Santa Baby
(Click to enlarge)
Holiday Roadtrip
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen

We had already driven our Tesla Model 3 to California several months ago, but decided to take another roadtrip there to celebrate Christmas with Tamara’s family. Below is an annoted album of that journey during the holiday season.

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

Before leaving, we trimmed our tree and Tamara gave me an early Christmas present of the perfect ornament memorabilia for the year we took delivery of Correcaminos.

The sleigh full of goodies was all loaded up, so we were about to engage “Santa Mode” and start our trek. This time, instead of crossing the Sierra Nevada, we decided to drive south and then up the Central Valley to avoid any bad winter storms.

Our first supercharge was in Las Vegas, and luckily there were open spots when we arrived.

The supercharge was so quick that we only had time to walk a couple of blocks to get some takeout for lunch at the nearby Eat cafe.

After crossing the border from Nevada into California at Primm, we took this video of the amazing thermal solar plants in the Mojave desert. They are truly impressive because they store some of the heat to continue generating electricity after the sun goes down.

We stopped in Baker to charge, and were astounded to see that there were 40 superchargers available, yet Correcaminos was the only Tesla there.

I never pay attention to gas prices any more, so I was even more astounded to see the prices at the nearby pumps.

A few miles after that, I took this video of Correcaminos’ odometer as it crossed the 12,000 mile threshold.

The sun started to set as we were driving to the next supercharger in Mojave.

Night had fallen when we reached the site, and had just enough time to grab some tacos for dinner at Antonio’s Grill while Correcaminos charged up. We’d highly recommend it to other Tesla owners who use the site.

We had reserved a room at a motel in Button Willow, in case we needed a charge at that location. When I got up the next morning to take ‘Tisa for a walk, I happened to see a transporter loaded with Teslas across the street.

And this was an odd site while driving north on I-5 to the next site. Some kind of weird hybrid? Hahaha!

We then stopped at the Kettleman City Supercharger. Again, we were impressed that it had 40 stalls, but even moreso by the nice, clean resting facility.

The site even boasted a dedicated rest area for ‘Tisa!

We visited the restrooms, ordered coffees, and I bought a t-shirt and a well designed Tesla travel mug.

During our journey north we counted one Tesla transporter after another...

...after another after another. Count ‘em: 21 carriers in all, chock full of Teslas. Lots of customers had a very Merry Christmas this year!

We had enough range to bypass the Superchargers at Harris Ranch and Gustine, and kept going to the one in a large shopping center in Manteca.

We checked into our motel in Roseville, not far from the Superchargers at the Galleria Mall. The next morning, I was amused to see that the humidity had brought out the glowing colors on Correcaminos’ roof.

And here is Tamara’s clan at the Galleria, after a lunch to celebrate her niece’s graduation from college.

The evening before we started the return trip, I happened to come out of a grocery store just in time to snap this photo of a spectacular sunset over Correcaminos.

Here we are back at the Manteca supercharger, with just enough time to find the restrooms and grab some takeout for lunch.

This time we decided to stop at the Gustine Supercharger to stretch our legs, and found that it was packed. We had to wait about 10 minutes for one of the slots to open up for us.

‘Tisa was... stumped... that we had to wait to plug in.

Since we were now traveling south on I-5, we couldn’t count all the transporters going in the same direction, but we did manage to pass 4 of them, again chock full of Teslas.

At Kettleman, we again got a Tesla brew, and I bought a nice jacket.

I also bought a Tesla Supercharger phone dock that now graces my desktop.

As a bonus: the shopping sacks provided with our purchases will make excellent recyclable bags for the frunk.

We again stayed in Button Willow, and the next morning the weather had turned cold enough to see the snowflake icon next to our battery display for the first time.

We therefore decided to plug in there to warm the battery and give it an extra buffer to climb the ascent back to Mojave.

We couldn’t see them on the outbound trip, but snapped this photo of the numerous wind turbines along the hilltops in Tehachapi.

We again arrived at Mojave to find that one supercharger was broken and the others all full. We only had to wait for about 5 minutes for a stall to open up, and again got some tacos for lunch at Antonio’s grill.

This time, instead of connecting to I-15, we decided to take the backroads, and stopped at the small Inyokern Supercharger.

I am more convinced than ever than Teslas are the ultimate touring car. With Autopilot engaged, and with one hand putting gentle pressure on the wheel, our Model 3 stays in its lane, slows on curves if needed, adjusts speed with traffic, allowing me to relax and thoroughly enjoy the scenery along the highway.

When we drove past the northern edge of Death Valley it was too dark to take a photo, but I did snap this one of the remaining range in the battery when we reached Beatty, Nevada. The display estimated that it would take 50 minutes to supercharge to 80%.

In reality, however, it only took 34 minutes —perfect to visit the restroom, buy some snacks, and take ‘Tisa for a walk. We then drove to Las Vegas for the last supercharge before heading home.

When we pulled into the garage late that night, the display warned us that the battery was cold after descending from the Utah mountain summit —the first time I had seen such a warning.

Home again, in our high desert community.

This was an enjoyable holiday roadtrip, thanks to Correcaminos’ superb handling on the highways and the convenient Supercharger network. In total, we supercharged 18 times, which cost us $116.88. If we’d kept our old Subaru instead, I calculated that we would have had to pay $316.39 at the gas pump —almost 3 times as much! Hey... I’ll take it!

Finally, I will mention something after returning home that slightly concerns me. The miles of range after charging has since started to decline, as extrapolated in this graph:

Is it because wear-and-tear after nearly 14,000 miles is lowering the battery capacity, or because the colder winter weather affects the pack’s ability to hold a charge? All I can do is wait and see what the readouts display when the weather starts to warm again in the spring, so... stay tuned!