Third Roadtrip
to Telluride
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
September 14-19, 2022

Peak Experience
(Click to enlarge)

My sister, Wendy, and her husband, Bob, have a home in Mountain Village, a subdivision of Telluride, CO. We drove Correcaminos to visit them in 2018 and 2019, but we weren’t able to repeat that roadtrip again until this year because of the pandemic. I was very glad to finally be able to return to Telluride, especially because now Tesla has installed 8 Superchargers there.

I always try to plan our journeys to Telluride to include additional tourist sites. On the previous trips we had visited Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Colorado National Monument, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This time I plotted our route to take us to Monument Valley and Mesa Verde National Park. Fellow EV’angelists are always interested to know the stats of such roadtrips, so here are the data for this particular adventure:

Miles driven: 1,295
kWh used: 327
Mi/kWh: 3.96
Supercharges: 9
Average minutes per charge: 24
Average cost per charge: $13.61
Total cost: $122.46

As you can well imagine, the prolonged tourism on such a journey makes for an even more prolonged narrative than usual, but I hope readers can nonetheless enjoy the photos and movies below.

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

Moxie's ready for another odyssey!

I set the navigation to take us to Page, AZ, where we’d spend the first night. The energy graph estimated that we'd arrive with 32% in the battery.

My usual introductory video.

Reached the top of the plateau.

Passing by the polygamist community of Hildale, AZ.

We stopped in Kanab, and while Tamara did some shopping, I plugged into a ChargePoint Level 2 EVSE in the town hall parking lot, simply out of curiosity, not need. The cost to charge was 10¢ per kWh. By the time we left about an hour later, it had cost me 52¢ to add 21 miles of range to the battery.

Moxie and I met up with Tamara on the main street, and we stopped at a coffee shop for a snack when it started raining

Moxie avoided the raindrops by staying under the outside canopy, table, and chairs.

After the storm blew over, we returned to the Model 3 to keep driving to Page.

I'm always fascinated by the "layer cake" formations in southern Utah. Imagine how many millions of years each different layer took to form.

More thunderstorms rolled over the desert as we drove, this one evidently raining into the Grand Canyon beyond the horizon.

Perhaps because of the inclement weather, we arrived at the Supercharger in Page with 28%. I was amused to see in the graph how the line had jumped up when charging in Kanab.

We checked into our motel, and when I took Moxie out for her morning bathroom break, Correcaminos colorful roof indicated that more storms had rolled in during the night.

We returned to the Supercharger before continuing our journey. I decided to charge to 95%, knowing that it would take nearly a full charge to drive through Monument Valley and reach the next Supercharger in Blanding, Utah.

We passed all kinds of formations on the way.

Like this pinnacle.

And this monolith.

We finally reached Monument Valley…

…with its incredible outcroppings.

Here’s a video as we entered the valley.

We stopped at the Navajo visitor center to get some lunch.

Moxie was glad to get out of the car and relish the desert smells.

A short panorama video of the various monuments from the visitor center.

We then kept driving past the formations.

Snapping a selfie with them as a backdrop.

Do you recognize this particular stretch of the highway?

It is where Forrest Gump had jogged through the valley. All the tourists were stopping to take pictures —just like us. I wonder if mine is the first Tesla to be photographed at this spot…? Doubt it, as there are now so many of them on our roads.

After leaving Monument Valley we drove through the town of Mexican Hat. Can you see in this formation why it has that name?

When we arrived in Monticello, Tamara recognized an inn where she and a colleague had stayed many years ago while proposing a school project to the tribal leaders of the Navajo Nation.

Apparently John Wayne had stayed at that inn while filming movies in southern Utah, which is why it now has this name.

We left Monticello and continued driving to Blanding to Supercharge.

When we plugged in there, after driving 196 miles, the display showed that we only had a “yellow” 20% left in the battery.

It was prudent to have charged to 95% in Page. If I'd only charged to my usual 80% limit, we'd likely have arrived with only 5% —which would have been too close for comfort!

This time I did charge to 80%, as I knew the distance to Mesa Verde wasn't that far. The display estimated that we'd arrive with a comfortable 39%.

We drove to Cortez, and from there took the turnoff to Mesa Verde.

Tamara wanted me to narrate another video as we meandered through the park to the "Far View Lodge" where we'd spend the next two nights. Not much to tell, actually, but here you go.

We arrived at the Lodge with 37% in the pack, just 2% less than predicted. Not bad, given all the climbing to reach the top of the mesa.

The Far View Lodge boasts two Level 2 chargers: a Tesla Destination HPWC and a Clipper Creek EVSE. While there both nights, I plugged Correcaminos into the HPWC, and by the following day, it again had its usual 80%.

The next day we decided to drive to see some of the ruins. Unfortunately, the road to Step House and Long House was closed for repairs. We therefore decided to go to the Chapin Archaeological Museum and see Spruce Tree House. Alas… the museum was also closed, but here is a selfie with the ruins in the background.

Here is a better view of the Spruce Tree House ruins. They weren't allowing visitors to enter those ruins, but at least we could see them from this viewpoint.

We learned that the only ruins still open for visitors was Cliff Palace, the most famous site in Mesa Verde. Nonetheless, visitors needed to buy tickets for the tour, and we bought some for that afternoon via the website.

We drove to the parking lot overlooking Cliff Palace, which offers a spectacular view of the ruins from above. While gazing down at the ruins and visitors, we realized that there were many steps and ladders to descend and climb, something that would be very difficult for Tamara, so she decided not to accompany me on the tour.

Cliff Palace was built inside an overhang of the cliffs lining this canyon.

