The 'Loan Ranger', and 2019 Ranger Adventure


Jim Oaks

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Ya, the tent is Ford's. Although, I joked with them and said they probably wouldn't want it back if they knew what I've done in it.

I wish I could keep the whole truck. If anything, I wish they'd let me keep the tent. Either would make a nice 20th Anniversary gift.

These mods have been done at my expense. Taking it to the Overland Expo has been my expense, and my upcoming 3-week trip across the Trans America Trail will be at my expense.

The tent would be nice compensation. I'm sure the cost of that tent is nothing to them.
 


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sgtsandman

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Put the roof rack bars on and loaded up the truck for camp this weekend.
 

Jim Oaks

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Overland Expo - West:

Arriving at Overland Expo on Thursday, there wasn't much to do except set up camp. The event doesn't actually start until Friday morning, but they allow people in to set up camp on Thursday, and that's when the majority of the people camping arrive. It was really windy. It wasn't an issue in the campground, but I wouldn't have wanted to be setting up a tent and display on the show grounds.

You're not allow to have a campfire unless you have a propane firepit. It got down around 30 degrees at night, and I stayed warm by using a sleeping bag inside of another sleeping bag.

Friday May 17th:

Ironman 4x4 America was at the show, and they sent me a message through Instagram to stop by and see them. I'm familiar with the Ironman 4x4 brand for the products they make for the global Ranger. They are now offering products for the North America Ranger. They invited me to stop by their place in Newberg, OR when I take my trip in June, but I'm not sure if I will. I'd like to, but it would be an out of the way stop. It will probably be a last minute decision.

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Calmini was there with their new product line for the 2019 Ranger. They've been around for a long time, and probably best known for their Suzuki / Geo products. I quickly fell in love with this truck. The 3.5" front and 2" suspension lift, bumpers, tire carrier, and bed rack are all made by Calmini. It sat on a 33-inch tires, and had a great stance. Pictures don't do this truck justice. They suggested doing a build with me, but I have to give the Loan Ranger back in 4-months. :(

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Allied Expedition brought this AFN equipped Ford Ranger. I really liked the design of the winch bumper, although I would want a grill guard on it. Not only did it retain the factory driving lights, but it had a mesh grill to supply airflow to the radiator. The skid plate is included. I liked the smooth rounded corners, and the fact that you could bolt lights on without having to crawl under the bumper. It’s also designed to take the place of the front crash bars, so you can install larger diameter tires.

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I didn't care for the diamond plate on the running boards, but it had some beefy looking mounts where it attached to the frame.

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RPG Ranger...

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Patriot Campers have you covered in you want a utility bed.

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Jim Oaks

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Overland Expo - Continued:

It was nice talking to companies that were showing off Ford Ranger product. It was also great to finally meet Dan from Ruff Stuff Specialties. He's a very friendly and down to earth guy to talk to.

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The expo had everything from recovery gear to cooking gear. Roof top tents, adventure trailers, and huge off-road RV's. If you needed to outfit a vehicle for a remote adventure, they had everything you needed to do it, and the people to teach you how. It was like Boy Scout camp for off-roaders. LOL

Saturday May 18th:

I tried to spend more time checking out the classes on Saturday.

The Overland Expo offered classes that covered the areas of:
  • First Aid
  • Driving
  • ADV Moto Riding
  • Expedition & Recovery
  • Maintenance
  • Communication & Navigation
  • Food & Cooking
  • Planning & Logistics
  • Safety & Security
Some of these classes require an additional ticket to get you in to the overland experience area. There are more classes than you have time to take. Some you can just walk in to, and some you have to sign up for due to demand, so you have to look at the offerings, and pick the ones you’re most interested it. There are also seminars, slide shows, and other various presentations to enjoy.

I attended a class on mapping and navigation while I was there, and even found this class on how to properly fix a tire on the trail informative and beneficial.

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I checked out the classes the involved picking a line and spotting.

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As well as advanced winch skills.

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There's no shortage of cool vehicles to check out.

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Even Rivian was there with their electric truck setup for camping.

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There was a really good variety of food trucks there. There was even a section with tents set up like a food court.

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It became a big party in the evenings..

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They even had a band.

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On Sunday morning I packed my stuff up and left. I thoroughly enjoyed the event, but the forecast was calling for rain, and I didn't feel like spending another cold night in the campground. Especially with the added threat of rain.

It's definitely an event I would attend again though. I think any avid camper or off-roader could still learn something at Overland Expo. As I mentioned earlier though, it's a long drive. It's an event that you should take your time getting to, and enjoy exploring along the way there.

I have even more Overland Expo photos that you can view at:

https://www.therangerstation.com/articles/2019-overland-expo-west-photo-album/

And did an 'official' write up on the event called Overland Expo West - Why You Should Go'.

https://www.therangerstation.com/overland-expo-why-you-should-go/

Next Up:


Next up, exploring Arizona and New Mexico on my way back to Texas.......
 
