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Road Trip Advice - Sanford to Key West and Return

Discussion in 'Florida' started by JohnGarziglia, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. JohnGarziglia

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    #1 JohnGarziglia, Jan 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
    Many thanks for the Hotels in Florida with Charging Stations sticky thread. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who contributed to that.

    We will be taking the Amtrak Auto Train with our Roadster to Sanford in February, with the intention of driving around for a week or so ending up in Key West, and then returning to Sanford.

    What I am asking, from those Tesla owners who live and drive in the area, are suggestions for charging stations & stops that would work well for this Sanford to Key West road trip. My questions are:

    (1) Upon arriving at Sanford in the morning, I will have approximately 110 miles of charge. Going south or east, where should I head to and spend the day and be able to charge the car (i.e. what is worth stopping at for the eight hours or so it will take to fully or partially charge, and then would you drive further that same day, or stay overnight and if so, where)?

    (2) What would you consider the must-see stops that might also conveniently have a hotel nearby with charging stations going south -- where would you stop if you were doing this drive?

    (3) In most of the Keys, I note that there do not appear to be many charging stations but there are several campgrounds. Does anyone have any experience as to where these campgrounds are located in proximity to a hotel/motel and would any of these be a good destination to stop and charge?

    (4) On the return, should I take a different route and see different things, and if so, are there any destinations with hotels/chargers that are recommended?​

    This is to be a relaxing road trip with the Roadster so if you ask what will we enjoy, it is just about everything including beach, restaurants, scenery, Everglades, etc. as long as we are staying in a decent places with safety for the Roadster while charging even if the charging station is in a nearby garage and not at the hotel, enjoying what Florida and the Keys has to offer, and not running out of juice.

    We do not have too much of a desire to spend too much time in the Orlando area as we have already visited that part of Florida. Also, while I do have a Tesla, spending $400+ for hotel rooms at high end hotels is not my idea of a road trip so many of the hotels listed that have chargers are not particularly appropriate.

    Any observations and recommendations for this trip from Tesla owners that live/drive in southern Florida are most appreciated. Thanks!

    John
     
  2. Mnlevin

    Mnlevin Member

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    Dont know too much about charging a Roadster as i have a model S. While there are many campgrounds in the keys there are scarce charging stations and virtually none past marathon. Check Plug Share. I have a 240/50 Plug at my condo in Key Largo, and right next door to our community is a very nice Hilton Resort. That is 96 miles to Key West from there. There are many chargepoint stations in Miami, there is a supercharger in Pt St Lucie but dont think you can use that. Again check on PlugShare.
     
  3. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Hi John,

    Even with Mark's (Mnlevin) generous offfer, it is still challenging to travel to Key West especially in a Roadster without the benefit of Supercharging.

    This thread may be of some interest. Adventures in charging a Model S in traveling to Key West

    If you check our Google Map, Map of Florida Hotels with Electric Charging Stations, you'll see that there are three hotels in the Miami area with chargers. One of them may be a good jumping off point for overnight charging before heading off to Key West. The big problem will be finding a charging source in Key West to make the return trip back to the Miami area.

    If you plan to spend 2-3 days in Key West and do mostly walking or taking mass transit to get around, you may be able to get a full charge with a 110 v outlet. Obviously you would have to find a hotel where you were guaranteed having access. You might need to haul around a suitable extension cord. That in itself might be challenging with the limited storage space in a Roadster.

    If you are determined to make such a trip don't forget to factor in the Tesla Service Centers/Stores on the way. The one on Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach is located in a pedestrial mall and I believe it is walking distance from the beach. You'll obviously have to schedule in advance with Tesla.

    Good luck.

    Larry
     
  4. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    John,

    I found a strategically located hotel off of I-95 that has a charger. ( I just added it to our Hotels in Florida with Chargers thread.)

    Comfort Suites
    1175 Malabar Rd. Palm Bay, FL 32907
    (321) 369-1234
    www.comfortsuitespalmbay.com

    This hotel is about 80 miles from Sanford so it would accommodate your estimated 110 rated range estimate. You could charge up there overnight and head on down to the Miami area to the hotel listed below which is about 170 miles from the Comfort Suites.

    Hampton Inn & Suites
    50 SW 12th St.Miami, FL 33130
    (305) 377-9400
    www.hamptoninnmiamibrickell.com

    The Hampton Inn has a charger and you could charge up there overnight.

    As I mentioned the final leg down to Key West could be problematic. Its about 160-170 miles to Key West from the Hampton Inn and you are going to have to make the roundtrip of 320 -340 miles. So you are going to have to locate a charging source in Key West. As I mentioned if you can spend 2-3 days without using the car you might be able to charge on 110 v assuming you locate a hotel that is willing to guarantee the availability of an outlet. Otherwise you might have to find an RV Park that is willing to let you charge. That might involve leaving the Roadster at the RV Park and taking a taxi to where you want to go.

