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Old 05-30-2016, 07:12 PM   #1
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Montrose to Durango

Headed over through south western Colorado and the million dollar highway to Durango and Cortez. Is there anything I need to do or avoid in the rv? Are there good spots to pull over park and not in campgrounds
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:04 PM   #2
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Headed over through south western Colorado and the million dollar highway to Durango and Cortez. Is there anything I need to do or avoid in the rv? Are there good spots to pull over park and not in campgrounds
550 has been debated enough to fill 100's of pages. Just Google it, but with your rig be sure the brakes are good - Silverton is Awesome - Ouray is Great - if you end up taking 145 Telluride is a fun town and Trout lake is interesting.

4x4 trails to die for - and Black Canyon of the Gunnison is often overlooked.

BOL,
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:32 PM   #3
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Black canyon is our first stop and we're going go to telluride after. Second day is ouray and silverton. I'm not worried about the 550, I've been up and down steeper.
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:48 PM   #4
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Let me suggest this..
http://www.mountaindirectory.com/

I have the books but am considering the App...
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:01 PM   #5
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Black canyon is our first stop and we're going go to telluride after. Second day is ouray and silverton. I'm not worried about the 550, I've been up and down steeper.
It's certainly steep, but even more significant is the narrow curvy road, with some very tight turns, and with no shoulder or guardrail between you and very steep dropoffs. Make sure anyone sitting in the passenger seat is fine with riding while feeling like you're hanging out over an abyss. I know I'm not.

The drive from Ridgway to Durango via Telluride is spectacular and nowhere near as treacherous. You might consider adjusting your plans to take the moho on that route, even if it means out-and-back to Durango if you need to go back to Cortez--that part's an easy drive. There's a shortcut at Dolores to shave some miles to get to Durango.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:31 PM   #6
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It's been a couple of years, but our 37' Vacationer towing a Wrangler did well...no problems. 550 was smoothly paved and those curves people talk about are very doable - just take your time. We found no one was in a hurry but if traffic gets a little backed up, there are places to pull over and let them pass. I didn't see any places to just pull over and camp...legally - the CGs want your money.

The trail between Ouray and Telluride is one of our all time favorite Jeep day trips and any of the locals can tell you how to find it. We chose Montrose as a base central to Black Canyon of the Gunnison and the towns/trails south on 550.

Before our stay in Montrose, we stayed in Durango for a few days - took the train into Silverton. We had lunch in Silverton and took the train operator's bus back to Durango. very nice day trip.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:41 PM   #7
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Construction on 550 - small section and drivable but very narrow. Try Colorado 139 if you want a truly steep road ))
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:14 PM   #8
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It's certainly steep, but even more significant is the narrow curvy road, with some very tight turns, and with no shoulder or guardrail between you and very steep dropoffs.
The road width is not narrow. From the DOT the maximum width of a vehicle traveling on it is 12'.

Here is a standarized chart of road widths:

Mitigation Strategies For Design Exceptions - Safety | Federal Highway Administration

How often do you drive on the shoulder or into a guard rail? Do you normally keep your vehicle in your lane? We've never seen vehicles using both lanes on that road. Yes, it's steep and at the Ouray end a few tight curves. From then on the curves are wide and gradual and the steepness declines.

The road isn't for everyone but we love driving it among many others.

Anyone who travels in the mountains really needs to get all the information on the roads they plan to travel and not just take off.
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:27 PM   #9
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How often do you drive on the shoulder or into a guard rail?
If there's a shoulder and it's open, I squeeze it if there's another big rig coming the other way. And I've never driven into a guard rail, but visual evidence suggests that plenty of people do.


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Do you normally keep your vehicle in your lane?
Yes. But it's not my driving that I'm worried about.


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We've never seen vehicles using both lanes on that road.
Well, I have. But I tend to see vastly more traffic idiocy than the average person, for some reason.

Here's a recent article about the road from the Telluride newspaper:

http://www.telluridenews.com/the_wat...a427e13ca.html

It mentions youtube videos of "trucks crossing 550’s center line and barreling down on terrified motorcyclists." Again, it's not my adherence to the centerline that worries me.

The article also says this: "Drivers heading south from Ouray are white-knuckled from the road’s relentless turns and squiggles, and jittery passengers gaze out their windows into a near-bottomless void."

It's the jittery passenger that most people never even give a thought to, but especially when you're sitting up high, being on that side can be really really scary.
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:17 AM   #10
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If there's a shoulder and it's open, I squeeze it if there's another big rig coming the other way. And I've never driven into a guard rail, but visual evidence suggests that plenty of people do.



