2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Oregon Road Trip, The Coast
December 11, 2014
Regular readers of the escapades of our long-term test fleet are well aware of my semi-regular forays north to my parents' place on the stunning Oregon coast. This time our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel got the nod. This choice wasn't much of a choice because I had two additional objectives beyond visiting Mom and Dad and spending Thanksgiving with my wife's family over in Bend, Oregon.
I needed to stop at the University of Oregon in Eugene to load up my eldest daughter's dorm room. The Toyota Highlander could have handled that, but I also volunteered to tow a racecar back to southern California for a co-worker. How could I not? He happened to buy his rally-prepped Subaru Impreza 2.5RS from a guy that lived no more than five miles from where we'd be devouring our turkey.
This first leg was the empty-truck portion of the trip. We started in Orange County and headed up Interstate 5 past Sacramento as far as Williams, where we cut over and passed by Clear Lake on the way to Highway 101 near Ukiah. From there it was 101 north all the way through some of the most beautiful coastal Redwood forests in the world to the Oregon border. My parents' place is only 20 miles farther up the road near the Pistol River.
Early on, my wife and daughter fell in love with the truck. They were all about the highway ride, the space — and the seat heaters. Sarah, my youngest daughter, took little time in assigning the Big Red Truck a name: Clifford. Ask your kids.
We made our first fuel stop for more diesel #2 some 583 miles into the trip in Willits, California, where we added 24.0 gallons of the stuff. I wasn't that disappointed with the 24.3 mpg result because we'd been moving right along and at times there had been a stiff headwind. It was not one of my most economical performances.
We paused awhile in Eureka, California to grab a snack and take a gander at some amazing homes built by lumber magnates long ago. These turn-of-the-last-century tycoons were apparently keen to demonstrate what could be done with their wood.
Right on cue, it started to rain when we rolled across the border. But the southern California sun, smog (and drought) had done a number on the Ram's factory wiper blades. So I pointed the Ram at an auto parts store for some industrial strength Oregon-spec ones. Throughout the remainder of the trip I would enjoy a clear windshield despite experiencing 45 of the 50 British words for rain and come to seriously appreciate the Ram's well-sorted adjustable rain-sensing wiper system. Regular wipers will never again suffice.
We arrived after sundown with a half-tank of the Willits diesel left over after covering a total of 848 miles since we left home. As pleasant as the trip in the Ram had been, it was good to be stationary at my parent's place for a few days. Their hilltop ocean view is unmatched.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 19,374 miles