in our Model 3
Mark D Larsen
Correcaminos… corre caminos
(Click to enlarge)
I had planned to take a cross-country roadtrip back east a couple of years ago to visit my daughters and grandkids, but COVID thwarted my plans repeatedly. Only after getting my third “booster” shot did it seem feasible and safe enough to finally undertake the journey. Tamara had hoped to also join me, but we ultimately realized that such a prolonged, grueling roadtrip would prove too much of a challenge after her recent shoulder surgery, so I decided to condense the itinerary and make it a solo adventure.
It was quite a roadtrip! It clearly demonstrated how misguided electric vehicle skeptics are with their accusations:
- “You can’t take a road trip in one.”
- “Driving to see kids in Oregon or New Mexico not really viable with the current ranges.”
- “Lack of current infrastructure to support traveling with an electric vehicle any significant distance.”
- “Insufficient long distance capability.”
- “I’d consider an EV but just for riding around town. You still need a gasoline vehicle to travel.”
- “We like long distance car trips, and do not like range anxiety.”
- Etc., etc.
I can state unequivocally that this was one of the most pleasant, relaxing, enjoyable roadtrips I have ever taken —and I have driven across this country numerous times in the past. Every time I needed to recharge the battery, I would only fill it to my usual 80%, which made for faster charge rates, just enough to visit the restrooms, stretch my legs, clean kamikaze bugs off the windshield, get some refreshments. And only a few times did the battery drop to less than 20%, on the rare occasions when I had to skip a Supercharger under repair, or the weather was particularly cold, or I ran into very strong headwinds. You can peruse a (far too) detailed photo log of all the Supercharges on this webpage, but here are the most salient stats:
Miles driven: 6,417 kWh used: 1,858 Wh/mi: 290 Mi/kWh: 3.45 Supercharges: 48 Average minutes per charge: 21 Average cost per charge: $8.61 Total cost: $413.22
This last stat is particularly noteworthy, for I calculate that, if we’d kept our old Subaru, driving on gasoline would have cost me $1,198 —nearly 3 times as much! And the icing on the cake is that Supercharging from the grid emitted approximately 2,541 pounds of greenhouse gases, yet the Subaru would have emitted 8,360 pounds —more than 3 times higher!
Readers already know that my roadtrip narratives can be very long-winded and tedious, but what follows will undoubtedly cause them to go cross-eyed and fall into a stupor out of boredom. You can’t say I didn’t warn you!
NOTE: You can click on the following photos to enlarge them, and the movies to play them.
An introductory video as I started my journey the first day.
Driving past the desert communities along the border between Utah and Arizona.
I’m always fascinated by the layers of multi-colored strata laid down over millions of years to form our desert landscapes.
My first Supercharge was at Page, AZ, where the Glen Canyon dam retains Lake Powell.
I was frankly dismayed to see how low the lake was, a result of the several years of drought that climate change has caused in this region.
I took this video of an amazing descent along the canyon walls to the plains below en route to Flagstaff, AZ.
The mountain peak that looms behind Flagstaff.
The Flagstaff Supercharger was very difficult to find, as the navigation kept giving me the wrong directions —an irritating flaw that happened several times on this roadtrip.
After leaving Flagstaff, I drove past this coal burning power plant. Ugh!
After recharging at Holbrook, I then noticed this unique sandstone formation.
Leaving Arizona and entering New Mexico.
Night fell as I approached Albuquerque and I took this video of an amazing moonrise over the desert.
I drove through Albuquerque and stopped for the night in Santa Rosa. I recorded this video early the next morning as I continue driving toward Texas.
Sunrise colors on the wispy clouds overhead.
I was pleased to see wind farms in Texas.
There were rows and rows of them all the way to Dallas.
The traffic jams in Dallas were horrendous, but Autopilot worked its wonders in getting me through them without undue stress and paranoia.
I spent the next night in Lindale, TX, and took this video the following morning driving toward Lousiana.
The rising sun was right in my eyes, and I was grateful that Autopilot could do the driving for me.
After a few minutes, I crossed into Louisiana and stopped to Supercharge in Shreveport.
The next border I crossed was into Mississippi.
I was stuck by the odd, wispy shapes of these clouds overhead.
