Hi Bronco Nation, @Laura here. Just recently, one of the Bronco Nation members got to go out for his first 2021 Bronco ride with his family, driven by champion racer and adventurer Brad Lovell.
When reading over his story, it was clear @Flourman knew his stuff, so I asked him for some background on his experience –– and was blown away by the response. Turns out, not only does he have the mechanical skills – and storytelling chops – but also a solid run in his own off-road adventures: He been into off-roading for at least 25 years, if you count his farm excursions. If you all don’t follow him in the forums already, you should now! Let’s hear the rest straight from him:
A Lifetime of Hands-On Projects
“I grew up on a farm in North Central KS, geographic center of the contiguous 48 states. Ironically, the same place that was featured in Jeep’s super bowl commercial with Bruce Springsteen (which was subsequently removed).
Growing up, anything with wheels ended up in the mud or off-road. I also had a unique skill for breaking things on the farm, so that’s where I gained my mechanic skills.
My first vehicle I bought with my own money was a 1989 Bronco with a 300 inline 6 and a T18 transmission. Rumor had it that an Outdoor Life field writer owned it before me and put about 150k miles on it. I bought that when I was 15. That Bronco saw a lot of mud, lots of off-roading for hunting, camping, etc
I ended up taking that vehicle to college with me at Manhattan, KS (Kansas State University). There I really got into Rock Crawling or as much as I could in Kansas. It was stock, and we pushed it to its limits. It also towed an FJ40 back from Michigan that I bought off eBay. That was my first “project” off-roader. I gave it a spring over lift and full hydraulic steering, and it rode on 36” TSL’s. That was all on a college budget, so to say it was sketchy is an overstatement. Brakes were optional on it.
That Bronco followed me to my first real job (flour milling where my screen name comes from), but unfortunately, I sold it to my dad when we moved to CA as it wasn’t going to pass smog there. I dabbled in several off-road vehicles while in SoCal. Had an 85 Toyota truck on 38” Ground Hawgs, a really cool, back halved samurai with a 4-link rear suspension, and then when the family grew, I got back into Broncos.
I ran a 1995 white Bronco. It had a Dana 60 solid front with hydraulic assist, Sterling 10.25” rear, both differentials welded, full cage and a long radius arm setup with air bags instead of coils. I ran a lot of trails in SoCal with that and had a ton of fun.
Times changed, and I traded the Bronco for some street bikes and eventually moved to Minnesota for work. There I got really into choppers and built 3 different choppers while I was in MN.
This brings us to our move to Colorado for my work again. I got out of street bikes and really into dirt bikes and a lot of camping. My wife and my youngest both ride dirt bikes as well. During summer, we are likely in the National Forest riding and camping about every weekend. I also built a cheap Jeep YJ while in CO. As you can see, I’ve got terrible “idle hands disease”….
Broncos and overall, Ford has been in my life for essentially forever. I’ve been patiently awaiting the new Bronco since the silver boxy one was teased a long time ago. When reveal night happened, I refreshed the reservation screen for almost two hours straight because there was no way I was letting this slip away. My wife is gracious enough to allow it to be her daily driver so it can satisfy my mid-life crisis…”
Ride Along in Moab
This year at Easter Jeep Safari was @Flourman’s family, though he’s made several trips to the Green River area (northwest of Moab) several times for dirt bike trips. Here’s what he reported back about the trip to the Nation.
“Been digesting this for a few days and just settling down after how great the ride was.
First off, the Bronco will be my wife’s DD. We ordered a 2Dr Badlands, Lux, Carbonized Gray, MIC top, 2.3 and the manual.
We had our ride along on Saturday morning and we wanted to get a 2-Door to see how it was. My wife rode in the front, I hopped in the back with my 6-year old in a booster. We got the 2-door Badlands with the Sasquatch and Brad Lovell driving. First impression from hopping in the back is that there was decent room coming in from the passenger side. The seat leans forward and then slides, just like my 89 and 95 Broncos that I had. I’m 6-foot and about 200lbs and fit great getting in. My 6-year old needs a little boost to get in and I did notice it was a bit of a step to get in. I attribute a look of that to the well of the tub and getting over that and then dropping into the rear seat and footwell. The rear seat felt extremely good and big enough for me. I had about 2-3” from my knees to the back of the front seat.
We pulled on the highway and I noticed the TPMS light was on and then noticed tire pressure was in the mid 20’s. Mileage looked to be in the mid-12’s but this was after a week of running people around in Moab. We got to the entry road and we were stuck behind several vehicles. All the while doing 25-30 over the rocky and bouncy road. I had just finished driving a Jeep for a rental car the week before so it was fresh in my mind how much the Bronco was soaking up. Even compared to my F150, which would have felt like it was going to fall apart, I was immediately impressed.
As we were pulling onto the “loop” Brad noticed there was a large line of Jeep’s in front of us and would likely bog down our experience. He asked if we minded if he took a shortcut through a wash to catch the rest of the group. We told him to go for it. He immediately put it in Baja mode and the FUN was on. He was slamming and railing into berms and chewing up acceleration and braking bumps in the sandy wash, all the while working the Bronco through the wind-y portions. I was giggling, my 6-year old was hanging on for her life (and laughing) and I don’t know what my wife thought. My jaw remain dropped for the rest of the ride.
The trail control and 1-pedal driving were pretty cool but the Sta-Bar had to be one of the most cool things. He did the normal ride along deal where they get the bronco off camber and then disengage the Sta-Bar but what impressed me more was when he was using the trail control at about 5mph, strolling through some “baby head”rocks and then disengaged it. I immediately watch Brad’s head and my wife’s head stop rolling back and forth with the bumps and smooth out.
The open dunes were also great and the Trail turn assist. He did it twice with the front differential unlocked and then locked. The Bronco turned on DIME with the front locked!
The features were very good to see in person but it was even better for my wife to see them. Before this experience, she had said “we are not off-roading my Bronco” to which I always smiled and said “we’ll see about that”. After seeing the modes, trail control and 1-pedal driving she said “I’m pretty sure I can off-road it and I really want to now”. As Brad said, the modes allow the novice to feel confident while not impeding the enthusiast. “They got the lawyers out of the car”.
I was also extremely impressed with Brad’s enthusiasm for Bronco. He’s a Coloradan, like us (we’re transplants) so we talked about Colorado trails and how he’s excited for his First Edition. He’s been involved with Bronco for 4 years and just happened to get included in the Bronco program because he voiced his opinion. The way he talked about how Ford took his input and made changes and even his experience filming the unveil videos for Bronco. If I needed a salesman, Brad was it. We even talked about the reveal night reservations and how I hit refresh for two hours and he had to go chase his dog down, then his Willy’s vapor-locked and he was afraid he wasn’t going to get a First Edition.
We came back and my wife wanted to make two changes immediately. She changed her mind to Cyber Orange as it looks more yellow in person and she wanted to be able to have “donut mode” or Trail Turn Assist as us Bronco nerds refer to it. So we jumped to a 2.7 and automatic. I was also unaware that the 2.7 is the only motor that offers the trail turn assist due to how the brake booster is set up. The 2.3 has a normal vacuum brake booster while the 2.7 runs and electronic actuator and that’s how the trail turn is actuated.
Bronco cannot come soon enough!”
And we at Bronco Nation can’t thank @Flourman enough for sharing with us –– It’s evident you all like reading about our members’ thoughts, and I know you’ll have appreciated this one.
For more Moab Ride Along experiences from those in the Bronco Nation, check out: