Model S

Tesla Forums are now read only. To continue the conversation with the Tesla community visit

Utah Parks/Beyond trip

edited July 2015 in Model S
Now that our memories from West Coast/Canada trip are firmly stashed away, we are looking at a new trip for 2015, encompassing Utah Parks and beyond.

The idea originated this May when we were on the road, thinking about driving San Diego to Denver to visit family, with a stop in Moab to see the Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef parks. And back through New Mexico and Arizona.

Last week, things started getting out of hand. Steve said, why not head to Lake Superior (where there is no fast charging). Heck, we have dual chargers onboard, and we used them successfully in Canada. There's something about the Model S that starts spinning crazy dreams about heading out and never stopping.

We are not sure that crossing the Rockies in May is advisable if there is too much snow. Or, crossing the plains in late May or early June. Should we delay? Any advice would be appreciated.

I've tried searching for threads I remembered which contained specifics of where to stay, etc. But I will ask again, because I can't find all of them, and wish to consolidate all the information in this thread.

This morning, we wrote down what predicted for miles and rated miles and elevations between the charging sites. The trip one-way will be 2,300 miles. The legs: San Diego to Las Vegas. Two week stay in Moab. One week visiting family in Denver. 3 day stay near Mt. Rushmore. Stay somewhere in between M.R. and Green Bay. HPWC overnight at Aloft Hotel. Drive to family cottage in upper Michigan and tour around.

Return home? Keep going to east coast? Are we crazy??


  • edited November -1
    sbeggs | SEPTEMBER 27, 2014
    nice report, and gorgeous photos. We are starting to come off the high from this spring's West Coast/Canada trip, and start planning 2015 Utah Parks/Beyond.

    Wondering if it is too early to head out of San Diego to Utah Parks and then through Rockies from Grand Junction to Denver in May, or is it going to be too snow-laden and cold.

    Bighorn | SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 NEW
    May could be very dodgy. Definitely carry chains. Those parks are amazing--don't miss Mesa Verde.
  • edited November -1

    Thanks! When is earliest you would recommend transiting Rockies?
  • edited November -1
    I would say May would be a great time for your trip. While you may get snow going over the Rockies, CDOT is pretty good about keeping I-70 open. Tesla's x-country road trip was through the Rockies during a snowstorm. I-70 is the primary access to most all of the ski resorts. And yes, the S does well in snow.

    Your big advantage is that May is before they turn the furnace on in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. My annual trip to Moab is always in May. I would suggest going for it.
  • edited November -1
    It's the freak spring storm that can get you. I'd say with time on your hands, you could probably consider your May plan knowing you have the ability to wait out a road closure. Snow in June, except on high passes, is rare.
  • edited November -1
    Zion National Park should be on your list. Also Bryce Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. That also gets you on highway 12. You really want to drive highway 12! Then you can go to Moab to Arches and Canyonlands. From there you have the option to head to North rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It opens May 15th usually. I've been wanting to put together a Tesla event to tour the grand circle. Grand S tours!
  • edited November -1
    Just an FYI, there will be some high amp L2 charging along Lake Superior in MN in the near future.
    If you make the Lake Superior trip, be sure to drive The Gunflint Trail out of Grand Marais, MN.
  • edited November -1
    I can second the recommendation for Bryce and Zion. We did I it last summer and it was amazing.
  • edited November -1
    That is a good point about moderate temps in May for Utah. We'll bias our departure a bit later in May rather than May 1.

    @Bighorn, good strategy. We will headquarter in Moab and spend the first ten days visiting the local parks. Then, will check weather over the last 2-4 days for I-70 and make our decision to cross the Rockies according to the weather, as our schedule is somewhat flexible. Thank you!

    What weather site do you all recommend for checking monthly/daily historical temperature averages and rainfall? I found, which seemed good.
  • edited November -1
    @BikeZion, (and @PBEndo,)

    Your photos are inspiring...Zion is on our list for next year. We enjoyed hiking Bryce for several days on our 2 month, 13 state National Park trip in the year 2000. We have also enjoyed the Grand Canyon several times. Beautiful!

    I remember the recommendation about driving route 12. So now it's officially on the list. Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, I've wanted to see these parks for a long time and always had them in the back of my mind. Is 10 days to 2 weeks long enough to drive around and do some moderate hiking?
  • edited November -1
    Sounds like you are in the know. Will the Level 2 chargers be part of the Sun Country highway, by any chance? Any idea as to timing?