While Supercharging in Meridian, I strolled over to a mall nearby.
I had to chuckle at the sign posted on the mall doors.
Upon entering Alabama, I took this video while driving the backroads to Greenville.
I finally arrived at the home of my youngest daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Jake, in Enterprise, AL. Here she is greeting me in her kitchen with my two darling granddaughters, Jade and Abigail.
Her doggy, Scout, is a real sweetheart, as loving as can be. I was so amused by her "mournful" eyes and mouth, as if constantly pleading for treats, love, and affection.
After charging to 80% in Greenville, I had arrived at their home with about 56% still left in the battery.
While staying with them, they were kind to let me plug my Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) into a NEMA 6-50 welding outlet in their garage —the first time I had ever used that particular 240V adapter. It worked like a charm, using the UMC’s full 30A capacity!
The next morning, Jennifer and I took Scout for a walk.
The nearby park where we took our walk was truly gorgeous.
Later that day, Jennifer and Jake gave me a downtown tour of Enterprise, stopping first at this farmer's market.
They explained to me that, many years ago, the town's main product of cotton was devastated by boll weevils —which oddly enough then became the city's "mascot."
There is a statue honoring the boll weevil in the city center.
As well as murals on building walls.
Halloween was coming up, so that evening we all set about carving pumpkins.
Here are the ghouls we sculpted.
The next day we took a day trip to the Florida coast. Our first stop was at Eden Gardens State Park, with these impressive southern trees…
…along paths that surrounded this old plantation mansion.
Jake managed to get a group selfie of us, with this ol' duffer in the rear.
We then headed to Grayton Beach, with its amazingly white sand.
Unfortunately, the weather was overcast. Even worse, along the coast that day there was a “red tide,” an algae infestation likely exacerbated by climate change. Instead of clear, the water was murky, killing many fish and causing us to also cough from the contaminated air.
Nonetheless, we lined up our beach chairs to have our picnic lunch.
We then strolled the beach, our feet causing the white sand to "squeak" as we walked.
And my granddaughters entered us with their gymnastic routines.
When it started to drizzle, we packed up the beach paraphenalia. They then showed me the beach community of Seaside, where the movie "The Truman Show" was filmed, and we drove by the house where Truman lived.
My granddaughters were both exhausted and fell asleep while driving back to Enterprise. I think they might have inherited a bit of their grandpa's narcolepsy…?
Since Jennifer and Jake had to work the next day, so I volunteered to prepare my pumpkin stew recipe for them for dinner that night.
During the next two days, Jennifer showed me the museums in Montgomery. Here is the AL state capitol.
This was Martin Luther King Jr's home in Montgomery.
And this is the Baptist Church where he was pastor.
We visited an impressive museum about Rosa Parks and the boycott that she inspired in Montgomery to protest bus segregation. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside such museums.
We also visited the "Legacy Museum" about the history and consequences of slavery. I have to say: it was the most moving, disturbing museum I had ever visited. I am now convinced that it should be a mandatory requirement of any elected official in DC to go through that museum and open their eyes about the reality of racism that still plagues our nation.
After that, I started the drive to the home of my second daughter, Marisa, and her husband, Shan, in Charlotte, NC. Wouldn't you know the rainy weather never let up the entire day.
Here I am driving through the very picturesque city of Eulalia.
After recharging in Columbus, GA, I continued my journey, planning to bypass the Superchargers in Atlanta by stopping at those in Newnan and Fair Play, SC.
And here's the reason I wanted to skip stopping in Atlanta: the usual congested traffic jams in larger cities.
Upon leaving Atlanta, I could see that the traffic was completely piled up on the other side of the freeway because of a wreck closing down multiple lanes. I'm sure glad I wasn't traveling in that direction!
Sure enough, I knew I was in Georgia when greeted by this gigantic peach.
Because of the cold, rainy weather, and since I had skipped Atlanta, when I arrived at the Supercharger in Fair Play, SC, my battery had dropped below 20%.
The traffic in SC on the opposite side of the freeway was just as bad as in Atlanta!
I was glad to arrive at Marisa's home north of Charlotte in the township of Huntersville. Here she is welcoming me in her kitchen.
