The 'Loan Ranger', and 2019 Ranger Adventure


Jim Oaks

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Day #8 - Sunday June 9th, 2019:

After stopping in Salina Utah for the night, I headed north on US 89 and rejoined the Trans America Trail in Ephraim.

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After you complete the first off-pavement section from Ephraim, it brings you out on to SR 28 near Fayette. You'll make a right turn, drive a few miles, and then make a right turn in to an area called Timber Canyon. I can't find a name for the road, but I came across a closed gate here.

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There wasn't any signs telling me that I couldn't enter, and I noticed there wasn't a cattle grate, so I figured it's a public road, and a rancher put up the gate to keep his cattle from getting out. I have encountered cattle in open ranges everywhere. The gate was held closed with a chain, and a clip like you'd find on a dog leash. I opened the gate, pulled through, and then re-secured it the way I found it. When I finally came out on the other end of the road, there wasn't a gate to deal with.

I eventually came to a section that I wasn't to sure about, but my GPS said I was on the right track, and it actually showed it as an old section of US 6 / US 50.

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Here's a video segment. This is for anyone that thinks the Trans America Trail is just a bunch of gravel county roads.

I later passed through an area called Death Canyon, and it brought me out to a salt bed.

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Marley was rolling around in the salt, and I think his salt bath relaxed him. LOL.

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Jim Oaks

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Day #8 - Sunday June 9th, 2019 (Continued):

This section ends up back on old US 6 / US 50 heading west towards North Gandy Highway. However, the TAT route will make a turn south, and take you to the new US 6 / US 50, and over to the Nevada state line to a gas station. There was nothing there but a Phillips 66 and a motel. It will then backtrack a very short distance and send you north up where you'll pass Old US 6 / US 50.

If you don't follow this route to the gas station, it will only be 7 miles until you get to North Gandy Highway and turn north. Also from thi point, I estimated that it's about 155-160 miles from this point until you get to West Wendover, Nevada which will be your next gas station.

This section of the TAT that takes you to the gas station at the state line is a 36.5 mile loop back to where North Gandy Highway intersects with Old US 6 / US 50.

If you don't need gas and just stay on Old US 6 / US 50, you'll save yourself 29.5 miles.

It will seem like you head north on this gravel road forever. You will finally turn on to Pony Express Trail. This will take you past an old Pony Express station.

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According to the signs, this stone structure replaced the Pony Express station that was originally located 3-miles to the west, and was burned down by an Indian attack.

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Stand there and imagine that you're a Pony Express rider galloping at full speed over the land in front of you, and off in to the distance. And just like back then, you're not going to get a cell phone signal here.

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And since I didn't get enough of the grassy and rocky trail earlier, I was faced with another one. You definitely have to keep your eyes open for rocks.

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I eventually made it to West Wendover in Nevada near the Utah border and camped at the Wendover KOA campground.


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Here you can see where I'm lighting up my campsite with my Pelican 7600 USB rechargeable tactical flashlight that's laying on the little roof over my picnic table. I love that light. Incredibly bright and I can recharge it from the USB port in the Ranger. I got it with the holster and diffuser so I can diffuse the light and use it as a lantern as well as an ordinary flashlight.

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Today I drove a total of 259 miles on dirt and gravel roads.
 

OldMan2

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How difficult is the TAT if you stayed on the Trail itself? Would a stock 4X4 be capable of the trip? I'm asking on behalf of us old folks who don't want to spend the money to modify a truck.
 

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@ about 2:30 in the video, you stop, get out and pick up something in the middle of the trail. what was that?
 

Jim Oaks

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It was a first aid kit. I'll post a photo tonight when I post an update.
 

Jim Oaks

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@85_Ranger4x4 here's the first aid kit I found on the trail:

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One of the straps on the back appear to be torn loose. The who back with the straps is held on by Velcro though. Could probably be replaced. Pretty nice trauma kit. Everything seems to be recent from the expiration dates.
 

Jim Oaks

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Day #9 - Monday June 10th, 2019:

This morning I woke up and used the laundromat at the camground to wash my clothes, and then head out for the days adventure.

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You only have to go a few blocks though and your find the old Wendover Army Air Field.

During World War II, it was a training base for B-17 and B-24 bomber crews. It was the training site of the 509th Composite Group, the B-29 unit that carried out the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, Wendover was used for training exercises, gunnery range and as a research facility. It was closed by the Air Force in 1969, and the base was given to Wendover City in 1977. A portion of the original bombing range is now the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) which is used extensively by the Air Force with live fire targets on the range.

The Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) is a military testing and training area located in Utah's West Desert, approximately 80 miles (130 km) west of Salt Lake City, Utah. UTTR is currently the largest contiguous block of over-land supersonic-authorized restricted airspace in the contiguous United States. The range, which has a footprint of 2,675 square miles (6,930 km2) of ground space and over 19,000 square miles (49,000 km2) of air space, is divided into North and South ranges. Interstate 80 divides the two sections of the range. The site is administered and maintained by the US Air Force's HQ UTTR, formerly known as the 388th Range Squadron (388RANS) stationed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) is host to a variety of training and testing missions for the United States Air Force, United States Army, and United States Marine Corps. The site is frequently used for the disposal of explosive ordnance, testing of experimental military equipment, as well as ground and air military training exercises.[citation needed] The Utah Test and Training Range works in close conjunction with Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) for military training exercises.

