Driving a Tesla Model 3
from Orange Country, California, north following Hwy. 395, and I-80 to Northwest Lake Tahoe.
With COVID-19 in its 6th month, the Three Comb Over Brothers needed
some relief from the close quarters and decided to take a 1,000-mile
road trip. The trip would be in our 3-month-old Tesla Model 3
from Orange Country, California, north following Hwy. 395, documenting
our Supercharger stops along the way to Reno, Nevada, then to Lake
Tahoe for a couple of days. Finally, we would return following
I-5, documenting the Super Chargers on the way back to Orange
County. It was during the fires of 2020, so many hazy photos to
prove the point.
Click the image for a larger copy.
Route to Fontana and Inyokern Superchargers using "A Better Routeplanner".
Orange County about sunrise with smoke in the air from multiple fires
on the west coast. Right, First charging at Fontana Supercharger.
24 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 72kW
Added a "few" center markers since our last trip up 395 north of Adelanto.
Good rate of charge - 579 miles charged per hour at Inyokern.
4 superchargers, available 24/7, up to 150kW
Hwy 395 between Inyokern and Lone Pine. "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."
Lone Pine to Lake Tahoe information.
Fast charge at Lone Pine Supercharger where the 4 chargers had been moved and 4 others added.
8 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 250kW
A stop in Bishop for Pecan Coffee Cake and Macaroon Cookies at Erick Shat's Bakery..
North of Bishop the smoke gets thicker.
South entrance to Mammoth.
Lake Supercharger. Left, At the end of charging one can see the
amount of the charge in the bottom right corner. Right, Mammoth
pull through chargers. 8 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 150kW
Gardnerville Supercharger Stop at the state line, to get us to Reno.
We completely missed this Supercharger in past years because the
address says, "Gardnerville, 1979 US 395, Gardnerville, Nevada
89410-7081". Now wouldn't your start looking at addresses as you
entered Gardnerville? Be aware, this Supercharger is actually in
Topaz Lake, near the state line, 21 miles south of Gardnerville!
Charging Details: 6 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 150kW
there was an In-N-Out on South Virginia St., we stopped for
supper. Eating was allowed inside this Nevada Restaurant,
socially distanced. We then continued north on Virginia St. to
the Atlantis' Supercharger. I noticed the blue Model 3 next to us
had a wrap license place on Carlos M.'s car. He said he got it
from wrap.com for $50 and that wrap license plates were a pilot program
in California. In reading YouTuber, SpawnPoint in the UK, I
notice they have wrap license plates. When reporting a broken
Charger to Tesla, I've read that there is a phone number on each
stall, The red notice on the stalls at the Atlantis has, "Please
Call:" and an image of a cell phone, how does that work?
6 superchargers, available 24/7, up to 150kW
Driving around Lake Tahoe and visiting Truckee, California.
From Reno, we took I-80 west then south to our destination:
Homewood, CA. Right, Our accommodations for a couple of nights.
The plan for the next day was to drive around Lake Tahoe. First,
breakfast at the Fire Sign Cafe with seating in the back,
outside. Very refreshing in the cool, 6,000+ ft. air.
The Tahoe Lake Superchargers have an excellent location with the
Information Center on the same lot, the Lake Tahoe Truckee River outlet
dam and park, and the Dam Cafe across the street.
View from the Tahoe City Superchargers.
The Information office has restrooms and is on the same lot as the Superchargers. The Dam Cafe is across the street.
Click any image for a larger copy.
Lake Tahoe Dam
A pedestrian bridge is on the lake side of the operations covered bridge.
Informative signs can be seen through the operations building's windows.
Evidently the 4-legged friends enjoy the bridge as well (not my
photo). Very large fish can be seen below the highway bridge.
View of the dam from the highway bridge with fish below.
Any image can be clicked for a larger copy, then "X" that image to return to this report.
a good night's sleep in Homewood, CA, we drove around Lake Tahoe.
We "juiced up" at Tahoe City (top left) and drove clockwise around the
lake. Superchargers are on the map for your convenience, but we
did not need any charge for this 51 mile drive. Pay no attention
to the time of day, that is just the time I created the map.
Distance between Superchargers is valid.
I knew there would be some scenic overlooks where I could get a shot of the Model 3 with the lake in the background.North Shore with plenty of smoke from California fires.
Around on the southwest side, Emerald Bay.
Pull off for Emerald Bay
Henry J Kaiser Estate in Homewood, California, on northwest Lake Tahoe.
As we entered Truckee, the Amtrak California Zephyr was about to leave town heading east to Chicago.
We dashed east of town a bit to get the Zephyr underway.
The bi-level consist was two Genesis locomotives, a baggage car, a
transition/crew car, two sleeping cars, a diner, a sightseer/lounge
car, and two coaches.
This UP freight was awaiting the Zephyr's move out of Truckee so she could proceed west.
A closer view of the freight with an unusual consist - a whole train of
large creations in wooden freight boxes. Any idea what would be
in these boxes too large to be trucked?
Truckee Diner and track side of the Amtrak Truckee Station.
My two loves - Trains and Teslas.
A Greyhound bus pulled into the Truckee Amtrak Station and I noticed the onboard amenities they now advertise.
Adjacent to the Truckee Amtrak Station is this restored Flying A Service station.
The price of Regular was set at 27.9¢
Round trip from Homewood, California, over Mount Rose
to Virginia City, Nevada
a good night's sleep in Homewood, we took a round trip over Mount Rose
to Virginia City, Nevada. Mount Rose Summit is a mountain pass
located in the Carson Range near Mount Rose and Slide Mountain
northeast of Incline Village. The 8,911 ft.-high pass is
traversed by State Route 431, which is the highest point of the highway
and the highest mountain pass open year-round in the Sierra
Traveling at high altitude and at times 7% grade, the Model 3 performed
perfectly gaining some miles of charge going down both sides of the
mountain. If you had your eyes closed you would not know we were
crossing such a high mountain...except for your ears popping.
