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Old 10-07-2012, 05:05 PM   #1
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Most difficult down grade?

My vote goes to U.S. 191 between Alpine Arizona and Safford Arizona.
I take highway warning signs with a grain of salt. Thus I ignored those saying no vehicles over 40 feet. I also ignored the big sign saying the same and the big r.v. turn around. "They are talking about flatlanders driving big motorhomes." I said to myself.
I found about 35 miles of very steep down grades and very sharp hairpin turns. I would get to the bottom of one hill and climb back up the next one. After an hour, I had a big knot between my shoulder blades and I still faced a signs that showed a truck on a very steep downgrade and a squiggle representing the road marked 10 mph for the next 6 miles.
Then the center line went away. The road was so narrow that the trailer wheels were over the center and off the right despite my best efforts to center the rig. The road was too narrow for guardrails and there were none.
I think my 25 Safari and Excursion are about 50 feet total.
I have upgraded the Excursion brakes with slotted rotors and racing disc brake pads and have an exhaust brake.
The road was so steep in places that I went down in low gear using the exhaust brake and still had to brake occasionally.
I stopped at the few pullouts and was assailed by the smell of burning Airstream brakes. I set the brake controller to almost no trailer braking as I did not want to overheat my brakes and hubs.
Fortunately other than lots of motorcycles and a sports car rally, there was almost no other traffic.
I did meet another travel trailer on a tight corner. Both of us slowed to a crawl and did not scrape.
I have driven Trail Ridge Road and every paved road in Colorado and have found nothing even close to this.
Have I missed a tougher road somewhere?
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:17 PM   #2
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Our toughest was undoubtedly Buffalo Pass -- sometimes called Lukachukai Pass -- on BIA 13 over the Chuska Mountains roughly between Shiprock (the volcanic neck) in New Mexico and Lukachukai in Arizona. (The nomenclature is a bit twisted, given the roughness of translation. This site provides some detail.) It's several miles up, and several miles down. The grade is around 14%.

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Old 10-07-2012, 06:30 PM   #3
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New Mexico:The drop from Cloudcroft to Almogordo on State 82 is not for the timid.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
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Imnaha, Oregon. Take the Hat Point Road to the lookout point. Don't take your trailer - - -please! We went up in the Suburban without the trailer. Coming down I could not see any road by looking out the driver's window. It falls straight off about 2,000 feet. The other side goes straight up by the same amount. It's gravel and it's about 10-feet wide and it is two-way, and it is very steep. I think 17%. With the car stopped dead, I was in fear that it was going to begin slipping by gravity alone. Probably wouldn't, but sure felt like it.

At the top you can see the Snake River about 3,000 feet below. Nice place to see.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:26 PM   #5
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I have a fear of heights, very bad. Sumwampta Pass from Lake Louise to Jasper on Icefields Parkway. If I remember right it was 12%. Up was a few sharp curves then mostly straight up to the top. Down was curvy and narrow. Needless to say the cold sweat was flowing. That will be the worst one I will ever do towing.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Mountain Driving Guide for Truckers, RV and Motorhome Drivers
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:14 AM   #7
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Pretty funny, handn . . . it's even more fun at 78,000 gross making that kind of "mistake", ha! (Note to self: do not take 18-wheeler lacking engine brake on Rand-McNally "green dot" denoted scenic routes across mountains).
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:55 AM   #8
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I went over Bear Tooth Pass going towards Montana from WY. However, I was on my motorcycle.
It's a lot of switchbacks, but no gravel. A well known motorcycle road, and very fun on a bike.

I think it would be "ok" pulling the AS, but not all that fun.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Leary View Post
New Mexico:The drop from Cloudcroft to Almogordo on State 82 is not for the timid.
We've been on that one. It don't hold a candle to US191. We do US191 going north but not south as you are on the outside lane. They have widened stretches of it and I believe it to be one of the most scenic roads in Arizona.When you get to the top of the rim there is the highest campdound in Arizona and the prettiest.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
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New Mexico:The drop from Cloudcroft to Almogordo on State 82 is not for the timid.
I have to agree!
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:52 AM   #11
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I-70 eastbound.

Since there was no criteria stipulated, I have a contribution.

The most stressful downhill highway I have ever towed on is I-70 east bound from the Eisenhower tunnel to Golden, CO.

It is not steep or curvy to the extreme, but the traffic combined with the hills and curves makes it a white knuckle event for me. The road is jammed with fools that are apparently late for their own funeral. While you are attempting to keep your vehicle at a save downhill speed, you have people going by you at at least 20 MPH over the posted limit and about 25% of them pull over about 15 feet in front of you and 20% of them slow down. If you encounter a slower semi and wish to pass, it is also a harrowing event. First, I signal (probably mistake #1), then I look in side mirror, and if it is clear, I start to pull out. About the time I am starting to actually enter the next lane and glance in the mirror again, here comes some idiot doing 20 over the limit He obvious ran nearly up the trailers butt and pulled out at last second. This happened to me at least 3 times. As you can tell, we survived, but I'm not sure by how much.

I fouind someone's blog entry docomenting the signs on this stretch of road.

Roaming Rita: Runaway Truck Ramps

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Old 10-08-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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I would vote for 129 dropping down 3,000 ft from Wallowa, OR to Lewiston, WA on the side of a canyon. Two lane no guard rails. And I completely lost the brakes on the Ford Van. Brake fluid boiled from over use and old brake fluid, which had absorbed water from the air. I used the disc brakes on the 77 Airstream to stop the run away. The next morning I changed brake fluid in Lewiston.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:12 AM   #13
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The Moqui (Moki) Dugway in southern Utah. Narrow switchbacks with something like a 2000-foot elevation change. Fortunately we did it going uphill without towing a trailer--and met a big wide construction truck heading downward only after we'd cleared the worst of it.

Also, the highway from Boulder, UT to Escalante has one section with steep drop-offs on both sides. Not a downgrade exactly (unless you slip off), but also a bit tough on people with fear of heights.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
The Moqui (Moki) Dugway in southern Utah. Narrow switchbacks with something like a 2000-foot elevation change. Fortunately we did it going uphill without towing a trailer--and met a big wide construction truck heading downward only after we'd cleared the worst of it.
Have also driven up the Moki Dugway without Airstream. They have signs suggesting "no RVs". I would recommend heeding that warning.

My scariest ascending/descending road was not a trailer towing road. Shafer Trail in Canyonlands National Park is a real nail biter. Rough gravel, no guard rails, HUGE drop offs, about a lane and a half wide, and two way traffic. It ascends/descends something like 3000 ft. of pure switchbacks. 4WD is recommended. We entered the park going up Shafer Trail after about a couple of hours on a 4wd road from Moab that had some beautiful sights. Had no idea what it would be like before we got there and by then it was too late to go back.

Actually, before we actually got to the Shafer trail switch backs we started around the White Rim Trail to go see an arch, but turned around after a while on that one vehicle wide "two tracker" (also two way) that was clinging to the side of a cliff. I was tense as the driver, but it was excruciating for my passenger. It's got to be worse when you don't have control of the steering wheel and brakes. The White Rim Trail is a real 4wd trail something like 100 miles long. The short part we were on was basically level but even scarier than Shafer trail.
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