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Angel's Adventure

Beta V

Author, Dad, Mentor, Technology Critic
Nov 8, 2017
169
49
Redmond, WA USA
On Tuesday, Marilyn announced that she wanted to get out of the house. I checked her temperature and pulse--she seemed to be okay, but this was a radical change. She has not gone down the hill for anything but doctor's appointments since early March. She had had enough. "What about driving the North Cascade Loop?" she asked.
I've been married for over 52 years. That "question" was more like "We're going for a drive." But I was all in.
We talked and planned a bit, and while she arranged the meals and the route information, I spent some time on the computer knowing (or thinking) I could upload route maps from my phone to Angel (our Tesla) and the navigation part would be done. First mistake. Angel would accept simple point-to-point routes, but she would not take routes with waypoints that dictate how the route should be driven. While Angel didn't complain, she just ignored these multi-waypoint routes. Starting over, I had to break down the trip into segments. That worked. Marilyn had me print out maps anyway. She also dug through her AAA books and maps (remember, she never throws anything away) and found an old Washington State road map.
I was in charge of loading Angel and getting her ready. I told her to "fully" charge (I usually only charge 80% as suggested by Tesla) so in a few hours, she had all 231 miles charged up. What we now know, is that those "miles" are really pretty fuzzy. How far you can actually go on a charge varies quite a bit (okay, a lot) as you'll see.
On Thursday after dawn (I would not agree to leave before dawn at five AM, as we would have to leave the cats in the house all day), we were on our way. We had no trouble finding our first Tesla Supercharge site at the Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington. We were the only people there--the parking lot was virtually empty so as we waited the 40 minutes to recharge (we wanted a full charge to go over the mountains), we discovered the parking lot had dividers filled with river rock--some of the samples were very interesting. Okay, Marilyn is a rock fan and while like them too, she's a rock nut. We collected a couple of fist-sized samples. Mine had a streak of gold-bearing quartz if you believe any of my stories.
Once charged, we headed for Darrington, and Angel had no problem switching to the various connected segments at each waypoint, so we switched nav destinations to Winthrop. I began to get concerned as the amount of power it took to climb up to the over 5000' pass was severely degrading our range. I may be wrong, but it seemed that Angel was not taking into account having to use more power to climb the mountains. While I knew we would get some miles of range back going downhill, I decided to reduce my climbing (and descending) speed to under 50 mph (usually 45) to save power. Consider that any car, gas, or electric, uses more energy as it's asked to go faster. As I descended, Angel would show me the ideal speed to get the most recharge juice. Sure, I had to pull off dozens of times to let people pass. I made a lot of new friends along the way.
Marilyn reminded me to say that it was a very pretty and scenic drive. The weather was stellar--cool, clear (mostly), and a slight breeze. Based on the fact that they close this road for much of the winter I expect it could be pretty miserable up there at times. We saw beautiful lakes, and broad vistas of lush valleys, choked with farms and orchards. We saw pear, apple, and apricot orchards and the boxes ready to collect the harvest. But no people picking, which I thought was unusual. Perhaps it's too early.
When we had cell service, we had Angel search for another power source and on her own, she found one in Winthrop at the Sun Mountain Resort. We called ahead to verify that they had the right kind of power port--they did. Angel had the number and made the call. We arrived at the (lovely) resort with only about 30 "miles" to spare--that translates to about 90 miles downhill, or about ten miles climbing up a 45-degree slope.
The resort's "high-speed" recharge ports (they had two Tesla ports), were identical in capacity to my home charging station--about 45 amps at 220Vac which would take about eight hours to fully recharge. Not an option. We asked Angel how far it was to Leavenworth. She lied. She said it was only 64 miles when it was really 117 or so. Apparently, she thought we were going to fly straight there at 1500 feet AGL.
Mistake 2 (or is it 3 by now?) we believed her and our next mistake was to decide that 80 miles of capacity would be enough to get us to Leavenworth as the resort was at the top of a mountain (a short one) and we would still have about 80 miles near the bottom.
So we sat there and had a lovely picnic lunch as prairie chickens (we think) came to see why we were not feeding them. The weather was cool and breezy, Marilyn rested and then found a big pine cone while I walked up and took pictures of a wind-blown Ponderosa Pine. More than two hours later, we had "80" miles so we hit the road. We set Leavenworth as the destination and Angel immediately told us that the site had "reduced capacity and might not be available." We called Tesla to see what was going on and waited 15 minutes on hold listening to the same five tips before the agent answered. "Oh, no, the site is fine. Just one station is down." Grrrr.
We asked if he knew another place along the way to get power but by then, he had already hung up. (Sigh). I pulled over and used my phone apps to find that there was "High-speed" power behind the City Hall in Chelan. We arrived with little power to spare. It was the same deal--same as my house and the resort. It would take to well past dark to fully recharge. We recalculated the route to Leavenworth and figured we needed about 60 miles capacity (given how much we would have to climb), to get there. It was not as nice as the resort, so we roasted and tried to rest for over two hours before heading out again with "60" miles of range to go about 50 real miles to Leavenworth.
By the time we reached Leavenworth, we had seven miles left. Seven. Even Angel was worried. Frankly, I'm not sure what we could have done if the car ran down. I expect our AAA card would tow us to the recharge site but they could not have recharged us. They can jump-start a dead battery but not one that weighs about a ton.
The Leavenworth Supercharge site was almost empty and their 3.5K watt system only took about 90 minutes to completely recharge. As we needed to be recharged as well, I got food from MickyD's and we rested for the 2 1/2 hour trip home. I didn't drive 45 the whole way back. We had originally planned to stop at Monroe to recharge (as all Supercharge or Tesla sites are free for me), but the cats were thrilled that we came straight home. So were we.
The day after we got back, the AAA tour booklet arrived. It had a list of recharge sites, but it had none of the essential details like "for guests only" or the capacity of the systems, or if it only worked on Tesla cars. Consider that the Tesla Supercharge sites ONLY work on Teslas and are monitored to charge Tesla customers for their use. In my case, I bought the car with a "Lifetime of free Supercharges" incentive.
We did have fun. We worked together well as a team and I still think we could have done quite well on The Amazing Race as we were able to calmly solve the problems as they came up without any punching or screaming. ;)
 

