Low Tow
(Click to enlarge)
First Camping Trip
with my Model 3

Mark D Larsen
November 16-18, 2018

It had been several weeks since I installed an EcoHitch on Correcaminos, but I finally found the time to use it with our Lees-ure Lite trailer for a camping trip. Unfortunately, Tamara couldn’t join us, but ‘Tisa and I decided to load up our gear to spend at least a couple of nights in the Átlatl Campground in Valley of Fire State Park. Below are photos, movies, and comments about our adventure.

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

We hooked up the trailer to start the trip shortly after the sun came up the first day.

Before hitting the highway, we stopped at our local grocery store to stock up on some items and get some cash.

I was amused to see that, when the rear sensors on Correcaminos detects the trailer behind us, they display it as a ghostly person who appears and disappears intermittently on the touchscreen.

The rear view camera shows the trailer trailing behind us —which is good thing, because the Lees-ure Lite is so low and flat that you can’t see it in the rear view mirror, as also shown in this video.

Here the energy consumption screen shows how we had crested the Utah Mountain summit before getting on the I-15 interstate.

The trip screen was predicting that the battery would still have about a 59% charge when we exited the freeway at Glendale.

And here you can see how “Navigate on Autopilot” takes that exit and then reverts to normal Autopilot.

We arrived at the campground after driving 107 miles, using 252 Wh/mi (= 3.97 miles-per-kWh). Since our average to date in Correcaminos is 234 Wh/mi, the trailer had reduced the range by nearly 10%. You will note that the GPS map is blank because the campground had such poor cell reception.

I unhooked the trailer, moved it to one side of our camp spot, and popped it open, leaving plenty of room on the other side to plug Correcaminos into the NEMA 14-50 RV outlet to recharge.

Here you can see another view of the campground from atop a rock next to our spot.

And here is the area behind our camp spot.

We then went for a drive in the state park. I engaged Autopilot to take this video while driving through the canyon on Mouse Tank Road.

And here we are driving the same road in the opposite direction. Autopilot really does make such scenic drives more relaxing and enjoyable, since you don’t have to constantly keep your eyes on the road to steer the car and monitor the traffic in front of you.

We then drove to the south entrance to the park so that I could get cell reception to work on the online courses that I teach. If you enlarge the photo, you can see the sizeable solar array of the Moapa Paiute Indian Reservation in the distance.

‘Tisa was a great traveler, waiting patiently for me while I took photos.

Back at the campground, after the sun had set, we had dinner and then built a campfire. This was only the second campfire ‘Tisa had ever seen.

She was a bit wary of the fire, but eventually settled down and took a nap in her camp chair until the embers died down and it was time for bed.

The next morning Correcaminos was again charged up, ready to do some more touring.

It had been a cold night, around 35°F, but we stayed nice and warm in the trailer, thanks to the portable electric heater that I brought with us.

The campground is named for Átlatl Rock nearby, where there are numerous petroglyphs carved by the Anasazi centuries ago.

Here you can see the átlatl drawing for which the rock is named, a clever invention to extend the arm of a hunter to throw a spear with greater force and distance.

More petroglyphs, including a snake.

I was fascinated to see all the various footprints of tourists who had visited the site. I think someday I will have a truly challenging jigsaw puzzle made from this photo.

A typical canyon in Valley of Fire.

‘Tisa needed an occasional head scratch.

And here is a natural arch not far from our campground.

We stopped at this picnic spot on our way out of the park.

We then drove into the Lake Mead Recreational Area.

Here the map shows that we stopped at Echo Bay.

Sadly, as you can see by the old shoreline now high and dry, Lake Mead is so low that the launching ramp is useless, a consequence of global warming that will only get worse.

This is as close as we could get to the water.

We drove a bit farther along the Northshore Highway to the Red Rock Rest Area to have some lunch.

‘Tisa found a comfy spot in the shade.

And we were visited by a desert inhabitant that would have given Tamara the willies.

On the way back to the Valley of Fire, we stopped at an oasis that feeds into Lake Mead.

I was amazed to see that the watering hole was chock full of minnows, evidently thriving on its desert algae.

We also stopped at some old “cabins” where tourists used to stay when the park was first established.

‘Tisa was interested in sniffing in the rooms, as I’m sure all kinds of desert creatures have since occupied them.

I was amused to noticed that the color of the sand provided great camouflage for her.

Night was starting to fall, so we headed back to the campground for our last night in the park.

When I plugged in, I saw that we had driven about 100 miles that day touring the park and Lake Mead.

The next day... was a disaster! On the way home, we found that I-15 was completely shut down for nearly the whole day, because a tanker truck had rolled over, spilling diesel fuel all over the highway. The only way to get home was to drive a circuitous route to Panaca, NV, where I could add enough charge from a lowly Level 2 EVSE to make it back home.

Like on our roadtrip to California, here we stopped in Caliente for a bathroom break.

We reached Panaca with only 8% in the battery and plugged in.

After nearly 5 hours we had a 50% charge, which I calculated was sufficient to make it home.

When I pulled into the garage, I saw that we had ended up driving over 533 miles for the entire trip —even though Valley of Fire was only 107 miles from home by freeway! Phew.

After all the fun that ‘Tisa and I had camping, that tanker truck wreck on the freeway had made for a long, grueling, miserable drive home. Once again, it made me wish that Tesla had finally upgraded the Model 3 to use its CHAdeMO adapter, as I could have plugged into one in Panaca instead of the painfully slow EVSE.