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Trip report - Orange County, Yosemite, Sequoia, back home

Discussion in 'Model 3: Driving Dynamics' started by xilex, Oct 25, 2019.

  1. xilex

    xilex Model P3D

    Jul 5, 2018
    Cypress, CA
    Hi, this is for future reference for anyone curious. My car is stock P3D-minus, tires set at 43.5 psi probably around 60-65 F in the morning. Just myself on the trip, and maybe 50 pounds of supplies. A bit long, but also some information about Yosemite/Sequoia, where to stay, resulting charges, etc that could prove helpful. 1700 miles, 351 kWh, average Wh/mi of 207.

    Day 1 - orange county to groveland (482 miles, 121 kWh used)

    Started with about 90% charge, 270 miles. Filled up tire pressure in the morning to about 43.5 psi. Decided to charge up in Mojave for about 20 minutes to make it to Lone Pine comfortably, added 31 kWh. Only 2-3 Tesla vehicles. I’ve forgotten start/stop battery percentages, but I was going about 70-72 mph, on autopilot when low traffic, otherwise took over or let TACC take over while I manage steering. At Lone Pine, did a quick on 22 kWh to reach Mammoth Lakes. Had one or two other Teslas there. Next charger was Mammoth Lakes, to fill up for trip to Groveland. I think I arrived with around 25% or so. Added 33 kWh. Was running late, entered Tioga Road around 430pm, sunset around 610pm, so I was ****ed driving on treacherous roads with leaping animals at night. Autopilot is nice when I needed to get a drink of water and needed both hands. Arrived in Groveland with about 25% (?). Charging only gave me around 80 kWh, unusual because I had been driving but it was around 45-50 degrees. Even changed stalls. Charged to 90% because my planned trip required at least 70% of charge, filled 35 kWh.

    Day 2 - yosemite valley (159 miles, 34 kWh used)

    Entered Yosemite Valley today. I wasn’t flooring it, but drove a decent speed. It is nice how effortless it takes to go up an incline. The only indication is seeing the energy graph go up to 600s, maybe the motors whir a little more. In the morning it was around 45 degrees, car had moderate regen impairment that improved to mild after some driving. Only used seat warmers, wore gloves, because worried about range. Arrived at Yosemite Valley parking from 270 to 220 range. The distance from Groveland to Yosemite Valley is 50 miles. Left with 215 range with almost 8 hours of sentry mode. Next drove over to Glacier Point, because wanted to see the sunset and scope out the road. Very treacherous and bad road conditions. I forgot what range I had when reaching Glacier Point, but it is a 30ish mile drive with lots of steep climbing. After this, it was driving down in the dark, luckily just follow the car in front and hope they are not too fast. I chuckle at all these people using their breaks when going downhill or into a turn. We got regen, but they also need to learn about downshifting and engine braking. If you’re going through a national park or national forest and you’re touching the break, then you are doing something wrong, like following too close, or not looking at the navigation to anticipate curves where you need to slow down. I wonder if the car behind me gets annoyed when my brake light rarely goes on. So another 80 miles to the Groveland charger. This time, getting to Groveland charger had battery conditioning, so upon arrival (only one other guy charging at 830pm), had the usual 100+ kW charging speed, added 34 kWh to fill back up to 90% (43 dollars of charging so far). So all that driving left me with around 45% range. Gotta thank Mr. Musk for enabling streaming video over LTE, makes the charging experience at night more pleasant.

    Day 3 - yosemite valley (221 miles, 47 kWh used)

    Drove up to Sentinel Dome starting around 730am, temperature chilly around 50 degrees, warmer than yesterday. Bad navigation by Tesla led me in loops until finally reaching the trailhead. Not sure why; maps pinpointed my position accurately, but when mapping it thinks I’m somewhere else, and it thinks I intended to go somewhere else. Ended up with 210 range remaining for that drive. After that, drove back to Yosemite Valley for lunch, a little wandering (found out Village Store is useful and opens at 830am), then proceeded to pass through Fish Camp and stopped by the supercharger there, added a quick 12 kWh. Did dinner in Oakhurst and glad it was actually a larger town with actual things. My next mistake on this trip was driving back to Groveland. All the maps apps made it look like a straight shot, but unfortunately, it could not have been more wrong. Golden Chain Highway is one ****ed up road winding all over the place and having to do this in the dark at 20 mph was ridiculous. It looked fine on maps app, but this was a hundred twists and turns. Then it recommends I take Priest Coulterville Road, this is even worse. Luckily it is paved, but it’s a bumpy road, in the middle of nowhere through farmland, no lights, got deer bouncing around at night and dogs barking, lane barely wide for two cars and no center line marking. Now car has new vibration noises from all that bumpy driving. On arrival to Groveland had about 40% left for the whole day of driving. Filled 35 kWh.

