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First Long Trip In Our 2500


Charter Member
SM 2003
Full Member
Mar 7, 2002
Milwaukie, Oregon
I just returned from a 3044 mile trip in our 2500 Avalanche. To say that I am impressed with the truck would be an understatement.

I write for a hunting magazine, Varmint Hunter, that is based in Pierre (pronounced PEER), South Dakota. Every year, the Varmint Hunters Association has an open house, shoot, series of symposiums and commercial row for members. About one thousand readers attend every year. As lead technical writer, it is needful that I attend.

This year, I drove the Avalanche. For those that are interested, I'd like to jot down a few notes.

First of all, we drove highway speeds, usually 75 to 80 mph. Twice, in the Montana open country, took it up to 100 mph for sustained periods of time. The 3044 miles includes about 100 miles of city driving in the vicinity of Pierre (going to the Clubhouse and to the VHA Rifle Range). I kept meticulous records and the 2500 averaged 14.98 miles per gallon.

It was interesting how we kept going into and out of Avalanche zones. We saw none going up the Columbia Gorge and none in Eastern Washington. We must have seen at least ten Avalanches between Post Falls, ID and the Montana border (a 75 mile stretch).

Missoula, MT was lousy with Avalanches too. And we ran into another Avalanche zone in Sheridan, WY. There were three Avalanches owned by VHA members and it was interesting to discuss the Avalanche and killing coyotes in the same conversation.

On our way back, we stopped at a convenience store in Big Timber, Montana. We parked next to a Red Z-71 Avalanche and entered the store. After we got our ice and sandwiches, we exited to find a gentelman gawking at our rig.

The owner of the Z-71 was Tom Hanel. After a firm Montana handshake and a lot of Avalanche-talk, we showed Tom the Bedslide and the inside of the Snugtop.

Interestingly, Tom had just ordered a Snugtop canopy from the GM catalogue and was delighted to be able to actually see one in the flesh. He loved the Snugtop and I gave him a brochure on the Bedslide. I was out of CAFC brochures, but gave him the web site address (hey, he might be reading this right now).

Tom, by the way, is a retired Billings, MT policeman and is the mayor of Big Timber, Montana. He also sells real estate for Hometown Realty (1-406-932-4647).

We hit extreme winds on the way home and I was really impressed with the way our four-ton rig remained stable. Jettas, Geo Metros ahd other trash cars were being tossed and we just bulled through the 30, gusting to 50 mph winds.

We've made the same trip several times in our old 1998 Suburban, but the Avalanche is a superior rig for hard, heavy, long road trips. Our longest day was 698 miles (Missoula, MT to Whitewood, SD) and we arrived in much better shape than we would have in the old rig.

After the long trip, we are even more sure that we made the correct choice in buying the Avalanche.