). So, I wouldn't leave myself in the left lane but got stuck behind a diesel duelie in the right lane. Mind you, I wasn't smelling it, but I didn't like it. So, while in Autopilot, I auto lane changed and then punched it. Quickly I was going 95, and Middie was not happy. Immediately, she beeped and announced in red text that Autopilot was disabled for the rest of the drive (A.K.A. Autopilot jail). I decided to run an experiment... How much quicker would I get tired if I'm back steering again (just traffic aware cruise turned on). Man, it wasn't long and I noticed a difference.

Returning home, we were very happy with the cruise and now know we can make the trip to Yellowstone in comfort, style, and safety. What a great day, and we're looking forward to many more. But remember, turn off Autopilot before you pull any stunts like I did or you'll end up taking the next exit to park to get out of Autopilot jail!
 

littlD

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#17
Day 10 - Close Call

Today, it was back to the routine of driving to work after dropping off Deborah at Adult Day Care. Middie was running her wipers even though there was no rain and no water on the windshield. But, there WAS something there, film left behind after I washed her last night. Middie was seeing that and thinking she needed to clear it away. A quick stop to squeegee my windows at a Mobil On The Run cleared that up.

But this wasn't a normal Monday. On the way to work, I witnessed an accident right in front of me. Middie was in Traffic Aware Cruise mode, and she slowed down as one of the cars involved violently moved into my lane. It wasn't bad enough to kick in crash avoidance, but thanks Mid for slowing down in plenty of time.

I turned on the emergency flashers and drove slowly around the broken trim of the three cars involved and avoided the other cars also trying to get through. Looking back, I could see that all three drivers seemed to be ok. Old habit even though I need to recertify my CPR and first aid skills. I wouldn't be covered by Good Samaritan law if I did.

Situations like this are one of the main reasons why the Model 3 was such a draw to me. I knew I'd be in one of the safest cars available. And, what if all cars were as safe and aware of their surroundings like Middie? I thought about that as I finished my drive to work and parked in the farthest lot.

One thing Middie can't do anything about... the Ding Monster!
 

littlD

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#18
Day 11 - No More Range Anxiety!

I've been driving EVs for years, first a 2012 Chevy Volt and then a 2015 Nissan Leaf. Part of every day's drive experience was a nearly constant monitoring of range. The Volt did pretty good with its predictions but the Leaf's was appropriately called the "guess-o-meter". We always started with more range shown then you knew the car could deliver, and in winter, the Leaf's lack of active battery temperature management meant a huge loss in range. More planning just to get from home to work, when to charge and where.

Today, I was driving home with my wife of nearly 35 years by my side when I suddenly realized... I haven't paid attention to the range estimate for days. With the Model 3, it's simply not a concern anymore. I can go wherever I need to during my day. Even when we drove to Columbia MO Sunday, I trusted the nav system. No worries!

This along with a spacious, clutter free interior and seats that are comfortable yet supportive provide a relaxing way to travel. And we'll need that soon on our trip to Yellowstone.
 

littlD

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#19
Day 12 - Once Every Five Years, Whether We Need To Or Not...

Today, it was a nice day off of work, getting ready for our 35th wedding anniversary trip. We do something special every five years to celebrate, picking a scenic place to go. As I was packing Middie, I was wishing I had cool "made to fit" luggage you can get for S and X. The good news, Oscar and Hamish will be announcing them this weekend at Fully Charged Live show in the UK. Bad news is, I need them today! Oh well, I asked them to put me on the pre-order list before there is a pre-order list next week. Maybe for a weekender soon.

Over the years, our celebratory trips have involved special ways to get to our destination:
For our 20th, it was airplanes and Via Rail (Canadian rail service) to get to Perce, Quebec.
For our 25th, it was airplanes, rides from my brother-in-law and sister, plus the Anna Maria Island trolley to get to Bradenton, FL and Anna Maria Island.
For our 30th, it was Amtrak, Grand Canyon Railroad, and the Grand Canyon bus system to get to and around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

For our 35th, it's Middie!

You can't believe (well, maybe this audience of EV enthusiasts can) how many people have asked me "how are you going to drive there, your Model 3 can only go 310 miles". Then I show them the map of thousands of Superchargers and 3 different ways to get there from our house. Suddenly, they respond "Wow, where else can you go?" I start naming off my hometown in Indiana, Nashville TN, Bradenton FL, and maybe a trip to Jupiter FL for spring training next year!

Anyway, it should be a great trip. And you'll be along for #MiddieGoesToYellowstone as I'll journal here at the end of every day. This is the biggest adventure yet, and this time, we're on our own!
 
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Quicksilver

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#20
Day 10 - Close Call

Today, it was back to the routine of driving to work after dropping off Deborah at Adult Day Care. Middie was running her wipers even though there was no rain and no water on the windshield. But, there WAS something there, film left behind after I washed her last night. Middie was seeing that and thinking she needed to clear it away. A quick stop to squeegee my windows at a Mobil On The Run cleared that up.

But this wasn't a normal Monday. On the way to work, I witnessed an accident right in front of me. Middie was in Traffic Aware Cruise mode, and she slowed down as one of the cars involved violently moved into my lane. It wasn't bad enough to kick in crash avoidance, but thanks Mid for slowing down in plenty of time.

I turned on the emergency flashers and drove slowly around the broken trim of the three cars involved and avoided the other cars also trying to get through. Looking back, I could see that all three drivers seemed to be ok. Old habit even though I need to recertify my CPR and first aid skills. I wouldn't be covered by Good Samaritan law if I did.

Situations like this are one of the main reasons why the Model 3 was such a draw to me. I knew I'd be in one of the safest cars available. And, what if all cars were as safe and aware of their surroundings like Middie? I thought about that as I finished my drive to work and parked in the farthest lot.

One thing Middie can't do anything about... the Ding Monster!
I am also on the lookout for Ding Monsters! Typically, what I've found in the past is that Ding Monsters are little kids that just fling the doors of their car open once their cars are parked next to you. I don't think they meant to ding you. Most adults I think are considerate enough to not ding you but it does happen. Whenever I take my son to a place that I know will have cars with lots of kids as passengers I park way out in the boon dock. Case in point - our local Toys-R-Us (which is unfortunately, closing it's doors). :(