The 2019 'Loan Ranger', and 2019 Ranger Adventure


Jim Oaks

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Day #11 - Wednesday June 12th, 2019:

Tuesday morning I headed west on US 20 to FR 61, and then took that north to reconnect with the Trans America Trail on the other side of the mudslide.

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This section of the trail has a pretty descent gravel road, and pretty views.

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I ran in to some snow, but none that was on the road.

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The TAT eventually brings you out along the Middle Fork Boise River. It was definitely an area that makes you just want to sit and relax for a while.
The Middle Fork Boise River flows in to the Arrowrock Reservoir.

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When I was driving along the reservoir, I saw a helicopter fly in, scoop up some water, and then fly away. I caught it on video, but I can't find it at the moment.

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From there the TAT went north to Idaho City, and then worked its way west to Oregon. There was a thunderstorm with strong winds and hail, so I ended up sleeping in the truck in the parking lot of Walmart in Ontario Oregon, instead of sleeping in the tent. I got to watch the sun set over Home Depot. LOL.

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UPDATE: Here's a video highlight of the days trip:

Total miles driven off pavement today: 116 Miles
 
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Jim Oaks

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Jim Oaks

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Sorry I'm late to the party Jim but I'm subscribed now. It seems like a pretty capable little truck, this new Ranger. From my one experience driving it I was impressed. If I bought one I think I'd have to ask the dealer to swap out the Hankook's for better tires for me before I even took delivery of it. They've been on my last 2 F-150's and in my experience they just can't get any traction, even their A/T's will break loose in the rain let alone dirt!
Manufacturers are all about meeting MPG requirements, and offering a quiet ride. The more aggressive the tire is, the more rolling resistance it has, which will cut back on MPG. Plus, the more the aggressive the tread is, the louder it is.

I actually gave Dynapro a chance to send me their mud terrain so I could keep Dynapro's on the truck. They never returned my message, so I went with the tire I really wanted.

Truck manufacturers should allow consumers the opportunity to purchase 'off-road' package trucks with a true 'off-road' tire. It's a shame that people spend $35K+ on a new truck, and have to replace the tire with something that will actually get the job done. A novice might get lucky and climb a mountain one time in tennis shoes, but an experienced climber or hiker will have the proper boots on based on their EXPERIENCE. They prepare for worse case scenarios. Likewise, you could walk around a hazardous job site without steel toe shoes, but the moment you need them, you really need them!

When I chose a tire for this adventure, I wanted an aggressive tire that could handle any condition to be prepared for the worse case scenario. I encountered dirt, stone, rock, ledges, mud, sand, snow, grass, and even a salt bed. I'd still be stuck in the snow in Colorado with all-terrains.

Now, I'm not saying that the stock tires won't work for 99% of the people that buy a new Ranger, but those of us that use our trucks for adventures, or have to deal with mud and snow, know what it takes to get the job done, and we don't like to take chances with tires that are better suited for the street, or gravel roads at best.

If there's an engineer that thinks I'm wrong, I'll be more than happy to play follow the leader. You follow my mud terrains with your all-terrains. :bye:
 

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Manufacturers are all about meeting MPG requirements, and offering a quiet ride. The more aggressive the tire is, the more rolling resistance it has, which will cut back on MPG. Plus, the more the aggressive the tread is, the louder it is.

I actually gave Dynapro a chance to send me their mud terrain so I could keep Dynapro's on the truck. They never returned my message, so I went with the tire I really wanted.

Truck manufacturers should allow consumers the opportunity to purchase 'off-road' package trucks with a true 'off-road' tire. It's a shame that people spend $35K+ on a new truck, and have to replace the tire with something that will actually get the job done. A novice might get lucky and climb a mountain one time in tennis shoes, but an experienced climber or hiker will have the proper boots on based on their EXPERIENCE. They prepare for worse case scenarios. Likewise, you could walk around a hazardous job site without steel toe shoes, but the moment you need them, you really need them!

When I chose a tire for this adventure, I wanted an aggressive tire that could handle any condition to be prepared for the worse case scenario. I encountered dirt, stone, rock, ledges, mud, sand, snow, grass, and even a salt bed. I'd still be stuck in the snow in Colorado with all-terrains.

Now, I'm not saying that the stock tires won't work for 99% of the people that buy a new Ranger, but those of us that use our trucks for adventures, or have to deal with mud and snow, know what it takes to get the job done, and we don't like to take chances with tires that are better suited for the street, or gravel roads at best.

