Exploring Northern California: Trinidad State Beach

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Sunset among the rock pools at Trinidad State Beach

There are many beloved beaches in California so it’s hard to say there any single one is best. The best known beaches stretch from Big Sur south to San Diego. But Northern California has some lesser known gems. Discovering the stunning beauty of Trinidad State Beach in Humboldt County last month was quite a surprise.

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Sunset stroll on Trinidad Beach

Located almost 400 miles north of San Francisco, Trinidad State Beach is closer to Oregon than the Bay Area. It’s the mix of the Pacific Northwest geography  and soft golden sand that makes it quite magical.

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Sea stacks on Trinidad State Beach

Located on a cove in the small city of Trinidad (population approximate 400), Trinidad State Beach is the gateway city to the California Coastal National Monument. I stumbled across it during a trip to Redwood National Park. It is also one of California’s smallest incorporated cities.

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Low tide + Sunset

Trinidad State Beach has soft sand, coastal bluffs, sea stacks, and waves strong enough to entice surfers.

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Pretty from every angle

The best time to visit is sunset, when the tide is low enough to walk your dog and enjoy stroll along on the sand.

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Enjoying the sunset view 

The secluded location of Trinidad State Beach means it’s never that busy. Visiting in December, the weather was pleasant enough to hike along both Trinidad Head as well as along the coast.

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Scenery like this is usually reserved for beaches in Oregon and Washington

The tiny town of Trinidad is rather charming. The Trinidad Bay Eatery and Gallery is a great local spot to stop for a breakfast burrito and cup of coffee before exploring the area or venturing to Redwood National Park.

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Rocks + horizon

The historic Trinidad Head Lighthouse was located here until it was moved on January 10th, 2018.

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low tide views 

Visiting during low tide allows you to explore behind the rocks and get views of Trinidad Head.

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Sun about to dip below the horizon

If you want to stay in the area, I can recommend the charming View Crest Lodge, where I stayed for two nights. The cabins are cute with modern amenities and located just a few miles from the beach on Patrick’s Point Road. Patches of the road are rough, and it’s not lit after dark so an SUV is recommended.

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Random amazing view #12 on Trinidad State Beach

If you’re looking for the best beaches in California or things to do in Humboldt County, Trinidad State Beach is definitely worth checking out. It’s as gorgeous as better known beaches in Big Sur and significantly less crowded. My friend, Patrick McGowen, who grew up near the area, told me it’s his favorite beach and turned me on to the area.

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This view reminded me of Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock

The scenery reminded me of what you find at Ruby Beach (located in Olympic National Park) or Oregon’s famed Cannon Beach.
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Sunset and sea stacks on Trinidad State Beach

Trinidad State Beach

Getting there: Trinidad State Beach is located 19 miles north of Eureka, CA just off Highway 101. From north- or southbound 101, take the Trinidad exit (Exit 728). Turn west on Main St and proceed to Stagecoach Rd. Turn right; the park entrance is about 200 feet north on the left. There is another entrance about 1/2 mile north on Stagecoach Rd, also on the left.

Trinidad Bay Eatery & Gallery

607 Parker St
Trinidad, California 95570

View Crest Lodge

3415 Patricks Point Drive. Trinidad, CA
(707) 677-3393
Rates from  $95

 

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Exploring Las Vegas, Nevada: Visiting the Neon Museum and Boneyard

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Queen of Hearts Hotel sign in Neon Museum’s Boneyard

It’s hard to imagine Las Vegas without the neon. The flashy signs and iconic lights seem to be part of the desert town’s DNA.  But like a limited engagement run by Mariah, even the flashiest of signs has an expiration date. Fortunately there is the Neon Museum and Boneyard where visitors can wander among some of the retired billboards for a big of neon nostalgia.

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The Neon Museum building was the former La Cocha Hotel Lobby

Located well off the strip on North Las Vegas Boulevard,  The Neon Museum‘s Visitor Center is set in the shell shaped former La Cocha Hotel Lobby, designed by famed Los Angeles architect Paul Williams. Williams is best known for his mid-century buildings and has been credited with designed the distinctive Theme Building at Los Angeles International airport.

