This particular web page is the report along with photos of the third day of our road trip. This segment covers travel from Lone Tree, Colorado, to Salina, Kansas. If you have not yet read the first day of this Tesla road trip from Anaheim, California, to Richfield, Utah, then please click here to read that first.
Below you will find the day, date, time, and time zone in BOLD for each location for when we arrived and departed. You will also find the letters "MP" followed by a four digit number. "MP" stands for "Mile Post" and is a left over from the days that I used to write travelogues of my rail travels. The MP starts at 0000 at the departure from my Anaheim Vacation House and will indicate how many miles we've traveled so far as we arrive at each location. Along with the location there will usually be a reading of how many miles of charge are remaining on the battery on arrival and then again on departure after charging. Additional information might also be listed. For example, if at a train station, a list of the trains serving that station might be shown which may be a clickable link to further information about that particular train service.
Sat 2015-May-23 12:03 PM MT MP 1082 - Depart from Staybridge Suites
Lone Tree, CO (174 miles remaining on battery)
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We aren't morning people so trying to get off to an early start doesn't always work out for us. Between having to wake up super early the first day of this trip and then losing an hour after crossing a time zone, we got off to a late start again today.
When we arrived at this hotel last night we ended up parking on the wrong side of the hotel, and thus parked quite far away from the front entrance. Most of the parking and other nearby stores are around the back side of this hotel. Thus, we thought that is where the entrance to the hotel was located. We had to wheel our luggage for a bit of a way before we finally figured out the location of the front entrance. Last night most of the parking spaces close to the hotel entrance were already taken anyway. By the time we checked out at almost noon, there were plenty of spaces right in front of the hotel so I pulled the Tesla right up to the closest parking spot to the hotel entrance. The only ones closer were the disability spaces.
As you can see in an above photo, our two large pink suitcases actually do fit flat side by side in the trunk of the Tesla. Even after also loading a large backpack and computer bag into the trunk, there was still more room. We didn't have anything at all in the frunk (front trunk).
Sat 2015-May-23 12:40 PM MT - Arrive at Amtrak / Denver Union Station
1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO
(Served by the Amtrak California Zephyr)
Denver Union Station was not a stop on our original plans as I did not know we'd be going through Denver. But once I realized that the hotel in Lone Tree, Colorado, where we stayed the night, was in a suburb of Denver, I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to stop at the Amtrak Station at Denver Union Station. Above you can see our Tesla parked right in front of Denver Union Station. There are some spots right in front of the station reserved for dropping off and picking up passengers. I was able to park in one of those just long enough to get the above photo. While taking this photo rain was lightly drizzling. I had to almost dance between the rain drops to get this photo. You can see that the sky is pretty overcast.
For more photos and more information about this station, click here to visit TrainWeb.org/usarail/denver.htm. The Amtrak California Zephyr train serves this station. For more information, route guides, and travelogues with photos about this train, click here to visit TrainWeb.com/routes/route_5.htm.
The Denver Union Station also used to be served by the Amtrak Pioneer that ran from Chicago to Portland and Seattle, and the Amtrak Desert Wind that ran from Chicago through Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Those Amtrak trains were discontinued in 1997. Click here for more information, photos and travelogues related to the Amtrak Pioneer. Click here for more information, photos and travelogues related to the Amtrak Desert Wind.
Sat 2015-May-23 02:10 PM MT MP 1155 - Arrive at Limon Tesla Supercharger
2221 6th St, Limon, CO (41 miles remaining on battery)
Sat 2015-May-23 03:00 PM MT MP 1155 - Depart Limon Tesla Supercharger
2221 6th St, Limon, CO (235 miles remaining on battery)
Driving through Kansas, rain started pouring down really hard. Above the photos kind of show just how bad was the visibility. Fortunately with All Wheel Drive (AWD) and the tremendous weight of the Tesla Model S P85D, it handles very well on wet roads. Empty the vehicle weighs almost 5,000 pounds mostly because of the 85 kWh battery pack. Adding the weight of my wife and myself plus our luggage, the car definitely weighed over 5,000 pounds. Since the battery back is located under the passenger compartment floor running from axle to axle and side to side, that puts the center of gravity extremely low on the car adding to its fantastic stability. Except for the limited visibility due to the pouring rain, there was no problem at all driving the Tesla on the wet roads.
Sat 2015-May-23 04:37 PM CT MP 1262 - Arrive at Goodland Tesla Supercharger
2631 Enterprise Rd, Goodland, KS (99 miles remaining on battery)
As you can see above, this Tesla Supercharger is in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express. Tesla must have some sort of deal with Holiday Inn Express as a number of the Tesla Superchargers seem to be in parking lots of Holiday Inn Express. Plus, The Holiday Inn Express is where Tesla lists to use their restrooms and WiFi at these locations. Unfortunately, most Holiday Inn Express hotels do not have restaurants in them. This became a little inconvenience at this particular time.
