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Advice on Boston to Washington, DC trip, please

Discussion in 'New England' started by Pollux, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Hi...

    I'm going to drive my family down to DC for Thanksgiving. Probably depart Monday, November 25 and return Saturday, November 30 in an attempt to avoid the most heavily travelled days.

    I'm thinking we'll stop at the Superchargers in Darien, CT and Newark, DE.

    Darien, because I think we'll have the range to make it; I'd rather go further, sooner; and Darien has four charging stalls versus Milford's two.

    Newark, because we have no other option anyway.

    First off, does anyone have any advice for me about making this trip in a Model S with a wife, a 16-year girl who will want to drive and a 9-year old boy?

    I've been a bit disappointed to read on Tesla's supercharging web page about the food options at these places. I had somehow worked myself into believing that Superchargers were going to be located next to fine, upscale dining with hot and cold running valets and traveling minstrels. The reality is different, of course, and obviously matches far more closely the reality of traveling along I-95.

    For Milford: Subway, Dunkin' Donuts, Sbarro, McDonald's, Good to Go, "and more". Am I right to believe that those are the same options whether southbound or northbound on I-95? Does anyone know what's included in "and more"?

    For Darien: Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Subway, Sbarro. No "and more". :) Am I right to believe that these are the same options whether southbound or northbound on I-95?

    For Newark: Z Market, Starbucks, Baja Fresh, Brioche Doree, Famous Familigia, Burger King, Cinnabon, "and more". Does anyone know what's covered by "and more"?

    At the end of the day, these are just the ordinary travel plazas along I-95 with the same mind-numbing array of fast food, gas stations, and parking lots, right? Or is there something special about these particular rest areas? Some way to leave the Model S charging while the family does something interesting?

    Finally, as I re-read my post, I can see that many reasonable people would think that I'm complaining. I admit I'm whiny about the food thing in particular. But I don't mean to be ungrateful! It is just WONDERFUL to have the Superchargers! We wouldn't even think of making the trip otherwise. So... thank you, Tesla!

    And thanks to the TMC members, in advance, for any advice/feedback!

    Alan
     
  2. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Northbound Darien has a Mac N Out, a Wilson's Barbecue and a Cheeseboy (all fast food type places). I believe that southbound has a Cheeseboy, not sure about the other restaurants, though.

    Depending on how big a rush you're in, there are some great restaurants in Stamford. Authentic Central American (Brasitas), Moroccan (Fez), Spanish Tapas (Barcelona), chains at the Town Center (PF Changs, a burger bar, CPK) and so on.

    I'm afraid you'll just have to deal with rest stop food (although, fortunately, more than just McD) if you're hitting the superchargers to DC.
     
  3. bhuwan

    bhuwan Active Member

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    I've done BOS-NY many, many times (5 at this point). I have an 85 and have easily made it to Darien:
    i90 west to i84 (via sturbridge) to CT15.Get off CT15 right before (or after) i95 entrance, stop at darien CT and charge up.

    Pretty much the same options on both sides (I've been - Aaron S can chime in too). - fast food places. Remember, the purpose of a supercharger is to be like a gas station - pop in and pop out, as quickly as possible. These service plazas were never designed to handle traffic for long periods.
     
  4. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Also, consider other options than the Cross Bronx Expwy depending on time of day. You can cut across to the Henry Hudson if you want to take the GWB or, if traffic is looking particularly bad, you can take the Tappan Zee to the Garden State (adds about 15 miles).
     
  5. bhuwan

    bhuwan Active Member

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    I almost *ALWAYS* take the Tappan Zee bridge (now that I know my car can handle the range) on my way home from NY - the traffic in NY is horrendous.

    Alan I just thought of another option - not ideal but if you really want a nice place to dine:

    - BOS - DARIEN (about 163 miles) - charge up there for a short period
    - DARIEN - Tesla Motors NJ - (about 70 miles) - this is located in a mall - I haven't yet been there, but I - believe this will have better dining options. The downside is it will take longer to charge (56mi/max)
    NJ - Newark DE

    Although DARIEN - Tesla NJ is possible (222 mi), I wouldn't recommend it, as you'll be spending more time charging in NJ.

    Oh, one more thing -are you on FW > 5.0? Aaron S can confirm, but I thought I read that the Southbound Darien CT SuperChargers are 120kW capable - but in order to take advantage, you need Firmware 5.0 or higher (5.6 to be safe).

    I believe you received your car recently so you should already have it - but just double check.
     
  6. aaron.s

    aaron.s Member

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    All -

    - Food choices at the service areas are exactly as described, unfortunately. Healthiest would be Subway, although I do like some of Cheese Boy's grilled cheese sandwiches
    - I believe I read that Darien (South at least) is 120kw and someone was charging there at a faster rate with the 5.6 firmware. I just got my update at the service center yesterday so I haven't tested yet!