    Steve wanted to go up to Houghton, where he went to engineering school. There is 30 amp charging, but few fast chargers available in places he had in mind showing me, like Painted Rocks, Marquette, and various UP Michigan (out of the way) locations.

    Thanks also for the tip on Gunflint Trail.
  • edited November -1
    Make that Pictured Rocks...and Grand Marais. Perhaps a loop out of Escanaba/Stonington to Sault Sainte Marie, across border for 100 amp charge. Back across southern bank of Lake Superior to Marquette. Charge again, then head for Houghton. Then return to Little Baie de Noc area.
  • edited November -1
    sbeggs, HPWC's, possibly 4 of them, at least two before the end of the year. Also a 14-50 being installed and put on Plugshare. Really, the Gunflint is a special road/place. I really suggest getting out of the car and seeing the area. Go for a hike, rent a cabin, head into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, etc.
  • edited November -1
    Bighorn | SEPTEMBER 27, 2014
    The motel at Murdo is extremely accommodating with their bathroom and I was encouraged to eat a free breakfast there as well. A few restaurants are within walking distance as well as the car museum. Minneapolis also has an HPWC at the store in Eden Prairie. Goodwill is installing free chargers in the area as well.

    Wanted to save @Bighorn's comments regarding the motel in Murdo. There is only one?
  • edited November -1
    For Lake Superior HPWCs, are you referring more to Duluth and western part of the lake, or more central like Marquette or Pictured Rocks area?
  • edited November -1
    Several motels in Murdo, but the sponsoring motel is very supportive of their chargers and passers-through.
  • edited November -1
    Refreshing this thread in order to incorporate @centralvalley's tips.
  • edited November -1
    centralvalley | NOVEMBER 12, 2014

    What the dual chargers did for me was to be able to take indirect routes "off the Supercharger Highway."

    I was able to return from Denver to Moab through central Colorado utilizing 70A J plugs at Salida and at Pagosa Springs. Then I was able to stop at a swanky hotel in Telluride to utilize their HPWC before reaching the Supercharger at Moab.
  • edited November -1
    centralvalley | NOVEMBER 13, 2014


    There are two L2 70A plugs in central Colorado--one in Salida at the Wood's Mountain Distillery. Call the owners first to reserve the plug. You park right outside the sales room/bar/restaurant on First Street, and the cable is passed out the large window that fronts the street.

    There is also a 70A charger in Pagosa Springs on 7th Street (if my memory recalls.) Pagosa Springs is a short haul to Durango where there are several 30A chargers at the transit terminal downtown.

    When I returned to California from Denver in June, I charged in Salida for about 1 1/2 hours, Pagosa Sprgs. for about 40 minutes, and Durango for four hours in the evening and another two hours in the morning before heading for Telluride and the Auberge 51 resort that has an HPWC. I made Moab without breaking a sweat!

    All these locations are listed on PlugShare.

    Hope this is food for thought!
  • edited November -1
    More good info from @centralvalley copied for informational purposes:

    centralvalley | NOVEMBER 14, 2014
    Panoz, it is about 100 feet north of US160 (on 7th, if I recall) on the west side of the road. There is a wooden structure with a Clipper Creek charger hanging on the side.

    Just look at PlugShare, and you will see it listed. It was installed by Incredible Pagosa Resort, and they would like donations to pay for the juice. I mailed them a check for $5 for 40 minutes of charging.

    I did hear that a Pueblo Supercharger was in the works, but have no actual coordinates or timing. Anyone?
  • edited November -1
    Extracts from some great info from @golftoday's coast-to-coast thread:


    golftoday | MAY 10, 2014
    My wife and I drove from Los Angeles to Connecticut, primarily on the SuperCharger Trail.

    Best Vista: Tie between Monument Valley, UT and driving Utah Highway 128 along the Colorado River

    I made a google spreadsheet detailing each charging stop, mileage (actual and range), KW used, etc. You can read it here:

    We left the SuperCharger trail at Kingman, AZ to Blanding, UT, which cut off significant mileage and/or provided great sightseeing.

    Off the Supercharger Trail, we went from Kingman to Blanding and charged at the Grand Canyon Trailer Park. Yavapai Lodge/Cafe is a short walk away. But make sure you have a reservation for a space to charge, and make sure your reservation is prominently displayed on the dashboard. We were disconnected a few minutes after we left the car (by persons or animals unknown) and had to hang around the next day for 5 hours to get enough charge to continue.

