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Cross Country Towing Round Trip 6000 miles

17012 Views 33 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  DStrachan
I had hoped to find more time to do a daily blog-ish update for this trip. However here I am on day 4 of my trip just writing the first post. My gang of 4 (2 littles, my wife and I) headed out from our home in NC to visit friends and family along the US and end up in CA for a couple weeks where I am originally from. The whole trip should be around 6000 miles. I left with 6108 on the odometer and on our 4th night now we are ~7500. I am having to fill up once a day and the first morning diesel was 3.44, then 3.41, then 3.33, then 3.26 today in Oklahoma where we are stopped. We are going between 57-63mph and I am mostly using the tow mode so the gears don't hunt as much. I turn it off down grades and on flat travel. Gas milage for the first 2 refills were 14.1 each and then a 13.1 and then a 14.6. We had a lot of wind today coming right at us today and the computer is showing 12.6 currently with about 115 miles to empty when I gas up tomorrow. I am not taking the time to hand calculate any milage on this trip but I have done it in the past and found it was always within .1 everytime I did it so I have stopped. The last thing I will add is I am towing a Rockwood Mini Lite 2504s for anyone wanting specs. It is ~5200lbs dry and I am guessing about 5800lbs with our stuff in it and some fluid in the tanks. I will update again in a few days I hope and if anyone has questions I will try to answer them. Pray for us and my sanity as I drive a 2 year old girl and 5 year old boy cross country!


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A quick post today. The gas price locator in the 8.4N works really well to tell you prices within 30 miles of your position and add it as a way point on your route in progress. I have found HUGE differences by going off the freeway just a few blocks or passing a big town to go to a little town 8 miles up the road.. Today the LOVES & FLYING J were both asking 3.85 for diesel. I went 1.8 miles off the freeway with the GPS and got Valero diesel for 3.35. I would have never known it was there with no freeway sign. A .50/ gal difference is a outrageous though for people buying off the highway. Just a heads up

BTW my 12.6 yesterday turned into a 13.1 by the time I filled up. I had little wind today and mostly flat and it is showing 15.1 currently 1/2 way through the tank I bought late this morning.
Thanks 10%. I Finished with the best tank ever for this trip at 14.8 when I filled up today in Albuquerque, New Mexico (which BTW was $3.79 off the freeway and $3.25 about 2 miles in at a major grocery store). I find this milage odd since I climbed over 3500ft on this tank pulling dead weight up a hill. It must be the light wind yesterday and no wind today making that much of a difference. The 2nd half of the day we climbed over the Continental divide at 7200 ft and back down a little to our stop tonight at 6500 ft. This tank is showing a great 15.3 (with 2/3 tank to go) with lots more flat & downhill tomorrow! I am hoping the wind stays gone.
The wind did stay gone. Got 15.4 on that tank. Refilled in Flagstaff AZ for $3.25 (it was as high as $4.09 in town). Showing 16.2 now going down from 6600ft to 700ft at Needles, CA for the night with 1/2 tank to go. (BTW never get fuel in Needles. Literally most expensive gas in the country according the internet. Currently Unleaded $4.29, diesel $4.89)
Got the last tank in CA in Barstow for $3.55 and saw it as high as $4.29 in that town. Ended up with 15.3 on that one. Going over Tehachapi pass and down into Bakersfield netted 16.3 so far on this tank with about 2/3 to go. Heading to San Francisco Bay Area tomorrow for a couple weeks to park the trailer before heading home. I will report one more fill and total milage tomorrow for leg one of the cross country trip
Ok so a day late on the last post. Arrived with 2997 miles from A to B. Last tank I filled up for 3.80 (cheapest off the highway near Tracy, CA) I was getting 15.1 (down from my 16.3) after a strong head wind from a rain front moving through the area on HWY 5 north.

All in all I think I did ok. Just averaging the numbers I get 14.4 total mpg for the trip on 9 fill-ups. I have all the receipts somewhere and at some point I may add up all the gallons and hand calculate the milage.

I hope to get better milage going home since wind generally moves west to east and will be at our back and after a climb into AZ its mostly downhill for several states into Tennessee. I will be back in a couple weeks to post leg 2
I'm back! Headed out of the Bay Area a couple days ago and filled in San Jose, CA for $3.47 and made it to Barstow, CA $3.55 and got 15.5mpg. From there we climbed about 6000 ft and filled up in Flagstaff, AZ $3.35 and got 13.9 with that climb (also had a small $10 add to make it up the hill at $3.79) but we had the wind at our backs which helped a lot.

Today we went from Flagstaff, AZ to Albuquerque, NM and got a record for our trip 17.9mpg and filled again for $3.25 same place as before in this city!! We had a strong easterly wind at our back the whole day and I was easily doing 65mph and getting good mpg. There is a slight drop in elevation as well from 7200ft to 5200ft between those cities so that helped also. Hoping for good wind tomorrow and there will be more down hill as well into the plains.
Thanks for checking in ECO33 sorry its been a few days. The night we stopped in Albuquerque it started to snow. When we woke up instead of heading east on 40 and heading over large mountains with heavy snow and possibly getting stuck/ and also scheduled to arrive in Amarillo TX with an expected high of 6 with wind chill, we decided to head south on 25 to El Paso TX right near the MX border. It was 54 degrees there. We got 15.5 going south on that tank and filled for $3.39. We then headed east to San Antonio, TX where it was also 54 degrees (our longest day of the whole trip at 540 miles) We faced a tough head wind all day and filled twice on this trip yesterday for $3.35 midway somewhere and $3.29 when we got into San Antonio. The first leg was 12.1 mpg and the second was 13.6.

