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Planning a Trip from DFW to Auldbrass in South Carolina (and North Carolina)

Discussion in 'Southeast' started by purplewalt, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    Even though I am in DFW/Southwest, I am posting here because I think eyes and boots on the ground in GA, SC and NC will have better up-to-the minute info for SC stations roll-outs.

    I am planning a trip this Fall Late OCT./Early NOV. primarily to visit/tour Auldbrass Plantation near Yemassee, South Carolina.
    (It is only OPEN every other year for 2 days, scheduled to be open again in Fall 2015.)

    I will be departing DFW late October (date to be determined), but I MUST be in South Carolina by Friday Nov. 1 for Nov. 2 tour.
    I am looking at current TM SuperCharger map projections for Fall 2013, and there appears to be a future one located East of Atlanta, and several throughout South Carolina and North Carolina.

    TWO BIG questions:
    *** Leaving Dallas in my S85 with a full charge, I might make it as far as Minden or possibly Ruston, LA (254 mi.)
    Would I then go to an RV park, Nissan Dealership or welding shop with a 50 amp plug and charge for ~8 hours to be back to 240 mile range, or would it be better to stop in Shreveport area, stop and get charge there?

    I calculate the OUTBOUND trip LEG (roughly)
    will be leave home, drive 3+ hours and charge 8 hours ~265 miles
    drive 3+ hours, charge for 8 hours ~240 to 265 miles
    drive 3+ hours, charge for 8 hours ~240 to 265 miles
    drive 3+ hours and MAYBE getting to Atlanta (781 miles from Dallas to Atlanta)
    Still need to get to the SC station East of Atlanta (finally!), if it is Open and operational at that time, will definitely require ANOTHER stop and some additional charge time.
    This looks to be cutting it really close (for me).

    Arrive at FIRST SC station, then recharge for 1 hour 15 minutes @ SC station and continue on to South Carolina.

    I wouldn't mind stopping at one hotel with EV charging, getting some rest (what else does one do for 8 hours?) mid-way to Atlanta.
    Does this even seem feasible, or am I missing something?

    Any updates or crystal balls that know if the station outside Atlanta status?
    Any updates or crystal balls for status and Openings of SC stations in South and North Carolina?
    Are there any hotels (recommendations) or B&B in South Carolina that have suitable EV facilities?
    Are there any hotels or B&B in North Carolina that have suitable EV facilities?

    AND then I need to rework a similar/reverse program for the RETURN Trip Leg back to DFW.


    *** I still have my ICE, and I can make the leg to Atlanta in ~12 hours. Rest of trip would follow accordingly.


    *** I have a maxi-scooter (Suzuki Burgman automatic touring motor cycle), and can make the leg to Atlanta in ~12 hours riding (might limit riding to 10 hours a day on bike with stops every 150/170 miles). Rest of trip would follow accordingly.
    I took a similar trip thru AR, TN, AL, MS and LA to Florence, Alabama last October on the Burgman, 1,300+ mi in 3 days. And yes, some rain was encountered.

    I guess I could fly into GA or NC or SC, get a rental car, (but how typical is that).

    I just went to SC Opening in Waco on Tuesday, LOVE the feel and drive of the Model S on the open road (first time away from the immediate DFW Metroplex in my MS).
    NO COMPARISON between the two cars (ICE is BMW 135i).
    There is a minor consideration about encountering rain/inclement weather while on the bike, but I have all the riding gear.

    I want to make a quick side trip to Durham, NC and possibly Asheville AFTER visiting Auldbrass.
    Maybe a couple of other SC stations will be Operational by then?

    IF the predominant thinking is to take the MS, I need to start doing some serious strategic planning to account for a full day plus (28 hours each way) of charging time ADDED to my schedule both OUTBOUND and RETURN Leg (56 hours total).

    Thank you in advance for any information, input, thoughts and insights for a trip into "the wild" across LA, MS, AL and GA input, without SC stations vs my back-up plan ICE.
  2. Cheerose

    Cheerose Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I haven't done this trip (or any Long Distance) yet; should get my MS in the next week or two. However, I was taking a look at a relocation to San Antonio from here (which is about 30 miles North of Atlanta)... so I might be able to help you a bit. By the way, before we get started, nice destination suggestion! :) I have never heard of this place... and, while I'm probably too late for 2013... it would be something on the radar for 2015.

