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Planning a U.S. road trip - Toronto to Key West

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Not1Drop, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. Not1Drop

    Not1Drop Member

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    Looking at planning a family road trip from just north of Toronto to Key West, primarily planning to go down 75 via the 401 to Detroit and return up 95 etc to come back through either Watertown or Buffalo.
    First question, can anyone share their experience(s)? While I've certainly met lots of other owners in the GTA that have gone back and forth to Chicago, Boston I haven't crossed paths with anyone mentioning a longer range trip.
    Although we're pushing 85k in our two year old 85d our longest trips so far have been a few times to North Bay, and Kingston.
    My main concern with the route, is what is the average experience people have had with trusting the TripPlanner taking you from one charger to the next, or when relying on the PlugShare App to find alternates. Would we primarily be needing to use ChaDEMO with alternates, so I need to make sure we've bought the cable adapter? Has anyone found themselves sitting outside Knoxville at 8% remaining and wondering where they can top up to get that next 50 miles, while the family gazes accusingly at you the driver and you try and pass it off as an AutoPilot mistake? ha ha.
    While no trip goes 100% according to plan, I'm looking to take my family that hasn't done a long road trip before on the trips i did many times as a kid and show them all the interesting things they've just been flying over before. Naturally though I'd prefer to not be Clark Griswold standing on the side of the road holding a charging cable on an empty stretch of interstate.
    Thanks in advance for any replies.
     
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  2. 3s-a-charm

    3s-a-charm Active Member

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    I'm jealous! Enjoy your trip - sounds like a blast! Pretty nice drive to the Keys - I've done it twice but from Orlando :).
     
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  3. jrreno

    jrreno Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile

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    #3 jrreno, Jan 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
    So we have family in Rochester, NY and live in Sarasota,Fl. We have made the trip several times. We have also taken the car to Key West. A few points:
    - I have found the EV trip planner to be fairly accurate when correct information is input to it.
    - I am a bit conservative so I just get the distance from the NAV to the next SC and add 50 miles of rated range.
    If it is cold or raining or snowing I'll add a bit more. I always charge more than the NAV says is enough.
    - We mostly have traveled down through Binghamton and picked up the I95 SC chain. Last time we went through Harrisburg down to Woodbridge which avoided a lot of mess in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.
    - We did make a trip from Pittsburgh and picked up I75 in Cincinnati. It was a much more pleasant drive than 95..We charged to 240 in Atlanta and drove to Tifton skipping Macon for no real reason other than we could.
    - Coming in to Florida on 75 and taking it over to Miami (or cutting across on the turnpike) is much better than 95 allowing you to avoid Jacksonville.
    - The Marathon airport ( location of the SC) is small and not always open. We did rest stop and take out before arriving. Once I dropped everyone at the pizza and sub shop to the north, plugged in the car and did the 15 minute walk back to the pizza shop. Then walked back and picked everyone up after eating.
    - In Key West there is a Tesla charger at the Mote Marine museum. We had 2 day tickets for the tour bus so I plugged in and rode the bus back to the family. Charged at 28 mph. ( single charger) I rode the bus back and picked the car up after a few hours. I left my phone number on the dash in case anyone else needed it.

    I use Supercharge.info to plan my route through the chargers and enter the next supercharger into the NAV while charging to get mileage to it. I have never needed the Chademo or the universal charger when I have planned my route through Superchargers. The route down from Toronto to Key West is much more robust with Superchargers than it used to be. Also check for destination chargers near where you are planning to stay a night, it can allow you to either skip an SC or spend less time at one. I like to plan lunch near an SC so I can charge near full while enjoying a nice lunch.
     
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  4. Hugh Mannity

    Hugh Mannity Mediocre Member

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    Last summer drove from Toronto to Vancouver via the supercharger route through St. Louis, Kansas City etc. I used the nav in the car exclusively and it was always bang on for estimating how much charge was required to the next SC.
     
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  5. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Is it bang on from when you leave the charger, or by the recalculations? I probably just drive too fast but I find it's always about 10% too low from the time I leave but it does recalculate and get it right by the time I arrive, and it tells me to slow down if needed.
     
  6. ricardocabesa

    ricardocabesa STD free

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    Wait until after Easter when the snowbirds are gone. Also,avoid Key West during Spring Break and the week after Bike Week in Daytona. And Fantasy Fest!
     
