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2016 Tesla Model X P90DL
Anaheim, CA to St. George, UT
Day 1 - Saturday, May 28, 2016

These reports and photos are of a road trip from Anaheim, California, to the 2nd Annual Midwest Tesla Gathering in St. Louis, Missouri. My wife and I are doing this trip in our new red 2016 Tesla Model X P90DL. This particular report is of Day 1, the segment from Anaheim, California to St. George, Utah.

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A parting photo of our 2015 Tesla Model S P90DL that made this same trip last year but will be left behind for this two week trip this year.

Some last minute preparations before we depart on this trip. Making sure the HPWC cord is wrapped up and in place and loading a few last items into our Tesla.

Even though my wife and I live in Vancouver, Washington, and belong to the PDX Tesla Portland Oregon Tesla Owners Group, family and business require that we also spend significant time in Southern California and La Plata, Missouri. Thus we are also members of the Tesla Club LA, the Tesla Club of Orange County, and even the St. Louis Tesla Enthusiasts!

When we heard there was going to be a Midwest Tesla Gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2016, we gave serious consideration to making a road trip to it in our new 2016 Tesla Model X P90DL. A bit more than a year ago we had made this same trip in our 2015 Tesla Model S P85D that was also pretty new at that time. What added to our desire to make this trip was that we had 15 banker boxes of train books, magazines, timetables, and other railroad memorabilia that needed to be moved from Anaheim, California, to the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF) in La Plata, Missouri. The APRHF is a non-profit organization that we had been involved with since its founding. Having these items on display and archived at the APRHF museum would be better than sitting in our storage unit.

A photo of just 7 banker boxes. We were going to have to try to fit 15 of these boxes into the Model X along with our two big suitcases and other items!

I was concerned that all these banker boxes along with our suitcases would not fit in the Tesla Model X and thus gave some consideration to renting a trailer. Our Model X does have the tow hitch option, so it would be possible to tow a trailer. But there is a catch: the inconvenience of having to unhitch the trailer at many Supercharger locations where the Tesla has to back into the charging bay.

Several of the first Supercharger locations were designed such that a Tesla could drive forward into the Supercharger bays. Many of these had a roof with solar panels over the charging bays. I'm just guessing that maybe the original plan was to have all Supercharger locations have a roof with solar panels where each Tesla would drive in forward to charge. If that is the case it makes sense that the charge port of the Tesla is in the rear rather than in the front unlike many other Electric Vehicles. Today, however, most Supercharger locations require that you back into them in order to charge. Since most of them do not have any roof over them and do not have solar panels, I suspect that Tesla found it easier, quicker, and cheaper to install the Superchargers all in a row at the end of the parking spaces. Unfortunately, since the charge port is at the rear of a Tesla, this requires the driver to back into the charging space. At this point it seems like it would have made more sense to put the charge port on the front of the car so that drivers could just drive straight into the parking space to charge.

For most this isn't a big deal as one can get used to backing into parking spaces with just a little practice, especially with the HD backup camera on every Tesla. It is even easier on Tesla vehicles equipped with the self-parking feature when you need to back in between two other Tesla vehicles already in the charging spaces.

However, if you are towing a trailer, having to back in to charge can be a major inconvenience. When approaching a Supercharger where backing in is the only way to charge, the trailer has to be unhitched before charging and re-hitched after charging. There are many Supercharging locations where a Tesla towing a trailer can charge without unhitching the trailer. Most of the Supercharger locations where you can pull in forward will work fine when towing a trailer. In some locations where you would normally back into the Supercharger parking spot, you can actually pull in behind the supercharger and the cable will reach the charging port without unhitching the trailer.

I did not tow a trailer on this trip, but I will be making notes along the way regarding which Supercharging locations are "trailer friendly" and which would require the trailer to be unhitched to charge.

The reason I did not have to tow a trailer on this trip was that all 15 banker boxes along with our two big suitcases and a number of other items all fit just fine in the Model X with room to spare!

Model X "under trunk" storage compartment. Left: Lid up and showing two full size banker boxes in the storage compartment with room to spare. Right: Lid down flat with the two banker boxes inside the "under trunk" storage compartment.

First, I was hoping that two banker boxes would fit in the storage compartment below the rear trunk. I was skeptical, but as you can see above, they fit just fine! I was even able to close the lid flat over the storage compartment as you can see in the photo on the right side above. There was still a lot of space around those two storage boxes and I later put a lot of railroad books into that space. I usually keep a number of useful items in that storage compartment such as emergency supplies, jackets, electric tire pump, window cleaner and brushes, towels, etc. I moved all those items to the front trunk, or "frunk" of the Model X for this trip.

A side view from the falcon wing doors of all the banker boxes piled in.

Next, I moved the two middle row seats as far forward as they would go. To my satisfaction, I found that I could fit two more banker boxes flat on the floor between the middle row seats and the third row seats! I was able to pile 3 more banker boxes on top of those two, and then two more on top of those three. So, a total of 7 banker boxes fit right between the second and third row seats! The bottom 5 boxes were totally secure as they were blocked from moving either forward or backward by the 2nd and 3rd rows of seats. The top 2 boxes had nothing to block them from sliding backwards, but I figured they would be blocked from moving once the final boxes and our suitcases were loaded in. After that, I found that I could fit two more boxes between the two seats in the second row. We opted for the 6 seat rather than the 7 seat configuration of the Model X, and now I'm really glad that we did that! 11 banker boxes loaded and just 4 more to go! I placed 3 in the rear trunk of the Model X and one more, the blue box, on top of those 3.

Rear view of all the banker boxes loaded. Left: Under trunk storage compartment lid open. Right: Under trunk storage compartment lid closed.

As you can see above, there was still plenty of room in the rear trunk even after all 15 banker boxes were loaded. Tesla was not joking when they said the Model X has tremendous capacity!

A final photo of everything loaded including our two very big suitcases and two backpacks. As you can see, there is still lots of room to spare! The view from the rear view mirror wasn't even obstructed.

Icon in the center of the photo is the Tesla Destination Charging Location at the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata, Missouri.

Above I mentioned that we made this same trip in our 2015 Tesla Model S P85D a bit over a year ago. The reason for that trip was to bring our Tesla to the Ribbon Cutting ceremony of the new Tesla Destination Charging Location at the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata, Missouri. My wife and I used to own that hotel and we still have significant business and charitable interests in that community. As you can see from the above map, the La Plata, Missouri, Destination Charging location is right in the middle of what would otherwise by a big empty area between many Tesla Supercharger locations. Depending where you are driving in the Midwest, this Tesla charging location can save dozens of miles and sometimes over a hundred miles that it would take by strictly using Supercharger locations. You do not have to stay at the hotel or even ask permission to use the chargers. Just drive around back of the hotel and you will find 2 80amp HPWC unlocked and ready! Rarely will you ever find both occupied.

For the travel report and photos of that prior Tesla trip from California to Missouri and about the Tesla Destination Chargers at the Depot Inn & Suites, visit

Enough with the preparations. Let's get this Tesla Model X P90DL road trip on the way!

Starting from Anaheim, California, at 6:07 AM
with 248 miles of charge on the battery.

Since this is Memorial Day Weekend, we got off to an early start because we were concerned the traffic might be heavy later in the day. Our big concern was to make it past Las Vegas as early as we could. The heaviest traffic would most likely be between Southern California to Las Vegas as that is a popular holiday driving destination for many that live in Southern California. Once we got past Las Vegas, we assumed there wouldn't be that many cars driving out of Las Vegas today. Our assumptions were probably correct as we encountered very little traffic except for a couple of short delays caused by drivers gawking at minor road accidents.

Arrived at Barstow Supercharger at 7:41 AM with 112 miles of charge still on the battery. Above are some photos of the layout of this Supercharger location.

Four of the bays of this Tesla Supercharger are the type you pull forward into with a roof over them covered by solar panels. It looked to me that you could pull into them even if you were towing a trailer. As long as you weren't towing a real long trailer, it looked like the trailer would not be blocking the road. In addition to the 4 charging spaces you pull forward into, there were an additional 4 spaces that required you to back into them to charge.

