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  • Westbound Wanderers, Day 4: Arkansas and Missouri

Westbound Wanderers, Day 4: Arkansas and Missouri

Did We Almost Run Out of Fuel?

May 27, 2018
Photographers: Jason Gonderman, Monica Gonderman
Photo 2/32   |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 4 32

Day 1 - Getting Keys to the Denali

Day 2 - The Denali's Price Tag...

Day 3 - We Head South Before West...
Photo 3/32   |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 4 3

The first priority of the day was a visit to the Waffle House, as one of the travelers had never been to one. Satisfied with a twinge of regret, we hit the road to get out of Nashville before filling up. The Low Fuel light came on some 25 miles into our journey, indicating we had 70 miles of range remaining. At 50 miles, it quit counting down and just said Low. It was during this time that we also noticed the truck was beginning an exhaust regeneration cycle, felt by a twinge of sluggishness and a dive of the indicated fuel economy into single digits. We pulled off at the next exit and proceeded to put in a hair over 35 gallons of diesel. Interestingly, we have a 36-gallon tank. That was cutting it way closer than we thought, and wouldn’t it be wild if we look back on this fill-up as a type of record. Perhaps the regen cycle burned more fuel than predicted? We’ll keep an eye on how much fuel we put in during our next stops. For now, we’ll be careful how deep we bury the needle. The truck indicated 18.8 mpg and the actual was 18.79. Even though we doubt every fill-up will be that spot-on between the dashboard indicated and actual, we are pleased with that economy for a brand new truck.

During the fuel stop, our truck’s twin pulled in to the other side of the pump. Minus the type of tonneau and interior color, it was an identical truck to our 2018 Denali HD, down to the paint color. The owner had gotten it on Wednesday, and at 400 miles, this was its first fill up as well. We got a good laugh out of the irony of such occurrence, and after a quick carwash, bid farewell to the truck’s clone.

Photo 4/32   |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 4 6
Photo 5/32   |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 4 15
We went to Memphis because we wanted to see Elvis’s Graceland, which is his giant 14-acre estate and mansion. The area was quite busy with tourists, probably even more so being Memorial Day weekend. We wanted to visit the gift shop, but with a 10-dollar parking fee to get in the gates, we settled on a photo or two and checked it off our list.
Photo 10/32   |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 4 26
Right after crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas, we heard a loud pop, kind of like a pressurized plastic bottle. We shrugged it off for a few seconds before realizing the windshield had taken a rock or something to the passenger side corner, resulting in a chipped windshield. If you’ve had this happen, you know the crisp sound, even if it takes a few seconds to process it. Our hearts skipped a beat when we found the damage, but luckily it did not go through and it’s held steady.
Around dusk we ran in to some more fun weather. We were right on the edge of a mean looking storm with vibrant black clouds and occasional lightning flashes. We seemed to stay out of its direct fury, which was disappointing but probably for the better. It wasn’t until after it was dark that we encountered pockets of heavy rain that cleared up by the time we reached the night’s hotel near Branson, Missouri.
Photo 14/32   |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 4 16

Route: Nashville, Tennessee to Branson, Missouri via Memphis

Odometer (beginning of day): 822 miles

Odometer (end of day): 1340 miles

Total miles traveled: 518 miles

Truck observations: Low fuel light finally came on (we still haven’t stopped for fuel at all); no rear air vents; first sign of the truck entering an exhaust regeneration cycle at 841 miles—instant economy down to 7-8 mpg on freeway at 70 mph; fuel range countdown indicator illuminates at 70 miles and switches to Low at 50 miles; rock chips windshield

Roadtrip observations: We find our twin at the gas station in Nashville; first Waffle House visit for one of the pilots; we find some big Cummins engines on the road; visit Elvis' Graceland

Road conditions: Freeway; windy, hilly two-lane roads

Weather conditions: Partly cloudy turns to rain by 1:30; bordered a huge storm for some PM rain and thunderstorms

Fuel stop 1 (location): South Nashville, Tennessee

Indicated average fuel economy: 18.8 mpg

Average speed: 50 mph

Miles: 658.4

Gallons: 35.047

Price per gallon: $3.19

Price: $112.11

Actual fuel economy: 18.79 mpg

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