Road trip Bay Area to Vancouver Canada

Road trip Bay Area to Vancouver Canada

For spring break I decided to take my Family up to Vancouver Canada for a couple of days. Never been to Canada. We are leaving this Saturday morning and I have two options either go hwy 101 or highway 5 to Oregon. Just last week Mt Shasta super charger showed 4 stalls, but just check this morning and now it says 16 stalls does anyone know if there are really 16 now? I don't want to show if there is only 4 with a long line during the day.. We plan to spend a night in Roseburg, Oregon and continue the following day all the way up to Seattle. Spend one day in Seattle going to the needle and pike market. We plan to arrive in Vancouver on Monday Afternoon. On the way back we plan to stop in Portland for a day before heading back home.

It’s the first road trip for the Model 3 so I have a little range anxiety, I have the mid-range. I already map the route via abetterouteplaner and it gave me all the stops and times at all the superchargers. Maps, Navigation, LTE, supercharging should work fine in Canada correct? I will have no cell phone service, so I will rely on the navigation in Vancouver.A couple of years I did a cross country road trip to Miami so we are used to road trips. I have the option of taking an ICE vehicle, but I figure if I have free super charging it should save me about $300 and drive the safest car out there. I will be taking a tire repair kit, plus lots of snacks for my kids while charging at superchargers. If anyone has done this route or part of the route or has tips I would really appreciate any info.

Rt002k | March 12, 2019

Someone on the Tesla Owners Club of Portland yesterday shared a picture of his Model 3 lonely at the Mt Shasta SC. There are 11 stalls in the picture, so there's at least that many.

Bighorn | March 12, 2019

Shasta has two SC locations a block apart, hence the confusion. I was alone there two months ago. I’ve done both routes as recently as last week, I did the coast. Connectivity works for new cars in Canada, but not the early Model Ses, so I hotspot when I take that car. Don’t forget your passports. I got screwed out of the fruit I was taking home from our daughter’s in CA trying to bring it back into the states. Border crossings used to be fun and easy chats about the car, but I think they’re over the novelty anymore. Range shouldn’t be an issue for you. Vancouver has pretty narrow lanes in the city which make the 3 a better city car. The charger in the parking garage was a little bit of a challenge to find. You have to pay if there are attendants around to check on you. Surrey is at a big mall and is easy to find and free.
Captain Zap takes me to a great oyster bar in Seattle that her friend owns—$1.50 happy hour, early and late.

Javy | March 12, 2019

The best way to bypass the long line would be applying NEXUS card.

Bighorn | March 12, 2019

The coast is beautiful but long and twisty. You avoid some of the rush hour traffic along the way though. You want to cut over at Olympia/Tacoma if you want to avoid a ferry ride. Seattle traffic is amongst the worst in the country. It was already busy at 5am last Thursday. 101 was closed around the CA/OR border last week. Not sure why. That area is cool for the redwoods which require a slight detour to go through a park—Prairie Creek, I believe.

Bighorn | March 12, 2019

There’s signage near the border telling you wait times at various crossings. Took 5 minutes going and 15 minutes returning, up until I was pulled out by Ag for a search after admitting to citrus.

lllentz | March 12, 2019

I live in Eureka, up the coast on 101. There are supercharges along the way but you should plan carefully. The 101 is much slower but also much more scenic. Can give you more information about viewing the redwoods (which are spectacular when seen through the glass roof!)

mrburke | March 12, 2019

There are phone apps that show various border wait times. The will help with telling you which of the 3 crossings you should use.

Bighorn | March 12, 2019

This is the little detour I took last year. Had the place to myself.

Teslanene | March 12, 2019

Thank you everyone for all the tips. I will probably take 5 on the way there and 101 on the way back. @Bighorn How was traffic on 5, I plan to take 5 all the way into Canada. Did you find any superchargers busy and best to avoid, most of the traveling will be done during the day. Did you say its probably best to avoid the supercharger in Vancouver and use Surrey or Tsawwassen. I plan to be in Seattle on Sunday so hopefully traffic is not as bad. How is it driving around in Vancouver, is it bad or just like any big city in the USA?

