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Old 01-29-2015, 08:48 AM   #1
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Roadways in Colorado... Class A

I'm looking for recommendations/cautions on routes to take in Colorado in the June-July timeframe. We'll be in our 35' Class A gasser. Below are our travel stops and I am attaching a Google map image of our planned route - if you click on the map, you'll get a larger (easier to read) image.

Amarillo, TX
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, CO
Colorado Springs, CO
Curecanti National Recreation Area, Gunnison, CO
Fruita, CO
Glenwood Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO
Vernal, UT

Are there any tricky areas I need to be aware of?
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:01 AM   #2
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That's a good route and some beautiful country. Nothing "tricky" about it, but you will have a few long pulls - Monarch Pass between Poncha Springs and Gunnison probably being the longest. A couple more on I-70 east of Glenwood Springs, but nothing to be concerned about. That time of year you may need to gear down and climb slowly on some grades to keep your engine cool.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:05 AM   #3
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Looks like a nice route. We've been on all those roads. Entering CO, you'll climb Raton Pass out of NM. A little steep, but doable - just take your time. Highway 160 over to Sand Dunes National Park is a very easy road, with a fairly gentle climb across LaVeta Pass and the Sangre de Cristo mountains. I-25 up to Colorado Springs is, essentially, flat. Highway 24 out of Colorado Springs is a 4-lane, with an intermediate climb to the top of the Rockies - about 19 miles or so, with some flat sections as well. From there, it's relatively flat until you come to Monarch Pass. Again, a bit of a twisty mountain road with a few steep sections, but very doable. From there, highway 50 to Grand Junction is a very good road with 4-lanes in lots of places, and relatively flat. From Grand Junction on I-70 over to where you take highway 40 north toward Steamboat Springs is a 4-lane interstate, with a few sections where you'll climb, but easily done. Up toward Steamboat Springs you'll encounter Rabbit Ears Pass. Typical mountain 2-lane highway with passing lanes, and not difficult. From Steamboat over to Vernal is relatively flat and an easy road to drive.

Hope that helps! Enjoy your trip...
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:32 AM   #4
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All good advice , just take it easy going up and really easing coming down the steep declines .
Don't get hung up on deadlines just enjoy the drive
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:02 PM   #5
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Question for PagosaJoe

Not meaning to change the subject, but maybe PagosaJoe can give me some advice, too. I'm thinking of heading into CO during the 2nd week of June (2000 36' Itasca Horizon DP) with 2 or 3-day stops at Manitou Springs, Canon City, Ouray, Durango, then south to Albuquerque and home. My concern is Montrose to Durango (or should I be concerned also about Gunnison to Montrose). I've been all over that area on a motorcycle, but it's been several years...and again, it was a motorcycle. I'll be towing a Jeep. Should I just park the RV and do that loop in the Jeep, or is it safe for the MH? Thanks.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:41 PM   #6
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Hi RoadHappy,

Happy to give you my 2 cents. The trip you plan sounds great! Manitou is beautiful with lots to do in the Pikes Peak area - be sure to see the nearby Garden of the Gods.

http://www.gardenofgods.com/home/index.cfm?&Flash=0

If you're up for it, try the Manitou Incline hike, but be aware of altitude sickness - high altitude can cause health problems if you're not used to the elevation:

Manitou Incline

From Manitou to Canon City is mostly a flat road, 4-lane in places. I'm assuming your'e planning on going to Canon City then to Salida (highway 115 south then 50 highway 50 west). Easy and beautiful drive along the Arkansas River in canyon country. From Salida/Poncha Springs you could go over to Ouray through Monarch Pass (highway 50), then take highway 550 south to Ouray. The road from Gunnison to Montrose and on to Ouray is not bad at all. A scenic highway, you'll pass by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Blue Mesa Resrvoir.

Then the big question arises once you're in Ouray. If you're comfortable with mountain driving on a road with some sharp curves, no barriers on the VERY sharp drop offs on your right side as you climb out of Ouray, then continue on highway 550 south to Durango. Heading south, you'll be on the OUTSIDE of the mountain and closest to the drop off. Whoever is in the passenger seat will have an unforgettable view - and unforgettable experience. Commercial vehicles (18 wheel trucks, buses) make the trip daily, even in winter. The drive is beautiful, way beyond scenic, and takes you through some very old mining communities. One of our favorite places in Colorado!

An alternate route is to go back a few miles north toward Ridgway, then take highway 62 west, turn south on 145 to Telluride. Take Lizard Head pass south toward Dolores, then highway 160 east and you'll end up in Durango. Still a mountain road, but very few sharp drop offs on the way.

