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Road Trip and Route Planning Info

We are thinking about taking a road trip this March down the pacific coast on Hwy 101 from Washington to San Francisco and then on Hwy 1 to southern California, and then heading east to Palm Desert and Las Vegas, and then Route 93 to Kingman, AZ, then along Route 66 until we get to Albuquerque, NM, then North on Route 25 through Denver, Colorado (2800 miles). Return trip from Denver would be West via Route 25 / Hwy 287 / 26 to Jackson Hole, WY, then up to Yellowstone, and Bozeman, MT, Spokane, WA , and home again on Route 90 (1500 miles).

Has anyone taken a Tesla Model 3 on all (or any part) of this route that you wish you had avoided because of lack of level 3 charging availability? I think most sections will be covered by Superchargers, but not sure about some of the sections from Denver to Boseman and Kingman to Albuquerque. Our new Model 3 does not yet have winter tires or the ability to use our CHAdeMO adapter that we got for the Model S. A little concerned about running into snow in March in some of those areas. Any info you care to share would be greatly appreciated.
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I've not driven my Tesla in the areas you highlighted, but I've driven ICE cars in some of those areas. I think something for you to consider beyond the charging network is the elevation changes. You're likely to run into some significant climbing areas, and if the weather is cold and the roads icy or snow covered you may find that traction is an issue to consider. You didn't mention if your M3 is AWD or RWD, but regardless snow tires may be a good thing to have before you start your trip. Tesla also sells chains for the M3 - may be worth considering as well.

Also consider traction in downhill runs. The M3 uses aggressive regeneration for adding energy to the battery pack. You may not want to have that feature turned on in icy conditions if you want to keep full control of the car. Also consider driving in "CHILL" mode to avoid potentially problems in ice or slick snow/sleet.

I'd also consider some way to keep your windshield clear. In cold/icy weather the windshield wipers may not fully clear the windshield, and the defroster may be working overtime to keep up. Being prepared for this may be helpful as well.

I've seen snow in all of those areas in March at one point or another. Hard to know what you'll find. Jackson Hole is almost 6300 feet elevation - pretty easy to have snow in March. Both Denver and Bozeman are at/near a mile high. Similar problems can develop in those areas as well. Some of those roads can be nearly impassable in bad weather.

Best of luck on the trip. Sorry for the "what ifs" in my reply - I was a Boy Scout and the motto: "Be Prepared" is part of my DNA.
 
@lenscap Thank you for the great advice! The M3 is AWD (as is our older MS), but I agree the snow tires definitely make a huge difference driving on ice, and especially for maintaining control when using regeneration for braking. After reading your comments, I am thinking we should rethink the timing for this trip unless we get snow tires this season. I have already bought a spare set of 18" aero takeoffs from another M3 owner to use for snow tires, but thought I would wait until next year to get the tires mounted as we were just going to use the MS on snowy days (of which we may have none here this year).
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
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Central Valley
East from Kingman, Route 66 (now Arizona 66 since US66 was decommissioned in the '70s) arcs northeast to Peach Springs before returning to Interstate 40 at Seligman. With the ER Model 3, I see no issue reaching Flagstaff despite the extra miles--most of the elevation gain is east of Seligman, and by then you have returned to Interstate 40. Superchargers will be easy east of Flagstaff at Holbrook, Gallup, and Albuquerque.

From Rawlins on US287 thence onto US26 might be dicey. But PlugShare shows a handful of L2 charging locations around Lander and (out of the way) Riverton. You might consider planning to spend an overnight at a place with L2 charging. That should enable reaching Jackson the following day without any anxiety.

By March, the weather in northeast Arizona should be rising. It will be noticeably cooler at Flagstaff and east, however. I do not know how much snow falls on that plateau by early spring. I am sure a quick search online will reveal the weather patterns are.

(As an aside, you can also drive the old US66 by taking US95 south of Vegas to Interstate 40 at Needles. Then, across the Colo. River and then north on Arizona 95 to the Oatman Road. That was US66 in the old, old days before it was rerouted onto the alignment that is now Interstate 40. Oatman is a funky derelict of a town. The road then returns to Interstate 40 about ten miles SW of Kingman.)
 
... (As an aside, you can also drive the old US66 by taking US95 south of Vegas to Interstate 40 at Needles. Then, across the Colo. River and then north on Arizona 95 to the Oatman Road. That was US66 in the old, old days before it was rerouted onto the alignment that is now Interstate 40. Oatman is a funky derelict of a town. The road then returns to Interstate 40 about ten miles SW of Kingman.)

If you have the time, Oatman is definitely a 'must visit'.
 

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