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I just got back from a long road trip from Florida to the New England area. I took the 96 G Voyager and put a bit over 4000 miles on it, taking it from 209,000 to 213,000 (approx). My first day was the most dramatic. Not only were the temperatures scorching on June 29 as I went through the Carolinas and Virginia, but there were some huge storms that went through when I was camped up in the Shennadoah National Park that night. When I got up the next morning there was a large tree down in front of my van and a small one down behind it. As I walked around the campsite, I saw damaged campers and tents that had blown down. People took refuge in the restrooms for protection. I ended up being trapped in the Park until about noon since Skyline Drive was blocked with downed trees. I heard of no injuries in the area that I was in and later, I heard that there were millions of people without electricity, especially in the DC area. When I finally got out, I had a tough time getting gas because with no power the pumps would not work. I finally got gas in Elkton, VA and the van fuel gauge had been on empty for the past 20 miles. It took 19.8 gallons! What a day that was.

Anyhow, I hiked another 180 miles on the Appalachian Trail and now have all of Massachusetts and 3/4 of Vermont complete. I have about 450 miles to go to finish the trail with the toughest part; the White Mountains, to come.

I was very happy with how the 96 van performed. These (newer mini's) are certainly one of the more comfortable vehicles to drive on a long trip. I averaged about 20.5 to 21.5 MPG with the 3.0, 3 speed engine. Of course most of this was highway mileage, but we did take a few side trips through the forests and back roads. The AC performed fairly well in 105 to 110 degree temps. Thankfully the weather was a bit cooler in New England, especially in New Hampshire were it was really pleasent.

Now it is back to the regular grind, but overall, the vacation was super nice.
 

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John - I'm sure you know this by now, but you endured a "derecho". That very evening my son had just completed playing in a American Legion game in Louisa (not too far from where you were at). The game had barely ended and they had just loaded up when the storm hit. The DC area had 1.3 million customers without power - that translates to about 3-4 million. We lost power at my house at 10:50 pm on that Friday and it wasn't restored until 6:30 pm Monday (about 65 hours).

Glad you are okay - my wife was with my son at his game and she said it was the nastiest storm she'd ever endured outside of a hurricane. In fact, the damage was the worst in the state outside of an actual hurricane. Some areas didn't see power restored for over a week. I ended up using about $25 worth of fuel running our generator for 3-4 hours at a time to keep our freezer cold (had over $200 worth of food in them).

Which campsite did you stay while in Shenandoah? We've often picnic'd in The Meadows. The park is about a 2 1/2 hour ride from our house though it's been about 2-3 years since we visited the park - been very busy watching my son play baseball (varsity and American Legion and now about to start JUCO ball).
 

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Doug, I camped at Loft Mountain that night which is the first campsite N of of the Southern entrance (about 25 miles up). On our return trip in late July my wife was with me (she flew up later) and we also camped in the same site. I talked to the lady running the campstore, and she said that the store did not get power back for 10 days. The Wayside down on the Skyline where the gas pump is, was out of power for 4 days. I'm lucky I made it out of the park with the little gas remaining in my tank.

The Park workers had cut enough trees to allow a single lane of traffic to leave the Park, but no one could enter. On our return trip, the Park was in good shape and all services had been restored, but that was about 4 weeks later.

When the wind hit late that Friday night, I was just "cowboy" camping in the open grassy area since I felt it was too hot to set up a tent. I had to grab all my stuff and head for the van. I had removed all the back seats in the van so I just made a little bed back there (I was by myself) and by the time the storm was underway, it had cooled enough to sleep.

Glad to hear your family survived OK.... and it sure is nice having a generator. :)
 
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