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2000 Mile Roadtrip from LA to Colorado. First long road trip (Pics)

bottomsup

Member
Aug 19, 2018
187
176
ca
2000 Mile Roadtrip from LA to Colorado. First long road trip (Pics)

I never write blogs or long posts but I just went on an amazing trip with my M3 LR RWD and wanted to share. I bought this car 2 years ago and due to work travel and COVID I only have 13K miles on the odometer.

An opportunity arose due to my friend getting married in Colorado and I’ve never been to any of the national parks in the desert south west so I decided to make a rod trip out of it!

I drove from the LA area to Bryce Canyon and stayed a few days, then to Moab UT for a night, then to Durango CO for 3 nights then home through New Mexico & Arizona. Story and Pics follow.

I left around 8am and drove to Bryce. It's a 530 mile trip and took ~9 hours. I roughly mapped out the trip via ABRP with conservative settings to get an idea of the trip and made sure to stay at hotels that had destination chargers.

My first and most range anxiety stop was at Primm, NV. The car said from the start I'd arrive at 7%. If you’ve done this drive from LA after Baker there is a large uphill incline followed by a long decline to state line. Going up the hill I had less range than the distance to destination. My wife was super nervous as was I. I drafted behind a semi which BTW I'm not even sure I did properly as I don’t know how to actually draft LOL. Anyway coming down the hill I regen’ed almost the entire way and arrive with 6% and 19m range. I should have just realized and trusted the car from the beginning.

So hot…so many fires

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This was a pic during the moments of stress

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Me charging in Primm, NV at 118 ambient. 130+ Kw
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We had lunch in the casino and headed on to St George UT. Since my wife was super nervous about range from the prior stop she asked we top off in Vegas so we did. This downtown charger was in a weird place with nothing around. We stopped for 10 mins and it never mattered since we arrived at St George with ~110 of range

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St George, UT was a challenge. It was so hot that day the heading across the NV desert my car registered in at 119F.

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When I arrived in ST I had 104 miles and there was a line at the charger. I had to wait 15 mins then realized why there was a line. The car told me to charge for 20 mins but it took over an hour with ~30Kw max charge speed. It wasn’t just me as other cars were there a long as me and the line grew. I guess it was the heat...it was blazing hot although I charged in Primm at 118F and had no problems.

This was the only ‘annoyance’ in charging but we made the best of it and I made it to Bryce which is a large elevation gain with 29% SOC...i guess I waited too long in the St George heat and that slow 30Kw

I stayed at the Bryce Canyon Best Western. They had 4 chargers. No problems although one of them requires you to post in a no parking spot to make the cable reach. Bryce is ~8-9K feet so the temp was cooler. Still hot with highs in the 90s. I’ve didn’t know that any state had an 80mph speed limit but Utah does!

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This is the part where we deviate from the car a bit. Stayed 3 days. Hiked and rode horses. Amazing place...breathtaking

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From Bryce we headed to Moab and stopped at Green River which was a great charging station with a very good local restaurant across the street.

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Moab was very hot ~110F, but Arches national park was as expected. I figured I’d be able to drive through get out for a few mins, take it in, and get back into the car. I was able to do that. Camp Mode was awesome for this Yeah yeah I know there are hikes and things I could have done but I wouldn’t be in this trip if it weren’t for the wedding so the time of year and temps were just part of the coincidence of me even having driven here in the first place.

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In Moab we went to a winery after an amazing drive along the Colorado river. I knew Utah had strict laws on drinking but man this was a let down. I knew something was up with the tasting was $1 per person . The drive was amazing though and that’s what matters

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Finally, the wedding! I wish we had more time on Moab but alas we woke up and headed to Durango. In Durango our hotel had 4 destination chargers and no problems finding an open spot. We stayed at the DoubleTree which was a amazing hotel on the local river.

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Downtown Durango was very cool. Lots of small locals shops and a great Winery named Four Leaves

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This is an Aerial shot of the historic narrow gauge train depot

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Durango was beautiful and we took this awesome historic train ride from Durango to Silverton. This ride is 9 hours pre-COVID but only 3 now due to 50% capacity and the financial ability of the entire run. It was still amazing.

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Oh and we couriered the bride’s vale all the way to the wedding!

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After 3 days in Durango having a great time with friends, we headed home through New Mexico and Arizona. Coming into New Mexico from Colorado put us in the Navajo Indian Reservation. Talk about a depressing place. The landscape was ugly, the roads were bad, and there were “do not drink and drive signs” all over the place including the do not enter signs all over the media separated highway which suggests a lot of people go flying down a divided highway the wrong way.

We stopped to charge in Gallup, NM which IMO is a skip. There is nothing in walking distance at all. That said charging was fast!

