Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
11 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Janey and I are planning another adventure later this month - tracing the path of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route in Oklahoma. But that site makes this statement:

The Butterfield Overland Mail Co. operated from 1858 to 1861 under contract with the U.S. Postal Department, providing transportation of U.S. mail between St. Louis, Mo., and San Francisco, Calif., the first transcontinental mail service. Today, the National Park Service is investigating whether the Butterfield Route should be added to the national trail system. Part of that effort involves an identification of the historic route, identification of a potential driving route that would follow or parallel the historic route, and an inventory of historic properties along the route.

So we might be ahead of the game given that statement.

This turns out to be an interesting effort since the route isn't mapped out with any great precision that I can find. In fact, I have two different sets of data points that don't agree with each other very often. And even when they do they are just points on a continuous route, and that route isn't followed by modern roads for the most part. In fact, in many places the route appears to have been taken over by a railroad, which makes sense because both sets of engineers would want to find a route with the least amount of hills and stream crossings.

So what it looks like we will do is to zig zag our way across SE OK and catch glimpses of history where the road crosses what was the route. From what I can tell none of the roads are difficult to traverse, but we will take Big Blue to ensure we can make it.

Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

taskswap
Can't wait for the trip report on this one!
--
1981 F-250 Custom. 6.6L V8, 4 barrel Holley carb, ARA aftermarket A/C.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

Gary Lewis
Administrator
As an update on this trip, it is tentatively planned for the 21st and 22nd, although there are some if's and and's about the dates.

But it is a given that on Jan 6th President Biden signed legislation making the Butterfield Overland Trial a National Historic Trail.  So part of the statement I quoted previously, below, has happened:

Today, the National Park Service is investigating whether the Butterfield Route should be added to the national trail system. Part of that effort involves an identification of the historic route, identification of a potential driving route that would follow or parallel the historic route, and an inventory of historic properties along the route.

Now presumably they'll identify the route, make some of the properties on it national historic sites, and maybe even create a driving trail on or parallel to it.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Well, it is time to update this thread - we made it!  All in all we drove 582 miles, 264 of which were on gravel roads.  And we found most of the historical markers for the stations along the way.

However, we didn't see any actual signs of the Butterfield Stage route.  I'd expected to see wagon tracks, much as we did on the Santa Fe trail at Bent's Fort in Colorado.  But we didn't, and as I think about it now I see why - a huge difference in the number of vehicles using the trails.  The SF trail was used for something like 40 years, and the Butterfield only 3 years.  Plus, there were hundreds of wagons loaded with goods for sale in points west on the SF, and just the stage on the Butterfield.

So, since there really wasn't anything to see but the markers, we could have gone to the location for each marker via highways instead of zig zagging on the mile sections hoping to catch a glimpse of the track.  But we did see some pretty country that we might not have seen on the highways.  And, we had a good trip.

Here's a couple of pics of one of the monuments, the one at Fisher's Station which is west of Durant, OK.  There were 12 stations for changing horses in Oklahoma, and in 1958 the Oklahoma Historical Society placed markers at each of them.  We found 8 of them, but 1 is at the bottom of a lake, another is on private property, 1 we just couldn't find, and we ran out of time on the 12th one.


Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

grumpin
Cool! That looks like fun!

So you searched for horse changing stations and Big Blue filling stations?!

Edit: typo!
Dane
1986 F250HD SC XLT Lariat 4x4 460 C6 Sold
1992 Bronco XLT 4x4 351W E4OD
1998 Suburban LT K2500 454 4L80E
1998 GMC Sierra SLE K1500 350 4L60E
2000 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD 3.3 RE4R01A
Oregon
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Actually, we only had to find one station.  With 38 gallons on board we had no worries.  If we got the normal 13 MPG on the highway then we got about 10 MPG on the gravel roads.  That's more to do with all of the stops and turns we had to do in order to try to stay with the Butterfield route than the efficiency of the 460.

Speaking of that, I was really impressed with Big Blue's setup, meaning the engine, transmission, tire size, and final gear ratio.  We cruised at 30 - 35 MPH on the gravel roads in 4th gear and around 1100 RPM.  And it would pull any hill we found in 4th, although several times I dropped to 3rd as I didn't want to be going that fast not knowing who or what was on the other side.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

grumpin
That’s really nice when you enjoy driving your truck after all that work!

And nice to have the torque to hang in a gear like that.
Dane
1986 F250HD SC XLT Lariat 4x4 460 C6 Sold
1992 Bronco XLT 4x4 351W E4OD
1998 Suburban LT K2500 454 4L80E
1998 GMC Sierra SLE K1500 350 4L60E
2000 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD 3.3 RE4R01A
Oregon
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

Gary Lewis
Administrator
My son asked if I'd had the truck painted and my answer was "NO!  I want to use it!"  And the boys on the Ozark Overland Adventure Tour have warned me the truck will have more pin stripes.  I don't relish them, but oh well.

As for the torque, the low RPM torque DRAMATICALLY improved with the addition of EFI.  Apparently that large, open lower plenum was like a high-rise manifold and was killing the torque below 1500.  As I told my brother, who drove it over many passes in Colorado with the carb, you now use one gear higher.  In CO we used 2nd, in low range, and sometimes 3rd.  Now I'm convinced that it'd be 3rd and 4th with a lot less worry about shifting.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Janey just sent me this pic from our Butterfield Stage trip.  One of the creek crossings near Pittsburg, OK.





Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

grumpin
Dang! That’s a good looking truck!

Looks like fun.
Dane
1986 F250HD SC XLT Lariat 4x4 460 C6 Sold
1992 Bronco XLT 4x4 351W E4OD
1998 Suburban LT K2500 454 4L80E
1998 GMC Sierra SLE K1500 350 4L60E
2000 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD 3.3 RE4R01A
Oregon
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Blue On The Butterfield Route

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Thanks, Dane.  Not going for looks, but ability.  However, I don't mind if it looks good as well.  

And it was fun.  Next big trip is the overlanding one with my son in late Feb.  Minor changes to the truck to get it ready, including the movement of the console today.  We'll take it out tomorrow and see if we like the change.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI