Posted on June 24, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Guest Blog Post: Nathaniel Fisher is a North Carolina-based, creative tech fanatic who co-started StickyLife.com. As a self-proclaimed process improvement specialist, he enjoys finding solutions to complex issues. He currently follows Tesla, Apple, Hyperloop, and SpaceX and is on the look-out for other forward-thinking, high-tech companies and solutions.
Last summer my wife and I took my parents on a vacation to tour the West. Our trip through nine different national parks was amazing but for me, one of the most memorable stops was my secret quest to find the Tesla Gigafactory. One night we planned to stay near Reno and it had recently been revealed that the Gigafactory was located somewhere close to Reno.
After a bit of research, I came up with a very likely location. Our stay in Reno was only for a night so the very next morning I woke early to go on my quest. I took the trip alone as my travel companions did not share the same level of enthusiasm (ludicrous, right?). It was a short, twenty minute drive in the dark, just before sunrise. I was a private eye, following a hot lead. When a shiny, white Tesla Model S zoomed past me in the same eastward direction, I knew I was on the right track.
Image: Digital Trends
The sun started to peek above the hillside as I neared my target. Upon entering the undisclosed location and to my initial disappointment, there were no Teslas in sight! Then I saw it... a cheap, temporary sign that said, "Electricity" with an arrow directing me onward. With an inward chuckle I blatantly ignored the sign's guidance and drove in the opposite direction with hopes that it would circle around for a "back door" view.
The area was barren and void of much life. Then I noticed wild mustangs roaming the hillside. An article I had read in the spring of 2015 mentioned wild mustangs in the area. Could I be closing in?
Source: Reno Sparks Tahoe Homes
After taking a few pictures, I abandoned my vehicle on the empty street to walk up the hillside for what I hoped would be Tesla's Gigafactory on the other side.
With nervous excitement I navigated across the minefield of horse dung. Upon making it to the top of the hill, I was disappointed to find more landscape on the other side. Regardless, I was still confident that just on the other side of the range was the Gigafactory.
The sun continued to rise; a sign that my family would soon be awake and ready to continue our tour of the West. Alas, it was time to head back toward Reno and abandon my quest.
I made my way back to the rental vehicle I had left behind with the wild mustangs then drove toward the entrance where I first spied the sign for "Electricity". While driving down this road many other vehicles were now also taking the same route. I followed them.
And there it was.
Photo: Nathaniel Fisher
I've read plenty of articles about the Tesla Gigafactory and have seen mock-ups of the building but was not truly prepared for what my eyes were attempting to take in - a building that stretched far beyond what I could see in both directions. Pictures had not done it justice. Aerial photos do not provide good scale to gauge its overwhelming size. Sadly I could not get the whole building into a single photo.
A Tesla sign was now in view, just before the guard shack. Not wanting to push my luck, I told the fairly unpleasant guard (who probably deals with people like me in a regular basis) that I must be in the wrong place. She instructed me to turn around just beyond the guard shack.
Photo: Nathaniel Fisher
A few months later, some knuckleheads for a local newspaper duplicated my quest but instead pushed their luck by trespassing and ended up injuring a Tesla employee in the process. You can read about it here.
Best vacation side-trip ever.