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Trip Report: SF Bay Area to SoCal, Presidents Day Weekend 2019

bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
4,026
7,310
Lafayette, CA, USA
A couple months ago, my wife and I did a 3-day Tesla road trip from the Bay Area to the SoCal area. This weekend (Presidents Day Weekend, 2019) we did an encore of that trip, taking our son this time. This trip was mainly about sightseeing and (no surprise to anyone who knows us in real life) eating. I reused a lot of the trip planning I had done with EV Trip Optimizer for our Christmas trip.

Our southbound leg was straightforward (no stops at random, unvisited Superchargers). We launched around 0600 on Friday morning with a full charge, taking the I-5 route towards LA. It was dark and little rainy, but nothing out of the ordinary. I had AP1 running almost the entire time once we got out of the Bay Area.

We pulled into Harris Ranch around 0830 with about 25% SOC. We did an extra-long charging stop here (little over an hour) as we sat down for a nice, hearty breakfast. This first leg was a little long, but it felt good to get a lot of miles behind us early, and I’m usually at my best in the mornings anyway. We left with 95% SOC.

My wife drove us from there to the Tejon Ranch Supercharger, which was our second and final Supercharging stop. This was about an hour and a half drive. We stopped just for the restroom and to grab a snack…we didn’t need much range. Going up the Grapevine was mostly uneventful except we were briefly behind a Lamborghini Hurracan whose driver turned out to be somewhat more aggressive than I, and we were discussing whether it would be possible for our Model S to keep up with it.

We got into the LA area for a late lunch at Kang Hodong Baekjeong in Koreatown. It turned out our timing was good…the lunchtime crowd had thinned out a bit by time we got there. Rockstar parking and no wait for a table. After a yummy Korean BBQ lunch we went to go check out The Last Bookstore for a bit (haven’t been in a huge physical bookstore like this for a long time). I was a little concerned about parking a Model S with a trunkful of luggage in downtown LA, but we at least picked an attended parking lot to park in. Then we headed to our hotel in Montebello.

As with our Christmas trip, we stayed at the Home2 by Hilton in Montebello. I’m going to reiterate my recommendation for this hotel, which is fairly new (less than year old) in a useful location, reasonably quiet, and with 6 Tesla wall connectors (40A/208V) and 6 Clipper Creek J1772s. In theory, ICE-ing of these chargers shouldn’t be a problem because they’re the farthest away from the front entrance, but more about that later. We had dinner just down the road at Taihei, a small but very good Japanese restaurant. As sometimes happens we ordered too much food, so we ended up bringing some sashimi and sushi back to the hotel.

On Saturday, morning we finished off the leftovers from last night’s dinner as a pre-breakfast, then headed out for a real breakfast, again just down the road, at Delicious Food Corner. Great Hong Kong-style cafe food.

The first of our two destinations for this day was The Broad, a modern art museum in downtown Los Angeles. Of particular note to EV drivers is the “free” EV charging on J1772s in paid parking garage underneath the museum (flat-rate parking on weekends). The lot attendant asked me if I wanted to charge my car. I said “yes”, and he pointed me over to where there were a few J1772 chargers. Had I actually been thinking clearly I should have politely declined, because we ended up leaving the car there for most of the day with an almost-full battery. So, mea culpa. At least (as far as I could tell) the J1772 chargers weren’t all in use, so there wasn’t any evidence that I’d blocked someone out of a charging space.

We hiked over to Little Tokyo for lunch…we had a good sushi lunch at Oomasa. Dessert was at Midora Matcha, which has some of the best matcha and hojicha soft-serve ice cream we’ve ever tasted.

After a brief rest back at the hotel we headed out to Din Tai Fung in Arcadia for dinner. There was an hour-plus wait for a table, but that was fine with us because we weren’t hungry yet anyway after a day full of food! After dinner, my wife insisted on taking our son to Sweet Heart Dessert House in Rosemead, one of our visits on our last trip, for a durian dessert.

On Sunday morning, we were loading up the car and discovered the Home2 chargers almost completely ICE-d. I had the only EV in twelve clearly-marked EV charging spaces. I commented on this to the front-desk clerk as we were checking out, explaining that this basically defeated the purpose of those chargers for any EV drivers choosing to stay at the hotel. She said that she’d pass that along to the management, although they had a very high occupancy over the weekend due to a concert. Fingers crossed.

My wife wanted to head over to a Vietnamese restaurant in Westminster she found on Yelp. That got my attention because I remembered a Supercharger opening there recently. It turned out to be on the way to breakfast, so we did a touch-and-go charge at the Westminster Supercharger for my 58th unique Supercharger visited. The row of head-in, urban stalls is…unique. Even my family, who don’t geek out on this as much as I do, thought it was odd.

Breakfast was at Trang Tien, which had a number of dishes we’d never tried before. Great breakfast food beyond the stereotypical pho, which they actually don’t even have on their menu.