Beta V

Author, Dad, Mentor, Technology Critic
Nov 8, 2017
169
49
Redmond, WA USA
Have you tried www.abetterrouteplanner.com ?. I've found it's quite a bit more accurate than the in-dash navigation when it comes to range estimates.

I just did. Like the Tesla nav program, it would not plot the route I wanted to take over the North Cascades Highway (the scenic route to Leavenworth, WA) and back. The UI was a bit clunky (a single scroll click zoomed me three-steps back or forward) and once I had more than about three waypoints, it got very confused.
 

Feathermerchan

Active Member
Sep 21, 2018
1,134
881
Euless, Tx
I think you can drag your route on ARP to get the route you want. I know you can add stops along your route which can be used to get the route you want.
When navigating, use the car's energy display graph to see how you are doing as far as energy goes. It is very helpful.
Tesla's nav does take into account elevation change and speed but not wind and rain or A/C and heat use.
Most use the % charge display instead of miles. In my case I know that I can go a little over 200 miles on 100% charge, level ground. That's about 20 miles for each 10%. So I can pretty reliably calculate remaining miles with a margin.
 

Beta V

Author, Dad, Mentor, Technology Critic
Nov 8, 2017
169
49
Redmond, WA USA
I created a route that should have helped figure out the route. I included Arlington's SuperCharge site (where I topped off). All other waypoints were ignored and deleted entirely from the route. I tried to drag the plot/route but that did not work. Nope, this is not a solution, but thanks for the suggestion.
 

Beta V

Author, Dad, Mentor, Technology Critic
Nov 8, 2017
169
49
Redmond, WA USA
And I did. I filled out the suggested routes with waypoints. It deleted them all but the Supercharge site and the final destination.
It did not let me route through "destination" charge points or help find them.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,127
7,133
Boise, ID
I've never liked the interface of ABRP, so I don't use that one. I do like EVTripplanner. The interface also has its own kinds of clunkiness in some places, but it probably wouldn't have that terrible bug you were talking about where ABRP deleted/ignored your other waypoints.
 

Beta V

Author, Dad, Mentor, Technology Critic
Nov 8, 2017
169
49
Redmond, WA USA
The EVTripPlanner does not have the Tesla Model X but it does have a better, more flexible UI that lets me set waypoints and choose from other charging points. If I had used this program, I might not have ventured out into the "wilderness" where the Superchargers are as scarce as dolphins in the desert. ;) What I've discovered is that the Model X only charges about 30 mile/hour on destination chargers (like the one at my house), so it I were planning to stay at one of these destinations, it might be more enjoyable, but we were only prepared for a day-trip. I'm still learning how to deal with availability of power like those in The Great Race. It's a long way from Boracho to the next stop with no gas.
 

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