In the Golden State
(Click to enlarge)
Mothers Day Trip
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen

Tamara’s dad turned 90 years old a few weeks ago, but because we live so far away, her eldest niece is in medical school in Salt Lake City, and her second niece is working in Portland, the family decided to instead wait until spring semester was over to all get together for Mothers Day and honor both parents together. We therefore drove Correcaminos to the Sacramento area for the third time, and returned home just two days ago. Below are photos, videos, and commentary about the trip.

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

Here is the odometer readout when we departed.

As you can see, ‘Tisa was delighted to embark on another adventure.

Here is a series of video clips as we headed out on the first leg of our journey.

After Supercharging in Las Vegas, we set the navigation to take us to the station in Baker, California. We noticed that there were some distinctly colored formations on the hills outside of the town.

Are those contrasting surfaces a result of geographic strata or mining? My guess... is the latter.

‘Tisa perked up when she heard Navigate-On-Autopilot chime off, knowing that it meant we were exiting the freeway.

She let me know that she was ready to take a break and stretch her legs at the Baker Supercharger.

We plugged in and let the Supercharger work its magic while we visited the restrooms and got some refreshments. Speaking of refreshing: that’s how we felt knowing we didn’t have to fill a gas tank at the prices that the adjacent service station was charging.

If you expand this photo and look closer, you’ll see that, of the 40 Superchargers available in Baker, only four were occupied: three Model S and our Model 3. I always love charging at sites with solar panels overhead.

The next Supercharger en route was in Mojave, and Tamara took this video of all the wind generators on the outskirts as we approached the town.

Fortunately, this time there were empty slots at the Superchargers, unlike on our previous visit to the site, when we had to wait for another owner to finish charging.

We arrived in Bakersfield and checked into our motel. ‘Tisa had been her usual happy self while traveling the first day, but was ready to call it a night.

It rained in Bakersfield overnight, so Correcaminos’ glass roof looked especially colorful when we got up the next morning.

We arrived at the superb Superchargers in Kettleman City, ready to take advantage of its lounge and coffee shop while our Model 3 recharged.

Once again, I was pleased to know we were putting solar-generated kWh into Correcaminos’ battery.

‘Tisa seemed to fondly remember that Tesla had also provided a lounge for her.

Here is Tamara and the barista behind the counter of the coffee shop. I also bought another Supercharger t-shirt and a Model 3 hat to add to my collection of Tesla apparel.

I like the shopping bags provided, as they make great reuseable bags to keep in the frunk. Unfortunately, on this visit they only had small bags available, but I figure I can use them to store dirty rags after cleaning suicide bugs off the windshield and front end.

While continuing up I-5 toward Sacramento, we spied more than a half-dozen transporters carrying Teslas for deliveries in other areas. I thought the naysayers have claimed there was “no demand”...? Pffft.

About 3 hours later, our next Supercharger stop was in Manteca, on Highway 120 between I-5 and Highway 99.

The traffic became horribly stop-and-go as we got closer to the Sacramento area on Highway 99. I had Tamara take a video of the touchscreen to show how Navigate-On-Autopilot maneuvered Correcaminos through all the congestion. I can’t state enough how it makes such situations less stressful! Drivers would have to experience it to really appreciate the difference.

We checked into our motel, then drove to Tamara’s sister’s home for dinner that night. Early the next morning I swung by the Superchargers at the Roseville Galleria mall, as they are almost always occupied during the daytime hours.

I must admit that I was distraught and angry to see that other owners had simply dumped their *&^%$#@! garbage out on the ground at the site: a pizza box; plastic cups, lids, and straws; a can; liquor bottles; popsicle wrappers and sticks; sundry paper products. And here I thought that those who bought Teslas were more conscientious and considerate, by default aware of what we all need to do to build a better world for the future. Moreover, given the location and layout of the area, it was more than obvious that these were Tesla owners, as there is no way an ICE driver would park so far from the mall entrance in such a restricted space.

Most discouraging of all was to see that there was a garbage bin not more than 20 feet away from that Supercharger at an adjacent bus stop. Are these the kind of people who also write graffitti on public bathroom walls, don’t flush the toilets, spit their gum out on sidewalks? Whatever happened to basic, human decency? As we do unto others, we are doing unto ourselves.

While there, I went inside to visit the small Tesla store in the mall. There were a few potential customers checking out the Performance Model 3 on display, and I spent a while answering their questions about what it’s really like to own a Tesla and take it on roadtrips.

Here is Tamara’s first niece, happy to again snuggle with ‘Tisa.

And here is her second niece, with Tamara’s parents in the background, at an Italian restaurant to celebrate Mothers Day and her Dad’s 90th orbit around the fusion plant.

Later on during the roadtrip, we also joined her sister and nieces for lunch at a restaurant in El Dorado Hills.

