Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Trip Report: Reno, NV (Presidents Day Weekend 2020)

bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
4,032
7,330
Lafayette, CA, USA
We did a trip from the Bay Area to Reno over Presidents Day weekend, primarily to see a concert in Reno, but also to log visits to a few Superchargers. Let me say up front that this is not a good example of how to road-trip efficiently in a Tesla, because we deliberately did many more Supercharging stops than actually needed.

We left home with a full battery a little after 8AM on Friday, 14 February, Valentine’s Day. An hour and a half drive brought us to the Roseville Supercharger, where we unsuccessfully tried to charge. Even though the in-car nav indicated open stalls, we found there were several stalls out of service, and all of the remaining pedestals (plus two on a temporary pallet) were full. We didn’t feel like waiting around, and we knew that Rocklin was close by (with free stalls), so we headed over there. (Ironically, a new Supercharger in Roseville soft-opened the next day.)

While busy, Rocklin had several open stalls and we took half an hour to charge from 49% to 74%. Such is the life of a Tesla with a charge gated 85 pack. However, this was the only charging stop of the entire trip where we were actively waiting around for the car to charge (unfortunately there wasn’t a lot to do other than hang out at the Tesla store). As per normal practice, we only charged enough to get to the next charger plus have some energy reserves.

After Rocklin, we headed up to Truckee. Our first stop was the Truckee (Donner Pass Road) Supercharger, which we made a lunch stop. This was my 99th Supercharger logged. There are several choices for a quick bite to eat here, none fancy. My son and I picked up sandwiches at Port of Subs and my wife got some food from the deli at Safeway. By time we were done with lunch (about 45 minutes) the car had charged from 20% to 76% SOC, more than enough for us to get to our final destination.

Next stop was the Truckee (Brockway Road) Supercharger. This stop was kind of a big deal for me, being my 100th Supercharger, and getting me into the “Century Club” on the TMC leaderboard. Since it was only a few miles away from our previous stop, we only charged long enough to take some pictures.

Superchargers Visited

Amazingly, neither my wife nor my son objected when I suggested a short detour to the Tahoe City Supercharger (#101). This was the first time on the trip where we actually got to see any part of Lake Tahoe. Again, this was a quick touch-and-go charge.

From there we did a pretty straight shot into Reno, and the parking garage at the Silver Legacy Hotel. After we checked in and were unpacking stuff, discussion turned to what we were going to do for dinner. My wife had done quite a bit of Internet research on the drive up, and she suggested a highly-rated buffet. This was Toucan Charlie’s at the Atlantis Hotel, which just happens to have a small Supercharger in its parking lot. So I was clearly in favor of this.

One hint for going to Toucan Charlie’s…if you go, go early. The line can get pretty long. Food was good, and we especially liked going there for their seafood special (Friday night). We had to hunt a little bit to find the Supercharger in the parking lot, but when we got there, there was only one other car charging. This was another quick touch-and-go charge (#102), also my first Supercharging session outside California.

We then headed back towards our hotel. Next to the Silver Legacy is the El Dorado Hotel, which has Reno’s other Supercharger, so we stopped in there too (#103). It’s a fairly large (20 stall) installation, but we only saw one or two other cars charging on a Friday night. This was a slightly longer stop because I wanted to have enough juice to get us through the next couple days (charged for 24 minutes to 75% SOC). If I were to do this again, I’d consider staying at the El Dorado and using their destination chargers and just let the car charge overnight. We finished off the day with games as the midway at the Circus Circus hotel.

Saturday was a non-travel day, but we hit up the Stone House for brunch with some friends of ours and the Fleischmann Planetarium at the University of Nevada Reno. We did dinner at La Strada, a wonderful Italian restaurant in the El Dorado hotel. From there we walked over to the concert, which was at the Reno Event Center. (George Lam, a singer from Hong Kong, and he put on an excellent show.)

On Sunday, 16 February, we came home. We started with 68% SOC, which turned out to be plenty. First stop was the Incline Village Supercharger (#104). This was only 33 miles, but there was a gain of about 4600 feet of elevation followed by a drop of about 1500 feet. It made for some interesting power graphs and Wh/m figures. Because we had plenty of energy, this was a quick touch-and-go charge.

We then went down the east side of Lake Tahoe to the Stateline Supercharger (#105). This is in a multistory parking garage at the Hard Rock Cafe. Again we basically stopped just long enough to get pictures and put the next destination into the nav.

We came back on US-50, with the next stop being the Folsom (Palladio Parkway) Supercharger. That 82-mile drive only used up 16% of the battery, because it was largely downhill. This Supercharger is one I’d visited before, but I knew we had a lot of food options here. We settled on Back Bistro for a nice brunch/lunch. By time we were done with lunch we had 91% SOC, which was more than enough for us to get home.