If you'd prefer the Jeep as a mode of transportation, the Million Dollar Highway to Durango, then over to Dolores and back through Lizard Head Pass (also called the San Juan Skyway) is a fantastic experience through some of the most scenic areas in Colorado. If you are adventuresome, Yankee Boy Basin out of Ouray is a great Jeep trail.

Yankee Boy Basin 4x4 Road, Colorado | EveryTrail

Ouray, Mount Sneffels, and Ridgway are simply gorgeous, and your timing (June) is great!

From Durango to Albuquerque on highway 550 is easy - 4 lane in most places, and no mountains.

Hope that helps...and have a great trip!
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:05 PM   #7
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I live in Cedaredge, CO. (not in the winter - we go south). Pagosajoe has it nailed. Try not to go over Red Mountain Pass south out of Ouray. It is hairy. There are hot springs in Ouray that you might enjoy. Hot springs also between Montrose and Ouray near Ridgeway. Just beyond Durango is Pagosa Springs with some neat RV parks and more hot springs.

Pagosajoe - 2m repeater in Cedaredge - reachable from Delta is 147.195 no tone. It is on my property so give me a shout as you go through this summer. There is a Sunday net on it at 7:00p. I do not think it is listed in the ARRL Repeater Directory.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:07 PM   #8
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OOPS - just noticed that Joe is not the one going thru CO this summer. Never mind.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Noble View Post
OOPS - just noticed that Joe is not the one going thru CO this summer. Never mind.
Hi Dick!

But, if I did, I'd certainly give you a call on the repeater! Thanks for making it available for the ham community! Cedaredge is a beautiful place. Loved stopping at the wineries near/in town.

73

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Old 01-29-2015, 08:46 PM   #10
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Route is very do-able. You shouldn't have any problems at all. Lots of places you can pull off and camp on that section from Colorado Springs to Glenwood Springs.

If you have time, try to take in the Morrow Point boat tour. Some interesting history down in the bottom of the the Gunnison River Canyon as it enters the Black Canyon, and not many people get down there to hear about it. There is a scenic and short hike required to get to the boat dock.

Many times, I am sure that you've seen the famous sketch of the Currecanti Needle, but can you remember where? You are going to drive right by the road that will lead you to the answer!

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Old 01-29-2015, 09:49 PM   #11
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Another Hidden Gem in Colorado: Just east of Glenwood Springs there is a trail head in the Glenwood Canyon (I70). One of Colorado's great turquoise lakes is the Hanging Lake at the top of a rocky, 1.1 mile climb on the Hanging Lake Trail. If you are acclimated by the time you get that far into Colorado, I would recommend this often missed geologic wonder, as well. \ken
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:03 PM   #12
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When in Alamosa, you are only 25 miles from Antonito (to the south), the eastern terminous of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. This is probably the most photographed steam railroad in North America. Why? Because on its 64 mile trip from Antonito to Chama (crossing the Colorado/New Mexico border 11 times) it passes though meadows, canyons, historic trestles and tunnels, follows a gorge, and crosses the highest active non-destination railroad pass in USA (over 10,000 feet in elevation) before descending into Chama, New Mexico. Long ago, Hollywood had discovered that they can film authentic footage for just about any kind of steam train scenery all at one place! A dozen or so movies (I can only remember Butch Cassidy) and a number of old TV shows (The Lone Ranger) were filmed on this route. On the Chama side there is a rail yard of vintage cars that Hollywood paints up with the appropriate road names in order to fit the theme of the movie. \ken

PS. There is a pretty unique RV park immediately adjacent to the tracks on the Chama side.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:23 PM   #13
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The Answer to the Question in Post 10

Here is a picture taken on the Morrow Point boat tour. Do you recognize the famous Denver & Rio Grande Railroad logo? \ken
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:54 AM   #14
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PagosaJoe

Thanks...great information. Hey, how's the highway from Durango to Pagosa Springs? I went through there on a motorcycle 12 or 13 yrs ago...I was following another bike and don't even know what route we took,. But we went through a mountain pass, the highway was gravel with lots of road work. The way I remember, I wouldn't want to go in the MH. If the road is okay, I think I would prefer to go through Pagosa, then down to Taos and Santa Fe instead of Albuquerque. Would those roads be good for me?

btw...My wife and I love Pagosa Springs. We went through there first on that bike trip I mentioned, but about 3 yrs ago on another bike trip we were staying at a casino north of Santa Fe. We rode over to PS...stayed one night at the resort on the main drag with the hot springs. It was early May...very cool nights. It was great.
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