What's the latest on El Paso?

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Smoky

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There has been a lot of discussion about El Paso construction recently.  What is the latest?  Is Rt 10 OK through El Paso, or is there a preferred alternative route for a big motorhome?
 

Bob Buchanan

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Smoky said:
There has been a lot of discussion about El Paso construction recently.? What is the latest?? Is Rt 10 OK through El Paso, or is there a preferred alternative route for a big motorhome?

Hi Smoky:

The discussion was about a by pass of El Paso if so desired. I liked the idea because the 10 thru the city is usually a multi lane zoo -- even on Sunday. For many years, El Paso has been studying various by pass routes. Their biggest obstacle was the moutains just North of the City -- and, of course, Mexico just below.

The product of all the studies lead to the Loop 375 bypass the goes from East of the city to Anthony, TX North of the city. I took it on my way to Austin last month from Gila Bend -- and a few weeks ago on my return trip.

When completed, it will be (to me) the best way to go. For now, it's a toss up because of the construction. The new freeway is not complete so that puts the driver on the access road beside the almost completed freeway. I think I counted about 10 or so stop lights altogether. Because of this, it will also take more time than the 10. The other downside is that you must go from one numbered road to another for now -- so it's not just, "Get on Loop 375 until you wind up back on the 10". The 1st part of the West to East direction is 2 lane -- but wide shoulders.

For me, it's still better than the 10. I found it a nice way to relax a bit at slower speeds -- plus there are a number of shopping malls to pull off into for whatever along the way. OTOH, Ron M. prefers the 10. But Ron is a fearless off roader and is always looking for new forms of excitment behind the wheel.  ;)

And finally, yes, it will handle big rigs.
 

Smoky

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Bob:

If I am going west to east, can you be a little more specific on how I pick up 375 from I10 and then how I get from 375 back on to I10.  Your message implies there might be other roads involved.  I have never drivien through or around El Paso and am not familiar with the area.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Smoky said:
Bob:

If I am going west to east, can you be a little more specific on how I pick up 375 from I10 and then how I get from 375 back on to I10.? Your message implies there might be other roads involved.? I have never drivien through or around El Paso and am not familiar with the area.

Sure, Smoky. Here are the routes:

o Take 404 East off of 10, North of Anthony. 2 lane, slight curvy hill to go over. Not steep at all.
o 404 dead ends into 213. Turn South.
o Take 213 (also 2 lane with wide shoulders) all the way to Loop 375. This will take you under the 54 freeway and become Foxworthy through a North El Paso residential area for a mile or so.
o When you reach Loop 375, the signs will also read, "Trans Mountain Highway". Turn left (East) onto Loop 375.
o Follow Loop 375 all the way to the 10 East of El Paso. You will shortly enter the new freeway, then on and off the freeway during constructioin areas. Just before 10, you will enter the freeway portion again. The 10 is well posted at that point.

Smoky, you can also continue south on Anthony and pick up Loop 375 right off the 10. However, you will be going over a very steep grade. As I drove South on 213 the 1st time and looked West at that moutain -- I thought -- you gotta be kidding <g>. So the advantage of the 404 cutoff is that it keeps you on level ground through the entire by pass.

Also, you may want to just drive the 10 thru El Paso, then try the by pass on your return. Or vice versa. You may agree with Ron M. that it is a better route for you. I especially didn't like the East to West trip on 10. There are sections of maybe 8 lanes and the one you want to continue on 10 is 5 or 6 lanes over. I'm from CA and the speed limit for a rig with toad is 55. And I agree w/that speed and feel it safer for me (I usually stay at 58). Well, on a super crowded freeway getting all the way over there were everyone is doing 75 -- and then moving back a lane or two if necessary is not my favorite situation. I "am" a solo driver.

It's late here -- so I hope I haven't made this too vague . . .
 

Lorna

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Smoky

We have driven I-10 through El Paso a number of times both ways and not had any problems but I stay in the left lane at 60 mph and just pay close attention.  We have never gone through at rush hour so maybe that is the difference, also, I have Ned to help.  When they finish the by-pass totally we will probably go that way.  Of course, I prefer freeways to city streets and will go out of my way to drive a freeway.
 

