Yesterday was the moment of truth: Eric and I went our separate ways. As planned, I drove up to Franklinville, New York, and Eric went west to Ohio. Eric has been my buddy, my teacher, and my safety net. I’m SO grateful to have had the past 5 weeks with him, learning how to use the rig. Now I’m alone, and not very happy about it, but this is what I signed up for when I started this crazy plan!
On our last evening together, Eric made steak and baked potatoes on the open fire, and I made some broccoli and a salad. It was a fabulous meal! Then, we got some paper, and at the picnic table, Eric gave me a few final lessons.
O.M.G. After a few glasses of wine and a cigar that night, I would have sworn that I completely understood this diagram…but looking at it today, I’m not so sure…. All I can say is – Eric is on speed dial!
As we were leaving Washington County, we stopped at a truck stop, got gas, weighed our rigs, put air in the tires, and checked the RV (aka “house”) batteries for water. During our visit, two different people stopped me and asked “What kind of mileage do you get?”, and I was embarrassed to say that I didn’t really know, except that it’s “really bad”.
The reason I haven’t known the mpg is that there seems to be an issue with the fuel tank gauge. A couple of times when I’ve filled up the tank, the gauge doesn’t register that it’s full. So I haven’t been sure if the calculation was correct.
The first two times were after I first bought it, when I was driving it home. The gauge seemed off, and the mileage calculated at 6.8 mpg’s on the second fill. I figured something was very wrong. Then I filled it in Freehold, NJ before leaving for Gettysburg, but it only took 11 gallons and the gauge didn’t register full, so I couldn’t count that and had to start over.
When I filled up in Gettysburg, I calculated 5.93 mpg’s. Again, I thought something must be very wrong.
When I filled up in Washington County, it calculated at 5.52 mpg’s. OK, now I was seeing a trend. A very disturbing trend. I could no longer be in denial. But still being optimistic, I thought maybe I would see better mileage on the trip up to New York, because since the last trip, I had reduced the weight, and put the correct air pressure in the tires (they had been really low). Dare I hope for 10 mpg’s??
It did improve, but not by as much as I’d hoped. I got 7.42 mpg’s the next time I filled up in Jamestown, New York. I’ve spent about $250 on gas since leaving NJ, and driven only 675 miles. I’ve learned that the weight and the tire air pressure makes a big difference in the mileage, and that it’s better to camp longer in one place, saving on both campground fees and gas. I’ll definitely be looking for other ways to improve the mileage!
I also learned something else on the trip to New York. Wind has a huge impact when driving the rig. I drove through lovely countryside, but when the road was open and unprotected by trees, the force of the wind was significant, and the strength of it sometimes caught me by surprise. The fall colors are just beginning here, the trees mostly green with splashes of orange, red and yellow. And as I admired them, I could see the tops sway in the wind, with many of the leaves showing their undersides. I don’t know how strong the wind was that day, but I made a mental note to factor it in during trip planning, and to avoid driving in high winds if possible.
The important thing is that I made it to Franklinville, New York, safe and sound. All is good – the campground is filled with pines, the night sky is spectacular, and I’m looking forward to visiting my ancestors in the local cemeteries this week!