First camping trip in Sunseeker
My wife and I recently returned from our first camping trip in our new 2011 Sunseeker 2300 which is equipped with the Ford V10 engine. The trip encompassed a 937-mile journey from Sandpoint, ID to Redfish Lake (in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, ID) and back. During the trip, the elevation varied from 700 feet at Lewiston, ID to 7,356 feet at Chief Joseph Pass, MT with some 7% grades interspersed along the way. At Redfish Lake, we stayed at the Glacier View campground - highly recommended if you don’t require electric, water, and sewer on site. (Water spigots and flush toilets are available at strategic locations throughout the campground.)
The only manufacturing related problem we encountered was a leaking breather tube connection on the fresh water tank. This was easily corrected (after disassembling the bed!) by tightening the pipe clamp on the tube. I also got a little too up close and personal with an aggressive tree limb that knocked off one of the gutter extenders and scuffed the Eternabond a bit. Other than those incidences, everything went according to plan.
We bought gas three times on the trip. Our gas mileage was 10.1 mpg, 12.0 mpg, and 10.5 mpg as calculated from miles traveled and gallons purchased at each fill up. None of the driving was on a freeway and I rarely drove over 55 mph. Climbing some of the grades, our speed occasionally dropped under 40 mph, but I never recall seeing the tachometer exceed 2,500 rpm. The mileage might have been even better if not for the necessity to pull over fairly often to let other traffic pass. This required re-accelerating to get back up to cruising speed. (On many of the two-lane roads we were traveling, Idaho law requires slower moving vehicles to allow other vehicles to pass when three of them are following.)
During our five-day stay at Glacier View, we connected a recently purchased Coleman 55W solar charger to our coach batteries (two Everstart Maxx Marine 95 group 29, 230 AH total). With the exception of one cloudy day, the others were sunny. Using this setup, we were able to keep the batteries charged without generator usage, although this necessitated moving the panels occasionally to maximize the angle with the sun. The voltage on the batteries was always 12.5 to 12.7 at the end of the day. Admittedly, our electrical demands were modest compared to what others may experience. They consisted only of parasitic draws from the propane detector and refrigerator control panel, water pump usage (two “navy” showers a day, one hair washing a day, and minimal dish washing – we use disposable plates and bowls and separate water dispensers for our drinking/cooking and hand washing), and limited use of coach lights (all LED). Nonetheless, this is typical of the power demands when we camp and we were pleasantly surprised at how well the solar charging system met those demands.
All in all, the trip was a great success. The Sunseeker handled very well, the gas mileage was better than expected, the solar charger did its job, and the scenery was beyond magnificent.