We decided it would be a good time to grab a bite to eat while waiting for the car to charge at this location. As you can see in a photo above, there is a "Steak and Shake" fast food restaurant within feet of the Tesla Superchargers. There were a number of people inside and a few people seemed to be walking between the hotel and the restaurant. So, we just assumed they were open for business and started walking toward it. There was a lot of pavement work going on around the restaurant, but we just figured they were resurfacing the parking lot. As it turned out, this Steak and Shake was not yet open. They were actually doing employee training inside the restaurant and that is why there were so many people inside. On second look, we realized there were no cars parked in the lot of the restaurant and there wasn't even a finished driveway to get into the restaurant! There were a few other restaurants in the area, but they were a bit of walk on the other side of the freeway. Not feeling like a long walk and wanting to get back on the road as soon as we were done charging, we just went into the hotel to use their restrooms and WiFi. If you decide to stop at this Tesla Supercharger, most likely this Steak and Shake will be open by then.
Sat 2015-May-23 05:20 PM CT MP 1262 - Depart Goodland Tesla Supercharger
2631 Enterprise Rd, Goodland, KS (231 miles remaining on battery)
As I've mentioned previously, my general rule of thumb is to charge the battery to double the miles I need to reach the next charging location. Sometimes I'll stop charging short of reaching this safety margin. This is especially true if the Tesla would require a charge all the way to the maximum 255 miles to get as close as I can to double the miles of the trip. The charing rate slows down the closer the battery charge approaches its maximum charge. Thus, it takes a lot longer to charge from 200 miles to 255 miles on the battery than it takes to charge from 100 miles to 155 miles on the battery. So, I often will forgo charging all the way to the maximum if I think that less charge will be enough for the trip. Besides, Tesla recommends to limit how often the battery is charged to maximum in order to extend the life of the battery.
In this particular case with 142 miles to the next Supercharger, maybe I should have charged all the way up to 255 miles rather than just 231 miles on the battery. The speed limit on most of I-70 is either 75 or 80 MPH. Traveling at those speeds, plus a little faster when passing other cars from time to time, plus sometimes the roads climbing into the mountains, the Tesla tends to use up battery charge faster than the rated estimate shown. In any case, the above yellow warning showed up on the Tesla screen that you can see in the above photo: Drive slowly to reach destination. With that warning I noticed that I still had well more than enough miles remaining on the battery to reach the next Supercharger. Rather than drive slowly I just went made sure that I drove no faster than the 75 MPH Speed Limit and avoided passing other cars. Driving that way, I still had 26 miles left over when I pulled into the next Tesla Supercharger.
Sat 2015-May-23 08:24 PM CT MP 1404 - Arrive at Hays Tesla Supercharger
4101 Vine St, Hays, KS (26 miles remaining on battery)
The Hays Tesla Supercharger is in the parking lot of an Applebee's Restaurant. Since we didn't have a chance to eat at the last stop at the Steak and Shake that wasn't open yet, we went into the Applebee's to have something. Being 8:30 PM on a Saturday evening, the restaurant was packed with several people even waiting for tables. There were some open seats at the bar so my wife and I just sat at the bar so we wouldn't have to wait for a table. We finished eating at the restaurant in less than an hour, but by 9:20 PM it had already become dark outside. You can see the contrast of daylight between when we went in and when we came out in the above photos.
Sat 2015-May-23 09:20 PM CT MP 1404 - Depart Hays Tesla Supercharger
4101 Vine St, Hays, KS (223 miles remaining on battery)
Sat 2015-May-23 10:45 PM CT MP 1498 - Arrive at Salina Tesla Supercharger
Holiday Inn Express, 755 W Diamond Dr, Salina, KS (109 miles remaining on battery)
We arrived at the Salina Tesla Supercharger at about 10:45 PM. Again, this was in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express, where we would spend the night. Since we had a late lunch but no dinner, we decided to see if there was anything still open in the area where we could get something light to eat. At the front desk of the hotel they told us the only place that would probably still be open at this hour was the Applebee's in Salina, another location of the same restaurant where we had lunch.
Sat 2015-May-23 11:30 PM CT - Arrive at Applebee's
2875 S 9th St, Salina, KS
This Applebee's, though still in Salina, was almost ten miles from the hotel. However, it was all highway and pretty easy and fast to get there.
Sun 2015-May-24 01:22 AM CT MP 1498 - Arrive again at Salina Tesla Supercharger
Holiday Inn Express, 755 W Diamond Dr, Salina, KS
After getting back to the hotel it was pretty late, or actually pretty early in the morning. Again we just left our Tesla plugged in at the Supercharger all night figuring it unlikely that more than 5 other Tesla vehicles would pull in during the night and need our charging spot. As it turned out, we did see one other Tesla parked there while we were at the hotel but they departed before we left the hotel in the morning.
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