The 'Loan Ranger', and 2019 Ranger Adventure


Jim Oaks

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So many people came up to me during this trip and asked about the Ranger. A few asked about the MPG, and they were pleased with the MPG I was getting, which kind of surprised me. I think I even sold a woman and her husband on replacing her Hummer with a Ranger.
 


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Jim Oaks

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I'd really like to organize a future trip (2021?) and get a few other people to tag along with their vehicles. Maybe do the Continental Divide from the Mexico border to the Canadian border, and retrace the Great Divide Expedition from 1989:

Or something else cool.
 

sgtsandman

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What a great trip!

Considering the tires, load, and where you were driving, the mpg isn’t that bad. I doubt and older Ranger would do that well.

Since it wasn’t mentioned, I’m guessing that fuel availability wasn’t a problem. I can’t remember if you loaded spare fuel cans or not or if you ever had to use them.

I would love to do a trip like that. It will probably have to wait until I retire from the military because of the never ending deployment rotations. I’m not sure which truck I would take either. I guess it would depend on who’s going to go along for the ride.
 

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My credo
Lead, Follow or get out of my way
In all my years... I've never driven west of the Mississippi. Been on a plane a few times. My daughter just returned home from a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park... and the pictures she brought back... amazing. In the next couple of years I want to road trip for a couple three months across the north through the Dakotas into Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Hit Mt Rainier Head south to Yosemite and Death Valley. West to Grand Canyon, Carlsbad and Guadalupe mountains. Then hit Hot Springs then the Smokey Mountains on the way home... with no other agenda but to take my time... and soak it all in.

Depending on timing... hanging out with some of you guys on at least part of that journey could fit nicely into my overall plan.
 

Jim Oaks

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I had a 5-gallon fuel can. The only time I got concerned about fuel was in Utah. I think I finally got to a gas station with 40 miles to empty, but I skipped over a section that looked like it could have been 10-miles, and slow going.
 

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The Continental Divide is a trip I would love to take. Just let me know when.
 

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I had a 5-gallon fuel can. The only time I got concerned about fuel was in Utah. I think I finally got to a gas station with 40 miles to empty, but I skipped over a section that looked like it could have been 10-miles, and slow going.
:fie:
 

Jim Oaks

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My Recommendations If Doing The Trans America Trail (TAT)
Navigation

The biggest obstacle I faced when planning for the Trans America Trail (TAT) was navigation.

The official Trans America Trail website will sell you maps / GPS tracks: https://www.transamtrail.com/maps/

You can also get the map from gpskevin: http://www.gpskevinadventurerides.com/trans-america-trail

I used a easier and cheaper method. The gpskevin link above will show his TAT route, as well as the current TAT route created by the TAT founder Sam Correro all on a Google Map.

Go to the 2017 Trans America Trail on Google Maps and click on the (3) dots as shown below:

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Choose 'Download KML':

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Choose 'Export as KML':

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Now go to www.gaiagps.com, create an account, and then use the dropdown menu under your name to upload the KML file you saved.

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Download the Gaia GPS app on your smart phone or tablet. You can use the app for free, but it will only show you a topo map. I would suggest paying for a $20 yearly subscription so you have access to more maps.

The TAT route will now show up on your mobile device. I use a Samsung tablet.

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The Gaia GPS app doesn't give you turn by turn directions. You will see an arrow showing you where you are, and you simply follow the red line.

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If you look at the photo above, you'll see that the top of the app screen shows the altitude, and the GPS coordinates. If you hit the 'Record' button, you can record your track as you go, and save it. This is great if you just want to create an adventure as you go, or you're detouring off of a route, and want to keep a record of it.

If you lose your cell phone signal, the app won't be able to show the map, but it will still show you the red line that you have to follow.

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If you touch the lines, a label will show up indicating what the route is. This is helpful if you have multiple route options.

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You can change the look of the map by hitting the layer button in the top right of the screen. Drag the map you want up to the 'Visible' section (see below). See the blue line under 'MapBox Streets HD'? If you slide the line back (left), it will allow the next map layer to show through.

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Need to create a route to follow?

Touch and briefly hold the screen on the location where you want the route to start. It will display a blue circle.

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Touch the screen further along the route, and the route will draw itself in between the points.

