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Old 06-03-2011, 05:09 AM   #1
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Cool Traveling Colorado in a Motor Home

Anyone with experience driving a Coach and towing from Buena Vista, CO to Durango, CO. I have heard theree are certian roads to avoid (i.e. 550). Any experiences?
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:21 AM   #2
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White knuckle hiway!

Donovan,
Before you try it, search the Forum a little more. I haven't done it, but I asked the same question a little while ago, and had some vey strong responses, mostly saying to find a different route. There is a way around the worst stretch (between Ouray and Silverton. I don't have the directions at hand, but someone out there does and they'll answer you soon, I'm sure.
Good luck!
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:37 AM   #3
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It's rather difficult to directly answer the question. If you are experianced in mountain driving there are no state highways that you cannot negotiage unless there are length restrictions, just some routs that are nerve racking for the less experienced. The more mountain driving experiance you have the less it will bother you.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:56 AM   #4
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completely agree with az. Personally i wouldn`t hesitate to
go that route, have done it before, but only you know what your comfort level is . As far as the road, entirely doable. You didn`t say what type M/H you have, length or if towing. There are some that are better suited to that type of road then others.
just my 1cw
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:57 AM   #5
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Donovan,
Being from CO orig. we have driven (and towed) into Durango from both directions, from Ouray or from Wolf Creek Pass. We were young then and didn't think about it twice. Today I would. Depending on how you're loaded, your confidence in power, and your braking situations, of course. Of the two, I would prefer the southern route over Wolf Creek Pass. It's a long pull, and sharply down, but only one part is taxing everything, your nerves and your gear. A little hair rising but very doable. It's the route the truckers and big rigs take... hence the old song "Wolf Creek Pass". Because of that, there's also a certain amount of reward... you can say, "We've been over Wolf Creek Pass!" It's beautiful, depending on the time of day. Ha! Good luck. Wished we were going it with you. Roger
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:16 AM   #6
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Last summer we went from Durango to Buena Vista, stopping in Creede, Co on the way. You can go from Buena Vista down to Monte Vista on US 285 and then turn west on US 160. This take you over Wolf Pass and thru Pagosa Springs. We have a 40ft DP and a tow. Take your time and enjoy it. We had no problems with the roads. Be sure to take plenty of pictures.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:15 PM   #7
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The "Million Dollar Highway" is a must do drive when visiting Colorado.

If you have any apprehensions I suggest you park the MH and drive your towed vehicle back and forth. That will give you an opportunity to scope it out and enjoy the most amazing drive.

Another plus of driving your towed vehicle is that you can spend a night in a nice hotel in Durango and ride the Durango - Silverton narrow gauge railway.
Not that you can't do that with the MH just easier and a good excuse to get out of the MH for a day.

Enjoy your stay in Colorado.

Regards,
Bill and Nancy
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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We went over Monarch Pass on US50 a couple of years ago, and will be going over Wolf Creek Pass in a few days from West to East. We take our time, keeping engine RPMs up on the climb to keep from overheating the engine, then practice heavy use of lower gears and the diesel exhaust brake on the descent. We would go about anywhere the road could handle our 40' coach & toad ...the key is not to get in a hurry, and to use good sense and caution.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:45 PM   #9
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The Million Dollar Highway (US HWY 550) is definitely doable in a MH (I wouldn't try it in the winter but we've driven it in the summer). Like has been said, judicious use of your gears and whatever engine/exhaust brake device you have will make it a smoother ride. The view is absollutely spectacular. My favorite time of year down there is when the leaves turn in the fall. Nothing like it in my book!
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:33 PM   #10
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Red Mountain Pass

I went to college in Durango (Ft. Lewis), drove Red Mountain Pass (hywy 550) in all kinds of weather. Drove over Wolf Creek Pass more times then I can count. Even went over Slumgullion Pass before it was paved. The only one I have ever had any problems with was Red Mountain. It is steep, narrow and not for the inexperienced driver. It is hard on people and brakes. You can do it and enjoy the ride if you take your time and gear down. Stop a lot and enjoy some of the most wonderful scenery in Colorado. Give your breaks a break and stop often.

By the way, I had the most problems trying Red Mountain during the winter. Actually got caught by an avalanche in front and then one behind. Now that was a real pucker factor. When you get to Ouray, try the hot springs there - a real treat!

If you decide not to try the Pass - go through Durango then Cortez (there is an RV park south of town at the casino) and then head over Lizard Head Pass - Dallas Divide near Telluride (hywy 145 to 62). You will come out at Ridgeway on Hywy 550. This is 11 miles north of Ouray.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:07 PM   #11
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I too agree with AZ. We've traveled it a few times in a motorhome towing a Jeep on a trailer. After the first trip through, the others weren't so bad. Just take it at your own pace the view is well worth it.
I'll try and post a pic of one of the DW's favorite spots.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:23 PM   #12
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CO Webcams

See some CO Webcams here:

Colorado Webcams

I also like using Google Earth. You can 'fly over' parts of the Route. The lil 'x' icon reads out elevation at the Webpage bottom. Between that, and the linear 'Scale', you can get a sense of Road Grade and Turnouts. If you invoke 'Panoramio' on the Webpage left, you can see pix uploaded by Visitors. This gives you a real sense of Scenery and ground level details.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:30 AM   #13
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A quicky here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Noble View Post
I went to college in Durango (Ft. Lewis), drove Red Mountain Pass (hwy 550) in all kinds of weather. Drove over Wolf Creek Pass more times then I can count. Even went over Slumgullion Pass before it was paved. The only one I have ever had any problems with was Red Mountain. It is steep, narrow and not for the inexperienced driver. It is hard on people and brakes. You can do it and enjoy the ride if you take your time and gear down. Stop a lot and enjoy some of the most wonderful scenery in Colorado. Give your breaks a break and stop often.

By the way, I had the most problems trying Red Mountain during the winter. Actually got caught by an avalanche in front and then one behind. Now that was a real pucker factor. When you get to Ouray, try the hot springs there - a real treat!

If you decide not to try the Pass - go through Durango then Cortez (there is an RV park south of town at the casino) and then head over Lizard Head Pass - Dallas Divide near Telluride (hwy 145 to 62). You will come out at Ridgeway on Hywy 550. This is 11 miles north of Ouray.
Dick, you forgot to mention Cinnamon Pass and Engineer's Pass, neither of which could you take an RV over... fun to remember however. I've always considered this area the most beautiful, and yet rugged and unforgiving country in the world (of that which I've seen anyway). Revisited many times, and always ready to go back again. When you mentioned Slumgullion, we spent many vacations at Lake San Cristobal and Lake City area... back when it was practically a ghost town. Great memories. Probably all grown up now tho', not the same. Roger
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