Smoky

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Bob:

Thanks for your very excellent answer.  I am printing it out and the Admiral here will be reading it to me as we pass through.

Sounds like you an I have similar driving habits.  I never have seen the point of traveling faster than 55 MPH or so (though maybe I would if I were still a working man).  At 55 to 60 MPH you get a chance to really smell the roses and enjoy one of the big deals of RVing... which is seeing this lovely nation we live in.  When I get above 60, too much is happening too fast I have to spend all my energy focusing on safety issues and I miss out on a lot of the beauty.

Your description of I10 through El Paso is the very antithesis of what roads I like when in the motorhome.  I have no idea what time of day we will be traveling by the time we get in that area, but I am content with traffic lights etc, as long as I do not have to do any massive lane changing.

I plan to be singing Marty Robbins' "El Paso City" as we wend our way along that route.  ;D  It is the latest karaoke song I want to learn.
 

BernieD

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Smoky said:
  I never have seen the point of traveling faster than 55 MPH or so (though maybe I would if I were still a working man). 

How about when you are in a caravan with 5 other coaches, all trying to travel at the sweet spot of their engines/transmissions  at around 62mph ;D ;D[
 

Bob Buchanan

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BernieD said:
How about when you are in a caravan with 5 other coaches, all trying to travel at the sweet spot of their engines/transmissions? at around 62mph ;D ;D[

If they are caravaning in CA, and if they all have a toad, he would catch up -- then wait for the other 4 to get out of jail . . .

;)
 

BernieD

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Bob Buchanan said:
If they are caravaning in CA, and if they all have a toad, he would catch up -- then wait for the other 4 to get out of jail . . .

Ordinarily I would agree with you but having driven I-10 between Blythe and Palm Springs 4 times so far this year, not this time. Always set my cruise at 62. I have been passed by CHPs, passed radar setups at roadside and didn't get any reaction from any of them. 99% of the time the Highway patrol won't bother with you, specially in heavier traffic where you are moving consistently with everyone else.
 

Smoky

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I have to go with Bob on this one.  I think Caravans are much safer at 55 and just staying in the right hand lane.  On the Interstate, the others will pass by and not try to jump into the caravan.  I have no macho need to avoid being passed.  My sweet spot for mileage is 57.  Course I only have the little cummins 330.  :D

A caravan trying to make a deadline is a formula for disaster.  Last week, coincidentally, I learned that the area around San Bernadino (sp?) had the highest highway fatality in the nation in 2005.  (Phoenix was 3rd.)  In a big rig, I have no qualms obeying California law.  Law or no law, I like a leisurely pace. 
 

BernieD

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Smoky said:
I have to go with Bob on this one.  I think Caravans are much safer at 55 and just staying in the right hand lane.  On the Interstate, the others will pass by and not try to jump into the caravan.  I have no macho need to avoid being passed.  My sweet spot for mileage is 57.  Course I only have the little cummins 330.  :D

Smoky

While I agree with staying in the right lane is proper, IMHO 55mph is NOT safer when traffic around you is doing, or trying to do 70. I don't think it is a matter of macho about being passed, rather about creating less of an impediment to surrounding traffic and driving at a speed more in tune with your power package. I would think that the poor little Cummins 330  :D would find a sweet spot closer to 60. The problem at 55-57 is that it is too close to the downshift RPM spped and that your transmission will do a lot more shifting between 5th & 6th as you go up grades and overpasses. That raises the temperatures in the engine and transmission and adversely impacts your fuel mileage. By the way, the smaller engine is more prone to this since it doesn't have the torque to pull up grades in 6th.
 

