Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Travel Day to Sulphur Louisiana, west of Lake Charles

March 11, 2010.
We woke to a foggy wet morning.  It had stormed a bit overnight.  Our campsite and the campground in general was full of standing water.  The ground had been saturated and there were puddles when we first got to Fontainebleau State Park a week ago.  However, after this new rain it is much worse.

But for us its travel Day! We finished packing up and headed to the dump.  Our sewer capacity holds us for over a week.  The grey tank was full after 3 days and a couple of showers.  I rolled over to the dump station and took care of business taking care to flush the tank with the hose at the dump station.

We headed west out of the park on 190 rolling through Mandeville and eventually to I-12 where we continued west.  As you know, my truck is a 2009 Dodge with the 6.7L diesel and 4.10 differential.  Once on the interstate, I set the 6 speed transmission to lock out 6th gear and put it into Tow Haul Mode.  I set the cruise at 60 mph with my rpms at @2150.  I noticed that my mileage began to climb overtime on the overhead from the 9.3 mpg from the previous tow.  I had read on-line at a dodge forum that the best towing rpm when towing heavy is between 1800-2200.   In addition much over 58 mph and the wind drag kills the mileage.  Previously I was using 6th gear and traveling at 64 mph @ 1700 rpms.  However, at that speed and rpm, I wasn't getting very good mileage per gallon.  Also the transmission would shift down when hitting steep rolling hills.

The roads in Louisiana are rough.  I-10 was no exception.  We passed through Baton Rouge climbing the tall Horace Wilkinson Bridge over the Mississippi River.  The trucks exhaust brake worked as advertised on the downside of this bridge.  We drove over the 18 mile long Basin Bridge and traveled at the posted 55 mph for trucks. The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is the 7th longest bridge in the world and the 6th longest over water. The bridge is located in Louisiana, USA and carries interstate 10 over the Atchafalaya Basin the bridge has a total length of 96,095 feet or 18.2 miles long About 1/3 of the way across the bridge a group of troopers were running laser. 

We climbed the tall steep Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles with no problems.  I'm a little concerned when I travel through tight areas such as a bridge with no shoulders.  We only saw one rest stop on I-10 along our route, so we stopped after about 140 miles at a truck stop to give Maggie and Rico and us a break.

After just over 200 miles, we made it to A+Motel and RV Park a private park in Sulphur, Louisiana just west of Lake Charles and near the Texas border.  

I had hoped to stay at Sam Houston Jones State Park, but a check of Reserve America indicated that park was booked for the weekend.  So I had researched and found that A+ Motel and Rv Park got good reviews.

It's a new RV park with concrete slab roads and sites.  The sites are close together with no shade. 

However, the guests are all spread out.  There's a large shallow concrete retention pond in the center of the RV park that rents as waterfront haaa! 

All in all it is a clean park @ $25 a day (with a Good Sam discount) 50 amps and full hook-ups including wifi.  We picked a large pull through site near an open field for Maggie and Rico. We plan to stay at least through Monday.  Joyce parked her car in an overflow parking space close by.

Okay so back to the mileage.  My overhead indicated I was up to 10. 7 mpg over the 9.3 I started out with.  Now I know the overhead computer reading isn't accurate and I'll need to figure out the actual mileage when I fill up.  But the point is, slower is better and the higher rpm worked as well.  I'm no expert, but I'm learning that with diesel engines, you need to keep the rpms up in the "sweet spot" so that the engine doesn't lug and waste fuel.  I would prefer to tow @ 55 mph but that would be borderline dangerous on the interstate.
Edit:  I fueled the truck and manually figured the fuel mileage at 10.5 m.p.g.  I think that's pretty good for towing our heavy trailer.

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