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Old 11-06-2009, 01:38 PM   #1
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Des Moines to Las Vegas

Planning to go from Des Moines, IA to Las Vegas in late December. I have found three ways to go. Go south to I40 which is 5 hours longer but warmer. I could also go I80 to I15. Then there is I80 to I70 cutting through Denver. The last two are about the same in time but worried about cutting across the mountains in winter. Looking for suggestions. Driving a 40ft Class A with 400 horse Diesel and trailering a Jeep.

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Old 11-06-2009, 07:27 PM   #2
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suggestions ...

I have never taken the exact trip that you are describing ... but I have left Wisconsin for about 8 or 9 years after Christmas ... and I have travelled from Las Vegas to Des Moines several times ...

I think you are wise to map out several possible routes ... but that time of year the biggest factor will be approaching winter storms ... we have made our decision on what route to follow based on weather.com's prediction 3 of those years ... and one year we changed our date of departure by a day to avoid an approaching storm ...

Back to the routes themselves ... I-80 to US-40 to I-15 is probably the "easiest" of the routes that you describe ... crossing the rockies on I-80 is very easy ... there is only one steep grade just east of Laramie ... the rest of it is very gentle ... there is a lot of "vastness" as you travel between Laramie and Evanston, WY

I-70 between Denver and Vail Colorado has several steep climbs and downgrades ... and the elevations are much higher ... I think the Eisenhauer tunnel is above 9000 feet ... there are good climbs near Evergreen, Georgetown, and between Copper Mountain and Vail ... sometimes they are playing golf in Denver and having a blizzard in Dillion. This is a very scenic drive in good weather ...

The elevation near Flagstaff on I-40 is nearly 7000 feet ... so although I-40 is more "southern" than the other routes ... winter storms do close I-40 on occasion ... I know folks who were stranded in Williams, AZ for 2 days due to a winter storm ...

Having said all of that ... I still think the weather forecast should be the number one priority in deciding your route ... safe travels ... enjoy Lost Wages

2004 Winnebago Journey 39W - 2012 Buick Enclave
Present @home Home: Oshkosh, WI
We call our rig "Ernie the Journey"

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Old 11-06-2009, 08:08 PM   #3
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Go South young man.
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Old 11-06-2009, 08:28 PM   #4
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Taking the shortest route would take you I-80 to I-70 through Denver and over a very high pass on the way to Vail and into Glenwood Springs. If you want to make an excellent stopover there then take this route if the weather allows. It's a beautiful place and you can enjoy the hot springs.
You can go I-80 all the way to SLC, UT and take I-15 S and only add about 100 miles to the trip and you avoid the high pass. By the way, the pass is no issue if the weather is good so don't be afraid to go this way, but you may have to let the weather dictate your travels.
The longest, but warmest, route adds about 300 miles and takes you through Albuquerque at 5000 feet and then up to Flagstaff at 7000 feet. There's a good chance of snow there as well so you are going to have to watch the weather whichever way you go. If you go the Flagstaff route you can stay at the Black Bart RV park and have dinner there as well. The best prime rib ever and you get a wonderful show put on by the singing waiters and waitresses.
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:28 PM   #5
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Just an update on our trip.

Ohhhhh Oklahma is where the wind comes sweaping across the plains. We took off and made it to Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City just recieved the largest amount of snow in December ever. Then add 60 mph wind gusts. I should have driven all night to miss this storm. But we decided to stay at the Oklahoma Kansas state line last night. Now the interstates in Oklahoma are closed. The good is the bus/rv is doing great in the ice and snow. With the newer tires and lots of weight we have not slid a bit. We did have to get out and push people in front of use so we could park at a Wal-Mart. Then the toll both did not take my money. The coin basket was full of snow and my coins would not fall to the bottom. Then the don't know where we are stealing wireless internet. But the internet is working fine. Looks like spending Christmas at Wal-Mart.

Did not expect snow in Oklahoma City. I watched the weather close for weeks.

I just had to vent a little. Thanks for advise.
Doug and Marcy
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