If there's an engineer that thinks I'm wrong, I'll be more than happy to play follow the leader. You follow my mud terrains with your all-terrains. :bye:
I whole heartily agree! Even though I have KO2s on the OEM rims at the moment, when my winter tires wear out, they are being replaced with a mud terrain. The KO2s will then be relegated to winter duty so I have some decent off road ability and will also still have some decent snowy road ability. Will they perform as well as a true winter tire? Not quite but from all the reviews I've seen on them, they should hold their own pretty well. Once I get caught up on some things, I'll get some proper steel rims for the 2019 and mount some mud terrains on those. While I have no plans on rock crawling or anything that extreme, you can beat a bent steel rim back into use able shape and limp home or to a repair center. Aluminum, if it isn't cracked already, it will be if you try to beat it back into shape and are pretty much S.O.L. if you don't have a spare.
 

Jim Oaks

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Day #12 - Thursday June 13th, 2019:

I started my day out by filling the Ranger up with gas. I briefly forgot it was a crime to pump your own gas in Oregon. They recently changed the law though so that some rural areas can allow you to pump your own gas, but they apparently don't trust their citizens to pup gas in larger areas for fear they'll wipe out a whole city.




(How Oregon thinks I pump my gas)

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More miles = more cows.

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A brief standoff with a fat cow, but I sent her hoofing it.

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I came across another gate today where you turn from Rose Creek Rd to NF-16. This time it was built like a section of wire fence. the gate was looped with wire pretty tightly at the top and bottom, and then it had wire wrapped around a big stick that kept tension on the gate more towards the middle. I wasn't confident that if I got the gate open I would actually be able to close it myself.

Ranchers will typically have a cattle grate in the road to keep their cattle in. I encountered one gate that you could actually open and close like a normal gate. These are public lands, and the ranchers can't close the road to the public. They can put up a gate to keep their cattle in, but you should be able to open and close it behind you.

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It started to rain, so I decide to detour and not mess with the gate. A little further down the road, and it looked like the road became someones driveway. The road seemed to disappear behind their house, and didn't look very promising. I stopped and talked to the property owner for a while. I explained what I was doing, and the problem I had with the gate. It wasn't his gate, but he told me I had a legal right to use the road, and gave me some instructions on how to get the gate open. He suggested that some ranchers may try to keep people out of the area when they put up gates, and I believe the rancher in question chose to build this style gate to look like a fence, and try to deter people from going past it.

I would suggest that anyone doing the TAT bypass this spot so they don't have to deal with this gate.

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If you turn right on US 26 instead of crossing on to Rose Creek Road (In Ironside), you can travel about 8.5-miles and connect with E. Camp Creek Road (NFD-1684). It's the blue line on my map. The red line is the TAT route. E. Camp Road (NFD-1684) turns in to NFD-1680, and eventually NF-16 and the TAT. If you follow the TAT on Rose Creek Road, be prepared to open the gate.

Looking back, I really wish I would have opened the gate, and it annoys me that I let a rancher deter me from using a National Forest Road.

I actually talked with the rancher for a little while. He told me he had 20,000 acres of land, and around 1,000 head of cattle. The land apparently belonged to his grandfather, and his grandfather had a homestead where we were now. He told me that the road going up behind his house ended and wasn't passable. He then told me about a turnoff a short distance back for a private road, and told me I could use it.

That road had beautiful views, and was in amazing condition, although I'm sure only a few people know about it and use it.

Along the way I met a guy on an ATV that stopped to see if I was OK. I explained the situation, and that the first guy gave me permission to use the road. He was really nice and helpful, and gave me some brief directions on where to turn so I ended up back on the highway.

A couple miles later, and I came across his grandfather in a pickup, who was just as nice as the first two guys. We spoke for a few minutes before I continued on my way. I don't remember how many miles he said this road was (it's pretty long..), but he said they built it in a week with a large bulldozer, and a couple of dump trucks.

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This private road eventually linked back up with a public road, and brought me out by Beulah Reservoir. From there the road goes to US 20, and I had to head west, and then north on US 395 to reconnect with the Trans America Trail. This took me way out of my way, and made me really annoyed at the rancher that had put the fencing up over the road. Looking back, I should have opened it, and simply closed it as best I could.

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Linking back up with the TAT took me back in to the Malheur National Forest west of US 395. In some areas, the roads were wide with smooth gravel. Other sections were rough. At one point, I wasn't sure if the trail I was on would even make it all the way through.

I will warn you that these sections through the National Forests in Oregon are longer and more difficult than you may anticipate.

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Travelling west takes you in to the neighboring Ochoco National Forest. The sun was starting to set on me, so I ended up heading south off of the TAT on to CR 380, and taking that in to Prineville. After grabbing some Taco Bell before the lobby closed, I headed west to Redmond and spent the night in a hotel. My original plan had been to camp in the Redmond area, but the detour and lengthy sections of the National Forest caused me to get there much later than I had planned.

UPDATE: Here's a video highlight of the days trip:


Total miles driven off pavement today: 205 miles.
 
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I am surprised at the number of reservoirs, lakes and flowing water. It is beautiful country.
 

