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Old 12-31-2014, 02:17 PM   #29
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What makes a Road... SCARY in the first place? Towing or not.

Many of our campsites are off of County and Forest Service roads. The worst was the BIA roads. Bureau of Indian Affairs... south of the Big Badlands at the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota is a great example of... worst unpaved roads.

Take a narrow road for an example. These roads were made for one and a half vehicle widths with pull outs to pass one another. This saved money for the State or County road department. Most pullouts are on the "outside" lane on a curve, with pine trees or pinon/spruce providing service as "guard rails". The passenger, riding shotgun, watches for dust or a reflection of sunlight from a windshield of a vehicle coming from the opposite direction in the distance. At least, when it is dry and not in a fog, dust storm or forest fire smoke. Pretty routine. When oncoming traffic is spotted... immediately find a wide spot in the road that the tow vehicle and trailer can fit. Agree?

Now take this same road. Looking for any vehicles coming from the opposite direction on the same width of road... and toss in an 800 foot vertical drop on the outside lane. Same trees, same width of road... but add that element of danger or perceived danger and the road become... SCARY. Or Hairy in some cases.

This is not the Scary/Hairy part. You have HAD the road all to yourself, until now. It is when vehicle #2 or more are added to the scene and you need to pass one another. If you are on the inside to the road cut into the hill, mountain, cliff... your comfort zone is increased, but the chance of have your truck and trailer opened up like a tuna can becomes a possibility with the passing.

Times like these need to be taken in stride. Someone has to create the "minimum space" required to pass one another. We carry a tape measure in the truck's cab just for these times. Both times we needed to "tape" the width was on the same county road north of Reserve, Gila Wilderness, New Mexico. We, towing a 23 foot Airstream and the other a trailer hauling cattle... about 6 to 8 head size trailer. We were on the outside of a 500 foot steep drop and the rancher pulled into the culvert as close as he could get and we passed without incident.

Just expect to let traffic pass you and not the other way around in these tight areas. By planning ahead, it becomes second nature everywhere you find yourself.

Consider these simple points.

- Most people are driving into the back country on Friday afternoon and leaving Sunday morning to get home and back to work on Monday.
- Monday to Thursdays are best for going in or out of narrow road areas.
- At the worst are Fridays and Saturdays to find the best camping spots.
- Some locals will park their trailer at a site for weeks, just to keep it available.
- Find a two rut road to a camping spot? Park, walk it, then decide. Two ruts are for the tires. The road need not be bulldozed wide... just watch the depth of the ruts to clear the center, between the ruts.
- Three or Four day Holiday weekends are the WORST time to be in the back country.

Scary roads, two rut access are not as bad as one may think. It is usually the imagination of the passengers and the over confidence of the driver... that get Scary.
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:18 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Gene View Post
I have to fix some things, get ready for guests and shovel some snow, so I can't read the preceding 25 posts except I noticed mention by Ken that the thread turned, possibly, into scary experiences instead of scary roads. As the inspiration for this (please sent money), I suggested roads which can include your scary experience or not.

A scary road (I know of many, but must move on for now)—Little Park Road. It starts down near the edge of Grand Junction and climbs half a mile to my house and beyond. It does the climb in 7 miles (plus one flat mile to my driveway). At least one grade is 17%. Lots and lots of blind curves, some nasty drop offs. The good parts are pretty good pavement, some newly done in 2014, excellent views of Grand Mesa, Grand Valley, Bookcliffs and mountains beyond. It starts in a somewhat strange subdivision, rises through public lands (BLM; Colorado National Monument is close or adjacent) with sage—more pińon/juniper forest as you travel higher. Great rock formations like southern Utah. You may meet bicycles on those curves and now that the county allows ATV's on county roads, they may be there too. There are zero passing areas. To me the bikes and ATV's are the most dangerous part of the road.

Not having lived here that long, I have only done the trailer round trip 4 or 5 times. I have also done two round trips with a rental truck. The trucks were the most scary since they aren't maintained that well. I go downhill mostly in 2nd with the trailer. I do not fear this road, but I do respect it. The time I leave or come home when it has (or is) snowing will be the time I am scared. But it is more likely there will be snow on my steep driveway than on the road—the county does a pretty good job keeping it clear.

