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Old 06-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #15
Full Timers/Diesel power.
Mike Leary's Avatar
1983 31' Airstream310
Cactus Hug , Arizona
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I've had some white knuckle (and beautiful) experiences in the high county. We're I to poke around that neck of the woods, which we are doing this fall, I'd have the brakes done, making sure the rotors/drums are turned. That way, your honey does not have to say, "what is that smell?"

"A settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere"
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:18 PM   #16
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2008 30' Classic
Pagosa Springs , Colorado
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Gene sums it up accurately in his posts. In summation, safe payload without overheating engine and trans on the climb and good brakes while gearing down on the decent. If you start to smell the brakes, BEWARE. I've seen travelers with boiling brake fluid on the west decent from Wolf Creek Pass. Switchbacks are many and can creep up on you quickly. In the end, the pleasure is worth the journey. Safe travels, Larry

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Old 06-06-2009, 06:25 PM   #17
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Cory said in his post he'd had no problems in the mountains of NC—Those roads are very windy and a great deal of up and down. He was worried about altitude.

Colorado roads have longer grades, but are not usually as windy or have constant up and downs as western NC. If you can tow through that country, you ought to be able to handle a lot of things. As I said before, altitude is not a problem with computer run ignition systems.

My thought is if there were no problems in NC, Colorado should be ok.

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Old 07-19-2009, 10:06 PM   #18
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I have grown up here in Colorado and I am almost 50. I spent 24 years in the Navy, but maintained my home in Colorado. I have to agree that what seems to be OK in the East is not OK here.

I have smelled so many burned brakes on Pikes Peak I actually carry a thermometer to check brakes for people - and that's folks without trailers.

It is really hard to convince someone that their vehicle should not carry a load. I have a Tahoe that is properly equipped - but I am in the market for a 8.1L 2500 Suburban because I realize the limitations of the 1/2 ton Tahoe. The Tahoe will be my commuter vehicle and the Suburban will be our tow vehicle. Still considering an Excursion, but my wife likes the Suburban better.

Cheers, Doug
Doug in Colorado
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:15 AM   #19
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Los Lunas , New Mexico
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Originally Posted by PizzaChop View Post
Having attended college at WSC in Gunnison, I've been to Lake City a couple of times via Gunnison....
Never thought I'd run across another person who went to WSC. (My tenure there was brief, however.)

Like Gene said, do go the route via North Pass from Saguache to Gunnison. The pull is tame, the traffic is very low, and the place is beautiful!

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:25 AM   #20
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Just the other day Barb said: let's see if Keith and Sydney want to get out their RV and we can caravan to Lake City. The hardest part of the trip for us will be 27 miles above the Black Canyon—narrow, winding paved highway sometimes with guardrails, sometimes not. Elevation is over 9,000'. Slow, but a road we know well. We're working on dates we can all go. Even though they have a Class C SOB, apparently they won't be embarrassed to be seen with us.

Has anyone been to Wupperman Campground? It's a county owned campground on Lake Cristobal.

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:58 AM   #21
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Grand Island , Nebraska
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I’m not at all familiar with the Enclave so don’t know if we’re talking a six or an eight cylinder, or what the gear ratio is. However, I was born in Colorado and raised in Colorado and Wyoming and now live in Idaho so I know a bit about mountain challenges.

I had never towed anything over the passes until I got my first Airstream, a 1969 31ft. I pulled it over numerous passes in Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho and have pulled my 34foot Limited over many as well. My first TV was a ’79 GMC, 350 automatic (carbureted). I pulled Monarch, Blue Mesa, and Rabbit Ears with it (hauling a 750 Honda cycle in the box). I replaced the GMC with a wimpy 6.2 Chevy diesel (no turbo) and pulled Monarch several times, as well as pulling several Montana and Idaho passes (also with the Honda in the bed). After I got my Limited I pulled Monarch as well as whatever is around Jackson, Wyoming with a 5.7 Chevy 1500 ((gross overload—I don’t recommend this). It wasn’t much fun and I held my breath a few times wondering if I’d make it, but with patience and caution, each of the trucks did what I asked of them. I’m a fanatic about auxiliary transmission oil coolers and that may be what saved my bacon a few times.

There is a formula for determining your horsepower loss per 1000 ft. rise in elevation. I think it is something like 3% loss per 1000 ft. This would mean your Enclave has 1/3 less horsepower at the top of Monarch. Of course if you are equipped with a supercharger or a turbo charger there won’t be so much loss.

If you decide to try it remember that what goes up must come down. Don’t ride your brakes or you’ll lose them fast. If you’ll slow down way slow at the top (like 20mph) and drop it into low range the tranny will stay in second gear and give you some degree of engine braking. When you need your brakes, get on them hard and quick, slow down to a bit under the speed you are comfortable with, and get off the pedal (if you don’t need too much brake, use the trailer brakes only, fast and quick). The previously mentioned braking problems often are caused when a driver over-uses or rides the pedal. When this occurs three things can happen; 1) you’ll glaze the surface of the pads or linings, 2) you can badly warp the rotors or the drums, 3) you can boil the brake fluid and boiling fluid won’t stop you.

I join the folks who have stressed that you can’t have too much power for your TV. Of course if you only need it on rare occasions I can understand pushing things, I’ve done it a lot. After I got my present TV there have been no more white-knuckle pulls. There have been a few white knuckles on the downhill side, since I don’t tow enough passes any more to feel like I can justify the expense of an exhaust brake.

'92 Limited 34ft (now sold); '96 Dodge Cummins 4X2, 5speed
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:35 PM   #22
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We descended Monarch last week going west. An almost identical 25' '09 FC FB was just ahead of us. I think she had a Chevy or GMC. She descended faster than us, but we caught up in the valley. Our Tundra has a 6 speed automatic, 5th and 6th are both overdrives. I descended in mostly 3rd or 2nd depending on the grade and the curves and a few places in 4th. We ascended at about 45 mph. We had no problems with the Tundra.

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Old 07-20-2009, 12:38 PM   #23
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Cedaredge , Colorado
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If you coming into lake city from the west there is a great camp site at the Lake city cut off right on the river. Not very many sites. I think 6-8 but it is nice. No hook ups either.. I stayed there a few times. Not with the AS yet.


May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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