Fuel Costs Southern Leg

We made five fuel stops on our way south from Ontario, Canada to the Myakka River Motorcoach Resort in Florida:

  1. Erie, PA
  2. Morgantown, WV
  3. Wytheville, VA
  4. Bowman, SC
  5. Dade City, FL

I had made a rough estimate for our fuel costs. The trip is about 2,400 kilometres or 1,500 miles. The coach can get roughly 7 miles to the gallon which means the trip would require 215 gallons. Given the topography on our route — we had lots of mountains to climb — I thought the miles per gallon estimate would be lower than 7 mpg and I planned on using 250 gallons for the trip.

The average price for diesel at the end of October, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, was $3.355 USD per gallon. Based on my planned usage of 250 gallons, the cost of fuel would be $838.75 USD. I rounded that up to $850 USD or roughly $1,120 CAD.

I wound up putting $1,500 CAD into the budget for diesel fuel in November.

We purchased 238.1463 gallons of diesel although I am sitting on about 75 gallons in the tank at our site. We started the trip with roughly that same amount of fuel so it evens out it terms of overall consumption.

We paid $809.19 USD in fuel costs to get to Florida or roughly $1,060 CAD. Slightly below my estimate and well below our budget.

It looks as though our fuel efficiency was about as expected. We wound up putting on a few hundred miles more than planned and we averaged 6.723 mpg.

I travelled at 59 miles per hour on the Interstates for most of the trip. Coming down on the last day of our southern leg, I increased that speed to 62 miles per hour on the Interstates. However, we had a fair amount of travel time on rural highways and mountain roads. There was also a lot of construction on the roads. All of that would have impacted our fuel consumption.

This information gives me useful insight into planning our leg from Florida to California. We do that drive in February although I hope to avoid buying diesel fuel in California. Diesel prices there are way above the U.S. average at $4.00 or more per gallon.

Myakka River Motorcoach Resort

Look at them awnings! They stayed put until we wanted them to deploy.

After a long 800km drive — almost 10 hours of continuous driving behind the wheel — we pulled into Myakka River Motorcoach Resort just minutes before closing.

They had a special welcome sign just for us at the check-in. A very nice touch to a stunning resort property. Thrilled that we get to spend a month here.

It was late and I did not have much time to take photos but I did snap a few of our site. We face the river with an incredible view.

More details about the park over the next few days.

Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort

We arrived to Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort late yesterday afternoon. Rain followed us the whole way down.

Lorraine went to the office to register while I unhooked our coach. Much to my dismay, we had “lost” one of our tow bar hitch pins.

We had made one, and only one, stop on our drive down from Mountain Falls. And that was at a Pilot in Bowman, South Carolina. Before I started to fuel the coach, I did a quick circle check to make sure everything was fine with the rig. And it was.

I guess I should have checked again before we left.

There was a pretty rough group of people in the lane beside us in a black pickup truck. They were not at the pump itself, more like twenty feet or so behind it. Outside of my visual range.

I really didn’t think much about them. There are rough people throughout Canada and the United States.

I was shocked to see that a hitch pin had been removed from the tow bar. Fortunately, the main locking pin that attaches the tow bar to the baseplate of the car was still in place. I’d hate to think what might have happened if we had lost that pin as we were travelling.

Our mission later this morning is to find some spare pins before we resume our journey south tomorrow.

Hilton Head looks best at night however I did not have my camera with me when we walked through the park last evening.

I did walk through this morning and here are a few shots to share with you.

This park has a lot of vegetation. Trees provide a canopy over much of the area and the landscaping is well developed. Most of the sites are occupied by Class A rigs. Very few Class B or C rigs. Fifth wheels are not permitted.

Some wonderful rigs like this old Prevost. Hard to make out, but the upper shades read: “Marty’s World”.

And a newer Prevost.

And look who’s here? Ryan from sortofhomeless.com. I’ve followed him for a while. And, since Lorraine and I currently do not have a stick and brick property, we can relate to being sort of homeless. Or, as someone has told us, not homeless, home free.

Mountain Falls, North Carolina

After a long driving day, we arrived at Mountain Falls in North Carolina.

We left Stonewall Jackson this morning at 8am and pulled into our site at Mountain Falls just before 5pm. Only one stop at around 11:30am for fuel.

We get to rest here for a couple of nights before making our way to Hilton Head Island.

I think Lorraine is happy to have a bit of a break. I know I am. The last hour or so coming into Mountain Falls was tense.

I think our GPS led us astray and took us down the worst possible roads for a big rig.

Although we had read about the challenging drive into this particular resort.

If you come here, you had better make sure that you can handle your rig on narrow, twisting mountain roads.

The property itself is beautifully maintained. Our site overlooks a par 3 water hole — there is a golf course that winds its way around the resort — and the fall colours are in full display every where you look..

It will be nice to have a bit of a break from the driving tomorrow. A few tasks in the job jar but otherwise a recovery day.

And the awnings?

They stayed put during the drive. More on that story tomorrow.

We Made It

Our first casino camp experience. At the Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania.

After being stranded for almost six weeks, the awning was finally replaced and we left the dealer in Barrie, Ontario yesterday at 4:15pm and arrived at the Casino parking lot around 9:30pm.

Difficult driving conditions for the most part. Heavy rains and heavy traffic all the way down to the Canada – U.S. border.

Despite all my preparation for the border crossing including investment statements, banking statements, utility bills, travel history, inventory of valuables, travel insurance policies, heck even the dog’s medical history, the U.S. customs officer simply took our Nexus cards, asked us how long we were going to be in the U.S. and whether we had anything to declare. Oh, and could I give him the license plate of our toad.

We are now at the Stonewall Jackson State Park, having logged another day of driving. Much easier drive today. No rain and no eye strain. Man is it hard to drive at night with torrential downpours. I could barely make out the lane markings.

The drive itself was uneventful although we did track a few dozen miles with another Class A from Ontario. They were quite enthusiastic and waved energetically as they finally elected to pass us on I-79.

Tomorrow we land at the beautiful Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort in North Carolina where we will be spending a couple of days to get ready for the next leg of the southward trip.

By the way, I found out more about the awning issue that has plagued our motorhome. It seems to be a widespread issue. I’ll post more on the issue in the next few days.

In the meantime, if you are driving a recent model Newmar, you may want to unplug the 110V lines to your Girard awnings while you are traveling in your coach.

Even though we have received a new controller and awning assembly, I think the problem is potentially so severe and widespread that Newmar should do a product recall.

Until then, we are driving with the Girard awnings unplugged.

Better safe than sorry.