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Driving Log: Austin -> Baton Rouge road trip; Harvey edition.

Long time lurker and figured I'd provide status updates on a journey I'm making from Austin, TX to Baton Rouge, LA tomorrow (Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017). One day after Harvey has mostly left the area. No real choice, and, outside of a rental car, I'm taking the Tesla.

I'm starting the journey at 8AM CST tomorrow. I have a few routes in mind, but the decision at this point is to avoid the Houston metro area if possible. The final decision on the preliminary route will happen at 8AM and may change at each Supercharger. I'll post pictures of problem areas, state of Superchargers, and general Harvey issues to be aware of if you need to make a similar journey in the near future.

Also, if you are a poor soul doing the journey tomorrow from Austin: lets caravan over :) Send me a PM.

As for the car: Its a '17 90D with updated front fascia. 19" turbine wheels at 100% charge. I'll post replies as I go.
 
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Last year, when I went from Baton Rouge to Austin for SXSW, I-10 was flooded, and we had to go through Dallas. It was about an 11 hour trip in an ICE mobile. If you decide to go that way, that is at least some information for you. If you do go through Houston, we would like to hear about the situation there, as we are headed there sometime next week. Good luck on the journey, consider it an adventure! We also have a 90D, btw.
 
I think Houston is passable now but as you push east into the active hurricane you may have issues. I don't think you will have many issues charging aside from the supercharger in channelview may be flooded not sure. You could always route a bit north through Huntsville then maybe to Alexandria then head south to BR. Round about way but the drive from Huntsville to Alexandria is actually very pretty and much more enjoyable than I10. I drove that route over the summer in my S85.
 
My current plan is Austin -> Huntsville -> Alexandria -> Baton Rouge -> NOLA. That might change. Monitoring a few things: Lake Livingston is in flood stage, bridge isn't flooded, and dam is draining now. Looks good at this point. Austin -> Huntsville roads look OK right now, but there are side streets closed. I'm definitely going to avoid Houston. I may need to stay the night if things look sketchy.
 

SMAlset

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Mar 4, 2017
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SF Bay Area
I'd stay clear of going any where near Crosby, TX folks. In case you haven't heard the chemical plant there said it's inevitable that it's going to explode, don't know when but it will and nothing they can do about it. Areas are being cordoned off but given what I saw from some other chemical plant explosion, maybe in the last year, I wouldn't want to be any where around the area. Here's the news story I saw: Chemical explosion expected at flooded Texas plant

Safe traveling OP. Report back when you can.
 
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buttershrimp

Click my signature to Go Mad Max Mode
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Jun 17, 2017
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My current plan is Austin -> Huntsville -> Alexandria -> Baton Rouge -> NOLA. That might change. Monitoring a few things: Lake Livingston is in flood stage, bridge isn't flooded, and dam is draining now. Looks good at this point. Austin -> Huntsville roads look OK right now, but there are side streets closed. I'm definitely going to avoid Houston. I may need to stay the night if things look sketchy.

At first I thought this was a click-bait thread, but now, I realize it is more of a "can't look away" thread. Only a Tesla owner will somehow convince themselves that it is more convenient to take the Tesla INTO THE WORST FLOOD RAVAGED HURRICANE ZONE! This so reminds me of the Chris Farley Sketch, El Nino! I want Holyfield!

Good luck buddy.... you are my role model and simultaneously, a very bad influence.
 

bob_p

Active Member
Apr 5, 2012
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We made the trip from Houston to Austin on Monday and Austin back to Houston yesterday (Wednesday).

Because of the heavy rain that fell yesterday between Houston and New Orleans, you may encounter problems.

