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Is a 3 night stay in Big Bend (no charging) crazy?

growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
I am thrilled with my Model Y LR, and want to take it on the highway for my traditional fall trip from Austin to Big Bend National Park. Given that West Texas is a desert, and the area around Big Bend appears to be an EV charging desert, here's my plan. Please tell me if I'm crazy!
1) Supercharge from Austin to Ft. Stockton on I-10. No problems there I expect.
2) Spend the night in Marathon where I am in consultation with an awesome B&B owner right about letting me top off my charge overnight (L2 of some sort). Plan to charge up to 90-100%. Marathon puts me 40-50 miles closer to the park than Ft. Stockton.
3) Drive to Chisos Basin group camping area in Big Bend - 77 miles, going up 1000' in elevation.
4) Stay 3 nights in Big Bend (other folks I'm camping with will drive on the side trips, and I'm not camping in the Model Y so no heat/AC losses).
5) Drive the 77 miles returning to Marathon, get an hour or two of charge [if needed] on the L2 charger at the B&B (hopefully prearranged) and enjoy some coffee.
6) Drive the 50 miles back to Ft. Stockton - now I'm on I-10 and in Supercharger safety realm again for my return to Austin.

Is this believable? (ABRP says it is, but I trust the wisdom and experience here more..)
Will I lose too much charge sitting for 3 nights in October in Big Bend? Will the elevation changes get me? Already a bit range anxious, but I REALLY want to try this car out on a big trip.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,267
3,242
Maryland
Have you tried using RVParky?: RV Parky | RV Parks & Campgrounds Directory, Reviews, Photos

The Paisano Village RV Park shows as 2 miles from the Big Bend National Park. Paisano Village has RV parking sites with full hookups starting at $50 per day.

RV Parky | RV Parks & Campgrounds Directory, Reviews, Photos

Accommodations | Paisano Village RV Park & INN

It would be worth a call. The phone number listed is 432-371-3377. Find out if they have any RV sites with NEMA 14-50 receptacles; TT-30 receptacles or even standard 120V 5-15 power. $50 is a lot to pay just to park and charge but maybe you can work out an agreement to pay $25 for the privilege of plugging in for a few hours.
 
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growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
Have you tried using RVParky?: RV Parky | RV Parks & Campgrounds Directory, Reviews, Photos

The Paisano Village RV Park shows as 2 miles from the Big Bend National Park. Paisano Village has RV parking sites with full hookups starting at $50 per day.

RV Parky | RV Parks & Campgrounds Directory, Reviews, Photos

Accommodations | Paisano Village RV Park & INN

It would be worth a call. The phone number listed is 432-371-3377. Find out if they have any RV sites with NEMA 14-50 receptacles; TT-30 receptacles or even standard 120V 5-15 power. $50 is a lot to pay just to park and charge but maybe you can work out an agreement to pay $25 for the privilege of plugging in for a few hours.
Thank you! Just took a look - that is a possibility, maybe charge up there before my stay in the park. They are a good bit closer in, and it looks like there is a road into the park there (it is a VERY big park with very few roads).
 

samimotor

Member
Feb 12, 2021
6
5
austin
Can't of course confirm with the Big Bend plan but I can talk about elevation esp., if you haven't driven up and down mountains yet. I am in Austin with a MY :) and recently did a trip to RMNP. We started at ~ 80% charge and went up through the trail ridge road with an elevation gain of ~12000 ft all the way to Grand Lake and then came back down to Estes Park so - 100 miles or so and the charge was like ~ 68% so.. amazing regen and don't worry too much about elevations esp if you are gonna come down after climbing up. Hopefully that helps give you an idea. Also I want to do Big Bend at some point from Austin.
 

growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
Can't of course confirm with the Big Bend plan but I can talk about elevation esp., if you haven't driven up and down mountains yet. I am in Austin with a MY :) and recently did a trip to RMNP. We started at ~ 80% charge and went up through the trail ridge road with an elevation gain of ~12000 ft all the way to Grand Lake and then came back down to Estes Park so - 100 miles or so and the charge was like ~ 68% so.. amazing regen and don't worry too much about elevations esp if you are gonna come down after climbing up. Hopefully that helps give you an idea. Also I want to do Big Bend at some point from Austin.
Oh, that's great to know. I will definitely be coming back down (!) so regen will help, but there are losses in every physical process. Helps me to know this one is pretty efficient. And my elevation net gain is only 1000' going into the park, although there are several good ups and downs on the way in if I recall.
So on your trip, did your 80% charge start at Estes Park? (I've been there - gorgeous!) And I'm thinking your elevation gain must have been 1200' not 12000' yes?
 

saltsman

Member
Apr 6, 2016
224
265
College Station, TX
Watch the wind! A strong West Texas wind will drop your range faster than a Baptist heading to Luby's. :)

While now exceeding 105 pages, there is some great advice in the Supercharger - Fort Stockton, Texas thread.

