|Our 8th Roadtrip
in our Model 3
Mark D Larsen
On the road again!
(Click to enlarge)
For the eighth time, we took a roadtrip to the Sacramento area in California to visit Tamara’s aging parents. Their caregiver had planned to take a vacation, so we volunteered to help them out in her absence for a week. Below is the usually long-winded narrative of our roadtrip.
NOTE: You can click on the following photos to enlarge them, and the movies to play them.
I reset the trip odometer to start the journey.
I had set the navigation "waypoints" for various Superchargers en route to to Topaz Lake, Nevada, where we would spent the night. The energy graph predicted that we would arrive at the first one in Las Vegas with 33% in the battery.
Here is my usual introduction for this trip.
We crossed the border from Utah into Arizona.
Moxie was familiar with these roads, and settled down to fulfill her role as a good backseat driver.
Soon we connected to I-15, crossed from Arizona into Nevada, and hit a bit of construction, the first of many delays during the roadtrip.
Coming into Las Vegas, I point the camera to the mountains where I went camping at McWilliams campground.
We plugged in at the older Superchargers on Bridger Avenue while Tamara got us some lunch at a nearby restaurant.
The energy screen now predicted that we'd arrive at the next Supercharger in Beatty, Nevada, with 34%.
Here you can see a better view of the mountains where McWilliams campground is located.
I'm always fascinated by the colorful strata on the hills near Beatty.
We've come to label this mountain "melting Rocky Road ice cream."
We arrived in Beatty with 26%, about 8% less than predicted.
I plugged in and took Moxie for a walk in the blistering heat while Tamara visited the restroom.
20 minutes later, the battery again had an 80% charge to continue our journey.
This trip I decided to next visit the new Superchargers in Bishop, California.
According to the energy screen, it looked like we would be driving over several mountain passes and arrive with 20%.
Driving up Highway 95 in Nevada, I recorded this rant about the "phantom braking" that kept happening with Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autopilot, for no discernible reason. I admit that it makes me angry that Autopilot is now much worse than when we took delivery of Correcaminos over 4 years ago. The "improvements" from upgrades are anything but. Frustrating!
Sure enough, we did traverse various summits on the way to Bishop, as you can see in this energy graph.
After cresting the last summit, we could finally see the Sierra Nevada across the valley.
Tamara took this video as we descended. Thanks goodness regenerative braking isn't having hiccups like Autopilot, as it makes it so much easier and more pleasant to drop down in elevation without riding the brakes.
This is what the energy graph displayed when we plugged in at Bishop.
It predicted that we'd arrive at Topaz Lake, Nevada, with 21%, where we would spend the night in a motel.
After Supercharging, we went to a Mexican restaurant in Bishop for dinner.
Continuing on, we passed Mono Lake, where the Clint Eastwood movie "High Plains Drifter" was filmed. There's no outlet to the lake, so the outcroppings are covered in brine and minerals.
I took this video at dusk as we got closer to Topaz Lake, but you can hardly see the surroundings with so many kamikaze bugs on the windshield.
We arrived with 20% in the battery, just barely into the "yellow" zone on the gauge.
I was glad we weren't paying for gas, given the prices displayed at the pumps, and they only rose higher when we got into California.
We said goodnight to Correcaminos below our motel window.
Moxie was delighted to finally settle down for the night.
As we started our journey the next day, I recorded this video.
We were appalled to see the destruction caused by all the wildfires last year in the Sierra Nevada. This mountain was scorched.
Obviously this cabin was totally destroyed.
The destruction continued practically all the way down the canyons.
We managed to snap a photo of this waterfall by Highway 50.
We decided to stop earlier than planned, just to check out the new Superchargers in Placerville.
The 250kW charger quickly restored the battery to 80%.
When we arrived in Lincoln, where Tamara's folks live, we stopped at Starbucks for a treat.
Tamara got a frappacino, I got a latte, and Moxie got a… puppacino.
Here she's giving her treat a good licking.
After dropping Tamara at her folks' home, I drove to the nearby Supercharger, and —lo and behold— saw a Rivian R1T for the first time, parked next to me.
I have admit that I am smitten with Rivian's design, features, and functions. I would be tempted to get an R1S someday, but the energy efficiency of such larger, heavier vehicles is a definite drawback, about half what I now get in our Model 3.
Back at Tamara's folks' home, we caught up on the news.
I always enjoy seeing the beautiful flowering plants in their neighborhood in California
And I enjoy the fruit trees that they have in their backyard.
The grow box is also flourishing.
Moxie was pleased to be able to run around freely on the grass in their fenced yard.
She was delighted to once again visit them and be the center of attention.
For dinner, we went out to a restaurant and left Moxie at their house. Tamara snapped this photo of her parents, which only goes to show that you never get too old to show affection.
At the end of the day, Moxie and I were ready to settle down for the night in their guest room.
The next afternoon, we all went to Tamara's sister's home to enjoy dinner together.
Preparing the meal in the kitchen.
Their Cairn Terrier puppy is very energetic, and although Moxie could hold her own with her, they often put "Tilly" outside to reduce the hubbub.
Here is Haley holding Moxie. She is the niece who recently graduated from Medical School.
Drinks and hors d'oeuvres.
After dinner conversations.
A video as we start our roadtrip back home.
We stopped in Auburn to have lunch with Tamara's sister and niece, and Moxie and I waited while Tamara did a bit of shopping.
Auburn is a very quaint, picturesque, old mining town.
From Auburn we drove the backroads to again visit the Placerville Superchargers.
You can see that the Superchargers are right next to the Highway 50 freeway into the Sierra Nevada.
Road construction detoured us through Echo Park, where we could catch a glimpse of Lake Tahoe in the distance.
Here's a better view of the lake beyond the construction equipment.
These clips are when we came down from Echo Park and are driving toward the turnoff to Gardnerville.
On the road to Gardnerville through the Toyabe National Forest.
Leaving California and entering Nevada at Gardnerville.
As we approach Topaz Lake again. We Supercharged there, and then continued on to spend the night in Bishop this time.
We arrived in Topaz Lake with a 33% charge.
There was one other Model 3 supercharging there this time.
After charging, the gauge predicted we'd arrive in Bishop with 44%.
The road took us along some pretty views of the Walker River.
We also saw magnificent views of the Sierra Nevada.
And drove past the turnoffs to go to the Mammoth ski resorts.
Moxie wondered why I pulled over at a viewpoint.
It was to get a panoramic photo of Mono Lake. I guess we really were "high plains drifters," weren't we?
I have to admit: driving Highway 395 along the backside of the Sierra Nevada in California is much prettier than the routes we'd previously driven through Hawthorne and Tonopah in Nevada.
The sun was again starting to set behind us when we arrived in Bishop. We got some dinner and then went to supercharge.
We plugged in with 91 miles remaining.
19 minutes later we reached our usual 80% charge.
Moxie was happy to check into our motel for the night.
The next morning, when I went to get some coffee at the motel office, I saw that the Sierra Nevada range was looming over the town.
When I reentered the room, Moxie sounded the alarm to warn of an "intruder."
Our next stop to Supercharge was in Inyokern, and the gauge predicted we'd arrive with 24%.
Yet another vista of the Sierra Nevada along Highway 395.
Another video to describe the start of our second day driving home.
We saw this weird, criss-crossing road climbing the mountain. Dunno where it was going, perhaps to a radio tower…?
And later we saw this weird mountain that was disintegrating into a huge sand dune.
We arrived in Inyokern with 30%, 6% more than what was predicted.
After recharging, the gauge predicted we'd arrive in Baker with 25% remaining.
Moxie is such a good traveler. I think that having a doggy seat high enough for her to see out makes all the difference.
We drove by a couple of these odd towers with round tops. My guess is that they are radomes, which contain radar weather antennas for aircraft…?
On the way to Baker, I snapped this photo of the strangest road name we've ever seen. Evidently the Department of Transportation wants to make sure it is alphabetically listed last for some strange reason…?
We also noticed a large solar array that wasn't there the last time we drove on I-15 to Baker.
These clips show the temperature on the way to Baker, and then the town itself in the distance as we approach the exit to the Superchargers.
We arrived with 74 miles remaining.
There were only a few Teslas plugged in, but I noted that the CCS charging stations were now complete and operational beyond the Supercharger site.
The temperature was a blistering 109°F while charging.
I only saw one non-Tesla EV plugged in at the CCS site: a Mustang Mach-e.
The gas prices were even higher than the week before.
Because these are older Superchargers, and given the extreme heat, it took a full 37 minutes to reach 80% again.
Approaching the border with Nevada, we passed the glaring thermal towers of the Ivanpah solar farms.
We arrived at the Las Vegas South Superchargers with 44%, but they were all occupied, with others waiting, so we grabbed takeout food from the Lazy Dog restaurant and drove to the LINQ Superchargers instead.
We ate our dinner and soon had the last 80% charge to return home.
Descending from the Utah mountains, Tamara took this photo of the red sandstone cliffs behind the suburb where we live.
You can see how we climbed and descended again to get through those mountains.
We pulled into the driveway with 86 miles remaining, after a total roadtrip of 1,462 miles, using an average of 3.96 miles-per-kWh —just a bit better than the EPA average of 3.85 for our Model 3.
We spent a total of $169.37 to Supercharge on this roadtrip. When we took our first roadtrip to this same destination 4 years ago, it cost us only $82.94. Obviously, Tesla has raised its prices, especially in California. Still, given the latest gas prices we saw in Baker, if we’d driven our previous Subaru, we would have spent $511.63 at the pumps! I guess I can’t complain about the rising prices per kWh after all!
We enjoyed visiting with Tamara’s family, and always love to see the beauty of the Sierra Nevada and forests. Truth be told, I’m worried that more of those pristine areas are destined to be destroyed by wildfires if we do not finally get a handle on the climate crisis and abandon fossil fuels. Driving an EV helps, but I will reiterate that I am very discouraged that Tesla’s OTA updates during this last year have made the car more unreliable, erratic, and dangerous. I purport that they need to restore radar as a complement to the cameras as soon as possible so that the vehicles no longer suffer “phantom braking,” ping-ponging between lanes, and giving false warning alerts for obstacles ahead when there are none. Please fix these hiccups and spasms, Tesla!