A Tale of Two Weekends
Back to back weekends at Stagecoach, were very similar in many ways, but in many ways they could not have been more different. The weekend of June 21 was a hot weekend with high temperatures in the upper 90’s and so was the weekend of June 28. Both weekends had rain and both were pleasant weekends.
They were different in that the weekend of June 21 was the last weekend with the 2011 ML 350 and June 28 was the first weekend with the new 2014 ML 350 Bluetec. Both were somewhat emotional weekends as we found we were more emotionally attached to the white ML than we realized, with it being the object of many camping firsts. It was the first to pull the Island Time, the first to take us to the Keys, first to take the grandkids camping; it turned out to be a great tow vehicle.
While taking the 2011 ML in for servicing as it approached the end of its warranty I became aware that this would be the last year of the ML350 Bluetec with its 455 ft-lbs of torque. The 2015 replacement will be a ML250 with a turbo four-cylinder diesel producing around 350 ft-lbs of torque. While that is sufficient, we did not want to pass on the option with more torque, so we immediately contacted our Mercedes Sales Representative and started a search for one of the few remaining in inventory.
To make a long story shorter, on the same day we received an offer from Mercedes to absorb the final five lease payments if we traded vehicles. Offer in hand we found just the vehicle we were hoping to obtain. It is silver exterior with grey interior ML350 with many of the goodies, including keyless ignition, lane change assist and 455 ft-lbs of torque.
I took Thursday off to have the brake controller installed and then to have the trailer setup checked. Everything checked out, so we were ready to go for the weekend. Just as we were backing out of the garage to go get the trailer, Jeannie noticed a screw in the left front tire. We immediately went to the local tire store, where they removed a screw with a trailer type of head on it. I wonder where it could have come from? A brand new vehicle with 200 miles on it and a patched tire, oh well.
The new ML 350 Bluetec is a towing machine. It pulls the hills in the Interstate without even having to downshift. It is getting 25 MPG in town and looks like it will get 14 – 15 MPG when towing. Very nice!
As an aside, June 28 – 29 was the ARRL Field Day weekend and for the first time in many years, WB9ZNN was on the air. With my new AlexLoop antenna and my Baofeng HT I was in full action and enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately the heat chased me inside for the afternoon before I was ready, but it was nice anyway.
The weather chased us out on Sunday, but we made it home safely. We are ready for the second chapter to begin in our camping adventures. We sure are having fun.
The Island Time seems happy with the new tow vehicle too. We sure are!