Definitely a fun trip, from the driving, culinary, and activities perspectives. Clearly if logging Superchargers wasn’t a concern we could have done a lot fewer stops on our travel days (maybe just Rocklin and Truckee on the way up and Folsom Palladio Parkway on the way back).

The slower charging speeds on 85 packs introduced in mid-2019 software updates does make for longer charging times, but the effect seems to be less near the bottom of the battery. Unlike some other drivers, I find I need to take rest breaks every so often to get out of the car and walk around a bit, so longer charging stops don’t bother me much. Colocating charging and meal stops helps a lot.

I did a lot of the drive on Autopilot, except for driving in the mountains. My experience with Autopilot (and the original Tesla instructions for AP1) have led me to use it only on multi-lane, divided roads.

Almost 5 years old now, my Model S 85D remains a great road trip car.

Total stats (from TeslaFi):
541 miles driven
622.69 rated miles
188.29 kWh used
348 Wh/mile
11:16 driving time

3:10 charging time
137.56 kWh Supercharged
Superchargers used (* denotes first visit to a charger): Rocklin, Truckee (Donner Pass Rd.)*, Truckee (Brockway Rd.)*, Tahoe City*, Reno*, Reno (N. Sierra St.)*, Incline Village*, Stateline*, Folsom (Palladio Parkway)
Destination chargers used: None

Bruce.
 

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,514
3,502
Alameda, CA
Roseville Supercharger, where we unsuccessfully tried to charge. Even though the in-car nav indicated open stalls, we found there were several stalls out of service, and all of the remaining pedestals (plus two on a temporary pallet) were full. We didn’t feel like waiting

Bruce.
That would be why they opened that new HUGE supercharger in Roseville, it's awesome. Sadly it's the first charger in a while that I got there AFTER it was already on the Tesla Navigation, so no free power, but I had planned on that being the case. I wonder how long they will keep the old charger across the street. Or where the restrooms are. But there are LOTS of stalls at least.

I was thinking if there was free power last night I would have used it to get to Tahoe City (my only remaining NorCal charger to touch) and again to get home, but no such luck. I can always use DriveTheArc on another day with my Chademo adapter.
 

bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
4,032
7,330
Lafayette, CA, USA
That would be why they opened that new HUGE supercharger in Roseville, it's awesome. Sadly it's the first charger in a while that I got there AFTER it was already on the Tesla Navigation, so no free power, but I had planned on that being the case. I wonder how long they will keep the old charger across the street. Or where the restrooms are. But there are LOTS of stalls at least.

I was thinking if there was free power last night...

Well, I sure am glad I didn't try to get up super-early this morning, just to log a "first charge" there today. :):):)

Bruce.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JeffnReno

siucity

Button Pusher
Feb 18, 2015
410
219
SF North Bay, CA
One hint for going to Toucan Charlie’s…if you go, go early. The line can get pretty long. Food was good, and we especially liked going there for their seafood special (Friday night).

I remember their prime rib was really juicy. Wish I was having one now. Although I don't miss the heavy smoke in that area.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JeffnReno

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,690
1,497
Huntington Beach, CA
I did a lot of the drive on Autopilot, except for driving in the mountains. My experience with Autopilot (and the original Tesla instructions for AP1) have led me to use it only on multi-lane, divided roads.
.


I found my AP1 Autopilot surprisingly effective in two-lane mountain driving on Hwy 89 and 88 heading south from Lake Tahoe to the gold country on Hwy 49. It was quite competent in maintaining lane position except for the occasional lurch toward the center, while cresting a steep rise followed by a descent, when AP1 cameras could not find the road ahead.

Particularly impressive was the evident use of fleet learning involved with blind curves where Caltrans has posted advisory speed signs. Approaching the curve at 65mph, AP1 slowed to 55 (Caltrans signage advised 45) going into the curve, just as a human driver would have done, and then accelerated as it came out of the curve.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JeffnReno

paddlegirl7

Member
May 21, 2014
9
0
San Francisco
bmah, what is this SC leaderboard you speak of? :) We have driven our S100D across the country twice from the Bay Area, plus I was driving SF to LA monthly for a year so I wonder how I stack up. And also whether charges on my past S85 count. Is it by car or by account? Thanks!
 

JeffnReno

Member
Mar 4, 2016
229
121
Reno, NV
Great travel experiences like this make me want to hit the road more often. Since we live in Reno, our trips are usually going west and back but the same roads and some of the same stops apply so its nice to read of other owners' experiences.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,482
3,331
Sparks Nevada / GF 1
Hey Bruce, very nice summary and exactly mirrors out experience when going to the Fremont plant and back. And since we live here in Sparks, we totally agree about the Atlantis buffet and related superchargers. The Atlantis is our favorite buffet here. And yes, if you go as soon as they open, there is a long line, so we intentionally wait about 30 minutes after it opens so there is practically no line. ACTUALLY, I think I saw you there on Friday night, but it did not occur to me that it might be you, so I didn't say anything. That night is when we typically go there (at least twice a month). Glad to hear your trip went ok.
 

