Support this website by joining the Silver Rails TrainWeb Club for as little as $1 per month. Click here for info.

Tesla 2020 Model 3 - 1,000-Mile Road Trip
using Tesla Superchargers and free hotel charging.

Orange County, California, to Reno, Nevada, Round Trip via Hwy. 395.

For the 2023 Hot August Nights 5,500-vehicle classic car and rock and roll show.

Wednesday, August 2 - Saturday August 5, 2023

IMG_4054.jpg    IMG_3079.jpeg
Our 2020 Model 3 RWD Standard Range+, with solar panels for power, ready for Reno trip.

(Nearly all images can be clicked for a larger copy.)

Table of  Content

I.  Planning the Tesla Road Trip

II.  Tesla 1,000-mile Road Trip to Hot August Nights and return home.

    a.  RIVIAN Chargers
   b.  Return Trip with
Statistics of Tesla Tip

III.  Hot August Nights in Sparks and Reno Nevada

    a.  Swap Meet
    b.  Grand Sierra Resort (GSR) Show Cars
    c.  Sparks Downtown Cruise
National Automobile Museum, Reno
          including early electric vehicles plus Tesla semi and historic Tesla cars.
    e.   Reno Downtown Show and Shine.
    f.   Motorsports Action Groups (MAG) Auction
    g.  Reno Downtown Cruise

IV.    Tesla free charging in Reno/Sparks, Nevada

V.   Keep the full power of the sun charging your Tesla - Solar Panel Cleaning

Planning the Trip

I like to use A Better Route Planner to plan the entire trip (very good details) and Tesla's onboard computer for charge-to-charge navigation during the trip.  We charged about every 100 miles on this trip.

ABRP now gives alternative routes (in grey) plus your preferred route based on quickest arrival.  In the preferences you set your state of charge (SOC) at arrival at the Tesla Superchargers and the SOC to continue to the next Supercharger.  Before the trip, you enter your year and model of Tesla (or other EV), tire size, extra weight you are carrying, number of passengers, and SOC at arrival and departure of Tesla Charging Stations.

I like to have 20% left when I arrive at a Supercharger and leave with about 80% for the fastest charging.  This allowed us to skip one stop (Bishop) this trip.  The phone App will tell you when "Your Tesla is charged enough to reach your next destination".  At that point, I usually let it charge some more in case we want to make a short side trip and since we left the air conditioning on during our stops while we were away from the car, called "Dog Mode".  Dog Mode allows you to see into the car through the  phone app in case you want to check on your dog. 

Being away from the car while charging, unlike an ICE car, gives you time for restroom and/or food.  The only thing unrealistic about the table on the left above is the time of day since it is set at the current time you did the planning in the app, however the driving time and miles are correct as well as the SOC at arrival and departure.  The total time and miles at the top is useful.


Back to Table of Contents

 II.  Tesla 1,000-mile Road Trip to Hot August Nights and return home.

Since we left at about 7:20 a.m., we were ready for breakfast before we needed to charge so we stopped at MacDonald's at the Hwy 138 exit off I-15.  I had been in this area several times before since it is an excellent place to watch trains ascending and descending Cajon Pass. 

Ocean-going containers, some on semi-trailers, navigate Cajon Pass.

First stop for charging at the Hesperia Tesla Supercharger.

IMG_3100.jpg    IMG_3101.jpg
Plenty of empty chargers at 8:30 a.m.

On the in-car computer you can see how many chargers there are at the Tesla Supercharger and how many are open at the time. Because of the rapid turnover of cars from the up to 250 kWh Superchargers (up to 500 miles of charge per hour) we never had to wait for a spot, even on a weekend like Saturday when we returned.

Hwy. 395 north of  Hesperia is a great place for Autopilot - Lane Keeping and Traffic Aware Cruise.  Autopilot will allow you up to 30 seconds to, for instance, take a photograph.  You will be warned to put some turning pressure on the wheel to be sure you are still alert.  If you fail to do so, the car wil disallow you from using Autopilot for that section of the trip---until you stop and restart the car.