There is a nice overlook above Incline Village with directional markers with town names around Lake Tahoe.
We parked on west C Street and noted mine tailings across the valley.
On Virginia City's website, I saw some HDR photos, so I said, "I can do that." Here are a few.
I had heard that there was a steam tourist train in town, so we followed the signs down the hill and found the Virginia & Truckee.
Luckily, we heard the Virginia & Truckee approaching town from the west, so we hustled down a couple of streets to catch the last run of the day.
Maybe old steam trains look best in black and white.
Unusual vegetation at this 6,148 ft. elevation.
On the way back over Mt. Rose, I caught the California state line sign and the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics entrance.
Heading Home from Lake Tahoe
Juicing up at the Tahoe City, CA, Supercharger and heading across I-80 then south on Hwy-99 to Stockton where we took I-5 to Pasadena.
The A Better Routeplanner route we followed home.
is much more detailed than the Navicomputer in the Tesla Model 3.
As you can see in the screen shot above, it first gives you a summary of
the entire trip in hours and minutes; miles; and number of charges and
total time of charging. At each charging stop, it shows that it
is a Tesla Supercharger and how many stalls are free, on the
left. It also shows the amount of time and miles to your next
charging stop. The time of day when you will arrive and depart
relative to time you are to charge (We were seldom ready to go when the
car was.) The arrival state of charge in percentage and the departure
state of charge (We often charged longer so we would arrive at the next
Supercharger with more than 10%.) The $ amount of your charge; and
drive time to your next Supercharger.
I like to
have this printed out and with me on the trip. I would glance at
the printout and when I got back in the car after charging, I would put
in the next Supercharger as our destination on the Tesla's
navicomputer. This way, the car could precondition the battery,
if necessary, for the fastest possible charge at the next Supercharger..
I-80. Crossing Hwy. 50 on which Paul and I had crossed the nation
in 2004, and along which I was born on a farm in Hayden, Indiana.
First charge, Elk Grove, California. 16 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 250kW
Gustine, California, Supercharger between Pea Soup Andersen's and Hwy. 99.
12 superchargers, available 24/7, up to 150kW
There was an In-N-Out at the same exit as the Gustine Superchargers.
40 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 250kW
24H Tesla Customer Lounge (With a code of 0106#, but the door was open).
All parking stalls were covered by solar panels.
Because of COVID-19, all tables and chairs were stacked and store items very sparse.
Things I've never seen at a Supercharger. On the right, air pump,
trash can, and windshield cleaner. Several pulled in, but no
charger at this spot.
We unplugged and drove back to I-5 noticing a drive all around the
structure, perhaps a showroom for future Teslas for sale as in
traditional auto dealers.
Final charge at Tejon Ranch, north side of the Grapevine, just south of the I-5 - Hwy. 99 split
24 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 150kW
Heading south on I-5, north of the Grapevine.
Southbound I-5 over the Grapevine following two Model 3s. This is
where you might encounter internal combustion vehicles overheated
and pulled to the side, but this is not the case for an electric
"Looking Back" on this trip of over 1,000 miles with Fred and Paul, it
was a great way to escape the COVID-19 isolation, and still stay safe
with masks and social distancing.
Photography from the driver's seat.
may have noticed that my photos were taken either from the passenger
seat when Fred was driving or when I was out of the car at
Superchargers or scenic overlooks. However, Autopilot (Auto steer
and traffic-aware-cruise control)
have made photography safe from the driver's position. If you
don't have Autopilot engaged already, as you approach a possible photo
opportunity during your driving, engage Autopilot (two downward motions
on the right stock starts both cruise and auto steer) then you can
safely reach for your camera, compose and take photos while your Tesla safely handles the driving duties.
We three travelers had driven the 500 miles to Reno
three times in earlier years in a Tesla X of Steve Grande and Barbara
Cepinko's so the route and Supercharger stops were well known to
us. However, the 500 mile trip
from Tahoe City to Placentia, California, that I chose just for the
experience, we had never driven in an Tesla. The realization was
that we had no range anxiety,
thanks to Tesla's own onboard Navicomputer, and "A Better Route
Planner" I could plan the trip at home and again in the car -
Supercharger to Supercharger. As you look to the maps
above, you will see, on average, we stopped about every 100 miles.
Some of those stops involved meals, and all involved nature
calls. However, it was not the need for a charge that we stopped,
since we often arrived with over 20% left, but rather the nature call
part. It took only$40 of charging to drive the 500 miles of
each leg of the trip. That's using the fastest chargers in
existence with many alternative Superchargers we could have used along
the way. Finally, as you look at the maps, you will see that we never were required to charge for more than 22 minutes.
This negates the naysayers who believe it takes hours to fully charge
an electric vehicle to 100%. The fallacy of this statement is
that, on a road trip, you never need to fully charge from 10% to 100%.
In fact, we were usually not ready to stop charging and drive on
because our other activities at the stop took us more time than the
After the trip, you can go to your account history and get a summary of all your Supercharger activity:
most recent at the top, you will see the cost on the right (not shown
above) and each stop can be expanded to show your arrival
state-of-charge, how much you charged, and what your charge was when
you left. As you also see above, the time and date of the charge.
My Referral Number is https://ts.la/carl41979 Just click
the URL to the left to go to the Tesla.com site that will explain the
benefits of using a referral number: