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Ultimate EV Road Trip - Circumnavigating North America

Found this article about driving to the Arctic Ocean. I think it would be a fun drive
  • from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk


Up until quite recently, travellers to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories had only a few less-than-convenient options to get to the famed whaling town that sits right on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. You could fly or boat in from Inuvik, a larger community to the south of Tuktoyaktuk, but if you wanted to drive you’d have to wait until the Mackenzie River froze over and turned into an ice road.

But this all changed in November of 2017 when the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway opened, becoming the first all-weather road to the Arctic Coast and essentially connecting all three of Canada’s oceans via our public highway system. At 138 km, the road isn’t long and only takes a couple of hours to drive, but it isn’t quite like the highways that visitors from the southern part of Canada are used to driving.












I had the pleasure of making the drive from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk this past fall (which is a beautiful time to drive it, as you’re neither experiencing 24-hour sunlight nor 24-hour darkness). For anyone who hasn’t explored the northern part of this country, this drive is a good way to get started — you can fly into Inuvik from points south (Edmonton is a good connection point) and rent a car, or do an epic road trip from British Columbia or Alberta. Here are some tips to ensure a successful journey along this unique northern highway:

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Plan to stay in Inuvik
The igloo-shaped church in Inuvik is one of the town’s key attractions [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
There are a few bed and breakfast-style accommodations in Tuktoyaktuk, but they fill up quickly in the summer, so it’s a good idea to stay in Inuvik, which has a handful of traditional hotels. The

Mackenzie Hotel
has an on-site lounge and restaurant, which makes it a good bet. Depending on the time of year, you can get early to make the drive to Tuktoyaktuk and easily get back before dark, and dinner (the restaurant situation in Tuktoyaktuk is a bit spotty). And while I don’t recommend driving drowsy, if you can stay up late to catch the Aurora Borealis, you won’t regret it.

Don’t plan to stop — unless it’s to enjoy nature
Don’t expect to find any restaurants along the road to Tuktoyaktuk [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
There are plans to build rest stops on the highway, but at this time there are no bathroom facilities and nowhere to buy drinks, snacks or gas. That said, the road is quiet enough that you can pull over and take in the beauty of your remote surroundings. You’re likely to see wildlife and will definitely see plenty of lakes that reflect the light of the northern sun. You’ll also lose any cell or radio service, so download some music or a podcast onto your phone if you want something to listen to.

Take it slow and choose a vehicle that can handle the road
It’s best to take a heavy, reliable vehicle if you’re driving from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
The speed limit on the road is 70 km/h, but you may want to take it even slower. The aforementioned wildlife can be a surprise if they’re crossing the road and you do want to be able to take in the scenery as you move along. More importantly, the relatively narrow road is covered in loose gravel and has steep sides, which means speedy cars may slip around and risk flying off the road. For this reason, also make sure you take to the road in a fairly formidable vehicle. I was in a Chevy Silverado truck, which handled the road easily, and I would not have felt as secure in a smaller or lighter car.




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Do keep in mind, however, that locals won’t necessarily be taking it easy and will not hesitate to pass slowpokes. The likelihood of getting a rock chip on your windshield is high, but c’est la vie!

Be respectful of Inuvialuit culture
The end of the road: the author stands in front of the Arctic Ocean [Elizabeth Chorney-Booth]
While it is a thrill for southerners to see the Arctic Ocean, be aware that Tuktoyaktuk is a functioning town and that it’s important to be respectful to the people who live there. Tuktoyaktuk is a small and friendly community and, in general, people are happy to see visitors. Be sure to spend some money, buying goods from local artisans or visiting the Grandma’s Kitchen food trailer for a bite to eat. And while the new road does give people more access to goods and services, it’s not a bad idea to bring some gifts from the south — a box of Timbits never goes unappreciated!


Sounds a great trip, but I might wait till the Cybertruck is available
 
Same with me, links to empty album.

I was shocked intrepidtoo ONLY used 68 superchargers. My 2020 travels, LA to Florida, returning via Lake Superior, used 65 superchargers and it was child's play compared to intrepidtoo's trip. He used a lot of destination chargers, particularly in Canada.


