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Old 04-02-2021, 03:07 PM   #1
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Colorado Route planning assistance

We have a 4-month trip planned to head out west from Florida. One area of concern in our trip routing is while in Colorado.
Our plans are to be in Denver on 09-21 then to Colorado Springs on 09-27.
From Colorado Springs to Breckenridge on 10-02.
10-09 we go to Ouray for 4 nights. On 10-13 we head to Bayfield for 4 nights. Up until this leg, I don’t have many concerns. I have read and heard Hwy 550 out of Ouray south through Durango is challenging on a good day. We’ll be in our 44 ft Ventana towing a F-150.
We’ll leave Bayfield for Moab on 10-17.
Thoughts on traveling South on 550 from Ouray to Durango/Bayfield? We can alter the trip if needed.
I know semi’s do it & I’ve been all over the Eastern mountains and dealt with their grades, but is it like going from Pop Warner to the NFL? Or just take your time and enjoy the CO scenery.
I may have to store my co-pilot in the back with the shades closed…
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:10 PM   #2
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Watch the weather. If snow is predicted wait for it to pass or leave early.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:23 PM   #3
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I have never driven 550 from Durango to Ouray because I have never find anyone that encourages that route. There are a few that say it's no big deal. There are some You Tube videos on the route, pull them up and decide for your self. You know your driving ability better than any of us.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:30 PM   #4
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We were in Ouray this summer, thought I’d drive it in the pickup on just a sightseeing trip to see what I thought, before I tried the coach. We made it 4 miles before the wife was having an anxiety attack. So I turned around.

If it was that bad for her in the pickup, I can’t imagine what would happen in the motorhome. As much as I would like to drive it, it just wasn’t worth it.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:32 PM   #5
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It's more than grades on 550. The lanes are narrow in places with no shoulder and a cliff drop off just a foot off the white line. Some of the tighter curves have rock ledges up to the edge of the roadway. Yes, it's doable but you will be white knuckling the drive unless you have a lot of experience on Colorado mountain roads. While you are in Ouray, drive it in your toad and make your own decision. It is the most beautiful and spectacular drive in Colorado. I have driven/ridden this road for forty plus years in car, Jeep and motorcycle but I wouldn't take my motorhome over it because of the incessant whine from the right seat.

An alternative is to go back to Ridgway and take 145 south to Cortez. You have Lizard Head Pass that way but it's a very easy drive. Also be aware that US 50 between Gunnison and Montrose is undergoing major repairs around Blue Creek. The road will be shut down for hours at a time during the day and night but is supposed to be open on the weekends.
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Old 04-02-2021, 04:40 PM   #6
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Well..... you'll get some 'yes' and some 'no' replies so there's no definite answer.

The 'iffy' part for many is between Ouray and Silverton - a short distance but southbound you'll have the drop off on the passenger side. Get a eye mask for her!!

From Silverton to Durango is much easier.

We've done the drive both directions with our 40' MH but we're in mountains all the time so no issues. It just depends on how you are about it.

There will be a couple big pull-offs on your downhill before Silverton so you could do that and take a deep breath before carrying on.

While you're in Ouray you'll surely have a chance to drive it in your toad which you should do to get the 'feel' of it. You can always take Hwy 62 from Ridgeway to Telluride and Hwy 145 south to Cortez then 160 east to Durango. It's still mountainous but not the drop-offs as in the first section of 550.

Oct is getting late for high mountain driving so keep up with weather reports. We've been there at that time with good weather but each year is different.

Have a good trip..... a favorite area of ours. We've spent just about a whole summer/fall in Silverton. Awesome Jeeping! Take a tour if you can or rent a Jeep.
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Old 04-02-2021, 04:53 PM   #7
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Weather can be a factor that time of year. You may miss out on the peak time for viewing Aspens as well. Can you go a week earlier?

Here's Red Mountain Pass. You'll be in the outside lane. Not much room for error.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:25 AM   #8
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We did the Million Dollar Highway last September. It had snowed for 3 days prior to our departure. We did scout with our Jeep by driving to Silverton for breakfast. The lanes are plenty wide enough. Yes, there is a drop off on the passenger side. My wife was busy taking pictures and videos. It’s not “that” scary. Just take your time. The speed limit through the switch backs is 10mph. Make sure you gear down and keep the engine brake on med or high. The reason we did the scouting trip was to get the scenery out of the way. Plenty of pull offs for pics and at the summit of the pass.
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:50 PM   #9
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You will get the, “ain’t no big deal” answers. I have driven it several times in my SUV. All is fine and probably be ok in the RV until you come to a corner like this and at exactly the same time, a logging truck is coming around the same corner toward you on the line to clear the cliff. In those situations, it gets a little hairy. But so do the mountain roads in the East.

I have chosen to bypass in the MH.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:11 PM   #10
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Scary but doable assuming you have half a brain...

I have driven between Durango/Silverton and Ouray several times both northbound and south. Have done it in our 24' class C with and without a small trailer which stretches us to 38' overall. Have also done both directions on my motorcycle {Harley and an Indian}. All of these trips were done in relatively decent weather, no snow or ice but did one trip in heavy rain and it was not fun.

Southbound is just plain hairy/scary and anyone who says it is not is lying...period. The biggest concern I always have is not the road but the fools who are on it. Newsflash: Double yellow lines are not a suggestion, advisory or a just if you feel like it. if you cannot keep your entire rig inside of your lane 100% of the time you have NO business being on the road.

It is difficult to convey the thrill of rounding a curve {especially southboud} on the Million Dollar Highway and encountering a large rig 6' into your lane... {it is even a bigger thrill when you are on a motorcycle {but I digress}. People passing badly is another cheap thrill you are likely to encounter and don't get me started on the morons who tailgate on a road where there are very few places to pass and you are already maintaining the speed limit. Arrrrg!

I agree completely with the numerous suggestions to try it first in your TV or Toad and then you can make an informed decision. the road is spectacular beyond belief though I have yet to see all or even most of it as merely driving it gets 110% of my attention.

As always... opinions and YMMV.

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