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Old 10-07-2016, 11:34 AM   #1
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Dallas to Denver Thanksgiving Trip

Looking to head to Denver for Thanksgiving with our oldest. Have sort of ruled out the Amarillo route because wonder if weather might get iffy over Raton Pass the week or so before Thanksgiving.

Thinking about going up to Wichita and then across 70. Would prefer to do the homeward leg in four segments but thinking about three on the way up hitting COE campground in Ponca City and then Cedar Bluffs State Park in Kansas. Makes the three segments over 300 miles per day but at least not 400.

Am finding it difficult to find campgrounds with very good ratings in the 200-250 mile range on the way back. Anyone done this recently and have any suggestions for three decently spaced stops along the way back to Dallas?

Also if anyone in the Raton Pass area wants to weigh in on going that way in late fall?

Thanks
Dana
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Old 10-07-2016, 01:24 PM   #2
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I drove over Raton in February in the snow. Just had to take it slow and pay attention. They are good at keeping the road cleared. There are lots of hills and curves. If you take your time you can do it.
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Old 10-07-2016, 04:01 PM   #3
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Dallas to Denver Thanksgiving Trip

We made the Thanksgiving trip to SoCal a few years ago. Wound up spending 3 nights at the Colorado City KOA on the way to CA. On the way back spent 3 nights in Socorro, NM. Waiting for the ice to melt on Raton Pass.
It just depends on the storm fronts out of the west.
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Old 10-09-2016, 04:43 PM   #4
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If Raton Pass get bad, depending on the storm, good chance that I-70 in eastern CO or western Kansas might also be closed. I-70 closes many more times in winter than does I-25 through Raton Pass.
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:31 PM   #5
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Guess our best bet will be to keep an eye on the weather. I have talked to both campgrounds on the western leg and they say that at that time of year both have plenty of sites so I won't be locked into the Kansas route by reservations.

Dana


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Old 10-09-2016, 05:46 PM   #6
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Re: Raton Pass & NRA Whittington Center Campground

As others have stated, Raton is a major pass on I-25; and road crews are quick to keep it cleared. We have visited Denver several times (from Phoenix) during the holidays, and Raton Pass has always been driveable.

If Raton is a convenient overnight stop, the campground at NRA Whittington Center is a nice stop; and it's only a couple of miles off of I-25. There's a nice visitor center and small museum at the entrance for last minute, unique holiday gifts. Note: You do NOT have to be an NRA member (or even a gun enthusiast) to stay there.

==========

NRA Whittington Center - East Campground
34025 US-64
Raton, NM 87740
575-445-3615

GPS: 36 47.138'N 104 30.604'W

Note: NRA Shooting Range & Training Facilities. Campgrounds with full hookups open to the public.

Dirt roads inside facility. All sites are pull-through and accommodate the largest RVs. Gravel parking pads are level with easy access. Full hookups at all sites; plus flush toilets, hot showers and laundry. Dump station near entrance to campground area. Strong 4G cellphone and mobile broadband signals, with cell tower within sight about a half-mile away. Strong, digital, high-def TV signals for ABC, NBC & PBS. CBS signal is strong, but it's analog (4x3, mono).

Rate: 30-Amp sites, $27/night. 50-Amp sites $30/night.

Web site: NRA Whittington Center, Raton, NM - Home Page

Reviews:

Trip Advisor: NRA Whittington Center, Raton, NM - TripAdvisor.com

RV Park Reviews: NRA Whittington Center, Raton, NM - RVParkReviews.com
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:46 PM   #7
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The city of Dumas, TX maintains an RV parking area. When you turn back to the West and just prior to the Rail Road crossing on the right hand side of the highway. Water and Electricity furnished. Clean, adequate, and the right distance from your area. Free with a drop for donations.
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:20 PM   #8
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The I-70 route is probably a good choice. They do tend to close I-70 pretty suddenly and sometimes it's due to snow depth but more often for blowing snow and low visibility which the snow plows cannot fix. I've got loads of Raton pass stories but you are talking about coming across 70. My input is to watch the weather and note not just snow but wind. The good news is there are many little towns and trailer parks across Kansas along I-70 and the rest stops in Kansas are top quality. We moved to Colorado from Houston 11 years ago and I drove a huge Ryder moving truck up here with a car on a trailer on the back. It was 70 degrees on Friday after Thanksgiving that year, 75 and full-on sun on Saturday when we returned the truck and trailer, and then we had 12" of snow and 15 degrees F by Sunday morning. Point is the weather can change dramatically and with little warning here but just adjust and be safe. CDOT (Colorado Dept of Transportation) has a pretty complete website and it is updated regularly for road conditions at COTRIP.org. My bet is you will have a great trip!
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:48 PM   #9
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Thanksgiving not so bad

We've driven from west TX (halfway bwtn DFW and El Paso) to Denver a number of times during Thanksgiving. Raton in normally very passable.

But we're more likely to pass through Amarillo headed north and cross the Oklahoma panhandle through Boise City. Southeast and east central CO are nicer than the Interstate. Easy roads and great people when you run into trouble.

And it is a long gentle climb as opposed to straight up Raton Pass. Gotta be easier on the whole rig. At least in my mind.

Take a look at a path that takes you through Wichita Falls to Amarillo. If you have the time to spend enjoying the journey.

Safe travels and a happy holiday!
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racoco View Post
We've driven from west TX (halfway bwtn DFW and El Paso) to Denver a number of times during Thanksgiving. Raton in normally very passable.

But we're more likely to pass through Amarillo headed north and cross the Oklahoma panhandle through Boise City. Southeast and east central CO are nicer than the Interstate. Easy roads and great people when you run into trouble.

And it is a long gentle climb as opposed to straight up Raton Pass. Gotta be easier on the whole rig. At least in my mind.

Take a look at a path that takes you through Wichita Falls to Amarillo. If you have the time to spend enjoying the journey.

Safe travels and a happy holiday!
We make this trek yearly from Austin to MT around Thanksgiving and stay thru New Years. Amarillo has great campground choices and good food choices, (Garcia's Mexican) if your so inclined to stay there...Denver is easy drive next day. We have also stayed in several places along the rout mentioned above, including Dumas. I hate Dumas (dumb-ass?)when the manure smell is wafting in the air, so I try not to stay there if possible..the smell can just about kill ya on a bad day!...but the folks along that rout are friendly, the road is usually kept pretty clear even in snow, and there are no steep passes.
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:46 PM   #11
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But we're more likely to pass through Amarillo headed north and cross the Oklahoma panhandle through Boise City. Southeast and east central CO are nicer than the Interstate.

It's been a lot of years since I drove this route, but it does keep you in flat, predominately farming country. It's a good alternative to Raton Pass.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:28 PM   #12
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Did that trip two years ago the week before Thanksgiving. US 287 and I-70 were clear , but cold. Watch the weather. 287 is good all the way and mostly 4 lanes. A little rough in the OK panhandle. Very little traffic. Excellent trip.
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betty Farmer View Post
The city of Dumas, TX maintains an RV parking area. When you turn back to the West and just prior to the Rail Road crossing on the right hand side of the highway. Water and Electricity furnished. Clean, adequate, and the right distance from your area. Free with a drop for donations.

We, too, use Dumas each time we travel to the West coast as our first stop from Dallas, Tx. We would suggest you leave a donation. Do not fill up with water there. The water is sulfur water and you will regret the smell and taste. Otherwise great for an overnight stay.


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