Driving Day 15: San Francisco to San Luis Obispo – 373.4km

There were 3 very exciting things that were due to be happening today, and so it was an eager and keen RGE team that turned up at the Luscious Garage at 9am to pick up the SRZero. Just an aside, I should point out that it was now a Saturday, and Luscious Garage was actually closed. So how did we get in? I mention this extremely trivial point as it is just another example of the extreme kindness displayed to us by our supporters. The day before, Caroline, owner of Luscious Garage, gave us the key to her premises, and told her to just pop the key through the letterbox when we had locked up and left. This was such a trusting gesture, especially as she barely knew us, but it helped us tremendously, so thank you Caroline!

Firstly, the day saw the return of Rick Peterson, our biker companion between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Whitehorse in Canada. He had to take a sabbatical from the project in order to fly helicopter rescue missions in Hawaii, and we were excited to have him back in the game! So, off we set for our next big stop; a place where none of us had gone before, and where we had been especially invited by the guys from Zero Motorcycles…

Moto GP at Leguna Seca! We arrived on the second day of this legendary event and were invited to park our car alongside the Zero Motorcycles stand. Unfortunately we only had time to spend 2 hours here, but in that time we saw a number of very exciting car and motorbike related exhibits, and of course the warm up laps which saw motorbikes screaming around the 2.238 mile track at breathtaking speeds!

There were a number of perplexed looks at seeing an electric car at such a petrol-dominated event, but everybody was extremely pleasantly surprised to find that an electric car could look so appealing! But at 3pm, our time was up and we had to head off to the most anticipated part of the day…


Highway 1! Up until Leguna Seca, we had travelled down on Highway 1 from San Francisco to Monterrey, but this was not the most beautiful part of the highway. All sources informed us that it was south of Monterrey that the road took on its famous and spectacular twists, turns, and jaw-dropping vistas. We were not disappointed! On our left hand side, cliffs and mountains fringed the North American continent, with the occasional valley allowing us to glimpse inland, and on our right hand side just a few metres beyond the edge of the road lay the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean!

The twists and turns of such a road may seem tedious in the support vehicle, but they were an untold delight to drive in the SRZero. Because of the wide wheel base, low centre of gravity and road-hugging aerodynamics of the SRZero, sharp turns could confidently be taken at speed, providing for an adrenaline fuelled drive all the way down to San Luis Obispo!

On the way, we stopped for a quick food/toilet break, and there we were informed by a local that we should look out for some elephant seals that were basking on the beach a few miles down the road. With several animal lovers on the team, we vowed to check them out, and a few minutes driving down the road revealed a large and occasionally writhing mass of grey blubber. These were the famed elephant seals, and a more lazy animal could surely not be imagined! On occasion, 2 belligerent males would “stand up”, roar at each other, find that too tiring to continue, and then pass out. Similar passing out could be observed after one of the creatures made the occasional dash across the sand; 2 metres and a long nap was needed! A video of described behaviour can be seen in our videos section.

Anyway, we were still in a rush to get to our next destination so we quickly got back on the road. A few hours later we reached the campus of California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) where we were to meet our hosts for this evening. Sure enough, a few minutes after arriving, Dan and several of his fellow students arrived to welcome us. After a quick show and tell of the car, Dan informed us that his professor had prepared food for us and had offered his home for us to sleep at. As it was 10pm already, we decided to quickly hook the car to charge (it was due to stay and charge up at the university’s electric car charging point) and head off as soon as possible.

A short drive south revealed a beautiful octagonal house set in the woods. Upon exiting the support vehicle, we were welcomed by Professor Art MacCarley, professor of electrical engineering at CalPoly, and his wife Dana who had prepared for us a beautiful home cooked meal; the first the team had had for a long time! We were joined for dinner by Dan and his colleagues, and the meal was spent discussing the project, what’s going on at the university, Rick’s experiences in the helicopters, and Claudio’s various escapades. A truly enjoyable occasion!

Very quickly, tiredness set in, and our hosts graciously offered up their spacious living room and spare bedrooms for our use. Soon after, we were fast asleep!

