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First R1S Road Trip - Wisconsin to Gulf Shores / Destin - Advice?

thebwk

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The fam and I are planning our first R1S road trip from Wisconsin to either Gulf Shores or Destin over spring break. We're thinking of breaking the trip up into 2 or 3 days each way (pending deciding on points of interest). Also, we're bringing our french bulldog, Boden, so we'll need to make sure all POI's are dog-friendly.

1. Any tips for a road trip newb on which app or combo of apps seem to work the best?
Last night I started plotting out the trip using ABRP, Plugshare and the Rivian nav. To my surprise the Rivian app suggested 9 charging stops along the way, while both Plugshare and ABRP both suggested 5 stops. I really like how Plugshare has in-app photos of each charge location as well as check-in reviews. Is it just me, or does it seem like there isn't a single app that does everything well, and that lists all L3 chargers? If there is a paid app that I'm missing (only using free apps currently), please fill me in.

2. For anyone that has taken this route or any part of it, any suggestions for stops along the way? Keeping in mind we're traveling with a 12 year old and a 14 year old, as well as a french bulldog.
At first we were thinking 2 days down, with a stop at Mammoth Cave and overnighting in Nashville. But I'm doubting Mammoth Cave's tour is dog-friendly. And maybe 2 days down is aggressive for first time EV road trippers? I'm open to any suggestions for fun family stops and/or overnight location ideas. And we would probably prefer a different return route to keep things fresh.

3. Anyone have experience with the Yakima EXO hitch system or any similar swing-out hitch cargo box system?
This is our first time road tripping with our dog, so I would like to ensure we have as much interior room for the kids and Boden to stretch out and be comfortable. Also, maximizing the distance between son and daughter will only increase the chances of mom and dad maintaining our sanity. That's what led me to the Yakima EXO storage system. I figure we can fill that up as much as possible, which will leave room inside to put the seats in an interesting configuration. Like 3rd row up and half of 2nd row down. Or half of 3rd row down and half of 2nd row down. That would give Boden the freedom to go to the child he likes most at that given minute.

4. Finally, any family/pet friendly suggestions in either Gulf Shores or Destin? Any charging experiences in those areas? I tried filtering AirBNB results for houses that have EV charging, but they are few and far between. It would apparently limit us to only a handful of housing options.

Thanks for any help, insights and suggestions!

Ben
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Jhawk

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We just got back from a 1400mi roundtrip weekend from the Kansas City area to Colorado Springs. I’ll reiterate what others have said coming from Tesla, the Electrify America charging experience and quality is total garbage. Through seven total EA charging stops across 5 different locations I only had three charging experiences that were hassle free. While we were ultimately able to charge at each location, it is frustrating and not confidence inspiring. One location was limited to only 100KW. Another location I had to move stalls twice, EA charged my credit card to refill my account balance during the session but never actually charged my EA account for any charging, and still hasn't a week later. At our next to last stop charging initiated and ramped to 200KW, we left to grab a bite to eat, but after 5mins the charger errored out requiring me to walk back to truck and move stalls and creating at least a 10min longer stop. In six years of Tesla ownership and probably close to 100+ Supercharger visits I can only think of one time I had to change stalls. I'm not a Tesla fanboy but the charging experience is vastly superior.

Definitely have PlugShare. I’ve been using it for over 6 years and it’s the best there is for identifying charging along your route and whether anyone has reported issues. I try to contribute at all my charging stops so the community can benefit. The non-Tesla stations are so unreliable and comments from other users have really helped me planning all our trips.

Have a plan for where you will be charging and make sure you have the required apps. I have mainly used EA, Chargepoint, and EVGO along my Midwestern trips. Also, planning for charging at your hotel/destination is invaluable just like at home. I have been forced to drive some distance from our hotels at times for charging and it just creates unneeded anxiety. Better to charge while you sleep.

Consider having a Tesla-J1772 adapter like the TeslaTap in your Rivian. The Tesla destination chargers are still more prevalent in some areas and like the super chargers seem to be more reliable. In the two trips we have taken so far in the R1T the TeslaTap has saved us considerable hassle each time.