Bighorn | March 12, 2019

Lots of options it appeasers:

Bighorn | March 12, 2019


grant | March 12, 2019

Pretty funny. I live in Vancouver (and work downtown) and I am planning for a week long trip with my Model 3 to Northern CA next week. Also looking at which route to take down (I5 or 101). We can wave as we pass each other in opposite directions. Both the Tsawwassen and Surrey SC have free parking. For the downtown Vancouver underground parkade SC, you will need to pay for parking if you plan on staying at that parkade. Depending on where you are staying, it might best to use the Skytrain to get into downtown and leave the Tesla parked at your hotel.

Bighorn | March 12, 2019

Sunday should be much better on 5--during the week, it can be a 3 hour ordeal. I didn't spend much time on 5 this last round because I timed it to be pre-dawn on the way up and on the return, I headed east on I-90. The Vancouver supercharger is in a parking garage and I just had to circle back to find it. Quite often in the city, there are several garage entrances on the same block and it's not clear where you need to go. Nav usually tells you what floor the chargers are on--I don't recall having much trouble finding the actual chargers. There are machines near the Tesla spots where you pay for a ticket that goes on your dash.

Anywhere north of the Bay Area, the chargers are relatively vacant with usually only one or no other cars. Grants Pass is a bit busier, but I've never waited anywhere on your route. Several charger options around Portland, so you can monitor vacancies on the Nav. Tsawwassen is at another large mall with a great food court; outdoor and free parking. This location does fill up. Surrey was about half full. Vancouver is not as congested as most big cities, but the lanes are a bit tight--three abreast where you'd have two lanes here. Surrey and Vancouver are 72 kW chargers where Tsawwassen is 120kW. I've been through a few times, but I've never hung out in Vancouver. Real estate is exorbitant from the influx of Chinese money, so I assume it is similar to eating/staying in the Bay Area. You might consider a drive up to Squamish and Whistler--phenomenal mountain meets water views.

Magic 8 Ball | March 12, 2019

Southern OR (actually most of OR) coast is spectacular with wide clean beaches. Sometimes 101 around Trinity and a few other spot up north have large groups of Elk and when they cross the road traffic stops. Rubberneckers watching Elk on the side of the road can also cause short stops so beware. There are usually a few controlled (one lane) spots with traffic signals up that way also. Definitely take 101 at least one of the directions.

Along 5 Shasta should be looking pretty nice this time of year.

Teslanene | March 12, 2019

@grant We are staying at the Fairmont Vancouver which is dead center I believe and just walk around to most areas. We might go up to Lynn Canyon Park is it a good place to drive up there?

Rt002k | March 12, 2019

Overcharge the estimate when you're going through the passes in southern Oregon - they are the source of many people on the FB group being nervous about range. I think it's worse going south between Springfield and Grant's Pass.

I've been using the SC in Vancouver, WA (ie the lesser Vancouver) recently and I haven't seen it over half full yet. It's a much more convenient spot from I-5 than the one in Tigard, which is really the only "Portland" one. I can't comment on Woodburn south of Portland.

Sparky | March 12, 2019

If you have time, a run up to Whistler to take the peak to peak gondola from one ski mountain to the next is an awesome addition on a sunny day. There is a SC half way and another in Whistler village.

Mike83 | March 12, 2019

Thanks for the info. and links. We got our Passports and friends along the way to visit. One trip we took the Coho from Port Angeles to Victoria and had a great time even taking a horse carriage ride and stopping at the Empress(before it sinks) for high tea. Will use the info. here for our next trip. Love the Supercharger Network.
From another happy Tesla owner with bigger grins.

95dawg | March 12, 2019

Northbound I-5 to Seattle on Sundays:
If you are heading into Seattle in the morning, you should be OK. Traffic can back up starting in Tacoma in the afternoons.
HOV lanes available from north Tacoma to Seattle.

