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Old 07-29-2013, 03:56 PM   #1
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Smile Over the Rockies in a 5er?

Ok I'm freaking here... our 37 foot bunkhouse Cedar Creek by Forest River, affectionately known as FRED, has been sitting since 2007, after a trip from our home in Houston, Texas, through NM to Durango, then across to Missouri and back home in 5 months. We left with two children and two large dogs but came home with an additional 6 puppies--and that's another story. Those children are grown and the hubs and I are leaving now with one of those dogs and a cat. Our youngest daughter will be with us for the first year, then she's off to finish her music degree...we are headed to Oregon from Oklahoma and I am petrified. While we worked in Colorado we took excursions around the state in our tow vehicle of course, a 3500 Dodge Ram (Ricky), and took that 'to hell you ride!' to Telluride. It was the scariest thing I have ever done--and I love roller coasters! I can't imagine doing it with FRED in tow. WE have considered selling both FRED and Ricky to go to a Class A or even a Class B because we plan to travel more than sit still, at least for the first year but what is going to do better in the mountains? Any suggestions?
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:11 PM   #2
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My DW and I live just outside Denver. We've towed our 5'er up the mountains and down the mountains with no problem. Now even if I was allowed to I would not take my coach up Mt Evans, you have to be smart. As long as your truck is sized correctly for your coach you will be fine (and then just think about the fun you can have in the mountains with your truck while you leave your coach at the rv park or state park or national park (can only do that with a MH if you tow a dingy).

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:11 PM   #3
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You didn't say whether the Dodge had a Hemi V-8 or a diesel in it. Either one of these is adequate for this type of trek. Remember you are not in a race to cross the rockies, as such, if you take it slow there shouldn't be many issues. I'm sure you are not going to try mountain passes that are steep and narrow. If you stay on interstates it should be easy going. The real trick in mountains is patience. Whether climbing or descending. Happy Trails.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:36 PM   #4
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We have made several trips to Colorado and have traversed Monarch Pass and Vail Pass both ways several times, the "Highway to Heaven" Durango to Montrose, at least a half dozen times, both ways (not sure if it's still called Highway to Heaven if you're traveling down from Red Mountain Pass to Durango) in a 27' fifth wheel and I would imagine a larger rig would pull just fine if you have the truck to pull it. Couple of 7% grades in there. No guard rails? No problem! That's when you appreciate having a good turbo brake! Haven't tried it with our new 30' 5th yet!
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:43 AM   #5
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I know it has been asked but your Dodge 3500 Ram is it a Dually, gas or Diesel? If Diesel you have the Exhaust Break to come down the 7% grades. Just have to take your time. There is no race when it comes to mountain driving.
Just make sure your Dodge is serviced change, filters, oil, check the tires for age and tread life. Do anything importent you would do before going on a trip, make a list you did it before. Hope this helps and Good luck.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:03 AM   #6
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We just went from Spokane, WA to Oregon and we opted for the route from Lewiston, ID to Oregon via "Rattlesnake" pass or whatever it is called. That is the worse so far we have managed with our 39 foot 5er and I have a F250 diesel. The exhaust brake handled it fine - just take your time. I think after that experience of lots of 6 and 7 % grades and switchbacks for about 100 miles we are a little more ready for other such adventures. Slow, easy, careful, pay good attention - same stuff you do anyway when pulling one of these rigs. And don't forget to have fun but let your passengers do most of the enjoying the scenery unless you are pulled over at a scenic vista!
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:18 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate every response. Ricky is a diesel, I didn't know 3500's (or even 350's) came in anything but diesel. I vaguely remember driving in some mountain range on our last trip and having to try to keep from riding the brakes but I don't remember where--thank God right? So take the major highways and take it slow? Well I figure you can only die once, I just don't want it to be from spilling over the side of a mountain! Are there places to stop and rest along the way in those 100 mile switchbacks?
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:16 AM   #8
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There are length limits on rte 550. I would go to Delores from Durango then up to Placerville and Ridgeway. Ive pulled that rte much better than 550. The only places to stop are the runaway ramps, not good.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:36 PM   #9
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I have pulled our Arctic Fox over just about all of the western states. The one thing to remember is not listen to the fools that claim, "I can run uphill at 70 mph" and all of the other trash they spit out to "prove" it. I was born in Wyoming, and learned a very early age, mountain driving was an art practiced at a low speed. Take your time, don't allow those behind you that are in a hurry to be (as newspaper report from 1886 said) "hurled into eternity in the duration of a moment" bother you. Safety is first and let those who like being the crash test dummies have their reward. If you take things slow and safe, then you should not have any trouble at all.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Man View Post
I have pulled our Arctic Fox over just about all of the western states. The one thing to remember is not listen to the fools that claim, "I can run uphill at 70 mph" and all of the other trash they spit out to "prove" it. I was born in Wyoming, and learned a very early age, mountain driving was an art practiced at a low speed. Take your time, don't allow those behind you that are in a hurry to be (as newspaper report from 1886 said) "hurled into eternity in the duration of a moment" bother you. Safety is first and let those who like being the crash test dummies have their reward. If you take things slow and safe, then you should not have any trouble at all.
Thanks, we need the encouragement--me more than Art because I plan to do my share of driving. Looking over the edge just makes me more nervous anyway though he has infinitely more patience than I do. Is ascending harder than descending you think?
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:04 AM   #11
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Is ascending harder than descending you think?
I find ascending is easier since you are looking ahead and that is the sky.
Descending you are looking down and seeing the valleys.
I don't think I need to say more.

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Old 08-06-2013, 09:43 PM   #12
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Ascending is easier, if you have enough power to manage it correctly--and Dodge diesels have that. Descending is harder, because you have to BE SMART and not let speed build. Have heard that Dodge diesels have best exhaust brake available.
Been over every pass in CO and WY over the years, and some of them WITHOUT trailer brakes--that is what low gear is for. Teton Pass in WY--Slumgullion Pass in CO--others exist I am sure.
Let the hubby drive and you take pics...
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