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Old 05-21-2011, 09:02 PM   #1
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Washington Highway 12 near Packwood ??

I am planning a trip from Portland Oregon over to Pendleton and then north into Washington. I would like to go north to Yakima and then turn west on Highway 12 to Packwood. My Mountain Advisory book has an advisory for Highway 12 of 6% grades. It doesn't sound too bad, but thought I would ask if anyone has driven on 12 from Yakima to Packwood??

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Old 05-22-2011, 08:22 AM   #2
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You should not have any problems. The down hill stretch from the summit at White Pass westbound is long but not a problem if you control your speed. I'm sure you will see many RV's on the road if you take that route. We came that way last fall, my turbo exhaust brake did the majority of the braking all the way down. Good road all the way. The east to west grade to the summit is very easy.

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Old 05-22-2011, 08:55 AM   #3
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Hwy 12 from Yakima to Whites Pass is a good climb... from White's Pass west down to Packwood nearly cost us our lives :(

Was hauling a 36' triple slide Kountry Aire with 6.5 GM Turbo Diesel, it was new and I hesitated to "mess with the warranty" by adding an exhaust brake... bad choice.

Had stopped at the Trout Lodge for early dinner of roast rainbow and when we crested the Pass there were dozens of daytrip skiers leaving the White's Pass Ski area headed back to Seattle on 12 west. Being cautious to begin with my downhill started in 1st gear and I was comfy with speeds holding at 22 - 25 mph. After multiple "near misses" with impatient skiers unsafely passing me I made the near fatal error to try and speed up a bit and shifted into 2nd gear... never could get the auto tranny to downshift back into 1st gear and my speed stayed at 38 to 45 mph and as the brakes heated up the speed increased !!! For me, anything over 40 mph on that road with a heavy load was unsafe and I was challenged to stay in lane and be safe. Saw the sign advising of "RUN AWAY TRUCK RAMP" 1000 feet ahead, told DW to hold onto the dog and pray cause if I couldn't stop her I was using the ramp...Flashers on and trailer brakes to max setting I locked up all 8 wheels and came to a smoking and screeching stop just 150 ft from the ramp !!!!!
All wheel bearings toasted, all brakes cracked and burned, nerves looking like I had plugged my toe into 115 vac... but alive and wiser !

If ya get "stuck" behind me now, try pulling in and having lunch. I use courtesy pullouts when available but never again will I try and be courteous to impatient folks that feel they are too important to be behind me.

Be safe out there and enjoy the Open Road
05 Itasca Suncruiser, Stock w/ScanGuage II,
2012 Honda Accord TOAD,Home Based in Spring Hill, Florida...Retired Navy Officer
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:50 PM   #4
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been over both ways several time w 40'footer pulling toad no problem. watch your speed and you will be fine. this is a state hiway not a cow trail
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