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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Turns out getting home from Idaho was just the beginning for me. My owners had no intention of letting the grass grow beneath my tires. With my non-break-in of 500 miles only a few hundred miles behind me, I was loaded up, pointed South and told to run for the border! And you know what? I didn’t stop until I’d reached California!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m Gracie, a 2014 Crew Cab Laramie 4wd EcoDiesel. My owners saw fit to adorn me with Prairie Pearl paint, a brown and tan interior and a spanky Roll-X tonneau from BAK Industries. Deep down in my oily bits, I sport a pretty standard 3.55 rear diff, allowing me to impress when MPGs are calculated.





While so many others were celebrating the 4th, I was planning my assault on the I5 towards Medford, OR. My owners needed to meet friends on the 6th there, so we’d be long-hauling it for the day on the 5th to get to our hotel – well, “their” hotel, as I would surely spend the night in the parking lot…no one ever invites the truck in for the night. LOL

Keeping the theme of “mileage piling”, July 6th would see us heading Northeast towards Crater Lake, then North to Bend, where we’d swing West for the night in Portland, OR so we could “keep it weird” for a night.

The day July 4th was spent getting ready. Clothes packed, dog cage secured in my back seat (and tested, much to the delight of the furry little crap machines), etc.

And so it was on the morning of July 5th, a bright and sunny day in Seattle, I was let loose. Let loose to venture onto the highways and biways of America. No shock then that the first stop I had to make, was for fuel! 10 minutes into the adventure and I was sucking down gallons of kerosene at the local Shell station.

If you’ve never traveled the I5 freeway down the West coast, here’s is what you’re missing. Absolutely nothing! I passes city after city, town after town and the single most interesting thing I can report was that my owners restrained themselves enough to not stop at Cabela’s outside Lacey, WA this time!

We were making good time, though. Traffic was light, this being the middle of the long weekend, and for the first 350-ish miles I returned a stellar fuel economy of almost 32 mpg! I wasn’t surprised, of course, knowing I’m easily capable of this when the conditions are right, but my owners were chuckling to themselves in my sumptuous cabin. I think I may have even heard some cackling…



Stops were few and far between and every one was to enable those bone bags I was hauling around a chance to take a bio break. Sheesh…lightweights!

Just a bit before hitting Medford and our hotel for the night, my owners (we’ll call “him” the Donkey Driver and “her” the Ass’s Wife) decided to pull into a Pilot. It’s a truck stop, but also caters to the locals. Despite all my systems suggesting I did not need anything, Donkey Driver and the entourage insisted on stopping. The adults disappeared inside the store, did only Lord knows what, and returned with a gift for me! A 12v cooler! Next it was time to let the mutts drag their nethers on the ground and water the parking lot. Better the asphalt than me, I figured!

Finely feeling the gentle caress of Donkey Driver’s finger on my go-go button, I fired up my 3 litres of potential and set towards getting myself back on the road. A girl gets into a rhythm on the road and stopping for breaks can knock you off your game. I was keen to get back! And yet, it was not meant to be. For what awaited me was the most embarrassing moment of my existence since my naked chassis was in full view on that scandalous assembly line in Warren, MI! I was stunned! I wanted to throw check engine lights, do a regen and start puffin smoke. I was pissed. Hadn’t I been a good girl? Hauling your mutts and yourselves around? And you subject me to THIS?! But I was powerless. The “loose nut behind the wheel” was, ultimately, in control. So with a grace I didn’t feel, I rolled forward…onto the scale! Seems Donkey Driver was keen to pay the 10 bucks to see what I weighed. Embarrassing for a gal, no?

Stepping outside myself for a minute, I noticed a couple things. First, those scales are damn big. Meant for 18 wheelers, my length was dwarfed by the scale. Then came the confusion about how to activate it all. Naturally, built for big rigs, the button to start the process was located almost 4 feet OVER my cab. Donkey Driver had to stand on my sill and stretch up to reach the button. He managed and after a couple quick questions were answered, he was told to come inside for the grim details.



6560 pounds. Now, I knew I was no lightweight. But dayum! 3 and one quarter TONS! Safe to say I won’t get blown over in a stiff breeze. I suspect I’m rated to a category 5 hurricane for stability…LOL

Yet, for all that “presence”, I was capable of some serious fuel economy, as I’d shown to this point. Alas, it was time to make time, so dawdling came to an end, merging onto the freeway with my speedo freewheeling upwards and my “diesel pedal” as one with the Husky Weatherbeater in the driver’s footwell! What a run the last 100+ miles were! CANNONBALL!

Banzai run into Medford was fun, and really blew the stink off. I proved I could pass everyone AND the gas station, while remaining comfortable, confident and capable of crushing a staggering number of bugs.