    The BEST way to go, to minimize traffic and avoid the Cross Bronx Expressway, would be to take I95 from Darien to I287 (Cross Westchester) to the Huchinson River Parkway south to the Cross County Parkway to the Saw Mill Parkway (becomes Henry Hudson Parkway) down the West Side Highway to the George Washington Bridge. This will be fewer miles that taking the Tappan Zee Bridge (which I will take in severe cases of traffic).

    Aaron
     
  7. Tslagrl

    Tslagrl Member

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    No, there is nothing special about these service plazas unfortunately! And I'm whiny about the food choices too, its not just you :wink:. I try to bring nutritional snacks/fruit from home to supplement whatever I buy. Hopefully the sight of the Tesla getting zapped cheers you up tho. I have occasionally come off the freeway and eaten elsewhere, but this adds considerable time to a trip, especially with the traffic in that area.
     
  8. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    I've gone MetroWest->VA Beach and MetroWest->Philly twice.

    1.) Try to use cruise control.
    2.) You shouldn't have to drive slower than you want unless it is really cold
    3.) I always shoot for Darien but skip it if there is traffic on I-95 (or the Merritt Pkwy) trying to get there.
    4.) After Darien I'd suggest getting on the Merritt/Hutchinson to either 287/Tappan Zee or the wiggly more expensive route:
    Cross County to the Saw Mill/Henry Hudson (has an extra toll) to the GWB. Watch the traffic religiously.
    5.) Have a good co-pilot next to you to spot traffic

    Note: I *DON'T* have the tech package and rely on my old skool GPS to route me around the traffic IT KNOWS ABOUT.
    It doesn't always pick up on incidents on the highways.

    Bring iPad's/headphones. Let them choose the radio station? Find something interesting on internet radio or do an audio book everyone will like.
    "Night of the Howling Dogs"?


    On our last trip we packed sandwiches for the ride down.

    Make signs to hold up to the gawkers you pass on the highway "100% electric!", "NO GAS!", "WWW.TESLAMOTORS.COM", etc.
    Wish we had them for the last trip. "STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING!", etc.

    PS: I always shoot for at least 50 miles of margin while charging. But from Darien/Milford to MetroWest there is some altitude gain and I wish I'd shot for 60 miles of margin as the
    temperature also dropped. Made it back with 23 miles of range, my lowest charge level...
     
  9. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    Hi Pollox,

    The question of which software you are on is a good one, because it will change how long you are at the stations by a good bit. Assuming that you are on the older software you should plan to be at the Darien Supercharger for about 40-50 min. I sometime have snacks with me other times I'll grab something from inside. Lately I'll toss up a TV show on the iPad or Computer and by the time the show is over, I'm more than charged. You didn't say where in DC you are going, or if you have a charge point at your destination, but if so, then you will only need about 20 min at Delaware to pick up the ~100 miles that you need on top of your buffer. On the way back, it would be 40-50 min at both Delaware and Darien.

    Oh, if you are planning to have your daughter drive I would plan out having your daughter drive well away from NYC, between the potholes, the other drivers, the confusing lanes, merges, and navigation it's a lot to deal with, even for advanced drivers (Unless of course she is already zipping around Boston :) ).

    I'm sure it will be a great trip!

    Peter
     
  10. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    I wouldn't let my 16 y.o. (or my 18 y.o.) drive my car. In fact, they're not even on the insurance for it so they CAN'T!
     
  11. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    @JohnQ,

    Thanks for the info! I wonder why Tesla's own webpage doesn't point out the extra goodies (Wilson's, etc.).

    Let's say we wanted to explore those great restaurants in Stamford... how does one get from the Tesla Supercharger into Stamford, while leaving the car charging? I'm guessing the answers are (a) hard to do without a taxicab or similar and (b) if the round-trip takes more than 40 minutes, you're being unfair to anyone else who shows up needing a charge.

    - - - Updated - - -

    @bhuwan,

    Thanks!

    You'd think I'd know by now, having lived in DC and visited my parents there often, but honestly, in the last 10-15 years I've only driven down once or twice. The rest of the time I've flown. But not with the new S! :)

    Alan

    - - - Updated - - -

    @JohnQ,

    Several years ago, when my wife convinced me to drive instead of fly, I think it was the CBE that we hit. Boston-to-DC turned into a 13 hour trip. Every time I remember that trip, I think about flying instead of driving. THANK YOU for the reminder about the CBE and alternatives!

    - - - Updated - - -

    @bhuwan,

    Lots of great nuggets, thanks!

    I would love a nicer place to dine, but have to balance that against the 9-year old and the 16-year old. So, roughly speaking, fastest route to DC is best. I know, I know, how does this balance my questions about a nice restaurant versus fast food. Wouldn't fast food be ideal for speed? But part of the balance is also The Wife. So, the perfect world is one with a healthy dining option -- one that enriches the soul as well as the body -- located with a plate glass window view of the Model S snug in its Supercharger stall. :)

    I *am* on 5.6 as of this very afternoon! SO NOW I CAN GET 120KW CHARGING?!!! Now *that's* good news!

    Thanks,
    Alan

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    Hi, @aaron.s,

    OK, I just wrote that down as my route. Please, if anybody has a better route, say so!

