Want to enjoy February in North Dakota? Drive a Tesla

In February 2019, the Tesla Model X was a novelty at the Lignite Energy Council. I drove it for a week on all kind of road conditions and found that the new tires, four-wheel drive and weight of the car made it perfect for winter driving around North Dakota streets and highways.

So when February 2020 arrived, I had the opportunity to drive the Tesla again – but instead of driving it for a week, I got to drive it for the month.

Well, a lot had changed in a year. First, I was more familiar with car having driven it several times since the previous year. Second, I now had a level two charger installed in my garage so I wasn’t as scared of running out of power. Third, North Dakota had a much nicer February this year than we did in the Polar Vortex days of 2019.

Every morning, I looked forward to warming up the car in my garage while I sat at the breakfast table in my home. Not once did I worry about carbon monoxide poison from an idling car engine – because the Tesla has no engine. Once I got into the car and started for work, the interior was warm, the steering wheel was warm and I felt about as pampered as a driver can be.

Like usual, the bright blue Tesla drew the attention of lots of people including many of our relatives who were in Bismarck for various reasons – basketball games, doctors’ appointments, etc.

In my wife’s family, there are really only two choices when it comes to cars – Chevrolets or Fords. So when my brother-in-law – who’s a Ford man – wanted to ride in the Tesla, I knew this was a rare opportunity indeed.

The first thing he awed over was the windshield which extends a lot farther back than most cars. When we hit the interstate, I gunned the car and instantly we accelerated – throwing him back in his seat.

“Wow, this car really has power,” he exclaimed.

Then I put the car into the autonomous driving mode and we rode to Mandan and back. By the time we returned to the house, he had a better idea of what tomorrow’s cars will look like.

The next day, his children wanted a ride in the Tesla. The third-grade boy was especially taken with one of the special features – the blinker can make the sound of a whoopee cushion. You would think this would get old, but apparently it doesn’t if you are a boy and a third-grader.

I also had the opportunity to pick up my mother-in-law’s cousin and take her to a meeting. If you are one of her friends, chances are you heard about the ride, saw the pictures of the car, saw the pictures of her and the car, and finally, saw the pictures of her and me and the car.

February is a short month. I didn’t have any out of town trips, but I sure enjoyed the car. And with the Tesla, the month seemed even shorter.

Steve VanDyke



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