    Kingman, AZ - Calico Restaurant. Maybe try something else.....
    Moab, UT - Lots of good restaurant choices walking distance. Not so in Blanding, UT.
    Silverthorne, CO - For fast food, Which wich was actually pretty healthy and good

    Special mention: Although not on this trip, Harris Ranch, CA should be noted as really really good food. If you're driving I-5 in California, you must stop there.

    Here's our experience with hotels, with the first being best:

    Best Western Canyonlands, Moab, UT
    Little America Hotel, Cheyenne, WY (our best meal on the trip)
    Yavapai Lodge, Grand Canyon, AZ

    @golftoday, thanks for your tips, which I am keeping in this thread for the planning for May/June 2015 Utah Parks/Beyond trip.
  • edited November -1
    Tracking various valuable comments after doing a Forum Search:

    robkal007 | (JUNE 2, 2014)

    Flagstaff at in just over 2 hours. Wasted 5 minutes finding the Supercharger behind the Marriott Courtyard. Arrived with 16 miles left and will need to charge to 240 to make the next leg which may be more challenging than Barstow-Kingman. I'm cutting the corner and heading across the Navajo Indian Reservation to Bluff, UT and an overnight in an RV Park. 220 miles, but downhill 2500 feet should make it pretty doable at a decent speed. More at the end of the day...

    golftoday | (JUNE 2, 2014)

    Gouldings, UT is a pretty good place to charge and eat. It's also in the middle of some incredible country: Monument Valley.

    robkal007 | (JUNE 2, 2014) We will be doing this trip in May, 2015

    Long day and finally settled into the Cadillac RV Park in Bluff, UT.

    Basic stats: 700 miles, 13 hours 45 minutes, 51 mph average, 2 hours 58 minutes charging, used 228 Kw hours (cost $28 dollars - free at Superchargers) and averaged roughly 3 miles/Kw. The car is performing flawlessly even in 92-103 degree heat.

    I left Flagstaff with only 215 miles of RRange and 220 miles to go. I knew it was downhill, but was only 1800 feet down. There was also a tailwind. Made it in 3 hours and 20 minutes. Blanding Supercharger is another 18 miles up the road. Therefore, if one fully charged and factors were good (wind, heat), the shortcut from Blanding to Flagstaff by highways 191, 163 and 160, is very doable. It cuts about 190 miles off the route going through Gallup and Farmington.

    This part of the country is fantastic to see. So many shapes of rocks and colors. Thanks for the comment on Gouldings, @Golftoday, we are staying in the Monument View Hotel on our way back through here in three weeks and look forward to having the time to see it.

    Note: there is a lot of good data and valuable suggestions in forum posts from the past. It's just not that easy to find them. But I'm going to keep trying to dredge them up and collect them on this thread. Hope it's helpful to at least some people who may be heading out for Utah and the Rockies.
  • edited November -1
    Bighorn | DECEMBER 8, 2014

    You're in for a real treat--magnificent country that can't be captured on film. But you've already experienced that--probably some more of the same, but also different in UT, especially. I'm sorry that touring the Clark Fork this weekend, it was dark on the way and foggy on the way home. I'll be back when I head toward Seattle probably in the spring. The mountain passes make the winter highly unpredictable.
  • edited November -1
    sbeggs | DECEMBER 8, 2014

    You're right. In 1999 with our ICE car, we visited Glacier National Park, on a two month driving trip counterclockwise from San Diego seeing 13 National Parks. This time, we're invited to a friend's cabin near Helena, MT. He is making a film on Lewis and Clark and is into history and medicine. He wrote a fascinating book "Or Perish in the Attempt - Wilderness Medicine in the Lewis and Clark Expedition". He wants to show us some of the areas and also take us trout fishing. Hopefully we will be able to do that drive from Denver, because between Billings and Rapid City, SD, there should be at least one and maybe two additional Superchargers to be installed. Have you heard anything about either location?
  • edited November -1
    Bighorn | DECEMBER 8, 2014

    I'm working with Tesla and an owner on sites in Sheridan and Gillette. To cut off a lot of distance if you're not headed to the Black Hills, you can go from Cheyenne to Casper where an owner has a 70A service. By then, I may have an HPWC installed here in Big Horn, then you can make Billings from here.
  • edited November -1
    You are very nice...and we would love to meet you. I am going to copy these posts to the Utah Parks/Beyond thread for ongoing planning! Those charging sites being enabled will make it much more likely that we will add Montana to the plan...
Sign In or Register to comment.