Season 1 - Spain
Join me on my Journey to Spain with Snowball. With amazing Landscapes, Mountains and Coastlines, but also traffic jams, camera issues lost roads. Crossing borders and getting ready for an epic journey that will take you through the Iberian peninsula and leave you with stunning impressions.
07:34 h (=DC)
16,6 kW/100 km
Episode 1 - Day 1
Buckle up for my first Tesla road trip to Spain
I started at 1:26 pm in Zons after getting a goodbye kiss from my wife.
However, the first stop came before even reaching the highway due to an accident on the bridge causing a traffic jam. More traffic followed on the way to the Eifel region. The weather was partly sunny, partly cloudy, but dry. I noticed that my GoPro doesn't record audio while connected to a USB cable, so charging during the drive wasn't an option. I had to change the camera batteries three times in total - I'm still not familiar with the Go2 and had a slow SD card in the X3 causing some initial difficulties.
I was familiar with the route to Trier, but crossing the border to Luxembourg caught me off guard. If it weren't for the many traffic jams around the capital, I would have crossed into France shortly after. The supercharger in Metz was uneventful, and after 15 minutes, I had enough power to keep going. As darkness approached, it became more challenging to film. However, the roads became emptier and I passed numerous sleepy little villages.
After the second stop in Val de Meuse, the road and scenery became more exciting. The route was characterized by alternating steep uphill and downhill sections on winding roads, followed by long straight stretches. As we reached Langres, the city's imposing fortress surprised us - something I hadn't expected. Unfortunately, it was too dark to film, and I was too tired to stop. The next stretch brought me to a narrow, winding road that resembled more of a dirt track through dense forest areas. It was barely visible in the headlights but had an eerie and mystical feel.
At 10:15 pm, after driving for almost nine hours and covering 511 km, I arrived at a parking lot in Grancey le Chateau Neuville next to a sports field. I filmed one last video, saved the data on my laptop, and then went to bed.
Episode 2 - Day 2
From Beautiful Scenery to Traffic Jams: A Road Trip Through Southern France
The night was relatively short and restless. I still need to figure out exactly how the sleeping bag works. The slight incline of the folded-down back seat is a bit uncomfortable, but otherwise, the camp mode works wonderfully.
I got up at 6:00 am, brushed my teeth, and refilled my water - by the way, the water containers are too flimsy. A sturdier version with a pump and spout would be better.
The overnight spot turned out to be an idyllic field next to a sports stadium in Grancey le Chateau Neuvelle. The next stretch of the journey was beautiful and romantic, just as I suspected the night before in the dark.
That's how we like to travel.
The next Supercharger was in Beaune, which I already knew from my trip to Brittany. There, I quickly calculated when I would arrive at the hotel. I realized it could be very tight and decided to pay the tolls on the highway. The exact price will follow.
Everything went well until Lyon, but then came the traffic jam. Stop and go for 90 minutes. After that, everything went smoothly again. There were some sights along the Rhone, but I couldn't film them well from the highway.
The whole region in southern France is really beautiful and worth a separate trip. I arrived in Montelimar with only 5% battery left and had to charge for 50 minutes to make it all the way to Perpignan or Argeles sur Mer.
It started pouring rain there, so I couldn't see anything of the beach. The hotel was simple but clean, and the manager was very friendly. However, without French language skills, I was pretty lost and had to rely on a couple's help to translate my English.
Even the visit to a restaurant was unsuccessful because it's the off-season, and everything is closed. They recommended one at the end of the street, but after seeing the prices online, I decided against having dinner. So, I went back to the hotel with wet feet.
There, I had to go through my daily routine of backing up my footage to my laptop. I had planned to start editing the first video, but I was just too tired. Thirteen hours of driving and 800 km take their toll.
PS: The weather forecast for tomorrow says it will be sunny and no rain.
Episode 3 - Day 3
Conquering the Pyrenees: A test of endurance
Waking up at 6:15, I took a quick shower (cold), got dressed, and prepared my equipment for the day. Then, I worked out the plan for the day and at 8 am, the hotel manager served breakfast to my room: coffee, juice, croissant, rolls, butter, and jam.
