Camping Trip
to Pine Valley
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
July 31, 2019

In Our Nature
(Click to enlarge)

To escape the blistering desert heat, enjoy nature, and take a break from anti-social media, we decided to take a brief camping trip to Pine Valley in the mountains, about an hour north of where we live. We packed up our camping gear, hitched our tiny trailer to Correcaminos, and hit the road.

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

I charged the Correcaminos to 90% and reset the trip odometer so that I could compare the energy efficiency when towing the trailer.

Tamara and ‘Tisa are ready to start our camping adventure in the mountains.

Here are three videos of our drive to the campground. In this first one, we are driving up Gunlock Canyon, and comment on Autopilot when towing the trailer, point out the red rock formations, lava ridges, and reservoir until reaching the town of Gunlock.

Upon reaching the town, we typically stop to let ‘Tisa see the burros in a corral by a gravel pit. We then drive through Gunlock, climb from the canyon up to the top of the lava ridge, and reach the town of Veyo, where we turn left onto Highway 18.

We continue up the highway and turn right at the town of Central. We then arrive at Pine Valley, drive through the village, enter the campground, find our camp spot, and set up our tiny camper.

As you can see in Correcaminos’ display, we had driven 39.8 miles, using 401 Wh/mi. That is significantly higher than its lifetime average of 239 Wh/mi. The change in elevation obviously takes its toll on range.

In fact, I had driven to this same spot several days previously so that I could compare Correcaminos’ energy efficiency with and without the trailer. As you can see, without it I had used only 341 Wh/mi. I therefore estimate that towing the trailer had reduced the range by nearly 20%.

Here we are set up in our camp spot.

I can tell you that backing up with the tiny trailer is a challenge, because it is so low and narrow that you can’t see it in a Model 3’s mirrors. I had to stretch up in the driver’s seat to barely see it over the trunk through the rear window.

We pulled out the camping gear and set up our folding chairs. We even brought one for ‘Tisa.

We’re set up to enjoy listening to the wind whisper through the pines around us.

Later that afternoon, we decided to take a hike along the trail down to the fishing lake to the north of the campground.

Unlike me, Tamara didn’t grow up in a family that often went camping, so this was a new experience for her.

‘Tisa, of course, was intrigued by all the different smells in the forest.

Here is the lake, with a view of the dam that forms it.

Here you can see terrace on the opposite bank for fishing aficionados.

‘Tisa was checking out every tree and rock for unique scents… squirrel!

This is just a short video panorama of the lake and trail, with ‘Tisa panting her excitement.

Tamara enjoyed seeing all the wildflowers along the pathway.

It looks like someone once built and hung up a wooden house for wildlife. For birds? Squirrels?

Tamara had forgotten her glasses, and thought she spotted a Gila monster on a rock. Enlarge the photo, and you’ll see that it is merely a stick, probably put there by a clever trickster to fool hikers.

I decided to use my phone’s compass to check the elevation: we were now at 6,750 feet. Since our home in Ivins is at 3,150 feet, that means that Correcaminos had climbed 3,600 more to reach the campground.

Here ‘Tisa is listening to the brook that runs out of the lake.

Hiking back to our camp spot, we could see our camper in the distance. Compared to the other RVs in the campground, it really is a minimalist setup.

I wanted to take this very brief video so that you can hear the wonderful sound of the wind in the pine trees around our camp spot.

We were getting hungry, as it was time to fix some dinner.

I built a small fire to cook some shish kabobs on the end of our hotdog forks.

They turned out pretty well, nicely complimented with some Asian crunch salad.

‘Tisa was both fascinated and wary of the fire, but seemed to be thoroughly enjoying her wilderness adventure.

It wasn’t long before she decided to just settle down and take a much deserved nap.

It was only fair for Tamara to take a photo of me with ‘Tisa, since I’d taken so many of her.

The sun was setting, so the light started to grow more subtle and subdued.

As the sky turned more pink, we decided to again walk down to the lake to see the sunset over the water.

We weren’t disappointed!

The colors reflecting on the lake were sublime.

The orange hues on the clouds over the dark forest gave us a perfect ending to the day.

Time to hole up in our tiny cave for the night.

The next morning I got up early to walk ‘Tisa, and took a photo of this sign about water protection.

Ironically… the water system in the camp had become contaminated, so the campground hosts had put up a sign to admonish campers to boil it.

I also took a photo of this sign about the Ponderosa pines in the forest. I couldn't smell anything, but didn’t want to end up with tree sap on my nose.

The lichens on this rock made me wonder if they’re the flora equivalent of fauna jellyfish.

And I was fascinated by the fracture lines in this huge boulder by the lake. Were they caused when it fell, or from ice expansion during the freezing winters?

The weather, unfortunately, had turned ominous.

I could feel a few raindrops when looking over the lake from the fishing dock.

More storms clouds were blowing in over the mountains, and the forecast predicted it would get worse. We didn’t fancy just sitting in the camper while it rained all day and night, so… we decided to pack up and go home.

Before departing, I took this photo of the display to show that we had driven nearly 12 more miles without the trailer while getting some ice cream in Pine Valley the day before.

I then reset the trip odometer for the journey home so I could compare the results after dropping in elevation.

Here is our last video of Pine Valley as we left the village, with raindrops starting to spatter the windshield. Then there is a clip as we are again entering Veyo.

A photo as we are about to drop back down from Veyo to Gunlock canyon…

…and another as we’re dropping down.

Nearly home as the red rock cliffs behind our subdivision come into view.

After pulling into the garage, the trip odometer showed that we'd driven 39.4 miles since leaving the campground, using only… 81 Wh/mi! Astounding! The Model 3’s regen is truly superb.

Here is the readout for the entire trip. In total, we’d driven 91.2 miles, using 238 Wh/mi.

On the previous trip without the trailer, I’d used 198 Wh/mi. By my calculations, I conclude that towing the trailer thus reduces our energy efficiency and range by at least 20%, dropping a full 100% charge to about 248 miles. Hey… I can live with that!

You can see in this readout that we’ve driven Correcaminos 23,186 miles since taking delivery. Curiously, despite towing the trailer, on this trip we managed to pull into the garage with 1 Wh/mi less than the lifetime average. Of course, the latter average includes numerous roadtrips at freeway speeds, so the comparison isn’t that surprising.

Overall, it was a pleasant camping trip —while it lasted. We’ve decided to now buy the canopy, perhaps even the screen room, that our trailer’s manufacturer sells as options, so that we won't be so restricted to the inside of the camper when inclement weather hits. We’re already starting to plan more such trips after those items are delivered. ¡Es cierto que Correcaminos corre caminos!