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Old 12-10-2014, 09:16 PM   #1
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Crossing the Rockies

We are planning a trip from SW Florida to Oregon in the spring. We are thinking of the southern route--panhandle to Louisiana, etc. Would like to stop in Las Vegas also.

We have a National Seabreeze with the GM Vortec 8.1 and will be towing a CRV.

I am concerned about getting over the Rockies. Any suggestions as to which route?
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:25 PM   #2
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If you stay on the main highways you will be fine. Scenic routes may be a bit more twisty and have some steeper grades but if you take your time you will be fine. The scenic routes will have better views IMO. But if it is your first time all roads will have great views.

Get a good map (truckers road atlas is great) and try to avoid the really high passes. Even those can be done with care but you may want to avoid them if you do not feel comfortable with driving up in lower gears and coming down in lower gears.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:03 AM   #3
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Good Morning!

I have a coach similar to yours, the model 5320 Dolphin with the same engine. I live just east of the Continental Divide near Salida, Colorado, and have to cross several mountain passes regardless of the direction I leave. I have no problems towing a Jeep Liberty, going up the passes I stay close to the posted speeds, and going down I simply let the grade brake do its thing.

I have experienced a vapor-lock type of problem several times recently, when traveling with less than a half tank of fuel, in the summer with very warm outside temps, when the barometric pressure is higher than usual. Both times I was just about to summit high mountain passes when this occurred. The problem resolved itself within 10-15 minutes, but I was fortunate to have been able to pull off the road before it stalled. There is a thread concerning this problem with possible solutions, take a look and just be aware of the potential problem. So far, as long as I keep the tank above 3/4, the problem has not occurred again.

There are a lot of us on this site that live in Colorado, holler if you are looking for beautiful places to see or need directions.

Bruce

Here is a link for the thread concerning vapor-lock and our engines:

Workhorse 8.1 and Stalling...dealing with a real problem
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:25 AM   #4
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If you stay away from the secondary mountain highways you'll be missing a LOT of gorgeous scenery and places. Get yourself the Trucker's Mountain Directory - West edition (online) so you know what to expect. It gives a narrative of certain sections mile by mile.


Just use your gears appropriately, especially coming down. Gear down before you even start descending. Once you get going down it will be almost impossible to do so. Just take your time and don't try to speed up because of others behind you. Also, when going up don't pull off to the side, if possible. You'll have a harder time getting going up again. You'll soon get a feel of what to look for and you'll be driving it like a pro. There are many RVers out there with your same type of vehicle. They make it and so can you! Have fun.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:42 AM   #5
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#1. make sure you replace the brake fluid in your coach if it has not been changed in the last two years. Also the transmission fluid. #2 don't ride the brakes coming down. use lower gears to hold it back and let the speed build to about 45. brake back to 30 and let off the brakes. As long as you hold the brakes on, (even lightly) heat builds. We have been out west 3 times and had no problems. I strongly disagree with two gypsies. We always pulled off when cars were building up behind us. We never had a problem getting back up to speed. #3 keep the rpms on hill climbs to about 4000 rpm's. The water pump has to move the water through the radiator to keep the engine and transmission from overheating.
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Old 12-11-2014, 11:36 AM   #6
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Having a trucker's atlas like this is a good suggestion:
https://www.mountaindirectory.com/mtnshop/

In addition, learn how to use Google Earth. On it you can trace a route and see an elevation cross section of the route. Very useful to know what's ahead. ga traveler is also right on in his suggestion in brake use. Only use for quick speed drop of 10 mph or more, don't apply them gently. Pay more attention to engine temperature and RPM than speed. Your gas engine might sound like it's screaming, but it can't over-rev going uphill, the ECU won't let it.
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Old 12-11-2014, 11:53 AM   #7
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Not quite sure which route you are considering, but if you take I-40 across NM and AZ, you'll miss the passes. Once you get close to Vegas, take highway 93 from Kingman, AZ directly to Vegas. Easy drive, no passes.

If you have a different route you're considering, let us know.

As noted by Firebug5, there are lots of us living in Colorado who have to take passes to go anywhere, and can advise. We cross Wolf Creek pass regularly - be sure you SLOW DOWN, GEAR DOWN, and don't ride the brakes. Lots of truckers wish they had followed those common sense rules...