    Of course, to get back to Sanford you would have to reverse the process and continue overnight stays at the two hotels I mentioned or perhaps hangout at the Lincoln Road Mall, in Miami Beach where the Tesla store is located after scheduling a charge in advance. Its about 160-170 from Key West to the Store.

    Larry
     
  5. jrreno

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

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    Another option you may want to investigate is to try the Key West to Fort Myers Ferry. That would give you a ride on the West coast and would eliminate backtracking from/to Key West.
     
  6. ChrisC

    ChrisC see signature

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    I used that charger during a two night stay in the area over Thanksgiving. The staff block the chargers with their own cars so that when an EV shows up, they can get out of the way for us (i.e. so the chargers don't get ICE'd by other customers). Recommended! More information is in the Recargo listing here:

    EV Charging Location - Comfort Suites - Palm Bay, FL
     
  7. JohnGarziglia

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    This is very helpful, particularly the recommendations for the Palm Bay Comfort Suites, the Miami Hampton Inn, and the idea to take a Key West to Fort Myers Ferry on the way back. I am going to look into booking those now.

    Has anyone charged at any campgrounds in the Big Pine Key area, or have enough knowledge of the area to direct me to an area around there that might have a campground strategically located near a hotel we could stay at? I can always zoom in on Google Maps but if anyone has personal knowledge of the area around the lower end of the Keys, that would be a great place to start. I have found that hotels, extension cords, and the Roadster are not particularly good combinations for any kind of efficient charging.

    I will post whatever itinerary I come up with, and then the results (good or bad), once we make the trip. Thank you so much!

    John
     
  8. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Jim,

    I'm not sure I completely understand. I've taken the Fort Myers Ferry several times. The one I have taken only carries people, not cars. Are you suggesting that John drive to Ft. Myers, park his Roadster for a few days at the Ft. Myers parking lot and ferry to Key West and back to Ft. Myers?

    Larry
     
  9. JohnGarziglia

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    Does this ferry accommodate cars? The one I find on the web appears to be passengers only?
     
  10. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    I should have mentioned that clicking on the name of the hotels above will take you to the Recargo information.

    Larry
     
  11. jrreno

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

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    My mistake, I assumed that a "ferry" moved cars also. It is only a people ferry which to me is more of a plain old boat ride!
    BTW, John I will be very interested in your experience with the Autotrain.
     
  12. BigAirHarper

    BigAirHarper Member

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    I am unfortunately not a Tesla owner YET so I can't help you with the charging aspect, however I can recommend some things to see and do unique to South FL. (In no particular order)

    1) NASA Kennedy space center if that interests you at all. They have the shuttle now and the behind the scenes tours are cool (I did VAB)
    2) def recommend Lincoln road mall even if you don't want to charge, restaurants and shops with some amazing people watching
    3) beer and Burger joint in south beach-best burgers ever with great appetizers at reasonable price (might even see Lebron)
    4) South point park at the southern tip of South Beach-show up at 4 to watch cruise ships leave, really cool
    5) gotta drive A1A beach road in Ft. Lauderdale with the roadster (I'm jealous)
    6) Mansions-I love nice homes and if you wanna see some amazing pads you have come to the right place, cruising around residential streets and ogling at 20 million homes is one of my favorites cause they don't have homes like these in many parts of the country (any canal street off Las Olas Blvd in Ft. Laudy- Star/Palm/Hibiscus Islands in Miami (yes they are gated but it's public roads, just say you want to look at the homes and they will let you in, plus you'll be in a Tesla so you could look like an owner) along with Bay Rd on La Gorce Island in South Beach
    7) Yachts-Ft Laudy is the yachting capital of the world, just drive around near the many canals and see some of the most beautiful ships afloat
    8) Downtown Las Olas has some good nightlife restaurant/bars you could try as well
    9) Everglades airboat ride

    sorry this got long, but for me those are some of the more interesting points in south Florida. Just my .02 and hope it helps. These guys on here will be able to help with the all important charging info.
     
  13. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    There are multiple Options for charging (using 14-50 NEMA outlets @ RV type parks) in the Keys:

    Key Largo, there are 5 RV parks (some okay snorkeling)

    Marathon, there are 2 RV Parks

    Sunshine Key, 1

    Bahia Honda, State Park (great glass bottom boat take your group out to some terrific snorkeling areas)

    Big Pine Key, 1

    Sugarloaf Key, 2 RV Parks

    Key West, 2 RV Parks

    Bring your bug spray.
    Enjoy!
     
  14. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    I haven't looked at any of these particular RV parks, but one theme that showed up among RV parks on the west coast when I was planning a trip in my Roadster, is that a decent number of them had cabins that could be rented. So the RV park could also act like a hotel as well as somewhere to park and charge. Something to look at and think about that might help with working out the details. On my road trip, I didn't end up using any of the RV parks that way, but there were a half dozen that got into consideration for where I could sleep while getting the car charged back up.
     
