200,000 miles

No, this isn’t about some grand hike or summation of many hiking trips. It is about our 2003 Ford Expedition, which recently turned 200,000 miles on the odometer over its lifetime of 10 years, 1 month.

200,000 miles

I am not superstitious, but I hope this article doesn’t bring bad luck on the Expedition. So just in case, I crossed my fingers and knocked on wood.

How is this an appropriate subject for a backpacking and camping site, you may ask. Very appropriate in my opinion. The SUV is the conveyance that takes me to trail heads and whisks our camper to those wonderful secluded camp sites.

During the Expedition’s 200,000 miles almost 50,000 of those miles were on trips with our tent trailer in tow. That’s a lot of camping trips since most of them were within 100 miles of our home. Each summer we take a longer trip to the high Sierra’s and a couple times a year we go to Lake Mead. We did a trip in 2005 to Rocky Mountain National park and a couple years after that we camped in Arizona in Oak Creek Canyon.

Combined MPG is 15.49 and 12.01 towing.


Back in the 1970’s, when I first started my career as a mechanic, cars and trucks where pretty much toast by the time they hit 100,000 miles. You sold it or rebuilt the engine, transmission, suspension, and a few other things. Those cars also required a lot of maintenance every year. But over the years manufacturers have replaced or implemented

  • Point ignition systems with computerized electronics
  • Carburetors with fuel injection
  • Coil and leaf spring suspensions with MacPherson strut suspensions
  • Wheel roller bearings with sealed bearings
  • Analog electronics with digital
  • Mechanical switches with electronic
  • Multiple computers to control just about everything
  • Push rod engines with modular engines
  • Improved lubricants
  • Extended service fluids

And the list goes on and on.

Today it is not uncommon for a vehicle to rack up 200K plus miles with few required repairs, as long as the owner does all the scheduled maintenance!!

I have preformed all the required maintenance at the proper intervals. The only repairs that have been needed are:

  1. Fuel pump
  2. One ignition coil
  3. Driver’s side master door/window switch
  4. Driver’s side window motor

Our Expedition has never broken down on the road, left us stranded or had to be towed.


So in honor of our chariot, here are a few pictures. I have never taken a picture specifically of the Expedition, but it has shared the spotlight with many subjects.

Boat dolly trailer stored on roof. The roof rack also transports bikes at times.
One of our secret camping spots.
Colorado River.
01 Truck
Getting ready to travel to back roads of the Lower Colorado Desert. The Expy is 2WD only, so extra insurance was needed.
Hurkey Creek Campground (2003)
Hurkey Creek Campground (2003)
Joshua Tree NP
Camping in secret places (no campgrounds) often requires us to bring water from home, or go refill some place during the course of our trip. Always worth the extra effort, so we can have all of the wilderness to ourselves.
Another secret camp site.
November 2005. After taking delivery on the 2006 Fleetwood Niagara I added solar and air conditioning among other modifications before our first trip. San Jacinto Mountains in the background. Picture is about 3 miles from our house.
Anza Borrego State Park. This was during a Memorial Day weekend. We knew the hot weather would keep most campers away. Pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Another secret camp site.
The Expedition showing off her new weight distribution hitch.
Road test of the axle upgrade on the Niagara.
Snow in Joshua Tree NP (Dec 2008)
Boulder City Campground, Lake Mead NRA (Dec 2008)
Dad’s funeral (Jun 2012). Me and my brothers (L to R) Chris, Gary, me, Tony.
Sierras (Jul 2012)
joshua tree
Joshua Tree NP (2004)
Mayflower 08
Our first boat

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