I experienced Winter!

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O, Woe is me!
Jun 20, 2007
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Panama City, FL
My stepson has finished his time stationed in Hawaii (including a year in Afghanistan with his unit) and shipped his new F-150 Raptor to Oakland instead of all the way home. That meant we had to go get it and bring it back. He had his girlfriend coming with us, and we picked up my brother (who lives in San Jose, has participated sparingly here as motortoad) so there were four of us.

Not being familiar with the truck, I asked Josh if there'd be room, and he said yeah, it's HUGE! I asked him if there was room for our luggage, too, and he said, well, yeah, it's a friggin' truck! Then I asked if my clothes would be dry when we arrived somewhere, and he went kinda blank. So we went online and ordered a BAKflip bed cover and had it shipped to his sister's in Lodi, California.

We rented a car here in Panama City, drove to Jacksonville for our flight. It was well worth the 100-dollar car rental and 5-hour drive to save what we saved on airfare! Renting a car also meant we didn't have to go back to JAX at the end to pick up some dumb schmuck's (uh, my) car.

Another attraction in Lodi was my first visit with the newest grandbaby, Riley:


Here's the crew. Me on the right, Josh and ladyfriend Cassandra on the left, stepdaughter Julia in the center with her husband Mark, and little Riley.


Mark had his own truck, but on this day it just didn't measure up....


Here's something we had to do way too much of. Well, actually we only needed seven gas stops to cross the country. It's just that a single stop might be the better part of 38 gallons...... The guy inside the passenger door is motortoad, and he's 6'2". Also note the cute little Chevy behind us. Those wheels that take up so little space in the tires are 17s.


From Lodi we headed to Yosemite. It was already late in the day after getting to Lodi about lunchtime and installing the bed cover. We got to Yosemite about 4:30. Here are some shots from along the road.


Cassandra, Josh, and Steve (motortoad.)


Above 5000 feet crossing the mountains into the park, there was snow on the ground. Real snow! I literally haven't been in this kind of snow since 1968! Seriously!


Josh at an overlook that was the first view of El Capitan and Half-Dome. El Capitan is about 5-1/2 miles away still, Half Dome a bit over 10.


A longer lens shot.


A little farther along, looking down into the west end of the valley, with Bridalveil Fall in the distance.


Bridalveil from the valley floor:


One of our first views of El Capitan from the valley:


El Capitan again, with Horsetail Fall to the left.


The north wall of the valley, with Yosemite Falls on the right.


Because we arrived so late we were running out of light, so we decided to get beds at the Yosemite Lodge, planning to finish the valley tour in the morning. Checking the weather forecast at this point might have payed off, as here are shots from the next morning.


The Raptor, with Yosemite Falls sort of visible in the background.


On the road out we stopped a couple of times and acted like children:




The trees in snow looked spectacular!



The destination out of Yosemite was Las Vegas. I've never been, might never go again, but I'm glad to have had the experience. Here's walking the strip that night. (Phone pics, didn't wanna lug the SLR around.)




The next night we got up to Fremont Street, which I thought was cooler, being the "old" Vegas, near the downtown area, and lit with neon and flashy lights instead of the digital and video used along the strip. The show on the overhead video thingie was disappointing. Some years ago that was probably a pretty nifty piece of electronics, but compared to any stadium screen these days, it's extremely low-res, and just not very exciting graphically.


We got up "early" the next day (Friday) to start the trip home, early being slighty before lunch..... Hit Hoover Dam on the way out. Probably the first rainy day they've had in months, and it was OUR day.


We were planning on shooting up to the Grand Canyon but decided to check the weather, since it was raining. Not a good forecast......


As we got into Arizona.......


We didn't take any of those exits. The canyon remains unchecked on the bucket list, unfortunately.


With visibility like this, what would have been the point?



We made it to Sweetwater, Texas that night very late, maybe 3:00 AM, which Josh discovered was hosting the annual Rattlesnake Roundup, and he dragged us kicking and screaming to check that out the next day. I didn't even go in. It was 10 bucks, and I wasn't about to drop actual cash on something as uninteresting as looking at stuffed snakes, cooked snakes, live snakes, snakes being milked, and rednecks enjoying all of it. All I could think of at this point was, it's Saturday afternoon, I have to be at work on Monday, and we're less than halfway home.

We FINALLY got out of that, and made Lafayette, Louisiana that night, about 1:30.... ish. After a couple more of these:


We'd driven through snow and rain most of the way, moving along with the same storm system the whole way. We finally got ahead of it Saturday night, and then it caught up with us out of Louisiana. We got out again about Mobile, and decided to finish the trip's meals with a stop in Pensacola at McGuire's Irish Pub.


This is a MUST-DO for anybody passing through here. They butcher their own steaks and grind their own burgers from the trimmings. The burgers are 3/4 pound. My brother had a patty melt along with McGuire's brewed-in-house stout, and I had the blackened steak burger. No beer, though, as I was driving and finishing an 8-hour trip. I did NOT want to get sleepy!


