Monday, July 20, 2009

2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali Fuel Consumption

I found a great iPhone/iPod Touch app at the iTunes store for keeping track of fuel consumption and automobile expenses called Road Trip. One of the best things I like about it is that I can enter either gallons or litres and whether or not I fill the tank and it will keep track of all sorts of stats and show me my fuel consumption in either mpg or L/100 km. You can then export all of this data into a spreadsheet through email. I find it easier to simply take a screenshot on my Touch and upload it here, which I plan on doing on a monthly basis from now on. This particular screen shows all the accumulative data since I first bought the Denali back in August 2008.

Click the thumbnail above to see the full stats. You can see that the fuel consumption is not great. On the highway I was able to get an average of around 14 mpg, but in the city where I do most of my driving I get around 10 mpg. Such is the cost of living at the top of a mountain. You can also see that on my last fill-up I averaged only 8 mpg. That was the fuel that I used to go on our camping trip to Concrete, WA with our 30' travel trailer. Such is the cost of having fun!

The most surprising stat to me was how much fuel the Denali costs me since I've owned it: almost $9 per day. And that includes the days that I'm not driving!

Trip Report: Concrete/Grandy Creek KOA

Concrete/Grandy KOA: 2 nights, Site #91
Coming back from Everett, I had the urge to get out on the road again and thought it would be nice to go for a couple of nights before the weekend. There was nothing available at Sunnyside so we took a chance calling the KOA campground in Concrete, WA. It's only about 2 hours away from our home and we had heard good things about it....

This trip started out a bit differently because the trailer was actually in storage. Since the trailer was already equipped with just about everything we needed, we thought it would be simple to just pack the clothes and food we wanted into the Denali, load up at the storage yard and leave from there. It didn't go quite that smoothly though, because that morning after stopping at the Costco in Port Coquitlam for fuel, I realized that I had forgotten the RV keys at home. Luckily, we were only 15-minutes away. In the end, we wereg only 30-minutes behind our original schedule. There was a 90-minute wait at the Peace Arch border crossing, but with our NEXUS passes we were able to breeze right through. There was a bit of a tight turn after the checkpoint, but I was able to make it with the trailer.

One of the great advantages of having the trailer is having a clean, comfortable place to rest and relax where ever we happen to be. Our first stop was at the Custer Rest Area just south of Blaine. It's the first rest stop after the border and we stopped there for lunch, just like we did on our Everett trip.

Concrete, WA is just east of Burlington on Highway 20. It's a very nice campsite with large full hook-up spots, as well as a swimming pool, playground, and jumping pillow that the kids had fun with. What was nice about this stay was that this really was an exploration for us to venture somewhere strictly for the campground amenities. No shopping, no tourist activities. It was great. We're going back again for 3 nights next time--without a sewer hookup. Hopefully, that won't turn out to be too adventurous!
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

VFD Bikers for Burns Ride

VPD Motorcycles
Originally uploaded by istargazer.
My wife and I went on this charity bike ride at the end of June. It was a great day and marred only because I thought I had lost one of my memory cards. Luckily, I found it just the other day and have been busily uploading the pictures.

This is a picture of the Vancouver Police motorcycles. The VPD were really great because they gave a police escort for the group of riders all the way through Vancouver, onto Highway #1 and across the Golden Ears Bridge. It was a weird feeling not stopping for red lights!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Trip Report: Lakeside RV, Everett, WA

Lakeside RV Park: 3 Nights
12321 Hwy 99, Everett, WA 98204

Talk about contrasts! From our very first camping trip into the lush forests around Cultus Lake, BC we went to our next destination of urban pavement: Lakeside RV Park off of Highway 99 in Everett, Washington. To be fair, after first impressions of the "neighborhood", the place was quite livable and suited our goal of being close to shopping. In fact, we got a water-view "lake" side spot right next to the fishing pond. We did lots of time at Camping World, Walmart, and Target as well as doing a little shopping at an outlet mall, and I was able to install and setup a few more things on our travel trailer.

Click the thumbnail below to see more photos.
2009 Everett

I got to climb up on top of the roof of the travel trailer for the first time to install the MaxxAir II vent cover. It allows us to keep the vent open without letting water come in through the opening. I'll need to get up there a few more times because I'd like to get another vent cover for our bathroom vent.

I'm glad to say that the Denali handled the extra load quite well on the I-5. It had no problem keeping to the speed limit of up to 70 mph and had passing power when needed. It drove like a big rig, but never felt unstable.

As for trailer life, there were several things I learned this trip. It was our first pull-through site and I learned that I could even mess that up! In my excitement I forgot to make a wide enough turn into our spot and I ended up brushing some trees on the left. Back when we were off-roading in the Sequoia, we would brush against trees and shrubs as we drove down narrow trails. We proudly called them "BC pinstripes." On the trailer they're just embarassing! Luckily, I was able to rub them out when I got home.

The other thing I learned was because of where the hookups were, we needed an extension to our 15' sewer line. It was nice that Walmart was so close and they had a good collection of RV accessories for us to use. It took me a while to get the hoses connected because our rigid Rhino hose didn't mate well to the flexible extension that I bought. Even though it worked fine, I went back to Camping World to buy a 10' Rhino extension for us to use the next time. I also bought some Lynx Levelers from Walmart that I needed for our Cultus Lake trip last week. For the most part I think we're setup for just about everything now.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Trip Report: Sunnyside Campground Cultus Lake BC

Sunnyside Campground: 2 Nights

The maiden voyage in our Tango RV travel trailer was a great success. There were a lot of "firsts" for us and the kids, but we all had great fun--despite my returning home with a minor concussion and whiplash! More on that later.

We left home on July 1st, Canada Day holiday morning. It took me a while to get hitched up again after only doing for the first time over a week earlier. We finally got on the road around 10:30-ish and went over the Port Mann Bridge to the commercial truck scales to weigh ourselves. After a brief stop in the empty parking lot of an Abbotsford church for lunch, we arrived at Sunnyside Campground in Cultus Lake early in the afternoon.

Despite waiting an hour so that we could get "Twilight" admission to the Cultus Lake Water Slides (4 hours of playtime from 2:30 to closing) it still cost our whole family over $90 to get in. To me, it wasn't worth it because most of the time is spent waiting in lines, but the kids loved it. I went on the Valley of Fear with Kendra and when they told me to keep my chin down and butt off the bottom, I leaned backwards and hit my head going down. I had a headache for the rest of the night and the next day my neck muscles were so sore I could barely turn my head!

Camping at Sunnyside was much more fun. There were lots of trees and a fire pit for us to roast hotdogs and marshmallows over. The kids playground was modern and the local store had just about everything a camper would need. After the water slides, we walked down to the private beach and had a swim there. It was very enjoyable and I can see us going back some day.

It was very interesting walking through the camping area and seeing how different people set up their sites. It gave us ideas for what we wanted to get for our next trip out. Some of the things we want to get is a small axe (for making kindling), a sewer hose support system (to keep it off the ground and angled in the right direction), and some leveling boards because I could not level the trailer without lifting the wheels. I specifically did not buy them for this trip because I knew they were much cheaper in the USA, but I didn't realize the importance of them until we arrived at our camp.
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