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Road Trippin' & Planning - RV sites?

Shinteetah

Member
Nov 17, 2015
43
16
Indianapolis
Hello, all! I'm three weeks into ownership and juuuust short of 3,000 miles. Also we've survived our first accident (rear-ended, no damage). Whew! Love the car.

I'm done a couple of extended runs already, refueling at Superchargers, but I'm now planning longer trips which will require over-nighting. It occurs to me, and I see others doing it, that an RV park would allow for sleeping in the car (seats down for a comfy pad and sleeping bag in a climate-controlled space) and charging at the same time. Thing is, I know diddly about RV parks; I used to camp only in tents in primitive grounds, or I stay in hotels, so I have no experience with the middle ground.

So, a series of probably-simple questions: I can't tell from the couple of potential park sites I hit whether I'd have 120v or better power for recharging, as it just says "electric charging station," but I read that the NEMA 14-50 is common. Will my UMC definitely be sufficient or will I need another adapter? What would indicate that I need to change any charging settings on the Tesla from my usual home charging (I use a wall connector)? Should I just find a motel and then hit a Supercharger at the next town?

Thanks!
 

purplewalt

Active Member
Jun 9, 2013
1,630
582
Dallas, Texas
Hello, all! I'm three weeks into ownership and juuuust short of 3,000 miles. Also we've survived our first accident (rear-ended, no damage). Whew! Love the car.

I'm done a couple of extended runs already, refueling at Superchargers, but I'm now planning longer trips which will require over-nighting. It occurs to me, and I see others doing it, that an RV park would allow for sleeping in the car (seats down for a comfy pad and sleeping bag in a climate-controlled space) and charging at the same time. Thing is, I know diddly about RV parks; I used to camp only in tents in primitive grounds, or I stay in hotels, so I have no experience with the middle ground.

So, a series of probably-simple questions: I can't tell from the couple of potential park sites I hit whether I'd have 120v or better power for recharging, as it just says "electric charging station," but I read that the NEMA 14-50 is common. Will my UMC definitely be sufficient or will I need another adapter? What would indicate that I need to change any charging settings on the Tesla from my usual home charging (I use a wall connector)? Should I just find a motel and then hit a Supercharger at the next town?

Thanks!

Hi, and welcome!

My first road trip (3,000 miles over two years ago) used almost exclusive RV Parks/State Parks for charging.
One Supercharger was used in Burlington, NC, (twice) but the rest was the slow and steady NEMA 14-30.
And yes, you can sleep in the car, but it will shut itself off after a while.
A couple of people have devised methods to keep the car heater or AC running while it is charging and you are sleeping in it.

To answer your first questions: ALL RV parks have some sort of 30A or 50A charging.
You will want to use one of the 50A spaces.

Yes, your UMC will definitely work.
Be sure to check and recheck that the car is fully charging.
In hot weather and in the full sun, the UMC may get warm.
And if it does start to get warm, reset your charge rate to 30A or 32A in lieu of 40 A.
The UMC is thermal-protected so it will not overheat, it will shut itself off if it should begin to get too warm.
Yes, it charges slower, but it would be a real drag to wake up, and find that your car kicked a circuit breaker, and you got almost no charge during the night.
Also, RV Parks might not have premium maintenance for their 50 A outlets. I have had some that were cracked or otherwise defective.
Just notify the operator, and they will assign you another slot to charge in.

A couple of notes: I used very firm cardboard to compensate for the height difference when the rear seat folds down, and a mildly inflated pad.
Then a sleeping bag with a pillow.
My head is oriented toward the rear of the car (I am tall, so you might try the other direction if less than 5'-10"), close the trunk, say goodnight.

You are NOT hung out to use sleeping in your car as your only Option at RV Parks.
Most KOAs have Kabins.
There is a supplemental cost to use the Kabins, but they have heat and or AC.
Most of the time they do not have ensuite restrooms, but at least one Kabin I have stayed at did.
There is a communal restroom with lavatories and showers for the general campground.
Most RV Parks also have a laundry room, and are pet friendly.

Kabins have a queen size bed and a bunk bed, maybe even a desk, and a chair.
Very occasionally they also have a TV, but don't depend on it.
You bring/supply your own linens/pillows/sleeping bags.

