Trip: 4,000 miles LA - MN - LA

Trip: 4,000 miles LA - MN - LA

I have charted my summer vacation mega-road trip, let me know if you have any advice on the route, cities to stay in, charging locations to avoid, etc. I am shooting for 5-6 nights, my 3 mo old baby will determine how fast we go.

Start from Los Angeles
Vegas, Nevada (or St. George, Utah)
Grand Junction, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Grand Island, Nebraska (or Lincoln/Omaha)
Des Moines, Iowa
St Paul, Minnesota

I will be using a loaner Model X 100D (thank you JJ!) with much needed AutoPilot on the long trip, range 295 miles which is similar to my Model 3 (currently 305). I know it will charge a little slower, but routing should be similar. I plan on driving 6-8 hours a day, more at night if my baby daughter has a hard time during the day.

I will post a trip summary when I arrive. For the trip back with all 3 kids I plan on going to the Black Hills and Zion for a few nights each.

jimglas | 10 juni 2019

have fun!

beaver | 10 juni 2019

Thanks @jimglas! I am hoping for good weather and happy travelers, I just ordered a 2nd iPod to keep the kids happy. We are driving instead of flying due to the Measles outbreak, baby girl cannot be vaccinated until 6 months minimum. It will be a wild adventure and very memorable, hopefully mostly positive :)

jimglas | 10 juni 2019

I grew up in MN and went to UCLA. I have taken that drive many times. I usually did it with a six pack of coke and one nap. But I was young and stupid. Should be an adventure.

beaver | 10 juni 2019

Yes, me too I grew up in Hastings and headed west for grad school at Caltech, boomeranged back to MN once but returned to LA for a good job and weather. I did the drive once in 2002 with a friend who went to UCSB, 2 nights only (Denver, Vegas). I have never been as tired as after 15 hours driving from MN to Denver. This trip will be more leisurely and enjoyable.

hokiegir1 | 10 juni 2019

We had a loaner X for about a month and did a road trip (shorter than yours, but still involved overnight stays). Just be aware that not only does it charge slower, it's not as efficient as the 3 while moving. We had a VERY hard time getting anywhere near rated range, even with minimal HVAC usage, where we're normally about 85-90% on the 3 (I can be in the 90-95% range, hubby is normally 75-80%) -- so be sure to give yourselves some extra buffers for the first few stops until you get a feel for your usage, and be prepared to adjust accordingly.

beaver | 10 juni 2019

@ hokiegir1 thanks for the warning, I am expecting to average 350-400 wH/mile for flat 70 mph driving, higher of course if going uphill or into the wind. Does this sound reasonable? The X 100D has 19" wheels, which helps compared to the 20s or 22s.

hokiegir1 | 10 juni 2019

The one we were in was a X P100D, so it had the bigger wheels. I think we were around 400-450 on average, getting as high as 500 going uphill or when it was just too cold not to use heat -- so you might be close on your estimate. It's been about 6 months since we had it, so kind of hard to remember. I just know we had to stop more often and for longer than the original plan when we expected to have our car.

I should add -- we are not particularly slow drivers, though I'm better at staying in the 80-85 mph range and just picking a lane. ;) For reference, our lifetime average on the 3 is 268 -- and that includes the one trip we made from ATL to Myrtle Beach and back with the bike rack/bikes on the back (averaging 300-350 for that one).

nicholb | 10 juni 2019

If you have time, stop at the Omaha zoo. One of the better ones in the US.

beaver | 10 juni 2019

@nicholb thank you! I added it to my list of places to visit, good one for the kids! Any recommendations on which city to stay in Nebraska: Omaha vs. Lincoln vs. Grand Island? Convenient charging during dinner?

finman100 | 10 juni 2019

If going to the Black Hills, check out Crazy Horse and the city of Custer. This is where the Tesla Sound of Silence rally happens annually in May! Lots of hotel destination chargers as well as an 8-stall Supercharger in Custer.