Her darling Coton de Tulear doggy, Libby, was also very loving and affectionate. I had to note that, instead of a "mournful" look, she always seemed to have a slightly wry smile, so I nicknamed her "Mona Libby."
Marisa and Shan's home is in a picturesque suburb, with numerous woods behind it, here already decorated for Halloween. While staying there, they let me swap places with Marisa's MINI convertible in her garage so I could plug into their dryer outlet to recharge.
I was delighted to see that the fall leaves in NC were reaching their peak colors right in time for my visit.
The next day, Marisa wanted to take me up north to visit some quaint towns and stay at her cabin near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We stopped in Mt. Airy to Supercharge, and then had lunch where these unique statues have been sculptured as though extensions of an old brick wall.
This is the hometown of Andy Griffith, and they still pay homage to him by maintaining one of the original sheriff's patrol cars used in Mayberry.
We then drove up the winding roads in the Appalachians to see the Mabry Mill, built in 1910.
The mill is still in working order, its water wheel fed by aqueducts that channel water from two streams.
Although the view from on top of the mountains was hazy with mist and rain, it was nonetheless impressive.
I couldn't resist taking this photo of Correcaminos next to a vintage gas station. Past, present, and future all in one shot. Whoever owns this antique should replace the gas hose and nozzle with an EV cable and plug, don't you think?
We arrived at Marisa's cabin, with autumn leaves showing their colors just across the street along a golf course. It wasn't possible to park Correcaminos close enough to their dryer, but they let me plug the UMC into a lowly 120V outlet on their porch at night. Even though the charge rate was excruciatingly slow, after two nights Correcaminos again had its usual 80% charge.
Her place is more a home than a cabin, actually, and I could be very happy living there instead of in the city.
The view from her front porch with the mist was practically Sleepy Hollow for Halloween.
It wasn't possible to park Correcaminos close enough to their dryer, but we could at least plug the UMC into a lowly 120V outlet on their porch at night using an extension cord.
Even though the charge rate was excruciatingly slow, after two nights Correcaminos actually had more than its usual 80% charge.
The next day dawned wet, with plenty of fall leaves bedecking Correcaminos in the driveway.
Despite the threat of rain, we decided to hike to a waterfall in nearby Stone Mountain State Park. I took this photo on the trail: Shan's parents, Doug and Peggy, my granddaughter Madeline, holding Libby of course, and Marisa and Shan.
Here is the unique granite mountain for which the park is named.
And this is the waterfall, pouring over a similar rock outcropping in the park.
We had our light picnic lunch while sitting on boulders in front of the waterfall.
I was so tickled by this poster than Marisa had put on the wall above the "porcelain throne" in the cabin’s downstairs bathroom.
After another restful night in the cabin, Marisa and I drove for several miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There were still a few clouds, but the air was clearer and we could see extensive panoramas to the west…
…and to the east of the ridge.
We stopped to visit the Binegar cabin, and I was dumbfounded to imagine the amount of hard work it would have taken to survive in such a rural, isolated location, especially during the winters, back in 1886, without any electricity or plumbing.
Here is the back porch of the cabin, and you can see the stones used to form as a foundation for the building.
When the sun peaked through the clouds, the fall colors were truly spectacular.
When we returned home, we saw that Madeline had carved a true work of art for Halloween night.
Marisa and Libby donned their Halloween costumes for the holiday celebraiton
She then busied herself with what has long been a family tradition since she was a child in Michigan: making homemade donuts for trick-or-treaters, neighbors, and friends.
They were too scrumptious, and I confess I gobbled down more than my fair share of them that night.
Madeline had invited some friends over to watch a scary movie in the backyard, and she had put together the best "Mad Hatter" costume I had ever seen.
The next morning, Marisa, Madeline, and I went downtown to visit the Modern Art museum in Charlotte.
I think we all came away thinking the displays and pieces in the museum were… weird, but they did have one Picasso painting on display.
There was a truly odd sculpture in one of the balcony patios titled "Grasshopper Woman." Yeow!
I was impressed with how uncongested the downtown area was, but that was probably because most of the offices were closed down, with employees working at home in this ongoing COVID pandemic.