You might like to try these new links.
 
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I love this writeup. Would it be possible to get a better version of your trip map so we could see the actual roads and charging stops and also a legend for the letters on the map?

Here you go:
  • For the actual route please try this linkto mymaps in Google Maps. (Note the letters are a function of Google Maps and have no particular significance). Tesla Road Trip - Google My Maps
 
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Epic video and trip! My wanderlust is now in full swing. I've done the cross-Canada in an Ice and am dying to do it again in my M3. Thanks for coming to Canada. We are very proud of our country's natural beauty and love to share it. Some people say the drive through the prairies is boring (It's so flat you can watch your dog run away for days!) but I think they are awesome in their own way. Was that a stop in Dildo, Newfoundland I spotted??

Well spotted, yes the Dildo Brewery in NFL, (with some of its output even making it as far as Moss Landing in CA,) and the equally curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia
IMG_4920.JPG IMG_6682.JPG
 

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,270
3,154
Alameda, CA
Here you go:
  • For the actual route please try this linkto mymaps in Google Maps. (Note the letters are a function of Google Maps and have no particular significance). Tesla Road Trip - Google My Maps
This is why when I do my circumnavigation trip, I won't leave the US. My goal is getting to all the coastal or border Superchargers.

Circumnavigation implies going around the perimeter, you didn't have any of lower Texas or Florida and you did mostly Southern Canada so you didn't go around Canada at all.

Although, perhaps you surrounded the US by doing so. I'll have to think about that...
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,220
10,747
California
This is why when I do my circumnavigation trip, I won't leave the US. My goal is getting to all the coastal or border Superchargers.

Circumnavigation implies going around the perimeter, you didn't have any of lower Texas or Florida and you did mostly Southern Canada so you didn't go around Canada at all.

Although, perhaps you surrounded the US by doing so. I'll have to think about that...
Really? You are nitpicking terminology?
Please relax and enjoy the trip.
 

Hugh-SG

Member
Jun 3, 2019
89
96
Vancovuer, BC
Gud'day intrepedtoo,
Monday, Jan 11th, 2021 at 17:45 GMT
(or Tuesday, Jan 12 at 05:45 EAuDT down under)

Thank you for the corrected links mate. I too got Empty page when I 1st tried so skipped fwd figuring you would correct that boo-boo and you did.

Those photos are brilliant! Streuth !!! A fair dinkum amazing adventure.

Also "ta" for the Google Map link, showing all of us how you did it.

Happy to hear you had wonderful time doing your drive across Canada and around the US eH !

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Wishing you a bush fire free summer.

Warmest regards,
Errr roooo !
Cheers! Hugh-SG
 

Sans-gas

Member
May 1, 2019
119
51
NW WA
In response to a recent question on Quora about the inconvenience of charging on a roadtrip, I posted this response. As it seemed to elicit a favourable response I thought I would share it here, particularly as prior to my trip TMC members provided some very supportive and reassuring advice.

Having never previously driven a Tesla, like the Quora poster I had some reservations about its practicality for a long trip. So a year ago, when the world was a different and much less scary place, we flew into the US from Australia, bought a used Tesla S 85D from Tesla in Los Angeles and the following morning set out to drive around North America. 178 days, 24 states, 11 provinces and territories and 32,000km later we returned to Los Angeles, sold the car and returned home just before our visas expired. During the trip the car consumed 5,700kWh of energy sourced from 62 superchargers and 98 other chargers. The total cost for all fuel and repairs and maintenance for the entire trip was $5.75, including $1 for air for a front tyre.

Keeping mainly to scenic roads and following the coast as far as possible, we drove up the west coast, through the San Juan Islands of WA to BC and the Yukon to Alaska, across Canada (where last year there were no superchargers for 3000km across the electron desert between Calgary and Sudbury and none north of Whistler or west of Halifax, although a lot more have been added since then) to Cape Spear on the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, southwards via Cape Cod, through New York city and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading inland through Nashville and Memphis to New Orleans, across Texas and via New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Joshua Tree NPs to San Diego and back to LA.

main-qimg-d104b59648edd446b5769def2afb2388


At no stage did we run short of fuel or struggle to find a place to charge. Sure it took some planning; in the remoter parts of Canada beyond the supercharger network it meant limiting travel to about 400kms a day, selecting overnight stays with or close to charging points and on a few occasions running a cable out of a motel window to get a few extra kms but the car itself provides far more accurate info about remaining range and refuelling options than an ICE car. It also meant that on occasion on particularly long days, we would drive more slowly than we otherwise would, keeping to 80-100km/h or reducing the a/c to conserve energy.

