28-31 October 2012
Santa FeWe retrieved the truck on the 27th (Sat) and the 28th was supposed to be a 'drive it and see if it's OK' sort of day. Well, it was a good plan, but life got in the way. Instead of a test drive, Sunday saw the truck doing some hauling to get a few things from the house to the Montana. Then Monday the 29th we returned the rental car (btw, the Kia Forte we rented was excellent!), aired the tires, cleaned all the glass in the truck, and fueled up. Then we discovered the Admiral's favorite Key West hat was missing, so back to Budget Car Rental. I'm not sure I actually finished what needed doing or if I just got tired and quit. Airing up the tires always kicks my butt!
I had either of 2 first-nite destinations in mind:
Las Cruces KOA (290 mi) or
Road Runner RV Park in Deming (345 mi).
When the Admiral heard more than 300 miles to get to Deming she told me where to go! So I drove to Las Cruces.
We've been to Las Cruces KOA several times and know what to expect. Staying more than a single night means you have to deal with the dust from raking the gravel late the next morning. So there was no choice but to make it a 1-niter. The park is pristine, but keeping it that way raises dust even with the watering system on the back of the small tractor.
Other than a 1-hr delay in Albuquerque for an accident, the trip went well and we managed to get 12.7 mpg... a first for us while pulling. The next day we pulled to the SKP Saguaro Co-op in Benson and... Yikes! 13.2 mpg! What an incredible drop in fuel usage
BensonWe have arrived safe and sound in Benson, AZ on 2 November. The last leg was about 215 mi and, as I mentioned above, this time we saw 13.2 mpg. We ended up at close to the same elevation, but the trip was anything but level: we started at 4,600' and ended at almost 4,400'. In between we dropped to under 3,400', went over 3 low passes before climbing to 5,000' as we traversed the pass into Texas Canyon, and finally ended up at 4,385' here in our site. The route had everything: steep grades both up and down as well as long flat stretches. Made me feel a lot better about trying to tackle Alaska next year: 13 mpg for much of the 10,000 mi means a saving of $1,500 - $2,000 compared to 10.5 mpg.
Old friendsThe best part of arriving in the park was getting to connect with old friends. We'd been in touch with Mike & Susan while we were on the road, so it was no surprise to them when we pulled in. Naturally we had to do dinner out so we could get caught up and that meant a trip into town to Reb's. Great meal, great conversation, great to be back!
Summary for the summerBenson, AZ to Trenton, ME via Elkhart, IN, upstate NY, southern VT & NH, including day trips was 4,600 mi. Trenton, ME to Benson, AZ via Asheville, NC, Louisville, KY and St. Louis, MO including day trips was another 4,000 mi.
We left Benson 8 April, stopped in Santa Fe for 31 nites, took 34 days to get to Maine, spent from 16 June thru 13 September in Maine, then spent from 14 September to 16 October getting to Santa Fe where we stayed for 2 weeks. We left Santa Fe on 31 October and spent 2 more days to get to Benson, AZ on 2 November. That's about a week short of 7 months on the move, and our truck runs better than before we left. The coach, however, looks like it's just traveled 8,600 miles. We need to get scheduled with Hooper so it's not an embarrassment to us and the park!
Still haven't got this resolved. Looks like I'll be getting a new laptop... maybe a Lenovo? Dunno. Too many choices and it's easy to get Analysis Paralysis.