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  7. SUMD

    SUMD Member

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    I would echo this. The snowbirds are manageable, but if you have kids, or you're just not an anything-goes party type, then I'd certainly avoid the spring breakers, fantasy festers, and that week after bike week. If your schedule is set in stone and you end up with any of the above groups in Key West, you should still be OK, not the end of the world, but you'd be restricted in terms of places you can hang out just because of the sheer number of people.

    As with any major city, and especially in South Florida / the Keys, don't leave any valuables in plain sight in your ride.

    Heads up on the Superchargers in South FL that you may encounter... if you stop at Port St. Lucie, it's relatively safe, lots of eats in the same parking lot. Riviera Beach Supercharger- bring food with you. Although this as at a service center, the general area is sketchy- I would not recommend taking a walk after sunset, and no restrooms/places to eat within a reasonable walking distance. Of course, should you find yourself charging during business hours, then the service center is right there for restrooms, lounging, and free coffee. Plantation Supercharger- safe, lots of eats, charging stalls almost always available. Rarely I've seen all stalls filled up at night.

    Enjoy your drive, would be great if you could keep uploading photos and updates of your trip on this thread as you and your family embark on your journey! I'm sure fellow owners will pine in as they see you guys crossing into their neck of the woods :D
     
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  8. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    Don't use the rated range on the dash to decide when it's time to leave a supercharger. Always use the trip planner for that. The rated range on the dash is based on going 65MPH and the planner in the NAV accounts for your actual recent usage and accounts for it. I made that mistake on my first supercharger trip. I had a 15% buffer on the rated range meter and set-off only to be told by the NAV a little while later that I needed to slow down to make my destination. That wouldn't have happened had I followed the trip planner....it would have had me charge another 5 or 10 minutes and would have ultimately saved me time. I was planning on skipping a charger on that stretch so I ended up stopping at the in-between charger. It worked-out okay, but I would have saved some time had I followed the planner.
     
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  9. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Considering the choices I completely agree with this. Toojays, a Floridized New York-style deli is a good option and is in front of the Supercharger.
    Taking I-75, then Florida's Turnpike is well worth the slight extra distance. My car lives East of that, near US-1/I-95, but I almost always go N-S with I-75 because it is sooo much easier and less stressful. It is longer, no mistake, but seriously less congested and easier. Both routes have Superchargers all the way, no problem. Avoiding Jacksonville keeps you out of eternally persistent construction zones and periodic accidents that make long delays. YMMV, for sure, not everyone agrees.
    The downside of the Western route is that you'll miss salt.pepper.thyme in Kingsland, GA (near Jacksonville, in fact the Jacksonville area Supercharger is there) one of the most pleasant small restaurants I know. I know of no other downsides. Another upside is that after charging at Fort Myers Supercharger you can visit the Edison-Ford Museums and learn about Edison's battery-powered boat, among other things.
     
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  10. blackscraper

    blackscraper Member

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  11. Not1Drop

    Not1Drop Member

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    Wow, thanks to one and all for the responses!! Guess I'm showing my age when I start wondering if there is still a Stuckeys every second interchange down 75 after Cinicinati. Or how about the endless billboards for South of the Border along 95? When jrreno mentioned being from Sarasota I instantly thought of Yoder's and Peanut Butter Pie.
    Family is already addicted to Cracker Barrel from previous gas driven trips to NYC or even a flight to Miami where we trekked out from the beach to the highway just so we could hit one there....then again we're always looking for a Palm as well so guess we're not too bad. ha ha.
    While i normally only charge to 80% for daily use when it comes to trips involving a destination charger like North Bay (when Huntsville wasn't open) or over to Kingston with a pitstop in Port Hope on a cold December day I usually charge to full. Not so much a range worry, more of a habit of making side stops along the way that always eat a bit extra in range.
    Again thanks everyone, will definitely check blackscraper's thread and will create another when we actually start our journey.

    Keep forgetting to add our info to the profile, 85D delivered Mar 27, 2015, currently 84,000km. We average about 3800km\month.
     
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  12. ricardocabesa

    ricardocabesa STD free

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    In Ft Myers,there is a Destination Charger at a Culver's burger joint just off I-75,just 1 charger and several SC at the mall referenced above. The Destination charger is closer to the Museums. But both are just off I-75.
     
