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Old 07-18-2020, 01:02 PM   #1
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Question Steep road grades?

What resources are available to me when planning a trip and needing to avoid steep road grades?
I'm towing a 19' KZ Escape with a 6 cylinder Toyota Tacoma.
It tows fine but I always want to avoid long or steep road grades.
I purchased the Mountain Directory West book but it only shows the major passes in the western states.
Thanks for any help that you can offer.
Stan
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:21 PM   #2
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If you are within the the tow ratings of your vehicle, and I think you are, your most important consideration is the brakes on the trailer are in good shape and adjusted properly. As long as your truck isn't trying to do double duty by stopping the truck and trailer, it just a matter of conservative driving. You do that by driving and staying to the right and letting faster traffic go past. On a downgrade, down shift the trans, and keep the speed down letting the engine and trans hold you back. You want to use very little braking with the vehicle brakes. I drive a 40' motor home with a Jeep toad and drive the very same way.
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:46 PM   #3
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I agree with SargeW, and would add that this forum is a great resource for asking specific route related questions.

FWIW, I too use a Tacoma to tow.
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Old 07-18-2020, 10:50 PM   #4
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That is all good advice but I'm just as concerned about going up hill. What if the grades become so steep that my truck bogs down or overheats? There may be no where to turn around. There may not be a right lane to move over into?
Before I decide to start a trip, to Buena Vista from Denver for example. Denver to Canon City is probably not a concern. But what about from there to Salida and then up to Buena Vista? Some of those roads are narrow and winding, not a place I want to find myself unable to continue. "Oops, this was a mistake" won't be an option.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:33 PM   #5
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Denver via I-25 to 24 to Buena Vista shouldn't give you any problem.

If you want to go all the way down to Canon City you won't have a problem to Buena Vista.

I think you're overthinking this. The roads aren't narrow for one thing. They are typical two-lane highways. There are businesses along those route if you have to pull over.
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:01 AM   #6
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I guarantee that your truck will bog down. Nearly every vehicle out there will be. Having a well maintained tow vehicle is the key. Cooling system with adequate coolant, oil has been serviced, brakes with sufficient pad on them. If you have hauled your trailer around already, I would hope all that stuff is in good shape already.

Then keep the RPM's up when pulling a grade, downshift early to allow the fan to pull air through the radiator and carry away the heat. Then when it slows down as it will, sit back and enjoy the ride. There is always someone faster that wants to race up the hill. Let them. They will go past one way or another. Trust me, hooked up to my Jeep I am over 43,000#. I am a rolling roadblock at times. That's just the way it goes.
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stansnyder View Post
That is all good advice but I'm just as concerned about going up hill. What if the grades become so steep that my truck bogs down or overheats? There may be no where to turn around. There may not be a right lane to move over into?
Before I decide to start a trip, to Buena Vista from Denver for example. Denver to Canon City is probably not a concern. But what about from there to Salida and then up to Buena Vista? Some of those roads are narrow and winding, not a place I want to find myself unable to continue. "Oops, this was a mistake" won't be an option.
Your escape and my trailer are very very close.

I assume you have not overloaded passengers and payload.
I assume you are towing with a Tacoma that has the tow package. (HD battery, alternator, and trans oil coolers).
I assume you have EBC that works
I assume you have robust WDH and sway control.

If not, don't tow.
If so, you are fine on the steep grades, will be going in third (or second), and will not be breaking speed records. Neither will the Semis or loaded DPs, or other TTs.

I do think it is perfectly fine to be concerned and aware and ask questions on routes, and I have done so on this very forum. That's what it is for.
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:12 PM   #8
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I have Mountain Directory West & MD East, which shows State, US, and Interstate passes with grade details. Are you looking for back roads too?
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Old 07-24-2020, 03:19 PM   #9
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Elevation Planning.
One of the tools I use to use for elevation and gradient information was Google Earth. But now RV Trip Wizard (RVTW) has it too (or maybe it was there all the time and I just never tried it).

RVTW allows easy access to Elevation and Gradient (slope)...
  • First set your start and stop points;
  • The click on "Elevation" (window will open on the bottom of the map) - it's one of the red arrows in the screen shot;
  • Then click on "Gradient" - it's another red arrow in the screen shot;
  • From there you can move your cursor along the Elevation/Gradient display; a small circle will show up on the graph and on the route - the blue arrows.
With Google Earth it is easy to get Elevation and Gradient information too:
  • Once you have set your start and stop points right click on the route line;
  • An "Elevation" pop-up will appear;
  • Click the "Elevation" bar pop-up and a graph will open on the bottom of the screen;
  • You can move your cursor along it and the elevation and gradient will be displayed and a red arrow will show where you are on your route.

Both Google Earth and RVTW have their advantages:
Google Earth provides a wealth of information and views. I use it often by printing out a screen shot of my route and marking the grades and miles to the grade from a set point; that way on my drive-day for that segment I know wheat to expect as well as when to expect grade changes or other things I marek.

One nice 'trick' with RVTW is that you can set a "Custom Stop" indicating on the map the information you want. Just right click on your route and enter the information in the opt-up window that appears. Then just 'insert' into you list of stops in the order it comes up on your route.

With these tools you can see ANY GRADE, not just what Mountain Directory shows.

Keep those RPMs up going uphill and the MPH slow doing down.

Safe travels.
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:03 PM   #10
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Yes, definitely, back roads too.
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:08 PM   #11
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Your RV GPS should select the best route, but it will not consider routing you around steep grades. If it did you might have to go WAY out of your way, and on poor roads. I have been on some scary roads where it was cliff-side narrow two lanes for 50-60 miles. Given the choice, I would rather deal with a few steep mountain grades.
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Old 07-25-2020, 02:56 PM   #12
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SargeW

Wanted to check out your journal page but computer tells me it is not available. I just clicked on your at https://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchick20

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Old 07-25-2020, 05:35 PM   #13
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Yes, definitely, back roads too.

Several Garmin's will show grade but I assume you want info in advance. You may have to drive the road first or talk to locals. There is a boondocking source that will help. "Days End" which is a splinter group of the Escapees. There is a charge.
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Old 07-25-2020, 06:04 PM   #14
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There is a boondocking source that will help. "Days End" which is a splinter group of the Escapees. There is a charge.
You also have to be a member of Escapees.
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