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Blending into the background at the Neon Museum

The Neon Museum features has an outdoor campus of over two acres of retired signage from local casinos and businesses. In addition to scheduled tours and photographer’s tours, the museum hosts some other interesting happenings.

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Vintage Fitzgerald’s Casino sign

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Shooting pool at the Neon Museum

I visited the Neon Museum for one of their scheduled photo walks. It wasn’t a guided tour but rather a supervised time around golden hour when we could wander the grounds and photograph the vintage lightbulb goodness.

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Stardust memories at the Neon Museum

Some of the old signs are still illuminated and some are in better condition than others. The sign from the now shuttered Liberace Museum was a crowd favorite.

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Defunct arrow sign

There is even a sidewalk stargazing event in collaboration with the  Las Vegas Astronomical Society.

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No Vacancy at the La Concha Hotel

There is some old Vegas represented here including signs from now-shuttered Fitzgerald’s Casino.

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Left: Wedding chapel signage Right: Jack of Spades

It was a lot of fun to enjoy the desert air and shifting light while exploring the boneyard during the photo walk.

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Old Sahara signage

The Neon Museum’s grounds are available for photo shoots and special events (including private parties and weddings).

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Liberace sign at the Neon Museum

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Left: Jerry’s Right: a dry cleaning sign breaks things up

Some of the signs are still partially illuminated. In addition to advertisements from former casinos, there are retired signs from motels, dry cleaners, bars and wedding chapels.

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Getting close to Sassy’s

Getting close to the signs you can see how the lightbulbs and neon tubes work together. The is some sort of decaying sense of beauty to the shattered glass and fading paint lovingly laid to rest in the boneyard.

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Retired Neon

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Sideways in the neon Boneyard

Walking through the boneyard you start to think about just how non-compostable the leftover lightbulbs are.

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Left: B Right: Partially illuminated R

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Retired Showboat Sign

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Left: Missing lightbulbs Right: Dangling glass

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Photographing some details at the Neon Boneyard

If you’re looking for interesting things to do in Vegas and want to get off the strip, I highly recommend a visit to the Neon Museum. It’s an interesting and well preserved slice of Vegas history and a unique opportunity to see it up close.

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Peeping through the Boneyard Fence

If you can’t visit in person, it’s worth checking out the Neon Museum’s instagram.

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a wide angle of the neon boneyard

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Illuminated Yucca sign

The illuminated Yucca sign was a personal favorite of mine.

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Dusk at Fitzgerald’s

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Liberace sign

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Neon Museum Visitor’s Center

The Neon Museum is also a great place to visit if you don’t consider yourself a traditional Vegas visitor and dislike gambling and over chlorinated pools.

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Stiletto sunset outside the Neon Museum in Las Vegas

The Neon Museums offers tours daily.

Neon Museum 

770 Las Vegas Boulevard North
Las Vegas, NV 89101

(702) 387-6366

Museum hours vary based on the season

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Exploring Greece: Shoulder Season in Mykonos

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Sunrise at the Armenistis Lighthouse

When you visit the Greek island of Mykonos during the shoulder season, you’re not coming for the beach clubs and all night dance parties. But the “Island of Winds” still has plenty of appealing sites to check out.

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A view of Ornos

The Windmills of Kato Milli are a popular tourist destination all year long, particularly at sunset. It’s worth checking them out during dusk, and then take in the sunset views from one of the bars in the Little Venice area. My favorite is Katerina’s.

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Aegean color story on Mykonos

Mykonos town is worth exploring, especially for those who like to shop. Window shopping on the winding streets and look at all the jewelry, crafts and souvenirs you could wish for.

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Ouzo in an amusing souvenir bottle

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Shoulder season at a beach club in Ornos

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Gorgeous street scene in Mykonos

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Friendly local cat on Mykonos

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View of Ornos Bay from the Buddha-Bar

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View above Mykonos town 

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Cocktails at 180 Sunset bar

If you don’t want to deal with the crowds in Mykonos town, check out the Santa Marina Buddha-Bar  in Ornos Bay, where the view is zen and the music is eternally chill. It’s open for both lunch and dinner.

