Tesla Model S - Million Dollar Highway
Mill Creek Model S
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Days Charging at
Destination   Supercharger
1 0
Departing Durango
After a second night at the Doubletree, we had breakfast, packed up, and were ready to embark towards the Million Dollar Highway, which weaves through the Rocky Mountains north of here. The origin of the name isn't clear, but one suggestion is that a vital section of it cost a million dollars to build back in the 1920s. Today this entire stretch is known as the San Juan Scenic Byway of US Highway 550.

TimeEventRange Remaining
9:08 amDeparted Durango240
10:08 amArrived Molas Pass168
Range/Distance ratio: 1.67
Conditions: Uphill, 66°F

Million Dollar Highway

The route there was very scenic. Except for passing zones, it was a two-lane road, without guardrails, winding through forests covering the landscape leading to jagged mountain ridges and other enormous rock formations on either side.

Molas Pass We arrived at Molas Pass, a 10899-foot elevation rest stop with panoramic views of Molas Lake, Animas River, Sultan Mountain, and Grand Turk.

Molas Pass

TimeEventRange Remaining
10:19 amArrive Silverton170
Range/Distance ratio: -0.28
Conditions: Downhill


Silverton Overlook

Soon after we arrived in Historic Colorado Mining Country, starting with Silverton, the destination of the train ride we couldn't take yesterday.

We stopped by the Silverton Visitor's Center to take a bathroom break, look at the exhibits, and pick up some brochures. Bathroom Anxiety

From Silverton, the highway became even more breathtaking with the contrast of the lush greenery against the colors in the rocks set against the rugged mountain ranges.

Mill Creek
Mill Creek

Artist's Cabin'
Artist's Cabin

Red Mountain Pass
Red Mountain Pass at 11,018-foot elevation

Then we reached a viewpoint of both the Red Mountains and Idarado Mine.

Red Mountains and Idarado Mine


We continued northward admiring the landscape, then came upon Ouray, the "Switzerland of America".

Ouray Lookout

TimeEventRange Remaining
11:02 amDepart Silverton170
12:12 pmArrive Ouray154
Range/Distance ratio: 0.667
Conditions: Winding mountain roads, some construction

We stopped for lunch in Ouray, then took a short drive to Box Canyon to see and hear the falls and take pictures. After some coaxing of the children, we then hiked up to the upper bridge over the falls for spectacular views of the town and surrounding mountains.

Box Canyon Falls

Ouray from top of Box Canyon

Ute Indian Museum
My daughter was fascinated with the artwork on one of the brochures we picked up back in Silverton. That brochure was about the Ute Indian Museum, and the art was Ute Indian art drawn on cattle hide. Because of this, she wanted to see this museum.

TimeEventRange Remaining
2:29 pmDepart Box Canyon148
3:17 pmArrive Ute Indian Museum128
Range/Distance ratio: 0.588
Conditions: Downhill, 86°F

We learned some fascinating things here. The Ute were nomadic but generally called this region of southwest mountainous Colorado their homeland. After driving through such beautiful landscapes, I can understand why they were so upset when white man took over these lands and isolating them to smaller regions before ultimately driving them out in the 19th century.

Ute Indian Museum
Grand Junction
TimeEventRange Remaining
4:00 pmDepart Ute Indian Museum127
5:20 pmArrive Grand Vista Hotel59
Range/Distance ratio: 0.971
Conditions: Downhill, 100°F

The museum was our last stop until arriving at the Grand Vista Hotel in Grand Junction, which was a member of the Tesla Destination Network. We completed today's journey on one charge, a feat with which I've had plenty of practice, with plenty to spare. We checked in, enjoyed the pool, then had dinner at a local restaurant before going to bed for the night. Meanwhile the car charged at the hotel's Tesla charger.

Cost to Charge: $0

Grand Vista hotel

Dean E. Dauger holds a Ph. D. in physics from UCLA, where his group created the first Mac cluster in 1998. Dr. Dauger is the award-winning author in multiple American Institute of Physics' Software Contests and co-authored the original, award-winning Kai's Power Tools image-processing package for Adobe Photoshop. After founding his company, Dauger Research, Inc., its debut product, Pooch, derived from Dr. Dauger's experience using clusters for his physics research, was soon awarded as "most innovative" by IEEE Cluster and continues to revolutionize parallel computing and clusters worldwide with its patented technology.

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