Across the street from the museum was a fun park dedicated to reading and literature, in which there were directional signs to places with names that could be combined to represent a particular author.
For lunch, Marisa took us to Rico’s Açaí Fruit Bowl stand, something of a favorite local dish in Charlotte, and I really enjoyed the delicious bowl I ordered.
That evening, Madeline's softball team had a game scheduled. Shan coaches the team and I was glad to be able to go with them and see her play. Here she is waiting to be next at bat.
And here she is at the plate. She got a good hit, and her team won the game hands down that night.
The next day, my last one there, Marisa also wanted to try my pumpkin stew recipe for dinner, so I again played the role of chef for the family.
My itinerary was to retrace my route and Superchargers back to Jennifer's home for just one night, then continue on to Texas. Here I’m again driving through Atlanta, but without all the usual traffic jams.
The following morning I drove back down to the Florida panhandle to take Interstate 10 all the way to San Antonio, TX, where my eldest daughter, Amanda, and her husband, Robert, have their home.
The traffic grew more congested when passing through Mobile. The Supercharger there was under repair, so I kept going to the one in Biloxi.
I had to get onto I-210 to Supercharge at Lake Charles, but then I crossed this bridge to return to I-10.
The sun was setting as I approached Houston, TX.
As fully expected, the traffic jams were piled up, so I decided to just keep going to Supercharge in Flatonia.
I was welcomed to Amanda’s home by their Bichon Frise, Beignet, with delightful waving of her front paws.
Amanda's and Robert's home in San Antonio is in a pleasant gated community. They also let me park in their garage so I could plug my UMC into their dryer outlet to recharge Correcaminos' battery.
They recently installed a pool in their backyard, with a large fenced lot to the rear.
I thought their family room was warm and inviting, with windows looking out to that yard.
That first morning, Amanda, Robert, and I took a nice walk around their neighborhood with Beignet.
I was curious to see how numerous and tame the deer were that live in their community.
They seemed to be everywhere, and some neighbors have even started to feed them by hand.
One day we decided to visit a "Snake Farm," which turned out to be more like a private zoo.
Yes, there were snakes of all kinds and varieties, like this rattlesnake.
But there were also lions, cougars, wolves, monkeys, lemurs, this capybara, among others. In my opinion… they were all too crowded into unnatural, restrictive cages, and I felt heartsick for them.
At least the larger species like bison and camels had decent sized corrals. Here is a photo of my granddaughter Emelyse, me, Robert, my grandsons James and Caleb.
We then visited something of an "art village," where we bought some treats of various cookie doughs in cups. I thought they were surprisingly tasty, but we couldn't tempt Amanda to try them, as she preferred a baked cookie instead.
That evening, to complete an assignment for one of Emelyse's classes in college, she, Amanda, and I went to see a modern ballet in downtown San Antonio. I was much more impressed with the performance than I had anticipated, since the story was about sex trafficking in Chicago.
On the way back to the car, I snapped this photo of the famous Riverwalk. It looks like the tourist boats I had ridden on in the past are now equipped with LED lights under their hulls.
The next day, Emelyse and her boyfriend, James, Amanda, and I went for a hike in the nearby Cibolo Center for Conservation.
The overgrown, shaded pathways were delightful, and kept us cool.
They led to Cibolo Creek, which meandered through the park among an enormous number of intertwined tree roots.
Here Emelyse, Amanda, and I are posing on top of some of them.
The following day Amanda wanted to take me to visit some of the old missions in San Antonio.
This one is the Misión San José.
Here Robert's niece, Lauryn, and Amanda are in front of the mission's chapel.
The archways over the chapel's side patio.
After that, we went to Misión Concepción, but didn't tour it. Instead, we rented some electric bikes there to take a bike trail along the San Antonio River.
The trail led to an older, historic area of the city, with some truly impressive mansions.
We decided to have lunch at “The Friendly Spot” open air café, and I ordered some ahí tacos.
We strolled along the river and could see the downtown buildings nearby. The Riverwalk runs along this very river.
Here are Amanda and Lauryn, right before we located another bike rental stand to pedal back to our car.
It wasn't time to pick James up from school yet, so Amanda decided to have us visit a Mexican open air marketplace.