My navigation made short work of finding our hotel, and after a bit of around town driving that night, my daily tally for fuel economy rang in at just over 26 MPG average. Solid for a gal of my, ummm…size.

Sunday saw us up bright and early, determined to meet friends for lunch at 11:30am. But, the California border was alluringly close. Could we do it? HELL YEAH! So, after a hurried check out and packing, I stopped at a local station to top up. Then it was a blast over the mountains to hit the Cali border! So far I’d been in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Now I was about to collect California under my Goodyears, and next month I’m told we’re going to Alaska via British Columbia! I’ll have driven in every state and province on the West coast within 5 weeks of meeting my new owners! What more could an EcoDiesel ask for?!

Took almost no time to crest the mountains and the Siskiyou Pass at 4310 feet. Thanksfully, just across the border in California, there is a wide space for turning around. Well, for authorized vehicles. Donkey Driver authorized me, so I went for it, looping back onto the highway and scooting back up the hill towards lunch back in Medford.



Now I wouldn’t say fuel economy suffered, as we still managed a respectable 24 MPG running up and down these hills, but hardly my best showing, I’ll admit.

Lunch was hot and boring. I was left to idle (literally and figuratively) with only the ice cold air chilling the interior, and the mutts, to occupy me…and the dogs slept. Thankfully, lunch was short and we were on the hunt for fuel again.

After filling my 26 gallons to the brim, we started the trek to Crater Lake. The drive gets progressively better and better, though on a bust day I could see how you’d get stuck sucking RV-exhaust for a long time. Passing zones were well spaced out, though what we did encounter was liberally used, giving my 8 speeds a workout and tempting me to throw up some un-diesel like fuel economy numbers.

I did stop for a couple pictures amongst the redwoods, though, which make me feel pretty good about myself. I might weigh 6500 pounds, but those trees were massive! I felt positively svelte!







The lake itself was breathtaking, though I was forced to wait in the “RV parking” while my humans waddled around snapping picks. Great destination, but after a short time, I was commanded by my navigation to make tracks towards Bend, OR. And thus a blast on the back roads ensued, causing me to consume fuel at an unlady-like rate. Still, I’m an EcoDiesel, so “bad” is relative. I was returning a steady 23 – 25 MPGs while being flogged in the mountains. No one was complaining.









After a few minutes rest in Bend, where three different people stopped to oogle me, and ask Donkey Driver questions, we turned West-ish to our night in Portland. Here I was, 170 miles from my night’s rest and already feeling the weird from Portland.

Now this run was going to push me. Through the mountains, at night. Fuel economy was a secondary concern to keeping a solid average MPH to reach our hotel at a reasonable hour. Time for a party trick! Auto headlights, ON. Highbeams, ENGAGED. Auto highbeam dimming, ACTIVATED. Bring on the traffic. I’m amazed at the technology I come with. Rain sensing wipers, auto dimming high beams, air suspension, active shutters in my grill, an 8 speed transmission. There is no way around it – I rock!

Soon enough, it was placed in a swanky underground garage for the night while the critters and their humans retired to some posh suite in their hotel. Morning would come pretty soon as no amount of beating this mule got us into town before 11:30 pm.

The next day, Monday, was spent mostly wandering around town. I explored Portland’s downtown core, crept around parking lots, only to realize I wasn’t welcome because all the spots – while empty – were reserved for monthly parkers. Luck shone on me, however, and I found a quiet street corner to relax on while Donkey Driver did some shopping. The Ass’s Wife was at a business lunch, and while waiting for that to wrap up, I did some modeling on the street.



We were finally ready to blow out of Portland around 4pm, which dropped us smack into the middle of rush hour. Traffic there sucks, but I kept my cool, kept everyone comfy and soothed jangled nerves with my satellite radio. On our way out of town, we ended up behind a truck from Staples, bolding claiming it was saving the planet (my words, not his).



The run home was uneventful. Slabbing it while listening to country music and enjoying the flow-of-the-road. And thus, after slipping 1018 miles under my radials, I pulled into my driveway. Bug splattered, hot and ready to keep going, I knew I’d found kindred spirits in Donkey Driver, the Ass’s Wife, Boca and Diva (the mutts). Road tripping is in my brake fluid! I live for the open road. I look great around town and keep everyone comfortable and cool. For my total thousand mile trip, I averaged 25.7 MPG, including the work in the mountains and 80 MPH highway runs. Pretty damn good, IMO. And no, I don’t “hand calc”…I’m a f**king truck. The EVIC works just fine for my needs. ;)



Along the way, I revealed a neat trick to Donkey Driver. How to get the speed your transmission is in to show on the EVIC. As you're driving, you simply push the "Gear -" button once. It'll show up next to the gear selector portion on the dash. Press "Gear+" until you get to "8" and the trans will show you it's gear as it moves up and down. Leaving it in "7", for example, seems to limit the trans and it won't shift above 7th gear. Press the "Gear +" button while "8" is showing turns off the display. The display defaults to "invisible" upon start up, too.