Check out the 14-50r plug in at the alpinewindmillhouse.com and two at The Stable Performance Cars in Alpine. Don't think there is anything in Marathon yet. Rio Grande Village RV Park has 14-50 plugs if you can get a reservation for an open spot.
 
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growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
Thank you for the advice.
Also as a lifelong Texan, I fully appreciate the cultural reference :D
I am definitely concerned about the wind possibility. Last year's trip in my Prius faced 30-40 mph winds out of the west, and it was rough. I expect that I can make it to Marathon given what looks like fairly forgiving supercharger spacing along I-10. I'll check the wind forecasts beforehand and worst case can fall back on the ICE Prius. But Saphira (the Y) is just some comfortable on the highway!
I know about Rio Grande Village - I doubt I can get a spot, but even if I can, might be tough trying to talk my partner into one night of back-of-the-Model Y sleeping there, since we generally want to spend our nights with our buddies who will be cooking and partying in the group camping area (but no electric there), which is 30 minutes away. (Yes Virginia, it's a mighty big park...)
I'm looking at that Alpine Windmill House as well - very neat. But not real close to the park either.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,048
6,526
Austin, TX
You did mention some of the friends will also be driving. Leave your car at an RV park for a day?

I dont think the 3 days sitting would be bad as long as you turn off all the usual suspects so it fully sleeps.

plus, make sure to bring your key card!
 

growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
You did mention some of the friends will also be driving. Leave your car at an RV park for a day?

I dont think the 3 days sitting would be bad as long as you turn off all the usual suspects so it fully sleeps.

plus, make sure to bring your key card!
I'm currently planning to turn off sentry, dashcam (shouldn't matter but why not), cabin overheat, and in fact disable remote access entirely so I won't accidentally wake her up from sleeping inadvertently with the phone app. Will use my keycard to get in when I need to.
Not that I am suffering from anticipated range anxiety, no, not at all.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,267
3,242
Maryland
I'm currently planning to turn off sentry, dashcam (shouldn't matter but why not), cabin overheat, and in fact disable remote access entirely so I won't accidentally wake her up from sleeping inadvertently with the phone app. Will use my keycard to get in when I need to.
Not that I am suffering from anticipated range anxiety, no, not at all.
Something to consider; in warm weather the Tesla vehicle will circulate coolant, may turn on the radiator fan and even run the AC to cool the battery. There is no way to control this as the Tesla automatically acts to protect the battery. This may cause you to use more of the battery than you expect. I can observe the Model Y waking up from sleep mode approximately once an hour starting in the mid afternoon. This happens when my Model Y is parked, unplugged in my garage. The garage temperature typically gets above 98F on warm days, rarely over 100F. I even considered that there might be a problem with th 12V battery in my Model Y as the reason the vehicle was frequently waking up. What led me to conclude that this is temperature related is that my Model Y rarely wakes up from sleep mode in the evening hours when the garage is a bit cooler.

The mechanism that informs me that my Model Y is waking up is unintentional. I have the Amazon Echo Auto device plugged into the Tesla Model Y's 12V accessory outlet located inside the center armrest compartment. Whenever the Model Y wakes up the 12V accessory outlet powers on and the Amazon Echo Auto device, once powered on, will communicate with the Amazon Alexa app on my phone via Bluetooth (BT) that the Echo Auto is "Ready to Drive." (Note: The phone must be within BT range when the Echo Auto is powered on for this to happen.)

I can't provide an exact estimate of how much power the Model Y is using to cool the battery pack while in my garage. Certainly not as much as Cabin Overheat Protection, but perhaps 2% to 3% of the battery per day.

I would suggest not turning off remote access. If you only wake up the Model Y to check on the battery SOC once a day the additional power use will be negligible.

What is needed is a portable solar panel array or a windmill that can be set up, enable trickle charging the Tesla vehicle while camping off grid.
 
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iamnid

Member
Dec 4, 2019
716
683
Riverside, CA
I wouldn't sweat it. I left my Model Y in our garage while we were out of town last weekend for 4th of July -- not plugged in. The weather was triple digits and even hotter in the garage. I lost three miles of charge in that time. Just don't keep checking on it with the app so it can go into deep sleep and turn sentry off.
 

electricloris

Member
Apr 27, 2021
86
52
Texas
I feel like there are some elevation climbs and some high winds when you do the run from Marathon to Big Bend. Thats a big stretch. You'd probably be fine, but thats a long stretch in there. Big Bend
is awesome though, you will enjoy it.
 
