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Sunday, September 19, 2021

We Bought A Tesla Model 3 LR Electric Car

Tesla Model 3 LR - LR means long range -
you get a bigger battery - two motors - AWD -
480 horsepower - 360 miles range

We can charge it in our garage on a
110 volt or 220 volt plug. 
They are not as fast as that supercharger.
It is much cheaper to charge at home.

I have purchased 79 vehicles - some would say I have a problem. Even though some of those were campers - scooters - even buses - it is way more than we needed. Many were for resale. But this one is truly different. It is the fastest - quietest - most comfortable - and most expensive. 

In May - I told Lulu it would be nice to buy a Tesla. Some say it is the safest car in the world. It has autopilot and also scored a 5 star rating on all crash tests. The closer was I told her it makes old men drivers safer by keeping them in the middle of their lane. That was it. It was a couple days before us going to Europe for the summer to see the grandkids - she said if I could sell 3 vehicles from our fleet - I could buy the Tesla. That was easy - on the first day the Ford pickup and the Nissan Leaf electric sold for $3000 and $5000. Two people offered to buy our Honda van. Finally she said - keep the Honda van and I could sell the camper. On the day before flying to Paris - a guy drove 5 hours to see the camper. He gave me $4000 - and he said he would come back with the $40,000 the next day. We had to fly - but my buddy JP closed the deal - and put the money in the bank. What a friend huh?

We ordered the Tesla online in June - you only have to put $100 down. I figured if I got cold feet I could back out and only lose $100. While in Europe - Tesla emailed 3 times to say our car was ready. I told them we would pick it up in September. They did not answer - and I thought I lost it. Lots of people were telling me that Tesla had a shortage and they were cancelling some orders. We were concerned. 

When we got home in September - I got an email - it said my car was ready for delivery on Sept 17. They asked for payment. I called and said I would not pay before delivery. They said okay. Friday morning JP drove us to Jacksonville in our van. We got there and the car was waiting. We signed some papers - they put our plate on it - and were ready to drive. Finally - they said we could pay. We connected to our Wells Fargo Bank App - we pressed the paid button together - Lulu and I. The car was ours. 

Lulu and I flipped a coin - and she won. She drove from there to our friend Joan's. Then Joan and Lulu went to the beach in Joan's new Honda Pilot. I sat there with the car. I went over everything - but did not drive it. Saturday morning we drove home and I drove 100 miles. We stopped at a Tesla supercharger. Our car holds 360 miles but I wanted to charge it at the Busy Bee - a giant gas station with 12 Tesla chargers. There was one other car there. You just plug it in - the charger starts. It was charging at the rate of 600 miles per hour! In 20 minutes we had 200 miles more. Lulu took over for the last 80 miles home. 

When I drove I put the autopilot on - cruise control with turning and stopping included - I had it set at 70. But when Lulu drove - she wanted to pass a truck. I said don't linger next to the truck - well she did not linger. She pressed down - no noise - no vibration - just G forces - we were going 95 in 2 seconds. I had to remind her - because she was waiting for a roaring engine. It was like lift off in the Falcon 9 Rocket - minus the noise. 

We made it home fine. There are so many features to tell you about. I am amazed - but I do not want to be "that Tesla Guy." You are welcome to ask any questions - come take a ride - or just visit. 

In 1974 - we went to Pittsburgh PA
to drive an electric Citicar. It went 25 MPH for 25 miles.

The Tesla has nothing on the dashboard but
a big screen. It is easy to control.

That is me driving a 1974 Citicar
made in Sebring FL

There are no keys - your Tesla card
opens it. Also your cell phone opens it
If the cellphone is in your pocket - it unlocks it.

It is named after Nikola Tesla -
a Serbian inventor.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Vichy France - Why Would Anyone Want To Name Products After This Place

Vichy Deodorant

Vichy Products in old Vichy France

During World War II - France was invaded by Nazi Germany. In 1940 - France crumbled quickly to the German forces - so fast that most of France - including all of Paris - was saved from the destruction suffered by many of the other overrun countries. England suffered extensive damage because they chose to "never give up." Russian suffered the brunt of World War II - losing nearly 20 million people. 