After breakfast, I took a walk to the beach where I took some shots, panning to the mountains to show our destination for the day. Then, I packed up, updated my data, and started the journey. But first, Snowball needed to charge its battery at the Rivesaltes supercharger. Also, I wanted to do some shopping, but all the stores were closed. It wasn't until much later that I realized it was Sunday.
Half an hour later, we finally hit the road to our destination, the town of Vielha in Spain. Our route took us over the Pas de la Casa in Andorra, and from afar, we could already see the snow-capped peaks. When we entered the first gorge of the French Pyrenees, I was both surprised and amazed. The beautiful mountain landscape welcomed us with a bang, followed by more impressions of peaks and valleys. It was simply fantastic.
At a rest stop, I tried to buy some snacks, but my attempts failed due to the language barrier. I could have used Google Translate, but the woman was too surly. So, I settled for a can of chips.
By midday, I finally reached the pass at an altitude of 2371 meters (I had read somewhere that it was only 2081 meters). Before that, I passed the border into Andorra, which wasn't clear to me despite the passport control. I didn't see any signs or indications.
Andorra was bustling, and the traffic increased significantly. Overall, I didn't like the small country very much, perhaps because I was only on the main road. After a 15-minute traffic jam at the next border, we finally entered Spain.
In contrast to the French side, we were now surrounded by a completely different landscape, no less dramatic and beautiful. Many curves and switchbacks gave us unique panoramas, and several times, we stopped to admire the view.
On this stretch, I was stopped by two policemen who asked me if I had come from Andorra. When I answered their question, they wanted to know if I had any alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs with me, which I denied. Then, they searched Snowball, and I explained in my broken Spanish that I planned to travel in Spain for two weeks and sleep in the car. Grinning, perhaps also pitying, they let me continue.
Since my plan was to arrive in Vielha with 23% battery, I got worried when Snowball showed only 3%. So, I chose a charging station in Espot, which was just a few kilometers away.
Shortly after, I drove into the "Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici" National Park with its beautiful landscape. Even before I reached Espot, I saw the sign for a campsite in Vall d'Aneu, and I had the idea to spend the night there.
At first, everything looked closed, but in a bar behind the house, I met the owners. I asked them if I could record the situation, and they enthusiastically agreed when I explained that it was for a YouTube video. We communicated in a mix of Spanish and English, and they assigned me a spot for the night. I could also charge the car at a regular 220V~ Schuko socket. However, I had to reduce the current to 6 amps, which amounted to about 1.5 kW per hour. Better than nothing
After I had settled in, I went out to search for a restaurant. However, I soon realized that the only two restaurants in the area were closed due to the off-season. So, I returned to Snowball a bit hungry. It was the second night without Dinner.
I worked on my videos for a bit longer and then went to bed late.
Episode 4 - Day 4
From Mountains to Plains: A Stunning Journey to Aragon
After a restful night, I woke up at 7:15. However, I needed an additional hour for planning and preparing the day. Our first stop was at a 50 kW Iberdrola charging station in Baqueira. After 30 minutes of charging, we continued our journey. Both the scenery and the winding roads became even better. At the next summit, I saw a closed restaurant. Despite this, I tried my luck, and a friendly man had just unlocked the door. I had a ham sandwich and two coffees for breakfast. A few minutes later, a young lady who obviously worked at the restaurant came in. She greeted me warmly, and after breakfast, we had a nice conversation about the region, traveling, and YouTube. She told me that the skiing season lasts until mid-April, but only in the higher regions.
We then continued our journey and kept descending. Although I thought we had left the mountains behind, I was pleasantly surprised when we encountered more rock walls and narrow canyons. Finally, we reached a vast plain. The landscape became monotonous, and we drove the final stretch to the Supercharger on the highway towards Zaragoza. However, the entrance was blocked by a barrier, and we had to take a ticket that would be activated after charging at the gas station.