Eastern Sierra near Inyokern's Tesla Supercharger

The original Inyokern Tesla Supercharger cabinets are still there, ...

but these newer chargers have been added within sight of the original ones on an adjacent lot, so I doubt anyone uses the order set.  The cabinets are very close together and drivers can back in on either side with one drive-through cabinet for Teslas with trailers.

This was the second year to see these RIVIAN chargers, but yet to see a RIVIAN charging here.

IMG_3108.jpg     IMG_3111.jpg

IMG_3109.jpg    IMG_3112.jpg
I wonder if
RIVIAN owners know there is free charging here.  RIVIAN plug connection, right.

Next stop, Lone Pine Supercharger which has been moved and enlarged.

When talking with the owner of the Western Movie Museum which has these on their property, he thought this might be the most scenic Tesla Supercharger in the US with Mt. Whitney and others to the west.  At this stop we walk about a half block and have lunch at MacDonald's, keeping an eye on the Tesla app to be sure we do not stay too long thus getting an idle charge.  As you can see there were plenty of spots, but travelers are asked at a "busy" Supercharger to limit their charging to 80%...more than what we need.  If I get a warning about moving my car, I can raise the charging limit in the app giving me ime to walk back to my car and pull the plug.

The rest of the Superchargers left of the electrical corral/wooden enclosure.

IMG_3121.jpg    IMG_3126.jpg   IMG_3124.jpg
I like to take a screen shot of my iWatch for current conditions.  The TESLA sign on a traffic cone among the tumbleweeds is along an unpaved shortcut to the Tesla chargers.  Even though many Supercharger stations are inside multi-level parking garages in the city or on a remote side of a shopping center in the suburbs, there are never any signs pointing to them - except this small one in Lone Pine.  The in-car computer does get you very close to the chargers.

With Fred still at the wheel, I had time for more photos of the Eastern Sierra.  This is just south of Manzanar National Historic Site.

With wide open spaces like Owens Valley, you notice thunderheads forming.  We didn't get any showers, however.

Next stop, Mammoth Lakes for charging with all pull through Superchargers.  Notice the tall red poles indicating curbs for snow plows.  We walk to the nearby Starbucks, hardware or Subway store for restrooms.

Mono Lake showed that the previous winter had been the wettest one in decades.  Last year you could have walked between all those incrustation mounds, and now water makes them all islands.

There were several construction sites requiring one-lane travel, but automatic signals were installed to keep traffic moving on weekends without a live flagman.  Many sites were cleaning out clogged culverts and one was carving back a hill to straighten a curve.

The Walker River was running much higher than last year.

When you see the south side of the California Agricultural Inspection Station, you are at the Nevada State Line.

Nevada state line sign, with the Local Sheriff watching incoming Californians.

A few feet into Nevada is our next stop at the "Gardnerville" Tesla Supercharger.  It is still about 18 miles to Gardnerville, and there is not a Tesla Supercharger in Gardnerville, but this state-line Supercharger has a Gardnerville street address.  Note the Nevada gas prices as we plug in for our 10 cents a mile charge.

Gardnerville/state line Tesla Superchargers.

Return Trip
to Orange County from Hot August Nights, Saturday, August 5, 2023 with Summary of Tesla Tip Statistics

We started our 500-mile trip home by taking McCarran from the Nugget around the east side of Reno.  We repeat our same charging stops as we used coming up.  Our first charge was at Gardnerville/State Line Supercharger

"Tesla Lounge" at the Gardnerville Tesla Supercharger with Topaz Lake view.

IMG_4090.jpg    IMG_4093.jpg
A few yards past the Gardnerville Tesla Supercharger is the Nevada/California state line and Mono County Line and California Inspection Station through which we were waved.

Since it was Sunday, no roadwork was taking place and the automated lights at one-lane areas were essential.

We noticed more snow in the Sierra than we had seen in August in decades because of the record snowfall of the past winter.