The only nerve-wracking time was a Bonfire of the Vanities moment leaving New York when en route to the Kearny supercharger I missed an exit ramp, resulting in a lengthy detour through the industrial wastelands of New Jersey, reaching the charger with only 2mi of range. However, we found apps such as Plugshare to be indispensable and very reliable. We only once unexpectedly found a charger out of order or unavailable, (at Gitanmaax off the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC, where the manager of the gas station had gone fishing and taken the key to the charger). Once, in Regina we had to share a hotel charger, where the other driver v kindly unplugged his car and connecting ours when theirs had finished at 2am, and once we did have to queue about 30mins to charge, at the 20 stall supercharger near San Clemente, CA. Otherwise, leaving aside the cost savings and the lack of emissions, and having to stay at one or two motels we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen, it was no more inconvenient and an awful lot more relaxing than driving an ICE.

Of course charging an EV takes longer than filling a tank, but on a road trip where time is not of the essence it can provide some unexpected benefits, such as
  • Not having to worry about whether to fill up now or wait to see if it will be cheaper at the next gas station/town/state
  • The opportunity for serendipitous conversations with other drivers when charging, although not so much in California where the EV novelty has worn off. We would frequently get tips on routes, places to visit, restaurants and bars etc, as well as an invitation to join the NC Tesla club in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • No worries as a foreigner about not having a zip code linked to our credit card, which with an ICE can mean at best the need to go into the gas station office prior to filling, or at worst not being able to get any gas, as happened to us late at night in Alaska on a previous trip
  • The opportunity to visit interesting places whilst charging, which we might otherwise have passed by. I don’t mean just shopping malls and outlet centres where many superchargers are located but places such as the Russian fort at Fort Ross, CA, the Museum of Western Film History at Lone Pine, CA, the Acadian Historic Village in New Brunswick, the Yukon Transport Museum at Whitehorse, the curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia or even the amazing Fogo Island Inn somewhere off Newfoundland
  • Priority parking, in EV only spaces such as at the Wright Bros National Park in Kitty Hawk NC and at a metro station in Montreal
In short, within the supercharger network, we would give no more thought to charging than we would to getting petrol. The car itself takes care of that. However venturing beyond the supercharger network does require more planning, checking the proposed distance on google maps, sometimes ringing ahead to ask a hotel to make sure its charger is working and isn’t ICEd, checking the latest feedback from users on PlugShare, and occasionally moderating our driving style to conserve energy.

As the car came with a 4 year/80,000km warranty, R&M was free and included a replacement 12v battery fitted in Vancouver and a door handle repair by a roving Tesla service guy at the NC Telsa meetup in Asheville (fixed in the best Microsoft tradition by powering the car off and on again)

Apart from superchargers, overnight/destination charging at hotels, restaurants/museums etc was free except once in Montreal (where paying $1.50 to charge at a metro station car park was cheaper than paying to park in a non EV space) and $3.25 in New Brunswick.

FWIW although for the most part we avoided freeways and interstates, I would estimate about 65% of the journey was on autopilot (HW1) which made driving quite relaxing allowing us to watch the scenery and spot wildlife. Also looking at electricity generation in the various states and provinces we guesstimate that around ⅔rd of the energy we consumed was from renewable sources making us less concerned about the possible harmful impacts of a frivolous journey.

It’s also worth noting that the experience of driving a Tesla back in Australia, now a M3 LR without free supercharging, is a little different. The supercharging network is currently more limited covering only a few of the major highways in southeastern Australia and, like Canada last year, there are large swathes of electron deserts making our next continental circumnavigation more of a challenge. Fortunately the local motoring associations are rolling out a more extensive fast charging network in some states so once covid restrictions ease and state borders reopen we are keen to see how far we can get.

