A few months back, Off Road Xtreme reported on a Baja-built off-road first-gen Ford Explorer that was bumping around the dusty dunes outside of San Diego. The vehicle’s owner, Travis Asch, had discovered that by slapping the Trail Trekker II Tank from Titan Fuel Tanks on his classic SUV, an impressive amount of extended fuel range was easily obtainable.
While Titan Fuel Tanks offers the Trail Trekker in a broad variety of kit configurations to fit most vehicles, the owner of this particular Ford Explorer has quite the unique tale to tell about his personal experience with the aftermarket bolt-on.
As the founding member of Go Fast Explorers (G.F.E.), Travis has taken his immense knowledge of the off-road industry, and has turned more than a few first-gen Ford Explorers into extremely capable off-road adventure rigs. Often seen with his son in tow, Travis and his merry band of Go Fast Explorers have embarked upon one Baja trip after another over the years.
But this year was to be a bit different, as Travis intended to explore an unfamiliar stretch along the northern end of the peninsula with his son for the kiddo’s 8th birthday.
Here is how the father-and-son family trip transpired, and how this simple, yet undeniably practical, aftermarket upgrade from Titan Fuel Tanks helped make it all possible.
The Adventure Begins!
The first leg of the journey consisted of a jaunt from San Diego to a friend’s home, 120-miles away in Ensenada. Preparations were of the usual affair, with Travis feeling incredibly fortunate that a friend just south of Ensenada was willing to host.
If you’ve never traversed the city of Ensenada, they are not joking when they say there is only one road through town. Tractor-trailer big rigs, tankers, taxis, and every other imaginable form of rush hour traffic funnels into a chaotic two-lane blacktop of utter anarchy. That 120-mile GPS estimate can be quite deceiving, both in regard to time and fuel consumption. With the last hour being a white-knuckled thriller, there are a broad array of dangers and distractions in southern Ensenada.
Being that the 1994 Ford Explorer has never been known for its fantastic fuel mileage, Travis found the Trail Trekker II to be a logistics game changer. With a light foot, 16 miles per gallon is attainable, which averages around 496 miles on a single tank. This translates to burning through close to half a tank to get to the first destination on the itinerary.
Typically on the way into town, Travis would stop for gas just to be safe, but this time around, his only concern was tacos, sandy beaches, and providing his son with the best birthday imaginable. With an additional 12 gallons of fuel loaded out back, stopping for gas was no longer needed, as the truck’s meager 19-gallon fuel capacity now topped 31 gallons.
Putting Titan Fuel Tanks’ Trail Trekker II To Good Use
The next morning was Travis’ son’s birthday, and at the top of his list of things to do was quad riding. So Travis grabbed the shaker siphon hose that comes with each Titan Trekker kit and dropped the ball valve side of the hose down into the reserve tank.
Within 5 seconds of up and down shaking, a siphon was created and a gallon of fuel was delivered into their Baja-ready Yamaha utility quad. Over the course of the weekend, the Trail Trekker refilled one tank after another with fuel, providing a quick, simple, and reliable way to keep the little rig ready to rip.
Together, father and son partied like a pair of 8-year-olds, ate cake and shrimp tacos, and tootled around on quads and bikes all afternoon. As the day came to a close, the two prepared for what was to be the next objective on their journey: Venturing into the wilds of the Baja peninsula.
Into The Uncharted
The next morning, the real adventure began, as Baja’s rugged expanses welcomed the father/son duo with open arms. Accompanied by a friend in their own Jeep, the group set off for an explorative venture into the natural unknown.
Those who know Travis can attest that he has spent much of his life exploring Baja’s ruthlessly beautiful terrain. With thousands of off-road miles logged on various GPS units over the years, Travis’ logbook is immense to say the very least. With connector roads between lead trails, the opportunity to explore new routes is a primary objective. Logging even more dirt miles remains a favorite pastime for the adventurous father.
Travis will admit that it was this very intent that spawned the 4×4 overlanding adventure we are discussing today. He loves to share his passion for Baja with anyone who will listen, but this particular trail will remain a secret.
What we can tell you is that the trail runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean for much of its duration. The drive itself primarily consisted of dirt roads, extremely steep sheer cliffs, and soft sand. Anytime off-roading in Baja, you can expect all forms of challenging terrain to cause the vehicle to consume more fuel than normal.
Finding Fuel In Baja Can Be A Chore
After topping off the Explorer’s tank with some fuel from the Trail Trekker, Travis became aware of a grim realization. They would have to sit around and wait while their friend went into town to top off his tank. This left the two with nearly an hour of additional preparation time. It never hurts to give an aging 28-year-old Ford Explorer a look over while getting ready for off-road overlanding action.
The caravan set out for adventure with full tanks and a few extra gallons in the Trekker as a reserve. The trail itself was incredible. Baja’s diverse, and sparse landscape is world-class to say the least. After covering roughly 70 miles of dirt over the course of the trip, almost half of the Explorer’s tank was toast. Fuel mileage suffered due in part to the silty soil and sand the region is widely known for underfoot.
Parting Departure Angles
Unfortunately, time always flies too fast when you are having fun in Baja. Before they knew it, it was time to pack up, and head home. The inevitable wait at the US-Mexico border was the anti-climatic official end-point.
Travis’ Explorer was still sitting squarely at about five-eighths of a tank. This trip north warranted topping off with the last couple of remaining gallons in the Trail Trekker. Together, father and son headed back home behind their friend in his Jeep. Along the way, grinning ear-to-ear, they replayed the highlights from their recent adventures to one another.
However, there was one thing that did not get discussed: The need for fuel along the way. Travis had not needed to stop for gas at any point during their peregrination. This fact was punctuated by his buddy pulling into a gas station for what seemed like the millionth time.
Chuckling away at the experience, the practicality of their unassuming, rear-mounted Titan Fuel Tanks upgrade hit home. The Titan Trekker had officially changed Baja trips forever. At that point, Travis knew his classic Ford Explorer adventures would never be the same.
Titan Trail Trekker II Features
- 12-gallon / 45-Liter capacity
- Fits all stock and most aftermarket tire carriers
- Simple Installation
- Multiple cutouts for many different bolt patterns and orientations
- Fits 5-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch bolt patterns
- Sized for 15-inch wheels and larger
- Fits Up to a 37-inch tire
- High-strength steel mounting hardware
- Compatible with HiLift Jack Mounts
- Tank is fully grounded
- Lifetime Warranty
- FREE 2 gpm Shaker Transfer Hose included