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Old 05-09-2011, 05:33 AM   #15
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Thanks to all of you. Since my mountain driving experience in a big rig with a toad is exactly zero, I think I'll forget about Grand Junction to Durango this trip, and head south out of Denver and get into Durango from the East. I think driving the toad up to Ouray may be the wisest decision.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:20 AM   #16
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michguy,

We have been going to the Ouray/Silverton/Durango area for about 20 years and have driven most of the roads by rv and Jeep many times. I would stick with heading to Durango from Grand Junction. The route that we use often (and will again in Sept) was mentioned above.

Head south on Rt 50 from GJ to Montrose. Continue south on Rt 550 to Ridgway. At Ridgway turn right (west) on Rt 62. In 25 miles you will come to Rt 145. Take Rt 145 toward Telluride (left turn). In 13 miles Rt 145 makes a right turn and heads toward Cortez. Rt 145 intersects with Rt 160 just east of Cortez. Turn left (east) and take Rt 160 to Durango.

All of these roads are good and can be easily handled by you and your mh. It is not a white knuckle drive so you can enjoy the scenery as you go.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:14 AM   #17
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Thanks to all of you. Since my mountain driving experience in a big rig with a toad is exactly zero, I think I'll forget about Grand Junction to Durango this trip, and head south out of Denver and get into Durango from the East. I think driving the toad up to Ouray may be the wisest decision.
If you are coming in from the east you'll still have Wolf Creek pass to tackle.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:31 AM   #18
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Thanks to all of you. Since my mountain driving experience in a big rig with a toad is exactly zero, I think I'll forget about Grand Junction to Durango this trip, and head south out of Denver and get into Durango from the East. I think driving the toad up to Ouray may be the wisest decision.
I have been over Vail Pass 800+ times.

Two things about driving in the mountains. Plan to go down the hill in the same gear you go up it. Engines are cooled by the mass of the air over the radiator not the cubic foot. Keeps the revs up to keep the fan turning.

Enjoy!
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:20 AM   #19
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One thing I forgot to mention, Ouray is only about 10 miles south of Ridgway, and has several campgrounds (the KOA half way between Ouray and Ridgway is a good one and our favorite). You could stop there to see Ouray and do a day trip to Silverton (23 miles) by driving Rt 550, the Million Dollar Highway.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:29 AM   #20
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One thing I forgot to mention, Ouray is only about 10 miles south of Ridgway, and has several campgrounds (the KOA half way between Ouray and Ridgway is a good one and our favorite). You could stop there to see Ouray and do a day trip to Silverton (23 miles) by driving Rt 550, the Million Dollar Highway.
I hadn't thought of that. That's an excellent idea. They could even go on to see Durango which is only another 50 miles--maybe ride the train. I wonder if you can buy two way tickets FROM Silverton and back.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:06 AM   #21
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HoboPals,

I called The Durango & Silverton RR and found that during the peak season (June 6-Aug 11) you can get a round trip ticket that has you on the train from Silverton to Durango, but the return trip to Silverton is by a passenger van. The rest of the year is from Durango only.

That is disappointing to us. We will be in Ouray for a month starting Aug 18th and had hoped for a round trip ride on the train from Silverton.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:59 AM   #22
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HoboPals,

I called The Durango & Silverton RR and found that during the peak season (June 6-Aug 11) you can get a round trip ticket that has you on the train from Silverton to Durango, but the return trip to Silverton is by a passenger van. The rest of the year is from Durango only.

That is disappointing to us. We will be in Ouray for a month starting Aug 18th and had hoped for a round trip ride on the train from Silverton.
Maybe you could drive down to Durango which is only 73 miles, do the round trip, and return to Ouray. If I remember correctly, the train leaves Durango early enough to do it in daylight.

We used to enjoy the Ironhorse Bike Race and the 4th of July celebrarion in Silverton, too, when we were there in July. Great part of the country.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:46 PM   #23
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Maybe you could drive down to Durango which is only 73 miles, do the round trip, and return to Ouray. If I remember correctly, the train leaves Durango early enough to do it in daylight.
.....
I rode th train round trip durango-silverton and back while staying in ouray in 08. got up very early and drove to durango. the train ride is REALLY great. words cannot describe how nice of a trip it is.
if you want a quicker train trip, they offer a trian ride to silverton and you come back to durango on a large bus. this saves almost 2 hours I am told.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:48 PM   #24
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Brigadoon,

Thanks for posting about that alternative to driving the 550 route from Ouray to Cortez/Durango.

We plan to spend 4 days camping near Ouray in late September as the last fun stop on our Fall trip. We felt certain from other posts we'd read that we would prefer to experience 550 in the Jeep. But we really didn't want to have to head East on 50 out of Montrose to I-25 when we start back to Florida. I had wondered if 141 was a possible route. Glad to know it is and that we can get to experience a little of New Mexico, as we've not been there before.

I'm sure as time for our trip gets closer, I'll have lots of questions about that beautiful corner of Colorado.

Fran
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:20 AM   #25
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Floridafran,

We have not taken an rv on Rt 141 but have traveled it in our Jeep. It has been a while since we have been on 141 but I do not recall any reason to not use 141. Perhaps someone with more recent experience can shed more light on that route.

Rt 550 south out of Durango into New Mexico is a good road also. There's lots to see and do in NM, it would be easy to spent several weeks there checking things out. After spending 7 weeks in CO we will head to NM about the 3rd week of Sept.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:38 AM   #26
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Floridafran,

Rt 550 south out of Durango into New Mexico is a good road also. There's lots to see and do in NM, it would be easy to spent several weeks there checking things out. After spending 7 weeks in CO we will head to NM about the 3rd week of Sept.
Brigadoon, I went the other way last year. 160 (I think it is) over to Chama is a beautiful ride. Came up through backroads from Taos. Ahhh...I'm reliving the trip! You might enjoy (if you don't already) reading http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:38 AM   #27
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In Ouray you'll want to see the 2 waterfalls, one in particular is breathtaking, in a box canyon. They are right in town. Also, there is a quaint museum that is well worth a look. Since you have a Jeep, you are in Jeep heaven there, lot's of trails and beautiful country in the San Juans. Silverton is my choice over Ouray but either will work.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:50 PM   #28
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Vegasdan,

All those wonderful places to go in the Jeep is what got us interested in greater San Juan Mts area. Thanks for the info on the falls. That's something the ones in our group who aren't into hiking can do. So far I've found some Jeep trails with falls or other scenic payouts that don't require hikes that are too long or strenuous for us all to do, as well as a few that Tom and I will probably tackle alone.

Unfortunately, Red Mountain Pass is between Ouray and Silverton so the RVs are going to have to stay north of there. My sister and her husband drove 550 several years ago in a camper van and she said she isn't about to do it now in a 30 ft motorhome. My husband has a bad habit (in my opinion) of hugging the outside white line when he's driving the RV. So no way would I want to go down 550 in anything but the Jeep.

Actually, I'm going to be working really hard between now and September to get him driving farther to the left side of his lane. First I have to prove to him that isn't centered, like he th8nks he is. Need someone to secretly video him.
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