For anyone who is interested but doesn't have six months to spare, here's the entire trip at hyperspeed, 0 new photos by Graham Coutts (Play LOUD!)
I am sooooo envious. I can’t get my spouse on a trip. I’d go anywhere.
 

Big Ike

Supporting Member
Jan 12, 2019
124
133
Arizona
In response to a recent question on Quora about the inconvenience of charging on a roadtrip, I posted this response. As it seemed to elicit a favourable response I thought I would share it here, particularly as prior to my trip TMC members provided some very supportive and reassuring advice.

Having never previously driven a Tesla, like the Quora poster I had some reservations about its practicality for a long trip. So a year ago, when the world was a different and much less scary place, we flew into the US from Australia, bought a used Tesla S 85D from Tesla in Los Angeles and the following morning set out to drive around North America. 178 days, 24 states, 11 provinces and territories and 32,000km later we returned to Los Angeles, sold the car and returned home just before our visas expired. During the trip the car consumed 5,700kWh of energy sourced from 62 superchargers and 98 other chargers. The total cost for all fuel and repairs and maintenance for the entire trip was $5.75, including $1 for air for a front tyre.

Keeping mainly to scenic roads and following the coast as far as possible, we drove up the west coast, through the San Juan Islands of WA to BC and the Yukon to Alaska, across Canada (where last year there were no superchargers for 3000km across the electron desert between Calgary and Sudbury and none north of Whistler or west of Halifax, although a lot more have been added since then) to Cape Spear on the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, southwards via Cape Cod, through New York city and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading inland through Nashville and Memphis to New Orleans, across Texas and via New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Joshua Tree NPs to San Diego and back to LA.

main-qimg-d104b59648edd446b5769def2afb2388


At no stage did we run short of fuel or struggle to find a place to charge. Sure it took some planning; in the remoter parts of Canada beyond the supercharger network it meant limiting travel to about 400kms a day, selecting overnight stays with or close to charging points and on a few occasions running a cable out of a motel window to get a few extra kms but the car itself provides far more accurate info about remaining range and refuelling options than an ICE car. It also meant that on occasion on particularly long days, we would drive more slowly than we otherwise would, keeping to 80-100km/h or reducing the a/c to conserve energy.

The only nerve-wracking time was a Bonfire of the Vanities moment leaving New York when en route to the Kearny supercharger I missed an exit ramp, resulting in a lengthy detour through the industrial wastelands of New Jersey, reaching the charger with only 2mi of range. However, we found apps such as Plugshare to be indispensable and very reliable. We only once unexpectedly found a charger out of order or unavailable, (at Gitanmaax off the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC, where the manager of the gas station had gone fishing and taken the key to the charger). Once, in Regina we had to share a hotel charger, where the other driver v kindly unplugged his car and connecting ours when theirs had finished at 2am, and once we did have to queue about 30mins to charge, at the 20 stall supercharger near San Clemente, CA. Otherwise, leaving aside the cost savings and the lack of emissions, and having to stay at one or two motels we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen, it was no more inconvenient and an awful lot more relaxing than driving an ICE.

Of course charging an EV takes longer than filling a tank, but on a road trip where time is not of the essence it can provide some unexpected benefits, such as
  • Not having to worry about whether to fill up now or wait to see if it will be cheaper at the next gas station/town/state
  • The opportunity for serendipitous conversations with other drivers when charging, although not so much in California where the EV novelty has worn off. We would frequently get tips on routes, places to visit, restaurants and bars etc, as well as an invitation to join the NC Tesla club in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • No worries as a foreigner about not having a zip code linked to our credit card, which with an ICE can mean at best the need to go into the gas station office prior to filling, or at worst not being able to get any gas, as happened to us late at night in Alaska on a previous trip
  • The opportunity to visit interesting places whilst charging, which we might otherwise have passed by. I don’t mean just shopping malls and outlet centres where many superchargers are located but places such as the Russian fort at Fort Ross, CA, the Museum of Western Film History at Lone Pine, CA, the Acadian Historic Village in New Brunswick, the Yukon Transport Museum at Whitehorse, the curiously named Sober Island Brewery in Nova Scotia or even the amazing Fogo Island Inn somewhere off Newfoundland
  • Priority parking, in EV only spaces such as at the Wright Bros National Park in Kitty Hawk NC and at a metro station in Montreal
In short, within the supercharger network, we would give no more thought to charging than we would to getting petrol. The car itself takes care of that. However venturing beyond the supercharger network does require more planning, checking the proposed distance on google maps, sometimes ringing ahead to ask a hotel to make sure its charger is working and isn’t ICEd, checking the latest feedback from users on PlugShare, and occasionally moderating our driving style to conserve energy.

