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Old 06-26-2019, 09:31 AM   #1
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WooHoo! Going West!

First time going west with the coach and looking for a bit of sage advice from our Entegra community. We are booked into the new West Glacier RV Park for two weeks beginning July 25th., and will be travelling up from Cheyenne, Wy.
I'm looking at the various trip planning tools, google maps, etc., and see three different possibilities to approach from the south.....
1). Take hwy. 12n from Helena up through Big Fork, Seely Lake, Columbia Falls, then over to the west gate area. This shows up as no. 1 preferred route on the trip planner....
2). Stay the course on I-90 west to hwy 93, west of Missoula, north to Big Fork...
3). I15 north out of Helena, take hwy 287n through Choteau, over to Browning, then hwy 2 from east gate over to the west side....looks like least favorable route?

All three routes are only a handfull of miles and minutes difference in travel time, but looking for a bit of advice from those that have done this.....any one route easier/better/more scenic, etc., over the others?

We've been in some pretty major rolling hills/minor mountains in the N.E. US and Central Tn. with no problems (can anybody say Mont Eagle), but haven't tackeled any major mountains yet! I'm betting one of you have an opinion!!
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:02 AM   #2
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Ernie

I cant give you any advice on travel routes since I have done none of them.

However, the past part of your post suggests some interest in how to handle larger hills. You need to read up on the use of Jake brake and potentially downshifting when going up hills that are in threads here on the forum. There is a lot of information. If you cant find it, PM me and I will give you some good reading or fill you in. Nothing to worry about with a functioning jake brake

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Old 06-26-2019, 10:08 AM   #3
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We have been to Columbia Falls several times. Our preferred route it I-90 past Missoula, then north on 93. The ride on 93 is good.0Tthe roads are in good shape, at least as of last summer, and plenty to see along the way.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:23 AM   #4
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It has been a decade since I was last in Glacier NP. We arrived and departed using route "2" of your choices. I don't recall anything about the route the gave me any concerns or reservations about taking the route again. I would suspect the other routes listed to just as uneventful with also amazing vistas along the way.

As for the hills out west the ISX in the Cornerstone will have you pushing everybody going uphill. Even with a full size toad. Just don't be afraid to use the Auxiliary brake. You will use it a lot on the downhill side. Just plan ahead and be on it early and you will not even need to touch the brake peddle on most hills.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:35 AM   #5
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x2 what Rick said

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Old 06-26-2019, 11:14 AM   #6
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We've been twice using your route #2 ... no problems with the mountains as you aren't really into the big ones on that route - the big mountains are east of you on this route. Beautiful scenery, however. Flathead Lake is amazing and will be on your left. The biggest mountains we have done have been in Colorado .. and the Anthem had no problems, so it will be a walk in the park in your Cornerstone.
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:07 PM   #7
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Earnie. I can not advise you of the best route either but I can tell you the best way to handle the rolling hills

What I do is roll about 65 and if the speed gets faster I slow it down a bit then just before the bottom of the hill take the brake off step on it and roll up the hill. I monitor my boost power so I can get the best mpg out of my coach.

When going up the hills put your foot to the floor to start the accent then back your foot out a bit to drop the boost a bit. By doing that you get up the hills easily and maximize your mpg

I am on about a 12,000 mile trip and at 6,500 miles this trip my average fuel mileage is at 9.1

I carry a full tank of water, black and grey drained most of the time and have 75,000 miles on my coach so it is getting broke in finally

You can set the dash gauge to show boost as that will help you a lot once you start seeing how it affects your climb and fuel mileage
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philnail View Post
E
When going up the hills put your foot to the floor to start the accent then back your foot out a bit to drop the boost a bit.
He has a Cornerstone ... if he were to put his foot to the floor, he will fly off the top of a mountain!
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:55 PM   #9
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The route from Big Fork through Seeley Lake, and the cut across through Ovando to Helena is one of my favorite drives. It is spectacular !
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:34 PM   #10
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The route from Big Fork through Seeley Lake, and the cut across through Ovando to Helena is one of my favorite drives. It is spectacular !
All of western Montana is spectacular
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Old 06-26-2019, 07:17 PM   #11
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I did the I90 to 93 route this week and the roads are in great condition. Averaged 60 mph on 93 to West Glacier KOA.

Going to the Sun Road opened on Sunday.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:39 PM   #12
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Mymist

I grew up in east Tennessee, I would classify the Smokey mountains as speed bumps to the Rocky mountains. With that being said, we have traveled out west a few times and the old ISL 450 handled all the mountains quite well. So your ISL 15 can handle it all with no worries. Its the downhills that you have to worry about. Just do not top a hill with max speed and start the downhill at a reasonably slow speed. This is where most people get in trouble. My engine brake has been sufficient on all the rocky mountain downhills. Very seldom have I ever had to apply the brakes and when you do use a jab style of braking where you apply the brakes mid to aggressively for a short period then let them cool. With your 3 stage 605 hp engine you will probably never have to touch your brakes.

BTW, we are doing Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and Glacier next May

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Old 06-26-2019, 09:54 PM   #13
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Hi Ernie,

I grew up in Montana and have spent my summers there for the past 8 years, post-retirement.

In fact, if you end up on your route #3 and stop in Choteau, I'll buy you a beer since I'll be there/then.

However, I think that you'll find either your route #2 or #1 will be more scenic. My preference would be #2, #1 and then #3.

None of those routes will present any challenges for your Cornerstone beyond finding yourself stuck behind slower traffic on the climbs.

There's a really nice summer theater in Bigfork (Bigfork Summer Playhouse |) and an interesting Smokejumper museum in Missoula (https://www.visitmt.com/listings/gen...or-center.html). Your route #1 would take you very near the site of the Mann Gulch fire where there will be a ceremony commemorating that tragedy (https://www.wildfirelessons.net/High...f-dfdd2ee10cec) celebrating the 70th anniversary of that event on August 5th and featuring a flyover of the very DC-3 from which those smokejumpers jumped on the fire.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 06-27-2019, 08:22 AM   #14
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"In fact, if you end up on your route #3 and stop in Choteau, I'll buy you a beer since I'll be there/then."

Beer? BEER!!?? BEEERRRRR!!!

Thanks all for the guidance (and driving lessons!)...and especially the offer for FREE BEER! If we get to Choteau, I'll take you up on that offer Stu! The wife lived there for a brief time when a kid (a LLLLOOOONNNNGGG time ago !), and wanted to whistle through just for old time memory's sake.

Sounds like either of the other 2 routes will be good.....I'm leaning to option #2 right now....
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