Our destination for the day was Arguedas and the Bardenas Reales National Park. After finding a spot to park, we went to a small roadside restaurant where I finally had dinner: a mixed plate with fried eggs, sausages, chicken breast, French fries, and salad. My limited knowledge of the Spanish language made it difficult to have an extensive conversation with the locals. So, I returned to the parking spot and walked up to the nearby caves.
Later in the evening, I had a nice conversation with some campers who were also staying there with their caravans. As darkness set in, everyone went back to their vehicles, and I also prepared for the night. I postponed working on the video as I was too tired. Perhaps we should not drive such long distances.
PS: The amount of data recorded was too large to store on the computer. So, I decided to transfer it to an external 4TB hard drive and only keep the day's video to be edited on the laptop. However, I need to think about a useful backup solution (or film less).
Episode 5 - Day 5
Tesla Snowball's Off-Road Limitations: A Candid Look at Real-World Driving Conditions
The morning began like any other day. I had been sleeping better in Snowball lately, my trusty companion. However, I still needed to install a support behind the driver's seat towards the door. I quickly prepaired everything for the day and set off to explore the Bardenas Reales National Park. At the park's information center, a young woman kindly explained everything to me and gave me a map to help me navigate the park.
When I asked about the difference between Bardenas Blanca and Negra, she explained that "Blanca" referred to the rocky landscape and "Negra" to the forested area. She also mentioned in passing that the roads in Bardenas Negra were slightly rougher.
After our chat, I headed out in Snowball and spent over an hour driving the beautiful scenic route. However, when I later reviewed the footage from my X3 360° camera, I realized that all the recordings were unusable. It seemed that some settings had been improperly configured.
After leaving the rocky landscape behind, we headed towards Bardenas Negra, but soon realized that this route was impassable for Snowball. Fortunately, Snowball didn't sustain any damage or scratches during the trip. However, I couldn't help but feel anxious about hitting the ground and damaging the battery. This road was only meant for real off-road vehicles. Unfortunately, the footage from this leg of the journey was also ruined.
We decided to leave the park and head to the next Supercharger in Pamplona. The charger was located in a parking garage, which prompted me to take a brief detour to explore the nearby shopping center. Before continuing our journey, I booked a hotel for the night and set the navigation on my phone to avoid highways.
We were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of Urkiola National Park. We drove through forests, past lakes, and over small rivers. We also climbed the mountains using winding roads, but they looked quite different from the Pyrenees due to their gray color.
Finally, at around 16:20, we arrived at the hotel. After checking with the receptionist, I was given the go-ahead to take some footage, but unfortunately, my camera settings were still wrong, and I was disappointed with the results. I was quite angry, and it almost ruined my day, but a relaxing shower helped me calm down.
Later, after enjoying a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant, I backed up the data from my other cameras and started editing my videos for the day. Overall, it had been an eventful day, with some ups and downs, but I was looking forward to what the next day would bring.
Episode 6 - Day 6
Surviving Northern Spain: The Wild Ride Continues
The night was good and after the usual preparations, I enjoyed breakfast. I was able to take a shot of the check-out, which made up for the disaster of the previous day.
Snowball was already waiting for me and we set off right away. The route led again over impressive serpentine roads through the coastal mountains. After a few hours, we reached the Santa Catalina lighthouse. There, I admired the rugged coast of the Bay of Biscay during a short walk.
Immediately afterwards, we went to the next attraction: Grazteluatxeko. Absolutely unpronounceable. You could hike down to the water via a very steep path, but I abandoned this descent with legitimate concern about the return journey halfway down. Completely out of breath, I managed to purchase the first postcards and stamps at a small souvenir stand. Then we headed to the Supercharger in Bilbao, but not before I had the opportunity to take one last look at the Atlantic Ocean from the beach in Bakio.