As the car came with a 4 year/80,000km warranty, R&M was free and included a replacement 12v battery fitted in Vancouver and a door handle repair by a roving Tesla service guy at the NC Telsa meetup in Asheville (fixed in the best Microsoft tradition by powering the car off and on again)

Apart from superchargers, overnight/destination charging at hotels, restaurants/museums etc was free except once in Montreal (where paying $1.50 to charge at a metro station car park was cheaper than paying to park in a non EV space) and $3.25 in New Brunswick.

FWIW although for the most part we avoided freeways and interstates, I would estimate about 65% of the journey was on autopilot (HW1) which made driving quite relaxing allowing us to watch the scenery and spot wildlife. Also looking at electricity generation in the various states and provinces we guesstimate that around ⅔rd of the energy we consumed was from renewable sources making us less concerned about the possible harmful impacts of a frivolous journey.

It’s also worth noting that the experience of driving a Tesla back in Australia, now a M3 LR without free supercharging, is a little different. The supercharging network is currently more limited covering only a few of the major highways in southeastern Australia and, like Canada last year, there are large swathes of electron deserts making our next continental circumnavigation more of a challenge. Fortunately the local motoring associations are rolling out a more extensive fast charging network in some states so once covid restrictions ease and state borders reopen we are keen to see how far we can get.

For anyone who is interested but doesn't have six months to spare, here's the entire trip at hyperspeed, 0 new photos by Graham Coutts (Play LOUD!)
I know I'm late to the party, but thanks so much for sharing this trip! And thank you for visiting us here in the US! We hope you get back soon!
 
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Feb 19, 2015
23
15
Longmont, CO
Late to the party as well but I had seen your blog earlier, and was wondering if you had cataloged exactly where you charged on the way up to Alaska. I attempted to parse through some of the posts prose but I would really like to replicate the trip to Alaska from Colorado in my LR Model 3, and a bit of planning charge stops would certainly help.

Even if you don't have more details, thanks for sharing what you did, it's inspiring to read!
 
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DidiRick

New Member
Jan 1, 2021
1
0
Glade Park, Colorado
Thanks for the inspirational post. We got our Model 3 Long Range on December 24, 2019 with plans for an epic road trip last spring down the COVID drain. So now we are planning a 5000 mile trip for this spring. Our range has been much less than expected up to now but we have a 2,300 ft. elevation difference from where we live off-grid to anywhere we can charge. We are planning to look for dog parks close to charging stations as we travel from Colorado to Florida and New York.
 

RAM_Eh

Member
Dec 10, 2013
513
257
Toronto ON
Love the post and thanks for sharing.

In 2017 I did Toronto, Denver, Las Vegas, San Diego, LA, San Fran, Yosemite, Vancouver, Calgary, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, and back to Toronto...15,500 km over 30 days in a 2013 MS85 (pre autopilot) and this just wet my appetite for more road trips. Cost me $20 total, cab ride to the hot springs in Colorado while charging :).

Best tip I can give is don't be in a rush and enjoy the stops while charging...lots to see!
 

tomorrowman

Member
Mar 10, 2020
188
158
Hampshire
I was quite amused by the 'ignore the boring bit in the middle' approach. Sacrilege you missed Wisconsin the cheese state though.

To be fair coming from a country that fits in Texas nearly 3 times I don't always appreciate the scale of the good old USA and the compromises that forces you to make.
 

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