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Day #13 - Friday June 14th, 2019:

It was nice to get a shower and a good nights sleep in a hotel.

The Loan Ranger needed a shower as well, but it could only stare at the car wash and wish.

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Today the Trans America Trail would take me through Deschutes National Forest from the area of US 20 west of Brothers Oregon.
This section of the TAT takes you up and over the Newberry Volcano, and past it's two lakes. The ride up is really rough and rocky, but the ride down the other side is much smoother.

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The TAT brings you in to La Pine where I stopped for gas and to grab a snack. Following the TAT out of La Pine proved very difficult. The TAT wants you to take 6th street west from US 97 in La Pine. I ran in to this gate closing the road, and trying to detour around it on other roads was just as unsuccessful.

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I ended up heading south on US 97 out of La Pine. The TAT route will bring you out of La Pine on Masten Road. If you head south out of La Pine for a short distance, you'll come to Masten Road. It heads west but eventually turns south and will have you on the TAT.

Heading south, you'll run in to a logging outfit just north of Crescent. I believe this was the area where I saw signs that said it was a private road, and permission could be revoked at any time. Turning west here, the TAT put me on a trail for a little bit that was better suited for motorcycles and ATV's, than the Ford Ranger. I got through it, but there were quite a bit of branches to dodge.

Continuing west, I eventually ended up on National Forest Road 60. Things were going well, until I ran in to this snow. Just like in my other encounters, I was going up in elevation, and the snow got deeper as it went.

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Annoyed, I turned around, and headed back to Highway 58 that I had crossed earlier, and then followed that southeast to US 97. I took US 97 south to Route 138, and followed that west to reconnect with the TAT. I'd say from looking at the map that I had made it more than half way across NF 60 from Highway 58 to Route 138, before I had to turn around. If I had a winch, or another vehicle travelling with me, I probably could have gotten through it. A front locker surely would have made things easier as well.

Going up Route 138 will take you past Diamond Lake.

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There's also some nice waterfalls not far off of Route 138. I stopped and checked out Clearwater Falls. It was a short visit because every mosquito in Oregon had decided to come here for the weekend.
I discovered that there was a KOA campground in the area, but they were full. It's hard to figure out where you're going to be stopping ahead of time, because you don't really know what the trail is going to have in store for you. You options are dispersed camping somewhere in the National Forest, sleeping in your truck, or hoping to find a hotel room in the next town you come to.

It was around 6:30 pm, and I should have make camp for the night, but I knew I had a couple of hours of daylight left, and decided to push a little further. That was a mistake.
 

Jim Oaks

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Day #13 - Friday June 14th, 2019 (Continued):

I figured I could get through another section of the trail before it got dark. I was wrong.

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Here's a video showing the trail at night. This is NF-617 that leads to NF-2719.


What you don't really see from the video is that this is a trail on the side of a mountain, so it drops off on one side.

I was following the TAT route on my Gaia GPS, and continued following it until I eventually came out on the Tiller Trail Highway near Tiller Oregon.

I followed that in to Canyonville. Canyonville looks like a small town in the middle of nowhere with nothing at all to offer. However, if you head north through town, you come to the Seven Feathers Casino Resort, Seven Feathers RV Resort, a Burger King, the Seven Feathers Truck and Travel Center, and the Jordan Creek Rest Area. I ended up just sleeping in the truck at the rest area.

Total miles driven off pavement today: 133 miles

UPDATE: Here's a video highlight of the days trip:


 
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Jim Oaks

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Day #14 - Saturday June 15th, 2019:

This morning I woke up and went over to the Seven Feathers Truck and Travel Center to get some gas and something to eat for breakfast. This gas station actually lets you pump your own gas!!

From there, I headed south on Interstate 5 to Azalea Oregon, where I reconnected with the Trans America Trail. With any luck, I will finally finish it today!

Here's a photo of the factory GPS and the Gaia GPS App on my Samsung tablet. This is how I navigated the trail. I'll go into more detail about this soon.

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I had an issue pretty much right away this morning. The TAT wants you to take Hayward Ln to Mehlwood Ln. There is a logging company here, and the road is fenced and gated. This route was not an option. The option was to simply take Reuben Rd since that's were Mehlwood was going to take you to anyway. You follow Reuben to McCullough Creek road.

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From there you work your way up and over a mountain. The top of it has been cleared by the lumber company, so there's a pretty nice view.

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On the way down, I came across a bear that ran out along the edge of the road in front of me. This was only the second bear I had seen on this journey, and the first one was running across a field quite a distance away.


Then I was greeted by this locked gate. WTF!!

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There was no phone number to call, and I didn't have a cell phone signal even if there was.

