Monday, July 18, 2022

Winnebago Travato at One Year - the Good, the Bad, . . the Mostly Good.

We concluded our latest trip and pulled into the driveway yesterday, exactly one year after we departed on our first adventure in our Winnebago Travato 2022KL. We call it the Bebopabago, as it has enabled our dog Bebop to travel with us. The data below is updated often on this website:

The Good
We like a lot of things about the van. It handles and drives well. All the major systems worked fine for our trips. We don't carry a spare tire, but didn't have a flat in year one. We like the layout and flexibility of the van. Also, we like how quick it is to park and be camping - and how quick it is to be ready to drive away again. The battery system is great - it's quiet and lasts us for days - and charges quickly with just an hour or so of driving. And we love the places it has taken us.

The Bad
The dealership experience has been bad (McClain's RV in Denton, TX). The purchasing process wasn't bad, but the pickup (twice rescheduled - once when we were 80% of the way there) did not go well. A Volta issue then delayed our pickup by over a month. I had to intervene with Volta - they were great. And when we've returned to the dealership for warranty service, it's been painful. Nice people, but they are overloaded and don't seem to have good processes in place. Winnebago direct has been good to deal with. When I asked them if there were any other authorized service centers near me, they said they were hearing issues with almost every dealership. Corporate needs to address this somehow.

We had a long list of warranty issues, and they eventually were all addressed. It took way too much effort on my part to get them completed.

We've done a few modifications to the vehicle. Most of them are listed here:

In year one, we took 4 major trips:

106   14,645
  889  $ 3,241
Trip Depart Return Days  Miles   MPG   Gas   Gas$ 
Glacier NP Loop 7/17/21 8/22/21 36     5,337    16.2   328  $ 1,115
New Orleans Loop 12/1/21 12/14/21 13     1,830    17.2   109  $    302
Southwest Winter 2/11/22 3/16/22 34     4,711    16.9   284  $ 1,093
CO/NM Summer 6/25/22 7/17/22 23     2,767    17.4   168  $    731

Here are three trip summary blogs:
Glacier NP -
Southwest Winter -
Summer CO/NM -

Here is our gas mileage chart. The vehicle display is optimistic by about 0.9 MPG. I've listed our actual calculated MPG below.

MPG chart

Gas Prices and Amount Paid

We've both driving hybrids and plug in hybrids since 2004, so we charted our gas saved over the years and compared it to how much we spent on gas in the Travato.

Gas saved in efficient vehicles vs gas used in the Travato

Chart showing the MPG bias of the vehicle display vs actual gas mileage
 Here is the summary data table for everything:

Year One Days Spent and Miles

Here were our warranty issues:

- Paul

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Summer Heat Escape Trip Summary

We got out of DFW as the string of 100ºF+ days began. We headed to higher elevations. The old rule of thumb is that it's about 5ºF cooler for every thousand feet you climb in elevation. We spent most of the trip in SW Colorado and northern New Mexico. Here's our general route:

The first two days and the last two days are just powering through the plains.
This was our 4th major trip in our Winnebago Travato and, ironically, we returned home on the same date we departed on our first trip last year. Here's the summary data and a few highlights from this most recent adventure:

Miles Driven: 2,767 miles

Average miles/day: 120

Time Driving: 63 hours

Avg Speed: 43 mph

MPG: 17.4 (vehicle calc); 16.5 (actual)

Gas Used: 168 gallons

Gas Cost: $731 ($32/day) - avg of $4.36/gallon

Sleeping locations - cost avg ~$25/night
  • State Parks, National Parks, Forest Service Campgrounds (13)
  • Private Campgrounds (5)
  • Boondocked (1)
  • Moochdocked in driveways of relatives and friends (3)


  • Cooked most meals in the van.
  • Stopped for groceries 3 times.
  • Ate out a few times.
  • Avg cost per day = to what we would have spent at home.
  • We ate very well, but increased activity (hiking) helped me shed a few pounds on the trip.
  • Cool air. Temperatures were very pleasant for most of our trip. Down to 39ºF and highs in the 60's and 70's in most locations.
  • We had not visited Great Sand Dunes National Park, and we really enjoyed it there. Nearby Zapata Falls was also a highlight. Great Sand Dunes Blog Link
  • The clothing optional Valley View hot springs was nice. Several natural hot spring pools pour out of the mountain side. The lack of clothing was not weird and everyone was very nice. (no photos)
  • We spent some time around Cañon City, CO. We rafted and enjoyed some nice hikes. Canon City Blog Link.
  • We rafted again in Browns Canyon - one of my favorite rafting trips. We also visited the south rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Browns Canyon & Black Canyon Blog Link
  • My favorite part of the trip was the 3 nights we spent in the city owned campground in Telluride. It was walking distance to almost everything - from hiking trails, to the adjacent city park, to the businesses on the main streets. It was nice to not drive for a few days. Telluride Review Blog
  • In the Jemez area we enjoyed Valles Caldera and the Gilman Tunnels (and the geology of the area) along with the excellent Jemez Museum at Walatowa. Final Days of the Trip Blog