  15. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Yes, even a modest cabin that has access to a 14-50 overnight, can be perceived as luxury accommodations for an EV road tripper. :wink:
     
  16. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    Bingo!!!

    Kabins can be a very cost effective way to travel and charge.
    You just need to bring your own linens or sleeping bag and pillows.
    Some of the RV parks I have visited also had a swimming pool (for warmer weather than Jan.)
     
  17. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    But how many are Tesla friendly?
     
  18. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    I assume that all of these RV park experiences, especially those reserving cabins, have to be negotiated on a case by case basis and that even at the same park this might vary from season to season.

    Even if you are successful in reserving a cabin (I really wonder how much linens, sleeping bags and luggage a Roadster can handle :wink: ) you will have to determine whether the fees for the cabin include charging at another campsite. From the little research that I have done cabins generally have only 120 volt service. To obtain 240 volt, 50 amp service usually requires going to another campsite location. The question is will the RV park manager let you charge for free or will he/she require you to both pay for the cabin and the daily rate for the campsite.

    I am going to be very interested in hearing how successful John is in researching RV Parks in Key West.

    Larry
     
  19. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    #19 purplewalt, Jan 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    Maybe a couple of telephone numbers will get the ball rolling in the right direction.

    Key Largo:
    Calusa Campground (305) 451-0231
    John Pennekamp Coral Reef (800) 326-3521
    Key Largo Kampground and Marina (305) 451-1431
    Kings Kamp (305) 451-0010
    Riptide RV Resort (305) 852-8481

    Fiesta Key:
    Fiesta Key RV Resort (305) 664-4410

    Long Key:
    Long Key SRA (State Park) (305) 664-4815

    Marathon:
    Grassy Key RV Park and Resort (305) 289-1606
    Jolly Roger Travel Park (800) 995-1525
    Marathon Marina and RV Resort (305) 743-6575

    Bahia Honda Key:
    Bahia Honda (State Park) (305) 872-2353

    Big Pine Key and Floida's Lower Keys:
    FA Keys Campground and RV (800) USA-ESCAPE
    Keystone Heights (352) 473-4701
    Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina (800) 405-6188

    Sugarloaf Key:
    Lazy Lakes RV Resort (305) 745-1079
    Sugarloaf Key West KOA (305) 745-3549, (800) 562-7731

    Key West:
    Bluewater Key RV Resort (305) 745-2494
    Boyd's Key West Campground (305) 294-1465

    Charging at Big Pine on down to Key West should give you all the charge Options you might need for a stay at Key West.

    Even if you cannot stay there (because they don't have a cabin), you probably will have access to a 14-50 NEMA plug as your charge station.

    When staying at a mainland RV park (mostly KOAs), the RV park rents the cabin or room and then there is a specific bay for you to charge your car (MS or Roadster).
    I admit I am not familiar with the technology for how a Roadster charges, if it can use a 14-50 outlet or what.
    If you are needing a decent charge in an MS, bring a good book and maybe a folding chair.
    28 miles per hour is no Supercharger..., but it beats the heck out of a 110 V outlet.

    I have taken an RV down the Keys before, so I am somewhat familiar with three of the parks.
    IF the OP has a bit of time, there are certainly plenty of places for researching and exploring.

    Enjoy!
     
  20. JohnGarziglia

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    Thank you to all for your suggestions and recommendations. They were very helpful.

    In the end, the most difficulty was finding a charging location in the Keys where we could stay nearby. In the Keys, we will stay at Coconut Cay Resort & Marina in Marathon where the manager was "excited" about us visiting with our Roadster (always nice to be welcomed - I will add it to PlugShare and Recargo assuming it works out).

    Here is our itinerary with enough mileage flexibility for a lot of side trips and fun:

    Day One 3:00 p.m. - Drive 33 miles and get on Amtrak Auto Train in Lorton, Virginia with Roadster
    Day Two 9:30 a.m. - Arrive in Sanford, Florida, drive 80.2 miles to Comfort Suites, Palm Bay - Charge overnight
    Day Three - Drive 167 miles to Hampton Inn & Suites, Miami/Bricknell-Downtown - Charge overnight
    Days Four through Six - Drive 110 miles to Florida Keys and stay at Coconut Cay Resort & Marina, Marathon, where a NEMA 14-50 outlet is specifically available next to the room. Drive around Florida Keys in the day and charge each night.
    Day Seven - Drive 110 miles back to Hampton Inn & Suites, Miami/Bricknell-Downtown - Charge overnight
    Day Eight - Drive 167 miles to Comfort Suites, Palm Bay - Charge overnight
    Day Nine 3:00 p.m. - Drive 80.2 miles and get on Amtrak Auto Train in Sanford with Roadster
    Day Ten 9:30 a.m. - Arrive in Lorton, Virginia and drive 33 miles.
     

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