Northbound I-5 from Seattle to Vancouver CA:
Avoid 3 - 7pm commute hours. Use HOV lanes from Seattle to Everett if you do.

Going south-north can be bad but, it is easier than going west-east.

I've lived in NY, LA, and Seattle and while Seattle traffic gets bad wrap, it's nothing compared to LA or NY. Santa Monica at 5pm? Now THAT is bad. If you live and work in SF area, Seattle traffic is nothing you haven't seen before.

GHammer | March 12, 2019

101 in southern Oregon was closed due to a massive landslide, it has just reopened but only one lane so far. Not sure what impact that is going to have on wait times. I do this trip both directions all the time and the only major problems I have had are trying to cross the border back to the US on Good Friday, I've waited up to 5 hours. Charging in Seattle can be difficult since the Superchargers are a ways away from downtown. The nearest being Issaquah which is quite crowded. Charge up plenty in Centralia.

Teslanene | March 12, 2019

Thanks for all the info on the superchargers. To use HOV lanes in Seattle area do you need a special permit or just 2+ or more in vehicle?

95dawg | March 12, 2019

No permit or HOV decals needed. Just 2+ in the car.

gcklo | March 12, 2019

Canada most likely requires a front license plate

P49X | March 12, 2019

Mt. Shasta has 16 Superchargers in two locations: 4 stalls at the Best Western hotel and 12 more a couple blocks away, around the corner from the Big Bear Diner.

If you have time, take 101. It's a gorgeous drive.

Getting through Portland on I-5 is horrible most of the time, but you'll appreciate the Bay Area more after one or two transits through Portland. Seattle can be pretty clogged at times as well.

We did the same trip in December, also our first road trip with M3 and our first Supercharger experiences. The Superchargers were located close enough that there was never any range anxiety. We thought the frequent charging stops would be a drag, but they turned out to make a much better trip overall. We arrived relatively fresh and not fatigued, like we always used to be with our marathon ICE ventures.

Teslanene | March 12, 2019

Currently I have no front license plate can anyone confirm that you need a front license plate in Canada? I hate how the M3 looks with a front license plate.

P49X | March 12, 2019

There are a couple of solutions on the market (Google finds them) for front license plate mounting that allow installation or removal in less than 2 minutes. They have brackets on each end of the license plate mount that attach to the front grill by tightening one screw in each side. No impact on the car. I keep one such assembly in the trunk well so it is ready for quick deployment when needed, then removed when not needed.

Mike83 | March 12, 2019

Mount Shasta has 16 stalls in shopping center next to Cinema. The motel across the street has 4 stalls.
20 total.

Magic 8 Ball | March 13, 2019


Bighorn | March 13, 2019

I had no issue driving without a front license plate. Shasta has two locations?! Who knew?

jeff | March 13, 2019

No need for a front plate for visitors only if you register the car there.

grant | March 13, 2019

@Teslanene Lynn Canyon is great and there should no issues with parking. I would also recommend going to Granville Island, and the Harbour center tower for amazing views. Whistler is beautiful and only about 2 hours from Vancouver. And when downtown, if you enjoy walking, the seawall around Stanley Park will be worth it.

Magic 8 Ball | March 13, 2019


johnse | March 13, 2019

I live in the Seattle area and have made several trips to the Bay Area and Southern California in my X100D.

One thing I’ve learned if you want to eat during charging is to look up whether there’s somewhere you want to eat within a distance you are comfortable walking. If not, swing through a drive-through *before* you get to the SC.

On HOV lanes in Seattle: if you stay on I-5, then HOV2+ is the rule, no pass needed. However, if you take I-405 through Bellevue, the stretch from Bellevue to rejoining I-5 in Lynwood is an HOV3+/HOT lane during heavy commute times. This does require a transponder “flex-pass” to use as HOV or you will get a bill in the mail for the HOT lane toll. The HOT lanes are active with variable tolling M-F 5am-7pm. HOV requirements are either 2+ or 3+ depending on time. All of the pricing and HOV numbers are on big white overhead signs with electronic displays for the variable info. During nights and weekends, the HOV lanes are open to all traffic, no pass needed. I believe if you are a carpool and get billed, you can file to get the fee waived, but I do not know the process.

