The Technical Stuff

Our 2008 Holiday Rambler Scepter measures 42 foot, 11 inches long. This used to pretty much represent the legal limit in California, but the nationwide limit is now 45 feet, so they do come longer today. It is powered by a Cummins 8.9 liter diesel engine that puts out 400HP and 1200 foot pounds of torque and mated to an Allison 6-speed automatic transmission. This degree of beefiness is required because the maximum GWVR of the bus alone can be 44,600 pounds (although we tip the scales a svelt 36,200 pounds). Truthfully, I don’t know how someone would pack enough stuff onboard to yield 44,600 pounds unless they sold bricks or books. With our 2012 Honda CR-V attached, we measure close to 65 feet long.

Our typical fuel mileage is around 7.8 MPG, although I’ve gotten 9 MPG using pure diesel fuel from Enderby in Texas that doesn’t contain bio products. Smart move on the government’s part: Let’s decrease fuel mileage and increase costs by making farmers happy with needless subsidies for products that also clog up the fuel system if left too long. Absolute genius. We can travel about 600-700 miles on a single 100 gallon fill up. I usually seek out truck stops for fuel because their high flow pumps usually fill at something close to a gallon a second.

With a diesel generator, 400 amps of storage batteries, 100 gallon fresh water tank, 80 gallon gray water tank, and a 40 gallon black water tank, we can pretty much subsist without external power, sewer and water hookups for several days. That said, the places we tend to stay at have 50 amp hookups and full water and sewer. This suits us fine because we are usually running three air conditioners when it is 90-100 degrees outside.

People often ask, “Is it difficult to drive?” My answer is, “No more difficult than a school bus, and you see lots of everyday people driving those on a regular basis.” Other than watching your turning radius, keeping an eye out for things in your blind spots, and making sure you provide plenty of clearance between you and the car in front of you, it’s pretty much a cakewalk. There are some things that take getting used, like ascending and descending steep grades, and there are a lot of systems to be mindful of (especially hydraulics and air brakes), but it is largely a walk in the park. And the Flexsteel seats are very comfortable to sit for several hours at a crack. On that note, I’ve noticed we make much better time than a car in getting from Point A to Point B simply because the bathroom and kitchen moves with you.

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