    Day 4 - yosemite valley (186 miles, 36 kWh used)

    Drove from Groveland (morning temperature around 55) to Tioga Road to visit the sequoia groves, followed by a visit to Olmsted Point, and ending near Tuolmne Meadows. Afterwards, a visit to Yosemite Valley one more time to see the sunset effects. A final drive to Groveland supercharger required 36 kWh. Still had the same problems with routing when offline, so had to resort to phone maps app.

    Day 5 - Groveland to Mariposa Grove to Fresno (171 miles, 30 kWh used)

    Drove from Groveland to Mariposa Groves near Fish Camp. I’m glad i stopped by because these groves are way different from Tuolumne Groves (many more trees). I had adequate range remaining (forgot exactly, maybe 190 miles), so decided to skip Fish Camp charging. After that it was a drive down to Clovis for dinner, followed by trip to Fresno supercharger. This is supposedly a busy one. It is 8 stalls, frequently 6/8 full, luckily found a spot when I needed it. It’s not as busy as the Santa Ana/Fountain Valley ones, though. Added 30 kWh of charge and went to my Airbnb.

    Day 6 - Fresno to Sequoia to Visalia (254 miles (?), 47 kWh used (?))

    Driving from Fresno supercharger to Airbnb left with about 265 range. The drive to Sequoia took quite a bit of range (several thousand feet of elevation). From start to ending at the museum of giant trees, had about 130 of range remaining. This is without any AC or heating, and driving pretty casually, using turnouts to let other people pass (to enjoy the drive). On the way down to Three Rivers area, however, regen provided extra 20 miles of range. Also had to use AC during this time because it was uncomfortably hot. My next stop tomorrow is to pass through Sequoia Forest, but my Airbnb is in Visalia and there is no supercharger there. So drove all the way to Harris Ranch to charge (about 70 miles remaining, filled 47 kWh), then all the way to Visalia (100 miles round-trip). New supercharger being planned in Visalia so that will be perfect, but for this drive, it was a waste of three hours. Upon arrival to Visalia, only 215 range remaining. For my planned trip tomorrow, I think I will have to spend an hour at a slow Chargepoint to get an extra 20 miles. Even without the extra charge, I should arrive at Inyokern with about 12% charge, per ABRP, but I think I will add additional safe buffer.

    Day 7 - Visalia to home (218 miles)

    With only 215 miles remaining, plan was to use ChargePoint in Porterville for about 1-2 hours, then drive through Sequoia National Forest. ChargePoint were all empty, looked underused since there were cobwebs and bugs everywhere, also sticky handles. Charged for about 30 minutes but decided to abort the plan. There was a fire breaking out along the 14 freeway, the route I would have used to get back to Orange County. Headed to Tejon Ranch Supercharger instead to add 40 kWh. About three sets of stalls were offline, but plenty more available. After that, headed home. Stopped by Santa Clarita for a quick car wash. Stopped by the Downey Stonewood Supercharger. Unfortunately, one third of the stalls were offline, the rest occupied, so just went the rest of the way home. Remaining charge of about 170 miles.


    In total, trip utilized about 1700 miles, 351 kWh, with average Wh/mi of 207. Total costs for charging was $100 (Fresno site was free for some reason). I think gas would have cost $200-300 so not a tremendous difference when accounting for other costs of the whole trip. But a rental would have cost $300.

    Autopilot is helpful, but on a two-way road with no divider, I'd rather hang as right as possible just in case something happens. On twisting roads, autopilot takes the turn faster than I prefer, leading to premature tire wear. Plus many idiots on opposing traffic cross the line when turning too fast. On long stretch of roads it is useful.

    Would I do this trip again? I stayed mostly at Airbnb averaging $89/night. In Yosemite, it would probably cost $200 per night at a lodge in the Valley or closer, and I would have to worry about charging over many hours on level 2 instead of level 3. Groveland is pretty dead area, but the drive into the valley is easy, whereas Fish Camp is more winding. But supercharger is just 3 miles from my Airbnb. Because I stayed until sunset at Yosemite so often, which “ends” around 630-700pm, I ended up back home so late, 9pm, every night, because of the added charging and driving. If this were summer, sunset would not be until 8pm.

