Oct 092009

I must be directionally challenged. In spite of the fact that I can read a road map, I have three different computer mapping programs, and two GPS units, yesterday we found ourselves driving north when any RVer with half a brain would be headed south!

Under a gray sky that threatened rain and looked like it really wanted to snow, we left the Mercer County Fairgrounds in Celina, Ohio, our home for the last three weeks or so, and drove back to Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana. I’d much rather have pointed the nose of our Winnebago motorhome toward Florida, but we have some things we need to get done up north first.

The Winnebago ran fine as we cruised north on Interstate 69 out of Fort Wayne, Indiana and then hooked up with the Indiana Toll Road, which we took into Elkhart. It was fun being able to pass slower moving eighteen wheelers without a second thought, the big Cummins diesel not even running hard to do so.

We stopped at a service plaza for fuel, and on our first full tank of diesel since we got the motorhome, we averaged 7½ miles per gallon. Other Ultimate Advantage owners with the same engine/transmission combo we have that I have talked to have told me that they are getting anywhere from 7¼ to over 9 MPG while towing a dinghy behind them.

Of course, I’d much rather be in the 9+ MPG neighborhood. But, considering the fact that we pull a ¾ ton extended length Ford cargo van behind us, and that I had been pushing the motorhome harder than I normally drive while on our trip to Lexington, Kentucky this week to see how it performed on the hills, I guess I can’t complain.

I still have to learn to drive the new rig. The Allison six speed automatic transmission has an Economy Mode setting that shifts the transmission to overdrive, and for a couple hundred miles of driving on that first tank full of diesel fuel, I had forgotten to use the Economy Mode. I’m sure that once I get into the habit of using it, as well as the cruise control to help me keep my speed down, our mileage will improve a bit.

Elkhart Campground is a lot emptier than it was when we left it in September, and we had our choice of RV sites. Our normal parking space has 50 amp electric and water hookups, but this time we opted for a full hookup 50 amp site so Miss Terry could use the Splendide washer/dryer combo without worrying about filling our gray water tank.

Once we were settled in, we met Ron and Brenda Speidel for dinner. They are back here in Elkhart having a wood floor put in their Winnebago Journey DL, and even though we saw them less than a week ago, it was good to have the chance to meet up again. 

Back at the bus, I posted a new Bad Nick Blog on Health Care Death Squads, and then we settled in for a night of television and relaxing after our busy days before, during, and after our Gypsy Gathering rally.

We’ll be here at least a couple of weeks, while we get the new issue of the Gypsy Journal out, finish up some last minute details, and meet with a couple of different prospective buyers for our MCI bus conversion. If the bus doesn’t sell, we have to winterize it and arrange for storage during the winter, so I’m really hoping one of the folks coming to look at it takes it home with them.

Once that is all done, I plan to start driving south, and not stop until I see girls in bathing suits. Preferably very skimpy bathing suits.

Thought For The Day – Live life. Stop planning and start doing.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  7 Responses to “Directionally Challenged”

  1. That’s pretty good fuel economy, Nick. We get an average of 8 mpg with our Cummins 360 and a GVWR of 32,000 (which we’re under), with a variance of 6 to 10 (once) mpg. About 9 mpg today in the hills of Northern CA on Hwy 101. I couldn’t believe it was so good. But the 55 mph limit on any vehicle towing is making a difference.

    And fuel prices aren’t as high as we expected here in high-tax CA, after a couple of months in WA and (no tax) OR. The least we paid was $2.539 in Oregon. Anything under $3 is okay with us, after last summer when we paid up to $4.79! Saw one station at $2.799 today, just after we had filled with $2.899. Oh, well!

    What mpg did you have with the bus? The motorhome has to be better, right?

    Look out for those ‘girls’ in ‘bathing suits’ — they’re actually ‘women’ in ‘swim suits’ I think. And if you got them, you wouldn’t know what to do with them, anyway! LOL!

    Good luck in selling the bus.

  2. Well Nick I get 22 mpg with my Volvo, thats even with a heavy head wind,,,,,,,,,,mtns etc!!! (then I wake up)

    Now you can get a nice wood mount for your PressurePro tire Monitor made to match your interior………How about a picture on your Blog…..

    It was 90 deg when we got here to Texas yesterday,,,,and humid….. From the freezer to the frying pan…

    Take care…

  3. Hi Nick,
    Before your try and use you Splendide, check you plumbing manual. We were in a city park and Kathleen did some wash and in came back up through the drain pipe, as ours is not piped up to the holding tank. I ran out and opened the drain cap on the discharge line to relieve the water. We have to have our sewer hose connected to use the washer/dryer. We have a 2001 Safari Serengeti

  4. We don’t even check our mileage any more, but I suppose we should now that we aren’t having to carry everything we own.

    Nick, we know how you hate mornings, so don’t stay at Coachlight RV Park in Las Cruces, NM. There’s a rooster crowing at 6:00am here! Stewed chiucken for dinner!

  5. Good Morning Nick, That isn’t to terribly bad gas mileage… What year is your Unltimate Advantage??? We get around 8.5 on an average in the Horizon… Like you said it depends on the speed and if there is mountains… Hope your BUS sells for you & you won’t have to worry about storing it?

    Have Fun & Travel Safe!

  6. Nick,
    Congratulations on your new motorhome. I am very happy for you and Miss Terry. I have a 2001 Holiday rambler with a 300 HP Cummins and 6 speed Allison. It is my understanding that the Allison economy mode only retards the point where the transmission shifts into lower gear, therefore affording some small economy. I have been a longtime reader and enjoy your excellent stile of writing.


  7. Nick If you check your manual you will find that the Economy Mode only changes the shift points. There are only 6 gears no matter what you do. Many people use the economy mode but I did not like how my motorhome responded with it on. But you will find out by trying. I also shifted manually on hills to keep momentum up.

    I missed your Rally because I was in Hawaii but enjoyed the reports and pictures.

    Don Hankins

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