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Gambler 500 in an Actual Offroad Vehicle: Short Notes

Another Gambler completed! This one was a bit different, in some ways unexpected. There will be a full post later, but here are notes:

- The Ranger drank about $200 of fuel, the smart would have had only $50 to drive the same distance. In fact, the smart went to Tennessee, Gambled out there, and drove back. Only cost me $93. Unfortunately, these fuel costs mean I will never want to take the Ranger to a Gambler outside the Illinois, Wisconsin, and Northwest Indiana areas. This sort of crushes my dreams of a long term cross country Gambler vehicle that isn’t little Tucker.

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- The transmission really hated doing 300 miles in one go. CEL for Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid and Shift Solenoid D. Thankfully I was able to adapt and get around gearchange issues and the truck got me home without a single breakdown.

- One of the parks we camped at was an ATV park where cars aren’t allowed. The owner made an exception for us. Unfortunately, ATV trails are kiiiiinda tight and rough for cars. Everything took a massive beating, with the worst victim losing their entire rear axle. The Ranger gained a front end that clicks during articulation (CVs?).

- With my new tires, the Ranger was unstoppable. I only had to use 4wd once. Otherwise, I just locked it into first gear and the darn thing just crawled through everything. I didn’t even have to pick a line nearly as much as the smart. Just point, click, go. Honestly, I found this boring. I like being challenged.

- Did my first real burnout. The Ranger laid down a satisfying black mark.

- Drove a manual car for the first time in ten years. This thing was a Festiva kart that dropped like 500 pounds. It was ridiculously fast and stupid fun. I want this car so freaking much.

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- Didn’t lose my ditch lights. :P

- Didn’t need a skid plate.

- The Thornbirds up front remain the worst tires I’ve ever owned. They have amazing grip offroad, but frankly they don’t belong on public highways.

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- Drove a 4 cylinder Ranger. Loved it. The little truck was so gutless, but you just yeet the thing through everything my 4.0 Ranger basically idles through.

- Distributed short of three cases worth of White Claw.

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