All posts by mikestrock

The Tesla Model 3 Experience

I have always loved the Tesla cars. Have always wanted to buy one. Have always wanted to drive one. Have never had the chance. Recently, with my wife’s car getting in an accident (and being far in the future to being fixed), we occasionally need a second car.

I found a service called Turo, where normal, everyday people, rent out their cars to strangers, for a fee that they set.

I went on Turo, and found a Tesla that I could rent. I decided that I would rent the Tesla Model 3 (2020 edition, normal range), for six days.

Last Wednesday, I picked up the Tesla.

It was very sweet. The torque is instantaneous. It’s fast. Probably TOO fast, for me. It had self driving built in, which I did not use.
The driving range, because this was an older standard model, was about 200 miles per charge.

I drove it around for the time I had it. I charged it every day (mainly due to my own range anxiety), but it was not necessary to charge every day.

There are lots of things I like about the Tesla. There are a few things I don’t like, but some of those things can be fixed by add-ons that were not present on the rental Tesla.

– Fast
– Easy to charge, convenient chargers that were quick to use
– Spacious inside
– Felt like a rocket ship on rails
– Easy to drive, easy to park

– No CarPlay. – Since I bought my car in 2019, I’ve become accustomed to using CarPlay, which allows my phone to connect to my audio system in my car. I use it for navigation, to make phone calls (all hands free) and send and receive text messages (also all hands free). Tesla has built in navigation, but it’s not the same. There is an add-on available from a 3rd party company that would add CarPlay to the Tesla for about $100. Definitely a necessity if I bought a Tesla in the future.

– Charging is (somewhat) inconvenient. Superchargers can charge the car fairly quickly, adding 100+ miles of range in about 45 minutes or so. Yes, it’s not as convenient as gas stations, but from where we currently live, there are four SuperCharger stations that are fairly close. They are adding more every week.
– Charging works well, BUT, it requires patience. On a road trip, you could spend 25-45 minutes charging the car every 150-180 miles. That’s normally fine, because you usually will want to get out of the car and stretch you legs, use the restroom, eat something every few hours anyway. But it can (and will) add time to your trip, and if your passengers are not patient, it could be a problem.
– Initial cost of a Tesla is somewhat higher than a regular car, but will pay you back in the long run due to lack of maintenance costs required.
– If you need to have your Tesla serviced, it can be expensive. And it’s really a dealer only option to get it serviced. That may be a pro or a con depending on your thoughts. Tesla’s don’t have dealers, but they do have authorized service centers.

When I returned the Tesla to the gentleman who rented it to me, I said “My wife loves this car. Now she wants one.” He said “Would you like to buy it?”

I was sorely tempted. But, at this juncture, I declined, even though the price that he offered was quite reasonable. For me, I just don’t drive enough to justify the expense. Maybe down the line, things will change, and it will become more of a possibility.

But it was a fun experience, and I would rent another Tesla in a heartbeat.

Tiny House on Wheels – Mount Hood Tiny House Village edition

We spent three nights and four days this past weekend/first part of the week staying in a (new to us) Tiny House Village in Welches, Oregon.

It was a small tiny house on wheels. Two upstairs lofts with queen size beds, and a basement bedroom with a single bed.
Small bathroom. Small kitchen.

We loved the park. We mostly loved the house.

One thing I think we figured out is that while we love tiny houses, a tiny house on wheels is not for us.

For the plain and simple reason that a tiny house on wheels is meant to be a mobile home on wheels. We don’t want to move it around.
We want to find a place, and plant, either as a home base we travel from, or as just a home base.

Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, bathroom with a walk in shower, and a living room. I think about 1,000 square feet.

We love the tiny houses as a vacation destination, but I think in the grand scheme of things long term, they really aren’t for us.

Travel dreams

For the last few weeks, I’ve occasionally had weird dreams about travel.

– A few weeks ago, I had a dream that Laurie and I somehow got on a flight to France. Where, when we landed, we did not have passports, and couldn’t get back to the United States. How did we get on the flight without a passport? Or tickets? Who knows….

– Last night, I had a dream that I was taking the train to Boston, to meet my brother. For some reason, I only had a carry on, which had a few clothes, my laptop and my camera. I stowed my carry on, but remembered I needed to go back to my car to make sure it was locked. So I left the train. While I was gone, the train left the station, with my clothes, my laptop, and my camera.

These dreams tell me a few things.

1) Travel only domestically.
2) Don’t travel by train, or plane.
3) I’m just crazy.

Ghost of Jerry Pournelle

A few years ago, there was a magazine called Byte. Which had a columnist whose name was Jerry Pournelle. Jerry wrote many science fiction books, but also wrote a column for Byte magazine.

Jerry had a saying “I do these things so you don’t have to.” Which referred to installing beta software, and playing with hardware before anyone else, to try them out so that he could tell people what he thought and experienced, so they didn’t have to do that.

I’m much the same way, although to a lesser extent. For probably the last four years, every year that Apple has released a new developer beta for their phone, I would install it on my main phone. Why? Well, two reasons. 1) I’m crazy, and I do these things so you don’t have to and 2) I have an Android phone that I can drop back to if things go too haywire.

Thankfully, they haven’t gone haywire for me.

This year, IOS 17 developer beta 1 has been released. Unlike previous years, you have to have a developer account with Apple to install it.

So, I signed up to be a developer with Apple. Paid my $99 for the privilege, and installed beta 1 on my main phone.