Our stop for a charge at Mammoth was busier on this Saturday than on our Wednesday visit.

This time we walked to the nearby Starbucks for restrooms and a moment in their A/C.

Next charge was at Lone Pine where, during charging, we walked to MacDonalds.


IMG_4131.jpg    IMG_4149.jpg
Each year before we had seen a lot of smoke from fires to the west, but this small fire was very near 395 and as we got closer we could see ground zero.  At this point we saw a water bearing helicopter and firetrucks near the highway.  On those earlier, more smoky, trips in a Tesla X we used the biohazard setting and did not even smell the smoke.

This was the only area that looked like sand dunes north of Inyokern.

Since Tesla Superchargers are never marked with signage, look for this gas station/country market as year its location.

Enter on the west/right side and the newest cabinets will be behind the adjacent gas pumps.

The dark blue Tesla's occupants were patching a large hole in the windshield with clear tape.

Luckily for this Tesla Model X, there was a pull-through cabinet so he could charge without unhooking.

IMG_4171.jpg    IMG_4172.jpg
As we walked by the RIVIAN chargers, I recorded the info. on the electrical cabinet for future RIVIAN drivers headed here.  Are RIVIAN chargers shown on the vehicle's internal computer/dash like Teslas have?

Highway 395 south of Inyokern is mostly 2 lanes with passing lanes in hilly sections.  Farther south toward I-15 there are sections of 4-lanes.

We saw this boat on the way north, 3 days earlier, but it was piled high with stuff.  Now the stuff was gone, but the boat was still here.  Wonder who now has the stuff and if the boat owner will return eventually.

Take the Randsburg turnoff sometime and enjoy the "Living Ghost Town", the General Store serves sandwiches and drinks.
Recently I took a photo safari in our Tesla there and you might enjoy the photos from there:


Click the photos above or link below to go to my Randsburg photos.

Last Tesla Supercharger before home at  Hesperia.

Trip Charging Record

The most asked questions after I take a road trip with our Tesla is:

1.  How long does it take to charge. 

14 minutes average per stop  (We took longer to eat and restroom)
  The quickest way to get to your destination is to charge more often, but for a shorter times.  Tesla says to charge when the battery is at 20% or more and charge to up to 80%. to reach your destination quickest.  Put the Tesla Supercharger in the car's computer as your next destination and car car will compare the battery on the way for the quickest charging.

2.  How much did it cost, is it cheaper than gas? 

Total cost for the 983 miles = $84.64 or 9 cents per mile.  Our gas mini-van gets 18.8 mpg and would have cost 27 cents per mile or $261.  That's 68% less than gas.

3.  What is the Miles Per Gallom equivalent of your Tesla 3 Standard Range +?


Back to Table of Contents

Hot August Nights in Sparks and Reno Nevada

Sunset view eastward from our 27th floor room in the Casino Tower of the Nugget Casino Resort Hotel in Sparks, NV.

Room on the north side of the 27th floor in the Casino Tower allows for a view of the parking structure below and eastward.

IMG_3408 2.jpg
View from our window of the Victoria Square cruise route below with the grandstands running right to In-N-Out - white building on right.  Half way through the route, between the cruise route and I-80 is a stage. The act Friday night was a tribute to Neil Diamond.

We left the Tesla parked in the parking structure plugged into one of the four Tesla Destination chargers provided to guests for free charging.

We walked down to Victoria Square for In-N-Out and watched the nightly cruise with our hotel in the background.

Swap Meet at the Livestock Event Center parking lot

IMG_3219.jpg     IMG_3218.jpg
The next day, Thursday, we went to the Swap Meet. 



IMG_3240.jpg    IMG_3252.jpg
Different style of hats for sale this year compared to the one I bought a few years ago.

1947 Chevrolet Style Master  $4,000 OBO (Or Best Offer means you can get it for less)

Some vendors at the Swap Meet bring barn finds, some run, some don't, but they are all old.

