Event Recap: 2016 Midwest Tesla Gathering
Guest Blog Post: Liz Gattra, President of the St. Louis Tesla Enthusiasts
On June 4th, 2016, 85 Tesla owners and enthusiasts met at the St. Charles Supercharger for the 2016 Midwest Tesla Gathering – Meet Me in St. Louis. The week leading up to the event had been a bit stressful. The Weather Channel was predicting rain. Not a thing you wanted to hear when you were planning a drive through Missouri Wine country. That morning the day started out overcast. As cars began arriving at the Supercharger though the skies began to clear. By 10:30 am, we already had people lining up to register for the cruise. As more and more Teslas arrived it looked less and less like it would rain on our cruise.
By 11:00am there were over 25 cars, including 1 Roadster, waiting in the staging area. Crowds had started to form around the cars. Shoppers from the nearby shopping mall stopped by to ask questions and take pictures of the cars. The mood was jovial. Tesla owners swapped stories and discussed tips and tricks for traveling in a Tesla. Shortly afterwards, the first group left, following their leader car, a silver Model S, for the cruise through wine country heading to Montelle winery. By 11:30 am, all Teslas had left and it was looking like the rain was definitely going to miss us.
The cruise followed a winding path through Missouri Wine country. Groups were lead past Daniel Boone’s home and through the historic town of Femme Osage, built in 1830. The winding backroads were a blast to drive through, giving owners the opportunity to test their cars handing. The cruise ended with one final climb up to Montelle winery.
Montelle winery is strategically located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Missouri river valley. The storms that had threatened the cruise earlier had moved off to the east and the view from the winery was breathtaking. The group of owners and enthusiasts gathered on the outdoor patio to sip local wine, grab a quick lunch, and continue conversations they started earlier in the day. After a couple of hours’ relaxation, they were off to the Supercharger for the drive down to the Arch.
Twenty-seven Teslas traveling down Hwy 70 in St. Louis made for a spectacular procession and turned a lot of heads. The group drove to downtown and then crossed over the Mississippi river on the Eads Bridge. Once on the Illinois side, they gathered at George Malcolm Memorial park for a group photo. With the St. Louis Arch in the background, it made for the perfect photo op for the gathering in St. Louis. The group then dispersed to find their own way to dinner at the St. Louis Zoo.
Arriving at the Zoo, attendees were directed to the banquet room at River’s Camp. During the reception, attendees were able to mingle and browse sponsor’s booths, while they sipped cocktails and snacked on hors d’oeuvres. Owners were also encouraged to post on boards located around the room their Tesla mileage (the most being 116,000 miles) and their home state, including: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington state. Attendees enjoyed comparing mileage driven and discussing the trips they’d taken in their Teslas. Outside the banquet room, on the patio, attendees were greeted by a couple of the Zoo’s inhabitants, a fennec fox and an armadillo, they could pet and take pictures with.
After the reception, the group was treated to a presentation by Randy Denmon. Randy has the unique experience of having driven his Model S the length of the Pan American highway. He talked about the novel and sometimes very creative ways he found to charge his car along the route, with no Superchargers or J1772’s readily available. He also discussed the challenges of traveling through Central America including several encounters he had with local officials. Everyone loved the talk and enjoyed seeing the pictures of the various places along the route. Also, inside the banquet room, a notable feature was its large glass aquarium that comprised most of one wall. The aquarium was filled with fish native to Missouri’s rivers, some of them larger than a small child.
Tesla talk continued around the tables throughout dinner. Dinner, itself, showcased some of St. Louis’s heritage with an Italian buffet and Gooey Butter cake for dessert. Toasted Ravioli, another signature of St. Louis, had been served during the reception. After dinner, many attendees stayed, not yet finished with their Tesla talk. The event finally wrapped up late in the evening.
All in all, attendees said they had a wonderful time and were looking forward to next year’s event, which will be near Indianapolis. Details for the 2017 event will be posted early next year on our Midwest Tesla Gathering website. The organizers of the 2016 Midwest Tesla Event, The St. Louis Enthusiasts would like to thank everyone who attended* and look forward to seeing you all again next year.
*Note: We, at EVANNEX, were proud to be a sponsor of the Midwest Tesla Gathering and we're also looking forward to next year's event!