At some locations, they have full big buildings large enough for a group to meet, cook, eat and sleep in, but these are atypical.

Most Kabins have a front porch (some have a swing), and an area to grill your food, or maybe just a nice contained outdoor fire pit area.

If you join KOA, they will give you a slightly reduced rate for your (multiple) stays.

And some KOAs actually have swimming pools and other community features (wine tasting anyone?).
KOAs are independently owned and run, so each locale has its own rules.

I always call ahead to RV Parks and get the okay to charge my car there, and possibly to sleep there.
And not every RV Park is in-tune with electric cars just yet, so have a Plan B ready.
Most of the time it is a $10 flat fee for just a charge.
And if you just need a two-hour supplemental charge, it might be $5.

KOA has a campground Directory (they will give you one when you check in) for all their North America locations (some Canadian, none in Alaska or Hawaii), including phone numbers and dates of operation.
Many Northern locations are not open during the Winter months--check the printed information at the heading for each location.
The KOA Directory is about 3/8" thick.

I also have a Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory which is almost 3" thick, literally almost 15,000 campgrounds, RV Parks and Services.
PM me if you have a specific location you are interested in to look for RV Parks and State Parks.

Good Sam also has a membership, but I have not yet located an exclusive Good Sam Directory.

IF a hotel is close to an RV Park, that would also be great, but I have only seen one or two of those.
Or if your hotel had a HPWC or a NEMA 14-50, you are set with charging and sleeping needs.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,706
22,703
Texas
RVparking.com displays the type of electricity (no membership required). Note that RV park managers don't know what a NEMA 14-50 is, they only know 50 amp RV plug or 30 amp RV plug. 50 amp is what you want. Call in advance to confirm, there are still a few that are anti-EV (including some KOA) though the majority are fine. Also, many RV parks don't have the best wiring, so don't charge at the full 40 amps. 32-38 amps will prevent the breaker from tripping. I've used several RV parks with good success, although now I try to use Superchargers and hotel destination charging whenever possible.
 

Firewired

Member
May 23, 2013
706
371
San Antonio
I did two road trips over the summer from Texas to Florida and a second trip to Chicago using the Superchargers. Both trips were very pleasant and no hassle. I just tried my first road trip using 50 amp plugs at RV parks. For me, man it was painful by comparison. On my last leg of the trip I was 200 miles from home, and just wanted to get there by that point. It took seven hours to get enough charge to get home.
 

Shinteetah

Member
Nov 17, 2015
43
16
Indianapolis
I use an app, rvparky to locate places to charge
Will check it out, thank you!

You can also consider this Tent Camping in a Model S
Thanks! I'd missed this thread before.

I really hope we can get a "camping mode" soon to keep climate control running while parked. I'm a trainer and frequently drive with dogs, and while a service dog in training can go most places, others can't, and one of the big selling points of the Tesla for me was the ability to monitor and control the internal temperature while I was out of the car. (Obviously I don't leave dogs crated in there all day and trust me, their comfort and safety is VERY important, even in my ICE cars. No worries re neglect!) Now that I find the climate control will shut off after 30 minutes or so, I feel like that feature isn't really there. Yes, I can pull out my phone and check/restart every half hour, but I was really hoping for a one-click solution. (If I'm teaching a workshop, and my own dog is crated in my car for two hours until the next break, I don't want to be fretting about checking temperatures while I'm speaking.)

I see the Remote S app has a regular ping to restart the climate control, but I'm an Android girl. Hey, Tesla, can you put this feature on the "coming soon" list, please?
 

GuyHall

Member
Jan 16, 2014
234
61
Granite Bay, CA
Some some additional notes. Whenever a Harvey side refers to 30 amp power, it is always have 110 or 120 volts. When they referred to 50 amp power, it is at 208 to 240 volts. So the difference between a 30 amp and the 50 amp service is huge.

We went to a custom mattress outlet and had them create a mattress for the exact dimensions we wanted in the car. I believe we went with a 4 inch thick mattress, and the price was extremely reasonable. We actually got two mattresses. One to fit with only one of the middle seats down. And the other to fit with both of the middle seats down.

I drove from California to Fairbanks Alaska using recreational vehicle parks, auto repair stations , arc welding stations, etc on the way. Discovered that you can find electricity almost everywhere. Met a lot of wonderful people.
 

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