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Old 02-21-2015, 02:36 PM   #1
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2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
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Castle Rock, CO & Boulder City, NV , CO/NV
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Going UP has its... DOWNSIDE

Towing with the 2012 5.7L Toyota Tundra pulling the 23 foot, and the current 25 foot trailer results in about a 10% loss in MPG overall. That is acceptable for me out in the Rocky Mountains. The range is 9mpg to 14mpg.

I have hit 45 mpg to 65 mpg, temporarily, down the Front Range heading East.

I have hit 6 mpg going up, head wind and a steep grade going UP. Then down for 45 mpg and it all averages out.

The Tundra 5.7L has never indicated a rise in temperature to the engine or transmission. Even the 4.7L pulling the 23 footer. A steep grade might kick the RPM into 3500 to 4000, and just by reducing speed the engine drops down a gear and back into a comfort zone... for me, not the truck.

The sweet spot is 1800 to 2200 RPM at 60 to 70 mph. 2200 rpm and you are below 10 mpg. At 1800 rpm, 11 to 14 mpg.

Grade of roads, wind direction and weight load in truck and trailer can vary a lot during a trip. Full water tank, full 6 gallon water jugs in the bed of the truck... you are going to feel it right away in the Up and Down traveling.

You can take advantage of some down momentum to push you up the up side. You will be amazed how quickly you begin to gain SPEED going down and LOSE Speed going up. I KNOW which routes to take to get to places we want to camp. The I-80 climb from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Laramie, Wyoming to Green River, Wyoming is easy compared to taking I-70 from Denver, Colorado to Grand Junction, Colorado...

Another example is driving AROUND the Big Horn Mountains in north central Wyoming. Go through Billings, Montana to Buffalo, Wyoming to Casper, Wyoming and save your brakes, your gasoline and your... SANITY.

A thread was asking about Miles Per Gallon expected when traveling. That is a question with more moving parts and conditions than my Tundra's 5.7L engine.

WIND direction. Grade UP and how much braking or thrill factor going DOWN a steep grade can you handle. Weight being loaded before, during or AFTER your trip. Traveling will full water... jugs in the bed of the truck... 45 pounds of potatoes.... yes with an "oes". Ideally, a drive UP a high grade and getting 6mpg, then going DOWN getting 35mpg will work out well for an average, of some sort.

-If you can, travel with a tail wind, do it. Wait a day and make it work.
-If you can, avoid steep grade mountain highways with bumper to bumper traffic. (Colorado- I-70... is not busy after SUNSET... but the Elk ARE busy.)
-If you can, make some speed going down for momentum on the going UP.
-If you can, remain calm and realize that you are pulling a home on wheels and it is a voracious carnivore of your cash and mental stability, when crossing the Rockies or Appalachians.
-Plan your trip(s) ahead. Wind, Weather, Traffic, Grade expectations and keep your traveling weight to a minimum...if at all possible.

The smaller, off the highway, gasoline stations can be Highway Robbers! Reserve, New Mexico is one example. You get down to HALF a TANK of fuel traveling the Rockies... top the tank off to be safe. Your 14mpg with a tail wind can become 5mpg with a stiff head wind going UP grade.

Some day, like myself, you learn the hard way... the hard way. After some years, everyone else is stupid, foolish and doesn't have a clue how to tow a trailer. I have done my stupid is, stupid does and paid with parts of my soul through this slow learning experience with all of its curves and steep grades, up or down.

By the way... the going UP is easier on yourself than the going DOWN in the Rocky Mountains. Use your brakes sparingly and your transmission, wisely. You will sweat it out and hang on each moment without showing your passengers than this could be a life changing moment.

Today. I realize immediately that I am in a shoulda, woulda, coulda done better on this leg of the trip. We all learn and I have the grey hair that proves that having two daughters and pulling an Airstream has its... inherent costs

Be good. Stay calm. Remember the clean restroom stops. ... and those signs showing deer, elk, moose or open range cattle... THEY AIN'T KIDDING until it is too late.

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Old 02-21-2015, 04:07 PM   #2
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Respectfully, Don't over-think the nickels and dimes. Of course none of us have unlimited income. We all need a budget, and have to treat financial obligations with respect, but money is a tool not an end in itself.

Worry about being a safe driver, a good example and a wise parent. Plan to make good memories with your kids. If you spend $50 too much on a trip and the memories are great, you did do a great job... If you came in $200 under budget and everyone was miserable, that counts as "failed." Face the reality that sticking your nose outside does put you at risk, and if you come home with no one wearing a cast you've had a great trip. Perhaps an unexpected expense or two along the trail isn't all that significant.

Reality checks --------------------

High mileage tow vehicles - they really don't exist.

People who claim to get 17.9 miles while towing a 34 Classic limited - might be innumerate (numerically illiterate)... or just plain bragging (fibbing).

If you pay $.10 too much for a 40 gallon tank of fuel you've "wasted" $4. If you obsess and obsess and obsess about finding that dime, you might waste an hour a day looking - or you might just miss a great view, a great rainbow or a great adventure.