Very few glitches. I don’t see a lot new at this point, but, it’s pretty stable SO FAR.

I don’t recommend you do the same. Because, like I said, I’m crazy. You probably are not.

More as I see what I see.

2023 Car Show Season has begun

Cruising to Colby starts the car show season (at least for me) in Washington state. That was held yesterday and today in Everett, Washington.

Went out, took a few photos, saw a few people I’ve seen over the years, saw lots of cool cars and an Elvis impersonator. Accosted by a group of four women, which was interesting, but a story for another time.

Here are the photos. Enjoy!

Cruising to Colby 2023

Forty Three years ago today

Forty three years ago today, my brother and I were upstairs at my grandparents house in Edmonds. There had been a very loud boom, and my grandparents thought that one of us had fallen out of bed.

We were staying with my grandparents because my parents had been in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a conference for my dad’s work. They were flying back from Atlanta that day.

That was the day that Mt. St. Helens exploded. My mom got some great photos of it from the plane as they flew back from Atlanta.

It is the year we learned about a crotchety old man name Harry S. Truman, who was an innkeeper on Mt. St. Helens who refused to leave “his mountain.” He died in the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Along with a few others.

Ash spread far and wide and drifted (from what I understand) even to Japan.

It was a crazy day. Probably one of the biggest events of my early childhood that I remember.

1,826 days ago

1,826 days ago, I was laying in the emergency room of our local hospital. I had had blood work done in the morning, because I was having a problem breathing. After I would walk 25-60 feet, I would have to stop and catch my breath.

So I went and had blood work done. I received a call shortly afterwards that said “You are low on blood. Go to the ER immediately.”

So off I trudged to the emergency room. When I got there, they gave me four transfusions of blood. At that point, I was feeling fantastic. I said “I feel good. I can go home now, right?”

They said no. I had to have more tests done. I had a couple CT scans done, and the emergency room doctor walked into my room a couple hours later.
Dr. Gregory Burke. He looked at me with a straight face and said “It’s bad. It’s bad. It’s really, really bad.”

I was confused. And concerned. He explained that I had a tumor in my colon, which was cancerous. I needed to have the tumor removed. He didn’t know what stage the cancer was, but he was trying to find me a bed in another hospital where I could go and get the tumor removed.

(Funny story. I went back to the hospital a couple of years later and asked to see Dr. Burke. I thanked him for finding the tumor, and for his assistance. I thought he was going to cry. He said I was the first person in 25 years of being an emergency room doctor that had come back to thank him, especially after a diagnosis like mine.)

It took (I believe) three days for them to find a bed for me. I was transferred to Swedish First Hill, where I had the tumor removed. I was there for eleven days.

Shortly after leaving First Hill, I met with my oncologist for the first time. She said ‘You have stage 4 terminal colon cancer. You have 18-24 months to live. If there is anything that you have stopped eating because it was bad for you, you can start eating it again.” (She rescinded that a year later when I seemed to be improving and was gaining ‘too much’ weight, after losing 43 pounds from the initial colon cancer surgery).

Went through chemo. Went through a couple more surgeries, including one to remove another tumor that had grown in my stomach from the metastasizing of the colon cancer.

But five years later, I’m still here. I was declared in remission about two years ago. I still get checked every four months or so for any new growth, but so far, thank God, I have not had any new growth.

Along the way, I’ve met many people who have cancer. I try to be a positive light for them, whether they are someone I actually know, or someone I just meet in passing. Sometimes I fail. Most of the time, I think that I am able to give them hope. We all need a little bit of hope.

Anyway, that is my story till now.

God is good. He’s really the reason I’m still here.

People are Funny

I was at the gas station the other day, filling my wife’s car up with gasoline. Normally, I just get gas at the local Costco, but because she works for Safeway, after a certain amount of spending, we get a discount off the gasoline if you buy it from Safeway. So since we had $1/gallon off, I decided to take her car and get gas at the local Safeway that has a gas station attached.

So I get there, I get out of the car and start pumping gas. In the next aisle, a gentleman pulls in, gets out of his car and starts pumping as as well.
He looks at me and in a friendly manner says ‘Look like you’ve had an operation!’

I think to myself “You have no idea”

I said “Yes, I’ve had a few.” I go on for a few minutes while the cars are gassing up to explain my hydrocephalus story, and he says at the end ‘Wow. You’ve been through a bit.”

I laughed and said “You have no idea. I was diagnosed almost five years ago with terminal colon cancer. Declared ‘in remission’ about 2 years ago.”

He said “Wow. I lost my dad to cancer just about three weeks ago” (Keep in mind, this guy was probably in his late sixties, early seventies).

I explained that my dad had been diagnosed with B-Cell lymphoma shortly after I had been diagnosed, and he had passed away in January of 2020. I also explained (which I have told other people the same thing) that I wished my dad was still here healthy, even if it meant I was still fighting cancer.

He said “Your father would be proud of you, and the fact that you are willing to discuss your story with people. It gives them hope.”

Never thought of it that way. Just thought, well, you asked me about the scars on the side of my head, I’ll explain my story.

Anyway, it was a feel good little meeting. We shook hands (Covid be damned) and I thanked him and we went about our way.


Jan 1 – H – 40,282
C – 62,874

For the last several years, I’ve wanted to keep track of the number of miles that we drive. Not for any purpose other than to have a history.
I always forget on 12/31 of the previous year to make a note of the mileage.

Not this year! I remembered.

So now I have a record, and we can see what the year entails, mileage wise.