“When we travel, Susan and I usually know where we want to go. And we may or may not mind if we end up somewhere else. Still, we find that we get more out of our trips if we put some effort into planning them. Mostly, Susan plans them.
For this trip, we decided to drive to Seattle. Then we ended up someplace else. A little bit of trip planning led us to choose the Rocky Mountains, particularly Yellowstone National Park, as the place we were going.
Next we had to decide which car to drive. That was easy. In May 2018, Susan took delivery on her Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) Tesla Model 3 with long-range battery. I couldn’t stand having to switch back to my Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) car after driving hers. So, using her referral number, I got an All Wheel Drive (AWD) Model 3. Because it was a referral, I got a bonus of 6 months free Tesla Supercharging. That meant we could make the trip with very little cost for energy.
But first, we wanted to know which of the two would get better mileage on a charge, since hers has one motor and mine has two. I set up a small, unscientific, and uncontrolled test. Both cars were set identically with respect to energy consuming features (e.g., AC off). Susan drove her RWD model just over 30 miles to work. I followed in my AWD about 3 car lengths behind matching speed, acceleration, deceleration, lane changes, etc., as best as possible. The route involved a twisty, hilly two-lane road for about 4 miles; a 4-lane highway for about 6 miles; and Interstate highways for about 23 miles.
Upon arriving at the destination, both cars had travelled a distance of 33.3 miles. The RWD car averaged 212 Wh/mi (a measure of efficiency). The AWD car averaged 214 Wh/mi. Lower is better. That very small difference could be noticeable over the expected 5000 miles of the trip, but it would be unlikely to affect the choice of stops for charging. So, the free supercharging won out.
Susan then took the lead on researching the various National Parks, attractions, and lodging that would define our route. I took the lead on researching routing and charging choices.
The keys to the route evolved to become:
Visit friends in Denver
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone National Park
The Black Hills
Badlands National Park
Dayton, Ohio, to see the grandkids
Of course, there would be other things to fill the gaps. “