As you may remember from the previous blog post, we had estimated that the car would be sufficiently charged for the drive to Vegas by around 5am on the morning of the 29th day. We fully intended to make best use of the day by leaving this early, and there were several reasons for this. First and foremost we wanted to pay Kyle back for his hospitality by giving him a ride in the car before he started work, which was at 6.30 in the morning. Secondly, we wanted to get as much time in Vegas as possible!
Now, Kyle was in the military for 24 years and I suspect he got used to waking people up at ungodly hours. He had clearly developed a successful technique because at 4.30am the house started shaking with the sweet sounds of Dire Straits and the Sultans of Swing. If that wasn’t enough to stir us from our slumbers, then his next act of human alarm clock was even more extreme; a blur as Kyle ran down the stairs accompanied by the some of the most famous words on the trip so far: “WAKE UP MAAAAAAAAN!”. This was repeated several times as he excitedly bounced around the room like a tennis ball on steroids!
And before we knew it he was shaking us out of our sleeping bags and getting us on our feet. It was by far the most vigorous and effective wakeup call we had ever had. He then introduced us to “3 in 1 American flavoured Mongolian Coffee” which certainly helped the waking up process. If any one of you have a logical explanation of precisely what 3 in 1 American flavoured Mongolian Coffee is, please let me know. Anyway, it certainly was tasty, and before long we were readying the SRZero and support van for the next leg.
With the desert sun rising in front of us, the convoy of the SRZero, support vehicle, motorbike and Kyle’s car headed off with Nik and Kyle leading in the SRZero. For half an hour we drove east on the famed Route 66 until we came to Barstow which is where Kyle had to leave us to go to work. It was unfortunate to see him depart as over the last 36 hours he had somehow become an integral and cherished member of the team. We wish him all the best for the future and we hope that he can find the time to bunk work and join us on our travels somewhere!
After Barstow we headed east and after a few more hours of boiling hot desert sun (even though it was still so early in the morning) the infamous skyline of Las Vegas loomed up ahead. After seeing this city in so many films and pictures, it was a surreal and giddy experience driving up to the Strip in such an outrageous car!
Now, I have had one or two emails from misinformed individuals who lambast RGE for being a disorganised rabble. The truth is that this is far from the case, and for most days we have several contingency plans for where we can charge the car and get some sleep ourselves. On this occasion, we had several options, all offered by the kind members of the local Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association (LVEVA). However, being on the Strip with the SRZero, we felt we had to try our luck at one of the big hotels.
And so we headed for the Mirage, which was highly recommended to us by some friends as a fantastic place to stay! In we drove into their carriage driveway; jaws brushed the floor as we silently cruised by and came to a halt outside the main entrance. Before long we had several of the managers outside, and the team were animatedly explaining to them how we had the idea of charging the car up in their facility, and then displaying it in the middle of the entrance for all to see. Oh, and we wanted to hold a media event there.
They were a little shocked to say the least, but in true Las Vegas style, they made it happen, and all the necessary clearances and permissions where swiftly obtained from the higher authorities! And to polish it all off, we were offered a highly discounted rate to stay in their hotel…perfect! The hotel’s engineers were sent down to help us locate a plug while the rest of the team happily chatted away to the growing audience. While doing so, the local contingent of EV enthusiasts came by to see the hotel, and as with San Francisco several days earlier, we spent a happy while going into detail about the car and project.
After just 2 more hours, the car was on charge in a secure part of the hotel’s garage, we were checked into the hotel, showered, changed, and ready to explore a little. As for the rest of the day, there’s a famous saying which goes something like: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!”
We completely agree!