And, as a common courtesy, DO pull over when there are vehicles backing up behind you - but do it safely. It isn't a problem to build up speed after they have passed you. We do this all the time.
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Old 12-11-2014, 01:13 PM   #8
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Why are flatlanders afraid of hills? They are only hills and not the mouth of Hell rising up in front of them.

Drive as you normally do and enjoy what is before you and when it is all over you will never stop talking about what you saw and looking forward to repeating the journey.

Scare tactics are not in your books if you enjoy what you do. Put all that others say in your back pocket and sit on it and JUST DO IT !!!!!!!

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Old 12-11-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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There's a BIG difference between "hills" and some of the mountain passes in the Rocky Mountains. You CAN'T "...drive as you normally do" on major passes. This past year, we've lost a lot of trucks and truckers to Wolf Creek Pass - and virtually all were "flatlanders" who were attempting to "...drive as you normally do". Wolf Creek Pass drops almost 5000 feet in a few short miles. The OP is being very prudent in asking about passes, and the advice given on driving techniques is very appropriate.

Truck Driver Injured In Rollover Crash On Wolf Creek Pass « CBS Denver

Mashed potatoes: Wolf Creek Pass closes after 44,000 pounds spill | The Pagosa Springs SUN

Colorado Springs Auto Accident | Colorado Springs Personal Injury Attorneys

wolf - Bing Images
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pops2 View Post
Why are flatlanders afraid of hills? They are only hills and not the mouth of Hell rising up in front of them.

Drive as you normally do and enjoy what is before you and when it is all over you will never stop talking about what you saw and looking forward to repeating the journey.

Scare tactics are not in your books if you enjoy what you do. Put all that others say in your back pocket and sit on it and JUST DO IT !!!!!!!

The OP didn't say they were scared of hills, they said, "I am concerned about getting over the Rockies."

1. The Rockies aren't hills, they are rugged mountains that require the crossing of high passes in many cases, with steep grades leading to and from the passes.

2. Telling someone used to flat terrain to drive in mountains as they normally do is unrealistic and dangerous advice.

All the other posters on this thread were giving good advice, belittling someone who has concerns and giving knowingly inaccurate advice does no one any help.
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #11
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A trucker once told me that you can go down hills many times to slow, only once you can go down to fast. Always remember that.
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pagosajoe View Post
Not quite sure which route you are considering, but if you take I-40 across NM and AZ, you'll miss the passes. Once you get close to Vegas, take highway 93 from Kingman, AZ directly to Vegas. Easy drive, no passes.

If you have a different route you're considering, let us know.

As noted by Firebug5, there are lots of us living in Colorado who have to take passes to go anywhere, and can advise. We cross Wolf Creek pass regularly - be sure you SLOW DOWN, GEAR DOWN, and don't ride the brakes. Lots of truckers wish they had followed those common sense rules...

And, as a common courtesy, DO pull over when there are vehicles backing up behind you - but do it safely. It isn't a problem to build up speed after they have passed you. We do this all the time.
I think that your suggested route is obviously the best route, especially if one wants to stop in Vegas.
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:07 PM   #13
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Vail pass = 10.000 ft. Eisenhower tunnel = 11,000 ft. On I-70 its a looong pull up Eisenhower.. We live on the Western Slope and every time we go east we have to go over these two passes. And never have had any problems going up or down. Your engine however will scare the hell out of you the first time you go over these passes because its really working hard and screaming..But like I said everything has always held together and no problems..Have a nice trip.. It looks like your not going via I-70 but anyone going that way its some beautiful scenery and well worth the trip.Enjoy Colorado folks, its a beautiful state and well worth the effort..
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by nportner View Post
We are planning a trip from SW Florida to Oregon in the spring. We are thinking of the southern route--panhandle to Louisiana, etc. Would like to stop in Las Vegas also.

We have a National Seabreeze with the GM Vortec 8.1 and will be towing a CRV.

I am concerned about getting over the Rockies. Any suggestions as to which route?

It has some passes but I70 west of Denver is a beautiful route.


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