Enjoy the gas-free EV journey!

beaver | 10 juni 2019

@finman100 yes great idea. I remember seeing Crazy Horse when I was a kid. I am thinking of Wall Drug for lunch, evening fireworks at Mount Rushmore. Storybook Island

82bert | 10 juni 2019

Definitely stay in Omaha!

sbeggs | 10 juni 2019

Sounds like a great itinerary. I can see how you would be eager to get on the open road. Safe travels and a trailing wind, and we'll be happy to hear your experiences.

Bighorn | 10 juni 2019

Detours around Omaha on my last 3 passes due to flooding. Wall Drug just got a supercharger last week. Check out Iron Mountain Road north of Custer. Wildlife loop if you want to see wild donkeys and bison up close. Crazy Horse dwarfs Rushmore and is more locally relevant. Lots more to do in Utah in addition to Zion—Moab/Arches probably being more different than Bryce. Have done that route many times.

beaver | 10 juni 2019

@Bighorn thank you, I am taking notes! I will check our Iron Mountain and Crazy Horse, I saw Crazy Horas when I was 8 and remember it like yesterday. Wild Donkeys? Yes please

Bighorn | 10 juni 2019

And don’t forget to wash your car at the supercharger in beaver:)

Bighorn | 10 juni 2019

Crazy Horse’s sculptor’s wife saw to it that the ten of us at the first Custer rally got our cars photographed in front of the monument. A rare honor offered from her death bed—died three days later. She was an EV proponent.

beaver | 10 juni 2019

Beaver will wash WallE in Beaver :)
I will try to replicate the Crazy Horse EV picture and share. She was/is a wondrous queen

nicholb | 11 juni 2019

Stay in Omaha or Lincoln.

The supercharger in Lincoln is in a large parking lot with several stores around it. The daVinci's restaurant across the street is good for casual Italian. If you want a unique Nebraska food, try the Runza restaurant in that area.

beaver | 11 juni 2019

@nicholb thanks for the restaurant tips! I am not a picky eater and like to try local fare. I will try Runza.

charles.a.braun | 11 juni 2019

I would recommend a day trip into Deadwood as well.

beaver | 11 juni 2019

Deadwood, South Dakota? What should we do there, anything you recommend? thanks

Earl and Nagin ... | 13 juni 2019

The HiVee grocery store that hosts the Lincoln Supercharger has a cafe inside where you can get good midwest cuisine. I recommend a Runza as well if you want to walk a few blocks while charging.

jjgunn | 13 juni 2019

20" wheels....the 22" wheels came in & SC texted me to setup an appointment. Probably in July when you get back. ;-)

Lifetime usage is at 355 wh/mi -- so I think your calculations are pretty spot on. Also, it doesn't charge that slow. Arrive at the SuCh with 20%-30% remaining (or a little less) & it should ramp up to near 140 kW -- unless you consider that amount of juice, "slow".

Friggin Griswalds with a way better car. Don't get caught in the pool with Christie Brinkley!!

beaver | 14 juni 2019

Thanks @Earl and Nagin and JJ!

We swap cars (3-X) tomorrow, pack up and head our for the open road. I will post daily on the trip. I hope I can get TeslaFi setup to save me from recording all the data manually.

NapaChris | 14 juni 2019

I've a lot to say on this, but apparently I'm too verbose and it keeps refusing to let me post my rambling reply... so I created my own post titled "Long Distance Driving - Onboad Nav vs Website - Supercharging"

beaver | 14 juni 2019

Thanks @NapaChris, good advice. I have planned my route with the 3 sites. I will have to call audible (change up my plan) based on how the family is doing.

