Royal Flush
(Click to enlarge)
Weekend Trip
to Northern Utah
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
June 7-8, 2019

My son’s family recently sold their home in Richmond, Utah, and bought another one in Smithfield, closer to their jobs at the Logan Regional Hospital in Cache Valley. They hoped to move all their belongings into their new abode this past weekend. Since Eric has helped us move in the past, it seemed only fair that I should drive up there to the opposite northern end of our state to lend a hand. It was a whirlwind trip: I left on Friday, with an air mattress in the trunk so I could camp out with them overnight. On Saturday, we start hauling boxes, furniture, and other paraphenalia from their storage shed to the new home. I then drove back home again in the late afternoon and evening. I don’t envy them the task of now having to unload, sort, and put everything away, but at least they’re now in the home. Below are annotated photos and movies of the trip.

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

I started the day trip by heading north on I-15 with an 80% charge in battery. In these clips I again show Red Cliffs National Recreation area and Pine Mountain upon leaving the St. George area. As I neared Cedar City, I spotted a Tesla Model S in front of me. When it changed lanes to pass slower traffic, Correcaminos’ “Navigate on Autopilot” did the same. Not long after that, it exited the freeway at the designated destination: the Superchargers in Beaver, Utah.

I had driven 111.4 miles, using a higher than average 269 Wh/mi due to the steep climb to Cedar City.

When I pulled in only one of the four Superchargers wasn't occupied.

I was surprised to spot something that had never been there before: Tesla had installed two more chargers around the corner of the car wash bays, but they were the slower, reduced power “urban” models. My guess is that these might be only temporary installations until they can increase the number of full power units, since Beaver is hardly an urban center.

I had to chuckle at the souvenirs available in the store of the gas station. Bet‘cha they sell a helluva lot of these mugs.

A very stiff wind had started blowing from the south, as you can see in this video of the flagpole next to the Superchargers. I surmised that this would be to my advantage, giving me a hefty tailwind to increase Correcaminos’ energy efficiency on the backroads I intended to drive instead of continuing on the interstate.

I charged to 90% this time, knowing that I had a long stretch ahead of me on those backroads to reach the Tooele Superchargers over 200 miles to the north.

From Beaver I drove west with a crosswind to the town of Milford, and the energy efficiency screen predicted that I would arrive in Tooele with only a 20% charge. However, knowing that I would then start driving north with that tailwind, I predicted that the graph would soon plot higher.

One of the reasons I decided to drive the backroads was so I could again contemplate the huge wind farm to the north of Milford. In this clip I pass through the town’s main street, then record a few segments with those wind generators spinning away in the background shrouded by all the dust that the tailwind was kicking up. A lot of kWh were feeding into those power lines that day! Ironically, they were all bound for California; Utah politicians are still in bed with the coal’igarchs and thus the state has yet to take advantage of its prime location for both wind and solar.

I took this panorama of Correcaminos and the wind generators. If you look closely at the enlarged version, you’ll notice that the result turned out a bit fractured because the wind was so strong that I had a hard time holding the camera level and steady as I panned the scene.

As you can see, that tailwind was really howling as I continued “sailing” north.

Indeed, I soon saw that it was blowing away piles of lime that had been produced and refined at the Cricket Mountain plant, and I had to choke through that cloud as it dissipated across the roadway. Ack…!

Sure enough, when I checked the graph, it now predicted that I would arrive in Tooele with 27% left in the battery.

I stopped in Delta to visit the restroom at the city park, one of our favorite pit stops when traveling these back roads.

After driving 221.4 miles, I finally arrived at the Tooele Superchargers with a 25% charge and 77 miles of range remaining. Not bad from a 90% charge!

I had averaged a mere 200 Wh/mi. After plugging in, the screen displayed the fastest charge rate I’ve ever seen: 500 miles-per-hour from 148 kW!

It struck me as odd that Correcaminos was the only Tesla charging there that day, as it is one of the sites along the major I-80 interstate between San Francisco across Nevada to Salt Lake City.

This time I only charged to 80%, knowing that I didn’t have far to go to the next Supercharger in Tremonton, Utah, before entering Cache Valley where Logan and Smithfield are located.

Driving by the Great Salt Lake, I was amazed to see one intrepid sailor braving the gale in his sailboat.

This is Saltair, a resort rebuilt after the original burned down decades ago. Having grown up in Salt Lake City, I remember how we used to ride a train to go out there to torture our skin in the salty water when I was just a pre-schooler.

Driving north on I-15 again, I passed Mt. Ogden. Tamara and I had a home for many years on the other side of the mountain, near some ski resorts.

