Monday, December 12, 2016
We picked up Dad at my brother’s house early this morning, and headed for Memphis. The driving was better today since it was not quite so cold out. We experienced less “range anxiety” as the range returned to normal levels. We still experienced some reduction, but closer to 5% rather than 25% on our first day. I will need to do some research – want to know what parameters Tesla used to get a range of 250 miles. Must we drive at 45 mph with no heat, and all downhill?
We reached our hotel in Memphis, The Peabody Hotel, famous for the ducks that march through the lobby daily at 11 am to swim in the fountain until 5 pm when they are returned to their $200,000 Duck Palace on the roof. We won’t be here to watch the parade, so we went up to the roof to visit the “palace.” There are five mallard ducks, four hens and one drake – we can see mallards any time at home – so not quite as thrilling as I expected.
The Peabody Ducks tradition dates back about 80 years. The hotel’s general manager had just returned from a hunting trip and he thought it would be amusing to leave three of his live decoys in the hotel fountain. Back then, hunters used live ducks as decoys rather than the wooden or plastic decoys of later days. A bellman, a former circus animal trainer, taught the ducks to march across the lobby. This bellman was given the position of “Duck Master.” The ducks are raised by a local farmer, and they reside at the hotel for three months before being returned to the farm where they live as wild ducks.
The Peabody has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their lobby is decorated for the holidays. Among the displays is a Gingerbread Village made with 400 pounds of sugar, 120 pounds of flour, 4 gallons of molasses, 300 eggs, 5 pounds of gingerbread spices and 50 pounds of candy. You can make your own now, but you will need several elves to help you assemble it – 250 elf hours required.
By the way, duck is not served anywhere in The Peabody.
Tuesday, December 13
This was another long day of driving, and learning more about how the Tesla performs in various types of weather. We started out with great range, but by afternoon, the skies opened up and we experienced heavy rain for several hours. About mid-afternoon, range anxiety kicked in again as we watched the battery’s charge drop fairly quickly.
The rain was very heavy, accompanied by lightning and some wind, and I even received a warning on my cellphone about potential flooding in the areas we were driving through. Actually, I was more concerned that people behind me would see the vehicle, especially since we were driving under the speed limit. Mark turned on the hazard lights to make us more “seeable.”
By the time we reached New Orleans, the rain had stopped and the temperature was in the low 70’s. It was wonderful, a good end to a very long day.