Episode 7 - Day 6
Electric vehicle nightmares: Tesla's Hidden Supercharger
The Supercharger was again located in a parking garage. After fifty minutes, we continued through Lemsa and Orozko to the Goiurko waterfall. The path there was indescribable. Through lonely landscapes, it continued uphill, with the roads getting narrower and narrower until only a dirt road was left. When I arrived at the destination, however, I only came across railroad tracks and a shy dog. My smartphone had led me directly to the top of the waterfall, but not to the viewpoint from which you could admire the beauty of the spectacle.
So I entered the new destination. But the waterfall turned out to be a pitiful trickle that splashed over a high rock ledge. Two ladies who admired the attraction with me said that I had been lucky, as it was not uncommon for the river to have no water at all.
Oh well, at least the journey there was very exciting. Afterwards, I thought about how to proceed and realized that I had already spent too much time in northern Spain. So I decided to drive a long way south. In Burgos, I wanted to charge at a Supercharger, but even on the second attempt, I couldn't find it.
Okay, let's try in the city. I searched and found the charging station, and plugged in the charging cable. To my horror, I noticed that it was only delivering 10 kW. I checked the app again and saw that the correct charging station was on the other side of the building. Just as I was about to park there, three gentlemen came up to me and explained that this area would be closed soon and I could not charge there. Fortunately, one of the men showed me a charging station not far from there. So I went on. Unfortunately, just as I arrived, another driver connected his car to the charger. Damn it! I searched for the next station in the app and found a Porsche Taikan charging there. The driver asked why I wasn't charging at the Tesla Supercharger, to which I explained that I couldn't find it. He gave me directions and told me to take the second, not the third, exit from the roundabout. There was a small sign indicating the entrance to the hotel, but no indication of the Supercharger. I finally found it at the very back of the hotel parking lot. Tesla, you can do better! This is not how e-mobility works. Hidden charging stations behind locked doors are not a solution.
After sunset, I left this place. I had chosen a parking space in Palencia for the night. On the way there, I stopped at a rest stop to have dinner. The woman meant well, but the portion was just too much.
Late in the evening, with the light of the lanterns, I finished the video of the day on the steps of the restaurant. That was simply too late. I vow to close them during daylight hours in the future. The parking spot was relatively easy to find, and I spent the night there. However, I did not work further on the recordings.
Episode 8 - Day 7
Tesla road trip woes: Poor Internet and closed restaurants again
I woke up well-rested and at first, made a video about Snowball's setup. We then hit the highway heading south. Strangely, I had poor internet reception in Palencia. At the Monteco Supercharger, it was non-existent. While chatting with another Tesla driver, I learned that they had a similar experience. Unfortunately, the nearby restaurant was closed, so I got no breakfast.
After several attempts, I was able to reload my router's SIM card balance at Telekom. They gifted me 50 GB of data until the end of the month. Thanks, Telekom! Now Snowball was back online and immediately downloaded the next update. I stopped at a service station to install the update since my navigation wasn't working correctly.
Episode 9 - Day 7
Road Tripping with My Tesla - Adventure, Sandwiches, and Campsites
I was a little disappointed with how the day was going since all I wanted to do was head further south. However, I had a change of heart and opted for the Jerte Valley and the Nofrague National Park. We exited the highway and reached the Jerte River Valley, stopping briefly in the town of Jerte, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a short walk. The drive here was undoubtedly worth it. We passed through an idyllic landscape.
After leaving the valley behind, we drove to the national park and the two viewpoints I had selected beforehand. Against a dramatic backdrop, I ended the day's video and then entered the next Supercharger in Almaraz. I purchased a tasty, large sandwich for 5 euros at a rest stop. We continued driving, and I spent the night at a campsite in Merida. I had to enter my personal information before Snowball's license plate was recognized by the camera, and the automatic gate opened.
Unfortunately, my campsite was already occupied, and I had to move Snowball twice before finding a spot for the night. I still had plenty of time to secure the footage, and another day came to an end.
Episode 10 - Day 8
Time Change and Time to Charge: Our Journey to GMT 0"
At 5:00 am, I was awakened by two lawn sprinklers that doused Snowball with water every minute. After my usual morning routine, we left the campsite early and headed to the nearby Supercharger. Although we could have charged during the night, it was not possible due to the occupied space. Meanwhile, I had a peaceful breakfast at the restaurant across the street.
