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Old 10-14-2016, 12:31 PM   #1
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Colorado W70 driving in winter

Hi, we plan to drive our AS FC 27FB along West Interstate 70 from Silverthorne, CO, to Vail, Aspen on Hwy 82, Grand Junction (back on I70), down to Telluride on I50. Anyone with experience 'navigating these waters' (OK, driving these roads) in winter? Towing with a LR4 Land Rover. Any suggestions on RV parks/parking at or near those locations will be also greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:16 PM   #2
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I can't recommend pulling your Airstream on that trip in the winter months. It snows a LOT. I personally do not tow when the roads are slick with snow and ice. The semi trucks are required to "chain up" when it snows. Towing uphill and more importantly downhill requires excellent traction.

But some people do it. They have no fear. How would you like to wake up to this.

David
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:00 PM   #3
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I70

we live in Silverthorne part time. usually for the winter ski season. I have driven that stretch in all conditions. I would NOT tow on that stretch after a storm until the road is cleared. There are so many accidents around storms that we get local text messages with warnings about them and the associated road closures. It is also steep. Now they do the best job with road clearing I have observed anywhere in the US. but you can and will run into some ice during the winter on that stretch of road so go during mid day, pay attention to the listed road conditions and go slow on the down hill.
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:35 PM   #4
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I wouldn't do it. Unpredictable, possibly treacherous conditions and way too many people who don't know how to drive in mountains even in good weather.
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:41 PM   #5
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Hi, Vitaver, welcome to the forum.

Are you a native Floridian, or a northern transplant? Do you have any prior experience driving in the snow? How much towing experience do you have? If both are new to you, the mountains are the last place you need to visit in winter until you have a lot more experience under your belt. What I remember of many of those high altitude highways (from my childhood), was the number of sheer drop-offs one encounters. Slipping off a highway there could mean going down a very steep drop. Before you get to the mountains, some part of your route will probably take you across the Great Plains. Start from Dallas and draw a line across the US. Pretty much all those states north of that line get snow in the winter (including the Texas panhandle). The wind rarely dies down in the Plains, and even an inch or two of snow is bad for visibility. Get enough ice on the highways and the wind can blow you right off the road.

I have to make a trip (sans trailer) at the end of the month to NW Iowa to help our younger daughter move back to Texas. If she didn't have an obligation to a family member the last weekend of Oct., I would have been up there to get her already. My deadline is that weekend. So I'm going to help her keep my mother-in-law company, then we're hitting the road on the 31st and boogying back. I haven't driven in bad winter weather for 16 years. Not chancing it now and there are predictions for an early winter this year.
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Old 10-14-2016, 11:18 PM   #6
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RV parks and forest service campgrounds all close down for the winter...as early as Labor Day. I wouldn't think of towing my trailer through the mountains during winter months
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:11 AM   #7
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Lived in Vail for 15 years. Don't do it. Really bad idea. Even if the roads are clear when you start climbing a pass, they may not be when you get to the top. You can go from sunshine to blizzard in 15 minutes. Also, most areas are closed for camping during the winter. One last thing; how comfortable are you turning your airstream around on the width of two lanes? You may be heading west when the highway patrol makes everyone turn around in the west bound lanes and head east. It happens when storms pop up and they're not prepared. Hit Vail and Aspen in the summer when it's beautiful.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:23 AM   #8
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Thank you for the welcome and your info. We are already in Silverthorne having safely made the trip from Ft. Lauderdale without incident. Of course, snow, ice and high winds on the high dessert is a whole different game. We do push the envelope (what would life be otherwise, right?) but staying within 'reason'. So far lady luck has been kind, including on solo passages in open ocean from Bermuda to Tortola and back (just checking off boxes on the bucket list). Will help luck with chains for the tires on top of the new S/M new Continental shoes the Land Rover just got. Like in sailing, will look for weather windows, aware that it can change in minutes. The advise from the Forum is very important to us and will be a lot more conservative to make our daily drives limited to 120 miles or less, midday with good forecast. Again, like in sailing, there is no schedule other than the one dictated by nature. While towing across 7 states including Florida all the way to Colorado, in perfect weather and roads, at 70+ mph everything worked out perfect. I expect winter in the mountains will keep it under 35 mph, to a crawl on steep grades of course. Again, thank you.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:33 AM   #9
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Thank you, and that is one worrisome pic of an event (or many) guaranteed to happen. With the trailer being heated, I hope it won't be covered as much, but I have no experience on that. I remember a friend's bumper sticker: 'Attitude, the difference between ordeal and adventure'. Crossing the line to 'stupidity' not a good idea but... then again the line is kinda blurred. Thank you for the words of caution, I will deposit more credits into the good luck box, so when it hits I'll have better odds. That is a tradition from our sailing years that served us well sparing our butts in plenty of situations.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:39 AM   #10
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Thank you, very important point! I am calling ahead and making reservations at RV parks. So far Aspen-Basalt campground is not taking reservations till next month, at Telluride the parking for RVs with permission for overnight stay is covered at the Gondola parking, levels 1, 3 and 4. At Vail the only option is a Walmart, not included on the 'don't park overnight' list they publish. Grand Junction KOA is the other (planned) stop. Should they close for winter... there won't be a trip for us. We like adventure and (me) adrenaline, but not beyond (not that young anymore). Thank you!
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:41 AM   #11
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Welcome to the forum!

You did not mention plumbing freeze-up issues, so I assume you have that covered and have winterized already. Airstream pipes are not really designed for freezing weather.

Kudos for your sense of adventure!

Happy trails.

Peter

PS -- Edit -- Your Post #9 raises concerns IMO. The freeze-up issues are generally speaking not "blurred."
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:42 AM   #12
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Thank you and a very good point. I did not have to turn the RV on a two-lane spread yet, but will practice before embarking on such trip. If I can't, the trip won't happen. I appreciate your insight, that is a deal breaker.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:54 AM   #13
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If you have some patience and are flexible with your time, the driving part of this is very doable. Watch the weather - the roads can clear quickly after a storm. But be ready to stay put in any sign of bad weather. Vail Pass is tough in even marginal conditions. West of Edwards, not too bad. Finding places to stay in winter may be a little tough. I think from Glenwood Springs west there are more places to stay. Good luck.
-snow
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:00 AM   #14
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After some more reading in this (fantastic!) Forum, I'll get another set of chains for the RV. Thanks!
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