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We also stopped at Holbrook, AZ. We didn’t need to charge but were hungry an there is a Burger King there. Now off to Flagstaff where we spent a night and hit local bars which was fun as it’s a college town. We charged at the super charger which is in the hotel parking lot we stayed in and then woke up to head home the next day. On the way home we stopped in Needles, CA just past the border. I suppose I forgot to take a pic because I can’t find one but it’s a good spot at a Dairy Queen which fortunately in this blazing hot place has partial shade on the chargers depending on on time of today you go. I was there about 9:30am

From there we headed to Barstow which requires a solid charge as the elevation gain is ~4K feet and it’s one of the most desolate drives I’ve ever done. There is absolutely nothing out in the Mojave desert except blazing heat and sand. Running out of charge or breaking down out here would suck. It was ~150 miles and I used 250 miles of range to achieve it but I arrived with plenty.

Charging in Barstow was nice. They have 12 stations and shade. There are several places to eat in a short walking distance.

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From there I was home in 90 mins!

This was a great trip and while my wife didn’t really understand for me in addition to seeing these amazing sites I wanted to see what it was like to drive an EV thousands of miles and frankly as I mentioned at the beginning I’ve had this car 2 years with only 13K miles and I wanted to road trip away from this COVID isolation. The trip was amazing, the car is amazing. A few closing thoughts

1. Charging is not slower than pumping gas. Yeah filling the tank takes 5 mins, charging takes 15-30 mins depending on the situation but after driving for hundreds of miles for multiple hours getting out to get a drink, stretch, grab a bite is what I would have naturally done anyway and the time at the stop felt totally normal.

2. The issue in St George was an anomaly IMO. It was almost 120 degrees ambient and the charger was busy.

3. The drive was super smooth and EAP relieves a lot of driving fatigue. I don’t know how to explain it but using EAP makes you far less tired than normal driving. I was able to stretch my legs, enjoy some scenery, and overall feel more relaxed.

4. Lastly…..it’s amazing to me that we have technology that can hurl me across the desert in 100+ temps at 85mpg for hundreds of miles in luxury on a battery!!

I hope you all enjoyed reading this. I enjoyed writing it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dmurphy

Woof.
Dec 7, 2018
3,529
4,725
New Jersey - Morris County
Agreed with you on all your points!! We just did a 6600 mile road trip in our X, and felt exactly the same way. I can’t wait to road trip again in our Tesla - whether it’s the 3 or the X, it’s an experience like no other. So easy to do!! Completely changes my opinion of long road trips.

One tip I’ve learned for the next one is to bring a washcloth and leave it in a cooler. Placing a wet washcloth on the Supercharger handle seems to speed things up when it’s hot. Keeping them cool regulates the charging speed!

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ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
2,273
563
DFW
We’re planning a great southwest adventure of our own.. Gonna be interesting with our BTX5 Raven car but figured range wise is no worse than what a P/90D ranged.

Could just as easily take my P3D but the X is just SO comfy to travel in!
 
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Mine

New Member
May 15, 2020
1
2
Utah
Thank you so much for this report...I also have a 2018 model 3, live in park city utah, but from Colorado...I’ve been really hesitant to go on a road trip but your encouragement might make it possible...thinking of driving to Oregon in September but was going to rent a car because I was so unsure of the charging times...sounds like it’s very doable thanks to this info...again I appreciate your testimony...

Susanne Barnes
 

Ccsdk

Member
May 12, 2019
15
10
San Diego
Thanks very much for your travel notes ..... we have a daughter in Denver and we were thinking about trying the drive in our M3 from San Diego. This documentary makes my wife and I less nervous.
Thanks
 
Oct 11, 2018
8
1
57702
Thank you for the post! Sounds like you had a great trip. Your recap of the trip was enjoyable to read. I have only made a few 400 mile trips and a trip out of 880 miles and back. My wife and I enjoy SuperCharging on the road. An adventure, and yes, it did not feel like it slowed us down much. These cars are great. Model 3 & Model Y, Dual Motor, no Perfomance Mode, but LR.
 

Ctein

Member
Dec 31, 2019
58
26
Daly City, California USA
2000 Mile Roadtrip from LA to Colorado. First long road trip (Pics)

I never write blogs or long posts but I just went on an amazing trip with my M3 LR RWD and wanted to share. ..
I hope you all enjoyed reading this. I enjoyed writing it.

Hey, bottomsup!

That was a great report and helpful and timely for me-- I'm taking my first multi-charge trip in my X from SF to Albuquerque in two weeks. Hopefully not quite so hot, but mid-September in the desert, who knows?

I'm also nervous about those long, desolate stretches. Trusting ABRP to give me ample safety margin. Fingers crossed!

Thanks!

pax / Ctein
 

Ctein

Member
Dec 31, 2019
58
26
Daly City, California USA
Agreed with you on all your points!! We just did a 6600 mile road trip in our X, and felt exactly the same way. I can’t wait to road trip again in our Tesla - whether it’s the 3 or the X, it’s an experience like no other. So easy to do!! Completely changes my opinion of long road trips.