RGE would like to thank Art and Dana for their exceptional hospitality, delicious chicken, and very comfortable sofas! No doubt we would have had a far less enjoyable night had they not been there to help!

7 Responses to “Driving Day 15: San Francisco to San Luis Obispo – 373.4km”

  • Art M says:

    Thanks for visiting us. Thought you might want to know that the city name is spelled San Luis Obispo (Spanish name).


  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    wow , what an area , 100 – 150 km ( ± 70 – 100 miles ) parallel
    to your route is an intense farming region from Red Bluff in the
    North to Bakersfield in the South which probably covers an area
    of ± 32,000 km squared ( ± 12,500 square miles ) .

    However , the total contrast that exists , the one side of a
    river is fertile while on the other , it is arid , compared to
    Canada and Alaska it must be like a slap in the face .

    The satellite maps of that part of USA shows a spectrum of
    topography and there respective colours which leaves
    the viewer mesmerized and overwhelmed , what is it like in
    reality , when travelling through ?

    We wish you all the very best from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in sunny South Africa where the fans are trying recover from
    the devastating defeats in the Rugby Tri Nations , after the
    Springboks were the champions of the world , it is difficult
    to accept that , we cannot win them all , particularly when
    we become complacent , Charles and friends .

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    we have just finished exploring the latest set of
    photos , it is becoming more and more evident
    that you are discharging an astounding “ Road Show ” .

    We cannot help to notice that some of photos in the
    last set taken around San Francisco reminded us
    about the similarity of Durban , also in Kwazulu
    Natal , but at the coast .

    The overall contrast between Canada and West Coast
    of the USA is glaring , nevertheless very interesting
    and exciting .

    Wishing you all the best from Ladysmith ,
    ( Kwazulu Natal ) in now a sunny mild South Africa
    where we are bracing ourselves for spring and
    probably a very hot summer , Charles and friends

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    it has been a relatively quick transformation
    from green in the Canadas to the dry , brown hues
    of the USA West coast with its own fascinating
    nuances .

    Were all those motorbikes emission free ?
    It must be reassuring to see and learn that on the
    other side of the globe there are people who are
    taking this Zero Emission seriously with the relevant
    support systems .
    Did you have enough time and opportunity to
    “ Check out ” their respective
    BMS and corresponding chargers ?

    We wonder if the elephant seals are concerned
    that man is doing something to improve their
    habitat as well ?

    Best regards – Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    we are receiving you loud and clear thank you
    very very much in South Africa , Charles and
    friends .

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    San louis Obispo – Heledale – Las Vegas …. where are the trees ?
    Wide open spaces with grasslands and scrub similar to the Karoo
    in South Africa , speed bumps and deteriorating road conditions
    deja vu , eish !
    How often do these wind turbines operate or rather what percentage
    of the year do they deliver ?
    How are the different environmental temperatures affecting the
    performance , charging and discharging of the SRzero ?

    Nevertheless , the photos are great !

    Best regards from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in sunny South Africa , Charles and friends .

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    oops , thanx for the spelling correction , we hope that
    the people of San Luis Obispo will be lenient in their
    judgement against us . It is probably the writer’s Franco phonic tendency that could have committed this oversight .
    We looked again at some of your photos and we are compelled to state that they are magnificent ! !

    We are very curious to know where you are now .
    How are the people treating you , what type of foods
    are you enjoying ?

    How is the SRzero behaving ?

    We wish you all the very best from Ladysmith
    ( Kwazulu Natal ) in overcast South Africa ,
    Charles and friends .

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    wow , the SRzero really looks even sexier
    with the ladies , who look hot …. difficult to
    tell if its the sun , the SRzero or the overall
    combination , while it certainly is adding more
    glamour for the SRzero , which could be a selling point ,
    in the future . Please ladies do not be offended ,
    as some of us look at these combinations purely from
    a poetic and artistic view . We are really paying you
    a compliment !

    Best regards – Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    South Africa , Charles and friends .

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