Yes. But it's not my driving that I'm worried about.




Well, I have. But I tend to see vastly more traffic idiocy than the average person, for some reason.

Here's a recent article about the road from the Telluride newspaper:

http://www.telluridenews.com/the_wat...a427e13ca.html

It mentions youtube videos of "trucks crossing 550’s center line and barreling down on terrified motorcyclists." Again, it's not my adherence to the centerline that worries me.

The article also says this: "Drivers heading south from Ouray are white-knuckled from the road’s relentless turns and squiggles, and jittery passengers gaze out their windows into a near-bottomless void."

It's the jittery passenger that most people never even give a thought to, but especially when you're sitting up high, being on that side can be really really scary.

IMHO, BAD DRIVERS are on every road in the USA so that does not work for ME. Otherwise I would be locked in the HOUSE.

People should be informed but not think it is because of bad Drivers.

Personally, we will drive out of our way to see and experience roads like this, I LOVE the Drive.

JMHO,

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Old 06-03-2016, 01:27 PM   #11
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Oatmeal, that was a good article on the history of the road. It talks a lot about the avalanche problems but RVers typically aren't on the highway during winter. Yes, there's a possibility of rockslides but I-70 out of Denver gets them also as do many mountain roads. Regardless, it's not for everyone but we truly enjoy driving it.

I especially like these ending sentences:

"These days, travelers tend to find the highway more beautiful than deadly. According to Shanks, no avalanches have killed anyone on 550 since the highway began proactive avalanche control with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in 1992.

“Compared to other winding two-lane highways in the mountains,” Shanks said, “U.S. 550 is narrow, but that keeps speeds down. It gets relatively low volume compared to Front Range highways, so its accident rate isn’t truly high.”
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Old 06-03-2016, 02:08 PM   #12
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I've been over it several times w/o an RV. I don't require to see it again, but I'm probably going to in September because there is a place I want to stay a few days. Also, I hate backtracking, and we are already doing the Dolores to Telluride route.
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Old 06-03-2016, 03:34 PM   #13
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IMHO, BAD DRIVERS are on every road in the USA so that does not work for ME.
But the danger of bad drivers differs depending on location. If you're in the outside lane on 550 and someone crosses over the center line, all that's on your other side is the abyss. You'd better hope any instinct to swerve out of the way to avoid being hit is kept in check.


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Oatmeal, that was a good article on the history of the road. It talks a lot about the avalanche problems but RVers typically aren't on the highway during winter.
...
“Compared to other winding two-lane highways in the mountains,” Shanks said, “U.S. 550 is narrow, but that keeps speeds down. It gets relatively low volume compared to Front Range highways, so its accident rate isn’t truly high.”
I just ignored the avalanche part, since it generally doesn't affect RV drivers. I do enjoy looking at the avalanche sheds.

But this Shanks also said the road is narrow, and you said upthread, "The road width is not narrow," so I'm not sure why you're trusting what she says anyway.

In an article in the Durango Herald, Shanks explained the accident rate as having to do with this: "It’s so scary, it forces people to focus and drive slow," she said.

I agree that it's a great drive, but if a CDOT spokesperson says it's narrow and scary, someone driving a big RV would be well advised to be well informed about what exactly he's getting himself into. And probably run some photos by any potential passengers to check the comfort level of riding up above the canyon like that.
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Old 06-03-2016, 04:11 PM   #14
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But the danger of bad drivers differs depending on location. If you're in the outside lane on 550 and someone crosses over the center line, all that's on your other side is the abyss. You'd better hope any instinct to swerve out of the way to avoid being hit is kept in check.




I just ignored the avalanche part, since it generally doesn't affect RV drivers. I do enjoy looking at the avalanche sheds.

But this Shanks also said the road is narrow, and you said upthread, "The road width is not narrow," so I'm not sure why you're trusting what she says anyway.

In an article in the Durango Herald, Shanks explained the accident rate as having to do with this: "It’s so scary, it forces people to focus and drive slow," she said.

I agree that it's a great drive, but if a CDOT spokesperson says it's narrow and scary, someone driving a big RV would be well advised to be well informed about what exactly he's getting himself into. And probably run some photos by any potential passengers to check the comfort level of riding up above the canyon like that.
Not being argumentative but.....

If you need to ask if you can drive the road chances are you might want to just do it in a Toad.

Those who enjoy it really enjoy it but those who are nervous are really nervous and might just need to avoid it.

Honestly this whole part of Colorado is just not a good place to spend time, if the traffic doesn't get you I've heard the Trolls will.

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