    First of all, you should have the following resources/websites handy: EV Trip Planner, Plugshare, Recargo (while they have technically merged, there are still items on one database that aren't on the other), Blink & Chargepoint memberships (and the associated key tags), and a RV park search tool (or just KOA). Any distances/power consumed will be via EV Trip Planner and are based on 72F & no wind.

    Lets get the elephant out of the way first... :D Given that the contractors seems to be going up I-95, it is possible that you'll have 1 or 2 Superchargers available during your trip (Savannah & I24/I95 area), but I would strongly suggest that you plan as if they will not be operational. The one that you see east of Atlanta is, most likely, going to be up I-85... so more like NE of the city. I doubt that this one will be ready by your trip ... my guess is December; but I have no information to support this.

    Are you set on the LA/MS/AL/GA route? The reason that I ask this is that it appears that I-20 is very sparse when it comes to stations; at least, what's listed on PlugShare & Recargo.

    Finally, do you have a single charger in your MS or did you opt for twin chargers? If you didn't go for the 2nd charger, there are a couple of spots where you may want to reconsider...

    Your initial question was in regards to the first leg of the trip (assuming you keep with this route) - Based on what I see on Plugshare/Recargo, I would definitely stop in Shreveport. There are a couple of Nissan dealerships where you could charge... along with a Hilton Garden Inn which has a 14-50 outlet in the back on the hotel. However, maybe a bigger reason for stopping here is that, via Plugshare, there is someone on the south side that has a HPWC available. Their listing states that this is only at 48A - but this might have been done where there were the initial issues with the fuses, so they may have that resolved and have it at the full 80A capability. When you are dealing with individuals on Plugshare, it is best to make the initial contact prior to your trip to confirm any details... and then confirm when you are on your way.

    Your next target stop should be Jackson MS. However, Shreveport to Jackson is 220 miles / 77 kWh. I would probably want an intermediate stop to pick up a few more miles of charge; Vicksburg may be a good spot, with a Nissan dealership and the battlefield to explore. In Jackson, there is the Old Capital Inn which has a ChargePoint charger; per Recargo, you must be a guest to use it.

    Next target would be Birmingham AL; 238 miles / 85 kWh. There's a KOA just before you cross into Alabama that you would probably want to stop at to charge. In Birmingham, McWane Science Center would be your best bet ($ 5 fee to park;ChargePoint; garage closes at 5 or 6pm).

    Since Birmingham to Atlanta is only 146 miles / 52 kWh... that would be a good place to stop for the night. There are a couple of parking garages that have EV plugs available... as well as (at least) two Hilton Garden inns as well. Atlanta will be the first major area that you'll hit that has the Blink network in place.

    Final inbound leg would take you to Augusta and then off the Interstate towards Yemassee. In Augusta, there is a RV park just before you get to town that PlugShare has a listing for. There is also a charging station in Aiken, SC.

    Finally (whew...) in Yemassee, there is a KOA and another RV Park just south of town that have listings on PlugShare.

    If I get a chance, I'll try to help with the return leg (gotta get back to work)... but I will say that going through Tennessee should be much easier due to the EV network there.
  3. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    My S85 is only equipped with single charger.

    Multi-purpose trip is in mind:
    GOALS: stop by and visit High Museum in Atlanta, Auldbrass (on Nov 2), Charleston, Durham (Doris Duke Collection is currently on display), Asheville.
    Some Memphis Bar-B-Que (some for there, some to go) is also a great way to complete the last legs of a trip.

