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Author Topic: Montrose to Durango  (Read 339 times)

clockdrfla

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Montrose to Durango
« on: July 07, 2017, 08:26:42 AM »
Would like to go to Durango from Montrose on Hwy 550 going through Ouray and Silverton.  Pulling a 39' 5th wheel.  Can I do it safely or should I consider another route?  Have never been in that area.  Thanks

lavarock1210

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 09:33:31 AM »
I would highly recommend Montrose to Ridgway then highway 62 to 145 to 184 to160.

Still a very mountainous route but does not have the sheer drop offs that 550 has.

Unless you want to experience drop offs of a 1000 feet or so with no guard rails.

My main concern with 550 is meeting someone with a motorhome or large trailer on a curve that is 1/2 way into your lane.

550 is a good road but narrow with the sheer drop offs.

But when in Durango I also highly recommend the train ride to Silverton.   The best steam locomotive ride there is.

ChasA

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 09:58:53 AM »
I have a bumper sticker from the gift shop on Pike's Peak that says:
"Real men don't need guardrails",
Apex, NC
2010 Winnebago journey Express 34Y (pre DEF)
2007 Saturn Vue

zmotorsports

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 10:05:32 AM »
Safely is kind of subjective.  It all depends on your level of experience driving on narrow two-lane mountain passes.  I've come across people that have been so terrified that they were a hazard to themselves as well as others because they wouldn't stay in their lane due to fear of the edge so it would depend on your own comfort level.

We've done it with a 40' coach towing a Jeep but we are used to mountain passes.  My wife doesn't necessarily appreciate them all the time but they don't particularly bother me to drive them, her they bother. ;)

That being said, it is steep and really works the rig on power as well as braking so keep that in mind as well.  There are other routes around that are not nearly as steep nor narrow also.

Mike
2003 Monaco Dynasty Baroness
2008 Haulmark Edge 26'
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
FMCA# F315002

AStravelers

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 10:49:21 AM »
Can you take US-550 from Montrose to Durango saftely???

If you have experience with mountain driving, and your tow truck is not overloaded then, yes, you can safely drive this route.  It is a normal width road so there is no reason for you to suddenly drive off of the edge, than there is on a level road.  The curved sections and steep sections you are likely to drive at 10-20mph.  Large rigs travel this route all the time. 

However this is not a road to learn how to drive in the mountains. 

Even the route suggested above which goes from Ridgway through Telluride is pretty steep, and if you don't have experience in mountain driving you can get into trouble. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Heli_av8tor

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 11:29:53 AM »
I have wondered this too. I've driven this route once in a Honda Pilot and thought it wasn't as bad as the hype. However, I only have 2000 miles experience in my MH - all in the flatlands.

We have a trip planned to Gunnison, CO (from Illinois) in September and thought about continuing west to Montrose then 550 to Durango.

How does one get mountain experience without driving in the mountains?

Oh, and other than psychological, what good is a guard rail against a 38' MH and toad?

Tom
Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C
Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
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lavarock1210

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2017, 03:30:05 PM »
Can you take US-550 from Montrose to Durango saftely???


However this is not a road to learn how to drive in the mountains. 

Even the route suggested above which goes from Ridgway through Telluride is pretty steep, and if you don't have experience in mountain driving you can get into trouble.

I do not believe you will find a way from Montrose to Durango without mountain driving with some significant passes.

You are in the mountains of Colorado not the hills back East.

LarsMac

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 03:46:38 PM »
Simple answer:
It can be done. I know some people who make the trip a couple of times a year with a 36' Class C and a small toad.
If you have experience with driving in the Rockies, it is a great drive. Just use caution.

If you've never run the mountains, you may want to get some experience on other mountain passes before trying.
2000 Itasca Sundancer 430V
2007 Saturn Vue

If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore. - Wavy Gravy

clockdrfla

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2017, 04:14:09 PM »
Many thanks to everyone for your comments and feedback.  Will probably drive both routes without 5er while camped in Montrose just to check it out. I do have mountain driving experience but have read some stories about this stretch from Ridgway to Durango. 

taoshum

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2017, 04:47:31 PM »
I've driven that road many times... motorcycles, cars, trucks, MH...   To me the biggest issue is that the various vehicles on the road drive at way different speeds...  the motorcycles can go really quick and pass often; the cars and SUVs like to go faster than the big trucks and RVs so they try to pass too; finally the big vehicles need to go really slowly both because they don't have the power to climb at higher speeds and because they need to control their speed going down hill or around the tight turns.  There are very few really safe places to pass though so traffic tends to back up behind the big rigs and those drivers get impatient or take a risk and pass.  There are a few pull outs but only a few vehicles use them.  I guess it helps to be aware of this situation if you choose to take it.
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

ArdraF

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2017, 04:27:11 PM »
The portion of 550 between Ouray and Silverton is known as the Million Dollar Highway.  It's beautiful but not recommended for large vehicles.  See Mountain Directory for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers - West for a description of the road.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

AStravelers

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2017, 05:20:42 PM »
Many thanks to everyone for your comments and feedback.  Will probably drive both routes without 5er while camped in Montrose just to check it out. I do have mountain driving experience but have read some stories about this stretch from Ridgway to Durango.
Since you have mountain experience, I wouldn't worry about the Telluride route.  There is a stretch from Telluride towards the pass that is a little twisty & steep, but it is not bad. 

