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Old 08-29-2013, 08:03 PM   #1
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Ponca Springs, CO to Gunnison, CO

How difficult is the drive between Ponca Springs,CO and Gunnison, CO? Would you recommend the drive to a newbie? Thx

?
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:35 PM   #2
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From Ponca Springs, you'll need to go over Monarch Pass to go to Gunnison. Not the world's toughest pass, but could be challenging for a first timer from the flat lands. If you are not versed in mountain towing, here are a couple of threads with info on Monarch and with tips on mountain towing:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ss-108546.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f439...ck-108307.html


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Old 08-29-2013, 08:42 PM   #3
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Hi GeGe -- I don't see a Ponca Springs in Colorado. Are you talking about Poncha Springs -- just west of Salida? [maybe it's Google that has the name goofed up]

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So ... you're talking driving north on 285/24 through Leadville?

We'll hope for others more experienced to discuss that route. I only know that once you get to Glenwood Springs you'd better know your exit & destination. Town & local environs are mighty squeezed in with the tight valley & slopes surrounding.

We sure liked Rifle Gap State Park northeast out of Rifle.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:09 PM   #4
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Glenwood Springs is the long way around to get to Gunnison from Poncha Springs.
Hwy 50 is the most direct route.
There is an alternate route if you go south on Hwy 285 to Saguache, then take Hwy 114 over North Pass. North Pass is just over 10K' high, where Monarch is over 11K' high.
Can't tell you what kind of shape either road is in. But both are scenic.
If you are not skilled in mountain driving. The best advice I can give is to take it slow, use the engine for braking when going down hill. The yellow signs ahead of each curve gives the recommended speed limit. I would say to stay at least 10mph below the speed posted. Use the brakes sparingly.
Enjoy the ride.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank View Post
From Ponca Springs, you'll need to go over Monarch Pass to go to Gunnison. Not the world's toughest pass, but could be challenging for a first timer from the flat lands. If you are not versed in mountain towing, here are a couple of threads with info on Monarch and with tips on mountain towing:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ss-108546.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f439...ck-108307.html


Lynn
Whoa Bob!

Lynn is sending you west from Poncha Springs as I should have. Sorry for my mistake.

Onward to Gunnison.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:01 PM   #6
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Monarch is a good pass with no major drop offs and wide roadway. There are some curves descending to the west, just downshift and take it easy and you'll be fine. 6% grade.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:07 AM   #7
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I drove up the east side and back down Monday afternoon. It was still there in good shape. There are many passes in Colorado that are a lot scarier than Monarch. Just remember: The dangerous part is going down not up. Make sure that you are set up in a low enough gear before actually beginning the descent. That ideally would be the gear that will allow you to maintain a constant non increasing speed without braking. Observe how a loaded semi descents a steep incline and emulate that. If you have not done a long steep descent before, practice on some hills that are short enough that you will not reach a dangerous speed before leveling out again.

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Old 08-30-2013, 07:19 AM   #8
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Drove it last month. It is one of the better roads I traveled on...but I was looking for the "less traveled".
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:57 AM   #9
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:06 AM   #10
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Monarch is no worry. Paved as any highway. A little curvy and a long pull, but take it easy and all will be fine.

Down shift and let the engine take you down, and you won't need brakes much.

Regards,

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Old 08-30-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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The "less traveled" would be a bit longer, but very pretty. Turn south at Poncha Springs on 285 and go to Saguache. Then take Co 114 over North Pass to just outside of Gunnison. North Pass isn't bad at all (with the relevant disclaimers to flatlanders), and not many people travel it at all.

If you want to head from Gunnison northwestward, you take take the road more traveled to Montrose and then north, but you can take the road less traveled over Black Mesa (Co 92). A good road (and nowadays even paved all the way!), though you have to appreciate cliffs and drops many hundreds of feet down into the Black Canyon.


Lynn





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Drove it last month. It is one of the better roads I traveled on...but I was looking for the "less traveled".
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:03 PM   #12
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Thank you

Everyone is so kind. I really appreciate your help. Flatlander from Texas
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