    Even though there are a LOT of gray dots on the Fall calendar, I suspect Elon's LA/NYC trip will re-priortize some of the rollout for the SC stations to ensure that trip is a success (and I DO want that also.)
    Timing is EVERYTHING.
  4. Jonathan Hewitt

    Feb 19, 2013
    South Carolina
    I live in south carolina and there's no info on superchargers coming here anytime soon. Like said above, it looks like they are working up I-95 from the South and down I-95 from the North. You'll probably be lucky if the Savannah one comes online by then but I doubt it based on the rate they've been turning them online recently.
  5. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    #5 purplewalt, Sep 25, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
    "We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort."
    -- Jesse Owens

    Well, I am now deep into planning the trip, having made the decision that the MS needs to get some road miles added to her log and odometer.
    Hopefully, by time for the next road trip, enough Supercharger Stations will be available that it won't require as much up-front strategic planning and minute investigation.

    MANY THANKS to Cheerose for helping lay-out and strategize the first part of the trip.
    As a general rule, I am shooting for around 200-225 mile stints, with some occasional short charges as they become available.
    Hotel/motels that have appropriate charging will provide overnight charges while I sleep.
    There is going to be two long charging day-time stints, so I probably need to find a couple of books to fend off boredom.
    I am really looking forward to using the Burlington, NC Supercharging station (close to Durham), as it should be completed in next three weeks (Mid- Oct.) or so (at this time, it looks to be the only one up and running for the general vicinity I plan to travel.)
    Per Cheerose's advice, I am plotting my return path going through NC, Tennessee, AK.
    Thinking ahead, driving that route will allow me to stop in Memphis to enjoy some of their spectacular Bar-B-Que (maybe bring some extra home) and also to visit the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

    I am also greatly indebted to Richard Levy's blog depicting his successful trip from New Mexico to Maine (and successful return), and I am inspired by dmetcalf's genius use of camping tent attached to the back of his MS and his generous willingness to share lots of tips.
    Still have not decided if I will purchase and use the tent or not (for this trip), but definitely may use RV parks as intermediate charging top-off locations.

    Also, a big thank you to some Texas guys: sublimaze1 and Jerry33 for their examples of travel into the wild (without Superchargers).
    If it means me being patient enough to keep the throttle in check during the drive, I am committed: First and foremost my goal is always arrive with a few miles of charge.

    I looked online for KOA sites, and realizing how few that existed for my intended route, so I have purchased a huge RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory.
    It will probably get used (a lot) as I further get plans, dates, times written down on paper.

    Gotta get back to the details....

    • "There are a million reasons why you can't. Focus on the few reasons why you can."
    • - - Kara Goucher, American Long Distance Runner

  6. TNEVol

    TNEVol Member

    Apr 27, 2013
    Brush Creek TN
    PW I live in TN and have done some driving throughout the state and in GA . If you travel in East TN. Check out the General Morgan Inn in Greeneville. That is a historical hotel that is both beautiful and reasonable cost. Also a lot of history in Greeneville home of President Andrew Johnson. Their maintenance guy Bob Everhart put in a 6-50 welding outlet just for my one night stay and placed a cone in the spot. He was willing to wire it for whatever outlet I needed. Amps need to be dialed down to 20 due to the breaker and voltage. If you need more TN info just PM me.
  7. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    NE Tennessee
    I am in NE Tennessee and can offer 48 amps via a J-1772 connection. The General Morgan Inn is very nice and they reserved a spot for me when I stayed but only had a 110V outlet. But that was enough for my needs. Be sure to check Plug_Share as that is likely the best option for finding charging options.
  8. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    Thanks for your kind offer.
    I plan to mostly use RV parks (50 Amp) for charging, as I am finding it difficult to locate hotels with charging.
    110 V as the charging source won't cut it for this trip, maybe another time for something much more leisurely.

    I may alter my return trip to go through Greeneville, TN **(Andrew Jackson's hometown, began his political career there)

    Also, driving thru the mountains (terrain) will certainly impact driving range, so I intend to play that by ear and be vigilant as I monitor charge and usage levels.
  9. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    Just back from my trip, almost 3,000 miles, only ONE Supercharger (Burlington, NC) used it twice the same day.