For your particular trip, 9 charging stops is a lot from my experience. Prepare to be patient and flexible. On our recent trip we would leave in the morning fully charged and travel 200-225mi to our first stop and then each hop after was ~100-130mi. That meant after the first hop we were stopping to charge for 20-30mins every 1.5-2hrs. For my personality the third stop is the one that starts to bother me in a day but everyone is different. I will say the additional stops do seem to create less fatigue when I do get to my destination so that is a benefit.
 

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Definitely have PlugShare.
This!!! PlugShare will help determine which stations are functioning and which ones are not trustworthy. My experience with EA has been dismal. Also ABRP is a very useful tool.

A bit off-topic, but my brother does a trip from Manitowoc to Gulf Shores each winter. He just received his R1T so next winter he may try the drive in his Rivian.
 

EVTrukHog

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There doesn't appear to be many options for DCFC charging in lower Alabama or panhandle Florida. Several of the hotels have Tesla Destination chargers which you can use with an adapter, but are only practical if you're staying overnight. There is another app called EVHotels which I use when trying to find charger friendly hotels while traveling. Enjoy the Gulf coast - great area !
 
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thebwk

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This!!! PlugShare will help determine which stations are functioning and which ones are not trustworthy. My experience with EA has been dismal. Also ABRP is a very useful tool.

A bit off-topic, but my brother does a trip from Manitowoc to Gulf Shores each winter. He just received his R1T so next winter he may try the drive in his Rivian.
I'll be sure to let you know how our trip goes.
 

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thebwk

thebwk

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There doesn't appear to be many options for DCFC charging in lower Alabama or panhandle Florida. Several of the hotels have Tesla Destination chargers which you can use with an adapter, but are only practical if you're staying overnight. There is another app called EVHotels which I use when trying to find charger friendly hotels while traveling. Enjoy the Gulf coast - great area !
I'll give EVHotels a shot. Although we're traveling with a dog, so my options will likely be limited.
 

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I don't know the Wisconsin-Memphis part of that trip too well, but I've done Memphis-Oshkosh or Memphis-Milwaukee a few times in the Tesla and ICE vehicles.

My only comment there is to avoid getting close to Chicago unless necessary for charging. Tolls and traffic make driving around Chicago miserable for those of us used to flyover country.

The Memphis-Destin leg I know -very- well, I probably drive it 6-8 times/year. Next week will be the first time in the Rivian (or any CCS EV)

Charging infrastructure isn't great on the best route (Memphis on I22 to Birmingham, south on 65 to Georgiana, AL south of Montgomery, 331 to Destin).

A 100% charge and gentle driving should be good for the 248 mile leg from Memphis to Alabaster, AL just south of Birmingham where there is an EA station.

There is a KIA dealer in Tupelo that is only available during weekday business hours, and a Shell station with 50kw CCS st the 236 mile mark in Birmingham.

Diverting through Athens, AL (north of Birmingham) is an option buts adds some distance.

Taking 55 south through Jackson, MS, then 49 to Mobile is also an option with shorter legs, but more rural two-lane.

The I-10 corridor seems pretty well covered by EA, so once you get to the gulf coast, traveling east and west is straightforward.
 
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Joe schmoe

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I'm sitting in Destin now, drove down Thursday afternoon. The Memphis-Destin leg was a bit tight with a headwind, but we made it to Alabaster running a bit slower than I normally drive (68-71 mph with a 12-20 mph quartering headwind).

In Alabaster, there is a dog-friendly (on the covered patio) Mexican Restaurant "Barrio Fiesta." maybe 100 yards from the EA chargers. We spent 43 minutes eating and charging, also fed the dogs.

110 miles from there to Greenville, AL where we charged to about 89%. More than we needed for the 133 mile leg to Destin, but charging here is spotty so we wanted some reserve.

