Picture of two trucks facing the camera with a snow-capped mountain in the background between them.

Overland: WABDR Section 2

A couple of weekends ago, a buddy and myself took our trucks and went exploring in the southern Cascades. To say the trip was more than I was expecting would be an understatement.

We met up in Packwood Saturday afternoon, then headed to a secret dispersed campsite for the night. This was my first time dispersed camping so it was great to truly get away from civilization.

Picture of the campsite, with a campfire, table and two trucks with their tailgates facing each other.

Sunday morning we hit the dirt, aiming to complete Section 2 of the WABDR from Packwood to Ellensburg.

For context, the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route, or WABDR, is a route across Washington state from the Oregon border to the Canadian border, almost exclusively on dirt roads. It was originally mapped out by adventure motorcyclists, but can also be completed by ATV’s and full-size trucks. Consisting of 6 sections, the route takes about 6 days to complete if done continuously, but it’s common to do sections individually as we did with Section 2.

The first part of the drive is a climb up to Bethal Ridge. Along the way, you must traverse across the side of a mountain, with a beautiful valley below. There is one spot in particular that offers an incredible photo opportunity.

Panoramic picture with truck on elevated plateau overlooking a valley.

The high point of our trip (literally) is Bethal Ridge at 6200 feet of elevation, offering stunning views of the surrounding valleys and Mt. Rainier in the distance. This is the best view I’ve ever had while eating lunch.

Panoramic picture of a distinctly high ridgeline amongst rolling hills, with mountains in the distance.

You can see the rest of the pictures in the slideshow below. This route was moderately technical, but my stock F-150 (including running boards!) with good tires was able to complete it with a bit of thoughtful tire placement and some spotting through the narrow spots.

If you do the WABDR, or any backcountry exploring, make sure you travel with a buddy or have lots of experience before venturing out alone. In the latter half of the trip we helped out someone on an adventure bike who had crashed and was struggling to re-orient his heavy bike on a steep grade. If we had not showed up, his options weren’t great as I don’t think he had communication options while he was far away from cell service.

This was arguably my first true overland adventure and I can’t wait to do more. It was revitalizing and a ton of fun.

Ford Bronco and Ranger Return to US Market

Expedition Portal:

Ford just made some big waves at the Detroit Auto Show by announcing that two legendary platforms will be added back to the North American lineup. In 2019 showrooms will once again be graced by the mid-size Ford Ranger Pickup, followed closely by the legendary Bronco in 2020. Although we had suspected this might be the case after a United Automobile Workers representative let a rumor slip last year, we’re excited to see the formal announcement by Ford in Detroit.

I believe this is a smart, if not a bit late, move for Ford. While I don’t foresee the Bronco having large sales volume, I expect it to have a halo effect for the brand. As for the Ranger, Ford has the potential to greatly increase their overall truck sales.

While Ford still owns the half-ton truck market with the F-150, the midsize market has been growing significantly in the past few years. GM is making solid headway into the Toyota Tacoma’s significant sales lead with the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon, despite Toyota’s sales not decreasing meaningfully year of year. This shows a growing market.

A final tantalizing thought from Expedition Portal:

...one can only hope that they will step up to meet the challenge of Chevrolet’s new ZR-2. After all, with the international success of their diesel Ranger platform, and the popularity of their existing Raptor, it would only make sense.

I’m hoping for a Ranger-sized version of the Raptor.

A Driver's Car

In the automotive world there are many types of vehicles.

The average sedan or minivan are mundanely practical.

Jeeps and other SUVs inspire exploration.

Pickup trucks are workhorses, adapting to many purposes.

Sports cars are fun and entertaining.

Then there are the driver’s cars. Inspired by dreams. Built with passion. Fueled by desire. They beg to be driven.

Welcome to the Mustang GT350 - a driver’s car.