It is located next to a nice pond...

...where ‘Tisa was mesmerized to see the geese and goslings that lived there.

After lunch, we visited the Old Town district of Folsom so Tamara could do some shopping.

‘Tisa and I wandered the streets and took some photos of the vintage train station...

...and classic hotel on Main Street.

The weather was rainy most of the trip. Although it made Correcaminos more colorful, it thwarted our plans to return home by driving over the summits in the Sierra Nevada. Indeed, the forecast was for heavy snows, so we had to retrace our route back south instead.

Like us, ‘Tisa had just about had enough of all the “fun and recreation.”

We again recharged in Manteca.

However, when we entered Kettleman City in the navigation window, we got this message.

We departed, regardless, but kept checking on the site to see if it had reopened.

As you can see, the inclement weather didn’t abate, so it was a prudent decision not to try to snowplow our way over the Sierra Nevada.

We decided to change our destination to the Harris Ranch Superchargers, since the Kettleman City site remained unresponsive. As you can imagine, it was therefore packed, but we managed to find an unoccupied spot.

There was no fire hydrant for ‘Tisa, but she was happy to make do with grass.

Continuing down I-5, we happened upon one of the Tesla transporters carrying six Model 3, and Tamara hurriedly took this short video as we passed it.

We checked into our motel for the night, not even a block away from the Bakersfield Superchargers.

And, of course, it rained during the night.

We recharged the battery the next morning to have enough miles to return to Mojave.

Tamara managed to snap this photo of our “stretched” Model 3 as we passed a fossil fool on the highway. I like to think it symbolic of the future surpassing yesteryear.

After again recharging at Mojave, we decided to stop at the Yermo Supercharger rather than Baker.

And I could again confirm that our species has gone to hell in a handbasket, as I contemplated all the litter strewn across the desert landscape at that site.

Tamara took this video when we were passing the three thermal solar plants in the desert, just before again crossing the border from California into Nevada. It always reminds me that we already have the technology to transition away from fossil fuels, and simply need the political will to do so.

Rather than recharging in Las Vegas, we decided to stop at the Superchargers in Primm, Nevada. We figured that a 90% charge could get us all the way home from there.

After getting through a seemingly never-ending Friday night traffic jam in Las Vegas (thank you, Autopilot!), we saw a simultaneous sunset and moonrise over the Nevada desert.

I took this video as Autopilot drove us into the Twilight Zone shortly before reaching Mesquite.

As calculated, the 90% charge in Primm was sufficient to pull into the garage with 20% still in the battery pack...

...which always changes the green display of the battery to orange as a warning.

The odometer now showed that Correcaminos had driven 19,332 miles, and the freeway speeds on this roadtrip had added 3 watts to our lifetime average Wh/mi.

We had driven a total of 1,754 miles, with an average of 264 Wh/mi. That translates to approximately 3.79 miles-per-kWh. Since the EPA rates a Long Range RWD Model 3 at 3.65 for highway driving, I am more than pleased with Correcaminos’ energy efficiency on this trip.

From departure to arrival, we Supercharged 17 times, which cost a total of $136.74. The lowest charge was for only $2.03 to add 7 kWh one morning at the Roseville Galleria; the highest charge was for $12.32 at Manteca after driving 157 miles from Kettleman City. If we had kept our previous gasoline burner instead, the fuel would have cost us approximately $359.83. Hey... I’ll take it!

I had hoped to finally receive the promised range increase to 325 miles before we left, but that still hasn’t happened. Drat...! I also hoped to first download software update 2019.16, but I didn’t receive a notification that it was available yet in our area. Still, version 2019.12.1.2 did a remarkable job navigating the highways with minimal input from me —which made for a much more relaxed, enjoyable, stress free trip.

That version also increased the charging rate (and thus decreased the time needed) at some of the Superchargers —but not all. A few times after plugging in I saw the initial rate top off at 500 mi/hr, and I once saw that 142 kW were pouring into the pack at Kettleman City —just 8 kW shy of the newly upgraded top rate. However, I cannot say for certain if the software also prepped the pack’s temperature shortly before arriving at a Supercharger to reduce charge times, because I never saw any notification or readout to indicate that said preparation was happening. Still, with the higher charge rate, the time needed was almost always about 10 minutes shorter than initially estimated on the touchscreen, which may be because of that new feature or simply because the Model 3 charges faster than other Tesla models.

In summary, it was a nice trip, despite the bad weather that altered our planned route home. I’m looking forward to more such journeys in Correcaminos, perhaps to visit my sister again in Telluride for the 4th of July, and maybe even to see my daughters in Texas, Alabama, and North Carolina in the fall. Now that we own a bona fide roadtrip electric car, the highways are beckoning!