Bayfield and Apostle Islands, Wisconsin, Sept. 2-5, 2020

Tony Crocker

Staff member
When Liz and I left Florida we visited friends in Chicago. One of those friends was at her lake house in central Wisconsin. Since we were going that far north, we decided to visit Lake Superior. We had an excellent source of info, as admin had spent Aug. 8-22 at three RV parks along the south shore.

He said the highlight of his time was kayaking the Mainland Sea Caves on the Bayfield Peninsula of Wisconsin. Recall that our paths crossed in Osage Beach at Lake of the Ozarks June 5-7. My summer travels are outlined on this map of superchargers visited.

One of the Tesla Forum participants will make you a map when you join the "Century Club" of 100 superchargers visited. I'm now at 103.

We had originally targeted U.P. Michigan but the logistics there are difficult as it's one of the last Tesla supercharger deserts. Two have been permitted but construction has not started. Even for Bayfield we needed to stay at the Bayfield Inn which has an overnight destination charger.

We arranged to arrive Sept. 2 and reserved the Mainland Sea Caves kayaking the next morning and the Apostle Islands scenic cruise in late afternoon. View of Bayfield approaching from the south:

We took a quick detour to see the local ski area.

After checking into the Bayfield Inn about 6PM, we took an exploratory drive while it was still light. Just north of town was a closed Indian casino and picturesque location for an RV park.

Admin did not stay here but in a more secluded location down the road near Washburn.

We drove out to Little Sand Bay for a possible sunset view.

In the foreground is a ruined pier from a former fish cannery.

Map of Bayfield Peninsula and Apostle Islands:

"The Boss" did not cooperate with our plans. While driving on Wednesday we got a call that gale force winds were predicted for the next day so there would be no kayaking then. So we had to shuffle our plans, moving our reservation on north shore from Friday to Thursday and the scenic cruise from Thursday to Friday. Saturday was Labor Day weekend so Meyers Beach kayaking was sold out and we had to sign up for a different location, Houghton Point north of Washburn.

So we left fairly early Sept. 3 but drove out Mawikwe Rd. for a short hike to Lake Superior near the sea caves.

The caves are at and around that point at center right, so it's obvious why we're not kayaking today.

That's rougher water than I saw anywhere in Florida over 3 months.

We stopped by Meyers Beach too. Liz on the stairs to the water, put-in for kayaking to the Mainland Sea Caves:

More info on the kayaking/sea caves:


After a day on the north shore we returned to Bayfield in time for the Apostle Islands cruise Sept. 4. View of Bayfield from upper observation deck before we departed:

At lower right is the Madeleine Island ferry to the only Apostle Island with much private development.

Brownstone quarry on Hermit Island:

Many of the fancy 19th century brownstones in NYC used material from this area.

Bald eagle in tree:

Later an eagle flew over the boat for a better view.

Manitou Island Fish Camp:

I had read before that the boat observation deck was packed, so we left masks on even though it was outside in a brisk breeze.

The most impressive sea caves are on Devil's Island.



Naturally there's a lighthouse here at the northernmost exposed spot in the Apostle Islands.


Kayaking would be amazing here but it's 12 miles offshore. In normal years there are sightseeing tours to Devil's Island. Whether you can bring a kayak and have enough time there to use it I don't know.

Raspberry Island lighthouse:

We could not get another reservation at Bayfield Inn for the Friday start of Labor Day weekend, but we did eat dinner there and got an extra 43 miles of charge to give Saturday's drive south more breathing room. Sept. 2-5 gave us a taste for what it was like for the true early Tesla adopters 5-7 years ago.

The Houghton Point kayaking was at 11AM Saturday. It was a gorgeous day. so we did not need to wear our scuba wetsuits. We passed by this sea stack.

The first cave was a short but narrow slot and we were one of the first to get there.



After we came out we had to wait awhile for the others to go in.

We were able to see through this low gap to kayakers inside.

We managed to fit through this too.

There was one broader cave.


After we got back I took a dip in the 58 degree lake.

Admin's video from his week on the Bayfield Peninsula
The last 10 minutes are kayaking the Mainland Sea Caves.

Tony Crocker

Staff member
The Mainland sea caves starting a mile from Meyers Beach and the Devil's Island caves are on a completely different level from what Liz and I got to kayak. You'll see that best from admin's video. Both face north to northwest and are exposed to the full fetch of Lake Superior and thus only recommended on very calm days. It stands to reason that the deeper and more aesthetic caves would be formed by the most violent weather attacks from the lake over time. During the coldest winters the caves are also worth visiting on foot for their ice formations.


