How to avoid steep grades Farmington, NM to Dinosaur Natl Monument?

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Jackliz

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Howdy, RV Forum Framily.
We are currently at Abiquiu Res. at the COE campground. Wonderfully beautiful sunsets at this lake. WOW. BUT really hot and dry.
We are thinking about going to Farmington, NM and then to the area around Dinosaur Natl Monument in CO. We would try to get into a campground near the Monument and then just do some day trips in the Jeep.

I am really paranoid about going up and down these steep grades in this area. BUT the Wanderlodge handles it very well. I am just a scaredy cat. Jack does the driving and he's ok with these up and down grades!!

We are seeking recommendations for routing from Abiquiu Reservoir via Chama, NM to Farmington, NM to Dinosaur Natl. Monument, CO, please.

Thanks,
Liz, Jack, Cole and Oreo the cat.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If you don't have The Mountain Directory (Western Edition), get it. Wil tell yo where all the steep grades are. Many RV stores carry it and so does Amazon.com, or it can be ordered direct.  http://www.mountaindirectory.com/
 

Tom and Margi

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Liz:

After you get the Mountain Directory Gary recommended, just relax and enjoy the view.  The directory will help you avoid narrow and extremely curvy roads.  If you eliminate grades from your choices, you'll miss out on some spectacular scenery.  The Wanderlodge will have no problem pulling the hills or braking on the way back down.  Most grades in the far West (most, not all) are very well engineered and pose no threat at all.  Many are 6% and you'll hardly notice the pull.  I'm so happy you, Jackson and Cole are finally able to enjoy seeing the country.  Safe travels to you.

Margi
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Jackliz said:
snip

....for routing from Abiquiu Reservoir via Chama, NM to Farmington, NM

snip

Thanks,
Liz, Jack, Cole and Oreo the cat.

Liz and Jack,

If you like trains at all, DON'T MISS the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Chama. Peg and I think it is better than the Durango Silverton train. It runs from Chama to Antonito Colorado. You can ride the train up and bus back or vice versa.

www.cumbrestoltec.com

 

Ken & Sheila

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Liz, no problem to Farmington.

From Farmington north do not take not take 550 north from Durango (although I have seen motorhome on this road the state does not recommend the road for large vehicles).
You have two choices to get up to I70.
One choice is to take rt 64 to Sliprock and then take 666 north,to 191 north, to I70 west, to 191 north to Vernal. There is one grade in the Mountain Directory. It is on 191 north of I70 between Helper and Duchesne, UT. 4.5 miles upgrade at 8% then 2.5 miles at 8% then 2 miles at6%. No notes curves. Should be no problem.

The alternative has many more grades and turns, but is doable (at least to I70). Take rt 145 north out of Cortez, CO. to Placerville where you take rt 62 east to 550 North. The Mountain Directory notes on grade going up to Telluride down going north. This is a long up and down grade with some 30/35 mph curves, but is listed as mostly 5 and 6% grades.  The is a second  one on rt 62 noted as 6% range.

Take 550 north to 50, north to I70, west to rt 139 north. 139 has one high pass and now that I've read the Mountain Directory on Douglas Pass I don't think I would take this route. The north bound up hill is about 8 miles starting with 4% for several miles, then 6-8% for 3 miles, the 10 to 12% for 1/10 mile, then 3 miles of 6 to 8%. This section has 15 mph curves listed for the southbound downhill. The northbound downhill is 3 miles of 7-8% with 20 and 30 mph curves.

I would stick with the first option unless someone has driven the Colorado route.

Note that I have not driven most of these roads except 191 north as far as I70, 145 as far as Telluride and 550 Durango to Quray (this I would not do in my motorhome).

ken

 

Wendy

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We've driven all these routes and my recommendation to anyone who doesn't like steep grades and drop offs on either side of the coach, is to go up Highway 491 (previously Hwy 666) through Moab. Durango north and Cortez north thru Telluride (well, not thru but close) both have steep grades, windy mountain roads, and drop offs. Both are BEAUTIFUL roads but should be avoided by those with big rigs and no mountain driving experience.
 

Lowell

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This past week I have driven from Durango north on 550 to Ridgeway pulling a 28 ft TT.  The road is very smooth but does have some some sharp U-turns and often you travel along a steep drop-off that doesn't have any guard rails.  My truck has a tow/haul shifting mode that I used and it did quite well pulling the long grades, traffic was pretty light and I only had to pull over twice to let faster traffic by.  Going downhill, I shifted into second or low and I only had to use my brakes lightly.  The views were marvelous!

Returning from Ridgeway to Cortez, I followed 62 and 145.  This is route is also scenic but appeared to me to less aggressive than 550.  There are fewer long grades and I don't think they are quite as steep of grade but I'm not sure of that.  I like both routes but if your new to mountain driving, I think you might find the route from Cortez to Ridgeway/Montrose a bit easier and it certainly has less traffic.

Jake
 

Jackliz

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Howdy, Y'all.

A big THANK YOU to everyone that replied to my question. We really appreciated the answers. We have decided not to go to Dinasour Natl. Monument. There is a couple RVing next to us and they are from Colorado. They suggested some other places in CO as they feel that DNM is best done in the Spring or Fall, not the Summer!!

Thanks again,
Jack, Liz and Cole Pearce and Oreo the Cat.
 

ianmarg

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Phoenix in winter, who knows? in summer
Hi all --

This may be a bit late, but I wanted to let everyone who posted here that we just drove 550 from Durango to Montrose CO and survived quite well.  I'm a white-knuckle mountain passenger, but I just plugged in the iPod and let my husband take over.  From Durango to Silverton isn't too bad, with a couple of hairpin turns and some fairly hefty grades, but from Silverton to Ouray there are a couple of very windy (I would say "curly") spots.  Also, yes, there are some drop-offs that are scary, with no guard rails.  But if you go slowly and watch carefully, it's definitely doable.  We pull a 36' fifth wheel with an F-550 with the tow command package, which worked wonderfully.  There was little oncoming traffic, which helped, so I wouldn't do it on the weekend or a holiday, but early-ish in the morning it was fine.  And definitely BEAUTIFUL!!  There is some construction on the road in several places that results in 10-20 minute delays while they work and/or let the other side traffic through, but it's a great chance to get out, walk around and sightsee.  Once you get past Montrose, it's a breeze.

Margaret
 
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