Cliff Hanger
(Click to enlarge)
Another Roadtrip
to Colorado
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
June 30 - July 5, 2019

For the 4th of July holiday this year, we decided to take another trip to visit my sister Wendy and her husband Bob in Colorado. This time, however, en route to their home in Telluride, we wanted to first tour Colorado National Monument by Grand Junction, as well as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose. Below is the usual pedantic photo chronicle of the trip.

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

I purposely scheduled Correcaminos’ charger to fill the battery from 20% to 100% overnight, with the hope that the recalibration would finally enable the promised range increase. Nope! This was the predicted range the next morning. I’m starting to doubt that I’ll ever see that upgrade.

Here is ‘Tisa, excited and ready to start another journey, when we were about to hit the road.

In this introductory video as we left town, I explain where we are headed on this roadtrip. You’ll see that ‘Tisa likes to sit toward the middle of the car in her doggy seat so that the climate control’s air blowing out of the rear vents keeps her nice and cool.

We recharged only briefly to reach 80% in Beaver, Utah, and then connected to I-70 that took us through these canyons.

Now and then we would see outcroppings of white sandstone on the way to Richfield, Utah.

We again charged to 80% in Richfield, which took only 20 minutes, just enough to visit the restrooms and take ‘Tisa for a walk.

Leaving Richfield, we headed across the San Rafael Swell onto the Colorado Plateau.

Here we stopped at the viewpoint for Devil’s Canyon.

And a few miles later we stopped again at Ghost Rock…

…to stretch our legs and visit the restrooms.

From there we could see a good view of the highway we would take across the plateau.

We were amused to see that the GPS map on the display was so blurry, likely because of the poor cell reception along this stretch of I-70.

You’ll have to forgive me, but we were even more amused by this formation to the side of the highway. I don’t know if it has a name, but I decided to call it… “Melania’s Nipple.”

The vistas along this freeway really are spectacular.

We arrived in Green River and plugged in.

This was the first time I was able to verify that the latest software upgrade had raised the charging threshold at Superchargers above 500 mi/hr. Nice!

Ray’s Tavern in Green River is famous for its hamburgers, so we decided to get some lunch there before continuing on to Grand Junction.

The bar has a real hometown, rustic atmosphere, and I can attest that the hot-off-the-grill burgers really are superb.

Of course, the tavern doesn't allow dogs, so ‘Tisa had to wait in the car with “Dog Mode” enabled. We rewarded her for her patience with a bit of hamburger.

We checked into our motel in Grand Junction, and early the next morning I drove a couple of blocks to the Supercharger to put 80% in the battery for the day.

We then drove to Colorado National Monument to the west of Grand Junction.

As the sign warned, we kept a lookout for Bighorn Sheep, but —alas!— never saw one that day.

From the entrance to the monument, the road winds back and forth up the cliffs to the top of the rim that overlooks the canyons.

In this video you can see how Correcaminos’ Autopilot does a wonderful job handling the winding roads, allowing us to thoroughly enjoy the scenery.

Here I have to quip that mitigating the climate crisis poses a daunting challenge for the future, but driving a clean, green electric car is certainly one way to see a light at the end of the tunnel… to preserve the pristine beauty of this planet.

Here we are at the lookout for Ute Canyon.

‘Tisa, of course, prefers to flop down in the shade on a cool rock.

I learned long ago that she is the master, and I am the pet.

This is a view of the canyon.

However, a panorama shot is the only way to put it in perspective.

Here we are at another viewpoint.

That Correcaminos has no tailpipe to pollute such settings gives me a modicum of pride.

Wild guess: the owner of this behemoth thinks the climate crisis is a hoax. What d‘ya think?

At certain points along the rim, you can see Grand Junction to the east.

Even this panorama shot cannot capture the size, depth, and distances of the monument’s vistas.

Driving through another tunnel.

We eventually arrived at the opposite end of the monument from where we started. If you enlarge the photo, you can see how the road meanders along the rim of the canyons.

The next day, after Supercharging to 90%, we drove south to Montrose, and could see the San Juan mountains in the distance.

I decided to take this video of the mountains while Autopilot handled the traffic. You can see in this clip how it changes lanes to pass a slower truck and then move back to the right.

At Montrose we headed east for a few miles to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. If you enlarge this photo, you can see a map of the roadway along its rim.

The canyon truly is impressive. You wouldn't even know it was there as you drive through some rolling hills, but then suddenly… the earth drops off into its steep, deep abyss.

