Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

My New Adventure Vehicle

Back in August I wrote about my search for a vehicle to replace my Dodge Durango. The Durango was a great vehicle for travel to the Sierra and beyond in all seasons – with four-wheel drive it could get me through snow and dirt/gravel roads, it was large enough to carry a bunch of fellow adventurers, and I could even camp inside. But it sucked gas. I was getting about 13 mpg in normal driving (maybe 14 mpg if I was very careful) and only 15-16 mpg on longer trips.

In the end we settled on a Subaru Outback. I got a nicely equipped model with the smaller non-turbo engine that is supposed to get 22-28 mpg. Guess what? It really does. Typical mileage in normal driving for me is about 25-26 mpg. On longer drives I consistently do get 28 mpg, and sometimes even a bit better than that. On a recent drive from Souther California to the SF Bay Area we actually got better than 29 mpg on the return trip.

I can’t vouch for its performance on dirt and gravel yet, and this winter I haven’t even had a chance to drive in real snow. (I did drive a bit in Seattle snow, but that is a more urban sort of thing.) By all reports it is not going to be as capable as the Durango, but I still think it will be fine for my use. More reports on that later…

Much to my surprise, I even discovered during an Autumn fall color trip to the eastern Sierra that I can sleep in the back of the Outback. With the middle seat down there is just enough room for me. Typically, I would prefer to set up a tent and sleep out in the fresh air, but there are times when I arrive at the end of a longish drive and it is just easier to roll out a sleeping bag and go to sleep.


March 25, 2007 Posted by | Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on My New Adventure Vehicle

Tioga Road Plowing – The Video

I just found a neat little video about the work of the road crew as they plow across the Olmsted Point area above Tenaya Lake: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/olmstedplowing.mov

(Meanwhile, my thoughts are turning towards Death Valley… :-)

March 25, 2007 Posted by | Sierra Nevada | Comments Off on Tioga Road Plowing – The Video

When Will Tioga Road Open?

Spring begins and many of us start to speculate on this years opening date for Tioga Pass Road. The Park Services maintains a web page (Tioga Road Opening and Closing Dates) that offers some guidance, but in the end it depends on a bunch of variables.

According to this record, the earliest date has been April 29 – on two occasions. The opening has also been as late as the beginning of July. I recall driving over the pass on July 8 in 1998, the year when it opened on July 1. It felt more like winter than spring up there. People were still trying to ski is spots, the creeks were running as high as I’ve ever seen, and Tuolumne Meadow was more accurately described as Tuolumne Lake.

Typical opening dates are in May or June. According to the Tioga and Glacier Point Roads Plowing Update page plowing will begin on April 16 this year. This being a drier than average year, I’m guessing that the road might open by mid-May, barring any unforeseen challenges like large rockslides.

March 25, 2007 Posted by | Sierra Nevada | Comments Off on When Will Tioga Road Open?


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