Carl and Sandy Baker are adventurers.
“Heck, we’ve been to Africa, the Yukon, and all over the United States,” says Carl. “And if I can drive there, you know I’m going to do it in our F-150.”
The retired Waxhaw, North Carolina, couple bought their first F-150 back in 2002, when Carl felt like it was the only option. “We took a trip out to Oklahoma and we were driving [a different brand of] pickup,” he recalls. “When I pulled in, I was about laughed out of the place. These were real-deal cowboys and they asked me if I had anything that could handle something more than just asphalt. That’s when I decided to get my F-150.”
Recently, they traded in their old reliable F-150 for a 2012 version and pointed it toward West Texas for a 3,400-mile hunting trip in the Chihuahuan Desert.
When the Bakers hit the perimeter of Gavilan Ranch in Presidio County, deep in the Texas desert, they had no idea that the 13 miles to the ranch house would make the previous 1,700 miles feel like a cakewalk.
“We were met by a sign that said ‘Hazardous road, travel at your own risk! Four-wheel drive vehicles only from this point,’” says Carl. “It didn’t feel like a welcome mat.”
They took to the narrow, ragged dirt path that wound around the rocky ridges of a 5,200-foot mountain. “After a mile we called the ranch owner to see if we were on the right road, and he said we had 12 miles to go and we just left the best part of it,” says Carl.
However, as they pushed forward, the F-150 calmed their nerves. “After a while, we knew that this vehicle was more than capable of getting us there safe and sound,” Sandy says.
After their stay on the ranch, which was at the base of the mountains, the Bakers had to make the return trip in a torrential downpour.
“That crazy road was flooded and they told us to call if we needed to get towed. I think they were expecting it,” remembers Carl. “Water was running down the road like a waterfall, but the truck performed like a champion and got us out of there like we were driving on the highway.”
The Bakers say there will be plenty more trips and that all of them will be made in their new F-150. “We’ve been driving these trucks for more than a decade and they’ve never failed. I can’t see any reason to ever get a different vehicle.”