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Old 05-22-2016, 08:37 PM   #1
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1977 25' Tradewind
2012 27' FB International
Ft Myers , Florida
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Preferred Route Crossing Northern Wyoming

Up front – we’re pulling a 1977 Tradewind (Approx 6,000 lbs) with a 2016 Ram 2500 6.4 L (gas) Hemi. We’re leaving SW Florida Mid-June on our longest-yet trek around our great country.

In early September, we will be traveling west, from Buffalo, WY to Cody Wy. I know many of you have made this trip so I seek your advice. It appears that there are two distinct routes that one could take from Buffalo to Cody. The northern route (I-90, Hwy 14 & 14A) through Ranchester and Lovell or the southern route ( Hwy 16 & 14) through Worland and Greybull. Both have significant elevation gains to approximately 9500 feet. The northern route actually has a gain from 3,800 feet in Ranchester to the peak elevation of 9400 in approximately 45-47 miles with a number of hairpin turns. The southern route has a gain from 4,500 feet in Buffalo to the peak elevation of 9,600 feet in approximately 35 miles, but without as many hairpins. IF you had your druthers and wanted to actually observe some landscape as you passed it, which route would you take towing the trailer?

Before you respond: We have seven days in Buffalo, WY., so we have lots of site seeing time. We have a desire to visit Lovell for the purpose of seeing Big Horn Medicine Wheel, Five Springs Falls off of Hwy 14 and the Devil Canyon Horseshoe Bend, north of Lovell in Montana. We can certainly make this trip (and back) sans trailer to get these off our bucket list. We could even spend the night at a dog friendly motel I’ve found in Lovell. Those same seven days would allow us to see the sites along the southern route, so it comes down to which incline do we want to tackle under the less stress.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:21 PM   #2
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Erie , Colorado
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Mike either route is just fine. Your setup won't have any issues. Just drove 90 westbound two weeks ago and stayed in Buffalo. Nice campground is Indian Campground and RV Park. Very clean, nice trees but was also able to get a site with a Dish satellite view if you have the need. Lots to do in Buffalo, which is the local town that inspired the creator of the Longmire series of novels and tv show on A&E and Netflix.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:27 PM   #3
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Buffalo , Wyoming
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You will have no problem with either route. The Hwy 14 route has a significant elevation gain just west of Dayton. Then it sort of levels off across the top, then a significant elevation loss east of Lovell. These two spots are steeper than anything on the Hwy 16 route.

Hwy 16 has a pretty steep area just west of Buffalo, but it isn't as bad as that near Dayton. Then there are more ups and downs for a while, then climbs up over the Powder River Pass. It switchbacks down east of Tensleep, but it isn't too bad.

Both routes have nice scenery. On Hwy 16 you'll go over the Powder River Pass, past Meadowlark Lake and Ski area and Tensleep canyon which is remarkable. Then you move into amazing sandstone and badland formations before reaching Worland.

Hyw 14 will take you by Fallen City rock formations, Sibley Lake, and off to Medicine Wheel.

I'm partial to Hwy 16. Probably because it's in my backyard. However, if you're heading to Lovell, and wanting to see Medicine Wheel, the Hwy 14 would probably make more sense for you.

Feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:30 PM   #4
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Just returned today from trip out west. Came back (90) the mountain pass was phenomenal. I have 28ft FC, pulled with 2500HD 6.0L gas. One climb slightly dicey but manageable. Just slow down, use downshifting and enjoy the views.
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:53 AM   #5
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Prospect , Virginia
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Not 14A

US 14A from Ranchester to Lovell is called the "OMG Highway" for good reason. The descent on the Lovell side is one of the steepest you'll ever encounter--a real brake burner. 14 and 16 are both about the same and a little less steep than 14A. Use your low gear more and your brakes less, and you will be okay. You can take 14A, but use an even lower gear.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:24 PM   #6
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1977 25' Tradewind
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Ft Myers , Florida
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Thanks everyone. I think we'll take the route to Lovell without the trailer. It'll give us a little more flexibility visiting the POIs along the way. We should have a nice leisurely trip on 16 and 14 then when we move to Buffalo Bill State Park, west of Cody.

I just love this place - you always get good information.
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:00 PM   #7
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Stone Mountain , Georgia
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I used to live in Greybull and drove all four options at different times, with and without my trailer. I would stop in Buffalo and do the tourist things, then head on up to Ranchester and drop your trailer at Burgess Junction, and drive over to the Medicine Wheel on 14A, and look around and take photos. Then go back to Burgess Junction and take 14 on into Greybull. There used to be a Forest Service campground near Burgess Junction and you may wish to spend the night there and descend Hwy 14 down Shell Canyon into Shell and then Greybull.

Dramatic scenery and a pull off part way down to stop and look into the narrow canyon. Try and use low gears and not rely on your brakes. Trailers go up and down all the time, on all of the grades, just take it easy and keep your speed down. Scenery is worth it.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:03 PM   #8
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Randolph , Vermont
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Are you staying at Buffalo Bill State Park? We were Campground hosts there for five years. A beautiful place. Great memories. Everyone is right about the Big Horn passing. We went every way you could over those mountains towing a 34ft AS. Enjoy the views for us. And the Medicine Wheel, keep an eye out for marmots. Ps. Do the Beartooth Highway if you can...without the rig,of course.
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:45 PM   #9
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2014 27' Flying Cloud
Stowe , Vermont
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We have taken both Routes 14 and 16 over the Big Horns, with both a 25 ft. and 27 ft. Airstream with Diesel 2500 Ram, and now F250 6.7 diesel. We live in Vermont and head west to the Rockies almost every year. Rt. 14 has many more "tight" turns that you have to be "aware of your space (size)". Now that I have "tasted" Rt. 14, I now stick to Route 16. Yes, it still has hairpin turns, but it's wider and big size friendly. I let the engine brake do the work for me, instead of the brakes. With your gas vehicle, just use a low gear. You may think you're going too slow at times, but take it that way. You don't want to smoke your brakes and find yourself in a run away truck ramp. Safe journeys.
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:58 PM   #10
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Preferred Route Crossing Northern Wyoming

Just made this trip 2 days ago on 16. Sierra 1500 5.3 pulling 25 Safari SE. Slow uphill but no issues.
Stayed 2 nights in Middle Fork NFS campground. Absolutely beautiful!Click image for larger version

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Old 05-23-2016, 10:32 PM   #11
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I just made this same trip last July, took 16 after much research. Tensleep is fantastic. Also took a side trip down Crazy Woman Canyon. There are a ton of FS campgrounds along the way. Buffalo Bill SP was awesome.

Check your brakes....the Bighorns school Flatlanders. I'm one of them.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:09 AM   #12
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A must see is Custer's Last Stand battlefield. It still remains as it was during the battle. They have a good lecture series and of course tours. You can also drive the tour in your car. One of my favorite places to visit.
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