Germany occupied North and Western France - but the southern third of the country struck a deal with the Nazis. This section was called Vichy France - named after the resort city that serviced as its unofficial capital. Phillipe Petain was the leader of Vichy France. They existed as a separate country - a puppet government for Nazi Germany. They paid tribute to the Nazis in gold - food - and influence. They collected up 72,000 Jews and sent them to concentration camps. The French are certainly not proud of this 4 year period in their history 1940 to 1944.

When the Allies invaded France - Hitler ordered Paris to be destroyed. Gen Dietrich von Cholti disobeyed Hitler's orders to level the city. The Eiffel Tower would have fallen like a bad building implosion video. 

Two weeks ago we were standing in a line in a tiny French pharmacy in St Remy to get covid tests. All of Provence - Avignon - Marseilles - were part of Vichy France. It was a long slow line with one person doing all the paper work - nose swabbing - collecting money - and lab work. We had plenty of time to look at the products in the store. To my surprise there was a complete line of VICHY products - anything from deodorant to suppositories. They were brightly labeled VICHY. I was astonished and quickly got my iPhone out to look up Vichy France to confirm my ire. 

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Having Supper With Steph Green In London

Steph Green and Harry 
at the Coal Shed along the Thames

The London Bridge was just outside
our supper spot

One of the nice things about our world travels and using the Internet is that every now and them I get to meet up with former students. One of my former students that now lives in Switzerland often corresponds with me on Facebook. For the past few years she has suggested that we meet up. But it has been hard to get to the right place at the right time. When I said on a story that we would be in London last week - I was happy that she has business in England and we might be able to meet up. 

Steph Green was in my 7th grade science class about 30 years ago in the old Panther Valley Middle School. She was a smart and funny student and I wondered how things went in the last 30 years. Usually when my students turn from 12 to 40 - there are big changes. But usually their core values to not seem to change much. Many times I do not recognize them.

Steph went to Harcum College and became a veterinary nurse. She did that for 10 years and then started working with a company that produces veterinary orthopedics. Just like in humans - their task is to help with diseases and injuries to bones - muscles - ligaments - and joints. I was tickled that she chose a career that depended on her science background. She has devoted her life to helping animals. 

We texted each other. Steph had appointments at Bristol and Sheffield - two major cities - one in the west of England and one in the north of England. In between her appointments - she caught a train to London - and hopefully could catch a late night train to Sheffield. 

At 6 pm - two Tuesdays back - we met for supper at a restaurant right by the Tower Bridge along the Thames. I selected a place called the Coal Shed because it was easy to get to - and also we both were brought up in the Coal Regions. She walked from the station - we walked from our hotel. 

Lulu joined us for supper. Since it was Tuesday night - Lulu's classes started at 11 pm London time and went to 3 am. We ordered supper - had drinks - and talked about old times. Good thing we had things to talk about because it took forever for the food to come. Lulu ate and left - we just stayed there and gabbed into the night. I was worried I would disappoint here. 30 years have been good to her - but 30 years on me - yikes. The last time we met - she was 12 and I was the age that she is now. She is in the prime of her life - and I am - well - 73. I am gray headed - bell bulging - and hard of hearing. 

At about 10 pm - we walked outside - the maitre de made an attempt at some pictures. We were along the Thames - not like olden days there was no London Fog. I watched as she disappeared into the darkness. She has half of her life left. 

We said we would meet again - maybe in Switzerland on our next trip. She lives in Basel - Switzerland. You can see across into France and Germany from her home. I quickly caught a cab when a car full of guys asked me where I was going. Back to Panther Valley - I thought. 

I got home in time to hear Lulu starting her class at 11 pm. "London Calling!" She exclaimed. And from 11 pm to 3 am - I could hear her welcoming her classes of the fall semester. Life goes on within you and without you. 

Just across the river was the Tower of London Castle

Another bad picture of the Coat Shed - 
we had to get the sign


Friday, August 27, 2021

Ending Our EuroExcursion With A Week In London

The queen lives here. 
People sit out front all the time.

This last week has gone by in an eye blink. Last Sunday we blazed into town on the Eurostar and tomorrow we head home the same way - back to Paris to catch our flight home.  We met up with Steph Green - a former student from 30 years ago - but that is a separate story. We went to a play called - Be More Chill. We stayed in 2 hotels. We started our in a Marriot Residence Inn - the first 3 days - but decided we would rather be back in our old neighborhood - Bloomsbury - so the last 3 nights are in a Hilton Doubletree here. 