Subway, Starbucks, Oggi's and Carl's Jr. at Barstow Tesla Supercharger

The closest restaurant to the Supercharger is Chilli's but the above are all within an easy walk. Some of them are hidden behind the hotel and not visible from the Supercharger. When we were there the Oggi's was under construction and not yet open. While we were charging the only other Tesla to pull in was a gray Model S with California plates. It departed Barstow just moments before us.

Departed Barstow Supercharger at 8:06 AM
with 205 miles of charge on the battery.

Arrived Primm Supercharger at 10 AM
with 53 miles of charge left on the battery.

View of area around the Primm Tesla Supercharger.

From the above you can see there are quite a few charging bays at Primm, and that it was pretty empty when we arrived. That same gray Model S that we saw at the Barstow arrived shortly after us and departed before us. We wanted to skip the Las Vegas Supercharger so we made sure we charged up enough to make it to St. George, Utah. Most likely the gray Tesla just charged up enough to make it to the Las Vegas Supercharger. The only other Tesla that pulled in while we were in Primm was a white Model S. They also pulled in after us and pulled out before us. There is a McDonald's within steps of the Supercharger and we used the restrooms there. If you want to go to any other restaurant or the stores, it is a bit more of a walk but not too far. They also have a shuttle that goes to all or at least many of the stores, the hotel, and the restaurant. I think you might have to walk over to the hotel restaurant to get on the shuttle.

If you were towing a trailer, you can charge at Primm without unhitching. There are a couple of options. If it is as empty as while we were here, you could just pull across several of the empty parking spaces. If you do that, I suggest staying with your vehicle in case so many other Tesla's arrive that the only charging spaces are the ones you have blocked. If the regular non-parking spaces at the end of the charging spaces are empty, you could probably pull into those so that you only block 2 or 3 of the other Tesla charging spaces. When we were there those parking spaces were occupied. Another option is to just park on the road on the other side of the Tesla chargers. You won't be blocking anyone as there is plenty of room on the road to drive around you, plus there is very little traffic on that road. It really is just a road in the parking lot in an area that is not very busy. I don't know if the parking lot security people would bother you if you parked like that, however. But it would work and would be very easy to pull in and out while towing a trailer!

Departed Primm Supercharger at 11:12 AM
with 240 miles of charge on the battery.

Arrived at St. George Supercharger at 2:35 PM with 24 miles of charge left on the battery. This is the view out the front windshield of the car while parked and charging.

There is a Starbucks right in front of the Supercharger. There are only 4 chargers here and you do back into them to charge. If you were towing a trailer, probably the only way to charge without unhitching would be to take up multiple charging spaces, maybe even all 4 of them! You'd have to park lengthwise across more than one of them.

We were going to have lunch at the Gun Barrel Restaurant but found they don't open until 5pm. Then we decided to try the Egg & I. Unfortunately we forgot we had crossed into Mountain Time. They close at 2:30pm and were just closing up when we went in. But maybe that was a good thing as our next option to try was The Crepery. We had a salad and a crepe. The food was excellent and the price was right. I'd strongly recommend The Crepery to anyone stopping here to charge. They even have free WiFi! See the photos above of The Crepery. It is right on the other side of the same building that The Egg & I is in.

After we finished eating and returned to our car we saw that the same gray Model S had pulled in and was charging. I walked over to the driver and spoke with him for a couple of minutes. They were going to be staying in St. George for a couple of days. We talked a bit about the Midwest Tesla Gathering and Tesla social groups and gatherings in general.

Departed St. George Supercharger at 3:40 PM
with 230 miles of charge on the battery.

We drove less than 2 miles from the Supercharger and checked in at a nearby hotel in St. George. Tomorrow we are off to Glenwood Springs in Colorado! We will be staying two nights in Glenwood Springs which will give me a chance to do the final edits on this report and to post the events and photos of our travels tomorrow. Check back for the next installment of this round trip travel report from Southern California to St. Louis, Missouri, and back!

A bit more than a year ago we traveled almost this exact same route but in our 2015 Tesla Model S P85D. For the report and photos from this segment of the route from last year click here

Click on any photo on this page for a larger image.

Click Here for a Slide Show
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