LA to Chicago: Day 3

Albequerque to Oklahoma City

After the early morning charge, I went back to the hotel and picked up some free breakfast (gotta love the Fairfield Inn). Despite the free breakfasts along the way, we still find ourselves stopping at Starbucks to grab some good coffee.

The landscape throughout Arizona and New Mexico is beautiful. I’ve always loved the desert. It’s so rich in color and there are some many ever-changing varieties of trees, bushes, and rock. It makes for a pleasant drive.

In Tucumcari (that’s fun to say), we stopped to charge and encountered a gorgeously restored 1967 Volvo. Unfortunately, they were stuck. A wheel bearing issue, apparently. They were traveling in the opposite direction, from Oklahoma to Los Angeles. I wished them good luck and the driver noted, “We’re gonna need it.”

People gathered around a green 1967 Volvo in a parking lot

The Texas panhandle was… underwhelming. H noticed the change in landscape almost right as we crossed the border. Suddenly flat and virtually void of trees, the drive to our next charging stop in Amarillo was depressing at best. Amarillo itself wasn’t much better.

Tesla charging stations in Amarillo

Apologies to the people of Amarillo, but I can’t imagine living there. Maybe it was just the proximity to the interstate that made it feel like a sad, broken place to be, but we didn’t stick around to explore what may have been nicer neighborhoods. After charging up, we ate a dreary lunch at a Red Robin and got out of there as fast as we could.

Did I mention it was bleak?

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Shamrock was actually a pretty cool town. Since we’re closely following Route 66, we got to see some fun things along the way. Shamrock is home to an iconic old Conoco station. I couldn’t resist taking some pics while we charged there.

Conoco station in Shamrock, TX
Route 66 sign that reads, 1098 miles to Chicago, Los Angeles 1180 miles
Halfway! Wait. How did they know where we came from and where we’re going?
Spider plant in a plastic container
Giving our new spider plant a little Shamrock air

As nifty as Shamrock was, the landscape was not improving. Just as we were feeling stuck in the doldrums, we entered Oklahoma and suddenly spotted — trees! Green grass! A slightly varied landscape! Woo!

And state troopers. Oddly enough, we hadn’t seen any police from L.A. to Oklahoma. Suddenly, they were popping up like daisies in a meadow. I made a note that I should keep the Tesla’s Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) to no more than 6 miles over the limit. This is probably a good time to talk about Tesla’s “self-driving” features.

We don’t pay for the full self-driving on the Tesla. The auto-steer and TACC are plenty for me. Those features saved me on this long trip. If you’ve ever used cruise control on any other car, then you know what TACC is like. Except that it senses traffic, so as you pull up to a slower driver, it automatically adjusts your speed. The auto-steer is exactly what it sounds like, and did a lot to save me from some arm fatigue. Tesla warns you to pay attention while using those features, and every few minutes I had to turn the wheel slightly to keep Auto-Steer working, even though my hands were resting on it anyway.

We finally pulled into the Oklahoma City Fairfield Inn, totally drained. In fact, I’m writing this retroactively because I couldn’t bring myself to open my laptop that night. Don’t tell anyone.

Next stop: St. Louis! Or… is it?

Want to follow the trip in one convenient place? I made a page.

Or, skip to Day 4 –>


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One response to “LA to Chicago: Day 3”

  1. […] LA to Chicago: Day 3 – It's Just DJ March 7, 2024 […]

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