My road trip started on a sunny day outside Plant 1 in Columbus, Indiana - the location of Cummins’ Headquarters.
I packed up all my stuff for my first camping adventure since I was a kid, and headed west. At 5640 lbs fully loaded and with the aerodynamics of a small tool shed, the R2.8 powered Landrover Discovery 1 was easily able to cruise at 70 mph across the country, and get 17 mpg while doing it.
The first stop was Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, AZ - The Disco and I were to work the Cummins booth. Overland Expo is always a great show and we were able to speak to a lot of existing or potentially new Cummins Repower R2.8 owners, but by Sunday, I was ready to hit the road.
I headed north out of Flagstaff to cross the Utah state line before nightfall, and camped for the night in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
If you’ve never been to the sand dunes, I recommend a visit longer than mine – and be sure to bring your 4-wheeler or side-by-side.
My stay at the Dunes was short, and I was off to Zion National Park for two days of hiking and camping. I drove through the East Entrance in order to catch a glimpse of the “entire” park and spent the rest of the day down in the Canyon. While the Canyon is the busiest section of the park, it still provides some amazing views, and you can see why Zion is the 3rd most visited National Park in the Country (beat out only by the Great Smokey Mountains and Grand Canyon).
The next day I decided to avoid the crowds and spend some time on the Kolob Terrace, which is accessed via a 20-mile scenic drive up into the higher elevations of the park. My hike led me to an amazing 360° vista, where you can start seeing the vastness of the park below you. Notes for next time – stay at the Lava Point Camp ground (another hidden gem at the top of Kolob Terrace), and plan on hiking (wading?) the Narrows.
My trip continued across the deserts of Nevada, where I encountered a group of Defenders also on a trip post-Expo. We chatted while stopped at the Alien Diner on the Extraterrestrial Highway, but then parted ways as I continued into the mountains and they set off to explore the desert floor.
Camp was set up overlooking a mountain lake at 8000 ft elevation, which made for a chilly nights sleep but some amazing views in the morning. Breakfast and coffee, and it was time to hit the road.
The camping spot at June Lake sat just outside the east entrance of Yosemite National Park, so that’s where I headed. Climbing the grades into the park again allowed access to some of the lesser trafficked hiking trails.
I took a break from driving to hike up to Dog Lake and then the top of Lambert Dome. It was a fairly strenuous hike when combining the elevation with the steep grade, but the views were well worth the sweat and sunburn (the sun is much stronger at 10,000 ft!)
After a small snafu with a snap ring in the shifter required a complete disassembly of the center console (which seems to be something I have to do on every cross country trip, regardless of vehicle or issue) the mountains were behind me and I was headed towards the coast. I stopped outside of San Francisco to visit my sister where she took me on a rainy hike through the redwoods. Soaked feet and tired bodies brought us back to the main house for a warm fire and a home cooked meal.
The clouds broke the day of my departure, which allowed for a pleasant drive down the coast to meet up with Fred. I distracted him from Ultimate Adventure prep long enough to put the Landrover’s center console back together and take it (and the doggos) to Pismo beach for Memorial Day.
As I sit at the airport awaiting my flight back home to Indiana, I’m happy to be out of the driver’s seat but grateful for all the adventures I was able to go on over the last 2 weeks. I accumulated over 3000 miles on the odometer, countless hours of validation on updates to the R2.8 calibration (look for an announcement later this summer), and memories to last a lifetime. This trip makes me even more excited looking ahead to Cummins Cruise 2018!
Fuel Economy Summary:
Indiana to Flagstaff : 17 mpg
Flagstaff to Zion: 19.6 mpg
Zion to Yosemite: 18.7 mpg
Yosemite to Pismo Beach: 20 mpg