2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Northern California Road Trip Part 2
November 4, 2014
The first leg of my road trip in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was easy. I went 450 miles in eight hours without any discomfort. Day two in Nevada City, I ran errands and drove over the rolling hills near Tahoe National Forest. At this point, I was about 600 miles into my trip and things were going very well, but the most painful miles were yet to come.
On day three, I headed to an 8+ mile obstacle course race called Spartan Super in Rancho Murieta, CA. Morning weather was wet, but the Ram's rain-sensing wipers took it in stride. The wiper speed was well-regulated and the wipers never came on when the windshield was dry.
Here's a short recap of the Spartan race: It rained. There was lots of mud. We lifted heavy things and put them back down again. Many bananas were eaten. Medals were given out.
After completing the race, I cleaned up, washed off as much dirt as I could with a hose and loaded my gear into the truck. With another obstacle course to run in less than 24 hours, nearly 500 miles away, I needed to get on the road quickly.
Before I left town, I fueled up the truck and set two new records. I had gone 700.1 miles on one tank of fuel, which worked out to 27.8 miles per gallon. This is the first time we've surpassed the EPA's 27 mpg highway rating for the 4WD EcoDiesel, and it beat the last mileage record (607) by nearly 100 miles.
Sure, 80% of those miles were on the highway with no real weight on board, but the Ram also did 150-ish city miles during that tank. It's also worth noting that the Ram spent over an hour idling as I inched along, waiting to get into the parking lot of the Spartan Race. It's not impossible to think, that with a bit of hypermiling, this truck is capable of doing 800-850 miles between fill-ups.
Next stop: Tough Mudder in Temecula, CA. For pain relief, I brought my Shiatsu Massage Pillow and a heating pad along for this second leg of the journey. The 115-volt plug up front in the Ram could handle either device, so I alternated between 20-minute massages for my back and 20 minutes of heat for my worn-out knee. The seat heaters in the Ram would've been just fine if I wanted to heat my back and my bum, but this was a whole different level of comfort.
Eight hours and countless massage cycles later, I arrived in Temecula. At this point, I had gone 474 miles and decided to stop for fuel. Using the same strategy I had along the first leg of the trip, I had set cruise control around 70 mph and stayed mostly in the center lanes. Despite using air conditioning and the dashboard outlet the entire way, I broke the truck's mileage record for the second time that day: 27.9 mpg.
After that small victory (and a shower) I settled in for the night, with eight hours to go before the start of my next event.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 15,748 miles