If I had no mountain driving experience, this would be a scary road. It is also home, so I'm used to it.

Another note—there are scary roads with trailers and scary roads without. The latter would include some Colorado mining roads where only 4wd will get you through. There are back country roads all over the west and elsewhere, but it seems this forum is more about towing, so I'd think those kind of scary roads and associated experiences would be more interesting.

Gotta deal with snow, 9˚ and the rest—maybe back in 2015.

Gene
Gene

how scary can it be? I see the Google camera car managed to traverse it nicely....

looks like you won't have to spend a lot of money irrigating a lawn lol

Happy New Year
Dana
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:49 PM   #31
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Scary Road category = Douglas Pass , Mack , Co . to Rangly , Co .
Two lane paved road with extremely steep grades on the switch backs on the South side of the pass . The steepest I have ever seen on a paved state highway. Not heavily traveled so it gets treated like a red headed step child by the highway dept.
Have had to traverse this pass quite a few times in tractor trailers and cranes when I was working for Webb Crane out of Grand Junction. Had to be on a jobsite in Rangly at 7 am one morning in an old 60 ton P&H truck mounted Hydraulic machine , so had to leave Junction in the wee hours. At 10 ft wide and weighing in at 110 thousand pounds it takes a while to make this trip.
Crawled to the top and stopped at the pull off to partake in some coffee from my thermos . and to water down one of the tires. Headed North , downhill , and less than a half mile I rounded a curve , and surprise surprise surprise ! Half the road had simply ceased to exist , about a hundred yard of the left lane had cut loose and slid to the bottom of the canyon !
Two way radio had no repeater up there so it was useless , no cell phones , no nothing , After taking some time with a flashlight to try and figure out if the entire road might take off down the grade if I were to hug the bank real tight on the right and maneuver past the slide . After some head scratching and prayers , I crawled past the slide with the old beast and on to Rangly .

Saw headlights headed up a few miles later , stopped them by taking up the whole road and flash the headlights,and told them what lay ahead .

That was a scary road that day especially !
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:01 PM   #32
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They must have not rebuilt the road to the original width then because Douglas Pass is only 1 1/2 lanes wide now. Makes for some breath holding when rounding the blind curves!
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:06 PM   #33
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Douglas Pass

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannydimitt View Post
Scary Road category = Douglas Pass , Mack , Co . to Rangly , Co .
Two lane paved road with extremely steep grades on the switch backs on the South side of the pass . The steepest I have ever seen on a paved state highway. Not heavily traveled so it gets treated like a red headed step child by the highway dept.
Have had to traverse this pass quite a few times in tractor trailers and cranes when I was working for Webb Crane out of Grand Junction. Had to be on a jobsite in Rangly at 7 am one morning in an old 60 ton P&H truck mounted Hydraulic machine , so had to leave Junction in the wee hours. At 10 ft wide and weighing in at 110 thousand pounds it takes a while to make this trip.
Crawled to the top and stopped at the pull off to partake in some coffee from my thermos . and to water down one of the tires. Headed North , downhill , and less than a half mile I rounded a curve , and surprise surprise surprise ! Half the road had simply ceased to exist , about a hundred yard of the left lane had cut loose and slid to the bottom of the canyon !
Two way radio had no repeater up there so it was useless , no cell phones , no nothing , After taking some time with a flashlight to try and figure out if the entire road might take off down the grade if I were to hug the bank real tight on the right and maneuver past the slide . After some head scratching and prayers , I crawled past the slide with the old beast and on to Rangly .

Saw headlights headed up a few miles later , stopped them by taking up the whole road and flash the headlights,and told them what lay ahead .