NOTE: there are some HOV-specific exits directly from the HOV lanes. HOV and HOT users can use these any time. But single occupancy during the nights/weekends when the lanes are open to all, those exits are HOV only.

I-5 through Seattle has a section of reversible Express lanes. These are open for general travel (portions have an HOV lane, but also regular lanes) and are generally open southbound in the mornings and northbound in the evenings, switching around 2pm.

Corning, CA SC has a Starbucks in the same parking lot, a Burger King just beyond that, and several other options within a couple of blocks.

Grants Pass and Mt. Shasta have Big Bear Diners either in the same lot or very nearby.

Centralia, WA has several fast food options (McDonalds right across the street) and a Country Cousins diner about a block away.

Vancouver, WA SC is in a Fred Meyers (large Department store, owned by Kroger’s) parking lot. Most restaurants are between I-5 and I-205 that merge right in that area.

Springfield, OR SC is split back-to-back in the parking lots of two hotels. There are several restaurants within a block or two.

I haven’t taken my Tesla to Canada yet. I did take my CMax plugin hybrid there. Some hotels/parking structures have free L2 charging, but may need a ChargePoint card to enable them.

Many hotels in general (I.e. not specifically Canadian) have charging where the valets will charge it overnight.

I made my first long trip, Seattle to Phoenix and back, with several points between after having it just 3 weeks. Have fun. These cars are great for road tripping.

sbeggs | March 17, 2019

This thread brings back good memories of the T's break in run five years ago...West Coast Canada trip!

San Diego to Banff and return, seven weeks long.

Teslanene | March 24, 2019

Just arrived back from my trip to Vancouver. Vancouver was awesome one of the best cities I been too. It’s very easy to drive around and has awesome views from Stanley Park. I love how clean it was and rarely you see any homeless people unlike Seattle, Portland or The Bay Area.

One of the best parts was staying at the Fairmont in Vancouver. For driving the Tesla there was no Valet charge. Fairmonts hotels support green vehicles and waive Valet charges which were about $55 a day. Plus every day valet would charge my model 3 and most of the time it would be park in the valet area.

Now on the superchargers, never had to wait on any but I wish they were put in better locations.
On my way there I took highway 5 and in Mt. Shasta we walked almost .5 mile just to find a good place to eat. It’s tough when you travel with kids. We gave up on walking for food at other super chargers and just waited at the supercharger most of the time which really added a lot of time on the road as we still had to stop to eat.

On the way back I took highway 101 which had awesome views of the redwoods and probably the best supercharger location was at the Eureka Mall.

Overall it was a great trip and can’t wait to take the 3 on another adventure soon.

Bighorn | March 25, 2019

Glad it all worked out. Not a fan of Black Bear Diner in Mt Shasta? Also Grants Pass. They’re both within about 100 feet if memory serves. Yelping meals is one of my favorite aspects of Tesla travel, but I’m not under time constraints anymore, so it doesn’t have to overlap with charging.

Mike83 | March 25, 2019

@Teslanene Thanks for the write up. There are plenty of places to eat in Mt. Shasta within 1000 ft. Even in the parking lot with the 16 stalls there is Rays that has a deli and hot food, a Subway, Motel has good food esp. breakfast, Blackbear diner, Thai food. we often stop there and eat at Bistro 107 which has gourmet type food.
It is a good spot close to lakes, mountain hikes and mountain bicycling, hunting, kayaking, fishing, etc. We go there a lot. For the hearty adventure climb Mt. Shasta but with detailed preparation and a guide.
Like Bighorn says that Grants Pass has a Black Bear diner.
I like camping but my wife tends to prefer hotels so maybe we'll mix our next trip there stopping at the Fairmount. We patronize places with Superchargers and places that cater to Teslas.
I heard that Canada offers free charging in many places but am not familiar with traveling there except for Victoria.