Photo Highlights

Tunnel Trail in Cañon City, CO

Rail and Raft in Cañon City

Skyline Drive in Cañon City

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Cornet Falls in Telluride
Bear Creek small falls at our campground
Bear Creek Falls hike
High above Telluride
Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride
Lizard Head Pass
Lowry Pueblo ruins

Sand Canyon Trail

Abiquiu Lake

Near Ghost Ranch

Valles Caldera

Great Sand Dunes NP

Great Sand Dunes NP

Great Sand Dunes NP

Zapata Falls

Gilman Tunnels near Jemez
- Paul

Saturday, July 16, 2022

SW Colorado to Northern New Mexico

After we departed Telluride, we spent some time in Canyon of the Ancients near Cortez, CO. We visited the Lowry Pueblo ruins and hiked the Sand Canyon Trail. Sand Canyon had many dwellings beautifully blended into the cliffs. This was the origin area for many of the native groups that spread though the SW. Many dwellings were over 700 years old. 

Lowry Ruins

Sand Canyon Trail
From there we travelled to Pagosa Springs and visited some friends. Elena also floated down the river in a tube.

Bebop spots Elena tubing past us
We headed into New Mexico and stopped at Echo Amphitheater and one of our favorite roadside stops near Ghost Ranch. We camped for the night at Riana Campground at Abiquiu Lake. 

Echo Amphitheater and a roadside stop near Ghost Ranch

   We then drove into the big city of Santa Fe. Elena spent a few hours in Meow Wolf, while Paul went to the local high school track to get in some track practice. The air at 7,000 foot elevation was nearly lung collapsing. We climbed high into the mountains to camp at Hyde Memorial Park well above Santa Fe.

The following day we visited Valles Caldera. This in a large caldera that last exploded and collapsed about 1.2 million years ago. It ejected tremendous amounts of material across a wide area. The magma chamber is slowly building mountains again in the caldera, but it's not likely to erupt again in the near future. They've had good monsoon rains and the valley was green and lovely. We also hiked along the East Jemez River. We spent the night at the Redondo Campground.

Valles Caldera and East Jemez River
The next morning we hiked to Spencer Hot Springs and had a little soak. We then passed through Jemez Springs and drove up to the Gilman Tunnels. These tunnels were drilled through solid rock to facilitate a train track to move felled trees down from the higher elevations. There is now a paved road through the tunnels. The geology of the area is incredible. On the west are uplifted 1.6 billion year-old granitic gneiss. The Guadalupe River cascades down beside the road and tunnels. On the eastern side of the river, there is great contrast from the Permian era red sandstone.

Spencer hot springs and the Gilman Tunnels

We visited the Jemez Publo Walatowa Museum, which had an excellent history of the Jemez people. They were a thriving tribe until the conquistadors arrived in the late 1500's. Read about their history here:

- Paul

Friday, July 8, 2022

Bebop Reviews Telluride - Land of Dogs

We drove into Telluride on a rainy and cool (56ºF) afternoon. We're giving the Bebopabago a rest for a bit as we are staying here for three nights. Dad was very excited in April to get a site at the town owned campground. It's in the middle of the town park and walking distance to everywhere. He was extra excited that it only cost $21 per night. Dad is frugal.

Our campsite was right along the San Miguel River and even had its own waterfall along Bear Creek. The rain slowed enough in the late afternoon that we went for a quick walk. I have two observations: 1. That river water was cold and, 2. There are dogs everywhere. Most of them are ignoring the leash signs and just running free. Mom said that in Crested Butte, if you don't have a bicycle, they'll assign one to you. In Telluride, if you don't have a dog, they must assign one to you. 

Waterfall at our campsite
Dad walked me to the softball field and there was a big dog party going on in the outfield. I got off my leash and met some new dogs. I met a little dog named Harley, who was a Corgi and Sheltie mix. He was really fast and low to the ground. As we walked around the trails I saw big dogs, little dogs, and even dogs in bike baskets and strollers. It's a little overwhelming, but fun. I think Telluride must mean "Land of Many Dogs."

On our first full day, we started with a morning hike. We walked a bit through the town and there were still dogs everywhere. We hiked the Cornet Creek Trail up to a waterfall. There were several falls along the way, and it was pretty. It was a total hike of about 2 miles and about 400 feet in elevation gain.

Cornet Creek Hike

Late afternoon we took a walk along the river trail up into the box canyon. We went another few miles, but with not as much elevation change.

On our second full day, we got ambitious. We took on the Bear Creek Trail all the way up to Bear Creek Falls. Dad's app showed we hiked for 5.5 miles and over 1,200 feet of elevation gain. I drank from a few streams along the way, and dad brought a few trail treats to eat. It was pretty. There were also many dogs on the trail. 

Bear Creek Falls Hike

We usually cook all our meals in the van, but we decided to splurge on a restaurant meal. They let me walk through the dining room to sit on the patio with my hoomans. Then they brought me a bowl of water when they brought water for my hoomans. I like this place. After that, we rode a gondola way up above the town. And dogs are allowed on the gondola. Dogs must secretly run this entire town.

