Cross Country Planning

In a few days I will be leaving California to take a cross country road trip in my Tesla Model S.  A few drivers including an official Tesla team have already crossed the country and set some records.  My journey will be different with few if any goals in mind –  focused on the journey not the destinations and without any reservations.

I expect to do some blogging during and after the trip.  Mostly related to how the journey is different in an electric car and how someone with wanderlust adapts their journey and probably a few thoughts on the journey itself. You can follow my journey on twitter – no twitter account necessary.

I did a back and forth cross country trip as a teenager and also drove with a friend one-way to get his car to grad school in Boston.  I have driven myself to Montana and Colorado several times in the last ten years but I have not taken such a long solo journey in a long time.  I’ve already visited all 50 states, all of the continents, and many of the National Parks, so I can be free of too many goals.  Fortunately for the environment, my wanderlust has significantly been reduced in recent years.

The general idea is to take the existing cross country supercharger path that goes through Arizona, Utah, Colorado and then heads north and ends up in New York City and down the east coast.  I have no intentions of just staying on that road in particular.  I’m not all that fond of freeways and love National Parks, two lane highways and unexpected finds. The way back I am going to try to cross the country further south without superchargers, which will be considerably slower.

I have three friends I am tentatively scheduled to visit (NYC – parking the only issue, Nashville – reasonable electric access, and Witchita – will be a bit of a challenge to get there).  I also am toying with trying to go to Big Bend National park in Texas.


On top of the standard preparations for any long trip regardless of transportation, for the Tesla I have added a few additional items.

Electric car charging accounts – Outside of the supercharger network, I already have a Chargepoint card but will set up perhaps a few more networks before hand.  I am expecting to use PlugShare and EVTripPlanner during the journey.  I’m going to look into perhaps supplementing the set of adaptors that came with the car.

Tire Care – For those who follow my blog, I had two blowouts in a couple of weeks on my 21” tires.  I now have a tire repair kit that spews goo into the tire along with air.  I also expect to stop into a Tesla service center on the east coast somewhere to rotate my tires for free.  I think I am the first person who has done this trip with these tires, and am a bit concerned about potholes.

Sleeping – The rear of the Tesla is about 6’ long and almost 4’ wide.  Not quite as spacious as an SUV but perfectly comfortable for one person with a thick camping mattress.  There is a very popular Swedish Model S amateur videographer who on occasion has slept in the back with his wife.  I don’t expect to be sleeping in the back much but it may be more convenient in some remote places and since I don’t have any reservations, I want a back up plan.  The photo enclosed shows how you can put in a large air mattress in the back.  I decided to not use the mattress shown as I don’t want to haul around an air compressor, and instead purchased a 3 1/2” self inflatable from REI.

Plenty of Room for Large Air Mattress

Plenty of Room for Large Air Mattress



3 thoughts on “Cross Country Planning

    • You can legally sleep in your car in lots of places: campgrounds, any roads in National Forests, and Walmart parking lots. I know there are some cities such as Palo Alto where sleeping in your car has become controversial.

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