Friday, October 10, 2014

Not-So-Skinnie Winnie Summits the Rockies!

A couple months ago, I decided to finally get my ‘07 Winnie weighed at the nearby truck stop’s CAT scale.  Many other owners of the 1st-generation Sprinter have reported on the Yahoo View-Navion forum that their rigs routinely run a few hundred pounds over the GVWR, so I braced myself as the clerk handed me the printed weight report.

Loaded up with a full fuel tank, Millie, and all my full-timer gear, Winnie was 600 lbs over her GVWR weight.  YIKES!!!!


So, I moved some heavier items to the Tracker (and got this bigger Thule rooftop carrier for the Tracker too), replaced my 50 lb solar setup with a 12 lb system, and sold off some additional photo gear to try and minimize as much as possible without feeling too deprived. 

I also came to a few conclusions— I was certainly (and unknowingly) even more overweight last Winter when I drove over 5,000 miles down to Mexico and back (and Winnie seemed to do just fine on that trip).  I also had some solace that Winnie was still below each gross axle weight rating (GAWR) and well within the Michelin tire weight ratings.

So, I resolved to go forward with my current full-timer contents for now, and look to shed more items down the line once I know better what I’m regularly using (and not using).

One thing to be unloaded ASAP was the hundred pounds of Grandma’s china and silver currently taking up space in Millie’s back seat of the Tracker!  But to do so, the Winnie would need to deliver it to my brother’s house way up high in the Colorado Rockies.

No better test, I guess-- if the little turbo-diesel could pull this grossly-overloaded Winnie and Tracker up over Loveland Pass, then it would probably do o.k. just about anywhere else we should go!


The long, gradual elevation gain across the plains of Nebraska was no problem at all for the Winnie.

As we crossed the border into Colorado, I decided I’d better dump the remaining few gallons in my water and dump tanks to make Winnie as lightweight as possible.  Thank goodness Colorado has free dump stations at nearly all of it’s rest areas and Welcome Centers!


As we started climbing the foothills east of Denver, I fired up my fabulous Ulysse Speedometer Pro Android app to keep a good eye on my exact speed and elevation (all of my Sprinter speedometers have been notoriously inaccurate).


The best thing about the Ulysse app is that it can be run as an “overlay” to Google Maps— a perfect solution when driving a motorhome through the mountains!

Just west of Denver, I-70 started its first brutal climb.  Up, up, up we went.  The little turbo diesel just kept chugging (slowly but surely!) until we reached our first glimpse of snow-covered higher peaks.


Winnie’s temp gauge had held within its normal range…so far, so good!  But now we had to climb even higher—up to the Eisenhower Tunnel at Loveland Pass at nearly 11,000 feet in elevation!


As we reached the summit, Winnie was not particularly fast (slowing to only 30 mph in a few spots!), but continued to reliably motor on.


Even more important, Winnie’s tranny and brakes did a fine job of bringing us down the other side of each pass.  As we came down Vail Pass into the valley, I breathed a sigh of relief as I gawked like a tourist at the absolutely stunning aspens still in full color!



What a wonderful welcome to “Colorful Colorado!”


  1. Whew! I was holding my breath! What a test............and you, Winnie and Millie pased it. Yee ha.

  2. I have yet to weigh our View, but we try to travel pretty light these days. Still, I think I better get it checked:)

  3. I would sigh in relief too. But OH what a beautiful sight to see.

  4. You made it but yikes that is overweight. I challenge to get re weighed now that you have made those changes. Enjoy your visit.


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