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Panorama shot of the lighthouse at sunrise

If you’re looking for things to do on Mykonos, consider taking a day trip to the island of Delos, the mythical birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. You can wander among the ancient Greek ruins of one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. There are several tour operators who provide half-day tours, and since you have to take a boat to reach it, it’s a nice way to get a sense of the maritime importance of the Cyclades.

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View of Mykonos by boat

There are also plenty of options for a private tour by boat but keep in mind… boats are expensive. Unless you have cash to burn, it’s going to be more comfortable if you go on a group tour by large yacht or boat.

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Private boats don’t come cheap

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Among the ruins on Delos

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Exploring Delos

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Signage on Delos

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View of Delos

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Boats arriving on Delos

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Boat near Delos

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Church in Mykonos town

If you are a fan of churches, there are several cool ones worth checking out on Mykonos. Along the water in Mykonos town.

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Church interior on Mykonos

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Church in Little Venice

Buddha Bar at Santa Marina, Mykonos

Ornos Bay, 84600,
Mykonos, Greece

T: +30 22890 23220

Monday – Sunday
13:00 – 19:00
20:00 – 01:00

Katerina’s Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
Agion Anargyron 8.
Little Venice, Mykonos. Greece.
telephone.: 0030 22890 23084

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Exploring Greece: A Stay at The Kenshō Boutique Hotel on Mykonos

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The glam/rustic Lobby of the Kenshō

If you’re planning a trip to Mykonos and looking for someplace chic and interesting to stay, be sure to check out the Kensho Boutique Hotel in Ornos Beach. It’s just a short walk to the upscale beach clubs on Ornos Beach, and has a more laid-back vibe than touristy Mykonos Town.

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Exterior of the Kenshō Boutique Hotel & Suites

Mykonos Town is only a short cab ride away. After dark, the Kensho is ideally situated halfway between Mykonos town and the after dark hot spot of Psarou Beach. My visit was during shoulder season, and the beach clubs were being boarded up for the season.

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Whitewashed exterior of the Kensho

The concierge staff at the Kensho was top notch and made sure we had plenty of things to see and do and gave great restaurant, activity and recommendations.img_8471

View of Ornos from the Kensho

The property has 35 rooms, suites and a villa and the top rated spa in the area. There is an award winning on-site restaurant which serves Mediterranean specialties and excellent cocktails which can be enjoyed in the glamorous dining space, by the pool, or on the rooftop deck space.

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Live edge table in the restaurant

The modern bohemian vibe of the Kensho makes it a great choice for design lovers. While the decor is mostly warm whites and wood, the layers of texture make the property very special and welcoming. The Kensho opened in 2016 and still feels new yet it has hit a stride with it’s well polished service.

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Left: Lounge chairs Right: Pool vibes at the Kensho

The Kensho boasts a hot tub on the roof and several rooms with private plunge pools. There are swings in the lounge area and cozy throw blankets for guests to use if the famous Mykonos winds kick up. My room was a VIP Junior Suite with a swing on the deck and a plunge pool, which was not surprisingly brisk during the October weather. The room was cozy despite it’s large size. The setup would be ideal during peak summer heat.

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Poolside lounging at the Kensho

With only 35 rooms, the Kensho is intimate. The prime pool side lounge chairs and sundeck can get packed during sundown. The vibe is buzzy but not over the top.

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The rooftop lounge is a popular spot for cocktails

Get a spot early!

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Roof top hot tub at the Kensho

The hotel car is a gleaming Range Rover  that offers complimentary transfers to and from Mykonos Town and other nearby locations.

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Left: Sunset in Ornos Right: Bougainvillea 

Wifi was strong and free throughout the property. The gym was small but had all the essential equipment.

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Cool lighting fixtures at the Kensho

While large, my Junior Suite was cool and cave like and had a comfortable work area. The shower was a bit dark, but there was ample closet space and a well stocked mini-bar.

