Three Weeks, Three States, One Explorer

By Ford Social Member

Greetings from the Pahaska Teepee lodge, the last place to grab a room and a meal before you get to Wyoming's eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. After a nine hour drive from Boulder, Colorado, it feels good to stretch my legs out on my cabin's queen-sized bed. And even better to wash down a respectable buffalo meat quesadilla from the lodge's grill with the Moose Drool Brown Ale I picked on my way through Cody, about 50 miles to the east.

Moose Drool and a buffalo quesadilla – not a bad way to launch three weeks of backpacking, hiking, cycling and mountain biking in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado. Week One of the trip starts officially in Yellowstone with three days of solo backpacking, followed by another three of day hikes and driving in and around the park. Then a southern exit from Yellowstone, with a quick peek at the Grand Tetons, before heading back to Boulder for five days of road riding and mountain biking. Then it's out west - again – to Grand Junction and Fruita, Colorado for a taste of the epic mountain biking there.

That's the plan, anyway. No doubt my itinerary will change with the weather, advice from locals I run into and for all I know, perhaps a bear or two.

In between all of this cardiovascular obsessiveness, I also plan to make room for the three B's in my life:  Breweries, bike shops and bakeries. After all, what's the point of suffering with a bike or a backpack if you don't reward yourself now and again? And again, and again and again?

For the most part I will be traveling solo, save for Week Two when a biking buddy will join me in Boulder for our Two Man Boulder Bike Fest.

But while I will be mostly on my own, I will have my Mighty Steed – aka, the Tuxedo, as my daughter calls it – with me at every turn: a jet-black 2011 Ford Explorer.  If there is  a better vehicle for eating up hundreds of miles of western highway in comfort, hauling too much gear for too many contingencies and going anywhere I want at a moment's notice in any road conditions (while looking darn good, I might add) I don't know what it is.

Ah - my Moose Drool is empty.  Guess that means it’s time to hit the pillow in preparation for a 5:00 a.m. wakeup call. And whatever Yellowstone in the fall can offer.

Rob Lamme is a North Carolina-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Backpacker, Sky and other publications. This fall, Rob is trying to cram as much backpacking, hiking, cycling and mountain biking as possible into a three week trip through Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Look for periodic updates about his adventures on thefordstory.com over the next few weeks.
cman 12/11/2011
Why no more North American Ranger? I learned to drive in a Mazda B3000 (a ranger underneath) and now we have a 4x4 ranger sport. When it comes time to by my own, I dont want a full size (I don't care about the fuel numbers, it is just too big). If nothing comes in to fill the void I will be buying a Tacoma, an older ranger, or an older explorer from back when they were still capable.
Chad Anderson 10/14/2011
Ford was looking to buy Kia but the Korean government stepped in and forced Hyundai to purchase it, i realy cant see how the F150 has any fuel economy numbers that are better, as the F150 gets 19mpg combined cycle and the Ranger gets 30.9 with its 2.2 diesel, and even the petrol 4 gets 24mpg, the Ranger probably has better economy due to being 10% smaller, and better designed (designed by Ford Australia).
Chad Anderson 10/13/2011
Ford was looking to buy Kia but the Korean government stepped in and forced Hyundai to purchase it, i realy cant see how the F150 has any fuel economy numbers that are better, as the F150 gets 19mpg combined cycle and the Ranger gets 30.9 with its 2.2 diesel, and even the petrol 4 gets 24mpg, probably has better economy due to being 10% smaller, and better designed (designed by Ford Australia).
Dennis Garrett II 10/06/2011
Proud owner of 8 Mustangs and 4 trucks and suv's.
Dennis Garrett II 10/06/2011
Randy ive been aFord owner all my and raced muatangs on road corses.Im not stuppid both cars and suv's look the same body wise so somebody,some were did a copy cat its not like yoi just cant see it.Goes to show who knows there body style on vehocle when comes to it.Go ahead take alook next time and let me know.
Ford Motor Company 10/06/2011
@Sam: The Ranger is now within 90% the size of the F-150, and the F-150 actually has some fuel economy numbers that are better than the Ranger. We don't have any plans for a truck smaller than the F-150 at this time.
Sam Rehm 10/06/2011
Also ford motor company, you've killed off the sport track! !! Are there any plans 4 a midsize truck to replace don't care what u call it! My sport trac now has 215,899 miles I know id like something new in the next few years, ranger to small. F150 to big something in between would be awesome!
Sam Rehm 10/06/2011
Right ! Kia is owned by HYUNDAI
Randy Crane 10/06/2011
@Dennis. How dare you compare Ford to KIA.
Ford Motor Company 10/06/2011
@Dennis: Happy to answer your question; we must have missed it previously. Ford does not own Kia nor did Kia assist with the design of the Taurus or Explorer. Scott M., Global Digital Communications
Dennis Garrett II 10/06/2011
Ford dont be scared I done ask this question several times with no response.Does Ford owne Kia or did Kia help Ford design the Taurus and Explorer?The Kia 4door car looks like Taurus and there suv looks like a Explorer.I guess im right since Ford wont answer me.
Randy Crane 10/06/2011
Explorer looks so much better than the wannabe Durango
Dan Paswell 10/06/2011
Well, two explorers. Rob's exploring also. Sorry. I'm that guy aren't I..?
Three Weeks, Three States, One Explorer
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