1931 Ford "Delx"  $11,500 OBO






If you want a vehicle you can drive in the cruise at night, check inside the Livestock Events Center.

Back to Table of Contents

Grand Sierra Resort (GSR) Show Cars

Several Casino Hotels in Reno and Sparks including The Atlantis, The Peppermill, and the Grand Sierra Resort (above) host show-and-shines.  This photo is from their reserved Media parking at the GSR, a short walk to the show cars parked in their lot.

IMG_3303.jpg     IMG_3331.jpg
There is something for everyone at Hot August Nights, even an Offenhauser in a Model A!

IMG_3304.jpg      IMG_3305.jpg

This Ford station wagon, trailer-with-a-boat is there every year and still one of a kind.

My buddy in high school, Louie Tracy, sold Edsels for a while and brought one out to our farm this same color and year.

IMG_3342.jpg       IMG_3344.jpg
The vertical grill and push button gears in the center of the steering wheel were new designs.

IMG_3353.jpg      IMG_3349.jpg
The fellow in the center was driving this '56 Chevy here when the right front tread came off and went through the front of the car taking out the headlight, parking light and part of the grille.  The tire did not lose pressure and he was able to get it safely off I-80.  He had a hard time finding a 15 inch tire, however.

1956 T-Bird Sunset Coral

IMG_3370.jpg       IMG_3373.jpg

1954 Chevrolet Corvette White

As the story goes in my hometown of Hayden, Indiana, a fellow returned from the Korean War and bought himself a '54 Corvette, white.  We  had not seen anything like this ever in Hayden!


IMG_3384.jpg      IMG_3383.jpg

 IMG_3391.jpg       IMG_3390.jpg
This car had many accessories of the time including "authentic Indian blanket seat covers".

"Precious Metal" or "Automotive Art"

IMG_3402.jpg       IMG_3400.jpg
We had lunch at a Wendy's and local Bob enjoyed talking with Fred about military vehicles and other classics.

Back to Table of Contents

Sparks Downtown Cruise

Thursday night we left the Tesla parked at the Nugget and walked down to the cruise in Sparks.

IMG_3411 2.jpg       IMG_3415 2.jpg
Bobby has been a permanent fixture at the Sparks cruises for years, "Dancin' in the Streets"

IMG_3417 2.jpg
Had a college friend in college, Ed Riley, who had a car like this.

IMG_3419 2.jpg
T-bird's answer to the Corvette.

IMG_3432 2.jpg

IMG_3421 2.jpg
1958 Chevy, post big fin era.

IMG_3422 2.jpg
These light rings are getting popular and were on this '57 Chevy with a Buick grille.

IMG_3425 2.jpg

IMG_3427 2.jpg
Perfect weather for convertibles

IMG_3431 2.jpg
Cool racer

IMG_3433 2.jpg
Popular '57 Chevy hardtop

IMG_3435 2.jpg
Extra long woody

IMG_3443 2.jpg
Chopped top Mercury

IMG_3444 2.jpg
Enjoying the weather and the cars in Sparks.

IMG_3447 2.jpg
Classy Packard convertible with enough lights to light up a runway

IMG_3456 2.jpg
Sinclair poster child

IMG_3468 2.jpg
Neil Diamond Tribute

IMG_3472 2.jpg
Rob Garett

Friday morning at Hot August Nights - view from the 27th floor of the Union Pacific rail yards next to The Nugget with Grand Sierra Resort in the distance.

IMG_3488.jpg     IMG_3482.jpg
The Nugget reserves the top floor of their parking structure for registered show cars which makes it a nice car show in itself.

Panel trucks are quite rare.



Back to Table of Contents

National Automobile Museum, Reno

Even though The National Automobile Museum has been in downtown Reno for years, we had not visited it until this year.

IMG_3694.jpg     NAMLogo.jpg
I love "Precious Metal" as a description of classic cars and the NAM logo is just as neat.