The site has also been used as a landing site for sample return in NASA's planetary science missions, including comet material in the Stardust mission and the upcoming OSIRIS-REx mission to return material from an asteroid.

Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) is a U.S. Army facility established in 1942 to test biological and chemical weapons, located about 85 miles (140 km) southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah and 13 miles south of the 2,624 sq mi Utah Test and Training Range forming the largest overland special use airspace in the United States.
Sounds like a place where you could see some weird stuff.

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It really surprises me that there's so many buildings left from the original WWII base.

Wendover is also at the west edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats.
 
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Jim Oaks

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Day #9 - Monday June 10th, 2019 (Continued):

The Trans America Trail led me north from Wendover on some rocky washboard roads that got pretty bad at moments. It eventually turns east to pass across the north side of the Great Salt Lake.

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Above you can see the Great Salt Lake in the distance.
The TAT brings you to Kelton, which use to be a train station for the Central Pacific Railroad along the Trans Continental Railroad.

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There's nothing really here now but a cemetery.

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From here, you drive on the old Central Pacific rail bed headed towards the Golden Spike National Historical Park where the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad met to complete the Trans Continental Railroad.

History tells us that this event completed the Transcontinental Railroad. But it’s a misrepresentation of history. The truth is, and you can search this for yourself (HERE), the Transcontinental Railroad had a gap in it because there wasn’t a bridge over the Missouri River in Omaha Nebraska. Passengers and freight would have to be unloaded from a train on one side of the river, loaded on to a ferry (operated by the Union Pacific Transfer Company), transported across the river, and then loaded on to another train. The railroad bridge over the Missouri River that truly created a ‘transcontinental’ railroad wasn’t actually finished until 1872.

As you drive along the old rail bed, there are historical signs that you can stop and read.

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Driving through a Union Pacific cut just east of Promontory.

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I didn't go to the Golden Spike National Park because I had actually visited there in 2017. Click HERE for that story.

From here, the trail took me north in to Idaho, and I stopped in Pocatello for the night to sleep.

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Total miles driven off pavement today: 207 miles
 
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OldMan2

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Day #9 - Sunday June 10th, 2019:

This morning I woke up and used the laundromat at the camground to wash my clothes, and then head out for the days adventure.

You only have to go a few blocks though and your find the old Wendover Army Air Field.



Sounds like a place where you could see some weird stuff.
It really surprises me that there's so many buildings left from the original WWII base.

Wendover is also at the west edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats.
I never knew my father. He was a bombardier on B-17's during WWII. He flew 25 missions over Germany. I imagine he trained at this base. Thanks for the post.
 

ericbphoto

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Cool. Pocatello is near a USNavy facility used for training and nuclear power research. There are some interesting things buried there that you wouldn’t want to dig up.
 

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Day #10 - Tuesday June 11th, 2019:

Today I returned to the Trans America Trail and spent what seemed like a couple of hours driving around Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. It ha a lot of large muddy spots along the trail, and from looking at the ruts in the dried sections, you could tell that it would be an area that could cause someone a lot of grief if it rains.

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The TAT travels through Arco Idaho, and I stopped at 'Jack's Travel Plaza - Conoco' to top off my gas tank, and for the dog and I to take a little break.
From here, the TAT travels in to the Sawtooth National Forest. The Antelope Valley is a very pretty area, but when I turned on FR 135 to head back to Copper Canyon, I ran in to a young guy for the Forest Service that told me the road was completely washed out and not passable.

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Jim Oaks

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Day #10 - Tuesday June 11th, 2019 (continued):

After finding out that the road was closed, I headed back to US 93, and discovered that if I headed north, I could take Trail Creek Road, and that it would connect me back to the TAT on the other side of the washed out road.

I had a funny thing happen here, but I wouldn't realize it at the time. There was some road work being done on this road, and a flagman stopped me until he received the word that it was ok to send me. While we were waiting the flagman asked me if I was a Ranger. I thought that was weird. The NFS vehicles are white. Later when I was taking some photos of the Ranger, I looked at the windshield and saw 'TheRangerStation', and just sort of laughed. I can't help but wonder if that's why he asked.

These photos were actually taken on the Trans America Trail section of it.

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Trail Creek Road brings you out in to the Sun Valley / Ketchum Idaho area. This is a year round resort area, and not someplace you're going to find any 'fast food' restaurants.

I topped off the gas tank again, and decided to continue west on the TAT. I headed west on Warm Springs Road FR 227 and came across this sign. I knew that the road was closed east of Featherville, and had already mapped in a detour. With that in mind, I continued.

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You could see where there had been a slide along this road, but the road had been cleared. I saw quite a bit of the on US 550 back in Colorado.

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After a short while, I came across this. Are you fricken kidding me!! Why didn't they put up a sign that said the road was closed X miles WEST of KETCHUM!?

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So again, I backtracked and detoured.

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I took SR 75 south out of Ketchum, and stopped at the McDonald's in Hailey for a bite to eat.

Ever wanted to know how the 2019 Ford Ranger compares in size between the F-150 and old Ranger?

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McDonald's Hot Fudge Sundae. Harder to make than you think. This has twice the fudge as the first attempt.

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When I came to the intersection of US 20 (where I was going to turn west), there was a pretty big state rest area there, so I just decided to pull in there and sleep in the truck. Yes, 6'2" / 215 lbs and I slept in the front seat of the Ranger.

Total distance driven off of pavement today: 156 Miles
 

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Jim Oaks

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Rangerx2

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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!
 


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