One of the Tesla Forum participants will make you a map when you join the "Century Club" of 100 superchargers visited. I'm now at 103.
we did eat dinner there and got an extra 43 miles of charge to give Saturday's drive south more breathing room. Sept. 2-5 gave us a taste for what it was like for the true early Tesla adopters 5-7 years ago.
Speaking of taste, if that other forum maps chargers and stuff do they have a special symbol for the slow ones where nonetheless it is strongly advised to NOT dine nearby?

Seems folks have generally been lucky..."worst+restaurant"
...but the more insular the town, holy cow watch out!!! El Paso comes to mind -- the food is pretty darn good but the service is horrible. Most people who live there have never been anywhere else, so apparently nobody knows how bad it is LOL.

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Types of chargers:
1) Standard home 110V: That's 4 miles per hour. Yes it's slow but it was sufficient for the local driving in Florida around Liz' mother's home. Also it was good to leave the car plugged in during the day because Florida summer heat can consume 30 miles/day in battery/cabin protection while parked otherwise. An overnight 110 also allowed that trip up to Poplar Lake, and later 36 hours on 110 visiting Liz' friend at Fox Lake let us skip a charging stop when we headed west on Labor Day.
2) 220V which most Tesla owners install at home: 30 miles per hour. This allows a full charge from home when starting a long trip. "Destination chargers" like the Bayfield Inn are also 220V. That means overnight for a full charge but we got 43 miles during that 1.5 hour dinner stop
3) Most Tesla superchargers are 150kW: These have peak rate over 8 miles/minute on my Model S (probably 10 miles/minute on lighter weight Model 3/Y) and on average charge my car 75 miles in 10 minutes and 180 miles in half an hour. These come in pairs and while you are paired with another car you will get about half that charge rate. Pairing is not uncommon in big metro areas but is rare on the open road.
4) In 2017 Tesla introduced 72kW urban chargers, which are not paired and will charge about 4.5 miles/minute. These locations are more likely to involve a meal stop so the slower speed is of less concern.
5) In 2019 Tesla introduced 250kW v3 chargers. These are not paired and have peak rate of 10+ miles/minute and on average charge my car 95 miles in 10 minutes (max rate just under 200kW) and 200 miles in 25 minutes. Model 3 and Y have a different battery that can handle the full 250kW and reputedly can add as much as 85 miles in 5 minutes but return to a normal supercharger rate past 40% or so. Model 3/Y rated range is 320 vs. my 370 so they may charge slower past 200 miles or so.

Most of the Interstates were built out before the introduction of v3's and so the vast majority are the 150kW variety. But most new chargers added this year are the v3 250kW. Lone Pine was upgraded to v3 early in 2020. That plus having the newer car cuts my charge stop there on the way to Mammoth from 45 minutes to 20.

Shifty's reference above is to Fort Stockton, Texas, which was the last link completed for I-10 in October 2018. That's why it has a 100 page thread, as Southwest owners were complaining about that gap for several years. Map of superchargers Click on a red dot and it will tell you details including when opened, how many stalls and what kW type of supercharger. Construction cones are under construction so likely to open within a few months. Blue dots means a location has been permitted. Time from permit to construction is highly variable.

The interstate chargers were spaced to be comfortable with the 2013-2016 cars like my first one with 250-280 miles rated range. So there is a much bigger comfort zone with my current car. More importantly I only have to charge to 60% to get to the next charger. At 80% the charge rate is about half as fast as the optimal range from 15-60%.

Shifty correctly surmises that on an efficient road trip you want to dine within walking distance of a supercharger. Most superchargers tend to be in large shopping centers and in the remote corners of them so gas cars will not be tempted to park there. Some companies must have cut deals with Tesla as many Florida chargers are in Wawa parking lots and the same for Meijer in the Midwest.

The Tesla website also has a supercharger map, and that one lists nearby restaurants and hotels. In those shopping centers the dining tends to be large chains, which are safe and serviceable for road food but not so likely to find foodie hidden gems. We still use Trip Advisor or other review sites as we would anytime traveling in an unfamiliar area. Macon, Georgia was a pleasant exception, as the charger was in a historic district with many interesting restaurant choices.

Another strategy is to choose a hotel within walking distance of charging and let the car full charge overnight. Then you can seek out the local hotspots for dinners. We did that in Lincoln, NE and twice in Utah on the drive home.

Details of drive to Florida May 29 - June 9
Details of drive home from Florida Aug. 28 - Sept. 14