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Seeking advice for upcoming LA to Tahoe trip

Hi Everyone,
We are planning a trip from LA to Tahoe next weekend and snow is forcasted for our journey. I have a couple questions for the seasoned snow condition experts in that region.
We are taking an S 85D, 19" wheels with all season tires, and I have a set of chains I bought from the tesla store about 4 yrs ago (never used)
1.) Should we take the 395 or the 5? Our final destination is Kings Beach. Im concerned the 395 will be mostly snow because of the elevations. Google says take the 5, and in car nav says take 395 (probably because 395 is a few miles shorter)
2.) Assuming I will need the chains once we get up to elevation, should I leave regen on, or just disable it until the roads dry up?
Any helpful advice is greatly appreciated!
 
If you go I-5 you will encounter the Grapevine and Donner Pass. Donner pass can be challenging, but I drive it often in the winter with no problem. I just came back to Northern California on 395 from Mammoth. The eastern Sierras is the start of the desert, so less precipitation. There is less snow, but if the snow level is low, you will spend more time in the snow.
Regarding regen, you should put it in low rather than standard in very slippery conditions, since it is like tapping the brakes. I actually have a driver setting named "Snow" that raises the suspension, puts regen on low and does not auto-fold the mirrors (in case of ice).
Regarding chains-use low, you cannot disable regen completely.
My Model S 90D is great in the snow.
 
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cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,397
4,739
Central Valley
If you want to drive with the herd and the trucks, by all means take the interstates and climb Donner Pass. Caltrans does a good job of keeping I80 open as much as possible and plowed during snowstorms. The Grapevine should not be an issue. Late March storms are not nearly as cold by the time the storm reaches the Tehachapi Mountains, and the summit is only 4,144 or so.

If you want to have a more scenic and less stressful drive, take SR14 to US395 through the Owens Valley and then along the eastern Sierra to Carson City before heading over to north shore on US50 and Nevada 28. Generally, this late in the year there is not nearly the snow dump east of the crest as there is earlier in winter. You might encounter some snow on SR203 to reach the Mammoth Lakes Supercharger. You also might encounter snow climbing Sherwin Summit between Bishop and the Mammoth Lakes junction and again over Deadman Summit. Conway Summit about 18 miles north of Lee Vining is the highest pass on US395 at over 8,000 feet.

Anecdotes from people who live or work between June Lake and the Nevada line indicate that sometimes this time of year the precipitation falls as rain late in the afternoons and then freezes into ice and slush after the sun dips behind the Sierra and the temperature drops below freezing.

Just grab the handy-dandy CalTrans Quick Map app for your phone. That has up-to-the minute road and safety information including chain requirements. A note: SR89 that bypasses Carson City up and over Monitor Pass is closed for the winter, and will not be open in time for your trip.

Have fun!
 
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Hi Everyone,
We are planning a trip from LA to Tahoe next weekend and snow is forcasted for our journey. I have a couple questions for the seasoned snow condition experts in that region.
We are taking an S 85D, 19" wheels with all season tires, and I have a set of chains I bought from the tesla store about 4 yrs ago (never used)
1.) Should we take the 395 or the 5? Our final destination is Kings Beach. Im concerned the 395 will be mostly snow because of the elevations. Google says take the 5, and in car nav says take 395 (probably because 395 is a few miles shorter)
2.) Assuming I will need the chains once we get up to elevation, should I leave regen on, or just disable it until the roads dry up?
Any helpful advice is greatly appreciated!
No, no, no, 5 to 80 supercharger in truckee if you need it and take 267 from truckee to kings beach. Driving around the lake is slow and windy. I do this every year with our boat though we stay in Tahoe city. I’ve been going to Tahoe every year the last 34 years and I go 5 to 80.

South Lake Tahoe and Kings Beach are 22 miles away in a straight line and unless your Tesla floats and mine don’t that’s a long way around . Going 395 is not going to put you where you want to be
 
So @P100DHG. You are saying take 5 to 80. How about During the storm that's happening right now?

You are saying the windy road along the lake sucks?
Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 8.17.18 PM.png
 
For summer trips, absolutely take the 395.

For winter trips, it depends on when you're driving. If you're driving on Friday and planning on leaving LA anytime after 1 pm, you might want to avoid the 395 route. The problem is that there's not enough chargers in Lone Pine for peak use. You very well could be stuck waiting for an open space.

And...you basically must charge in Lone Pine for Winter trips heading North and you'll probably have to charge in Mojave too. It's only 100 miles from Lone Pine to Mammoth, but, it's a ~3400 foot climb in the cold, driving fast. You'll use 150-160 miles to go that 100 miles.