Again, this panorama doesn’t do justice to the overwhelming impression of the canyon. At this point, it is actually deeper than it is wide.

These video clips attempt to depict the canyon’s size and depth, but the attempt is futile. You really have to see it with your own eyes to appreciate its rugged beauty.

At the farthest viewpoint you can see how the canyon grows wider as it drops down toward Montrose.

And here is our cutting edge car… on the edge!

After touring the Black Canyon, we continued south from Montrose toward the San Juan Mountains.

They provide a magnificent backdrop to the town of Ridgeway.

In this video we are about to enter Ridgeway, where we turn right to cross a summit and drop down to the alpine valley of Telluride.

We're entering the valley in this shot…

…getting closer to Telluride…

…and are about to enter the town.

The main street was packed with tourists who had arrived for the 4th of July festivities.

We stopped at Clark’s Market to pick up a few groceries, and I was able to plug in to its Destination Charger to add a few more miles to the 20% charge that remained in the battery upon arriving in Telluride.

From there we drove up the road to the Mountain Village subdivision where my sister and her husband have their home.

This is their abode, nestled among the pines and quaking aspen on the mountain.

I’ve mentioned before that my sister is a professional equestrian who breeds and trains horses, and gives riding lessons, at ranches in Mesquite during the winter and Telluride during the summer.

The ranch in Telluride is “El Prado,” right below the towering peaks of the San Juan range.

The owners had added this teepee to the grounds since our visit here last year.

You have to laugh at all the country humor posted around the ranch.

The setting was so inviting and relaxing that ‘Tisa and I quickly drifted off into dreamland.

Wendy’s doggies followed suit. Here is her curly haired Jack Russell Terrier, Brie.

And here is her Chinese Crested, Rita —sometimes jokingly called “Cruella Deville.”

Wendy only has 115V outlets in her garage, but since we planned on staying for a couple of days, a painfully slow charge using Correcaminos’ MCU sufficed. I had never noticed that the MCU shows that it is working with LED lights flowing across the Tesla logo. Clever!

For the 4th of July we opted to avoid the mob of people watching the parade downtown, and instead had a pleasant morning at the house.

In the afternoon we took the free gondola to the main plaza of Mountain Village.

There are numerous shops and cafes there. This restaurant has a large number of outdoor tables, ready to accommodate guests when it opened for dinner.

We wandered through the plaza, where there was a band playing as part of the festivities.

There were also lots of fun activities to entertain visitors’ children.

Alas, the next day we needed to return home to prepare for our online classes the following week. We retraced our tires tracks over the summit…

…and again descended to Ridgeway.

There was an open market and craft fair at the town’s park, so naturally Tamara had to stop to do some shopping.

Ridgeway is a fun mountain village, with unique buildings like this vintage fire station.

It also boasts some humorous bronze statues in the park, like this turtle.

‘Tisa was interested in all the other doggies in the park as we sat waiting for Tamara to wander through the booths.

All we could do was be patient until she had purchased some treasures to take home.

When we arrived in Grand Junction and plugged in, five of the six Superchargers were occupied, unlike previously when Correcaminos was the only Tesla there.

We again stopped to recharge in Green River, with two of the four Superchargers occupied. Obviously, lots of Tesla owners were traveling for the holiday weekend.

I took this video as we approached the San Rafael “reef” near Goblin Valley State Park. You’ll see that Autopilot again worked its magic to pass this slower truck.

Here’s a photo of that reef from the highway.

We pulled over at the rest stop there, and here is the right side of the reef running north.

Here is the left side running south.

And here is Correcaminos with the right side as a backdrop.

I tried to capture the extent of the reef with a panorama, but as usual it is a poor depiction of the landscape’s size.

When we pulled into the garage again, the odometer showed that we had driven a total of 1,192 miles on the roadtrip, using an average 251 Wh/mile. That’s only 11 Wh higher than Correcaminos’s lifetime average —which is pretty impressive, given the 80 MPH speed limits on the freeways and all the changes in elevation.

The sun was just starting to set as I unloaded the suitcases from Correcaminos’s trunk.

There was only one problem with this roadtrip: it was too short. We will simply have to visit my sister again when the leaves start to turn, as she tells us that the vistas are truly spectacular in the fall. I can say this much: our Model 3 has proven to be the ultimate touring vehicle. Autopilot makes journeys much more relaxing and enjoyable, allowing us to marvel at the vistas around us.