Two thing about the Ouray to Durango:
--  The first 5 or so miles south of Ouray has a couple of very sharp turns which is hard to keep from going over the center line.  Go slow, 20mph, and anticipate oncoming traffic.  If a large vehicle is coming towards you slow down or even go close to a stop to keep from meeting on the curve. 
--  Some of the down hills are pretty steep, but pretty straight with curves at the end of the straight stretch.  If you are on your brakes too much and they start to fade you may not be able to slow down enough for the curve.  Be sure to manually downshift to a low enough gear to be able to keep off the brakes.  There is nothing wrong with starting of a down slope in 2nd gear at 20-25mph.  It is easier to shift up a gear than to be going to fast and trying to brake enough to slow down. 

Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2017, 05:23:21 PM »
The portion of 550 between Ouray and Silverton is known as the Million Dollar Highway.  It's beautiful but not recommended for large vehicles.  See Mountain Directory for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers - West for a description of the road.

ArdraF
Lots of larger trucks drive this route supplying the cities and towns in the area.  While it is "not recommended", with cautious driving it is not a bad road. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2017, 05:50:08 PM »
I have wondered this too. I've driven this route once in a Honda Pilot and thought it wasn't as bad as the hype. However, I only have 2000 miles experience in my MH - all in the flatlands.

We have a trip planned to Gunnison, CO (from Illinois) in September and thought about continuing west to Montrose then 550 to Durango.

How does one get mountain experience without driving in the mountains?

Oh, and other than psychological, what good is a guard rail against a 38' MH and toad?

Tom
Unless you plan on going to Denver on your way, work your way to I-70 and then east of Denver, pick up US-24 to Colorado Springs. 

From Colorado Springs take US-24 to Buena Vista.  The climb out of CS will give you a good taste on going up hill.  Then coming down out of the high country to Buena Vista you have about a 1200'-1400' drop in several miles.  That will give you a good taste of going down hill. 

You will get a second dose of mountain driving going over Monarch Pass, west of Poncha Springs.  Steep climb and steep drop.  Both pretty long, but nothing really bad. 

For the uphill, be sure to downshift and keep your RPMS up so you are not loading the engine down and also overheating the transmission.  Watch the temperature gauge and if it starts to climb downshift, if it still starts to climb, pull over as soon as you can, leave the engine running until it cools down. I have never had a vehicle with an automatic transmission which downshifts soon enough to suit me.  Even with tow haul, there are times I will downshift before the computer does. 

For the down hill, gear down at the top and don't apply your brakes more often than once every 60-90 seconds.  When you do apply your brakes drop your speed at least 15mph in about 10-12 seconds of applying the brakes.   If you can't stay off your brakes, manually gear down.

Those two climbs and descents should give you enough experience to take the Ridgway--Telluride--Dolores--Durango route.  For the Ridgway to Durango route, drive the Ouray to the top of the pass in your car/truck first to see what you think.   

And, Yep, ride your brakes and they start to fade that guard rail isn't going to do much good.   
Quote
Oh, and other than psychological, what good is a guard rail against a 38' MH and toad?
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2017, 06:13:32 PM »
A little off the topic of the original question.

Two really good reasons to take the Ouray to Silverton to Durango route:
--  Beautiful drive
--  Spend 3-4 or more days in Silverton (some nice boondock spots also) and drive 2 to 4 of the gravel roads in the mountains. Or at least take the historic route north from Silverton to Animas Forks.  About 12 miles and is usually in good enough condition for a 2 wheel drive car. There should be a guide for this road in the visitor center.

While there are lots of rough 4x4 roads, there are a number of these roads that are easily driven by a 2 wheel drive car. There are guides available with road info.  Also check with the visitor center for ideas and road conditions.  Many times you can drive up to the top of a pass, but not down the other side.  Other road are good up to some historic sites but rough after that. 

Many times how far on these gravel roads you can drive depends on how cautious you are and your skill in avoiding things which will damage your vehicle.   Go slow and take your time.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Heli_av8tor

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2017, 07:09:20 PM »
AStravelers, Thanks for your insight.

Tom
Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C
Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
SMI Stay and Play Duo Brake system

AStravelers

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Re: Montrose to Durango
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2017, 07:23:16 PM »
Glad to try to help.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

 

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