Thursday, September 19, 2013


Two days after returning to their homes from a 14-day excursion across the United States, Reggie met Arnie at his Owings Mills office--the same office he interviewed for the job just four weeks earlier--to wrap their heads around the concluded adventure.Arnie's writer had a few questions for him as they sat comfortably at a conference room table.

Would you do it again?

Yes.  Arnie spoke without the slightest hesitation. Would you? 
His writer replied in the affirmative.

What were your impressions of the Tesla?

I liked the ease of driving, very smooth, a very good touring car…What I didn’t like were the knobs for the cruise control and the turn signals. They were positioned too closely together and with similar styles are easy for me to mix up.

The nav system I hope is improved, but I keep learning new things about the car. For instance, when the nav system turns off, the radio appeared. But I still don’t know how to turn the radio off—I just mute it.

How much did you raise for Lutheran Mission Society (LMS)?

A couple hundred dollars.  We’re short of our goal of $1000, but we're hopeful some more donations will trickle in now that we’ve made it home safely. (Click here to make a donation.)

Who was your favorite character or characters on the trip?

The military veterans who took the stage at the Mount Rushmore lighting ceremony—particularly the Vietnam vets. Other memorable characters were the Tesla post-salesman, Joe the motor head from Pasco, Henry the English bicyclist, Peter and Tom in Virginia City, pastor Al, Thrivent’s W.D. and Jeff and my nephew Niko.

Any regrets or things you would do differently?

I would do a ‘Where’s Arnie?’ Send a postcard to the person who guessed correctly or post their photo on the website... Maybe take more time on the road. Just do 260-or-so-miles a day, 16 or 17 days—but I would need the time to do it.

Did Al find his mini-Tesla?

Don’t know. Arnie picked up his phone and dialed Al.

"Al? How ya doin’? This is Arnie."

"Arnie…did you make it home yet?"

“Yeah, on Monday. Thanks again for the hospitality.”


“If we were to re-locate somewhere—we agree—it’d be west of the Missouri (river)…Was just recapping the trip. Did you ever find the mini-Tesla?”

“Nope. Not yet.”

What was your favorite day, time or experience?

The times at Yellowstone: waiting for the geyser to erupt at night and seeing the other ones go off around me, going down that loose gravel, 6-mile road before the petrified tree--I was very nervous about the car, Old Faithful, the buffalo, the grand canyon of Yellowstone.

The Mount Rushmore lighting ceremony—I thought it’d be boring and it was nothing like I expected, with the lights slowly illuminating the mountain…so many stories, I could tell one about every day.

The single best day was Virginia City. On the brink of disaster we met three great people, ate and re-charged. I also liked the ‘hanging room’ in one of the buildings in town.

My least favorite experience was staying in the cabin alongside the highway (Interstate 80 in Newton, Iowa).

How did your family and office greet you?

Happily…excited to see the car, but not me (laughs). Arnie showed co-workers Elena and Kim the route he took across the country. 

Do you have another road trip you plan on taking in the Tesla?

I think I may drive the Tesla to a financial planning conference in Orlando, Florida this October. I can stop to visit some clients in North Carolina and my daughter in South Carolina. There’s a supercharger in Port Orange (FL) where an appointment is. I might just do it. By golly, I think I have a plan.

Who would you like to thank for making this trip possible?

Terry for handling my appointments at the office.

The Thrivent local chapter for matching the charity funds—several hundred dollars—but we’re still working to get that higher.

Special thanks to Reggie—without him the trip wouldn’t have as much meaning…and I’d probably still be somewhere in Virginia City looking for an outlet.

The Kampgrounds of America: Cascade Locks, the Last Resort in Pomeroy, Joe and the Pasco community, Onawa Blue Lake, Will and the Buckeye Lake kampground and our final campground charges at Hagerstown-Antietam.

Peter and Debbie at the Virginia City RV Park, and especially neighbor Tom for his 50-amp outlet. 

Marge at Clearwater Crossing RV Park in Orofino.

Colleagues W.D. Metheny at the Thrivent’s Yankton office and Jeff Ritter for his hospitality at Buckeye Lake.

Morgantown’s University Mitsubishi for the free overnight charge when we desperately needed it. And Morgantown’s Comfort Inn for being open after midnight.

My cousins, the Vacula family of Middletown, Delaware for the strong coffee and brownies. 

And the Atlantis Inn at Rehoboth Beach—our final destination on the coast-to-coast adventure.

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