One tip I’ve learned for the next one is to bring a washcloth and leave it in a cooler. Placing a wet washcloth on the Supercharger handle seems to speed things up when it’s hot. Keeping them cool regulates the charging speed!

View attachment 581554

Dennis, that washcloth bit sounds like a very cool (ahem) trick! I'll try it on my upcoming road trip to ABQ. But I gotta wonder-- since the charge throttling is supposed to be for the benefit of the battery pack, is this really a safe thing to do?

Another question for you-- what reference consumption do you use for your Model X in ABRP? Just the default, or have you found something else more realistic?

Those long desert stretches make me a bit nervous...

pax / Ctein
 

axon62

Member
Dec 15, 2018
10
8
West Covina CA
enjoyed your post immensely! i'm envious. maybe someday i will have the guts to plan something like this in M3 awd.
Back in 1985, we did something similar from LA to Vegas to Bryce to Salt Lake to Jackson Hole to Yellowstone to Bellingham Wa to Vancouver back down to LA along the coast when the kids got tired of trees and mountains and nature. I was overruled.
This was in a toyota van. 2,500 miles total. I was 40 yrs old.
I am hoping to get a cybertruck and do this again with EAP. You're right there's nothing like EAP on long drives. you just feel relaxed and safe! thanks again for a great post!
 

lcedWa

Member
Jan 21, 2020
13
4
Edmonds Wa
Great pics and report. In 2018 took our new 3 from Seattle to New Mexico. Absolutely no problem, although it was in October, so no heat issues. No one should hesitate, as he says you’d be stopping to stretch or eat anyway. We had lots of road trip plans this year but covid has put a stop to that for us, following our state guidelines and our self risk-assessment. Jealous! Nice to enjoy your trip vicariously.
 
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Calbeach95

Member
Apr 2, 2013
5
4
Denver
@bottomsup - thanks for sharing your awesome photos & story!
My hubby & I just returned a few days ago from the Denver-LA RT in our 2016 P90D ....unfortunately I-70 was closed from about Eagle to Grand Junction due to the fires, so we ended up leaving Denver on 285 & going through Poncha Springs, CO and then through AZ. My son has gone the route through UT a few times in his M3, which is definitely a faster route. I totally agree with Bottomsup on the sad stretch through NM. Many places just looked abandoned and as if all hope has left the town.

As an FYI, we found that many restaurants and a few hotels at the stops would not allow use of the restrooms due to COVID restrictions, so be prepared and perhaps preemptively stop at a truck stop! The only issue we had - and I reported it on the eay back- was that only 2 of 4 charger at Gallup were working and there were long lines to charge on the weekend. Our son had stopped there a month prior and had the same issue. On the return, 3 of 4 were working. I'd avoid that stop if possible.

Side note: Listened to the podcast about California City as we drove through the Mojave Desert - it was super interesting to actually drive through the area while hearing the story of the scam of selling desert land to unsuspecting people. The visual it painted made it a tad less boring.

Lastly, most of you probably know but we only recently discovered, that when charging, chargers work faster if you charge at one of a paired set of chargers without another car charging. In other words, if you drive up and a car is charging on 2A, and 3A & 3B are open, charge at 3A. If you charge at 2B, the charge will be slower for both cars. Tried & true!
 
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dmurphy

Woof.
Dec 7, 2018
3,529
4,725
New Jersey - Morris County
Dennis, that washcloth bit sounds like a very cool (ahem) trick! I'll try it on my upcoming road trip to ABQ. But I gotta wonder-- since the charge throttling is supposed to be for the benefit of the battery pack, is this really a safe thing to do?

Another question for you-- what reference consumption do you use for your Model X in ABRP? Just the default, or have you found something else more realistic?

Those long desert stretches make me a bit nervous...

pax / Ctein

Some of the throttling is for battery management for sure. That said, the handles do overheat when they sit in the sun. So this only eliminates the throttling due to the handle temperature. The rest - the battery cooling etc - still works 100%.
 

Dr.JohnnyD

Member
Jun 17, 2020
19
9
Orange County, CA
Thanks for sharing your experience bottoms up. Both with your 3 and your trip! Appreciate the detail.

We just returned from a trip to Zion and Bryce. Would have taken our Y but could not sort out paint issues and get it wrapped in time. So off in our MDX. I was running something of a virtual trip though on ABRP. Nice to see your approach v what I was thinking. I took my first long trip with my buddy down in Orlando, driving out to Key West. To your point, charging never seemed a burden, by the time we hit the restroom, grabbed a drink and stretched out legs the car is charged. It’s given me all the confidence to head out in one of ours. One question. Your stop in Primm. That seems really low. Maybe it’s my lack of long distance EV trips experience. Would you do that again or top off in Barstow?
 

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