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Jim Oaks

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I almost forgot....

I spotted this 2WD prerunner Ranger in the campground pulling a pop up camper that was built using a Ford Ranger bed.

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Ranger850

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My credo
Doing things wrong, until I get it right.
i really like the slide-out tray on the Blue Ranger with the utility bed.
 

Jim Oaks

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Sunday May 19th:

It was nice to get out of Flagstaff and start exploring. I traveled south out of Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road through the Coconino National Forest. From there, I headed south on SR 87 to SR 188 and in to the Tonto National Forest. That led me to Theodore Roosevelt Lake.

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Theodore Roosevelt Lake:

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Jim Oaks

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Theodore Roosevelt Lake was a beautiful area. It was getting late, and I knew the sun would be setting soon, so I decided to set up camp in the Cholla Campground. There's 206 campsites here, and I doubt that there were a dozen of them being used.

There's a fee station so you can pay to camp at any hour. You can pay with a card, and it prints out a ticket for you to hang on the post at your site to show that you've registered and paid.

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Remember that the LED lights I added work with a wireless remote. This is a view from a window in my tent. I can light up the area outside thanks to the remotes.

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Jim Oaks

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85_Ranger4x4

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I use a GoPro suction mount for my action camera on the windshield, and a cell phone windshield mount. I really like the cell phone mount and use it the most.

You have more going on there so it may not work, I have had really good success using the handlebar mount clamped on the rear view mirror stem. And it is largely behind the mirror so it isn't in the way too... but you have a big box looking thing there that might interfere with it.

This is the current model:


If it was your truck a stick on buckle mount would go on that box stuck on the windshield really nice...
 

Jim Oaks

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Monday May 20th:

I woke up in the Cholla Campground to the beautiful Arizona view, and the Superstition mountains in the distance.
I found a forest road just east of the campground, and headed up Mills Ridge. The views were beautiful!

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I continued my trip east on SR 188, and then east on US 60. I came across the Salt River canyon. You would have thought you were at the Grand Canyon.

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I followed the highway down in to the canyon, and came to the Salt River Canyon Rest Stop. I found a primitive road that went along the river, and started to follow it.

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In the photo below, you can see where US 60 cross the Salt River. The brick structure to the left is the rest area. I stopped to take some photos, but it started to rain, so I left. My plan was to drive to Roswell New Mexico, and I didn't have a lot of time to play around.

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I stopped at one more scenic overlook before leaving the area.

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sgtsandman

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I REALLY like what Calmini did with the front and rear bumpers!
 
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Jim, are you sending any of this information to Ford? Your photos would make AWESOME promotional photos for the new Ranger.
 

Jim Oaks

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Heading east, the rain gradually turned to snow. I got ahead of it briefly, and stopped at McDonald's in Springerville for lunch. By the time I left McDonald's, there was snow stuck to the side of the bed, and it was snowing pretty good.

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From here east, I would be driving in the snow for what seemed like a couple hours. At points it was snowing pretty heavily, which seemed crazy considering I started the day to sunshine and warm temperatures.

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I finally got ahead of the storm, and stopped at the Very Large Array on US 60 between Datil and Magdalena New Mexico (Noted astronomical radio observatory composed of 27 82-ft.-wide dishes http://www.vla.nrao.edu/ )


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See that icy looking square in the opening in the bumper? That's the sensor for the Adaptive Cruise Control.

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I didn't stop very long because there was a snow storm right behind me. You can see the storm catching up to me in the video below.
I wanted to use the cruise control to maintain a slower steady speed, but it wouldn't work. The snow (ice?) on the Adaptive Cruise Control sensor had triggered this message on the instrument cluster:

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And trying to activate the cruise control resulted in this message:

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I later found that you could go in to the Driver Assist settings, click Cruise Control, scroll from Adaptive to Normal, and the cruise control would work. Something to remember if your cruise control stops working if it snows.

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I continued west to Socorro NM, and took IS 25 south a short distance to US 380. Heading east on US 380 would take me to Roswell New Mexico, and eventually to Texas. I stopped briefly by a marker along US 380 for the Trinity Test Site. It seems crazy that the US Government had detonated the very first atomic bomb just south of here. The snow storm had slowed me down, and it began to get dark. I hate driving at night on trips because you can't see any of the sites, but I pushed on to Roswell. I arrived later than I had planned, and ended up getting a hotel for the night instead of camping.
 

sgtsandman

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Jim, are you sending any of this information to Ford? Your photos would make AWESOME promotional photos for the new Ranger.
I could be wrong but I think Jim has said that Ford watches this forum pretty closely.
 


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