3,800 mile road trip from Bay Area to Banff

3,800 mile road trip from Bay Area to Banff

We recently went on a road trip from the Bay Area to Banff and back in our 3 and had a blast. Loved the experience and would do it again. Here are some charging details that may help those planning a similar trip.

Day 1: Started in South Bay and drove up I5 on day 1. Charged at Corning, Mt. Shasta and Grants pass, OR superchargers. Spent 10-11 hours on the road including charging stops. Stayed overnight in Albany, OR

Day 2: Spend early part of the day in Portland, and resumed driving post lunch. Drove to Chilliwack just north of the border. Stopped at Springfield, OR, Centralia, WA and Burlington, WA. Centralia has the best Supercharger - they have a couple of windshield cleaning squeegees and two buckets with water. Just like gas stations!

Day 3: Drove from Chilliwack to Banff along TC-1, stopping at Merritt and Revelstoke superchargers. This is perhaps the most scenic long drive I have been on. And living in CA and having previously driven cross country through Yellowstone etc, the bar was already pretty high. Ended up staying at the Banff Park Lodge which has one L2 charger (charging at ~60km/hr which was great for overnight charging)

Days 4-7: Spent time within Banff and parts of Jasper National Park while charging overnight without any range issues. Didn't go to the town of Jasper, but if you do, you may need to charge overnight at one of the two destination chargers. Jasper library also shows a free charger, but not sure if it's available all the time. Would love to hear if someone has experience charging in Jasper.

rsingh05 | 9 juillet 2019

Part 2/2:

Days 8-9: Drove back to Vancouver, spending a day there. We stayed at Revelstoke overnight and the Ramada there is brand new (and surprisingly nice) and has two Tesla Wall chargers. Saved us the hassle of charging at the supercharger half a mile away. Also charged at Merritt and Hope on the way back to Vancouver.

Most superchargers along TC-1 in Canada appear to be next to a hotel. Most hotels are very gracious in allowing Tesla owners use of restrooms. The only exception was Merritt where the hotel staff (BW+) was hinting that we could use the Burger King across the road. However I asked directly if its ok to use their facilities and they said yes, when it's not so busy (like when we were there). I was somewhat disappointed by their attitude though.

Day 10: Took 101 down the pacific coast through Oregon this time. This was the longest stretch, lasting ~21 hours on the road (including supercharging and dinner stops). Speed limits very very low, and frankly except for a few stretches, the Oregon portion of 101 was not all that scenic. Especially compared with the drive from Banff to Vancouver or the drive along PCH.

Overall, a very memorable road trip, made extra special by our 3. I'd do it again (but skipping the Oregon coast this time, maybe come down through Spokane on the way back).

vmulla | 9 juillet 2019

Folks are raising the bar :)

Bighorn | 9 juillet 2019

I was just recommending Banff as one of the top parks in Charles Braun’s trip thread. Also have a warm spot for Revelstoke after a very friendly vibe toward Macy and me at their farmer’s market/street fair. Did you get to Lake Louise? I haven’t but the photographs I’ve seen are surreal.

rsingh05 | 9 juillet 2019

@vmulla - for the car and for us personally. The previous personal record for us was 3,600 miles ~5 years ago.

@BH - Lake Louise was breathtaking and the instant favorite for all of us. There is no dearth of beautiful lakes closer to home - both Tahoe and Crater Lake are exceptionally beautiful, but the turquoise waters and the unique backdrop of Lake Louise is something else altogether.

Another friend who had recently been to NZ and visited several gorgeous lakes said that he had seen nothing like Lake Louise in NZ either.

Revelstoke appears to have many neat attractions - maybe we'll do the mountain coaster and the adventure parks next time. The ski resort is world class, although I'll need to seriously upgrade my skiing skills to truly take advantage of the terrain there!

Sparky | 9 juillet 2019

Next time you head that way you might try heading up 97 via Leavenworth, WA. Gorgeous mountain town with a Bavarian vibe and good SC's. From there its a beautiful long sector to Kelowna, BC, across the border but you can make it with ease and if you start to run short there are lots of destination chargers along the way, many of them at wineries.

Bighorn | 9 juillet 2019

I found Alberta winter driving to be next level scary with all the trucks that want to go faster that I felt comfortable. Add to that my suspension leveling was out of whack and they were all flashing their brights at me from the other direction. It’s the unreal blue in pics that struck me and while New Zealand has some cool glacial blue greens, it has nothing so rich and saturated.

Sparky | 9 juillet 2019

Agreed. Check out Peyto Lake. Unbelievable blue!!

rsingh05 | 9 juillet 2019

@Sparky - thanks for the tip. Kelowna was on our initial list for the trip up but weren't sure about the drive. Will plan on going that way next time.

@BH - the unreal blue seems as unreal in real life. It is quite real though and very striking. All the lakes there fed by the active glacier look that way (Louise, Peyto, Moraine), while the ones that aren't glacier fed like Lake Minnewanka don't have the same color. I'm told the color is due to calcite in the water, and the color actually changes depending upon the season.

I can only imagine what winter driving will be like in AB. Driving up to the Yukon Territory is on my bucket list, but have heard very scary stories about truckers there as well. I really wish I could do that drive with my Tesla one day. If not SC, at least some destination chargers would help.

rsingh05 | 9 juillet 2019

@Sparky - yes Peyto is the same blue, equally beautiful.

Louise has a unique backdrop though with the way the mountains come down to form a V. Weather was cooperative the day we went there and we got to canoe on lake Louise. highly recommended.