    Fresno is fine to get into Sequoia National Forest or King’s Canyon for one day. Approaching from Visalia is tough because the southern routes are so twisty, whereas the Fresno west entrance is easier. The future Visalia supercharger will make it easier to stop for the night before going onto the next area, however. The drives through twisty roads felt safer in the car, and the effortless driving made it pleasant.

    So, hard call until better charging infrastructure is in place. Careful planning is required. I'd probably take the car because it's easier to drive. But if I'm flying there, I wouldn't pay $100-150/day to rent a Tesla.
    • Like x 1
  2. jjrandorin

    jjrandorin Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums

    Nov 28, 2018
    Riverside Co. CA
    Nice road trip and cool story to read.

    One thing I would say is, when you said "I wonder if the car behind me gets annoyed by the brakes not coming on".... If you are regening, your brake lights are coming on. In fact, driving behind teslas actually is annoying because their brake lights come on so $!#$%[email protected]% much.

    If you dont believe me, take a glance down at your avatar on screen. Even moderate regen turns on your brake lights. I am sure you were flashing your brakes almost constantly, or, if you were driving downhill on regen, the appearance to the person behind you would be of riding your brake pedal all the way down without taking your foot off it.
  3. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2013
    Canyon Lake,CA
    Also just made the same trip from San Diego, up to the East gate of Yosemite.

    Lots of Superchargers along the way. Mostly pretty empty.

    Going in the East gate is a totally different, and much more enjoyable experience than using the much more heavily traveled entrances from the West.

    The traffic is light, the roads freshly paved and well marked. The lakes alongside the road were prestine and break your heart beautiful, with the towering granite mountains in the background. Lots of photo opportunities. Far few motor homes or bus loads of school kids.

    The colors were changing and the temperatures perfect. Lunch at the Majestic Ahwanee hotel is not to be missed.

    As OP said, much of the time your nav will be unusable and your cell phone will have no service. Just get a paper map (the horrors) from the friendly gate guard and you will be fine.

    One pedal driving and a no shifting transmission, combined with a near silent EV drive, makes cruising through the National Parks a wonderful experience. The panorama view through the wrap around windshield in an X gives you a very immersive feeling among the tall tree/mountains scenery. Crusing silently, with a window down will experience many sounds and the fresh pine smells from the woods. One of the few places a HEPA or cabin filter will not be beneficial :)

    Difficult to understand why all the National/State parks do not have Superchargers near their main attractions. Seems like they would be beneficial to all the park visitors.

    Side note. If you are stopping at Lone Pine, be sure to stop into the next door Museum of Movies. Will show you how the early Cowboy movies were made, not to mention being able to see the grabboid giant worm puppets from the camp Tremors movies. ($5 donation)
  4. cpa

    cpa Active Member

    May 17, 2014
    Central Valley
    Just for clarification: The Fresno Supercharger has ten stalls, not eight. (Perhaps two were out of service; as you said this location receives a lot of traffic.)

    The journey from Oakhurst back to Groveland catches a lot of people by surprise because the highway is mostly two lanes the entire way ascending and descending into river canyons and carved into mountainsides. It is not a road where one can assume 60MPH. What routing did you think the car would select? You are in the mountains and foothills!

    Do not be upset with the routing on the Priest-Coulterville Road between Coulterville and just west of Groveland. That is a much quicker route despite its slightly narrowed lanes and occasional bumpy tarmac. I guarantee that had you taken the longer drive north on SR49 to its junction with SR120 near Moccasin, you would not have enjoyed the constant serpentine highway with speeds around 25-30 for many miles. The routing you used probably shaved 5-6 miles off the drive, not to mention the slower driving time.

    Glad you had such a fantastic trip!
  5. xilex

    xilex Model P3D

    Jul 5, 2018
    Cypress, CA
    The way I slow down, even on city streets, I am able to slow down a lot with minor regen so the brake lights don't light up, and only until I get closer do I utilize enough regen that it triggers the brake lights. But even on city streets, sometimes I slow down too much then have to step back on the accelerator and then I do get concerned they think I'm brake checking or something!

    I could spend a week here visiting different places at sunset and sunrise just to see the light on the rocks and trees. The fall colors were nice, so I'm glad to have randomly decided to go the time I did.

    I agree, enjoy the drive and views. I pulled over often to let speed demons pass, and don't understand why some people drive so slow, refuse to pull over, and build massive traffic behind them.

    It looked pretty straight roads on zoomed out view so thought it'd be fine, unfortunately not. I see Moccassin to Groveland looks even more twisty haha. It was 8pm and I was tired, and I kept saying when are these twists going to end? I've live in Orange County most of life, I am used to straight roads that are lit and won't let me fall off a cliff :D

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