As to charging in Mammoth, if it's going to be cold there, you should also expect a very long charging time to recoup your 160 miles of used range. Maybe even enough time to see a quick movie!. (And you won't be particularly hungry since you were forced to charge at Lone Pine for all that time and had nothing to do but go to McDonald's.)

You didn't mention a ski rack, but if you're using that, you should discount your expected range even more (particularly in the windy Eastern Sierra).

Finally, as to the Lake Tahoe comments above, I wouldn't worry about that. It's not that long to simply drive all the way to Reno and then drive the 80 back to Truckee and drive into King's Beach. Those roads are fine and you might want to supercharge in Reno anyway.

As to the NAV programs (even evtriplanner), probably a good idea to seek input. There a lot of human and weather factors in play.

Finally, on the chains comments, we have both an X and an S 90D. We have ever put on chains in Mammoth. They will likely close the roads before you need them. Assuming your tires aren't threadbare, just turn off regen and drive slowly.

(My comments really only apply to the LA-Mammoth leg, but I would definitely be cautious of this weekend's storms for north of Mammoth to Gardnerville.)
 
For summer trips, absolutely take the 395.

For winter trips, it depends on when you're driving. If you're driving on Friday and planning on leaving LA anytime after 1 pm, you might want to avoid the 395 route. The problem is that there's not enough chargers in Lone Pine for peak use. You very well could be stuck waiting for an open space.

And...you basically must charge in Lone Pine for Winter trips heading North and you'll probably have to charge in Mojave too. It's only 100 miles from Lone Pine to Mammoth, but, it's a ~3400 foot climb in the cold, driving fast. You'll use 150-160 miles to go that 100 miles.

As to charging in Mammoth, if it's going to be cold there, you should also expect a very long charging time to recoup your 160 miles of used range. Maybe even enough time to see a quick movie!. (And you won't be particularly hungry since you were forced to charge at Lone Pine for all that time and had nothing to do but go to McDonald's.)

You didn't mention a ski rack, but if you're using that, you should discount your expected range even more (particularly in the windy Eastern Sierra).

Finally, as to the Lake Tahoe comments above, I wouldn't worry about that. It's not that long to simply drive all the way to Reno and then drive the 80 back to Truckee and drive into King's Beach. Those roads are fine and you might want to supercharge in Reno anyway.

As to the NAV programs (even evtriplanner), probably a good idea to seek input. There a lot of human and weather factors in play.

Finally, on the chains comments, we have both an X and an S 90D. We have ever put on chains in Mammoth. They will likely close the roads before you need them. Assuming your tires aren't threadbare, just turn off regen and drive slowly.

(My comments really only apply to the LA-Mammoth leg, but I would definitely be cautious of this weekend's storms for north of Mammoth to Gardnerville.)
Awesome info!
Thanks everyone.
So I'm going to do the 5 to 80 route, as we are leaving friday early AM. I've driven my S in the snow on my way back from Nebraska through colorado. The roads closed right behind me and at the time had 21" with summer tires. The car does really well.
This time, I have my wife, so I don't want to experience any close calls with her in the car. Her 7 Seat Model X actually has less space, so we are taking my S because I do not have/want a rack for our boards.
I used to go to mammoth 10-20 times a season in my 20's and boarded pretty much every mountain in the western US. I've driven in the snow countless many times, but with an exlporer 4x4 that was $30k in the mid 90's.
My Model S is much more immaculate and I'd like it to stay that way!
We have Z chains, and if needed I'll put them on, but at this point it looks like R2 is in effect, so I probably wont need them.
My main concern was the most efficient route. It looks like 80 is plowed often, so it's probably the best choice.

Again, thanks everyone!
 
I would prefer I-5 or SR-99 then I-80 or 50, rather than 395, for several reasons. First, more convenient to everything including restaurants and stops, not to mention the mega Kettleman City SC on I-5. Secondly, safer, unlike 395 usually has snow and chain control early on and slow heavy trucks roaming snowy narrow roads. Third, more relaxing and warmer while 395 is a stark winter. Fourth, the presence of law enforcement is more on 395 as I can tell.

If this counts for LA to Tahoe... We actually did the 395 route 15 years ago in an ICE car. Started off early in the morning, arrived at Mammoth 9AM and skied for 2 days, at the end of the second day then took 50 to arrive Heavenly at night and spent the rest of our trip around the lake skiing. We took 99 back a few days later.
 
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