Mammoth Lakes to Home - 2009 Ford Flex Road Trip, Stage 7 Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Road Trip, Stage 7: Mammoth Lakes to Home

August 22, 2009


After nearly two weeks on the road in our 2009 Ford Flex, we decided to splurge and spend the last two nights in one of Mammoth's swankiest hotels -- the Westin Monache.

Great minds think alike, apparently, and we were joined by another Flex (an SEL) in the check-out queue.

The run from Mammoth to our home in Orange County is mostly downhill through the desert, so we expected this run to produce the best MPG yet.

But we haven't been seeing the same 25 and 26 mpg figures that we saw last winter. Why?

Well, unlike our winter trip, we've made fewer long uninterrupted runs -- none, actually. Every tank of gas has included side trips to places like Virginia City and the Bodie ghost town. There have also been significant doses of city driving, like in Reno and Bend.


Today was no different, as we decided to stop at a place I've heard about since high school and driven past many times: the remnants of a WWII internment camp called Manzanar.

Manzanar was one of about a dozen similar camps where 110,000 Japanese-Americans were confined after being forced by the US Army to abandon their homes on the west coast of the United States after Pearl Harbor. Manzanar held 10,000 adults and children between 1942 and 1944, but all that remains today is s single auditorium-sized building (the guard shack has been rebuilt) and a bunch of concrete foundations that were once the barracks.

There's an auto tour that winds through the grounds, and we spent some minutes idling around the unpaved perimeter roads in the Flex.

The elevated summer tempeartures (it was 102 degrees here at Manzanar) have surely been a contributing factor in the reduced mileage on the latter half of this trip, and the triple-zone auto A/C system in our Flex has been hard at work.

Despite the conditions and the stops, today's fuel economy was the best we've seen over the past two weeks.


But, as usual, the 26.2 mpg displayed on the Flex's on-board display proved to be a little optimistic. In reality, the Flex drank 13.24 gallons of unleaded after driving 325.3 miles. That works out to 24.6 mpg, a figure that still bests our Flex's EPA highway rating of 24 mpg.

It was a great trip, and the Flex, yet again, proved its worth as a family hauler.

For now, we have to unpack and deal with 2,500 miles of accumulated dust and bugs. I'll give it a wash and summarize things on Monday.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 31671.5 miles

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