Shayne

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Smoky and the gang.  Glad to hear you are still kicking and surviving. When we went thru El  Paso in Dec, I swore I would never go thru it again.  Mad house, is being very kind and sympathetic to it. This is the first I've even opened the computer since leaving El Mirage and gosh, do I miss it.  WE are in Illinois right now and will be here another  10 days or so then head back to the resort for a while.  No telling after that.  Left Audrey in Amarillo at the Flying J and had to back track and pick her up and messed up the MH and trailer a little bit while doing so.  Will have the Lincoln we have back her shipped to Phoenix when we leave here.  At least that's the plans as of  now.  No telling what the end results will be.  Audrey wrote a poem about the ordeal and we'll post it in the RV Travel mag and Readers Digest I think.  Would never have discovered her missing had I not called to her to get me a sandwich.  HEHE.  More later
 

Bob Buchanan

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BernieD said:
Smoky

While I agree with staying in the right lane is proper, IMHO 55mph is NOT safer when traffic around you is doing, or trying to do 70.

I looked last night, and it appears about a 3rd of the states have the 55mph limit for vehicles towing. Not sure how many of those require travel in the far right lane as it is in CA. Having driven CA freeways since 1961, I can say for sure that rarely (if ever) will you find traffic moving at 70mph in that right lane -- where the towing RVer should be.

As mentioned in another post, the reason I don't like the El Paso freeway is because I have to move over to almost the leftmost lane at times -- and that means increasing my speed to 65-70 to stay with the traffic flow. And I find that UNsafe. An RVer traveling at those kinda speeds (in any lane) endangers their own lives, and more importantly, my life.

Bernie, unfortunately, it looks like the only solution here with your law breakin' driving in CA is to make a citizens arrest the next time I catch you doing that . . .  8)
 

Betty Brewer

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Shayne said:
? ?Left Audrey in Amarillo at the Flying J and had to back track and pick her up and messed up the MH and trailer a little bit while doing so.? ?Will have the Lincoln we have back her shipped to Phoenix when we leave here.? At least that's the plans as of? now.? No telling what the end results will be.? Audrey wrote a poem about the ordeal and we'll post it in the RV Travel mag and Readers Digest I think.? ?Would never have discovered her missing had I not called to her to get me a sandwich.? HEHE.? More later

Shayne,
I can't wait to hear the details of this mishap.  Hurry please.  I love to learn the lessons of others.

Betty
 

Shayne

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Audrey wrote a poem about it and type it up and report it here.  It's funny now but I was a nervous wreck at the time.
 

Smoky

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Shayne:

Good to hear from you!  We will be gone when you get back but thinking of you and Audrey.  Plants are at your place now, and also we spoke with Don about Audrey's play and tying it in with the jam people.  He is very interested.  We will pursue it further in October with Marti and Sal.  They like the idea of the jammers being the radio station and Audrey's players taking part of the stage.  We are thinking about a Veterans Day special, but that will require fast work in October.

Bernie... I have none of the problems you mention at 58 mph.  I think a lot depends upon weights and configurations of each coach and it is unlikely that similar performances will occur without considering other parameters.  We can do 11 mpg when on the straight and level with no overheating at all.  Also I agree with Bob that in the right hand lane there are few problems with the 70 mph gang.  They live mostly in the center and left hand lands and we try to avoid that territory.  The big problem in the right hand lane is the merging on ramp, especially those who do not know how to accelerate at the proper time.  But I prefer that danger over the "go fast" crowd.
 

Phil

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BernieD said:
The problem at 55-57 is that it is too close to the downshift RPM speed and that your transmission will do a lot more shifting between 5th & 6th as you go up grades and overpasses.

Bernie,

On my rig, turning the mode switch on reduces the number of shifts between 5th and 6th while driving between 55 and 60. The speed is not as constant but it's acceptable and, I use a little less fuel.

Phil
 

BernieD

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Phil said:
On my rig, turning the mode switch on reduces the number of shifts between 5th and 6th while driving between 55 and 60. The speed is not as constant but it's acceptable and, I use a little less fuel.

Phil

On a longer and heavier rig than yours the power demand would be somewhat greater and the shifting would be sooner and more frequent, even with the economy mode On. But even in your coach, every time you do downshift there is a drop in fuel mileage and increase in temperature.
 

Ned

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BernieD said:
every time you do downshift there is a drop in fuel mileage and increase in temperature.

We downshift to increase RPMs and fan speed to lower the engine temperature.  But the mileage does drop under those conditions.
 
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