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Old 12-11-2010, 06:47 PM   #15
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2003 30' Classic S/O
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Thanks to all for the replies (MADClassic is my wife)!

Even though I am more than experienced with driving on snow and ice (drove around in the blizzard today just helping stranded motorists), have a capable 4x4 truck, driven the Rockies in winter multiple times and have pulled trailers numerous times in rough winter conditions, I am still apprehensive about this portion of the trip. I've discussed my concerns with MADClassic and she is understanding but really wants to see her brother in Grand Junction. The advice was pretty much as I expected and we're still on the fence.

We'll be leaving MN sometime after Christmas and heading straight south on 35 and then east to Arizona. We're flexible on this departure (my wife has six weeks off and I can work from almost anywhere) and can wait until the weather is right to hit the road. However, we're a little less flexible on the return and the conditions are less predictable in Western CO than here in the Midwest. We'll be in Slab City for the rally and may not decided until then what to do with the last two to three weeks of our trip. The trailer would be winterized as soon as we get far enough north where freezing is a concern, so the propane, freezing pipes, etc. will not be a issue.

The corrosive salt and other road chemicals are more of a concern, whether we head through CO or not. What have others done to address this while on the road? A truck wash or other large self-serve car wash? I'd like to really get the Airstream cleaned up as soon as we're out of the salt belt.

All other advice gladly received and thanks again for all the thoughtful responses.

-DK
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Old 12-11-2010, 07:33 PM   #16
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With 6 weeks you have a lot more flexibility. Seems like you are experienced and know what to expect. The weather pattern this year seems to be the jet stream is avoiding western Colorado, but the central mountains seem to be getting snow. You would be traveling at the driest part of the winter. But, the jet stream does seem to be bringing storms to the midwest and northeast as you've noticed today. It's all a crap shoot and even in mild years, you can get slammed. You might have more trouble in Minnesota than Colorado, but you never know.

Over the years I've noticed that severe winters in Colorado are mild ones in the NE and vice versa. It has to do with extreme El Niño and La Niña years. Except for one snowy and cold week, it's been pretty mild here so far this year.

Colorado loves magnesium chloride. An RV or truck wash is available at many truck stops.

Grand Junction has mostly mild winters (it was 52˚ when we were there yesterday), but getting there and leaving are the issues. Invite your brother-in-law to Arizona.

Gene
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Old 12-11-2010, 07:54 PM   #17
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We make the trip from Phoenix to Denver often, but usually don't go through Grand Junction in the winter, at least with our Bambi. Colorado weather varies alot. When it's clear, their interstates and major highways through the Rockies are usually dry with a lot of snow on the sides. However, the weather can change in a few hours in the mountains and we've driven through some real blizzards on I-70's passes. We usually leave the Airstream at home in the winter and stay in hotels. As much as we love our Bambi, but when it's snowing, this is just safer and more comfortable.

When the weather is bad, we have taken I-17 (from Phoenix) to I-40 (Flagstaff), across to Albuquerque, then I-25 north to Denver. The highway departments keep these routes pretty clear, except in the very worst weather. However, this would bypass Grand Junction. Also, any of the interstates can be pretty desolate in snowy weather.

Good luck; this could be a real adventure in February. Here's hoping you're lucky and the weather is in your favor...
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:20 PM   #18
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Thanks, guys. And oh, I obviously meant *west* to Arizona.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:49 PM   #19
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Would you mind providing your trip origination point, ultimate destination and mandatory way points? (Sorry, I think I got your itinerary wrong in my mind's eye.)
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:33 AM   #20
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I'd put on a mainsail and jib and jibe northeast through Vegas and Salt Lake, with your side tack to Grand Junction. In Salt Lake, put on some skates and a spinnaker, pull the keel and skate east through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa to where ever you tack north. Drop your anchor for any storm flags.
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