DW254

Member
May 31, 2018
20
133
California
Thanks for the update. I've had my Tesla S85 for over 5 years and have nearly 70K miles. So far the only maintenance costs I've had on the car have been to purchase new tires last year and replace the 12v battery 3 months ago. Recently did a coast to coast road trip from the Bay Area to Woodstock New York. Covered 21 states in 15 days and 7,000 miles. Used "hotel tonight" app for finding lowest lodging rates each night without any reservations in advance. No issues with charging. Did get the warning light come on regarding replacing the 12v battery when we were close to Chicago on a Sunday. I've changed a few batteries on my own and thought I would be a snap, but after some online research found that this has to be done at a Tesla service center. Drove to a Tesla Service Center in Chicago to be first in line on Monday morning where they replaced the battery and had me on the road in 40 minutes.

Most pleased to find that although I have a gated 85 battery that now takes longer to supercharge in the Bay Area, I was charging at a much faster rate at most other SC sites across the country. Visited Yellow Stone National Park, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Niagara Falls, Washington DC, and a lot of sites in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other points of interest across the USA. With free unlimited use of superchargers for life, and I use superchargers weekly, I figured I've received over $5K in free charging and saved nearly $10K in fuel costs over an ICE for the same miles driven. Great road trip car!
 
  • Like
Reactions: JeffnReno

eschummer

Member
May 31, 2016
109
85
San Francisco, CA
Very nice write-up Bruce! Mirrors my experiences with travel and charging almost exactly. As I get older I find I do need to get out of the car more often, and timing your charge stops so they coincide with food intake/bio breaks is almost ideal. We live in San Francisco and our son is now at UCLA, so we make the trip to SoCal fairly often. While some of the newer models could reduce the necessity to stop for charging to perhaps one (or even none if you're really adventurous), we humans need at least a couple of breaks on the way. Charge just enough to get to your next destination and you never have to wait for the car to be ready.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JeffnReno

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,514
3,502
Alameda, CA
bmah, what is this SC leaderboard you speak of? :) We have driven our S100D across the country twice from the Bay Area, plus I was driving SF to LA monthly for a year so I wonder how I stack up. And also whether charges on my past S85 count. Is it by car or by account? Thanks!
It's all based on this thread

Superchargers Visited

When you visit a bunch of chargers you post about your visits. It can be addictive, but many have gotten bored and no longer post, and new people join all the time. The few leaders are at the point of having to cross the nation to cross off new chargers that appear all the time because they have already visited ALL the Superchargers that were previously opened. It comes down to the rules for them, and there were not really any rules originally so it's trying to make rules that give you the most chargers.

An example is people have been saying that if you want to count a charger as visited you have to drive 51% of the way to it, on the off chance you have a partner or spouse that could count that visit themselves, only one of you gets to claim it. Another has been trying to define the game as just being in your country of origin. Obviously that would suck if you are from Mexico, but it would mean that two people in close competition might be separated by one's inhibition to drive in Mexico with such an expensive car.

Your question about getting credit for another car is also of interest. People in the game have taken to RENTING someone else's Tesla after flying across the country to save them from the drive, not sure that should count but people are doing it. On that note, one of the more interesting competitions is between one guy who has only driven in the US, and another who flew to Europe and rented a Tesla that isn't even compatible with US Superchargers and added EU Superchargers to his total. This seems over the top and has caused a schism to develop in the group between those playing the one way and those the other. They had to add Badges to the leaderboard to differentiate those who accel in various ways of playing.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Ticobird

Mary Starfnbu

Member
Aug 6, 2018
80
49
Bay Area
Very enjoyable saga. Bruce. These are all places have been, but not with the Tesla.

Our only adventurous trip so far, and I highly recommend it, was Bay Area to Crater Lake and then on to the coast via Grant's Pass. We followed the Russian River to the coast and took the coastal route (101 to 1) with a destination charge at the MacCallum House in Mendocino, which I also recommend if you aren't opposed to ghosts. Fabulous food at the MacCallum House, too. Then on to Bodega Bay and turned inland there and back to the East Bay and home. We were a little concerned about the Crater Lake to Grant's Pass supercharger, because from Klamath Falls to Crater Lake was a bit of a climb so we added about 50 miles and had lunch at Annie's restaurant (destination charger) at the entrance to the Crater Lake National Park. It wasn't necessary, though. When we got to Grant's Pass Superchargers we had more charge than when we left Annie's. It's all down hill and a gorgeous drive!
 