Next month will see me on a cattle ranch in Northern British Columbia and taking a quick run to Alaska to roll in their mud a bit. I love my life as a truck!
 

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Fun trip report! :D Next time you are through Bend I'll buy you a local brew. If Gracie doesn't mind.

When traveling in Oregon you can often use the state truck scales seen along many highways for free. If it is a manned station, you can use them only if closed. If it is unmanned you can use it any time it is active. There are 3 manned and 1 unmanned station within 30 miles of home and they are available over half the time I pass by. I can measure each axle and the total truck in a couple of minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Fun trip report! :D Next time you are through Bend I'll buy you a local brew. If Gracie doesn't mind.

When traveling in Oregon you can often use the state truck scales seen along many highways for free. If it is a manned station, you can use them only if closed. If it is unmanned you can use it any time it is active. There are 3 manned and 1 unmanned station within 30 miles of home and they are available over half the time I pass by. I can measure each axle and the total truck in a couple of minutes.
You know, I was eyeballing those scales and that thought had crossed my mind...not about using the scales of course, but about getting someone to buy me beer... ;)
 

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Haha great thread! Nice giving it from the trucks perspective!
 

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With your Roll-x cover how much water gets in around the tailgate? I got one and they don't seem to have a very good seal around the tailgate. I contacted Bak and they told me that the Roll-x doesn't come with the seal at the end of the cover anymore. We had a bit of rain the other night and in the morning I had a good amount of water in the bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
With your Roll-x cover how much water gets in around the tailgate? I got one and they don't seem to have a very good seal around the tailgate. I contacted Bak and they told me that the Roll-x doesn't come with the seal at the end of the cover anymore. We had a bit of rain the other night and in the morning I had a good amount of water in the bed.
Very little when I washed it, but I wasn't directing water in a manner that would force water under there. Frankly, I'm not worried about it. The bed of a truck isn't meant to be waterproof and adding a cover like this won't make it so. These covers simply act to keep most of the water out, but their most important job is, IMO, security. This one in particular is locked down when the tailgate is locked, so as secure as I can reasonably expect it to be.

When I have something that needs to stay dry, I carry it where I know it'll stay dry - in the cab.
 

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I'm definitely not expecting 100% waterproof, but with the lip on the tailgate that sticks up I am concerned with water actually being funneled in. If I throw some luggage in the back I don't want it to be soaked driving down the road. Yes security is probably the number one reason for a hard cover, but keeping things reasonably dry is pretty high up there as well. I wouldn't put a computer or something like that in the back when it's raining for sure, but I'd like my suitcases or camping gear to be decently dry.
I had a Bakflip on my last truck and it did a great job of sealing the bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Look for some videos showing the airflow patterns over modern trucks. You'll note that most air flows from the top of the cab to down behind the tailgate. Thus, unless rain is driving it at an angle while the truck is stopped, its much less of an issue than folks like to think. While in motion, even in heavy rain, its very difficult for rain to get into that small space.

Now, that said.................

It has occurred to me, as an added layer of anality, I could add some rubber along the bottom of the trailing edge of the cover - the metal lip that sits just above the plastic cap on the tailgate. Get it right and it'll seal up nicely. :)
 

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Look for some videos showing the airflow patterns over modern trucks. You'll note that most air flows from the top of the cab to down behind the tailgate. Thus, unless rain is driving it at an angle while the truck is stopped, its much less of an issue than folks like to think. While in motion, even in heavy rain, its very difficult for rain to get into that small space.

Now, that said.................

It has occurred to me, as an added layer of anality, I could add some rubber along the bottom of the trailing edge of the cover - the metal lip that sits just above the plastic cap on the tailgate. Get it right and it'll seal up nicely. :)
I'm not really concerned about the water while driving. Like you said the airflow takes care of that, but its when parked for the night or something that I could see a problem.

The Roll-x used to have a weather seal that sat on the top of the tailgate. I called Bak when I saw that mine didn't and they said that the new ones don't have that anymore. It makes it nice because now you don't have to worry about closing the tailgate before latching the cover, but it makes me concerned about the water coming in.

It is what it is I suppose. I'll have to wait till I actually get a decent rain storm to see if my concerns have any merit at all.
 
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