We rode a lot of buses - subways - cabs. We ate a lot of pub food - and had a few drinks. We shopped for groceries and took it home to prepare. We bought a lot of nice ready to eat food at Waitrose and other markets. 

Weather has been fantastic during our entire Europe trip. We had mostly 60s and 70s - very little rain and wonderful breezes. South of France was hot and dry. The mistrel winds coming down the Rhone River dried out my nose. 

I can tell Lulu misses teaching her classes here. We were here 10 summers while she taught courses - not only visiting London for free - but being paid. Getting to share the knowledge with the students made it special. Lulu has one professor friend that has taught a course here for 30 years. Her class is usually the one to fill up first. 

We visited Charles Dickens' home. It has been perfectly restored - all 5 floors. You are able to go in the attic - basement - and floors in between. Dickens wrote many of his important books here. I often considered writing a story comparing Paris and London - little did I know that Dickens' - A Tale of Two Cities - is just that - a comparison of these two wonderful cities. 

The covid situation is a story within our story. First - we had to have a covid test and proof of vaccine to go to France in June. Then we had to get a covid passport in France to get into many shops and attractions there. To go to England on the train - we had to show our covid card - take a covid test - and then sign up to take another covid test 2 days after we got in England - send it in - and get results. To go back to Paris - we can just show our covid passport. In Paris - we must pass another covid test - to get back into the USA. The covid test in America was free - in France it was $25 - in England it was $75. Now another $25 one in Paris. Confusing yes - but it is part of our story. 

It is really nice seeing London as a bit of a ghost town. But you realize how much these businesses are hurting - also the people. Don't get me wrong - they really appreciate us coming to visit. If you want to come and see the sights of London - this is a good time. You will see that lots of my pictures have no people. I did not plan it that way. 

THE STREETCAT NAMED BOB - this is a favorite movie of Lulu's. It is the story of a street musician who befriends a stray cat - names Bob. It is a true story. The cat became very famous - and all the people loved to touch him and watch him entertain. He really attracted the spare change into the hat. If you are a cat person - it is on cable - please watch it. In London - the street music scene is big stuff. You may recall - one time- Rod Stewart performed for us on the street. 

I am sure it was tough on Lulu teaching her first class of the semester for FSU at 11 pm to 3 am. The students got a kick out of - LONDON CALLING - for their first class. 

On to the next adventure. After 60 days over here - we get the enjoy of settling back in to another school year - and our home in Tallahassee. 

Our train to London and back -
is effortless. You can arrive late - 
carry your bag - walk in. 

Eurostar goes through a 30 mile long 
tunnel at 150 mph

First flight in England occurred at Farnborough

They were nice and postponed 
the Tube strike for us

Cereal at the American store

Penn State pretzels are here 10 years

They do not like this guy

American store


Simon's favorite tea

I love these plug in black cabs

Hydrogen powered bus

Duke of York pub

Versace store

Lulu loves shopping galaries

Guard the queen

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey -
Dickens buried here

Do you remember The White Swan
in Tamaqua

Leicester Square tickets - 
look at tree

Mary Poppin

Tower Bridge

Tower of London Castle

Bus driver in sealed booth

V-2 Rocket terrorized London

Japanese Suicide bomb

Imperial War Museum - free

Imperial War Museum - 
by our first hotel

They mailed us covid tests -
we had to test ourselves - $75

My favorite - fresh yellow custard

Lulu mailing in our covid tests

Our second hotel in Bloomsbury

British Museum was very empty

Rosetta Stone 


Seminole Indian coat -
in British Museum

Our friend Sandi's favorite eatery 

Dickens' dining room

Dickens' basement kitchen

Dickens' living room

Office where Dickens wrote

Dickens bedroom

Art at Dickens' house

Dickens on money happiness

5 stories all restored

Looks like Dickens liked sports cars

We saw this play. The crowd loved it.
It was not aimed at gray heads.

This is the Cuba Embassy

We like this pub - good food - 
right across from 
British Museum

Empty cabs sitting in front of 
British Museum

Lulu loves the Streetcat Name Bob story

I was surprised how important it 
was to her.

Memorial to Bob

We had a drink there today.

Statues have sound -
just use your phone

They were changing exhibits

A little wilderness in London

People in London think - 
the difference between a rich American 
and a poor American is - 
the poor American washes his own