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Old 02-16-2015, 01:22 PM   #1
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RT 160 across Colorado in April

We are heading out to the Grand Canyon on April 17 and thought we would stay over one night at Lathrop State Park in Colorado, then take 160 across southern Colorado to the 4 corners area. Was just wondering how this route is for dragging a trailer behind.
Coming back we will probably take 40 through ABQ and may stay at Conchas Lake State Park in New Mexico.

Any Ideas
Stan
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:40 PM   #2
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You will have two passes, La Veta and Wolf Creek. As long as you have good brakes on trailer and TV, they are no problem. Remember to down shift on the down slope. Lathrop is a decent state park with hookups.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:55 PM   #3
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You didn't state where you are starting out.
Rt. 160 traverses La Veta and Wolf Creek Pass'.
I have travelled this route many times with my 26' coach.
It is a good road. Wolf Creek Pass is the highest and has steep grades. Nothing that an experienced driver would have problems with.
Spring time brings periodic heavy snow to SW Colorado. So be prepared. There are web cams in places along 160 to check road conditions.


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Old 02-16-2015, 02:56 PM   #4
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Colorado 160 is a spectacular route, now a multi-lane highway. Springtime in Colorado can be unpredictable. Lathrop SP is good for an overnight stop. You will continue your trip over two major Colorado passes. First LaVeta @9413, across the San Luis Valley to the Continental Divide, Wolf Creek Pass @ 10,857.
The average temp in mid April on Wolf Creek is 40 degrees . Living in southern Colorado, we have made this trip with our Airstream dozens of times but not in mid April. A couple of choices for camping near Cortez are McPhee reservoir or Mesa Verde NP. There is a webcam for both passes @ keno.org. Happy Trails!
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:56 PM   #5
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Actually our starting out point is Kansas City, but didn't want to take 40 both out and back. Want to see different sights out the windshield, and we have a new Dodge Durango pulling a new 23' Oliver fiberglass trailer.

Thanks for the tips
Stan
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:32 PM   #6
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I towed my 25' Flying Cloud across CO on 160 last summer with a Toyota Tundra. Just take it slow on the passes, no problem. Definitely a beautiful route. I spent a 2 nights near Pagosa Springs. Checked out the hot springs and Chimney Rock national monument - both worth the stop!
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:05 PM   #7
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Stan, In Colorado, they called me a " flatlander "

My bother lives in Durango, and he did his best to school me. He said not to ride the brakes going downhill. He said to ( traffic permitting ) come to a complete stop from time to time, go light on the brakes going down hill, and coast. SLOW.

I can't verify this as mechanically sound advice, but he didn't downshift. He said that he would rather fix brakes than fix an engine or transmission. Maybe someone can nix or validate that theory.

BTW…Mythbusters determined that Kansas was literally, flatter than a pancake.

BTW again…I stopped on the pass between Silverton and Ouray, and filled my cooler with snow……..in June.

Hope you don't have to rush, and can enjoy the journey……MD
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWA640316 View Post
We are heading out to the Grand Canyon on April 17 and thought we would stay over one night at Lathrop State Park in Colorado, then take 160 across southern Colorado to the 4 corners area. Was just wondering how this route is for dragging a trailer behind.
Coming back we will probably take 40 through ABQ and may stay at Conchas Lake State Park in New Mexico.

Any Ideas
Stan
I have pulled my 17 Ft. Caravel across 160 several times no problem. It is a pretty drive.

Don
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:49 PM   #9
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Should be no problem it is an easy pass to pull. I have done it several times.

Don
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Old 02-18-2015, 05:20 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=mandolindave;1582173]My bother lives in Durango, and he did his best to school me. He said not to ride the brakes going downhill. He said to ( traffic permitting ) come to a complete stop from time to time, go light on the brakes going down hill, and coast. SLOW.

I can't verify this as mechanically sound advice, but he didn't downshift. He said that he would rather fix brakes than fix an engine or transmission. Maybe someone can nix or validate that theory.


On steep grades downhill, I do both. Take it slow, downshift to maybe 3rd and lightly use brakes as needed. If going much slower than others, put on your flashers. Going up steep grades, of course stay to the right, don't overtax your engine, and again use your flashers as necessary. Take it easy and enjoy the scenery. Remember you are either on vacation or are retired - what is the rush.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:10 AM   #11
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I learned to drive on a stick shift in the Rockies, in the last century...

When going down long steep grades, use the TV's engine and transmission for braking; and save the brakes for emergency stops. Speed is irrelevant; the proper gear is what is most important.

Overuse of brakes (e.g., riding the brakes) will overheat brake parts resulting in reduced braking capability. Hot brakes increase brake pedal effort and lengthen stopping distances. Extremely hot drum brakes, will fade and become completely ineffective; and they may be unable to stop or even slow your vehicle. Plus, brake drums and rotors will glow red hot; at which point, complete brake failure and a vehicle fire are possible. Extreme overheating can burn brake pads and shoes, and warp rotors and drums; and an expensive brake overhaul may be needed to restore your brakes to proper operation.

When towing on a downgrade, I usually try to limit maximum speed to 5-10 mph UNDER the speed limit. That way, brake use will be unnecessary, even if a curve is encountered that would be uncomfortably fast for your Airstream if you were driving the speed limit.

When APPROACHING the crest of a hill, slow to 5-10 mph under the speed limit. Then, as you pass the crest, take your foot off of the accelerator.

As you begin the descent, if your vehicle starts to accelerate, shift to the next lower gear.

If your TV holds that speed, re-adjust speed to 5-10 mph under the speed limit, if necessary. Then, continue the descent with your foot off of the brake. If this gear slows your vehicle too much, use the accelerator to maintain the target speed.

After downshifting, if your TV continues to accelerate, shift to the next lower gear and re-adjust speed, as necessary.

Continue downshifting to lower and lower gears, as necessary, until your TV will hold a steady speed without using the brakes.

The speed that can be maintained without further downshifting or brake use is the proper speed for descending this grade, and this may be significantly lower than the speed limit. That's why you see some semi's going so slow on downgrades.

As the grade begins to flatten, reverse this procedure and shift up one gear at a time until the "proper" gear is found.

If you descend long steep grades using these guidelines, your brakes will most likely be cool to the touch when you reach the bottom; and your knuckles won't be white and cramped.

==========

Safety tips: Unless you have lost your brakes, are out of control, and are about to use a runaway truck ramp for its intended purpose, do NOT drive onto (or park on) a runaway truck ramp. In many cases, these contain deep gravel and your vehicle will immediately become stuck; in which case, you will probably need a tow truck to get out. Also, for obvious reasons, do NOT park in front of a runaway truck ramp.
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Old 02-18-2015, 10:47 AM   #12
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I'm not too concerned about the passes (it's the wife that is) I drove a semi for 10 years, although not in in the mountains. We may just take 40 westbound and take 160 back. I would like to see that part of Colorado. Kind of play it by ear and see how the weather shakes out.

Stan
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