So, as you know, we took delivery of our Cascadia that we have named Celeste on December 21, 2021. After arriving home with Celeste on Christmas Eve, I took two weeks off for vacation. So, basically, I have only driven Celeste for a little over a month of actual calendar time. The lifetime fuel mileage at this point for our new 2022 Freightliner Cascadia is 10.378 miles to the gallon. The first trip with Celeste had a gross vehicle weight of a little over 78,000 lbs, coupled with holiday traffic.  

This first trip yielded an 8.8 mpg reading according to the dashboard readout and an 8.65 average fuel mileage and 8.65 as calculated on paper. There also has been a relatively decent amount of operational diversity in the short time that we have had this new truck. We have had warm weather and near-zero degree weather encountered. There has been snow and rain. There have been windy days and calm days. And yet, I still feel that the fuel mileage is more than respectable.  

The opportunity was also presented to see how well the OPTIMAAX suspension system was able to perform in snow and ice. Between OPTIMAAX varying the weight on the drive axle followed by electronic traction control and the Michelin wide-base single tires, traction was not an issue during my first encounter with snow and ice. There was a quiet industrial park in which I tested the limits of the handling characteristics of our 2022 Cascadia during braking, accelerating, and directional changes. With closer to the proper amount of weight per square inch on each tire, braking and handling appeared to be enhanced by the Hendrickson OPTIMAAX 6x2 liftable pusher axle assembly.  

The truth of the matter is I have been spending a lot of time driving during the night and sleeping during the day. The Merlin solar panels that have been mounted on the roof and hood of the truck have provided reassuring and adequate solar polar to keep the truck's batteries charged. It has been nice on some of the warmer days with the sun warming the truck to have the electric dual HVAC system cranked up higher than I normally would have in the past.  I purposely did not pull the insulated sleeper curtains to have an idea of how much the solar panels helped in extending the range of the dual HVAC system. On my last trip, the sun was beating down on the truck while I was parked in Louisiana which provided a bit of an opportunity to test the system.  The windshield was faced towards the sun on this 64-degree day creating an environment somewhat like a greenhouse. I cranked up the dual HVAC system which is actually only designed to cool the sleeper area and I was able to overcome the warming effect of the sun's rays. It's kind of funny how you can use the same power from the sun which is heating up the truck and capture it on a solar panel to power a system that offsets that same heat that is generated from the sun.  

Finally, let's talk about the ride. To date, all of the Cascadias that I have ridden have been smooth rides. This is my first Cascadia outfitted with an air-ride steering axle. The suspension in this case is the Hendrickson AIRTEK which was chosen because of its lightweight and improved ride provided by the air ride and lower unsprung weight. In addition to the air ride steer axle, Celeste is equipped with the new LINK ROI CABMATE active cab suspension. Between these two items, I must say the ride is so good, you would have to experience it to believe it.  

By the way, I want all of you to know that Project 70+/10 still continues. For those of you that are not familiar with this project, the goal is to attain double-digit fuel mileage while cruising at speeds up to 75 miles per hour where safe, legal and beneficial.  

Why do I end this with the word “beneficial”? Well, there are times that the increased speed would be beneficial because I was able to stay on schedule. Other times, I could put myself in the position to increase revenue. Or in the case of my normal run, it gets me home almost a full day sooner because it eliminates two mandatory ten-hour rest periods. I use this extra time at home to increase revenue locally. The good news is there was just a victory on this project, albeit with a light gross vehicle weight of 48,000 lbs. The last fuel up recorded before getting back home this trip was an amazing 10.38 as figured on paper and 10.5 from the dashboard readout with cruising speeds up to 75 miles per hour. On this particular leg of the trip, the trailer was full just not with heavy material. The real benefit was that in the way the weight was distributed on the trailer floor, I was able to have an axle lifted on the truck and an axle lifted on the trailer as well.   

Keep up the good work Freightliner, Detroit, Hendrickson, Michelin, and many others that have contributed to the spectacular performance of our ‘22 Cascadia named Celeste.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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