Got to the house about 7:30 Sunday night, just in time to lose interest in doing laundry. I'd left one set of work clothes clean in the closet before leaving, so I was good for Monday!

Total driving was about 2950 miles, with not quite 230 gallons of gas. Premium gas.... Do the math.

The truck did well enough to almost make me think trucks are cool. But then I realized I should be able to say that about anything that costs 55,000 dollars! So I'm not a truck convert yet. Still, this was exceptionally well appointed, and had plenty of room. Here's a fisheye from the back seat, and you can see that my legs are stretched enough that you can see my feet. In the back seat! This is the first vehicle I've been in in YEARS that I could even get INTO the back seat, much less ride there for hours.


Of course Josh spent the whole trip talking about how cool his truck is. OMG, 7 days of that!!!! He kept looking up stuff in the online owner's manual and "sharing" with us! Ooh, look, it does this! Ooh, look, it has hill-descent mode. Ooh, look, it shows lean angle on the dash. Blah blah blah.....

One thing he noted was that the windshield is warranted by Ford for 12 months. If it breaks they want to know about it. Oddly enough we had a test! Somewhere west of Fort Worth a car in front ran over a tire gator and threw it up into the air. We hit it (not me driving, I don't follow at half a second spacing) and it took out the passenger side wiper blade and put rubber marks on the windshield. At 75 miles per hour, we hit a flying truck tire tread and didn't have to replace the windshield!!!! Not a crack, not a chip, nothing! I don't know what it's made of, but they should ALL be like that. We stopped at an Autozone and got a new wiper blade. That was all we needed.


That big mark is a bug splat that was already there. the black marks are from the tire piece. It made a hell of a noise. Steve was asleep and woke up thinking we were all about to die, and Josh did think he was going to die when that thing came up right at his face as he rode in the passenger seat.


Also, for those interested, that BAKflip bed cover is the shizzle. It sealed well, with none of our stuff getting wet at all, and it's four panels, not one, and folds up to store behind the rear window, so you don't have to remove it and find some place to put it if you need the bed open. Only thing about it I didn't like was you have to lift the rear section to close the tailgate, then let that section down again.

If it matters to you, New Mexico and Mississipi had the cheapest gas, California was highest (duh!) with AZ, TX, LA, and AL hanging around the same money, and Florida the highest besides CA.

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Purveyor of Crooked Facts
Jun 13, 2005
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Skootsdale, AZ
GREAT 'freaking CAGE' Ride Report Walt! I was wondering where you have been. You have missed SO much fun around here over the last week.

Too bad about the big ditch in northern Arizona. You gotta see it at least once.

McGuire's Irish Pub! Oh, the memories! I spent a lot of quality time there in 1988/89. Never had one of their steaks or burgers but I drank a LOT of their beer. And I even kissed the moose! Ahhh.... good times.

Thanks for sharing.



Chicks Dig Scars
Staff member
Jun 21, 2005
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A Child Of The Universe
Fun tiimes. Too bad you didn't get to Hoover Dam before they re-routed all the traffice around it onto the new bridge. First time across it, I parked the bike in a no parking area on the S side of the dam (quickly), ran over to the endge, looked down, exclaimed, "Damn! That's a lot of concrete!", and sped away on my bike before anyone could nail me.

Jun 14, 2005
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Loved the report.

Me, wifey and the kids were at the same overlook at Yosemite last June. Really enjoyed the park. Felt bad that I didn't have the FJR.


Redfish Hunter

Gone Fishing
Apr 16, 2012
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Prairieville, LA
wfooshee, I hope you do realize that the Ford Raptor is arguably the most Bad-Ass factory truck to ever roll off an assembly line. The young man had every reason to be excited and proud of that monster. I bet the idea of driving it through a bunch of snow did not worry him at all. I am not a "Ford" man but I have to respect what they have done with that thing. I am somewhat surprised that you guys did not have admirers approaching you at fuel stations. Those Raptors are very special in the truck world.

I can certainly relate to the novelty of snow. We get so little of it here. I see snow about as often as I see a fast Harley.



O, Woe is me!
Jun 20, 2007
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Panama City, FL
Redfish, I was actually at the wheel for all the snow driving, and I have to say that the truck did very well. No worries at all. The awesome thing about the truck is that it handles so well on the road. Most "offroad" trucks are pigs on pavement, but this thing did very well. Steered straight, no wandering around, well balanced, and ate up freeway heaves and speed bumps like they didn't exist. but like I said before.... for $55,000 it had damn well better.

I was asked by a coworker why the Garmin was on the dashboard when the thing has a giant GPS/radio/computer screen in the dash. My answer was, "I can tell you've never tried to actually navigate with Ford's built-in GPS systems."

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O, Woe is me!
Jun 20, 2007
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Panama City, FL
Yes, it was a white roof. Couldn't even begin to tell you about the tires stacked up. Looking at it, I think those are innertubes.


Well-known member
Nov 9, 2005
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The Woods of Peardale, CA
I was wondering how he bought a Raptor for only 55k and where was all the snow? Then I realized this is a TEN year old thread as this year you would have only seen walls of record snowfall.