The Ford F-150 of Orange County California…

If you live in New Mexico, you either own a Ford F-150 pickup, will own one someday or know about dozen people who already own one. I think on birth certificates issued in New Mexico, there is a box you have to check that says that at some point, you promise that this child will own a Ford F-150. There’s a good chance the child was even conceived in the cab or the bed of a Ford F-150. I’ve concluded it’s basically a requirement for citizenship here.

As a contrarian, of course, I choose not to own one. I prefer GMC pickups, but that’s another story for another time.

My wife and I just returned from a week of watching grandkids in California while our son and his wife were guests of his company for what sounded like a spectacular recognition event. We were glad to spend time with our energetic grandsons, Max and Truman, but we did think longingly about our son and his wife relaxing on a beach in Hawaii.

What stood out most in my mind during our week in Irvine, CA, was the vast number of Tesla EV cars on the streets. I honestly think about every third car out there was a Tesla.

Years ago, when we lived in Santa Fe, Range Rovers were quickly becoming the vehicle of choice for trendy upscale Santa Fe residents. Just like Teslas in Irvine, they were everywhere. We even re-named a street intersection in Santa Fe “Range Rover Corner” because you could not go through it without spotting at least one of the British SUVs. But even today, when you see a Tesla in our zip code, it’s a novelty.

Like rats, they’re everywhere.

I get that EVs are the way of the future. But in a rural environment where we live, we need a few more accommodations to accept them as being truly practical. (Think about having to recharge your Tesla when you’re out of battery juice in the town of Reserve in Catron County. The county says you’re required to own a gun to live there (look it up), but I doubt availability of an EV charging station is on the county’s “required” list).

There were a couple of Telsa related moments on our trip.

The first one involved the possibility of rolling blackouts due to the heat wave in southern California while we were there (trust me, hot weather in Las Cruces is w-a-a-a-y easier to tolerate than in California where they aren’t really equipped to endure it). The local news media urged owners of electric vehicles to not recharge them during the heat wave to save power for more important things, like hospitals, lights, refrigerators or home air conditioners. Kind of an “ah-ha” moment, I thought, for Tesla owners.

The next event happened when I pulled next up to a Tesla at a stop light on a major thoroughfare in Irvine. From my ridiculously tall GMC pickup, I could easily peer into the cabin of the vehicle. There sat a man and a woman, intensely studying the screens of their i-Phones, oblivious to the real world around them and the giant centrally mounted infotainment screen in the Tesla cabin. They were oblivious to traffic because I’m sure they thought Tesla and all its technology would take care of them. I am confident the infotainment screen on a Tesla is way more advanced than the one in our new GMC pickup. I’ve suspected that if I poke around on my truck’s menu screens long enough, I’ll be able to really useful things like the mating season of nearby squirrels, skunks or javelinas.

So I suspect when the traffic light turned green, the passengers in the Tesla either got a blaring alarm on their infotainment screen or a bone-jarring vibration in their seat. It was Tesla telling them that they had to temporarily reconnect with the real world and actually drive the damn vehicle.

Okay, no more rants today.

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