Then we took some romantic country roads to Portugal, crossing another border on this journey where we had to set our clocks back one hour. GMT 0. There's not much to report about the drive. After five hours, we charged up to 52% at the Alcantavilha Supercharger and are well-prepared for the next day.
For the night's lodging, we booked a luxurious houseboat in Albufeira Marina. I received the code for the key safe via WhatsApp along with a video that explained the check-in process in detail.
The evening was relaxing, with a short walk on the pier and dinner with a view of the harbor. I also took some time to work on my videos.
Episode 11 - Day 9
Exploring the stunning cliffs of the Algarve
Woken up by the morning sun, I received my breakfast in a small basket outside my door. Although there were some issues with my coffee maker, my kind neighbors helped me out. I retrieved Snowball from the underground garage and returned the key and key card. Then, we set off to Benagli. Since I'm already here, I don't want to miss the steep cliffs of the Algarve. First, I explored the coast from the top edge and later from the beach. There, I lost my small Go2 camera and was lucky to find it again. However, I had to climb the steep slope to the parking lot twice for it. Then, we headed back to Spain. Since the route through many larger and smaller towns along the coast was quite tedious, I decided to take the highway until Seville. Just before that, we left the highway and found a small, idyllic camping spot in the middle of the forest: Dehesa Nuova. There was no dinner there again, but Snowball could charge all night. Fortunately, my extension cord was long enough to bridge the fifteen meters to the power box.
Episode 12 - Day 10
When Hotels Won't Let You Charge Your Car
After a good night's sleep and with Snowball charged to 70%, we left the campsite. We abandoned our first destination, Tirana, and entered Gibraltar directly into the GPS. The landscapes and narrow mountain roads were spectacular, and I can't imagine how Google Maps always finds these hidden routes.
Before reaching Gibraltar, I parked Snowball on the Spanish side in an RV parking spot. Then, I embarked on a two-hour walk over the border to the city. Unfortunately, I had to delete a video at the border. The city was full of tourists, and after some detours, I finally reached the Cablecar station. On a whim, I hopped on the crowded car and rode it to the top. Although the view from the rock was amazing, there were too many people for my taste. Additionally, most of the attractions were closed, and I found the twenty euros charged to enter the cave to be excessive. Instead, I invested in a ticket for the Cablecar ride down to avoid the long walk back. I couldn't find a taxi, so it took me another two hours to get back to Snowball after crossing the border.
Since it was still relatively early, and I didn't like Gibraltar, we headed to Estepona, where I planned to charge at the H10 Palace hotel charging station. However, they refused us, stating that it was only for hotel guests. I offered to visit the restaurant, but that was not enough. What a shame! Nevertheless, I will remember the name of that hotel. We found a 150Kw charging station outside the town.
I had set Ronda as our next destination, and I must say that the drive through the mountains fully compensated for the disappointing visit to Gibraltar. I checked into a hotel again because I needed a warm shower after the exhausting day. Later, I found a small restaurant in the old town, where I ended the day with tapas and wine on a terrace.
Episode 13 - Day 11
Escaping the Ordinary: Finding Adventure in Every Destination
Early morning (8:30?), after showering and having breakfast at a nearby restaurant, we headed to the attraction in Ronda. An impressive view of the city wall and huge arches towering over a red rock. The next point on our today's list was the Sierra Nevada National Park. I thought we would see the snow-capped peaks, but instead, we ended up in a stunningly beautiful gorge. Unfortunately, we couldn't make any further detours into the mountains as I had booked a ticket for the ferry to Mallorca beforehand. So, we had to hurry to reach the port of Valencia on time. The rest can be described quickly. Three more charging stations and a not-so-comfortable night in a sleeping chair. But, we did have a delicious paella on the ship.