Your children will remember great times. Adventures, pleasant nights with nothing more urgent than watching marshmallows turn brown... they'll never have a clear memory of you doing a happy dance because you saved $1.00 at the gas tank.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 02-21-2015, 05:46 PM   #3
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Going UP has its... DOWNSIDE

Nice post Ray. Among many nice ones of recent.

Controlling costs is a normal thing. We aren't going to air condition the neighborhood in the summer by leaving windows open. And maybe it turns out that maintaining 74F is easier on the machinery than 72F. Reroute the ductwork for gentler bends and opening drywall to blow in insulation maybe makes more sense and costs a great deal less than a new 21-SEER unit. Homework, planning and being attentive to detail pays in cash.

Same for mpg. In the day to day of a commuter life, combining trips means fewer cold starts. Avoiding brake use it gliding thru stop lights pays off long term. Underwrites vacation travel by reducing the annual fuel bill when solo. Leaves a wider set of choices for travel.

We're I to retire today I couldn't move around at whim. Maybe a month here and a month there. I'd certainly plan the moves to have the most enjoyable time at the lowest fuel cost. It's just discipline.

The details of a particular drive are where planning and experience come together. No compromise of safe driving to achieve lowest fuel burn while simultaneously keeping vehicle longevity and reliability highest.

Plenty of aids these days as a result of satellites and Internet. One can accommodate the desires of others in so doing. Seamlessly. To the point those others are not quite aware. One does have to exercise those abstract reasoning skills, so real satisfaction awaits. And makes for good reading as leisure on those ordinary days in ordinary circumstances.

Let time be an ally, not an adversary. and for those who complain they haven't much time, then they've thoroughly misunderstood what I just wrote.

Going up is a given. But not going down. The risks are higher. Engine load is key in both attitudes. Some knowledge of the rig and the road pays handsomely in control.

Control is what is in contention.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:56 PM   #4
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Nixa , Missouri
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I'll be able to test all this out this June traveling from Missouri to Zion/Bryce then back on I70 to Denver then to the plains. Towing with my 2010 Tundra DC 5.7L 2wd.

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Old 02-25-2015, 10:16 AM   #5
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Greenwood , Mississippi
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I'll keep it under 65 in my Tundra CrewMax towing a Classic 30-
I have ranged from 6 mpg - 13 mpg real world towing mileage. The 6 mpg was at 70, so I'll never go that fast towing again-
The 6 mpg was at 70 mph going across Louisiana and Texas with a white box SOB.
On the trip home I got 10 mpg going 55 mph.
When I traded for the Airstream, my mileage went up to 12 mpg at 55 mph.
The 13 mpg was at 61 mph going across Louisiana and Texas with the heavier, but more aerodynamic Airstream.
Apples to apples-
2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
2006 Vivid Black Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
1999 Black Nissan Pathfinder LE
TAC #MS-10
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Old 02-25-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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Buffalo , Wyoming
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Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Another example is driving AROUND the Big Horn Mountains in north central Wyoming. Go through Billings, Montana to Buffalo, Wyoming to Casper, Wyoming and save your brakes, your gasoline and your... SANITY.
Ohhhh Ray, aren't the Big Horns worth a little extra gas? You're right about the critters on the road. I do everything I can to avoid driving after dark because they can be so numerous. The intense focus needed to spot them is incredibly tiring.

I'd like to buy you a cup of coffee next time you come through Buffalo.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:44 PM   #7
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There are some nice dry camping sites off the road in the Big Horns. They are scattered on top. The biggest problem is finding one FLAT enough to set the trailer. We towed the 23 footer over the "Horns" and discovered why they were not called the Lamb Chop Breaks. Visit the "Medicine Wheel" archaeological site as well. Where is it? Pull out the map and find it yourself... what a wonderful hike to the Stonehenge of Wyoming.

How is Sheriff Longmire keeping the Casino and "Res" under control? (It is a television program for those who haven't a clue what this is about.)

Buffalo, Wyoming is a great place to dry camp west of town after being at the Custer Battlefield at Crow Agency, Montana.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:30 PM   #8
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Buffalo , Wyoming
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I'm starting to develop an inventory of good boondocking sites in the Big Horns. I've got it in my head to map and photograph the accessible areas and then put them on a blog of some sort. So far I've collected some GPS data of sites and roads. It'll probably take a few years to get it to a point where it is presentable. However, I do know some good sites that would be flat(ish) if you're ever looking for one. I mostly know the stuff off of Hwy 16. The Medicine Wheel is off of Hwy 14. I don't know too many "secret" spots over there yet. Someday I'll inventory those as well.

Buffalo has started a tradition of celebrating "Longmire Days" now. This year will be the fourth, and it's scheduled for July 17-19. They shut down Main Street, bring in some of the actors, have a dance, car show, and whatever else the Chamber of Commerce can think of. It's kind of a big thing. Thousands of people mulling about downtown. I try to avoid it. Too crowded. It's good for the economy though.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:04 AM   #9
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Rivet master experience duplicated

25' safari toad is Tundra...west plains...made the route you cite in 2013...great trip. Eleven NPs and 9K. 11.5 average Cannot beat this combination rig, especially as toad is very nice as tour vehicle unattached. 11K Alaska in 2014 and enroute this summer to NS, PEI and Newfoundland with WBCCI. We welcome communication from area Airstreamers. Jack and Kay Garrett

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