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Old 11-16-2011, 09:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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2400 mile trip blog

So I'm driving from San Jose CA to Detroit MI over the next 4 days. Taking my Protoge. I wanted to create blog so I can post mileage, pictures, lessons learned...

So anyway my job is moving from San Jose to Detroit. So I have most of my tools, parts I've remoded that I haven't thrown away, a few things from my desk. I also have 50 hours of books on CD.

Two months ago when I started planning this I did an experiment with the car. I drove for an hour on the interstate at 70mph and got 51.3mpg, drove back at 60mph and got 57.1mpg. I did it on a hot day as a "stress" test of the car to see if I thought it would make it. No unusual squeaks, tires/hubs where cool, radiator fan cycled on/off. None of the "stress" test was I P&Ging. Note my normal commute is 5.5 miles, 22 stop lights so I wanted to see how it handled long fast drives.

Now I plan to drive 10-12 hour days and stop at hotels at night. I don't plan on P&G the whole way but I could try and do it 10-20% of the time. Google says 2400 miles. If I average 60mph thats 40 hours. I also have maps so if I see a good frontage road (old route 30) I may get off 80 and P&G some more. I'll do this during the boring parts of the book on CD.

A couple of weeks ago I did the wash/wax/vacume thing on the car. A few pictures are attached (if I can get that to work). I also redid all my wheel farings, grill block, air dam, underbody panel...

My goal 58mpg. 100% over EPA.

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Old 11-16-2011, 10:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's a worthy goal, and I think you can do it, but plan on driving 60 mph, and averaging 55. I'll be cheering you on.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like a heck of a trip!!! So your plannin on tryin to hit 100% WITH the car loaded down with all you got??? That would be a feat for sure. Best of luck and keep us updated, I love reading this stuff!
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You should add in another night on the road, IMO. First, you don't have 12-hours of daylight at this season of the year (and it shortens as you travel north);

San Jose - sunrise 06:49 (dusk 11:03 hours later)
Detroit - sunset 17:08 (10:44 total daylight local)

and you have to contend with time zone changes in the "wrong" direction, a two-hour deficit. Night driving is contraindicated statistically for safety.

What you do have is 48-hours of "drive time" which does not include necessary stops for rest, food and fuel. Take some time to break the trip, daily, into legs of set distances (2-hours or 100-miles) to keep alertness high. Every four hours requires a one-hour break. Best time to fuel car and driver.

White line fever is pretty much unavoidable after [6] hours of daily driving. Doing this kind of driving is what we do as truck drivers. The race is not to the swift, but to the rested and alert. Day One is easy, but each following day increases fatigue . . contraindicated for FE except by cruise control.

By planning to be off of the road 1.5 hours before dark (sunset precedes dark by 30-minutes) you'll give your trip plan the flexibility for accidents, construction, etc. And, if not used in that manner, one can wash the dust off the car, have a nice sit-down meal and lay out all necessities for the next day prior to falling asleep.

Whatever may be, don't travel prior to dawn (30-minutes prior to sunrise) for an early start. And, as corollary, stop well before the sky darkens.

It's all about the pace, the rhythm. FE is fine motor skill application as you know. The NVH of traveling (noise-vibration-harmonics) take it away.

At a 480-mile/day pace one can figure in the rest areas, fuel/food stops and have the room at the end of the day to arrive in full light given no unknown obstacles.

Truck drivers use 50-mph as an inclusive speed to account for stops, etc. And are limited to 11-hours daily of driving. 2400 divided by 50 is 48-hrs, divided by 11-hrs daily = 4.5 days. Consider this at some length, for it's proven by millions of drivers over uncounted miles. An extra night leaves room for the lagniappe I think you desire (if I may).

Gaisma is your daylight hours tool, and US DOT National Traffic is the rough overlay of more specific state links about roads. I imagine you already have a travel weather site.

I navigate via Starbucks, Ambest truckstops, highway rest areas and roadfood.com/ for short side trips for food when unpaid miles are ahead.

Good luck


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Old 11-18-2011, 12:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like great advice from someone with vast experience. But I know I'm going to avoid the roadfood.com site.
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Old 11-18-2011, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds like an epic trip. Hope you have a safe trip, enjoy some of the sights along the way, and post updates/pics here to let us know how it goes.
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Old 11-18-2011, 10:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Update Day 1:
San Jose to Reno. Filled up early day 2 only got 49mpg for the day. Also drove through Reno to Costco. (This one did not have gas so it was a waste of time). Lots of traffic from San Jose to Reno. Only able to EOC down the hill from Truckee. Too much traffic to P&G. All the tape and plastic fairings stayed in place. Going up the hill into Donner summit I cracked the window and put the heat on high to get the radiator fan to cycle. I tried to keep a speed of 60mph most of the way. The SG said 45mph for the tank because of the drive around Reno looking for Costco.

P.S. Left the Harrahs in Reno with $250 more than I entered (minus 4 dollars tip for the 4 beers while playing video poker)
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Old 11-18-2011, 10:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I like the way you fill out your fuel log. The details are informative.
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Day 2: Reno to Salt Lake City. Total milage 548. 53.4mpg. I only P&G about 10% of the time. Too much concentration. Couldn't enjoy my book on CD. I did EOC down any long hill I came accross. I had about 30-45 minutes in a snow storm. Did not stick to the road but left the road wet. Followed a few trucks going 5 under the speed limit. Kept back far enough so I could see the mirrors. I did get off at the Bonneville exit. (Pictures attached). About 1 hour outside of Salt Lake I heard the flap of my drivers side rear wheel fairing. Next Bathroom break tore off whats left of the plastic. Then in the parking lot of the hotel lost half of my under engine bay fairing. (Coroplast held on with 3 zip ties.) Snow came down while at dinner accross the street. Included picture of car before I left this morning. Daylight is short. Not getting as many miles I thought --- adding an extra day to my plans.
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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That's pretty good fuel economy for headlights, heater, wipers, and wet roads.

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Darrell

Boycotting Exxon since 1989, BP since 2010
Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? George Carlin
Mean Green Toaster Machine
49.5 mpg avg over 53,000 miles. 176% of '08 EPA
Best flat drive 94.5 mpg for 10.1 mi
Longest tank 1033 km (642 mi) on 10.56 gal = 60.8 mpg
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