The 2019 'Loan Ranger', and 2019 Ranger Adventure


Jim Oaks

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August 14th:

I had actually drove some in to the night last night, and then spent the night in the parking lot of a Loves Travel Stop by IS 49 south of Mountainburg. I woke up, paid for a shower, and then hit the trail.

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I big part of today would be spent driving through the Ozarks in the Ozark National Forest.

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It was a good thing I stopped when I did. Today's section of the trail started out rough and rocky.

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The Cooper Discoverer STT PRO's have really gotten a work out since they've been on this truck. I've been very happy with their performance.

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A lot of dense vegetation here.

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One thing about the Ozarks, there is so much dense forest in this area that it can be difficult to find a clearing where you can actually see a view. I got lucky. Someone built a house, and cut the trees down in front of it to see the mountain view.

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Is this what they mean by being between a rock and a hard place? LOL.

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Found another small opening in the trees to see the view.

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This wild hog could sense my love for bacon, and was running down the road in front of me trying to get away.

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Road construction in the forest. :oops:

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I was trying to make it in to Mississippi today, but didn't make it. Getting close though.

Miles:

I drove a total of 307 miles today. That includes venturing off the trail to find dinner, and to and from where I sleep for the night. I spent a lot of miles on narrow paved country roads on the Trans America Trail today as well. So out of the 307 miles I traveled today, 112 of those miles were off pavement.

Video:

 
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Jim Oaks

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When I travel and I'm not sleeping / camping somewhere without a shower, I use these Shower Pill Body Wipes. I just go in to a restroom stall, wipe myself off with one, and then throw it in the trash. They're bigger than those little wet wipes, don't leave a residue, and dry pretty quick. They also don't have a weird fragrance. I know this is pretty personal, but someone might find it helpful.

30291
I've also told you guys that I shower at Love's Travel Stops sometimes. I usually sleep in the parking lot, then pay $12.00 for a shower. They provide clean towels and soap / shampoo, but I use my own.

 

Jim Oaks

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August 15th:

crop_duster-1.JPG

So I spent another night in a parking lot in Arkansas, and woke up a little after 7am listening to a crop duster spraying a nearby field.

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There would be a few times on the trip today that the Trans America Trail (TAT) would follow along the top of a levee.

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The TAT is always a little more interesting when the road doesn't resemble a road so much.

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Until you come to something like this. The trail actually makes a right turn in the middle of this 'pond'.

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And since the 2019 Ford Ranger doesn't have a snorkel option, I did a u-turn and went around this.

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That would be the only water hole I skipped. I hit the rest of them. And you'll be able to see more when I publish the video.

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I had to stop and see Percy in Trenton Arkansas. Percy has a guest book, and most of the people that ride / drive the TAT stop and sign it. I was #154 this year. People sign it, list where they're from, and what they're riding / driving. Looking back through the pages, almost everyone of them are on motorcycles. Percy also has had a book printed each year that contains photos of the people that stopped. He had a friend take my photo with the Ranger, so hopefully I'll show up in his next book. There is also a Facebook Page for his place.

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Percy is known for his hospitality, guest book, and offering riders a cold bottle of water as you sit on his porch. I asked how he realized that the TAT ran in front of his place. He told me that a motorcycle had stopped in front of his place, and was in need of someone with a welder. Percy helped get him fixed up, and began asking the rider (a guy from Ohio of all places...) where he was going. That's when he learned that his place was on the Trans America Trail. The rest is history.

It's funny in a way. Of all the areas you go through, and all the spectacular sights you see, one of the most popular stopping points on the trail is Percy's in Trenton, Arkansas.

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Crossing in to Mississippi, the trail was boring paved back roads for a while, but eventually lead to a lot of gravel ones. But even those got boring after a while.

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But then things started getting interesting again.

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Yes, that's actually a county road sign. This was actually a county roads. And there were numerous trails that were marked as county roads.

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Jim Oaks

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August 15th (Continued):

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And then things got a little more fun just outside of Coffeeville, MS.

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I think it's safe to say that this county road is not maintained.

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I was actually pretty pleased at how well the Ranger was working. Even though I got a wheel in the air when I was crossing the deep sections that had been washed out, I didn't hear any rubbing or squeaking sounds, and the Ranger had no trouble maintaining forward movement.

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Unfortunately I came to this part. And although I wouldn't have hesitated to go up it in my TRS-2 Ranger, I was not about to attempt it in the Loan Ranger.

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I backtracked, and then cut back up to the TAT past this section.

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From there, it was back to a lot of gravel sections.

2019_ford_ranger_trans_america_trail_august_15_2019-19.JPG

Here's you can see the mud on the hood from splashing through the mud and water in Arkansas. I stopped to clean my headlights since it was getting dark.

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And after (3) nights sleeping in the Ranger, I decided to stretch out on a real bed for the night.

Miles:

Total miles traveled today: 315 Miles
Total miles traveled off pavement: 93 miles

Video:

 
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Jim Oaks

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August 16th:

2019_ford_ranger_trans_america_trail_08-16-2019-1.JPG

After a good nights sleep, I fueled up the Ranger, pressure washed the mud off of the truck, and was back on the Trans America Trail.

I've been seeing a lot of these vines growing in Mississippi. In some spots they were covering fences, trees, and utility poles.

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There was some serious ruts on this road. I bet it would be a lot of fun to drive up when it's muddy.

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I'm confident that my Cooper Discoverer STT PRO's could get the job done.

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Nothing more exciting then traveling down a long trail, and then discovering that it runs through a creek.

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I managed to make it in to Tennessee today. The scenery is definitely a lot greener on this trip than the one in June. LOL.