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Continue doing that until you have the route you want, and then click 'Save'.

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I actually had to do this in Idaho. The road that the TAT followed was closed, so I plotted out a new route to follow to link me back up with the TAT. By creating the detour, it gave me a path to follow in the event I lost my cell signal, and could no longer see the map.

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Jim Oaks

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My Recommendations If Doing The Trans America Trail (TAT)
When To Go:

I did this trip in the first week of June, and I ran in to issues with snow in Colorado, Utah, and Oregon. While some of the mountain passes may open up by late June, some of the ones in Colorado don't open until mid-July.

If you're serious about doing the Trans America Trail, I would suggest that you do it between mid-July to the end of September.

Suggestions:

Some of the TAT routes were dried up rutted mud. If it were to rain hard, the mud would become very challenging. This is why I choose to ride on mud terrains.

Carry an extra 5-gallons of gas. There's a section in Utah that has a pretty big gap between gas stations. Some of the sections in the National Forests of Oregon are pretty long as well. Speaking of gas, gas up whenever you go through a town. I gassed up on numerous occasions even though I still had 3/4 of a tank of gas.

Keep your navigation devices charged. My phone will charge when plugged in even if I'm using it, but my tablet won't charge if the screen is on. I made sure that my tablet was charged every day before I started out, and I would turn the screen off from time to time to save it's charge, and to let it charge back up. I would follow the TAT on my cell phone (when I had a signal) using the Google map link I shared earlier so my tablet could charge back up.

I carried a full first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and plenty of food and water with me.

I also had a shovel, and actually used it once to get me unstuck from some snow. I carried recovery gear (tow strap and shackles) with me in case I got stuck, and someone came by that could pull me out. Obviously make sure you have something to hook to,

I went in to my Google maps, clicked 'Location Sharing', and shared it with my daughter back in Texas. This way she could track me through my mobile devices. If I were to slide off of a mountain and come up missing, my daughter could help narrow down where to look for me.
 

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WOW.........
 

Jim Oaks

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Day #16 - Saturday June 17th, 2019:

After spending the night in the parking lot of the Loves Travel Stop, I continued on to Loomis Ca to visit the guys at Ruffstuff Specialties.

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Forum member ben10 came by while I was there with the 'manger'. This truck was first built by forum member legoms013, and was featured on this site as 'legoms013 2000 Ford Ranger'. It started life as a 1996 Mazda B4000, but after a rollover, it was fitted with a 2000 Ford Ranger cab. ben10 eventually became the trucks owner, and posted on thread about titled 'Bringing back the manger!'.

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Forum member (and former TRS Banner Across America participant) '2004xlmiller' works at Ruffstuff, and gave me a tour around the shop.

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Guys were hard at work making beefy parts for your truck builds :icon_welder:.

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You know you want one of these Ruffstuff diff covers for your truck 😉

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The guys also brought out a Tuff Stuff roof top tent for me to check out.

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I eventually left so the guys could get some work done, and headed south. I didn't want to drive in a lot of traffic through California cities, so I ended up heading east a little, and following Route 49 (Golden Chain Highway) along the Yosemite National Park for a while.

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I I eventually cut back towards Fresno, and got this alert on the Rangers navigation screen. This was the first time I had seen an urgent message displayed.

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I eventually arrived at the Visalia / Sequoia National Park KOA Journey campground in Visalia.

This flyer in the office window caught my attention. I think it's the first time I've seen a campaign that says you can trade the vehicle for the one you really want, if you don't want this one. How can you not want a new Ford Ranger? Come on!!

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When I stopped at a KOA campground in West Wendover Nevada on the 9th, I had experienced a problem with the Yakima Skyrise tent. When I went to open it, the top layer of the tent acted like it was going to flop over and fall off of the truck. I looked it over, and found that the bolts that holds the hinges on were loose, and that a couple of lock nut were missing, as well as one of the bolts. I searched in the cover, but didn't find the missing hardware.

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I tightened the nuts and bolts that were there, and used a vise-grip to hold the tent together so I would have a place to sleep for the night.

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I went to the only hardware store in town the following morning, but they didn't have any metric nuts and bolts. I purchased a couple of 1/4 inch nuts and bolts, and set out on the days adventure. I figured the next time I tried to use the tent, I would fix it. SInce I had arrived at a campground early enough in the evening, today was finally going to be that day.

