dewayne: you shouldn't be anywhere near 5th or 6th gear travelling in areas like you have shown in that picture
When I go camping with my 8X10 covered trailer, loaded near the limit of 3000, I'm lucky to get out of 4th on some terrain. Gas mileage goes down to as low as 9mpg in some of the hilly terrain that I have had it on. On hills with 3K lbs behind, it takes some doing to get it to go. I totally agree about keeping it within the power band especially under work load.
On highway driving with no load, and even in the city on flat surfaces I'm in 6th at around 40. If I need get up and go, I'll punch down a couple-a-few gears and git on it. She responds nicely. If you bought it to be a drag queen, you got the wrong vehicle. I have heard people say that it is underpowered in many posts. Mine won't beat a Camaro or Corvette off the stop but it sure is fun sometimes surprising them in a short passing distance and jumping in front of them. Mine ain't sluggish, just got to treat it right. She responds right nicely when talked to convincingly and all. I think it is all in what you want. I wanted a vehicle that can get off the beaten path. It sure does do that.