While we were eating breakfast, I was doing a little research on my phone and discovered the Fountain Valley Supercharger wasn’t too far away. So off to Fountain Valley (#59) we went. We managed to grab the next-to-the last charging spot for another touch-and-go. I truly feel for anyone actually has to depend on this Supercharger, there aren’t enough charging stalls and they’re all crammed together. It almost feels like Tesla charging jail, and I’m surprised people don’t back into each other.

After Fountain Valley, we turned north up I-405 (a.k.a “the 405”). We saw on the Nav screen that the Redondo Beach Supercharger was just off the freeway, so we decided to pull in there for a charge and a restroom stop. At one point my car threw a “Can’t charge” error message on the IC, which worried me until I realized that power was out to all the chargers and the Garden Inn as well! We didn’t stick around after that. We could have charged at Manhattan Beach too, but since visiting new Superchargers wasn’t even really one of the mission objectives, I didn’t want to get greedy.

I’d been checking the weather and road conditions over the Grapevine the entire morning, concerned about the possibility of some snowfall. It looked OK, so we headed north up I-5 the way we came (if there were issues we would have gone back via US-101). No particular issues, although we were treated to snow flurries at the top.

We did an unplanned charging stop at Tejon Ranch. Originally I wanted to go all the way to Kettleman City, but due to our trip for breakfast, we wouldn’t have made it all the way. This stop was just a few minutes, mostly because we couldn’t agree on any lunch choices in the vicinity.

We decided to try for the Kettleman City Supercharger and Bravo Farms for lunch. We parked at the Supercharger, plugged in, and walked across the street to Bravoland. There’s a nice play area here, for kids younger than my son. We liked the BBQ here, although we’re admittedly not experts on BBQ food. We walked back to the Supercharger in pouring rain. We learned that there are gaps between the solar panels over the stalls, so even if you park under cover, you’re still going to get wet.

Our last Supercharger stop was at Gustine, a location we know pretty well. It was almost full when we arrived (so we ended up drawing a piddly 35kW on a paired stall), but by time we were done with the restrooms, all the other cars except for one had left. I kept us here just long enough to have about 15% SOC on arrival at home (knowing we were going to stop somewhere for dinner in the Bay Area). I drove most of the way on Autopilot except for times where I needed to maneuver around traffic.

Total miles driven: 884.
Energy used: 338.65 kWh.
Energy per unit distance: 383 Wh/m

Superchargers used (7 total, 3 new marked with *): Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch (used twice), Westminster*, Fountain Valley*, Redondo Beach*, Kettleman City, Gustine.

Destination charger: Home2 Suites by Hilton, Montebello, CA.

No affiliation with any of the businesses mentioned except as a paying customer.
 

thecloud

As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive
Nov 24, 2014
1,774
1,627
Sunnyvale, CA
Great writeup; sounds like it was a fun weekend. (It really is all about eating on trips, isn't it.) We also like the combination of Harris Ranch > Tejon Ranch going south, coinciding with a hearty breakfast and a followup snack, then Kettleman City on the way back since we can make it home directly from there without a further charging stop.

Your experience with all but one of 12(!) hotel destination chargers being ICEd is definitely a real concern. Each time we've stayed at a hotel with destination charging, it was either ICEd or there were some other Teslas that stayed parked and plugged in the entire time. I've kind of accepted that our trips to L.A. will require a supercharging stop somewhere in the area, perhaps Fountain Valley or Santa Ana or Buena Park or Downey, for just long enough to get us back to Tejon (or Oxnard, if we're going the 101 route.) As time goes on, hopefully there will be more ubiquitous overnight charging possibilities to make life easier, but as it stands today, it's not enough for a hotel to advertise a destination charger since there is no guarantee you will get to use it.

Edit: that said, thanks for the Home2 Suites recommendation. It looks like there is a location in Azusa as well. Neither the Montebello nor the Azusa hotel's website specifically mentions EV charging as an amenity, unless perhaps that's what they mean by "Electric Service"?
 
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bmah

Moderator, Model S/X, California Forums
Mar 17, 2015
4,026
7,310
Lafayette, CA, USA
Edit: that said, thanks for the Home2 Suites recommendation. It looks like there is a location in Azusa as well. Neither the Montebello nor the Azusa hotel's website specifically mentions EV charging as an amenity, unless perhaps that's what they mean by "Electric Service"?

I'm not sure if EV charging is common to all Home2 Suites (guessing not). I happened to find this place by a combination of the Hilton group Web site and the destination chargers on the Tesla map. It seems to me that hotels don't always advertise their EV chargers, which is a bit of a shame because that's actually a selling point for a number of potential guests (and it's not like it costs them any more to put "Tesla destination chargers available to guests" in their marketing).

Bruce.
 
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jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,157
3,207
Northern California
Sounds like you had a great trip.

But, Din Tai Fung, only an hour wait! 2 hours last time I went to the one at the Westfield Santa Anita Mall. Worth the wait, but don't go to one expecting to eat anytime soon.
 
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