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  13. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    My experience last year (driving Toronto to Hilton Head, South Carolina) is that you can generally trust the nav planner, but I would still suggest you stick around a few extra minutes AFTER the system tells you it's OK to start driving to the next destination. We had one segment where it kept telling us to slow down (we had to slow to 55 in a 65 zone) or we wouldn't make it. We trusted the system no longer after that, and we gave it an extra 50 km or so. More waiting (a bit) but way less (zero) stress.
     
  14. Not1Drop

    Not1Drop Member

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    Hey there, thanks. Hadn't expected any more posts. Actually i'm one of those guys that likes to keep a 15 to 20% buffer anyhow. We quite often will make little side trips along a given path although this will be our first long haul in the Tesla, just a bit under 6000km round trip. One thing I'm trying to make sense of is where Google Maps, or the Tesla planner, seem to be directing me down the Atlantic coast once we get to Orlando, while evtripplanner is sending me over to Tampa down the Gulf coast then across the Everglades from Naples, fewer SC's but perhaps less traffic in general. Figures we got snow today when i just took my winters off in prep for leaving next week, ah well. The trick now will be plotting out hotels based on x number hours of driving, y number of hours charging during the day, and z where we want to stop along the way from one day to the next.
     
  15. Shaz

    Shaz Member

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    Hi,

    How did your trip go?
    Looking to do a similar trip from Toronto to Miami to board a cruise next year. Going to have my wife and 2 kids with me using a Model X 75D. Any tips and info you have would be great!

    Thanks!
     
  16. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Since my last post in this thread eight months ago I have made one long NS trip, with the Northen end Quebec City. Every time the trip becomes easier and the routing options more varied as new Superchargers open. Still I find the western Florida portion more pleasant than I95/Florida's Turnpike. Basically you can route yourself by whim, almost. I still use EV Trip Planner but now deviate just as I used to do with ICE. Enjoy your trip and choose the route based on your interests. Charging is no longer a problem.
     
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  17. Shaz

    Shaz Member

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    Thanks, much appreciated!
     
  18. Not1Drop

    Not1Drop Member

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    Hi, I've always meant to post a long addition to the thread but work, life, kids etc...always seem to tie things up. When it comes down to it the short version would be: we had zero issues, zero range worries even coming through the mountains in winter through Pennsylvania on the way home, and zero regrets to not spending what would have been over $700 just for fuel in our ICE. I took the gas savings and put it towards nicer restaurants and hotels, we still stopped at Cracker Barrel and found Stuckey's Pecan Logs along the way though.

    Slightly longer version that I may still add to.
    We went down 75 crossing at Detroit then took the turnpike from Orlando down to Miami then onwards to KeyWest and Mile "0". Came home up 95, took the 495 around the west side of Washington to catch the 270 and 70, then the 81 up to Harrisburg so we could stop in Hershey, then continued up 81 to Syracuse since we have family in Kingston but after a two week road trip we were done so we hung a left and decided to cross at Buffalo Niagara instead.
    My main advice would be you can trust the navigation in the Tesla. If it says you'll have 20% in Macon while doing 130kmh south of Atlanta, it means it. I would also download and sign up for the Plugshare app on your phone then also hit the site and save your profile in the favourites of your X75's browser. Useful if you start going off on a side trip\adventure and want to find other charging options.
    I also logged on and ran a few routes through evtripplanner.com The evtrip website wont tell you where to stop each day but will tell you rough time estimates so you can plan out if taking 75 that yes it will be a long first day to Cincinnati for example. We supercharged and destination charged all the way. For fun while we shopped in Orlando I tried a chargepoint for $3 just to say we had done something other than Superchargers.
    It is a bit different if you've done the drive to Florida in an ICE before but we actually found we liked it more. The idea of stopping every two or three hours getting a stretch, or bite to eat while topping up was definitely a much more relaxing trip compared to filling an ICE and doing four to six hour legs before stopping for fuel. Not sure which of the four of us appreciated the pitstops more, our JK, websurfing teen, shopping mom, or unfortunately nicotine addicted me....
    If you're leaving the car sit in the sun for a week, if it's a seven day cruise, top it up so you won't need to do so when you get off the cruise and just want to get the family rolling, charge won't drop that much just sitting based on other threads i've read.

    At some point i'll rattle off a list of our chargers based on our route. Main thing i'd say is the supercharger and destination charging are only continuing to grow. Don't worry about it, plan on enjoying your drive down and back instead. Have a great vacation.
     
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  19. Shaz

    Shaz Member

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    Thanks for this! Very informative and am looking forward to the trip even more now.
     

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