View Full Version : New trip/tank record! Camping trip to Sun Valley and back

08-06-2010, 12:48 AM
Took the family on a 5 day mini vacation in the Golf TDI ( starting this past weekend. I'll try to post pics in a few days.

First tank: filled up with B100 in Portland, camped in Oregon's Blue Mountains on Friday night, then dinked around in Boise (a place we love), finally filling up in Hailey (just down the road from Sun Valley) on Sunday. Despite speeds of 62-65mph most of the way and finishing up the tank 5000 feet higher than where we started, I ended up going 615 miles on 10.8 gallons, netting 57.0mpg. This blew away my previous tank record of 54mpg -- which was a short (220 mile) camping trip to the Oregon coast rarely exceeding 55mph. No doubt much of this was due to the steady tailwind we had most of the way, but also partly to doing a much better job of DWLing than I've done in the past. I have to admit I haven't done DWL consistently on long trips in the past, and I'm amazed at the difference it seems to have made.

Second tank: After filling up (with B5) in Hailey, spent a couple nights in a lovely campground just a few miles north of Ketchum/Sun Valley. Racked up a couple hundred miles driving over 9000 Galena Summit pass a couple times and enjoying the spectacular scenery, hiking trails and high lakes - as well as the amenities of Ketchum itself. On Tuesday night, we caught the Steve Martin concert - held on the grounds of Sun Valley ski area, an absolutely spectacular venue. This was Steve Martin as bluegrass banjo player, not Steve Martin as comedian, though he introduced each number with a joke so we wouldn't be disappointed. Dropped back down to Boise, then over the Blue Mountains again and filled up again (B5, again) in Pendleton, OR, about 2/3 of the way back home. 11.5 gallons on a 595 mile tank, for 51.8mpg. Although the end of the tank was 3000 feet lower than the beginning, we still had kept the speeds up in the low 60s and fought moderate on-and-off headwinds. This, again, was better than any full (500+ mile) tank I've logged in the Golf previous to this trip.

After the first two tanks we still had 200 miles to drive home from Pendleton, but the Golf is my wife's daily driver, and without me personally filling the tank (which I won't get around to) we won't really know how we did on that last section. Just the same, I'm happy: 1211 miles on 22.3 gallons - 54.3mpg overall. NOT BAD!

I've really got to credit DWL for the improvement. I do road trips fairly infrequently, and haven't refined my highway techniques as much as my city techniques. In the past I've been really good about pulsing up the hills and gliding down the other side, but in between I've maintained fairly steady speeds and not monitored LOD very closely. But this time, I really tried to pick a LOD setting (typically between the low 40s and the low 50s depending on the wind) that gave me the average speed I wanted, and kept that LOD locked in for long stretches as steady as I could. Only if the speed really sagged did I give it more throttle, and then I took it up to 75-80% for optimum BSFC efficiency. With a few exceptions, I only found the need to do that on the mountain passes. And even with all the BIG mountain climbs on this trip, I was able to maintain comfortable speeds (50+) at 75-80% LOD and didn't have to resort to more throttle. Comparing with previous trips in this car, I'm convinced that all this conscious effort to maintain steady/optimum LOD is what made the difference.

And the car was loaded to the gills, by the way. This is a typical camping vacation for us, and we just barely fit: 3 people, big dog, 6-person tent, sleeping bags & pads, mess kit, couple bags of groceries, numerous water bottles, modest sized cooler, a bag each for clothing/toiletries, lots of extra toys and books to keep the little guy occupied, and various and sundry other items that a family might take on vacation. Had about 8" vertically of rear window clear for rear view with everything loaded up. Not always pleasant to keep the car organized and everything in its place, but doable. Barely.

08-06-2010, 04:29 AM
Sounds like a successful trip. If your 3rd passenger was a teenage girl, you wouldn't have had 8" of room left though.:D

Right Lane Cruiser
08-06-2010, 06:24 AM
NICE!!!! :D

08-06-2010, 09:51 AM
Great job! =D

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