I struggled getting all the holes lined up, and the hinges were tweaked a little, but I finally got it all bolts back together.

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Here you can see me using my Pelican 7600 rechargeable flashlight and the optional wand as a diffuser to light up my campsite.

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It was nice to finally get to sleep in the tent. I love this thing when it's working, but I really don't understand how the locknuts came loose. :dunno:

Yakima says I need to:

You will want to make sure that you are checking the bolts, making sure that they are tight, on a regular basis. Especially since you seem to be "off roading" a lot.
So I guess if you travel on bumpy roads looking for those remote places to use your Yakima tent, you better be checking all of the bolts regularly.

This was my reply back to them:

I would say the tent has been subject to a lot of vibration driving down gravel roads. I wouldn't call that off-roading.

HOWEVER, the type of customer that buys a roof top tent likes to travel and camp remotely, and uses a lot of gravel roads and forest roads. I still think this needs to be brought to the attention of your engineers. Maybe they need to be using steel nuts, bolts, lock washers, and some blue locktite. I wouldn't think you would want to be telling your customers that they need to keep checking the bolts to make sure it's not falling apart.

Thanks.
Honestly, I don't know if Yakima is using poor quality hardware, or if the problem rests with the company that installed the tent on the truck (it wasn't Ford, and this is not a Ford related problem).

Yakima said they would send me a new hinge and hardware kit. They also emailed me instructions on how to fix the tent coming out of the track, and offered to send me a new ladder since the rubber feet wore out prematurely on the current ladder. So I can't really complain about the customer service.

At least for now, I'm not having to sleep in the front seat of the truck.
 
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85_Ranger4x4

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Honestly, I don't know if Yakima is using poor quality hardware, or if the problem rests with the company that installed the tent on the truck (it wasn't Ford, and this is not a Ford related problem).

Yakima said they would send me a new hinge and hardware kit. They also emailed me instructions on how to fix the tent coming out of the track, and offered to send me a new ladder since the rubber feet wore out prematurely on the current ladder. So I can't really complain about the customer service.

At least for now, I'm not having to sleep in the front seat of the truck.
Hardware looks cheap to me, the nut being so shallow and the general shape of of it. I would be tempted to go back together with a full depth metal locknut, depending on grade I would think about upgrading the bolts too. A lot of the stuff in kits is so cheap it isn't even marked for grade.

Cool to see where my rear axle swap hardware came from, my perches and shock mounts came from Ruffstuff.
 

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How did the "Ruff Stuff" rtt compare the Yakima?
 

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Grass fire?... You been smoking again? Ha Ha!

Surprising on the tent problem. Yakima usually has their stuff together. Glad they seemed to give in so you can properly repair the tent.
 

Jim Oaks

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Day #17 - Saturday June 18th, 2019:

It was nice to stretch out and get some sleep in the tent. Marley likes it to. I just have to lift him in and out of it.

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FYI, there's actually a gray bed sheet laying over the foam pad so the dog doesn't get it dirty with his paws.

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The Cooper Discoverer STT PRO's were overdue for a rotation, so I stopped at America's Tire in Visalia (Discount Tire here in Texas), and got my free tire rotation since I'm a Discount Tire customer.

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From there I continued on to Mojave California so I could stop and visit with my friend Chris Bader at Code3it. Chris was a police officer back in Ohio, and I met him when I worked as a State Trooper. He's a Jeep fanatic and I believe he's owned 20 of them to date. Federal Signal was at the shop demonstrating some new product, so he was a little busy. But it was great to see him.

Chris moved from Ohio to California, and now spends his time wheeling Jeeps, building police vehicles, and other assorted IT work.

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Chris has this original FC-170 Forward Control Jeep (truck). Despite how it looks, it's a solid Jeep that runs and drives.

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This is a really cool truck. I had never actually see one in person before. Only photos. As far as I know, Chris plans to keep it and use it just the way it is.

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Depending on which direction you look, you either see Jeeps and Jeep parts, or police cars and police equipment.

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This police Jeep in the video below is actually Chris'. It seems only fitting that a Jeep guy that sets up police cars for local communities, would have a Jeep to represent his business.


 


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