This is what we did on our trips through the Harvey-impacted area:
  1. Before leaving, use Google Maps to search your route for any road closures or sections that are slow. If you have to take any detours, factor that into your range estimate - between chargers, and make sure that you have enough charge to handle some detours along the route.
  2. Before leaving, identify all of the superchargers along your route. If any are in areas that may have high water (such as the charger at Columbus next to the Colorado River), it may be prudent to call Tesla and verify that those charges are operating (and see if they can determine if anyone has used the chargers today - which would confirm they are accessible).
  3. During your drive, don't count on the Tesla navigation system to route you around road closures or high water. On Monday during out trip out of the area, the Tesla nav system worked great. But coming back yesterday, it seemed to ignore the road closures - routing us through closed roads or high water several times. Use both the Tesla navigation software and periodically check a smartphone nav app that tracks road closures (like the Google Maps app).
  4. If you encounter high water, don't take for granted that you can drive safely through it. We waited until we could watch another vehicle drive through the water. If the water was below the centerline of their wheels, we would raise the suspension on our car to VERY HIGH, drive slowly, and try to stay in the section of the road with the least water.
With heavy rains that fell between Houston and New Orleans, it may be better to delay your trip hours or a day, and give the area time for the water to drain more - and open up more roads.

As of now, Google Maps is showing I10 has a long stretch that may be closed east of Houston, on the way to Beaumont and traffic appears to be pretty slow east of Beaumont.
 
A friend just made the trip from Huntsville to Bryan on 190 and on to Austin on Hwy 79 with no problem. Huntsville to Livingston is no problem on Hwy 190, not sure of road conditions from there. A good resource is drivetexas.org Good luck.

This is hugely helpful new. This was one of my concerns as to which route to take there. 190 seems the best choice.
 
8:07AM: Leaving home at 8:20AM. Expecting some rush hour traffic, but heading in the opposite flow of downtown Austin. Going to head to Huntsville, TX supercharger via US 290, 21, 190. Austin -> Paige -> Bryan -> Madisonville -> Huntsville. Current best idea is Alexandria, LA. Monitioring areas such as Jasper, TX which has a ton of adjacent streets on the highway there closed, but drivetexas.org does not show that main road is closed. If anyone knows someone in Jasper, can you ask if 63 is closed anywhere near there?
 
We made the trip from Houston to Austin on Monday and Austin back to Houston yesterday (Wednesday).

Because of the heavy rain that fell yesterday between Houston and New Orleans, you may encounter problems.


  1. During your drive, don't count on the Tesla navigation system to route you around road closures or high water.
waze (not the one for the car) is far superior at reporting real time data like road closures.
 
I can assure you that Lake Charles to Baton Rouge is currently fine. I live in Lafayette and I-10 is fine all the way through.

There are still delays on the Atchafalaya bridge, but they are unrelated to the flood (they've been doing construction for months).

I don't know the status of the Lake Charles supercharger though. There isn't a supercharger in Lafayette or Baton Rouge. Not sure about New Orleans.
 

BerTX

Active Member
Supporting Member
May 2, 2014
3,508
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Texas/Washington
I can assure you that Lake Charles to Baton Rouge is currently fine. I live in Lafayette and I-10 is fine all the way through.

There are still delays on the Atchafalaya bridge, but they are unrelated to the flood (they've been doing construction for months).

I don't know the status of the Lake Charles supercharger though. There isn't a supercharger in Lafayette or Baton Rouge. Not sure about New Orleans.
Can you clarify "There isn't a supercharger in Lafayette or Baton Rouge"? There IS a SC in Baton Rouge... do you mean it isn't functioning?
 
UPDATE: Made it to Huntsville, TX supercharger. No other Tesla's here. Will be here for another 45 mins. The Roads were great and dry. One scary thing was autopilot failed when I hit a massive swarm of bugs and slammed on the brakes right before college station. I went to a gas station to clear it off, but that picture taken is what it looks like now. Only saw one swamp a little elevated but still had about 3 feet from the road level. Good news is the entire remaining trek no longer has new rainfall from Harvey. Unfortunately some sidestreets are closed near the route I'm in. Waze says all is good though
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