Jan 09 2016 02:00 PM - We packed up our 2015 Tesla Model S P85D and headed out the driveway for Las Vegas! As you can see from the photos, the Tesla was pretty full after loading in all the luggage for 3 people. However, we were able to fit everything in the rear trunk and the Frunk (Front Trunk) and did not have to carry any luggage in the passenger area of the car. I didn't have too much placed into the lower compartment in the rear trunk, so there was probably enough room to even carry one more small suitcase.
I used the Tesla AutoSteer feature for about 95% of this trip. The only time I turned it off was when we departed the freeway to charge up in Barstow and in Primm, and then when we reached our destination in Las Vegas. The CA-91 and I-15 freeways have very clear lane markings along the route of the entire trip, even though the construction zones, so there was little need for me to manually take over from the AutoSteer feature.
When we arrived in Barstow we were pleasantly surprised to see an empty charging spot right next to brand new shiny red Tesla Model X P90D! Naturally I had to take a photo of it and inspect it carefully. This is the first time that any of us had ever seen a Model X other than in photos and videos. I have a red Model X on order that is supposed to be delivered in less than 60 days. The red was deeper than I expected but it is a very pleasant red, maybe almost a burgundy red.
When we headed for our car to prepare to depart Barstow, we noticed that all of the charging spots were taken. As I was walking to the car, two more Tesla Model S vehicles pulled into the lot and parked in non-charging spots to wait for their turn. Forutnately for one of them I was about to pull out and free up one of the spots.
I was hoping that when we got to Primm that we would not have to wait for a spot. It turns out I had nothing to fear as there are plenty of charging spots in Primm and not a single one of them was occupied when I arrived!
Before we started out on this trip we decided to charge 100% at both Barstow and Primm. In that way we would arrive into Las Vegas with almost 200 miles left on the batter and would not have to charge in Las Vegas at all for our entire stay. I don't like charging at the Tesla Supercharger in Las Vegas. There are just a few chargers at that location and it is the only Tesla Supercharing location that does not seem to have any obvious restrooms or other ammenities. About all you can do there is just sit in your car and wait while charging. But charging to 100% at Primm should eliminate any need to charge at all in Las Vegas unless you do 150 miles of driving during your stay in Las Vegas. Instead you just have to make sure you have about 40 miles of charge left on the battery when you leave Las Vegas so you can make it back to Primm to charge up for the rest of your journey south on the I-15.
An odd thing happened as we were approaching Primm. We almost went into a panic and thought we had drivin right past the Primm Supercharger! Our GPS showed that our next stop would be Las Vegas and not Primm. At first we could not figure out why the GPS was no longer navigating up to Primm and figured we must have driven right past it.
Not wanting to have to charge in Las Vegas, we decided to see how far we'd have to drive if we reversed direction and went back to Primm. So, we set the GPS to get us to Primm instead of Las Vegas. It said we'd have to drive 27 miles to get there! We were not going to go 54 miles out of our way just to avoid sitting for an hour in the car at the Las Vegas charger.
But then we noticed that as we continued to drive north on I-15, the miles to Primm was dropping rather than increasing. We were still heading in the right direction to go to the Primm Tesla Supercharger!
So how was it that Primm vanished from being the destination on our GPS navigation? It took a moment, but then I figured out what had happened. When I started out, I set the Tropicana in Las Vegas as our destination. THe GPS automatically added in the Tesla Superchargers in Barstow and Primm as stopping points. It said we needed to charge for 10 minutes in Barstow and 10 minutes in Primm. But since we had charged 100% in Barstow, the GPS automatically refigured that there was no longer any need to stop in Primm to reach Las Vegas. Hence, it automatically dropped Primm from the route!
This was definitely something to make note of for our next trip to Las Vegas. Or, actually, something to keep in mind for what could happen on a trip to anywhere when you exceed Tesla's recommendation of how much to charge at each Supercharging station.
When we arrived at the hotel I immediately experienced one of the attributes about Las Vegas that I encounter everywhere and really hate: missing options. I really don't like having a valet drive my Tesla and prefer to self-park. I figured I would drop my passengers and the luggage off at the main entrance and then go self-park. They could get bell service to load up the luggage on a carrier and check-in while I drove to the far off self-parking lot and walked back. But, as I approached the entrance of the hotel, there were only 3 lanes and they were marked as follows:
When they sayd Drive-Through Traffic, they meant it! There was no place in that lane to stop to unload luggage or passengers. To stop in that lane at the entrance would mean blocking all drive-through traffic behind me and dumping my passengers out in the middle lane with taxis and limos driving by one one side and cars going to valey driving by on the other side. I would have to park in the taxe/limo lane in order to stop at the entrance without blocking trafic and I know how upset taxi drivers get when you park in a taxi spot.
I ended up just stopping smack in the middle of the drive-through lane and had one of my passengers go check with a bell captain about how to get our luggage unloaded. He waived for us to pull further down into the taxi lane next to the curb and helped unload our luggage.
It just seems there should have been a clearly marked lane or instructions about where to park to load and unload. But over the years I've found that signage in Las Vegas is often lacking, confusing, or even down right misleading. I've long suspected the reason for this is to get everyone lost in such a way that they always end up in the middle of the casino floor!