Episode 14 - Day 12
Finding Beauty Off the Beaten Path in Mallorca
At 5:15, we left the ferry at the port of Palma de Mallorca. Snowball had only 10% battery left, and we quickly found a supercharger outside the city. With 3% battery left, we started the charging process. I wanted to use this time to charge Snowball up to 100% while I caught some extra sleep. The plan was to circle the island once, focusing more on the inland areas than the beaches and tourist hotspots. However, even off the beaten path, the traffic was initially still quite heavy. The first point, a lighthouse, was unfortunately closed. I chose a new route on Google Maps, unaware that it would take me on the roughest path that Snowball could barely manage. Continuing along the south side, my acquaintances' statements that the island was very beautiful were confirmed. However, the northern mountain regions overwhelmed me. We drove uphill and downhill, through gorges and along narrow hairpin bends for six hours. Among what felt like a thousand cyclists and numerous motorcycles, I had to concentrate like hell, which unfortunately affected the quality of my videos. But there was no alternative. At least we didn't find one. After a total of 12 hours of driving, I had circled the island, and we were stuck in traffic. I desperately needed some food, and we still hadn't found a place to park for the night. The traffic jam lasted over an hour. Finally, somewhere south of the airport, we found a restaurant, and I treated myself to a juicy steak. Since Snowball's battery was low again, I decided to choose the parking lot with the supercharger as our overnight stay. I was afraid of losing too much time with all the back and forth driving, and if there was another traffic jam, we might miss the ferry. That could not happen under any circumstances.
Episode 15 - Day 13
Lost in Translation: A Frustrating Ferry Experience
We left the Supercharger at 10 am. The ferry was scheduled to depart at 11:30 am, so we had an hour and a half, even if there were traffic delays. But things didn't go as planned.
Just 400 meters before the checkpoint to the harbor, we hit a traffic jam. We were stuck for over half an hour before finally reaching the checkpoint, only to be told we were in the wrong lane and directed to turn right. We crawled along in a slow-moving convoy in the designated direction, only to find out we were still in the wrong place and needed to follow the road to the right. This brought us back to the first checkpoint, where we were rejected a second time.
"No, you're in the wrong place. You need to turn right!"
"But that's where we came from!"
"Doesn't matter, turn right!"
There was the familiar officer waiting for us, who had nothing better to do than to send us back in the same direction. Some drivers were starting to lose their patience. An Englishman in front of me was angry and demanded a detailed explanation of the route. We had only 15 minutes left. We raced along the harbor at a breakneck pace until we reached a barrier. The car in front of us was allowed through, but we were not. Only 6 minutes left.
"Baleària doesn't depart from here. The ferries are 4 km north."
Finally, I realized there was another port. We raced back at lightning speed and reached the correct port.
"This is the last ship!" we were told. Time was slipping away.
"No! We're not going to Barcelona. You need to go to the first ship!"
At 11:29 am, I showed our ticket to the right employee, and we boarded the ship a few minutes later.
"Phew! That was a close call!"
The advantage of this experience was that the last to board the ferry would be the first to disembark. The following journey was uneventful. I passed the time with an audiobook and ordered a paella, which I had enjoyed on the trip over. I also packed a croissant, which I was sure would come in handy later. We drove a few kilometers out of town and found a small RV parking spot near Sant Vincenq de Castlet and directly below a railway line. But we didn't mind.
Episode 16 - Day 14
Farewell Spain: Reflections on the Final Stretch of the Journey
At 9:23, we were ready to hit the road again for the last leg of our journey through Spain. I was already feeling sentimental as this beautiful adventure was coming to an end. We followed the country road until Girona, but the excitement seemed to have fizzled out. Tomorrow, we would face holiday traffic, and the weather forecast was terrible: rain, ice, and snow. Driving Snowball in these conditions wouldn't be fun, and taking pictures wouldn't make sense either.
What should we do? With a heavy heart, we crossed the French border and began our journey back home, which I wanted to finish as soon as possible. So, we took the highway and headed home, stopping at several Superchargers along the way and getting six hours of sleep at a rest area.
Next day at 3:13 PM, we finally arrived in Zons.
It was an indescribably beautiful journey that had come to an end.