That was a scary road that day especially !
Don't know about the slide, but the one time I went up Douglas Pass, it was pitch dark (no moon), and there were black cattle standing on the pavement in several places. Adds spice to a road that already has enough.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:12 PM   #34
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Route 1 along the California coast has two stretches that can be "scary". The sections from San Simeon up to Big Sur and also North of San Francisco are narrow, winding, and hanging on the edge of the continent with many parts cut into the mountain sides several hundred feet above the ocean. Add wind, fog and/or rain and this becomes an adventure -- especially if you are headed south and on the outside of the road!
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:29 PM   #35
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Route 410 over Chinook Pass near Mount Rainier can be pretty exciting at the upper elevations.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:52 PM   #36
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Route 410 over Chinook Pass near Mount Rainier can be pretty exciting at the upper elevations.
That's an area I know quite well. I lived it Enumclaw when my kids were growing up. I also learned to Ski at the Cayuse Pass ski area when I was young. There used to be a ski area just past the Cayuse Pass summit. It consisted of 2 or 3 rope tows that went from the Cayuse Pass highway uphill to almost the Chinook Pass highway.
I guess, because I grew up frequenting that area, I never have thought of it as a dangerous road as long as you stay on it. There are some pretty long falls if you decide to drive over the edge however.

There is a picture in this article of the Cayuse Pass ski area.

HistoryLink.org- the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History


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Old 01-01-2015, 12:49 AM   #37
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The scariest roads I remember are from my childhood. My dad always wanted a Jeep, but couldn't get one because my Mom put her foot down about the size. In 1949 when I was 6, Jeep started selling the 4 wheel drive station wagon. My dad bought the first one to arrive in Washington State. We had to drive from Seattle to Spokane to pick it up. (AFAIK they only came in maroon with painted on fake wood panels). That was long before seat belts and all those other fancy safety items. I still remember hanging out the passenger side window to look over the edge of precipitous slopes on dirt and gravel logging roads in the Cascades. I'm sure now that I'm older and perhaps a bit smarter, I would keep my body inside the vehicle.

I can remember how proud my dad was when we had to turn around on the ocean beach to pull our friend's regular Jeep out of the sand. We had been able to drive through the area he got stuck in, because of the station wagon's longer wheel base.

Here's a salute to the good old days, when every road was dangerous by today's standard, but nobody knew it.

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Old 01-01-2015, 05:48 AM   #38
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There was a road along the Snake River Canyon before the river was dammed, north of Rock Island, Idaho, which was so narrow and fell off into the canyon, that when two cars met, one usually had to back up a distance so they could pass. This was in about 1966 as I remember, and I drove it in a 1966 VW bug. Actually did it more than once....
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:37 AM   #39
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The road from Port Alberni to the west coast of Vancouver Island was a scary road in the early 80's. It was gravel with lots of twisty turnies and one lane bridges made of wood as in 2 big douglas fir logs across the chasm and planks across them. Railway ties were along the edges in case the wood was slippery from the rain. It is the "wet coast" after all. The road was wet more often than not.
i went back there a few years ago to show my DW. The road has been upgraded with pavement and real bridges, guard rails even. Unfortunately the quaint little havens for hippies at the end had also been upgraded into 5 star resorts made feasible by the easier access.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:53 PM   #40
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The scariest road / drive for me was traveling in central China in 1996. I wasn't driving, and probably couldn't. There are little "rules of the road", such as driving on the right side, or not speeding, or j-walking, or pulling your overloaded wagon with a donkey in a driving lane, or riding a bike anywhere, or unmarked open construction ditches, or uncleared wrecked cars blocking the road, or unlit small tractors in your lane, or veering left or right to pass even if there is oncoming traffic (they will move won't they?) Chaos! This four hour drive was the scariest, most dangerous thing I ever did at work. We locked them up screeched to a stop more than once. It makes the Dan Ryan Expressway bumper to bumper at 70mph look easy.

At least rest stops were easy. Just stop and pee on the side of the road. No prob!

David
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:28 AM   #41
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This probably isn't a road that sees many Airstreams, but while in Iceland my wife and I visited the West Fjords. In late October. The first picture was heading up into a pass, and the second is once the blizzard came down on us while we were up there. Frozen road, side winds, sheer drops, and the yellow posts would disappear from site before you could make out the next ones. Saying it was scary would be putting it lightly.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:42 AM   #42
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I'll have to give a second to the Moki Dugway. And here's my favorite video of it:


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