    Now... does anyone know how to program that route into the Tesla GPS? All I know how to do is set it for my parents' address in DC, at which point the GPS will pick whatever it thinks best, and I'm pretty sure that's NOT this route. Obviously, I can (and have) written down the route and can do it under my own power. But can I master the GPS for what route *I* want to pick, rather than having to accept either the GPS' choice or no GPS at all?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi, @Tslagrl,

    Yeah... I think we're going to pack food, as you do. Probably in combination with letting the kids out to attack some of the fast food joints, as that's one of the pleasures of the trip for them. Although I confess I'm thinking about Wilson's BBQ for myself. :)

    Maybe there's a TMC meetup service in here somewhere. You indicate an approximate time, and a TMC member shows up with a picnic basket, sterling silver flatware, china and some roses in bud vases. Payment...??? :)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi, @EdA!

    Interesting point about cold. I hadn't thought about that. But I think I'm building in enough buffer to my stops.

    Re skipping Darien -- really? When I look at the map and think in terms of going Supercharger-to-Supercharger, I believe I can skip Milford but also believe that I'm going to screw myself by skipping Darien. I certainly can't wait until Delaware to charge, and I don't know where I can get a Supercharge (or at least, super-fast charge) in NY without deviating significantly from my route.

    Re electronics -- good thoughts, especially audio books. I think we're going to do that. We normally try NOT to let the kids use much electronics, as we'd prefer that they be connected to the world instead. But 9-hour car trips have a way of corroding our ideals with unseemly haste. :-(

    I LOVE the signs!

    Oh, and thanks for the pointer re altitude. Huh. Altitude and cold. Right.

    Thanks!

    Alan

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    @bluetinc,

    How much faster do you imagine 5.6 will be for me than the 40-50 min you quote for Darien?

    Also, isn't there a difference in speed between the master and slave sides of a charger?

    I'm headed into Northwest DC. My dad, excessively sweet guy that he is, had an electrician buddy of his add a NEMA 14-50 @ 40A to his garage. So we'll charge there, and maybe at the hotel if we can find a hotel that has a decent charger.

    As for the daughter... a fraught topic indeed... I may let her drive some of the Pike while we're still in MA. Not sure at all that I'll let her drive outside of MA. I don't know if that's even legal on a learner's permit. And then, once you hit the NYC area, it sure seems like the drive from NYC down to DC is just one confusing situation after another.

    Thanks!

    Alan

    - - - Updated - - -

    @EdA,

    I fear we've already seen considerable evidence in postings in the TMC forum that you are a smarter, wiser man than I. :biggrin::biggrin:

     
  12. bhuwan

    bhuwan Active Member

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    From a completely depleted battery, you'll get 200 miles (80%?) in about 30 minutes, with 120kW charging
     
  13. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    There really isn't a good way. It's close but certainly not walkable. You'd have to stop for a charge then stop for lunch. Depends on how leisurely you want your lunch stop to be.
     
  14. SamGarber

    SamGarber S85 "Whale Shark"

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    And more for Newark means snack shops like at an airport. I recommend dropping daughter and wife in Christiana Mall nearby for some tax free shopping while you spend the hour at the SuperCharger. It is 2-3 miles away. Took me 6 minutes when I did that exact thing from/to SuperCharger.

    Brio at Christiana Mall is really good for food by the way.
     
  15. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    @Pollox, what I meant about skipping a supercharger was "skipping Darien" by charging at Milford. It is best to head for Darien but if there's too much traffic trying to get there I'll charge at Milford instead. You may be cutting it close mileage-wise if it is cold/rainy. I had a massive headwind heading out last Friday...

    You will definitely need to supercharge in CT and DE but you have flexibility in choosing the CT supercharger...

    Let us know how it goes...

    BTW: On my summer trip to VA beach my older daughter fell asleep while we were still packing the car and she didn't wake up until NJ! She missed our meet-up with Aaron at the Darien, SC!
     
  16. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    @bhuwan - thanks! Sounds like a half-hour should be good, even if I arrive with the battery something like ⅓ charged.

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    @JohnQ, if the kids weren't involved, and especially if the trip were a bit shorter, we'd do the charge-then-eat. But with the kids involved... well... :)

    - - - Updated - - -

    @SamGarber - interesting! Maybe the wife/daughter will go for that. Be a shame if I dropped them off and accidentally took their purses with me.

    - - - Updated - - -

    @EdA - ah, I see what you mean.

    Does anyone have a sense how busy the Milford, Darien and Newark superchargers might be on a Monday (pre-Thanksgiving) and a Saturday (post-Thanksgiving)?

     
  17. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    I'm guessing you won't have any concerns until Saturday. Newark might be your problem.
    Once you leave NYC most of the traffic will be going in the other direction.

    /Ed
     
  18. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Thanks, @EdA!
     
  19. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    Related, ish, I'm driving to SC from Boston Saturday-Saturday (23-30). Should be fun. And tiring. :)
     
  20. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    What's the plan south of Richmond??
     

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