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HAILERS

Member
Apr 24, 2021
25
19
FORT WORTH TEXAS
About charging stations around the USA. IMHO it seems someone could create a charging station made up of only 14-50 plugs and slots for just ev cars. Like take a normal filling station with no pumps but say twenty plus spaces for ev cars, each with a 14-50 plug. Pay at the counter or whatever way it takes.

I've made an assumption that other ev cars can have an adapter put on their charging cables. That's acceptable for me but probably not others for odd reasons. It would not have to be fancy. Just slots for cars and a plug for each of the 14-50 type.

It'seems' to me this would be a cheaper way to have charging stations near and far from interstates etc. Would beat hunting dpwna RV camp site with an available plug. Just seems that way to me. Others?
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,267
3,242
Maryland
About charging stations around the USA. IMHO it seems someone could create a charging station made up of only 14-50 plugs and slots for just ev cars. Like take a normal filling station with no pumps but say twenty plus spaces for ev cars, each with a 14-50 plug. Pay at the counter or whatever way it takes.

I've made an assumption that other ev cars can have an adapter put on their charging cables. That's acceptable for me but probably not others for odd reasons. It would not have to be fancy. Just slots for cars and a plug for each of the 14-50 type.

It'seems' to me this would be a cheaper way to have charging stations near and far from interstates etc. Would beat hunting dpwna RV camp site with an available plug. Just seems that way to me. Others?
I believe this type of Level 2 charging is common in Europe. The customer is expected to provide their own charging cable, plug in to the charging station.
 
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growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
Thanks all for the good advice. Will perhaps leave remote access on, but not use the app, except perhaps once a day. Bluetooth off as well; saves the phone a lot of loss.
I have made a new plan, and I think it could work. I have reservations at Retro Rents in Terlingua, which is quite close to the side of the park I'll be in. They have promised I can charge at a 50 amp plug (and confirmed my Nema 14-50 was the right plug when I sent a pic). I'll get to stay in a retro airstream trailer without actually having to drag it there - efficiency! 😆 Looking forward to making a PlugShare entry for them once that recharge is successful 🤞 . Will stay 2 nights there to maybe explore Marfa and Ft. Davis - with a full charge each morning, that should be cake. I can charge again that night before my long-awaited entry into Big Bend. (Happy to hear cool ideas for things to see in Marfa, sadly during the week though).
This now makes me have 2 fairly long stretches: on the way in, Ft. Stockton -> Terlingua. It's 150 miles per Google. Seems to me if my charge level is looking scary halfway down I might be able to charge at that classic car place in Alpine, but that might require luck (not-in-use charger) and would cost a good bit of time. Has anyone made that run?
The second long run will be on my way out, Chisos Basin in Big Bend to Ft. Stockton, after the car has sat for 3 days / 4 nights (in October). If I go via Marathon that run is 135 miles.
A quick look at ABRP shows that it believes I can do it. I know it can't predict the weather, but I also know I stay strictly on the speed limit (45 mph) in the National Park, which should help me a lot the first 30-40 miles of the return trip (it's a big park). There are a couple of possible 14-50 plugs in Marathon on my way out, which might (again with luck) be accessible, but would slow me down a lot.
Again, thanks for the help and more advice on this new plan very welcome.
 
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growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
I believe this type of Level 2 charging is common in Europe. The customer is expected to provide their own charging cable, plug in to the charging station.
I think (hope!) we may eventually get there with more roadside options like you describe than just the Supercharger network. I feel like these are early days still for the EV world. In that vein, a friend and colleague was reminding me that his small town got 4G (!) wireless service only a couple of years ago.
 

growler23

Member
Apr 27, 2021
15
27
Austin, TX, USA
Another update on the trip. Will first drive Austin to Ft. Davis, with a last supercharge in Ft. Stockton on I-10. The Limpia Hotel in Ft. Davis has 2 Tesla destination chargers, so will charge there overnight. Spend the next day or two around Ft. Davis and Marfa, recharge overnight again, then do the big drop down to Terlingua for two nights at Retro Rents with an L2 charger. Then a short trip to Big Bend, with 4 days/3 nights of leaving Saphira alone and letting my compadres drive me around the park, then the longest stretch from Big Bend back to Ft. Stockton and the oasis of superchargers that is I-10.
That last stretch should be makeable, but if it's looking dicey, I might be able to go back to Retro Rents and get a couple of hours of charge before climbing back to the interstate. Here's how my last and longest stretch works on ABRP, with my assumption of about a 14% loss over my 4 days of sitting. If it's less than that, I'm golden.
Looks confusing since ABRP hides the waypoint names on the map; my route starts at the lower left/southwest, goes right and slightly down to the campgrounds where I wait 4 days, then goes way up/north.

BigBendReturnToStockton.png
 

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