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Outdoor yoga space at the Kensho

If you’re a first time visitor to Mykonos and aren’t sure where to stay, consider dividing your time and spending a few days in Ornos. It’s happening but less chaotic than other parts of the the island including Mykonos town.

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Basket swings in the lounge area

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Cozy lounging area at the Kensho

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Left: wood, stone and warm shades of white Right: cool planter 

The breakfast spread at the Kensho was impressive with a variety of cold dishes as well as eggs made to order. Don’t miss the strapastranda (Greek style scrambled eggs) and the tasty bougatsa (filled phyllo pastries).

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Enjoying the swing at the Kensho

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Lobby of the Kensho Spa

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Left: slightly steam punk details in the spa bathroom Right: groovy details in the Kensho spa

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Thoughtful furnishing choices in the dining area of the Kensho

One of my favorite things about the Kensho is how thoughtful the design of the property is. Not only does the furniture in the Kensho look stylish but it is all comfortable and works well for guests.

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Left: Tasty gyro from room service Right: Aperol Spritz by the Kensho’s fire pit

The hotel is happening but quiet by Mykonos standards. It’s a perfect choice for sophisticated guests who are foodies and appreciate design. The crowd was cool — and like the property itself- good looking.

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Mediterranean tapas at the Kensho

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Details are everything at the Kensho

The spa has a boutique for products and there is a well curated gift cabinet.

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Left: Cappuccino froth Right: Egg menu at the Kensho breakfast

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Salmon, cheese and meats at breakfast

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Left: Bread selection Right: Choice of cheese

My suite had a coffee maker in case I needed a caffeine boost before breakfast service began. The minibar had a nice edit of treats.

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Fruit featured on the breakfast spread

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Impressive selection of  bite-sized desserts on the breakfast buffett

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Rainbow at the Kensho reception

I booked my stay at the Kensho through JMAK Hospitality, which has a small but on point edit of properties in Greece.

KENSHŌ Boutique Hotel & Suites
Ornos Beach, 84600
Mykonos, Greece
T. +30 22890 29001 / +30 22890 78788
F. +30 22890 27010
Athens offices: +30 210 7209911-4
E. info@kenshomykonos.com

Rates start at $355 USD

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Exploring California: The New Tesla Supercharger in Kettleman City

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The exterior of the new Tesla Supercharger in Kettleman City

With the holidays upon us, more people will be hitting the road. For Tesla owners, this can mean long wait times at Supercharger stations. For those traveling on the I-5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco, there is good news. A 40 stall Supercharger station just opened in Kettleman City.

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Panorama of the Kettleman City Tesla Supercharger

I visited the spanking new supercharger on Saturday and was wildly impressed. It looks like something straight out of the Jetsons. In addition to the well designed and shaded layout and of the solar charging stalls, the Kettleman City Supercharger offers amenities for Tesla owners. There are bathrooms and a guest lounge where you can order a craft beverage from a Tesla barista while enjoying free wifi. There is even Tesla merchandise for sale.

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Kettleman City Supercharger Entrance 

The Kettleman City supercharger should help relieve the burden at the Bakersfield and Harris Ranch Superchargers during heavy traffic times, as well as when the Tesla Model 3s start to add additional traffic.  Access to the facilities is gained by an access code sent directly to guest’s Tesla touchscreen.

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Solar covered charging stalls at the Kettleman City Supercharger

There are quite a few dining options near the Kettleman City supercharger, including California favorites In-N-Out Burger, Bravo Farms and Baja Fresh.

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Pretty Tesla Chargers all in a row

The astroturf lawn is perfect for walking your pets.

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Kettleman City Supercharger

Another 40 stall Tesla Supercharger is set to open this week in Baker, for those driving between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

My Tesla did not list the Kettleman City supercharger as an option last Thursday (a day after it opened) so be sure to ask your Tesla navigation system for specific directions.

Kettleman City Supercharger

27675 Bernard Drive

Kettleman City, CA 93239

Roadside Assistance (877) 798-3752

Charging
40 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 120kW

 

 

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