The 2019 'Loan Ranger', and 2019 Ranger Adventure


Uncle Gump

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How much for the dog?

I sure miss having a dog... once I semi retire... I will have a pup. She (male sporting dogs tend to be to damn bull headed) will be on all my travels with me too...

Uncle Gump <------- Jealous of ALL of this
 


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Jim Oaks

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Day #2 - Monday June 3rd, 2019:

After spending the night in a rest area, I headed to Palo Duro Canyon just south of Amarillo Texas. This canyon is described as being the second largest canyon in the United States, and is 120 miles long and 880 feet deep.

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Afterwards I headed north and finally joined up with the Trans America Trail (TAT) at the Colorado / New Mexico Border. The TAT makes a left turn off of a dirt road at the state line, and then follows pavement for a short distance before turning north again. From this point on, it's mostly dirt/gravel roads.

There were storms moving in to the area, and I missed most of them. I got caught in one though that had hail, and it was raining so hard that the road started flooding. It was also at a point where the road seemed to end at someone's house. As I started to turn around at their garage, I saw what I wasn't sure was a driveway, or the road. My GPS said it was the road, so I followed it.


I have a lot of video to go through, including the part that I just described. I'll be glad to get them edited and uploaded for you guys to see.

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You encounter a lot of cattle on the open range.

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I use a Samsung tablet for navigation (it has a built in GPS) and was following the TAT route on Google maps. I downloaded sections of the map to use offline in case I lost cell service. Unfortunately, when I lost service and reverted to the downloaded maps, it wasn't showing me the TAT route.

I had download Gaia GPS and had the route loaded in that. I gave that a try and it worked flawlessly. I would highly recommend it!

While sorting out my navigation issue, I missed a turn, but didn't realize it until the Gaia GPS loaded. Even though the current route was going to intersect with the TAT, I turned around and backtracked to the turn that I missed. I'm glad I did because that lead me to Long Canyon Road. I had seen pics and video of this section of the TAT, and didn't want to miss it. I think it's the first really interesting section of the TAT.

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I'm higher up than it seems. That white blur in the open part of the photo below is buildings.

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I wouldn't want to meet a vehicle coming the other direction.

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I traveled around 107 miles on the TAT from the Oklahoma border to Trinidad Colorado, but it took a few hours to cover it. I only passed 3 or 4 vehicles, and was was coming out of Trinidad.

I'm glad to finally be on the Trans America Trail. (y)

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

 
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Jim Oaks

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Day #3 - Tuesday June 4th, 2019:

The TAT heads north from Trinidad, and west towards La Veta. I deviated and chose to head west out of Trinidad on SR12, across Lake Trinidad, and then head north on CR 41.7 to CR 42, and then finally CR 46. This was a beautiful ride. The original TAT route passes CR 46, but doesn't take it. Following CR 42 west will take you across Cordova Pass (11,260 feet) and through the Apishapa Arch.

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After crossing the Cordova Pass, I head north on SR 12 to La Veta to reconnect with the TAT. I stopped in the city park so Marley and I could stretch and have some lunch.

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Jim Oaks

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Day #3 - Tuesday June 4th, 2019 (Continued):

Having topped off my fuel, I was back on the TAT for the rest of the afternoon and much of the early evening.

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I even made a stop at Bishop Castle in Rye Co.

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I got as far as Westcliffe, and decided I needed to find a place to camp for the night. I decided to drive about 20-30 minutes north to a KOA campground in Cotopaxi, and got there in time to make camp before dark.

Today I drove 132 miles off pavement.

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

 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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Day #3 - Tuesday June 4th, 2019 (Continued):

Having topped off my fuel, I was back on the TAT for the rest of the afternoon and much of the early evening.
I even made a stop at Bishop Castle in Rye Co.
I got as far as Westcliffe, and decided I needed to find a place to camp for the night. I decided to drive about 20-30 minutes north to a KOA campground in Cotopaxi, and got there in time to make camp before dark.
Any more info on the castle. Looks like it might have an interesting back story.
 