The winds had now blown in some threatening storm clouds as I approached Tremonton.

I plugged in after 92.9 more miles, with a more normal Wh/mi efficiency from driving at 80 MPH on the freeways. The rate of charge again hit what I assume is the maximum readout of 500 miles-per-hour, but the kW topped off at only 130.

There was a sibling Model 3 at the site, which is a major stop along the I-84 interstate between Ogden, Utah, and Boise, Idaho.

Finally heading to Cache Valley, I crossed the Bear River, which empties into the north end of the Great Salt Lake.

The storm clouds were now more threatening than ever over the valley. Tamara and I had lived here for several years after we both accepted positions at Utah State University, where we met. I must admit that the city had grown and changed dramatically since we had last been there 10 years ago. It is now much more congested, filled with innumerable new businesses, and suburbs that have spread out to incorporate what used to be smaller towns into one large metropolis.

The next morning dawned clear, and I was able to take a few photos of their new abode. Here is the back porch from their yard.

And here is a separate cabana that they intend to turn into a bed-and-breakfast rental.

Their dog Cooper was delighted to be exploring the new back yard.

And their new dog, Winnie (Winifred) was happy to join in.

Here’s my son Eric, showing me his newest treasure: an EGO electric lawn mower. Good for him for getting rid of his fossil fuel tools!

My granddaughter Dylan was proud to show me her new room.

And here she is with my grandson Preston in their parents’ new master bedroom.

My darling daughter-in-law Jess’, Dylan, and Cooper pose for me in their new great room.

When the grunting and hauling was all done, I started the drive back home in the late afternoon, and again Supercharged in Tremonton. Oddly enough, this time the charging rate was slower than the day before.

The weather had clouded up again, but at least the winds were no longer howling.

I charged to 80%, as that was more than enough to get me back to Tooele.

Now that the skies were clearer, I could take a better photo of the Wasatch Front mountains to the east of Ogden and Salt Lake City.

Sadly, due to all the growth and construction along the front, a gravel pit company has now has obliterated the hill to the north of Salt Lake City, absolutely ruining the view, in my not-so-humble opinion. That city is no longer the small town that I grew up in, and its inhabitants suffer some of the worst air pollution in the country when inversions settle in the valley.

The is another view of the Great Salt Lake, this time without all the whitecaps.

The Tooele Supercharger didn’t reach its peak charging rate like the day before, but it was nonetheless impressively fast.

This time I charged to 90%, however, for I intended to drive all the way to Beaver again. I would take some of the backroads from Tooele, but then connect to the I-15 interstate after approaching Delta, rather than continuing south to the Milford wind farm.

South of Tooele, I noticed some odd structures, evidently part of the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Grounds for biological and chemical weapons. Yeeeow…! I hate to imagine what they contain.

Here is a nice shot of Mount Timpanogas, far in the distance along the Wasatch Front. As the sun set right before connecting to I-15, I pulled over to take the photo of Correcaminos at the top of the page.

Night had fallen by the time I arrived in Beaver again. This time, as expected, the display had dropped into the “orange” zone of the battery charge, i.e., below 20%.

Whenever this happens, I have noticed that the display warns owners that such a low charge could drop even lower if the temperatures were to grow colder.

You can see that, after driving 194.9 miles, at 255 Wh/mi, I arrived in Beaver with 52 “orange” miles remaining —notably lower than one might expect from a 90% charge, likely due to the 80 MPH speed limit on Utah’s freeways.

I knew that an 80% charge would suffice to return home.

I pulled into the garage with a 42% charge.

I had driven a total of 914.6 miles on this two-day trip, averaging 244 Wh/mi. The six times I had Supercharged cost $50.06, i.e., 5.47¢ per mile. If I’d driven our previous gas car, it would have cost me $157, i.e., 17.17¢ per mile. I’ll take it!

Come to think of it, even if Supercharging cost more than gasoline, I’d still choose to drive my Tesla Model 3. It is such a superior car, so much more pleasant to drive on roadtrips with Autopilot, that it’d be worth every penny. Since we bought Correcaminos over 13 months ago, I call these 20,919 s’miles on the odometer

It was a hurried trip to help my son’s family move, but nonetheless enjoyable. I didn’t mention above that, shortly before I left to drive home, I let Eric and Jess’ both take short test drives in Correcaminos. I was too occupied explaining the car’s functions and features, answering their questions, giving them instructions, to also take photos and videos of their impressions. Nonetheless, they both dropped their jaw upon experiencing the sheer joy and exhilaration of driving a Tesla. And my grandkids? Preston and Dylan especially loved… the “emissions test.”