The truck wanted to route us down 85 and over the (toll) mid-bay bridge. That may make sense for you, but we took 331 through DeFuniak Springs because we needed to swing by the airport there and the 331 bridge is closer to our condo than the Mid Bay bridge.

Charging is pitiful here. Most of the level 2 chargers are "hotel guests only" and many aren't functional. There are option both east and west on I-10 for real DCFC, and there is a car dealer in Ft Walton Beach with I think a 30kw level 2.

We had 3 adults and 3 dogs on board, plus a ton of luggage, including new (bulky) bedding for the condo. The R1S holds an incredible amount of stuff. Everybody had enough room to spread out.
Rivian R1T R1S First R1S Road Trip - Wisconsin to Gulf Shores / Destin - Advice? IMG_8496

Also, yes before someone points it out our dogs are spoiled.
 

bobaurora

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Depending on where you are starting from, you will probably have to deal with Lafayette, IN or Bloomington, IL Electrify America locations. Lafayette seems to be a bit of a train wreck lately and Bloomington, IL can get very busy and may have reduced output. Plan for a little extra time at these locations. Used Bloomington,IL twice this weekend, once was good on Sat and on Sunday waited 1 hr and reduced output. Best option is to avoid them. Bloomington,IL needs to be twice its current size given the number of intersecting major highways. Have fun, be patient!
 

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I'm sitting in Destin now, drove down Thursday afternoon. The Memphis-Destin leg was a bit tight with a headwind, but we made it to Alabaster running a bit slower than I normally drive (68-71 mph with a 12-20 mph quartering headwind).

In Alabaster, there is a dog-friendly (on the covered patio) Mexican Restaurant "Barrio Fiesta." maybe 100 yards from the EA chargers. We spent 43 minutes eating and charging, also fed the dogs.

110 miles from there to Greenville, AL where we charged to about 89%. More than we needed for the 133 mile leg to Destin, but charging here is spotty so we wanted some reserve.

The truck wanted to route us down 85 and over the (toll) mid-bay bridge. That may make sense for you, but we took 331 through DeFuniak Springs because we needed to swing by the airport there and the 331 bridge is closer to our condo than the Mid Bay bridge.

Charging is pitiful here. Most of the level 2 chargers are "hotel guests only" and many aren't functional. There are option both east and west on I-10 for real DCFC, and there is a car dealer in Ft Walton Beach with I think a 30kw level 2.

We had 3 adults and 3 dogs on board, plus a ton of luggage, including new (bulky) bedding for the condo. The R1S holds an incredible amount of stuff. Everybody had enough room to spread out.
IMG_8496.jpeg

Also, yes before someone points it out our dogs are spoiled.
hi, my wire is waiting for her R1S. We have 2 kids and 2 dogs and take road trips very often. Did you use a divider in the trunk to separate the dogs from luggage?
 

Joe schmoe

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hi, my wire is waiting for her R1S. We have 2 kids and 2 dogs and take road trips very often. Did you use a divider in the trunk to separate the dogs from luggage?
Didn't really need to. The frunk swallowed the suitcases (every body brought "carry-on" sized bags) and the extra stuff (bedding and condo supples, random junk) went either in the cage space under the floor in the "way-back" or on the floor in front of the middle row seat that wasn't occupied. We put a big blanket and dog beds over the back and folded down seats. Plenty of room for everybody to spread out.

On the way back, we brought a large inflatable SUP in a bag, which easily sat in the back up against one side. Still plenty of room for everybody.

Even with all of the snacks and cooler that everybody wanted access to, there was gobs of room.

Our "travel" dog food container fit on top of the bags in the frunk, easy to access at a charging stop.

There's an astonishing amount of room compared to the vehicle we take more often--my wife's Mercedes GLC. Usually it's just the two of us and two dogs, and it's harder to access things when we stop to feed the dogs. Much more room in the Rivian even with an extra adult who brought bags and her 80 pound dog.

The SUP had been stuck there for a couple of years, because we never had enough room to comfortably throw it in for the trip home.
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