I drove Tamara back to the motel, and then returned to Cliff Palace for the tour. Here are the ticket holders who had gathered at the viewpoint, listening to an introduction and instructions by a park ranger.

We descended several rock steps into the canyon.

And then we had to climb a couple of ladders to finally reach the same level as the ruins.

Here another park ranger gave a talk with more information about the ruins, when they were built, how many inhabitants lived there, the lifestyle they had.

We could then wander alot the main path, marveling at the multi-story buildings, towers, and terraces that the ancient inhabitants had built.

There were various levels of the community, and the very top level is where the inhabitants stored their grain and other foods, as far from the moisture in the canyon as possible.

The site boasted numerous "kivas," round structures that originally had roofs, where the inhabitants had social and religious gatherings. You can see in this photo that there is a vertical stone in front of the inlet for fresh air so that the winds wouldn't blow out the fire behind it.

Getting out of the ruins required climbing several ladders, and I noted that along the walls there were carved out handholds used by the original inhabitants to reach the mesa above. It was a very informative, mesmerizing visit!

The next day we packed up to leave. Correcaminos had again charged to 80% overnight, and predicted that we'd arrive in Telluride with a 40% pack.

While descending from the mesa, we stopped at a lookout over the nearby town of Dolores, where we would take the road to Telluride.

This is a view looking up that road as we first started to climb higher.

Tamara wanted me to narrate another video as we drove up the canyon into the pines.

Higher up, we could see the top peaks of the San Juan Mountains poking up beyond the timberline.

The views of those peaks was breathtaking, as beautiful as any we have seen in the Sierra Nevada.

We arrived at the Mountain Village Supercharger with 37%, only 3% less that predicted, despite the steep climb to get there.

Here is the new v.3 Supercharger in the Gondola Parking Garage. Ours was one of three Teslas plugged into the eight stalls.

That afternoon we went out to the El Prado ranch where my sister Wendy works. She is an expert equestrian, having bred, raised, trained horses, and given riding lessons her whole adult life.

Here she is posing by her horse trailer, while Bob gets ready to take a riding lesson from her.

Moxie looks like a true wagoneer!

Here is Bob, learning and teaching his horse to take the proper number of strides before jumping higher hurdles.

The next day, while Wendy and Bob were again at the ranch, we decided to go ride the Gondola (known as the “Gondoggola” for doggies) to the downtown area.

We could see Telluride below us as the Gondola descended.

This was a new experience for Moxie, but she was having a great time, unconcerned about the unfamiliar cage we were in.

Later on, at a coffee shop in Mountain Village, she was ready for some refreshment. And so were we!

We then decided to explore more of the area and take some photos of the peaks all around us.

We saw that some of the groves of quaking aspen were just barely starting to show some fall colors, all of which would turn bright yellow about a week after we left.

We drove one dirt road up a canyon to the small village of Ophir, an isolated community that my sister says was first settled by "hippies" years ago.

Wendy also told us that the village is often cut off by avalanches in the winter from the mountains towering above it.

This shot could be an advertisement to demonstrate that EVs are more than capable of roadtrips to pristine areas.

Later than afternoon, we drove with Wendy and Bob to the town of Ouray, on the other side of the San Juan Mountains.

I would agree that it really is the "Switzerland of America," as the setting rivals the vistas that Tamara and I have seen in the Alps when working and living in Europe.

Another traveler was kind to take this photo of all five of us at one of the lookouts over Ouray.

And here is what we could see from the lookout.

Yet another good EV ad.

The mountains towering above were truly magnificent…

…what we could honestly call a "peak experience."

Back in Ouray we went to dinner at the fun, rustic "Outlaw" restaurant. Moxie wasn't allowed inside, so she stayed in Correcaminos with "Dog Mode" enabled.

The next morning, it was time to drive home. We stopped by the Superchargers to fill up, and the navigation showed that we'd arrive at the next site in Grand Junction with 53%.

In reality, we arrived with 50% and again plugged in.

The next prediction was that we'd arrive in Green River with a 40% charge.

Not long thereafter, we left Colorado…

…and reentered Utah.

We arrived in Green River with only 31%, likely due to driving at the posted 80 mph speed limit in Utah.

I plugged in and took Moxie for a walk. There was a Model S also charging there.

Green River is famous for its watermelons, and I would be willing to wager that they use this float as a symbol for the community in their 4th of July parades.

Oddly, once the charge had finished, I saw this alert on the touchscreen. I have no idea why it would appear…?

Navigation predicted that we'd arrive at the next Supercharger in Richfield with only a 13% charge.

In reality, however, we arrived with 21%, a good deal higher than anticipated,

We Supercharged for the last time to our usual 80%, hoping to skip stopping in Beaver to top up like on previous trips.

Indeed, the energy screen estimated that the charge would be sufficient to get us home, albeit just barely with 11% left.

Sure enough, we arrived home in the "yellow" zone, with only 6% remaining! Phew!

The "trip" Control Panel showed how many miles we'd driven on the entire roadtrip, and at what level of efficiency as posted at the top of the page. I was impressed to achieve 3.96 miles-per-kWh, as the EPA rates my Model 3 at only 3.86.

Because the battery was so very low, an alert appeared on the touchscreen admonishing me to plug in without delay —which I did.

It was a pleasant trip. I love to visit my sister in Telluride, as those mountains always prove a transcendental experience. Mesa Verde was also a memorable visit, despite all the closures. And Monument Valley most certainly is well named. Those monoliths truly are monuments to the age of the earth, wondrous and humbling to behold.