    Okay: the bad news.
    Hilton Garden Inn in Shreveport does NOT have any 14-50 outlets, even after I called and spoke with them to CONFIRM before I reserved a Room.
    They do have several 110 V outdoor outlets, but those are nearly useless for overnight charging.
    (Maybe if you stayed two or three DAYS, you would have a decent charge....)
    Luckily, I still had about 47 miles of range when I arrived in Shreveport, called ahead to an RV Park and made it there for first night's rest.

    So, either an RV park or a State Park fulfilled most of my charging requirements.

    With a Supercharger Network in place, the entire trip would have taken three or four days LESS.
    (Most of the Model S owners in California have no idea how fortunate they are to have such SC riches.)
    400 miles was about the max I could typically do in a day, although I did 495 miles in one day, stopping and charging twice, but it was a REALLY long day...
    I typically drove (cruise control) about 61 mph going East, and 59 or 58 mph going West, mostly to keep my actual miles close to my rated miles.
    Overall, I had a chance to relax and read and chat a bit with different folks while the car charged.
    If there was a place to eat nearby (while charging), I walked to get some food, but that was a rarity.
    It is a big-ole world out there, and there is not a whole lot of (correctly) informed folks, about EVs in particular.

    Outside of stopping and charging at the Marietta, GA Tesla Service Center (the staff there were all very gracious), I saw only one other Tesla Model S (white GA or FL plates) the entire trip, parked and being charged in Savannah.
    HUGE Thank You to my Hosts (and new friends) @ Marietta SC!!!

    I did use a 50 A Service in one of Arkansas State Park: the park was beautiful (fall tree leaves/colors), and relatively fast (30 miles range per hour).
    I now have a great resource guide that lists all RV parks, mostly geared toward Good Sam's.
    And I now have a KOA Park guide, used them a primarily because of their Kabins.
    MOST KOAs have little Kabins available for use, but they generally do not have linens or pillows, so bring your own, or a sleeping bag.

    One KOA location I called (Buffalo, TN) WOULD NOT let me charge there, as they said an EV caused the outlet/station to burn up, so they directed me to Loretta Lynn's Ranch and a HUGE two-story cottage with a kitchen and full restroom facilities.
    Another KOA location outlet was inoperable and the camp was already full with Snowbirds RVs, another location had a bad Breaker and a shorted-out and broken/cracked 14-50 outlet, used a third outlet to charge with (they worked on the other two broken stations to make them operable).

    The mountains and hills in Northern Alabama, Western North Carolina and ALL of Tennessee will definitely impact your driving speed and range.
    I sometimes needed to slow down to keep my anticipated range, or I might not like the results.
    I always tried to keep at least a 30 mile range buffer when I arrived at my next destination.

    I always tried to start each leg with about 40 miles of excess range and pace my driving to arrive with at least 30 miles of range remaining, because you never know about weather, terrain, temperature, etc.
    My dash display started adding yellow dashed lines and changing colors (and giving written warnings) when it got below 30 miles of range, really alerting me to slow down and start charging!

    There is an RV Park outside Birmingham, AL in Helena, but the owner was not willing to let me spend the night (sleeping) in my car there.
    He does not have cabins.
    And in my opinion, he had a negative attitude (a whole list of NOs for his Park).
    Maybe he would let somebody charge during the day, but I don't know.

    I did use a charge station outside a Whole Foods in Charlotte, NC: free charging!
    And I got a Blink card from a Cracker Barrel in Eastern Tennessee (mine had not arrived in the mail yet), used it, but that was fairly slow (about 17 miles of range per hour.)

    At a couple of RV parks, another Model S had been through there already driving from Cali to NY and back again.

    So, in Summary:
    Check your ego at the door and Drive like you want to arrive, with a decent amount of charge left in your battery (my Magic number is 30 miles of range). YMMV.
    Always call or email ahead and confirm what your charging and sleeping requirements are, and if they are willing and obliging hosts.
    Always have a back-up plan and be flexible enough to use it when warranted.
    Know your anticipated range, verify it twice just to be sure. GPS is not infallible, and neither am I.

  10. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

    Sep 23, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    An excellent write-up purplewalt, with lots of practical advice. Thanks!
  11. Blathering1

    Blathering1 Remember

    Sep 16, 2013
    USA...Carolina...Chapel Hill
    Thinking about plug options-- did you find you needed (or could have used) adapters other than those in the MS kit?

