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Old 07-23-2011, 05:44 PM   #1
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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 donít 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 ďnavyĒ showers a day, one hair washing a day, and minimal dish washing Ė 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.
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:35 PM   #2
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Great pictures! Sounds like a wonderful trip. Do you have the next outing planned yet?

Great choice for "Living within my means" and camping for one...

2011 Salem Cruise Lite 20RBXL & 2011 Toyota Tundra Dbl Cab
Camping History: 45 Trips / 133 Nights / 3736 Miles
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:01 PM   #3
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Thank you for your positive comment on the pictures. Redfish lake is named after the salmon that turn red when they spawn in the lake after their return journey from the Pacific Ocean.

In late August, we have scheduled a camping trip to Lake Wallowa State Park in Oregon. It is another beautiful area in which to camp. We hope to work in a short trip or two in the Sandpoint area in the interim.

I forgot to mention in my previous post that we also operated the electric awning a couple of times which would also have contributed a bit to the power demand.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:15 AM   #4
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Beautiful country! I'm glad everything went well for you and thank you for sharing your pictures.

Glenn & Beth (Dad & Mom)
David & Audra (16 year old twins)
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:24 PM   #5
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by buckisland1950 View Post
X2!!! Beautiful!!!

Enjoy your new coach!!
Tom and Margaret
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the positive comments. Unfortunately, my rather outdated camera doesnít really do the area justice. It is even more of a jaw-dropper when seen it in person.

Glacier View campground is located at about 6,500 feet above sea level near Stanley, ID. Stanley routinely takes the honor as the coldest town in the U.S. One morning at the campsite, the temperature dropped to 27 degrees F. Fortunately, the motor home was facing east and the windshield/cab acted as a pseudo-greenhouse that warmed things nicely as soon as the sun came up each morning. We never did have to run the furnace. Although cool at night, the daytime temperatures ranged from the high-sixties to mid-seventies. Just be aware that, if you go there, you should plan on packing some warm sleeping duds.

One of the most awesome sights on the trip occurred when I stepped out of the motor home late one night and glanced up at the sky. At the elevation of the campground and with minimal light pollution, the immensity of the heavens and the incredible number and brilliance of the celestial bodies was beyond description. I called my wife outside and we both stood there transfixed by the wonder of it all.

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