Gondola ride to Telluride overlook
On our final day in Telluride Mom decided to rest her hiking legs and I stayed with her. Dad rode the bike out to the trailhead and did the Bridal Veil Falls trail. He topped the previous day for climbing with 1,362 feet of vertical gain over 5.5 miles RT. He brought back some photos and a hearty appetite. He climbed above the power house that sits at the top of the falls.

Hike to Bridal Veil Falls
We drove south out of Telluride and across Lizard Head pass. We made a couple of stops to enjoy the scenery.
Near Lizard Head pass for 3; then at the creek behind our new campground
- Bebop


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

River Rafting II and Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Our final day in Cañon City was hot and sunny, and Elena was wishing she was on the water again. Fortunately, the following day was a flex day on our plan, so I booked a rafting trip down Browns Canyon on the upper Arkansas River. We did this trip about 16 years ago, and it is one of our favorites. That earlier trip also led to one of our favorite family stories. We had just launched, and were in a calm section of the river as the guide was giving instructions and safety tips. No one had their feet locked in as we were floating very slowly sideways. Suddenly, we hit a submerged rock just below Elena’s bottom, and all I remember was her feet flying up as she rotated over backwards into the river. After we all stopped laughing, I got to demonstrate the "pull back in the boat" technique.

On this trip, the river was flowing very well after some rain the previous day. Our 10-mile trip featured 12 class III rapids with names like toilet bowl, widow maker, and raft eater. We ended up on a lightly loaded small raft with just the guide and two other people. Our guide helped us navigate the obstacles perfectly, and we had a great time. It was a pristine morning - mostly sunny and in the upper 60’s. No photos, just great memories.

After the raft trip we headed to our campground at Elk Creek in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. The lake, which is fed by the Gunnison River, was very low. Over our decades of travel, we continue to see the increasing impacts of climate change - from glaciers receding rapidly, very low lakes, increased forest fires, prolonged droughts, flash flooding, and many other changes. We did see an evening rainbow in front of our camper. 

Campground Rainbow

The next day we arrived at the South Campground at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The black canyon is over 2,200 feet deep and is very vertical. Our camp site was occupied well after checkout with a trailer and no vehicle or people. The camp host moved us a couple of spots down. He said a couple had hiked into the canyon that morning and was reportedly having some trouble. Rangers were going down to assist them. Sure enough, about 4 hours later the couple finally appeared, hooked up their trailer, and drove away.

This canyon is over 2,200 feet deep and very vertical. We enjoyed several stops and hikes along the canyon rim. On our evening walk, Bebop lunged at dozens of chipmunks, rabbits, and even a deer. This is where we spent July 4th. The National Parks really are one of America’s best ideas. There were no artificial celebrations or fireworks - just the beauty and quiet of nature.

Bebop's favorite photos from Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The next morning while walking Bebop I saw four little owls in the trees next to the trail. 

Owls at Black Canyon

Today we arrived at Telluride, and we have three nights at the downtown city owned campground. It’s currently 55ºF and raining.

 - Paul


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Cañon City - Raft, Rail, and Rocks

We spent a few days in Cañon City, CO. It is one of the warmer winter cities in Colorado due to its modest elevation (5,200') and the position of the mountains. Winter lows are modest, as is snowfall. Summers have warm to hot days, but cool nights.

We arrived in the early afternoon on Thursday, June 30th, and it was a warm day of just over 90ºF. We headed to the Garden Park area, where a couple of the early dinosaur quarries were located. In the 1870's they discovered dozens of specimens including Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus), Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus. Most of the finds were Jurassic era (150 million years ago). These were some of the first and most complete finds in the world, and many are housed in major museums, including the Smithsonian.

One of the high producing quarries was right above the horizontal rock layer
With rain clouds building around us, the air cooled a bit, and we visited the Tunnel Trail. This trail is an old road, which started as a water project around 1900, and runs for 2 miles along the Arkansas River. There are three tunnels blasted into 1.7 million-year-old rock. 

Tunnel Trail along the Arkansas River
On Friday, we did a rail and raft day. In the morning, we rode the train into the Royal Gorge. It was a beautiful morning, and we enjoyed the gorge and watching the rafts come through the canyon. In the afternoon, it was our turn to be on the rafts. We rafted a bit upstream in Bighorn Canyon. Some storms dropped a little rain on us, so we got wet from above and below. That evening we camped at a lovely city campground near the rim of the gorge.

Royal Gorge railroad and bridge
The next morning, we hiked to the Royal Gorge canyon rim overlook. Then we drove back toward town and drove along Skyline Drive. This narrow road, with no guardrails, offers some great views of the area. The neatest feature is some reverse dinosaur footprints. The layer below the prints eroded, leaving the view of the underside of some Ankylosarus footprints as they walked past around 68 million years ago.

Dino tracks, Bebop gazing out, and the narrow road with no rails
After Skyline Drive we walked the full Tunnel Trail again, then stopped at the Geologic Time Map adjacent to the local community college. At both places, Bebop wore herself out chasing lizards she spotted along the trails. Elena said she sure wished she was rafting again, so I booked another raft trip for Sunday near Salida in Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River - quite a bit upstream from our trip on Friday.

Bebop says don't forget to take the time to smell the flowers.

- Paul