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Lake Tahoe to Miami (and back)

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Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
We have been thinking about doing a cross country road trip for a while. One of our daughters lives in Miami so we decided to use our Thanksgiving trip to drive there. Eight days (with stops) to drive there and five days to return. We had planned to have more stops on the return but a predicted snow storm caused us to speed up our return.

The Car
We have a 2022 Model S LR. This was an absolute joy to drive. Fast, quiet, comfortable with lots of range, fast charging. It’s perfect.

Most of our charging was at Superchargers and these are now so common that there were plenty of options. We opted for 250 kW chargers when possible but our charging time rarely exceeded 30 minutes even with 150 kW stations.
We never had to wait at Superchargers. Only once did it warn us that a site might be full but when we arrived there were three empty spots.
We were able to find L2 chargers at a few hotels for overnight charging.
Overall, 317 Wh/mile for the total 6,500 mile trip. Worst was a section through Arizona with a strong headwind which required 478 Wh/mile.
Cost to charge varied widely from a low of $0.27 to a high of $0.43 per kWh. Some stations offered very low off peak rates. Mississippi and Louisiana charged by the minute based on bands of charge speed. (I think they are prohibited from reselling electricity by the kWh.)

The Tesla Nav system is excellent! It quickly gave us the best routes and detailed turn by turn directions as well as charging stops. It also rerouted around slow traffic and in several cases routed us to less busy Superchargers.
Total distance 6,584 miles.

Traffic and Weather
I should say something about traffic. Most of the trip was in rural areas and traffic was light for the most part. Cities were terrible even outside of rush hours. I nominate Dallas for the absolute worst traffic on the trip. We traveled around the north of the city on ring roads in the early afternoon but the entire route was jammed and their entire freeway system seems to be under reconstruction in a desperate (but ultimately futile) effort to improve traffic. Makes you wonder why they don’t consider mass transit.

We lucked out on the weather. It was cool even to the far south but we didn’t have any rain or snow on our travel days. We hurried to get home before a predicted Sierra snow storm which hit the morning after our evening arrival. We also departed the South heading west just ahead of a tornado producing storm so didn’t have a problem there.

What we brought
We needed to take clothes for cool weather as well as warm so it was nice to have lots of room in the car. In past road trips in the summer, we have packed camping equipment (tent, sleeping bags) for an occasional overnight stay but we didn’t do that for this trip.

There is just not much access to healthy food while traveling so we brought breakfast (coffee, muesli, oat milk) and lunch (bread, hummus, peanut butter, and jam) fixings. Some of the hotels had free breakfast and we were able to find fruit and oatmeal there. Most hotels had coffee but we carried a small electric kettle, ground coffee, drip filter and insulated mugs which we used a few times.
For dinner we tried to find local (not chain) restaurants which generally had better food.
We carried a small portable electric cooler which we powered from a small Bluetti EB3A battery. The Bluetti was, in turn, kept charged by the car while driving and provided continuous power to the refrigerator when the car was off.

The Route
On the way out, we took 8 days with a two night stay near Big Bend National Park. We drove South through Nevada on US95 then South through Arizona to El Paso where we picked up I10 which we followed across the Southern US to Florida.
Where we stayed:
Kingman, Arizona (the hotel here had free L2 chargers).
Tucson, Az
We diverted off I10 to Marathon, Texas to stay at the Gage Hotel for two nights while we visited Big Bend NP. Highly recommended. They had a Tesla wall charger which saved us for travel to Big Bend park.
San Antonio, Tx to visit the Alamo
New Orleans, La
Marianna, Fl
Miami, Fl

One week in Miami for a family Thanksgiving

On the return trip, we traveled a bit further north. From Tallahassee, we drove up to Montgomery and Selma then picked up I40 which we followed to Dallas then north to Witchita Falls, TX and back on I40 through New Mexico and Arizona. Finally, we returned to Lake Tahoe by US95 across Nevada. We wanted to spend more time in Arizona and New Mexico but we skipped that to get home before a predicted winter storm hit.
Where we stayed:
Miami to Marianna, FL
Montgomery, Selma, Vicksburg and overnight in Meridian, Ms to I20
LA (forget where?)
Witchitall Falls, Tx to Amarillo I40
Holbrook, AZ
Lake Tahoe

I should mention that the scenery on the trip was spectacular. We loved West Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and the Gulf Coast. Our destination was our daughter's home on an island in Biscayne Bay which was quiet with beautiful views.