Ranger850

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alwaysFlOoReD

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Cool story, thanks.
 

Jim Oaks

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Day #4 - Wednesday June 5th, 2019:

Sleeping next to the river at the KOA campground in Cotopaxi was like having a noise maker turned on at night with soothing water sounds.

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It made for a pretty nice view from the tent window as well.

I backtracked to Westcliffe, and continued the TAT from where I left off. It was another day of scattered rain storms, but the scenery was always beautiful.

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I found this nice little place a distance off to the side of the trail to let Marley run loose for a while, and eat some lunch.

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I finally made it to Marshall Pass. This was one of the passes I was looking forward to. You can look down on O'Haver Lake Campground from the pass.

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I was probably about half way across it when I started running in to snow.

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And then finally the whole road was covered with snow. If you look at the road in about the middle of the photo, you can tell that the snow was drifted deeper there. It was definitely over a foot, and it looked like it was deeper the further you went down the trail. I was still climbing elevation, so it's very likely that the snow would have got deeper as I went. Especially in areas where the trees were blocking the sun. Without a winch to drag myself across, I was forced to turn around on the tight trail. The trail drops off on the left, so their wasn't a lot of room to maneuver.

To make the situation worse, it started to rain. By the time I got back to the start of the trail, it was raining hard.

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This was a setback that I sort of anticipated, but hoped I wouldn't have to deal with. At least not on this pass. I had already crossed Cordova Pass at the same elevations, but luck wasn't with me this time.

I ended up spending the night at the Salida / Mt. Shavano KOA on US50. Not what I had in mind, but it was a place to sleep, it had cell phone reception, and a warm shower for the morning.

At 3:00 AM, I woke up to Marley growling, and I could hear something moving outside. I used the remote, and started the truck hoping the noise would scare it away. I have no idea what it was, but this is bear country. It was a little difficult falling back to sleep knowing that there could be a bear outside of my tent. For a while it seemed like my senses were heightened, and I could hear every little noise outside. At some point I did manage to go back to sleep though.

Today I drove 84 miles off pavement.

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

 
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ericbphoto

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What a beautiful trip! I want to see video of Marley climbing the ladder into his tent.
 

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I'm really loving the thread. What do you think of the Coopers you put on? I'm assuming since there really hasn't been any complaints that the truck and the tires have been performing well?
 

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Jim Oaks

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Day #5 - Thursday June 6th, 2019:

Today Marley and I headed west on US 50 to Monarch Pass and the Continental Divide.

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Still plenty of snow here at 11,312 feet.

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I saw this awesome snowblower parked here that was having some axle repair done.

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Day #5 - Thursday June 6th, 2019 (continued):

We continued a little further west on US 50 to Sargents. This is where the Trans America Trail comes out of Marshall Pass and crosses US 50. Once again we were on the TAT, although these girls were having a cow over it.

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This route took us through the Gunnison and San Juan National Forests. I was a little concerned that I would run in to more snow closing the road, but the day were rather well.

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As I started to get closer to Lake City, I started to see a lot of snow. Fortunately the road was open though.

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I already new that Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass were closed, and that I would have to head north on SR 149 to go around the Mountain to get to Ouray. I caught a break though when I discovered Blue Mesa Road CR 25. It cut up to US 50, and reduced the amount of time and distance I was going to have to take SR 149 all the way to US 50, and then west. I was a beautiful scenic dirt road, so it definitely met the criteria for the Trans America Trail. I stopped in Montrose for gas, surprised that it was 40+ degrees warmer than where I had been earlier, and then headed south on US 550 to Ouray.

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I stopped and made camp at the KOA campground just north of Ouray. I had camped here 2-years ago, so I knew it was someplace I'd camp on my way through this time.

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Total miles driven off of pavement today: 104 miles

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

 
Last edited:

snoranger

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Now that you've been using the tent for a while, about how long does it take to open and close?
 

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wow... I really want to do the TAT now in my Ranger... the country looks beautiful.

Keep the pics and narrative coming

AJ
 


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