Today we spent the whole morning in San Antonio which we really liked and then headed north a short distance to Austin, Tx and had a favorable wind getting 16.6mpg and used about a 1/4 tank. Tomorrow we will head to Dallas TX and then continue east as we were waiting for the cold weather and snow to clear. It was nice to have the flexibility in our schedule to completely redo our itinerary for weather related events.
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that was with my F150 which was a nice rig but lousy gas milage.
ECO33 how am I doing compared to a F150? Some days I question if we would be doing the same in a gas truck at $2.49 a gallon now. This is our first travel trailer and my old gas truck never towed anything this heavy or wind blocking so I have nothing to compare.

At any rate I made it to Dallas,TX today on the rest of my tank and the EVIC shows 17.2 with a good favorable wind again today. I will fill in the morning and start heading east to Mississippi.
I filled in the morning in Dallas at $3.29 I had seen it cheaper in Texas at $3.16 but not when I needed it of course. We drove through Louisiana and got diesel in Monroe for $3.24 (and facing a rough head wind all day netted 12.9mpg) on our way to Mississippi for the night. We actually saw diesel for the lowest price we have seen the entire trip right at the state line after you leave Texas at $3.06 but I was basically full tank at that point.

This morning we left Jackson, MS and headed east to Alabama with a stop in Meridian, MS at $3.15 for some diesel and was getting a slightly better combined 13.8mpg with 1/2 tank from yesterdays head wind. Stopping for the night at Hopehull, Al and currently showing 14.6 on EVIC
Firemist, what do you try to average for MPH on flat roads.
It depends on what the wind is doing. If its coming at me I set it at 57mph as I see about a 1 - 1.5mpg drop for every 5mph over that (i have done some rough testing of this at times). If there is no wind I am set at 63mph and if its blowing strong behind me I set at 68mph (assuming thats under the posted speed limit) I am in no hurry so even if its a 70mph limit that is what I do. This tends to get me around 14-16mpg on the instantaneous results. That wind coming at you is killer though and its hard to break 13 at times if its strong.

Today when I filled up in Auburn, Al the EVIC said 14.5 for the tank and got diesel for $3.14. Made it to Atlanta, GA with 3/4 tank to go with somewhat favorable wind and showing 15.7 on EVIC. Plan to make it home tomorrow in NC!
I don't recall if you mentioned what gearing you have in your truck. Before we order I'm trying to determine if I can get by with the 3:55 or if I will need to get 3:92.
Love the economy your reporting along with the driving conditions...thanks.
Good question. I have the 3.55 gear with a 4x4 (ran 2wd the whole trip though)

I made it home tonight and filled today in South Carolina for $3.05 (saw it later for $2.99 a first for the whole country in SC) Climbed a bit up and down big hills and faced a head wind and rain all day. Sucked my 15.7 down to 14.3 on the refill. That makes 11 tanks to get back and with our unexpected detour south about 3800 miles total. I averaged all of them to get 14.7 going east. We got 14.4 going west so I guess thats about the best I can do for the way I drive.

A few other observations from the trip in no particular order

1) I found I really needed to do the lift foot off the gas trick almost always to get the truck to shift into 6,7,8 if I felt it had the RPMS to do so. The truck always seems happy using more diesel than it should
2) We used A LOT of DEF. We went about 8000 miles and used about 18 -20 gallons
3) I found the NAV really accurate directions wise but I HATED that it warned me of accidents 60 miles away literally every 3-4 minutes and those were always gone by the time I got there. I am sure there is a way to turn this off but I just cancelled guidance when it got annoying since I mostly knew where I was going until I needed it again. The voice input is terrible as well from myself and my wife who are born and raised in CA with no accents. It 80% of the time could not tell what we were saying.
4) I did find a feature on the NAV I really liked and that is the altimeter and GPS coordinates which can be found under the - Information, - Where are we?, -GPS button. I really like seeing the rate of climbs and decents and altitude we are at.
5) Comfort. I really like my plushy leather seats in the Laramie. My wife and I were always comfortable even on long days and never complained of weird back or neck issues like we have had in other cars. I also love the seat heater/ steering heater that comes on with the remote start from my trailer before we get ready to leave every morning.
6) Reliability. At 14,000 miles now I have had ZERO issues with the truck other than some weird electrical things early on that got fixed with a firmware update. I have really pushed the truck hard with over 3/4 of its life towing up and down 7000ft grades in the middle of the hot summer and now the cold weather. The transmission / engine/ turbo all seem rock solid to me. I know some posters have had some serious issues but clearly these trucks are not all bad so I wanted to speak up to say mine seems good.
7) Power to spare. We never had an issue wanting/ needing more power. No matter what the wind was, or what the grade was, this thing can pull with the cummins. We climbed every grade with the cruise control on and 100% of the time it maintained the speed as we blew past old 8 cyl trucks and big semi trucks towing going up hills

Thats it! Thanks for the looks and the questions. If there are any more I am happy to answer them. Thank you
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Are you running 17 " or 20 " tires.
I have the 20" wheels with stock tires. I am glad people liked the posts
Also, u have the air suspension or coils with aftermarket assistance? Your pic looks like a good stance especially considering you have a cap.
I have the stock springs and shocks. I am using a weight distribution hitch (equalizer brand) which transfers the weight off the back of the truck. It rides very nice and never bottomed out. I was quite happy with it
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