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What was even more surprising was the sign saying that the road was closed to unauthorized motor vehicles, and that violators would be prosecuted! o_O

I'd like to see them argue that in court. This is literally a public road named Middle Creek Road. I got to the gate using public roads, I didn't pass through any gates to get here, and there wasn't any signs saying I couldn't use them.

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Looking at the GPS, the only way past this gate was to go back the way I came, and then continue west on Reuben Road. Reuben Road becomes Cow Creek Road, and reconnected me with the TAT. This was actually an easy option suggested by 'gpsKevin', and I'll discuss that more when I create the post about navigating the TAT.

Following the official TAT route was putting me in to way to many trees. I had to get out a few times and snap off some large limbs.

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Having decided that I had enough of the trees, and didn't want to scratch up this truck that Ford loaned me, I cut south to NF-595.

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I followed that west out of the National Forest, and on to US 101, the Oregon Coast Highway. This is what my day ended up looking like.

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Jim Oaks

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Day #14 - Saturday June 15th, 2019 (Continued):

You're not officially done with the Trans America Trail until you get to Paradise Point in Port Orford. That didn't keep me from stopping to take a few photos along the way.

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Finally, I arrived at Paradise Point, and the official end of the Trans America Trail.

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I really wanted to go all the way to the beach. Putting the tires in the water would have been cool. I wasn't worried about the sand there, it was the drifting sand you have to go through before it. After the two weeks it took to get here, if the Ranger got washed out to sea, I'm not sure if I would have laughed or cried.

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Having finally finished the trail, I headed to the closest car wash, and washed the mud / dirt off of it. Then I headed south on US 101 back to Gold Beach Oregon.

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Once in Gold Beach, I went to Sunset Family Pizza for a good pizza. Then I found a place to park so I could try and get some sunset photos.

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I will make a post with a breakdown of this trip, and some helpful tips.

After watching the sunset, I headed over to Motel 6 so I could relax and try to figure out where to go from here.

Although a lot of miles were spent on forest roads, most of them were paved. Total miles driven off of pavement today: 34 miles

UPDATE: Here's a video highlight of the days trip:

 
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OldMan2

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Congratulations on a fantastic journey, and beautifully documented. I really enjoyed going along with you.
Did you carry a chainsaw with you?
 

Jim Oaks

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Trans America Trail Stats:

28721

Just as a reminder, I followed the Trans America Trail from the New Mexico / Oklahoma border, west to the trails end in Port Orford. I will travel the sections from Oklahoma to Tennessee when I travel to Ohio later this summer.

Miles:

I traveled 4,440 miles from my home in Texas to Port Orford Oregon. 3,880 miles were on the Trans America Trail. 1,861 miles were spent off of pavement.

Just to put this in perspective, Google lists (3) options for travelling from the starting point at the New Mexico / Oklahoma border to Port Orford, Oregon. These are obviously by highway, and the distances are 1,656 miles, 1,740 miles, and 1,822 miles. The 1,861 miles driven off pavement was further than that.

There were times that I left the TAT to find a place to sleep for the night, and then had to backtrack later to rejoin the TAT. Therefore the amount of time spent on pavement isn't an accurate calculation of how many miles had to be driven on pavement while doing the TAT.

Days / Hours:

I spent 14 days travelling from Texas to the Trans America Trails end in Port Orford, Oregon. 13 of those days were actually spent on the TAT.

163 hours and 25 minutes was spent behind the wheel since I left my home in Texas.

Miles Per Gallon:

The 2019 Ford Ranger averaged 17.5 Miles Per Gallon (MPG). The Ranger is rolling on 265/70/17 mud terrains which are larger / heavier than the stock tires. The aggressive tread design of a mud terrain creates more rolling resistance. This will have a negative effect of MPG. I have no idea how much it has effected MPG.
 

Jim Oaks

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Day #15 - Saturday June 16th, 2019:

After a good nights sleep, it was time to figure out my route home.

I took US 101 south along the coast towards California, and stopped along the way for a few photos.

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2019_ranger_adventure_day-15-5.JPG

As I got closer to California, the coast became very foggy. The road moved away from the coast and passed through California's giant redwoods.

2019_ranger_adventure_day-15-6.JPG


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The gas prices in California were stupid expensive. $4.00+ for a gallon of gas. It's $2.20 a gallon in Texas.

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I went as far as Williams California, and spent the night in the Ranger at the Loves Travel Stop. My goal was to head Loomis in the morning, and visit our friends at Ruffstuff Specialties.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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The 2019 Ford Ranger averaged 17.5 Miles Per Gallon (MPG). The Ranger is rolling on 265/70/17 mud terrains which are larger / heavier than the stock tires. The aggressive tread design of a mud terrain creates more rolling resistance. This will have a negative effect of MPG. I have no idea how much it has effected MPG.
And you were carrying quite a bit of gear plus the tent sitting higher than the cab.
 


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