Tierra del Sol (TDS) isn’t an event for one person, it’s an event for all. From first-timers to off-road aficionados, TDS brings out all types of people to celebrate off-roading and soak in Anza-Borrego’s outdoors. For Jose Marquez and his family, it was an opportunity to reunite under the banner of fun. The family got to see what lay over that next hill or around the next rocky obstacle.
And what was the vehicle that got everyone there and back? That’s right, it was this beast of a Ford F-350.
Jose Marquez, hailing from Ontario, California, is a former Marine combat instructor. His love of riding on dirt bikes and exploring the outdoors meant he had to have a vehicle that could tow the toys around. Then, there was the gentle nudging from his daughter. “She doesn’t really like lowriders,” he joked.
After some digging, he met a fellow veteran named Dave, who lived in Apple Valley. “He was a former Army Ranger,” explained Jose. “He was selling this F-350 for an awesome price, and he’d already done most of the build, including 37-inch tires, power step boards, tuning, and more.”
Buying a mostly built truck from a trusted fellow service member was the obvious choice, and Jose made it. He’s pleased with how he’s been able to use it these past few years, and has kept it running in good shape ever since.
What’s the first thing you do when you get a truck? That’s a rhetorical question. You lift it, obviously. However, in the case of this F-350, Jose said it was more than one company’s products that got it to where it sits now. “It’s a multi-make on the lift,” he said. “I think at one point it was RBP, but that may have just been a sticker that was on there.” Not for lack of trying, Jose tried to figure out which kit(s) came installed on the truck when he purchased it from Dave, but he was unable to figure it out.
The axles are stock Ford Dana 50 front and Sterling 10.5 rear, and the engine and interior have been left stock as well. The engine is the gas-powered 6.8-liter V10, a distant relative of the Modular engines that Ford has been using since the early ’90s. At its peak, it makes 310 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque, which is nothing to sneeze at. Complete with four-wheel-drive, Jose and his family can take the truck just about wherever they want to go.
For his wheels and tires, Jose wanted a combination that would look good and take him all over Southern California. He took a set of “old-school” Weld 17×10 wheels and wrapped them in Toyo 37-inch mud terrains. These are the renowned Open Country M/Ts, which have been a respected tire in the industry for several years now. The hook-shaped tread blocks are a calling card, and they’re instantly recognizable to off-roading aficionados.
The interior is stock for now, but Jose has plans to get it souped up. It’s more than likely that the seats will be getting replaced. There’s also a possibility of the audio system getting beefed up. Jose hasn’t decided yet what he wants to tackle first.
What The Truck Gets Up To
When someone breaks away from the brand they know to go for another, they might go for a midsize or half-ton for the sake of simplicity and cost. From parking to MPG, it’s just easier to deal with something that’s on the smaller side of the spectrum. But that wasn’t how it went for Jose. A newcomer to Ford vehicles, he went straight for the big dog when he picked up the Super Duty.
“It’s my first Ford and I am pleased with it,” he said. “It handles really well, especially with the lift it has on it. I can even take it up to 75 miles an hour on the freeway, and it does just fine.”
But Jose doesn’t just drive his F-350 around to for kicks. He actually makes his rig live up to its name as a Super Duty. “I’ve taken this truck out on rescue missions,” he said.
In fact, while out at Tierra del Sol, Jose had to use his F-350 on one such rescue mission. “One of my family members took the Yamaha Rhino out for a late-night ride,” he said. “We got there and everyone was okay, but the Rhino had a broken heim joint and couldn’t steer. It had to be driven backwards all the way back to camp and we finally made it at around 3 am!”
Still, Jose chalks these situations up to the off-road experience. “Even when you’re out there sweating and cursing, these are fun times!” he said. “These kinds of circumstances are good, family, fun-building camaraderie with loved ones. It’s what this hobby is all about.”
Jose has the right idea – we’ve all had those times when things go awry and not the way we expected. Nevertheless, hanging out with friends and family, even in crummy conditions, is a way to maintain those family ties and fellowship. It pays off in the end.
We had a great time out at Tierra del Sol this year, and look forward to heading out that way again in 2020. What rig will you take out there when the event rolls around again? Let us know in the comments below.