eandmjep | 15 juni 2019

Just Completed a Trip. 1465 miles over 4 days 3 nights. All hotels offered free Tesla EV Charging so we only SC 4 times on the entire trip. wh/m for the trip was 217. with over 800 miles freeway at an average of 70mph Lots of mountain passes the largest was a 4500 foot climb in just 15 miles. The Trip planner built in the car is Dam accurate on the range and the Consumption graph shows accurately any up or down hills. One example from 10500 feet over 65 miles we used 9 miles of range of the battery and that was what the car said it would use. It was fun to travel for 1.5 hours and only use 9 miles off the battery. Total SC cost was $27.67.

neilhamrin | 15 juni 2019

the Mexican restaurant next to the sc in Ogalala is great and the Hy Vee in W Des Moines is good.

neilhamrin | 15 juni 2019

And should you get to St. George the first day, the chargers are a short walk from a good eatery just up the hill. Charging while eating is a very good use of the time. When we get to town we drop off bags and the cat (ginger) then go to charger and eat and back to motel.

beaver | 15 juni 2019

@eandmjep thanks for sharing! How did you find hotels with Tesla charging? I plan on using the NAV and PlugShare.

@neilhamrin good advice, I hope to make it from LA to St George in a day, check in to a hotel (any recommendations?), charge while eating then head back to the hotel. I have looked at all the city combos and it seems hard to avoid charging in St George :)

neilhamrin | 16 juni 2019

We use the La Quinta because they are pet friendly at all locations. In St. George it is just as you get to town and a ways to SC. Other closer to sc but you have to get back to I15 anyway so it matters little.

neilhamrin | 16 juni 2019

Wife just reminded me we like the Tamerisk for food near the sc in green river UT.

beaver | 16 juni 2019

Thanks everyone, only made it to Vegas today because we left late, had to finish packing and getting the baby ready.
Model X 100D, 20" tires
261 miles
3:59 driving
0:40 supercharging in Baker, CA at max of 132 kW
Charging overnight at Aria (6 kW = 13 mph on the X)

Tomorrow I hope we can make it to Grand Junction, CO

beaver | 16 juni 2019

Sorry, forgot to include:
372 Wh/ mile total from Pasadena to Vegas. It was hot (108 F in Baker) and had strong winds.

350 Wh/mi from LA to Baker (172 miles)
414 Wh/mi from Baker to Vegas (89 miles)

beaver | 17 juni 2019

Day 2 report: Vegas, Nevada to Green River, Utah
Reminder: I am using an X 100D, left my model 3 with a friend.

I had issues with all 3 Utah supercharge locations (see below for detail)
Biggest surprise: beautiful view at Salt Wash Viewing Area in Utah

423 miles total
5:39 driving (averaged 74.5 mph)
403 Wh/ mile total

Supercharged for total of 2:45 (one of the chargers was slow)
Stayed overnight at First Choice Inns ($145), had dinner at Tamarisk (excellent)

Supercharger issues:
St. George, Utah
A/4B have issues (started at 120 kW but quickly dropped to 25 kW for me and another guy)

Richfield, Utah
Charged slowly at 70 kW max for most of the charge, tried switching but no difference

Green River, Utah
2B started charging at 137 kW but within 2 min tripped out (gave an error, asked me to replug), I tried 3 times but it kept stopping. I switched to 1A and it worked great (139 kW max and stayed above 100 kW for most of the charge)

Next major stop: Denver, Colorado

sbeggs | 18 juni 2019

Great, detailed report! Reminds us of our Utah Parks route in Model S in 2015.

nicholb | 18 juni 2019

Just did Lincoln to Minneapolis last weekend. Used the Shleby, IA and Dows, IA superchargers. Both were nice and quick. Shelby has a convenience store and the "Corn Cob" restaurant. They were a bit busy and it took almost an hour after ordering to get our breakfast. Dows has a large convenience store and an Arby's at the site.

I also used the Lincoln supercharger twice while there. Charged fast both times and only saw one other Tesla.

beaver | 18 juni 2019

@nicholb thanks for the tips, we will stay in Grand Island or Omaha tomorrow night. I plan on using Dows, IA for sure.

beaver | 18 juni 2019

Day 3 report: Green River, Utah to Fort Morgan, Colorado

Longest day yet and most tiring. Heavy rain in the mountains of Utah and Colorado made for more stressful driving. There was a lot of water on the freeways. Most fun: seeing the snow near Vail. We wanted to stay the night in Denver but there were no good rooms available, must have been a convention going on or something. So we pushed on another 1:20 to Fort Morgan.

427 miles total
6:02 driving (averaged 71 mph)
349 Wh/ mile total

Supercharged for 3:01, 103-137 kW, no charging issues. Charged in Colorado at: Glenwood, Silverhorne, and Brush. Silverhorne is nice, has some restaurants and coffee, and beautiful river path nearby.

I calculated that so far on this trip I have averaged 71 mph, but only 50 mph when I add in charging time. Charging represents 29% of my trip time. It doesn't bother me because my baby needs the break, but if I was going alone and fast i would stop to charge more frequently but for shorter time. I have been skipping some SC while the baby sleeps.

nicholb | 19 juni 2019

Let me know if you have any questions about the Twin Cities area. I live in the southern suburbs.

beaver | 19 juni 2019

@nicholb thank you, I grew up in Hastings. But this will be my first time driving a Tesla. Any tips on charging around St Paul, Wayzata, and then up north by Brainerd?

nicholb | 19 juni 2019

The Supercharger is in Oakdale and the Robbinsdale one is open now but I have not been to it. I really have not had to seek charging in those areas yet as I can get about anywhere in the area with my nightly charge.

beaver | 19 juni 2019

@nicholb wow Oakdale? That's kind of random, hopefully they add more in Bloomington/Minneapolis. I guess Oakdale here I come! Unless I can find a 240 V plug somewhere around St Paul. Or charge enough in Albert Lea to make it to St Cloud on the way up to the cabin.

beaver | 19 juni 2019

Day 4 report: Fort Morgan, Colorado to Omaha, Nebraska

It was a good smooth day, fast driving and charging. Not a lot to see except the fields, beautiful sunset. We had trouble finding a hotel room in Omaha (or Lincoln) due to the College World Series.

483 miles total
6:12 driving (averaged 78 mph)
325 Wh/ mile total (gentle down slope)

Supercharged for 2:28, max of 146 kW in Council Bluffs, Iowa (screaming fast maybe due to the 20.1.2 update today). I had no charging issues, nice meeting other Tesla owners from Seattle and Denver.

Supercharged: Ogalla, NE; Grand Island, NE; Council Bluffs, IA (just across the river). Nice food options at all the charging locations.

We will arrive in St Paul, Minnesota tomorrow.

neilhamrin | 20 juni 2019

Clearwater should be doable from albert Lea and then Baxter

neilhamrin | 20 juni 2019

Oakdale has road construction that complicates off and on and it you're going to the Brainerd area it's out of the way. Robinsdale if you get nervous, but seems unnecessary.

nicholb | 20 juni 2019

According to Tesla's map we are getting 6 more in 2019 including ones in Bloomington, Richfield, Minneapolis, and St Paul. Of course the 2019 date is probably in Elon time.

beaver | 20 juni 2019

Thanks neilhamrin@ I will check our Clearwater. Great to hear of the new SC locations in the cities.

beaver | 29 juni 2019

Day 5 report: Omaha, Nebraska to St Paul, MN

Final day of our Los Angeles to Minnesota trip

383 miles total
5:28 driving (averaged 70 mph)
334 Wh/ mile total

Supercharged for 2:25, max of 142 kW in Des Moines, Iowa

Supercharged: Des Moines, Iowa (HyVee is HUGE!), Albert Lee, MN (throttled to 40 kW until other owner left.

Total for Pasadena, CA - St Paul, MN trip:
1,978 miles
727 kWh
355 Wh/miles
In the Model X 100D with 20" wheels