I promised more postings than I delivered during our trip, so I will add a few items that might be relevant in retrospect.
We drove a total of 10,381 miles without major mishaps. A broken windshield and a leaky toilet valve during the last three days was the extent of it. Not much, considered.
I kept careful records of our mileages, fillups, and costs, so I now have something concrete to report. Gas prices were already starting to drop when we started, and I had one price at $2.62 per gallon as a low. Since we had budgeted for as high as $4.50 that came as a pleasant surprise. However, there was ethanol in most of the gas, so I dreaded calculating mileage. I lowered my speed to 60 or 61 on the speedo, which works out to a true 58 as a cruising speed according to the calibration done a few years ago. The large cover over the FanTastic Fan was replaced with a MaxxFan with a much lower profile, hoping for less air resistance. Because of some modifications the trailer weight
was likely greater than our previous cross-country trip. I expected a drop in gas mileage because of that, so it came as no surprise that it actually worked out to 15.24 mpg overall (it was 15.7 mpg the last time). I was able to keep the transmission in 4th lockup for long stretches without the tranny hunting, and that was a plus. The transmission oil temperature usually dropped drastically when the torque converter was out of the picture. When conditions warranted I often shifted manually to 3rd to avoid most of the hunting. I had expected worse.
Overall it was a great trip, with the Burro
behaving normally and tracking superbly. Having a dog along did inhibit some activities and slow us down a little, but it was worth it.
Some notes from the road: roads deteriorated considerably in the eastern half of the country. I thought the Ohio Turnpike should have paid me for driving on it. Also, merging onto a freeway is a procedure not well known in the east (confirming the opinion of a friend of mine who moved to Pennsylvania years ago). Most seemed baffled by the procedure.
The most beautiful campground we found was in eastern Oklahoma (see picture), and the colors in New England were spectacular. Ironically, the most
beautiful colors we found was on our last day, going down the Santiam Highway in the Cascades.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon was awesome (11 degrees the night before we got there), and Death Valley was very interesting. Our dog was snoozing under the trailer one morning as I downloaded some pictures. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted movement through the trailer door and realized that a large coyote was about 25 feet away and headed for a snack. I burst out the door and scared it away, and a good thing too, because they are reputed to eat dogs with some regularity. With a speed topping out at about 40 mph I figure we were about three seconds away from the unthinkable.
On the way out of Death Valley we crossed two really tough mountain ranges and stopped at an overlook with a deep and narrow canyon below. The sound started as a roar as two fighter jets streaked down the canyon at eye level right in front of us, banking 90 degrees through the gap and down toward the valley floor. Kathy appreciated this spectacular gesture, especially since it was her 65th birthday. Her pleas for a repeat went unheeded.
We met some interesting people, and somehow avoided the unpleasant ones.
I'll spare you some of the anecdotes, but we saw and experienced plenty of interesting things, so it was a very successful trip.