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I hate seeing areas that have been logged by logging companies. The land always looks like it's a victim of something horrible. I wish logging companies would clean up the mess they create.

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The Trans America Trail can go from wide gravel roads to narrow trails through wooded sections.

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I experienced quite a few water crossings today. I didn't photograph all of them.

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Doesn't this bridge look like it should be an opening to a fun house??

The day was pretty uneventful. A lot of the trail in Tennessee is 2-lane chip and seal roads out in the country. Their were some off pavement sections, but not a whole lot.

I made it to Fayetteville TN for the night. I'm guessing another 5-6 hours of driving, and the whole Trans America Trail will finally be completed.

In the morning I'll be headed towards Tellico Plains.

Miles:

Total miles driven today: 296 Miles

Actual miles driven off pavement: 60 Miles

Video:

 
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Jim Oaks

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August 17th:

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This was the final day of the Trans America Trail. It was a fairly boring day as well.

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There was very little off-pavement driving. Most of it was 2-lane back country roads that were either paved or chip and sealed.

2019_ford_ranger_trans_america_trail_08_17_2019-3.JPG

But then near the end, I ran in to a gravel section that had some washouts and downed trees...

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And finally, (4) back to back water crossings. They never look as intimidating in photos because you can't get a perception of depth.

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I'm glad that I can officially say it's over. I ended at Tellico Springs in Tennessee. This is where Sam originally started the TAT (Since then he extended the start down in to Andrews NC).

Since leaving my home in Texas, I traveled 1,869 before finally arriving in Tellico Plains.

Miles:

Today I drove 231 miles, but only 23 of those miles were off pavement.

Video:

 
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Saddle Tramp

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Thanks for all the pics. It was great!

Out of curiosity, do you think the trip could've been made with the new FX2 package instead of 4wd?
 

Jim Oaks

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No. You definitely need 4WD.
 

ericbphoto

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I suspect the vines you mentioned in Mississippi a few days ago are probably kudzu. It's a plant that was brought here from Asia to be used for erosion control. However, it has no natural enemies on this continent and is growing rampant. In the right conditions, it's vines can grow more than 18" a day. In Asian countries, some part of it (root?) has medicinal properties. Here, it's mostly annoying and very difficult to kill.
 

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Those vines were definitely Kudzu. That stuff will not die, you cant hardly cut it with a machete, and it grows anywhere it want to.
 

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Thanks for stopping by on your way up to Ohio now that your TAT adventures are complete!
 

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Trans America Trail - Oklahoma - Tennessee

August 13th, 2019:

I started the unfinished part of the Trans America Trail (TAT) today. I did the sections from Oklahoma to Port Orford Oregon in June. Now I'm doing the sections from Oklahoma to Tennessee where the TAT starts.

This stream crossing was my first obstacle. There was actually concrete under the water. I decided to throw on my rubber boots and walk past it a little way just to make sure the road was passable before I continued. The water wasn't deep, but it was slippery in the middle.
Check out this bridge. The deck is covered in mud, and there's logs on top of the bridge's structure. Makes me wonder just how high the water actually got!
Just another old bridge...
There were no shortage of water crossings today.

I stopped and talked to two TAT riders that were riding across country on the Trans America Trail. These guys actually loaded their bikes up in a rental truck, hauled them to North Carolina, and started heading west from the Atlantic Ocean. At the point where they were right here, they still had 14-15 days of riding ahead of them. It's hard to get Ford Ranger guys to show up in Ohio just for a weekend trail ride. LOL :icon_twisted:

I saw some open range cattle today, and a field with more horses than I could possibly count. I really wish I would have stopped and taken a photo.

Miles:

Today I drove 368 miles. 192 of those miles were off pavement.

Video:

How
Trans America Trail - Oklahoma - Tennessee

August 13th, 2019:

I started the unfinished part of the Trans America Trail (TAT) today. I did the sections from Oklahoma to Port Orford Oregon in June. Now I'm doing the sections from Oklahoma to Tennessee where the TAT starts.

This stream crossing was my first obstacle. There was actually concrete under the water. I decided to throw on my rubber boots and walk past it a little way just to make sure the road was passable before I continued. The water wasn't deep, but it was slippery in the middle.
Check out this bridge. The deck is covered in mud, and there's logs on top of the bridge's structure. Makes me wonder just how high the water actually got!
Just another old bridge...
There were no shortage of water crossings today.

I stopped and talked to two TAT riders that were riding across country on the Trans America Trail. These guys actually loaded their bikes up in a rental truck, hauled them to North Carolina, and started heading west from the Atlantic Ocean. At the point where they were right here, they still had 14-15 days of riding ahead of them. It's hard to get Ford Ranger guys to show up in Ohio just for a weekend trail ride. LOL :icon_twisted:

I saw some open range cattle today, and a field with more horses than I could possibly count. I really wish I would have stopped and taken a photo.

Miles:

Today I drove 368 miles. 192 of those miles were off pavement.

Video:

Hey Jim! It was great meeting you on the TAT! I was surfing YouTube for TAT videos and ran across your new content, was totally surprised when I saw you caught on cam. How cool is that! I appreciate your comments about our trip and the links you posted. Oh yeah, the slick concrete in the creek? I crashed there, no harm but was soaking wet for a few miles ha ha. JS.
 

Jim Oaks

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Hey Jerry! I enjoyed following you on Instagram. Great photos and videos.


I just started adding video from the last leg of my ride this week.


I have two guys here that want to do part of the TAT on motorcycles. One's in Pennsylvania, and the other is in Indiana (@Will @bobbywalter). I told them if they had limited time and could only do part of it, to do New Mexico and Colorado. What would be your recommendation?
 
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