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Old 08-05-2007, 06:50 PM   #1
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Has anyone traveled highway 65 to 550 from Grand Junction to Durango Colorado? Is this a route to be avoided by motorhomes? Iv'e traveled many winding high altitude roads and would appreciate any input before I go this way.
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:50 PM   #2
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Has anyone traveled highway 65 to 550 from Grand Junction to Durango Colorado? Is this a route to be avoided by motorhomes? Iv'e traveled many winding high altitude roads and would appreciate any input before I go this way.
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:55 AM   #3
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550 is narrow and steep in places,but is ok for travel in a MH.Relax and enjoy the trip.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:39 AM   #4
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Everyone has to make decision, but my vote would be to head towards Cortez and then over to Durango. I have talked to many Colorado folks and they all have agreed not to do 550 to Durango with RV unless you have nerves of steel. It is not enjoyable for driver or passenger. Give it a try in toad first and then you can enjoy the ride.
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:29 PM   #5
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It's entirely doable in a diesel pusher. It's real easy until you get to Ouray. South of Ouray it gets "mountainous" until just after Silverton. It's called the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Durango and the section between Silverton and Ouray will be steep and narrow in a few spots. The scenery is awesome and we handled it easily in our 40' Allegro Bus with 400 Cummins and Jake Brake. I'll do it again in the 42QRP next time we go that way except we'd camp at Molas Lake near Silverton next time. However, I enjoy mountain driving. If you aren't that enthused you could take the San Juan Skyline from Ridgeway to Cortez and then over to Durango.
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:02 PM   #6
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Thanks Cruzer, thats the answer I was looking for. Mountain driving doesn't bother me. I just wanted to know if it was motorhome friendly. Have you camped in Ouray?
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Old 08-07-2007, 03:25 PM   #7
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Most folks are leary to drive 550 because of areas like this where there is little shoulder, no guard rails, and steep dropoffs. If you take these areas slow and keep your eyes on the road, you should have no problem.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:40 PM   #8
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Sammie, I took a 39 ft. DP with 330Cat over that route at Thanksgiving and had a ball....would do it again! Yes, there were a few places the "Boss" was hanging near the edge, but we were so lucky there wasn't ANY snow/ice on any of the roads.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:36 PM   #9
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You will have to go over two high mountain passes. Red Mountain Pass is 11,000 ft. and Molas Divide is also about 11,000 ft. It isn't the "up" part that is worrysome. It is the "down". You need great brakes, perfect steering and lots of time. I've taken a 32' 5er over it and will not do it again. I'd suggest going through Cortez (Hywys 62 and 145) and then 160 into Durango. Hywy 62 and 145 is also a beautiful drive and you only need to get over Lizard Head Pass (10,000 ft) near Telluride. Lizard Head is not as winding as Red Mountain. Take hywy 62 out of Ridgeway over Dallas Divide (8,900 ft)and on to 145 near Placerville.

I live near Delta, Colorado and went to undergrad school at Durango (Fort Lewis College) so I know the area well and I avoid Red Mountain Pass if I have an RV attached.
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:25 AM   #10
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Yes, Sammie. I've camped at the Ouray KOA, just north of town. It was a decent KOA and they also rented Jeeps, although we brought our own.

Ouray is a great place to base camp from if you like exploring the San Juans. It's an interesting town and has lots to see. The old mining trails are now Jeep trails and ther's lots ofthem in the surrounding mountains. All different levels for different skill and "fear" levels of drivers - from mild to wild. The scenery is awesome. Check out my Ouray pics at This Link if you want to see what the area is like.
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:24 PM   #11
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Cruzer, Thank you so much for your reply on Ouray. I really liked the pictures that you took in Colorado. We are planning a trip to Aspen then to Ouray and lastly Durango at the end of September.

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Old 08-10-2007, 01:12 AM   #12
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My wife and I went from Ouray down to Pagosa Springs over the Million Dollar highway last year. I had a ball; my wife was not happy :-)

We pulled both passes in first gear and came down the other side also in first. the tach showed about 4000 rpm most all the way. I tried to stay off the brakes as much as possible.

Love that Allison transmission!

There is/was a Passport America campground just south of Ouray that was pretty good. We stopped there for one night before tackling the passes the next morning.

The only word of caution I would offer is to watch for falling rocks.

If you make it down to Pagosa Springs, I recommend Cool Pines RV Park. We've stayed there at least three times, and found it quiet, relaxing and very friendly!
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