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September 7, 2016

About three months ago, I took an annual trip to see some family that lives up near Paso Robles, California. One of two routes is available from the Los Angeles area: a scenic but less efficient route up the coast, on Highway 101, or a straighter option further inland, on the 5 Freeway. We took the 5 and even that is not without its beauty.

5 Frwy near Bakersfield

On the way home, we stumbled onto a Tesla Supercharging station. I’ve always envisioned them as sort of utopian looking but this location was about as interesting to look at as coin-operated vacuums you drive up to.

Tesla Buttonwillow supercharging station

That’s not to say they were at all messy or unkempt. Quite the opposite; even its parking lot was less messy than the areas around it and the machines looked clean and unmarred.

Tesla Buttonwillow supercharging station

The large, red Tesla only signs no doubt have something to do with it. These stations are not general parking areas and, from what I can gather, are all located on private property.

Tesla Buttonwillow supercharging station sign

While in a drive-thru, one of my passengers jumped out to take the pictures. While she was out there, a second Model S pulled in to charge up and they kindly allowed some photos.

Tesla Buttonwillow supercharging station

You can see here where the plug connects to the car.

Tesla Buttonwillow supercharging

Tesla’s website has a Supercharging station location map. It appears they’ve strategically spaced them out along highways to allow long-distance travels, such as Los Angeles to San Franciso or even across the country. This particular location is found in Buttonwillow.

Tesla supercharging map

Another interesting point on this route is in Cholane, indicated by one of two green arrows, above. It was along Highway 46, on September 30, 1955, that James Dean was killed in a car accident. There is a highway marker indicating the spot and a small memorial about a mile west of that.