Our first long trip in the diesel Excella
I've been working on resurrecting our diesel 280 for a few years now. It needed a lot. New frig, stove, furnace water heater, toilet, to name a few. Fixed cabinets. Restored structure. Then last year we took it on a small outing for few days with good results, but then we fixed the airbag suspension and added WirelessAir automatic inflation, put in a backup camera, and added cruise control. So this summer it was time to hit the road.
We decided, what the heck, let's drive from Wisconsin to our daughter's house in Portland Oregon with another daughter and her two kids, and let's take the scenic route. Wow! What a trip. the Airstream worked like a champ. This drive train is virtually bulletproof. We took Highway 2 out there and a more southerly route through Yellowstone back. Averaged between 11 and 14 mpg with some hellashious headwinds going out and good tailwinds coming back. The RV didn't fight me at all with really significant crosswinds. There is no doubt that this engine is not overpowered, but it's really predictable. Slow down up steep hills to keep the exhaust gas temperature under 1200F and the coolant temp less than 220F. We rarely exceeded 65 except to pass (which we did on rare occasions). On some of the steep grades in Wyoming, I finally dropped speed to 15 and used first gear, but that was also rare. Most of the mountains we could go up at 45 or 50.
I had replaced the two air conditioners, but didn't use them at all because it was unusually chilly and I've fixed all the sliding windows so we had plenty of ventillation. One problem we had was a busted radiator hose in Wyoming. This required a 50 mile tow but we were on our way the same day thanks to Good Sam roadside assistance. That is really not bad for a 39 year old camper.
This unit is ideal for kids. Plenty of places to sleep and play. Easy access to food. And they were able to do schoolwork at the table when the scenery wasn't so interesting. It was worth every bit of effort it took to make this journey. The funny thing is that I don't think we'll do this again. I've also taken up flying and that has sort of changed my focus. I want to fly everywhere now. But still, this was a bucket list item not to be forgotten. 4400 hundred miles in 2 1/2 weeks.