Goin' South

Back in October, I had the opportunity to take mini dee on a trip to the dells, which was the first time I had taken her for a long drive. But I did not get a chance to fully document the important details of how mini dee handled the long trip. Other than the semi frequent ride into Chicago, mini dee has not had many chances to test her endurance for the long haul... Until this weekend!

My girlfriend is currently going to college in Kentucky (don't ask why because I am not sure either) and I was planning to go visit her and to see how she lives it that tiny little dorm of hers. I requested Friday and Monday off from work so that we could spend the better part of the weekend together. And knowing that she would be swamped with homework, I used the down-time start writing this up and gather some details about the drive down.

Right of the bat, this is probably the best statistic that most people care about for those long drives. I did attempt to calculate the mpg to the trip to the dells, but I estimated that I did about 30 mpg with my top speed cruising just below 70 mph. On this trip, I attempted to go a bit faster, hovering at about 74 mph, to see if my mpg would be dramatically less. Well, big surprise, it did. On the way down, the OBC registered 28.3 mpg and at the pump I calculated 28.05 mpg.

This trip would ultimately tack on at least a thousand miles to the odometer so I was careful to keep track over every mile. On the way down I had to stop for gas once, having driven only 311 miles and needing a fill-up to make it the rest of the way. So on the way back home, I decided I would try to make it on one tank. That's 429 miles from gas station to gas station. This time I just reduced my cruising speed from 74 mph down to 69 mph. And what a difference! After the entire trip, the OBC registered 35.1 mpg and I calculated 35.06 mpg.

On Board Computer Accuracy:
I was concerned a bit that the on board computer (OBC) would spit out some numbers that were not at all too accurate. After reading some commentaries on the subject, it seemed that the OBC was not as reliable as the good ole fashion gas receipt and trip meter. Just to be safe, documented both what the OBC stated and my calculations at the pump. And to my surprise these figures were right on target with each other. The average mpg was within .2 mpg which is certainly acceptable for my standards.
Since I have had the car, I usually keep the digital readout at the tachometer set to the current speed, eventhough I have the very large analog speedometer in the middle of my dash. And the readout between the two sources have always been right on. I am happy to say the average mpg readout is very accurate as well.
As for the other readouts of the OBC, in my mind, they are simply for novelty. I have no way to test their accuracy but its is nice to see the average speed, range, and continuous readouts for mpg. But using this info seems to be primarily for show and not for accurate readouts. After all I have driven quite a distance with my range number at zero... Although I do not recommend it due to the high stress it evokes.

The Next Day:
After seven hours for constant driving and about an hour of local driving, mini dee needed her rest. There was quite a collection of road bugs that were sacrificed as well. So I let her rest over night. The next day while in Kentucky, I turned the ignition and she gave a little sputter. I think it has to do with the fact that I have the two 10" subwofers in the boot and having the music blasting for so long might have taken its toll on the battery. But the next time I turned her on, she was fine. Even when I got home, after the 8 hour trip back, I let her sit overnight, the next day she was ready to go, no sputtering.

The Locals:
It didn't take long to get a feel of what daily life was like in Kentucky. Being from the Chicago area, it was rather odd to see a number of buggies, dirt bikes and atv's roaming the streets as regular transport vehicles. There was also an overwhelming number of pick up trucks, with the token farm dog in the bed.

And being smack dab in the middle of the bible belt, cars like this were all too common. This purple el camino (Spanish for 'the road') was particularly depressing. It had the obnoxious windshield decals spelling out 'plum crazy' in the front and a Chevy logo with a cross in the back. I wouldn't be surprised if a purple clad bible would be found in the glove box. And of course, this guy lives in the same building as my girlfriend. But you gotta love the south and all their deep fried goodness. :-)

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