  • Like
Reactions: JeffnReno

paddlegirl7

Member
May 21, 2014
9
0
San Francisco
It's all based on this thread

Superchargers Visited

Thanks so much, Randy! I did google the answer soon after posting (thought to myself "duh!") but too late to delete my post.

:) Too much trouble to tally myself - I don't have great records from our trips, just an incomplete handwritten diary. I was hoping Tesla had the info available somewhere so that I could complete my notes. Oh well. :)
 

Bad Dolphin

Member
Dec 13, 2018
52
34
Hawaii
I found my AP1 Autopilot surprisingly effective in two-lane mountain driving on Hwy 89 and 88 heading south from Lake Tahoe to the gold country on Hwy 49. It was quite competent in maintaining lane position except for the occasional lurch toward the center, while cresting a steep rise followed by a descent, when AP1 cameras could not find the road ahead.

Particularly impressive was the evident use of fleet learning involved with blind curves where Caltrans has posted advisory speed signs. Approaching the curve at 65mph, AP1 slowed to 55 (Caltrans signage advised 45) going into the curve, just as a human driver would have done, and then accelerated as it came out of the curve.

The crest of the hill is probably the most dangerous part of the drive—you can’t see oncoming vehicle and they can’t see you. So fir example if they had drifted into your lane coming towards you in the other side of the hill, and the AP lurched towards the center at that same moment as you describe, tgat greatly reduces the chance of a happy outcome.
Sounds like you are well aware!

For me, it’s pretty much a toy, and a dangerous one at that, to be used sparingly if at all.
 

bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
4,032
7,330
Lafayette, CA, USA
bmah, what is this SC leaderboard you speak of? :) We have driven our S100D across the country twice from the Bay Area, plus I was driving SF to LA monthly for a year so I wonder how I stack up. And also whether charges on my past S85 count. Is it by car or by account? Thanks!

I see where my esteemed colleague and competitor @Randy Spencer already answered...but the short version is I'm pretty sure you can count charges on multiple cars. IMHO the people who care about the rules and edge-cases the most are the super-competitive ones on the top of the leaderboard (which don't get me wrong, they're all nice people, they just take this very seriously).

All are welcome to join, it's really just for fun (especially in the sub-200 and sub-100 levels). If you change your mind and want to play feel free to use what entries you have in your diary. Some people use TeslaFi or some similar logging system to help them keep track. (I used to have a paper log then when I got around 30 chargers switched to a spreadsheet.)

@PhillyGal actually wrote an article on this...

Supercharging for Sport | enrg.io

Bruce.
 
  • Like
Reactions: paddlegirl7

bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
4,032
7,330
Lafayette, CA, USA
Hey Bruce, very nice summary and exactly mirrors out experience when going to the Fremont plant and back. And since we live here in Sparks, we totally agree about the Atlantis buffet and related superchargers. The Atlantis is our favorite buffet here. And yes, if you go as soon as they open, there is a long line, so we intentionally wait about 30 minutes after it opens so there is practically no line. ACTUALLY, I think I saw you there on Friday night, but it did not occur to me that it might be you, so I didn't say anything. That night is when we typically go there (at least twice a month). Glad to hear your trip went ok.

Seriously? Well if you saw a guy who looks like my avatar picture (but a little older now == more white hair) wearing a gray UC Berkeley sweatshirt, that was me. :)

Really a major thing for us when we go on trips / vacation is the food and we enjoyed pretty much everywhere we ate on that trip. So that made it a good one.

Bruce.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JeffnReno

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,514
3,502
Alameda, CA
Thanks so much, Randy! Too much trouble to tally myself - I don't have great records from our trips, just an incomplete handwritten diary. I was hoping Tesla had the info available somewhere so that I could complete my notes. Oh well.
Yes, if you have Free Supercharging you do not leave a footprint. If you pay for charging like me than there is a GREAT record of all your visits to Superchargers in your account at Tesla.com. For all the officially open chargers anyway. Personally I use the favorite star button to track chargers I have visited. So when I joined the game I had sort of a record that I pieced together.

Two downsides of playing, you can't just go along your route, you have to STOP at EVERY charger, and then on the next trip, you have to stop at all the new ones, which can really make navigation w/o advanced planning difficult. And the second problem is that you spend a ton of time traveling across areas you know well, just to get to that one remote new Supercharger. Cannot tell you how many times I have cleared out NorCal.

Of course, some of my favorite trips have been because I was hunting Superchargers. Crisscrossing LA to get to the most unseen chargers in the least amount of time took me places I had NEVER seen. Also took me around states I hadn't thought to visit. It's a good time.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top