It is impossible to get an overall shot of the Museum because there are 4 galleries, 4 streets, a theater, changing exhibit area and gift shop.

Early Electric Vehicles and Teslas

IMG_3509.jpg      IMG_3508.jpg


World Speed Record holder for electric-powered vehicle from 1974 to 1997.

I was surprised and pleased to see that Tesla had several vehicles in the Museum. 
Perhaps because Tesla has a battery factory in Reno.

IMG_3584.jpg    IMG_3571.jpg

IMG_3580.jpg    IMG_3581.jpg

IMG_3586.jpg    IMG_3587.jpg



With the screen in the middle, all those Teslas made for the right hand drive part of the world do not have to move the screen.



I understand this museum started as Harrah's Collection.












IMG_3616.jpg     IMG_3617.jpg







My aunt had one of these DeSotos, same color, with the 3 pedals set up for handicapped driving with her hands.  It also had a side door to accept an electric cart.

IMG_3674.jpg     IMG_3673.jpg



IMG_3707.jpg    IMG_3716.jpg


IMG_3704.jpg    IMG_3703.jpg


IMG_3692.jpg    IMG_3547.jpg.



A painting when this sign was a block away on Virginia St.

But now the vintage sign is right outside the National Automobile Museum


The Truckee River runs along the side of the NAM.

Back to Table of Contents

Reno Downtown Show and Shine.

From the NAM we could walk one block, along the Truckee R. to Virginia St. for the Show and Shine.

1953 Pontiac - unrestored



1934 Plymouth Sedan  Color:  Sandstone and Radiant Fire

IMG_3783.jpg       IMG_3784.jpg

1931 Chevrolet Four-door Sedan Color:  Rust

IMG_3788.jpg    IMG_3793.jpg

Back to Table of Contents

Motorsports Action Groups (MAG) Auction

Now for some indoor, air conditioned car viewing:

IMG_3830.jpg    IMG_3823.jpg
Local Champion Chevrolet is always there with free stuff and this

 2023 Corvette Z06 Coupe with $24,610 additional options!

Cars in the 300s were being auctioned.  They were parked by their number before and after going on the block.  If one had been across the block and not met the reserve, it had a window sticker that it was still for sale.

1955 Buick Century


1948 Federal Pickup

IMG_3844.jpg     IMG_3843.jpg

When is the last time you saw a 1946 Hudson Super Eight pickup?


1932 Oakland Model 101

IMG_3875.jpg    IMG_3877.jpg    IMG_3874.jpg  

(Remember:  click any image for a larger copy.)    

1932 Ford Model A

This rare group of late 50s Fords, all with continental kits, caught my eye.

This '56 Crown Victoria was the most customized

IMG_3893.jpg    IMG_3894.jpg

Lisa Schmidt, 775-219-9984, was with the cars at the MAG Auction.  These cars were from her aunt and uncle's estate in Elko, Nevada.  Lisa, How did the sale go?

Back to Table of Contents

Tesla free charging in Reno/Sparks, Nevada
1.  The Nugget, 1000 Nugget Way, Sparks, Nevada - 2nd floor of the Parking structure on the east side of the hotel.  Destination Charger*
2.  Pepper mill, 2707 S. Virginia Street , Reno, Nevada. Destination Charger*
3.  Atlantis, 3800 S Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada.  Tesla Supercharger's not free, fast charge charged to your account.
4.  Grand Sierra Resort (GSR) 2500 E 2nd St, Reno, NV  Destination chargers*

* Tesla Destination Charger:  Park for a few hours or stay overnight. With over 35,000 Wall Connectors at Destination Charging locations in both urban and rural areas, there's likely a Tesla charging station waiting for you at the end of your trip. Recharge at popular hotels, restaurants and resorts. Charges about 30 mi/hr .

Back to Table of Contents

Reno Downtown Cruise
IMG_3914.jpg    IMG_3915.jpg   IMG_4067.jpg
For the Reno Downtown Cruise, which runs Wednesday - Saturday nights, we like to watch from the Truckee River bridge near this park and Space Whale** sculpture and BELIEVE structure on River Walk on Virginia Street.