ADinM3 | 9 juillet 2019

I'm jealous @rsingh05. I was just in Banff and Jasper last week also, but unfortunately the Model 3 was not really a viable option yet coming from the East. Jasper would have been technically possible, but tricky and I would be concerned of compromising the trip planning.

I'm pretty certain I could do anything in US at this point and looked really, really hard at trying to make it work on this trip also, but Jasper, Banff from the East is not quite there yet.

rsingh05 | 9 juillet 2019

@ADinM3 - good to hear you were in Banff and Jasper. Sorry to hear you couldn’t bring your 3 though. Where in the east were you coming from?

ADinM3 | 10 juillet 2019

@rsingh05, I was coming from Chicago area. Only option from East is across South Dakota which adds hours versus going up and across the trans-Canadian highway to Jasper. And although I already planned on hitting Glacier, the transit North-South through Glacier to Banff is also tricky. Lastly, I prefer making loops on trips and this trip would have required backtracking basically the same path twice and worse I would have likely needed to stay in Glacier a second time n return (Lake McDonald) to make it back.

This trip will be a little over 5200 miles when done so even the small incremental times charging add up. Trips like this I tend to do marathon 14-16 hour days on the beginning and end. If I was retired I would love to stretch it out but for now every day driving is one less at my destination.

As a side note, I did see 1 Model 3 in Jasper, 1 near Edmunton, 1 in Banff (grey?with aeros I believe in case it was you), and a M3 & X at Lake Louis.

Btw - I preferred Jasper over Banff mainly as it is way less crowded with tourist. Lake Louis is beautiful, especially the two tea house trails, but the traffic is insane. I drove up bumper to bumper for 45 minutes with signs saying lot was full but somehow, magically, a few people left the lot and me and two others were waved into the lot to park while all the others before and after were turned around.

At Jasper the chargers didn't seem quite as convenient as most, especially since choice of lodging is already difficult and you can be fairly certain anyone charging is going for a high SOC to make it out of there. If the chargers are occupied or out of order you are screwed or at best disrupting your vacation.

rsingh05 | 11 juillet 2019

@ADinM3 - point taken about the town of Jasper - you do need an overnight (or at least a few hours) of charge there. I did go to the Columbia ice field without issues though, which is still within the park. Overall, Chicago to Banff is ~2,100 miles. It seems doable without much range anxiety based on ABRP (there's a 256 mile section which may be tricky in bad weather) but I do hear you about 15-16 hours driving/day - it would turn into 18-20 with the 3. My trip was ~3.8K overall, so your 5K trip would add another 1-1.5 days - not ideal for an already long road trip.

The 3 you saw wasn't mine - mine is a blue 3 with 20inch wheels. I didn't see any in Banff, and maybe one on TC-1. Rest were all at superchargers (and there weren't too many of them).

Didn't get to the Agnes tea house this time but did do the ink pots which were worthwhile. That one gets a lot less crowded once you get past the lower falls. Overall, parking wasn't fun but I guess I got lucky with road and people traffic.

rsingh05 | 11 juillet 2019

@FISHEV - great for locals, not so great for tourists. I guess I'm too used to PCH which runs all the way along the coast from SF to SB and was expecting the same.

Would be good to hear about your Whistler charging experiences when you go - please do post!

johnmann | 11 juillet 2019

We took a very similar trip last summer, except we started in Seattle and continued past Banff to about 90 miles north of Edmonton to visit the area where my family homesteaded in the early 1900s. It was a great trip. I look forward to when they add a few more Superchargers so we can visit Jasper easily. The only negative part was that even though the roads are all excellent the trucks coming on to the freeways from side roads throw up a lot of rocks. We took several hits and observed that nearly all of the locals have cracks running the width of their windshields.

FISHEV | 11 juillet 2019

" great for locals, not so great for tourists"

Tourists who get out of the car love it. Nice being able to enjoy the spectacular Oregon coast without the highway drone. OR's not a great "drive through" state more a walk, run, bike, paddle, sail, boat, ski, hike lounge and vape state. Go everywhere, do everything Subaru is the state car with Model 3 coming on strong...all over the place.

Using Seaside as anchor you can go North and South along the coast 150 miles +/- for seeing the sights.

I think I should make Whistler with one charge. It's 386 miles. Tesla Trip Planner says to do two charges for total of 50 minutes charge time. I'm going to put it in Chill mode, drive 5 over speed limit and try and make it to Squamish. I have Surrey SC in Vancouver if it looks dicey.

If friends do CMH in Revelstoke this winter, I might try @rsingh05's route.

Seaside Super Charger is the main one for the coast in NW part of the state. You run from PDX either via Rt 30 W or Rt. 26W. For locals I did the PDX to Astoria to Ilwac WA back to Salmon Creek charger (8 miles from my house) on single charge. Chill mode out and the didn't spare the horses on the way back and still had to circle the SC as I wanted to get an actual range test by battery run down.

Bighorn | 11 juillet 2019

Whistler SC is in an expensive garage at a high end resort. I think it’s $5/hr. Better to get a good charge at Squamish.

FISHEV | 11 juillet 2019

Love the Fairmont on the Blackcomb side. I'll definitely book there this year. No one really drives once you get to Whistler, that's one of the things that makes it so great. I could put it on a toaster plug. It would have two weeks to charge. Used to have to worry about battery dying from no use over 15-20 days.

It lists this as regular SC site. Does Fairmont add money charge?