    Thanks for sharing details of your adventure. Hopefully, I too can find a time to take a leisurely "all EV" southern road trip ---the spring bekons!
  12. JST

    JST Active Member

    May 23, 2013
    So what did you think of Auldbrass? I got a chance to do that tour a few years ago--enjoyed it immensely.
  13. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Dallas, Texas
    #13 purplewalt, Nov 9, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    The two primary adapters in the kit that I used are the NEMA 14-50 and the J1772.
    I used the 110 V adaptor the first three weeks I had the car, haven't used it since (it does charge, but oh so slowly...)

    At the Whole Foods in Charlotte I charged overnight using the J 1772 adaptor.
    And at the Cracker Barrel charging location in Eastern Tennessee there were two electrical stations, one had a connector that looked like it could have handled two CHADdeMO ports, the one I charged with I used the J 1772 adaptor.
    I do have a CHAdeMO adaptor on order for future trips, never know when it will/might come in handy.
    Another (future) arrow in my quiver, will use it when the time comes.

    Looking ahead (at the current Supercharger projected map), I-10 corridor looks to be the primary Southern E-W route by end of 2014, PARTS of I-20 and most of I-40 are included in the future 2015 Supercharger map.
    Understand those maps are only GUIDELINES/ touch points for future locations, so one never knows location or timing, only after they are started and then opened for use.
    As future SC Stations come on-line and routes are defined, we shall be a lot smarter where the need is , and Tesla will probably respond accordingly.

    It had rained a bunch the night before my tour of Auldbrass, did not know if the tour would be delayed or not until Saturday morning.
    Only planned the first part of the trip with that (inclement weather) as one of the considerations: Monday would have been a make-up tour day if things went awry.
    Weather was fairly clear the next morning, so tour went off without a hitch.

    Had gotten there early (even after getting lost on the back-roads for 45 minutes), was first in line for non-bus individuals who wanted to see the main house.
    (There were several tour groups that had arrived by medium and large buses.)
    I had seen previous comments/blogs to get in line for the main house early, because the line/queue gets really long.
    Letting people in 10 at a time (with booties) takes a long time to process all those people, I'm sure the wait was over 2 hours for the folks who arrived later in the day.
    LOTS and LOTS of Docents on the property ensuring everything went smoothly and rules were respected.

    The entire property, buildings, trees, animals, artwork is amazing.
    They have done a remarkable job restoring and rebuilding most of the original buildings.
    AND there are still more future projected buildings on tap (floating dining barge, additional guest cottages).
    Joel Silver deserves a LOT of thanks and credit for his dedication and sensitivity to reclaim this nearly lost treasure.
    (He had also previously purchased and restored the Storer House in LA area).

    Several really good lectures/talks by folks who are there everyday to restore and maintain the Plantation.

    Might visit it again in 2015, who knows.
    I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to see and visit it, might not be able to get tickets next time.

    Also went to visit Middleton Place, a really OLD authentic Plantation.
    Grounds and Gardens there are awesome: definitely worth the trip and at least three hours of walking/exploring.
    Would LOVE to see it bursting forth in the spring, late March early April.

    The entire Lowland Region is full of wonders: Savannah, Charleston, Beaufort, Patriot Point, Auldbrass.
  14. Shumdit

    Shumdit Member

    Sep 2, 2013
    Thanks for visiting our state!
  15. NCIC

    NCIC Member

    Jan 10, 2013
    Longview, Tx
    Possible Supercharger in Lindale, Texas to for I-20 travelers from Shreveport to DFW

    Possible Supercharge going in at the Collin Street Bakery in Lindale, Texas for those of you traveling I-20 to Dallas. Today, I attended the ribbon cutting at the Corsicana Supercharger and spoke with the real estate director of Collin Street Bakeries and he is lobbying for a Supercharger at this location as it is exactly halfway between Shreveport, La and Dallas, Tx. (attached picture is of the new Corsicana, Texas Supercharger)


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