I took my first Model S road trip this Thanksgiving, and I thought I would provide a few comments and suggestions.
1) Houston to Austin is about the perfect distance with the 85 kWh pack. You can drive fairly normally, arrive with some miles to spare, charge overnight, and easily make it home. However, I would go for a range charge to be safe. Being the day before Thanksgiving, there was lots of traffic on the way out, so that helped with the range given the stop and go traffic and overall lower speeds. I arrived at the hotel with 84 miles to go. However, on the return I had driven around Austin a bit before leaving (using up 30 miles or so), and the roads were open sailing. With a 75 mph speed limit on a chunk of the way home, I pretty much set the cruise on 80 mph and forgot about it. Once I knew I had enough juice to get home, I may have done a bit more on I-10 accelerating around a few trucks. Bottom line, when I got home, I had only 27 miles left. Enough that I wasn't worried (I would have slowed down if I was), but it was the first time I saw the bar turn yellow.
2) I refuse to carry any charging station cards that have a monthly fee given that 95% of the time I will be charging at home. However, I don't mind spending a few bucks to get a card from a network and pay higher 'pay as you go' rates if it gives me the option to charge on the road. I already had a Blink Network card (they have lots of stations in Houston and Dallas), but had not yet gotten a ChargePoint card. Before I left I noticed they had a large presence in Austin, and that they had a special running where you pay $25 and get two cards free (and then get to spend the balance on charging), so I did that. Unfortunately the card did not arrive before I left, but I'll be prepared for next time. It is worth noting that at most ChargePoints you can call +1-888-758-4389 and pay by credit card. However, even if you have an account, without the card you don't get the app benefits of notifying you when charging stops, etc. Note that ChargePoint charges $2/hr for a 30A charge, which came to $26.23 for me. I think that is a bit high--I think Blink charges $1.50.
3) EVs are still very new, and few places seamlessly accommodate them. What I mean by that is, expect that most employees will not know anything about the chargers, if or how they work, where they are, or how much they might cost. Despite verifying with the hotel I was staying at that they had working chargers, when I arrived they did not. Details at link below if you are interested.
Hotels in Texas with Charging Stations - Page 2
Until the world evolves a bit more, I would currently plan A) where you will charge if everything works as it should and B) one or two alternates if things do not work well. For me I plan to ask A) what network the charging station is on and B) what the station identifier is. Asking that question will require employees to do a bit of research. For example, for ChargePoint, the identifier is a 4 digit alphanumeric code. The charger at the Hilton Austin says it is "FA7B", but does not show up in the ChargePoint directory. That would have given me a clue that there might have been an issue ahead of time.
4) It is annoying that Tesla doesn't yet have the adapters like they do for Roadsters for standard dryer plugs. I could have charged overnight at my brother's house if they did. Hopefully those will come out soon. I'm also eagerly awaiting the Tesla app so we can be notified about charging interruptions which is a real concern with these third-party J1772 chargers.
5) Overall, the car handled wonderfully. Slacker held up great with only a few brief interruptions. Navigation seemed to take traffic into account--at least it directed me I-10 to 77 instead of I-10 to 71 which I thought was unusual. Especially since it it chose 71 to I-10 for the return trip. One navigation glitch--it said my next planned turn to 77 was an 'unknown road' for the entire time I was on I-10. It was also my first real use of the cruise control. If you barely push the lever you can increment 1 mile, but if you push it a lot it seems to move 5 miles. Fine-grain control is nice, but I think if you just boost 1 mile, I don't think it should jump as much as it does. It seems to want to quickly accelerate to the new speed, and you can really see the energy usage spike even with the small increment. Otherwise, great roadtrip car, especially putting the bags in the frunk while I wait on the parcel shelf to arrive. I also got a lot of "what kind of car is that, looks great!" as we were stuck in traffic on I-10 on the way out, and a "that car is the future" once I got to Austin.
Overall, great first trip, and I look forward to many more, especially once the SuperChargers come online!