Jurassic Parked
(Click to enlarge)
2nd Roadtrip to
Capitol Reef
National Park
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
September 25-28, 2023

We really enjoyed our roadtrip to Capitol Reef last year, and so we decided to take another trip there to celebrate our anniversay. We made reservations to again stay at Boulder Mountain Lodge for three nights, packed our bags, and loaded the car.

NOTE: You can click on the following photos to enlarge them, and the movies to play them.

To use more free, solar electrons before leaving, I charged Correcaminos to 90%, and set the navigation to take us to the new Superchargers south of Cedar City.

It was beautiful day, with fair weather forecast for the rest of the week.

My usual introduction to explain where we’re going this time.

We made it to Cedar City just fine, with plenty of juice left in the battery.

There were only a few Teslas plugged in there when we arrived.

It only took 17 minutes to again charge to 90%.

I then set the navigation to drive us to Boulder Mountain Lodge using the backroads instead of the freeway.

The energy graph estimated that we would arrive with a little more than a hundred miles remaining.

Moxie, of course, was all smiles, happy to be on another adventure in the great outdoors.

After leaving Cedar City, we recorded this video as we drove through the mountains to reach Highway 89.

This is an awesome outcropping of red sandstone on the backside of Cedar Breaks.

At a viewpoint on the summit, we could see the rock formations of Zion National Park in the distance.

Driving down from the summit, we passed Navajo Lake, which had a lot more water than the last time we were here.

Moxie was having a great time, especially when we'd point out cows and horses to her —as you'll see below in a later video.

This is a video when we just about to connect to Highway 89.

We saw more colors of autumn leaves right before we hit Highway 89, and then recorded a clip while we drove on that road approaching the turnoff to Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park.

Here we are, once again, at the entrance to Red Canyon, one of Tamara's favorite places in Utah.

I think I have taken this same photo three times now!

We started to record our drive up Red Canyon, but then decided to turn in to the Visitor Center for a bathroom break.

At the Visitor Center and said hello to Smokey.

Only she can prevent forest fires!

We then continued to record our drive up the canyon, including through the two tunnels there.

Several miles farther, we reached the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Here is Moxie posing at the overlook with her daddy…

…and her mommy.

Down below, you can see the "million dollar highway" that we are driving through the Monument.

A clip after leaving the above viewpoint.

We then dropped down to the Escalante River that helped carve out these canyons.

I wonder why they named this town… "Boulder"?

And here is the lodge where we'll be staying for the next few days.

As predicted, we arrived with a little more tha 100 miles still in the battery.

The energy graph showed that the drive wasn't very efficient, but not surprising, given the terrain we had driven through.

We checked into our room, put Moxie in the car on Dog Mode, and had dinner in the popular Hell's Backbone Grill.

When I finally plugged into a Destination Charger at the lodge, we had lost several miles of range to Sentry Mode and Dog Mode.

The next morning, we drove farther up the highway over Boulder Mountain.

We stopped at viewpoints to see parts of Capitol Reef below us.

This plaque explained the various vistas we could see in the distance.

Here is a video while we were driving farther along the highway… until interrupted, as you’ll see!

And here we continued recording the drive.

The autumn leaves were in full color at points along the highway.

At one point we could see Lower Bown's Reservoir in the distance.

Tamara with a colorful backdrop.

Me between a rock and a sweet Pom.

We spotted this odd white gob of rock as we approached Torrey.

The red rock vistas form a backdrop to Torrey.

After arriving in Torrey, we took the road to Capitol Reef.

As an EV advocate, I was delighted to read the final paragraph on this plaque at a pullout.

Moxie was glad to stretch her legs while Tamara went in the Capitol Reef Visitor Center to get a map of the Park.

We then took Scenic Drive into the National Park. It was hard for Tamara to record the "reef" on my side, but she got some better footage on the return trip in a later video.

Still, the sandstone pinnacles were impressive.

And some of them were notably multi-layered.

We arrived at the Capitol Gorge picnic area, but this time we didn't drive farther on into the canyon shown here, as the Model 3 could barely make it through the flooded areas last year.

Moxie was more than ready for lunch.

As mentioned above, here Tamara recorded the drive going back up the road, with the "reef" on her side of the car.

We spotted Fern's Nipple looming above the red rock canyons.

I was fascinated by the different layers of rock formed over eons of time.

We drove up this dirt road to the Grand Wash Trail that goes all the way through the park to the highway on the other side. I planned to take a mile-long hike up that other side of the trail to see the section known as the “Narrows” (see below).

We were amazed to see how, when floods were carving out these canyons in eons past, boulders would spin against the rock walls and carve out these holes.

We were amused to see these caution signs. We never did see one, but I wish we could have!

In the village of “Fruita” at the entrance to the park there are a pair of old trees like this one that were mere saplings when the first pioneer settlers arrived there in 1880.

We drove back onto the highway to find the opposite side of the Grand Wash Trail.

Here I am hiking up that trail. It wasn't an easy hike, due to all the sand and gravel I had to walk through, deposited by flash floods through the canyon.

I finally reached the "Narrows" in the canyon.

And here I have turned around to hike back through them. Whew!

