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Old 07-11-2011, 10:03 PM   #1
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Colorado RV trip Concerns on Grades

Family of 5 in a 32' Class C
Departing Minneapolis
Many stops! In-Laws want to see a lot of places.
My concerns are 34 from Estes Park up through the Rocky National Park on down to Granby/Grand lake. Then down to 70 to head west to Grand Junction.
From GJ on over to Utah and the Arches.
From the Arches down 191 and 491 to Cortez. Cannot find much info on this stretch.

From Cortez there is a possible quick trip to the Four Corners then onto Durango.
From Durango taking 160 all the way to I-25 then up to Manitou Springs.

I know 70 can be grade challanging, but I have done it in the past even towing boats.
What I am more concerned with is what 34 is like through the Rockies Park
As well as what 191/491 is like out of Utah.

Then mostly what 160 is like for grades, fuel stops and such. This road is actually what I tense the most about.

Thanks, we are on a 10 day count down to departure.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbjjam View Post
Family of 5 in a 32' Class C
Departing Minneapolis
Many stops! In-Laws want to see a lot of places.
My concerns are 34 from Estes Park up through the Rocky National Park on down to Granby/Grand lake. Then down to 70 to head west to Grand Junction.
From GJ on over to Utah and the Arches.
From the Arches down 191 and 491 to Cortez. Cannot find much info on this stretch.

From Cortez there is a possible quick trip to the Four Corners then onto Durango.
From Durango taking 160 all the way to I-25 then up to Manitou Springs.

I know 70 can be grade challanging, but I have done it in the past even towing boats.
What I am more concerned with is what 34 is like through the Rockies Park
As well as what 191/491 is like out of Utah.

Then mostly what 160 is like for grades, fuel stops and such. This road is actually what I tense the most about.

Thanks, we are on a 10 day count down to departure.
welcome to the irv2 forum.
you can update your signature info with all the particulars of your rv.
i have not been on any of those roads in an rv, just on a motorcycle.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:09 AM   #3
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The biggest challenge you will face is getting up and over Trail Ridge Pass on 34. Good two lane paved road with several tight turns and, of course, you're climbing most of the way once you enter the park. Many places to stop and cool off if you need to. Entirely doable, just take your time and manually shift transmission to maintain power. Long, long, downhill on other side so keep your speed down cuz' you're going to need your brakes. Nice place to stop in Grand Lake to relax, eat, and shop called Grand Lake Lodge.

Plenty of fuel stops on 160 so no worry there. Couple of passes to go over but like I said, after Trail Ridge these shouldn't be a problem for you. Might want to consider stopping by Mesa Verde down near Cortez. Pretty amazing place and view.

Have fun, I'm sure you'll do fine. Key is, nice and easy.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:59 AM   #4
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From Durango to I25 you will have to go over Wolf Creek Pass. Some of the best views in Colorado. Just take your time on the east side (going down).
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:31 PM   #5
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Last weekend we died on Wolf Creek Pass

We died coming up Wolf Creek Pass from Pagosa Springs last weekend. No cell service to call for a tow but since a trucker had just gone over the edge a few days before we were able to hail a road construction worker who got state patrol to help us get a tow. The shop that checked us out indicated the fuel pump had died so we had it replaced.

Then they cautioned us to only buy gas from the big brand names. We mentioned that we had bought it twice in Cortez at City Market as it is the same place (King Sooper) that we buy our gas at home. He indicated that the City Market in their area has very bad gas and he tells all his clients not to buy there. He also said the City Market manager hates him for this but he feels he replaces alot of fuel pumps due to their bad fuel.

So stick with the Conoco's, Shells etc. in Colorado. (Conoco and Shell were specifically mentioned as good by the shop.)

Change your fuel filter before you come unless you already did it this year and add some fuel injector cleaner to your gas tank. I had asked my shop about my fuel filter at my spring oil change and they looked in my records and said we had done it last year so no need this year. After my fuel pump died I dug through all my old receipts and found we had changed the fuel filter on the generator not the engine. Honest mistake by the shop guy but taught me to check for myself and not rely on him and his computer. We were at the end of a 16 day trip and a dirty fuel filter for all those high passes and miles could have easily caused the fuel pump to labor so hard that it died. His honest mistake may have costs us $545 and put us in danger of being hit on the road. Or maybe the fuel pump simply aged out. Personally I think it was the fuel filter as my records also show that we did not replace it last year when we bought the RV. Big mistake on my part.

Also make sure you have your emergency kit with cones and such. We only had one cone and the state trooper said they were getting alot of complaints at the top that people couldn't see us until they were right on us. He gave us some flares which helped. After they burned down we put out some flashlights that have an automatic strobe feature and I think that helped also. We got a three pack from Costco earlier this year.

Never broken down before but we had the Good Sams Platinum protection so the tow was free to us and came about a half hour after it was called for so we were happy.

In hind sight we should have tried to use our CB to get the truckers to notify Sam's Club earlier or the state patrol. The shop said the state patrol had initially gotten a 5 hr pick up time from Sam's Club but that he really got on their case and Sam's Club decided to call them to get us out of their earlier. Very scary situation for us but all turned out OK.

Edit: Great Sand Dunes National Park was an awesome stop so try to go if you can.

2nd Edit: If you engine temperature starts to go up going uphill turn your dash AC off to help bring it down.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:39 PM   #6
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From Granby down to I-70 you will have to pass through Winter Park. You will be losing some major altitude pretty quickly as you come out of Winter Park. There are numerous switchbacks and steep grades as you come off the mountain. It then evens out to doable. Beautiful country however. I believe these grades are much steeper, albeit shorter, than those you will encounter on I- 70
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:54 PM   #7
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Moab to Cortez. 191 491 is a piece of cake.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:02 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone!
Keep the info coming, 10 day countdown
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:23 PM   #9
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Unless you specifically want to see Winter Park, from Granby, head to Kremmling then south on 9 to Dillon, that path will avoid a lot of steep grades.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:47 PM   #10
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I love Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park. The drive to Estes is slow and beautiful, and should be trouble free. However, rent a car to see Rocky Mountain National Park. Just My Opinion. Two lanes, very high altitude, lots to see, many places to stop and hike or just look. Then Durango to Flagstaff, through Monument Valley, wow, what a wonderful drive. Entering Monument Valley was a moving experience for me, sort of makes you realize the greatness of creation.
Enjoy.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:48 AM   #11
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Missed your time frame for this trip, enjoy what time is available and don't try to see and do every thing at high-way speed. there have been several side trips suggested for you and they are all worth the time so do what you can and put the rest on your bucket list.

You will be pulling a lot of steep long grades so try and keep your weight down, most camp grounds and rv parks have dump stations and water so a minimal amount of fluids will make a world difference all around.

Remember the grades are steep going down just like they were going up so keep the rv in a lower gear this will help keep the brakes for getting hot and help prevent the white-kneckle event.

Colorado, Utah, and the four corners can be very hot even at alitude at this time of year. Enjoy and be safe.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:40 AM   #12
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Unless you specifically want to see Winter Park, from Granby, head to Kremmling then south on 9 to Dillon, that path will avoid a lot of steep grades.

Thanks, but questoins
Lookes like a lot of back tracking if I still plan on heading to Grand Junction?
How is 1 onto 131 grade/road wise? Seems that would get me farther west with out heading west to come east to go back west
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:09 PM   #13
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Between Winter Park and Georgetown US 40 goes over Berthoud Pass (over 11,000 ft) with switchback going up and down ... there are 6% grades and 20 mph hairpin curves
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