Day Trip to see the
Annular Eclipse
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
October 14, 2023

Spotting the Sun Spot
(Click to enlarge)

We had been aware for quite a while that an annular eclipse would occur close to our area. More specifically, the projected maps showed that the main path would pass over Utah about two hours to the north of us. We even started to look into the possibility of reserving a motel room in towns farther north so it would be easier to witness the cosmic event. Alas… all those motels were booked solid, weeks in advance, with prices that were astronomical (pun!). Our only option, therefore, would be to drive north that morning to witness the eclipse. By coincidence, one of the towns in its path was Beaver, where there is a large Supercharger, so we planned to get up early, leave home at about 8:00 AM, which would give us plenty of time to arrive in Beaver before the “ring of fire” occurred.

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

Having driven to the Superchargers in Beaver, many times, I knew that an 80% charge would be sufficent.

The navigation and energy displayed predicted that we would arrive there by 9:43, about 45 minutes before the full annular eclipse occurred, with 29% left in the battery, i.e., about 90 miles of range.

In this video I explain this cosmic journey.

When we exited the I-15 freeway in Beaver, we had to chuckle at the sign that some business had set up to sell eclipse glasses to travelers. We already had ours in the glovebox!

As you can see, we arrived in Beaver with less range than predicted: 74 miles left in the battery.

Obviously, ascending in elevation to Beaver, and driving 80 mph on the interstate, had taken its toll on our energy efficiency.

The 24 Superchargers were almost all full, but we managed to find a spot and plugged in.

The eclipse had already started while we had been driving, but would take several minutes more before reaching its maximum coverage. You might notice that the sunshine was fading slightly as the moon slowly dropped lower over the sun.

After 21 minutes, we finished charging to 80%, unplugged and moved the car to allow other owners to plug in. The display stated that we'd paid $11.37 for the charge —although the deduction in my bank account is for 6¢ less. I've noticed such discrepancies at other Superchargers, but don't know the reason for them.

Little by little the moon was taking a "bite" out of the sun. I tried to take several photos with my phone using a filter on my eclipse glasses, but most of them were mere blurs. This is the only one that shows a least a bit of the shaddow, albeit poorly.

I didn't have any better luck when the eclipse reached its maximum, forming a "ring of fire" around the moon. We were just glad that we could see the phenomenon with our own eyes using our eclipse glasses.

Oddly enough, I could get a slightly clearer image by taking a very short video of the full eclipse instead of a photo.

As the moon started to slide off of the sun, we decided to leave before everyone else would join us on the freeway. We drove a few miles south to the small town of Parowan. The old streets and homes were quaint, several of them relics of the pioneer settlers in Southern Utah.

The leaves on the trees lining those streets were starting to show their fall colors.

In front of one home I spotted this vintage Jeep. I had once owned a 1950 Jeep very much like this one, with a one piece windshield and a homemade hard top.

While driving through the town, we ran across a car show near the downtown park, with booths, crafts, and food vendors.

There was another Jeep there, but even older, a 1942 World War II model with a two-piece windshield.

Many of the cars were custom hot rods. Sadly… I didn't see even one electric car among them.

We had decided to stop in Parowan to have lunch at the Sook Jai Thai restaurant, one of our favorites that relocated there from Brian Head ski resort just up the canyon.

Tamara is a big fan of Thai food and was delighted that we found the restaurant before the crowds started to show up.

I also enjoy Thai food, but not as spicy hot as Tamara prefers.

We both ordered Drunken Noodles, and —true to form— the chef must have been a bit drunk when applying the hot spices! They were tasty, but tortuous.

Since the canyon to Brian Head was so close, we decided to drive up there to see the falls leaves and again visit Cedar Breaks National Monument.

In this video we are nearly to Brian Head, and were sad to find that so much of the canyon had been incinerated in a recent wildfire. With the escalating climate crisis, we really do fear that such catastrophes will only become more frequent and destructive in the future.

We drove through Brian Head, entered Cedar Breaks, and stopped to contemplate the vista from one of its viewpoints.

Moxie was delighted to get out of the car and remember this spot.

I don't know how many times I have snapped a photo of these pinnacles and formations in Cedar Breaks.

The red rock sandstone displays such an incredible contrast with the green pine forest and the deep blue sky.

Here we are driving back down Cedar Canyon from Cedar Breaks.

This canyon is always so picturesque.

Some sides of it are so steep that you need to be vigilent for falling rocks!

About one minute into this video, I comment that regenerative braking had increased our range since leaving Cedar Breaks.

The day wasn't over yet! After leaving Cedar City, we decided to also visit Kolob Canyon, even though we'd only be able to drive 3 miles up the road because of a sink hole that had damaged it higher up.

This is the viewpoint at the turnout where the road was blocked off. I've lost count of the number of times I've visited Kolob Canyon, having even driven there several times in my Nissan LEAF!

Tamara likes to snuggle Moxie when we take a break from driving.

We then, finally, set the navigation to guide us home.

It estimated that we'd arrive with about 29% remaining from our Supercharge at Beaver.

This is our last video of the day, descending Kolob Canyon to reenteer the freeway home.

We arrived with 75 miles of range left in the battery.

That was less that predicted, but I'm sure the 80 mph speeds again took their toll.

It was a great one-day roadtrip. I am so glad that we could witness the eclipse, for such celestial events happen so infrequently in one’s lifetime. We were fortunate that it transversed our area close to our home, and that the weather cooperated with fairly clear skies. Being able to stop for lunch in Parowan, then visit Cedar Breaks, and again see Kolob Canyon was icing on the cosmic cake.

If EV aficionados are interested, below is a table with the stats for this daytrip, showing the miles and energy efficiency both going and coming, plus the round trip results. I am pleased that, despite the high speeds and elevation changes, we achieved only 0.02 mi/kWh less that the EPA rating for our car.