**The Space Whale is a full scale stained glass humpback whale mother and calf. A monumental testament to family, our relationships with nature, time and space and our responsibility to preserve our environment. Originally appearing as the Keyhole project at Burning Man 2016, The Space Whale now lives in front of City Hall in Reno, NV.


Also a favorite spot for skateboarders, using the structures for them, and homeless.

View north from the Truckee River bridge on Virginia St. toward the RENO sign awaiting the 7 pm cruise.

IMG_3920.jpg    IMG_3921.jpg
View east of the Truckee from the Virginia St. bridge with more water than we've seen in  years.

IMG_3922.jpg   IMG_3923.jpg
Excellent weather on the Virginia St. Bridge above the river on an August night.

General Motors leads the parade.

Photo processing experiment of selecting the subject and darkening the background in Lightroom.

IMG_3955.jpg    IMG_3965.jpg
Any pre-1979 convertible will do

Even from Europe

IMG_3987.jpg    IMG_3986.jpg
Even with a Coke cooler trailer

IMG_3980.jpg    IMG_3998.jpg

After sunset, I like to get a photo of the current RENO sign during the cruise.

I crossed at a guarded crossing for a shot of stopped cruisers

Darkness brings out the extra added lighting

Our Tesla awaits under the old RENO sign a block away

Keep the full power of the sun charging your Tesla - Solar Panel Cleaning

Solar Panel cleaning is similar to a Fuel Filter Cleaning on an I.C.E. (Internal Combustion Engine) car since our two Teslas, our home air conditioning, and nighttime usage are all powered by our 56 solar panels with some credit beyond our usage every day.

After successful cleaning of our fifteen 10-year-old original solar panels, I contacted Andrew Watson, Cleantech, again to clean the 40 new panels we have added.  Andrew arrived and mentioned his new and better way of cleaning with his new rotating brush.  Here is a time-lapse of Andrew's 2.5 hrs of work:

IMG_0613.jpg    IMG_0611.jpg
Cleantech van and Andrew starting work on the dull panels.

IMG_0631.jpg    IMG_0636.jpg
Left, Rotating brush.  Right, Finishing 3rd section - note difference of newly cleaned panels.

IMG_0642.jpg    IMG_0645.jpg
Finishing the last section from the ground.  Right, cleaned panels producing "unfiltered" electricity.

From Andrew's Cleantech website:

How do we clean solar panels?

For residential rooftop systems we use a solar powered rotating brush and super purified water.

The solar panels stay clean for longer - Our super purified water contains no chemicals or detergents. No sticky detergents are left on the solar panels so there is nothing for the dust to stick too.

Solar panels will be cleaner - Super purified water has a strong desire to return to its impure state so it sucks the dirt off the solar panels. We do not use a squeegee which would risk scratching the panels. By using this purified water it is impossible to leave streaks on the solar panels because no chemicals or detergents are used.

Safer - We do not touch or lean on the solar panels because we are able to clean solar panels with our long telescopic poles. You also do not need to worry about chemicals breaking down the solar panels seals with repeated use.

Environmentally friendly - Solar panels are very environmentally friendly. We are also concerned about the environment. That is why we use pure water, eliminating the need for detergents or chemicals.

Lengthens lifespan of the solar panels - Chemicals and detergents shorten the lifespan of rubber seals and fog the glass. Pure water washes away damaging chemicals, pollutants, and dirt to leave nothing that can shorten the lifespan of the solar panels.



[ Top of this report  | Other Tesla Touring Reports by Carl Morrison  | Cleantech Solar Panel cleaning  | Tesla
 | A Better Route Planner  | Reno City Plaza Truckee River Webcam  | Slideshow Of Above Photos ]


ad pos61 ad pos63
ad pos62 ad pos64

Support this website by joining the Silver Rails TrainWeb Club for as little as $1 per month. Click here for info.