Ford Transit USA Forum banner

My van on Mars

6071 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  accrete
Ok, Campers. I'm thinking the SWB T-150 will be at least as camper-capable as your basic F-150 pickup or even the Transit Connect.

Too citified, you say? Ha! Here is my TC on Mars...

That's Mars, south of I-40, between Barstow and Needles, in the Marble Mountains / Trilobite Wilderness. Lots of upheaval of sedimentary formations, interspersed with fresh volcanics and fractured rocks that are all pointy; passable dirt roads that turn into jeep tracks and then get worse. The little TC was going cross-country after the road evaporated. Now you see why I'm waiting in the Transit line.

So ... Where have you all taken your current rides? Where ya gonna go when you get the new one? Pics, please.


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 6 of 15 Posts
@ carryon & ted,

Oh yes! I was very aware that it was a long hot walk back to pavement and civilization. I had loads of water, but you can only carry so much on your back.

I basically just crawled along - at the speed of a slow walk, driving around the pointy rocks mostly. Occasionally I would stop and rearrange the rocks. The stock Continental tires are for pavement and did not inspire confidence.

Just behind the plastic front bumper, down low, is a little white can. I believe it's called the oil filter. So, yeah, I was careful. And I had a great time in the Desert Solitude. But still, cross-country in the TC probably wasn't the best idea I ever had.
It really does look like it is on the planet Mars. I'm pretty surprised that the Transit can handle that rough of terrain.

Did you put on different tires or anything?
Greetings, tmillar. Yes the terrain is rough and all mixed up. It is a very interesting part of the Mojave desert, with open desert, dry lakes, old fossil-bearing sedimentary formations upheaved at crazy angles, lots of fractured pointy rocks, and miles of fresh black lava flows. Here is Amboy Crater, a relatively new (<10,000 years) volcanic cinder cone just off Old Route 66.

Mostly I was driving the little Transit Connect on basic dirt roads. Sometimes a road is washed out two feet deep, and without a 4-wheel drive Jeep, I just turned around and tried another road. Went cross-country a few times when the road evaporated, hoping to find it again. Only got stuck once in soft sand.

The tires are factory stock Continentals suitable for a flower delivery van in the city.

I envision upgrading a new Transit van on 16" rims to tires rated for Light Trucks.
See less See more
did the tires get chewed up?
The TC was less than 6 months old when I made this trip. The tires were essentially new.

Now at 8000 miles on the van the tires are fine. Still new tread and no cuts or bruises on the sidewalls.

I'll stick to better dirt roads in the future.
yea that would probably be a better idea

Ok I promise to do better. In two weeks, GF & I are heading out to Vegas, then Tonopah, then east into the badlands of central Nevada to a ghost town and the best fossil site for ichthyosaurs in the world at Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park. Quite a few miles of really good dirt road, minimal campground, no hookups.

We are testing our KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) proof-of-concept again in the Transit Connect in anticipation of the larger Transit van. We'll have cases of bottled water, propane stove, basic Igloo ice chest, clothes in duffle bags, gear in milk crates, patio awning bungeed to the roof, and a platform bed made from Home Depot plastic shelving units. Girlfriend is a saint to put up with me. She even agreed to have an emergency potty - Home Depot 2- gallon bucket, plastic trash bags, and kitty litter - haha.

Then to Reno, Virginia City, and northwest into the Sierras and west down the north fork of the Feather River. Maybe we will find a campground or access to the river. Then north up I-5 and east into the Cascades Mountains and Lassen Volcano. Even with this dry winter, all the roads up there (7000 ft) are not yet fully plowed and open. Cold nights!

We plan to catch a motel every few days or so, for a shower and bed and dinner on a plate. Otherwise she likes cold pork&beans from the can. Gotta love her for that!

Then north thru Oregon & Washington to her family's place to pick up an heirloom treadle sewing machine and a coffee table. The little TC is back to hauling cargo again. This is why I like the versatility of a cargo van without all the built-in conversion cabinets and cupboards. It keeps the U in utility. And the full size Transit van has even more U!

My ancient flip-phone will take a picture, and I can email it to myself and transfer it to iPhoto, and post it up here. I sincerely hope you all will post photos of your adventures too.
See less See more
LOL I don't think anyones exploring with a TC or big girl in quite the same ways Rob ;) You should get in on VanMAns stealth camping thread hehehhh
Yes thanks, Del. I'm heading over to VanMan's thread right now. :)
1 - 6 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.