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Old 08-12-2007, 07:29 PM   #1
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Has anyone driven their Alpine across Monarch Pass in Colorado (US 50/CO 69) - elevation 11,300 feet or so? If so, any problems with power, towing a 4500 lb toad, or propane refer working?

Just curious, in June we stayed at 7500 feet near Big Sky, MT, and it took a little extra cranking to get the engine started in the morning but everything else worked.

Appreciate any replies on this because we are thinking of going that way next week on our trip from Seattle to Austin, TX.
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:29 PM   #2
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Has anyone driven their Alpine across Monarch Pass in Colorado (US 50/CO 69) - elevation 11,300 feet or so? If so, any problems with power, towing a 4500 lb toad, or propane refer working?

Just curious, in June we stayed at 7500 feet near Big Sky, MT, and it took a little extra cranking to get the engine started in the morning but everything else worked.

Appreciate any replies on this because we are thinking of going that way next week on our trip from Seattle to Austin, TX.
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:34 AM   #3
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We previously lived in Durango, CO and have travel the state quite a bit. We have traveled Hwy 50 a number of times and over Monarch with this rig and our previous rig which was a '99 Alpine and did not have any overheating or other problems. If my memory serves me, Monarch did not have many sharp switch backs. We've also been over Slumgullion on the way to Lake City as well as Red Mtn Pass to Ouray. We tow a Honda CR-V. If the engine starts to heat up, gear down and slow down. Enjoy.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:43 PM   #4
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Yes, I have while towing about 4300 lb. The only trouble I had was going too fast!!!! My engine is and ISC 350. Seriously though about speed, plenty of power. I did it once before with a Safari (smaller GM diesel) and it pulled it OK but was quite slow. The engine in my Alpine performed great.
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:51 AM   #5
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We came over Monarch just this May. We traveled from east to west. I remember getting pulled down to around 40. We were still fast enough to be catching other rigs, but a few hot diesel p/u's belching black smoke pulling trailers did go by us. We used the exhaust brake down the west side. We stayed at Curecanti National Recreation Area, Steven's Creek, for an overnighter. Stayed right next to the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Site 1a, no hookups, but a great view. http://www.nps.gov/cure/
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We live out in our old van. Travel all across this land. Drive until the city lights dissolve into a country sky, me and you - hand in hand.
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:28 PM   #6
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We live in Durango, CO and last month we spent two weeks enjoying the beautiful high country in CO. We left Durango, went to Silverton over Molas Pass, to Ouray over Red Mountain Pass down to Montrose and over to Gunnison and then up to Lake City and over Slumgullion pass down to South Fork and then over Wolf Creek Pass to home. A little overheating ocurred but that was corrected by slowing down and using the engine brakes. We did have a total hydraulic failure which when we lost the fluid made us think something was burning. We don't think this was attributed to the mountain passes or the overheating. Who knows.
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:36 PM   #7
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Being a flat lander (Houston, Tx),last week left Denver on I70 (west), didn't slow down enough and used the brakes too much. Engine up to 225 (buzzer) & brakes sloppy. Stopped, cooled the engine, shut it off, and let the hydraulics recycle. Learned my lesson (mountian 101) and everyting was fine after that. Yesterday drove from Montrose to Cortez via Telluride (Co 62/145), used the lower gears on the up/down slopes + pac brake. No brake issues and the engine never went above 200F. Quite the vertical drop at Telluride!Don't look down!I think Nancy will speak to me early next week!

Note: Construction between Co 145, MM 72 to 73. One lane only. Chance to spend some quality time looking down about a mile while you are 5 ft from the end of the clift!

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Old 08-14-2007, 06:16 PM   #8
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When we crest a grade and start the downhill leg on an unknown road, I always error on the slow side. I can always step on the throttle, or shift to a higher gear if I find the exhaust brake is making us too slow. If the traffic stacks up behind me, they can pass in a passing zone, or wait for a long pullout. If they stay behind us, they will always make it to the bottom safely.
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:09 PM   #9
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Thanks to all of you for responding on the trip over Monarch Pass and the other passes in the area at similar altitudes.

We always either turn off the "economy" mode when climbing a big pass or manually shift to a lower gear and go slower, and start slow going downhill, using the Jake brake, and if necessary shift to a gear lower than 4th, where the Jake will hold it even slower.

So, from what you have told us, we will go that way go slower both up and down and don't anticipate any major trouble.

Thanks again for the prompt response.
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:20 AM   #10
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Tom and Patty,
I looked at your picture (above)at Curecanti National Recreation Area, Steven's Creek, and before I read where it was, I thought you were down the river from us. We are currently at the Snake River Lewiston/Clarkston area... sure looked the same!
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:53 AM   #11
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We live in Colorado and have traveled just about every pass in the State and many in UT without any problems. If you're not used to Mountain driving just take it easy and enjoy the sites while you get comfortable at the wheel. Have a great trip through the Rockies.
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