Driving back toward the entrance to the Park, we caught a good glimpse of Fern's Nipple.

We again visited the Scenic Drive to take a few more photos of the formations.

This shot shows how many different, varied layers were laid down by the oceans over millions of years.

At some point the oceans went through a period that deposited this odd, greenish-grey layer of sand between the red sandstone.

That evening we drove into Torrey to find the "Hunt and Gather" restaurant.

We were delighted to find that it was a great place, with a patio where Moxie could join us for dinner.

The weather was perfect for outdoor dining, and our meals were the best we had on this trip. Truly scrumptious!

Tamara had ordered a filet mignon that was to die for.

And I ordered a delicious rainbow trout, one of my favorite dishes from childhood when my family would go fishing every weekend during the summers.

The sun was setting as we drove back over Boulder Mountain, appreciating the fall colors in the fading light.

A nearly full moon was looming over the landscape as we crested the summit.

We arrived back at the lodge with 110 miles still in the battery, having driven 143 miles that day.

By the next morning, the Destination Charger had again put a 90% charge in the battery, with 261 miles of range.

We had decided to try our luck driving over the Hell's Backbone road that runs between Boulder and Escalante, even though most of it wasn't paved, but grated.

Here are some video clips as we ascended to the Hell's Backbone bridge, first on pavement, and then when it turned into dirt.

We saw some great views of the fall folliage while climbing the road.

The canyons below were getting deeper and more picturesque.

We finally reached the bridge.

The views from the bridge were truly spectacular, as it spanned the crevice between two deep, steep canyons. The spot is aptly named!

One false step near the edge and the fall wouldn't kill you —just the sudden stop at the end.

Tamara snapped this photo of me walking across the bridge while taking photos.

I reciprocated by taking one of her, but there was no way she was willing to get close to the dropoff.

Still, the spectacular views put a smile on her nervous face.

To compare, here is the canyon on the north side of the bridge…

…and the canyon on the south side.

Here we go, driving across the narrow bridge!

We recorded these clips while descending the road to Escalante.

In Escalante, we drove to a burger joint, the Circle D, to have an early dinner. Its patio was decorated with faux Native American petroglyph images pressed into the concrete…

…like this mountain goat with its baby kid.

Again, it was a perfect temperature for outdoor eating.

And Moxie was delighted to accompany us.

Before heading back to Boulder, we decided to stop by the Petrified Forest State Park outside Escalante.

Here is Tamara standing alongside a petrified tree.

The particular type of fossilized tree is unknown, but geologists theorize that it was an Araucaria, as they were prolific in the area at that time of history.

We also stopped at the Grand Staircase-Escalante Visitor Center, but —alas— it was closed that day. Nonetheless, I snapped this photo of Moxie next to a Jurassic-sized lizard statue near the entrance.

We arrived back at the lodge with 157 miles remaining in the battery, having driven 84 miles over the Hell's Backbone road and the highway from Escalante.

I was tired, so was Moxie, and Tamara clandestinely snapped this photo of us taking a welcome nap.

The next day, we checked out of the lodge and started driving home. Here is another video taken from Tamara's side of the car while traversing the highway from Boulder back to Escalante.

In this photo we are approaching cliffs not far from Bryce Canyon National Park

Once again we drove through Red Canyon, and stopped at its Visitor Center to purchase some souvenirs.

After turning onto the highway back to Cedar City, we saw that the fall folliage was now even more colorful.

The quaking aspen were showing off their brilliant yellow among the green pines.

Tamara took this video while we drove through the forest to the summit.

Here is an aspen grove near the road to Cedar Breaks and Brian Head.

We again passed the red rock outcroppings on the back side of Cedar Breaks.

We arrived at the Cedar City superchargers with 101 miles still in the battery. Although the display doesn't show it, we had driven the exact same distance coming from and going to Boulder: 157 miles.

I charged the battery to our usual 80% there. You might notice in the previous photo that there was a new software update pending. However, that orange download arrow had disappeared by the time we returned home, as you can see below. Go figure?

After driving 54 miles to return home, we arrived with 214 miles still left in the battery.

Oddly, we had used more energy than predicted on this last leg of our trip, likely because there was a strong headwind all the way home.

I had forgotten to reset the trip odometer when we left, but I subtracted the miles when we left from those when we returned and found that we had driven 649 miles on this roadtrip, using 147 kWh, with an average energy efficiency of 4.41 miles-per-kWh —much better than the EPA estimate for our Model 3.

Thankfully, there was only one instance on the trip when we experienced a phantom braking event, but it was an unsually hard, sudden stop that scared us both. There were also several times when the car ping-ponged between lanes when trying to use auto lane change, but I have practically learned to expect such seizures and try to anticipate them to minimize the unnerving swerving. Obviously, recent updates have yet to correct these problems —and I suspect they never will, to be brutally honest about Tesla. Gotta transition to a better EV in the future!

It was a truly delightful anniversary roadtrip. We love seeing the wonderful red rock canyons, cliffs, formations and pinnacles in this corner of the planet. Moreover, it really pleases me to visit these humbling, transcendental wonders knowing that we are helping to keep them pristine by not having a tailpipe!