We bought a box of churros as a snack, and I took this selfie of us in the marketplace.
When we returned to the parking garage, I was amused to see that another Tesla Model 3 was next to mine.
The next day Amanda, Beignet, and I went on another hike in the O. P. Schnabel Park. Here is darling Beignet in her car seat, ready for another adventure.
The pathways in this park were also very picturesque, but with very different trees and vegetation.
For example, Amanda pointed out the "ball moss" that grows on the dead branches of trees, basically feeding off of humidity in the air. I had never seen these before!
That evening, James, Amanda, Robert, and I went to a Mongolian BBQ restaurant, where they cook the various ingredients of vegetables and meat that you want in your bowl on a huge flat iron grill.
And here we are… ready to dig in!
Alas…! All good things must end, and the next day I started my drive back home to Utah.
While Supercharging in Junction, I couldn't help but notice the Texas raunchy humor on this restaurant's sign.
I noticed that the fall leaves had now started to appear even as far as western Texas.
After Supercharging in Ozona, I kept driving to Fort Stockton.
The cutouts for the freeway through the hills on this route were extremely steep.
I noticed here and there some old oil rigs: a source of energy soon to be rendered obsolete.
Still in the mist, I noticed that there were more hills in this area —something I didn't expect.
The skies finally cleared, and I could see not only some unique formations, but some wind farms on the far horizon.
These are the new source of energy that will render those oil rigs obsolete.
Here is that one pyramid shaped hill up close.
Beyond Fort Stockton I could see some definite mountains. As you'll see in this video, strong headwinds were taking a toll on my range.
Time for more traffic jams in El Paso, just across the border from Juárez, Mexico. After Supercharging in El Paso, I drove the last leg of the day's journey to Deming, NM, to spend the night.
I took this video the next morning, while driving from Deming to Willcox, AZ.
Here's the sign welcoming me to Arizona.
I noticed that I was passing huge pecan orchards, and took this photo of one of the billboards advertising pecan pie —one of my favorites.
Shortly before arriving in Willcox, I glanced down at my odometer, and decided to record this video as… my Model 3’s 50K warranty expired. Tsk.
Continuing on to Casa Grande from Willcox, I passed this surprising large town and surmised perhaps it was a suburb of Tucson. After the fact, I learned it was actually the city of Benson.
Here I am, in fact, passing Tucson.
I then saw some unique rock formations on the way to Casa Grande.
The Superchargers at Casa Grande were packed —obviously a popular site! As I approached Phoenix, the traffic jams again became bumper-to-bumper, and I was glad I didn't need to charge there and could continue to Wickenburg instead.
By coincidence, as the traffic started to ease up a bit in Phoenix, I drove by the airport, with its landing strip right next to the freeway.
After leaving Phoenix, I started to see lots of Saguaro cacti along the sides of the roadway.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived in Wickenburg: it is a rather quaint western town.
The Supercharger site there was one of the most picturesque and relaxing I had seen, right next to the City Hall, with restrooms for visitors.
Driving to the next Superchargers in Kingman, there were more Saguaros all along the roadway.
There were also some rather weird, round boulders piled up in formations, very similar to others I had once seen in Nevada on the way to Mono Lake.
The Kingman Superchargers were also crowded, but I didn't have to wait to plug in. After that, as the sun was setting, I noticed that it was projecting a nice shadow of Correcaminos on the passing landscape while driving toward Las Vegas.
Before reaching Hoover Dam and the Superchargers at Henderson, I noticed this wind farm with flashing light on the towers, probably to warn aircraft to stay clear…?
After my last Supercharge of the trip at Henderson, I drove through Las Vegas and got on the I-15 freeway to home.
I arrived in the garage with a warning on the screen telling me that, given the colder temperatures at our location, I should plug in the car immediately —which, of course, I did!
Whew…! A very long, extended roadtrip… and a very long, extended narrative to add insult to injury to readers who have made it this far. Welp… if nothing else, perhaps it will help convince naysayers not to believe the petrolganda against electric vehicles. They are more than capable of doing long distance roadtrips, and actually make them even more enjoyable, comfortable, and fun —while helping to save both “fuel” costs and the planet!