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Old 12-29-2014, 12:01 PM   #15
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Cold, cross wind, snow,blowing snow, ice,2wheel drive...better take a plane..I have run this in a big truck...
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:14 PM   #16
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Whatever you do with your 2-WD TV, do not take I-70!! The climb (and all the stranded vehicles along the side of the road) past Vail will make you wish you hadn't. Stay safe. jon
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:16 PM   #17
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It never dawned on me that 550 was so bad. I have driven it several times towing a trailer. It took a television program about "The Most Dangerous Roads in America" for me to know it was a bad road- If I had seen the television program first, I may have been scared-
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:19 PM   #18
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Crossing thru the Sierras, Wasatch and Rocky Mountains?...the best route depends on the weather report the day before you leave.
I agree, Mojo nailed it...it could be a breeze one day and horrendous the next. Best advice is to leave plenty of "cushion" on either side of your planned trip...so if weather is bad you can sit out a day or too.

We just got back from a DEN > Park City, UT trip via I-70 without the Airstream in our 4-WD V8 Touareg which is very sure-footed...no way I would want the Airstream in tow from Glenwood Springs thru Idaho Springs nor would I want to do it in a 2-WD truck. You hit all the ski resorts and mountain passes - we are used to the mountain travel & winter conditions, but it's still dicey in the snow, let alone with a trailer and marginal tow vehicle.

Assuming you're going to do it anyways...whichever route you choose (I-80 is flattest and has less skier traffic, but more 18-wheelers) plan on throughly washing your trailer as soon as possible with soap & water. The road salts & mag chloride are HORRIBLE on aluminum...they will permanently etch a polished trailer and will get in any compromises (rock dings & scratches you never knew you had) in clear coat and go at both the clear coat & aluminum. We do not tow in snow for that reason as well. Even if the roads appear dry, there are areas of melt off & splash back that will coat your truck/trailer in a layer of white sticky goo.

Travel safe...

Shari
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Old 12-29-2014, 01:04 PM   #19
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It never dawned on me that 550 was so bad. I have driven it several times towing a trailer. It took a television program about "The Most Dangerous Roads in America" for me to know it was a bad road- If I had seen the television program first, I may have been scared-
I am impressed that a flatlander doesn't find US 550 scary. Three high passes, many switchbacks and spectacular drop offs without guardrails scare many people. Beautiful, but slow drive. Not a place to pull a trailer in winter (or spring or fall unless you are willing to wait a storm out). When we go south we take the route over Lizard Head Pass (Colo. 145)—easier drive.

If you like a road with scores of blind curves, many places without guardrails, big drop offs, no passes, but often over 9,000', try Colo. 92 between Crawford and Blue Mesa Reservoir at US 50. You can pick up 92 in Delta from US 50 and take the long way back to 50. It is a not very well know drive with spectacular views and little traffic (until I told everyone). First time I took our new trailer that way I was very nervous, but got used to it. Not for winter travel with a trailer either. Maybe a "scary roads" thread is called for.

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Old 12-29-2014, 01:37 PM   #20
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I was a little younger- things didn't scare me as much-
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:01 PM   #21
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Having lived in Wyoming for a few years , and knowing that March is the worst month for huge blizzards , this route would be my last choice for this journey .
US 50 across Nevada and Utah , then I-70 is definitely the shortest Route , but the high passes in Colorado will make for some interesting driving , to say the least.
South to intersect I 40 , east to I 25 , would be the longest , yet safest way to go . Raton pass is not a huge obstacle but if it's covered with snow and ice , it can be a bit much for a two wheel drive pickup with a trailer.
take a set of chains for both axles of the pickup " even though it's two wheel drive " because the front axle does ALL the steering as well as a majority of the braking . And chains for at least one axle of the trailer as well . all the years of driving in ice and snow , I never had to use them on any highway , but is much better to have them and not need them , than to need them and not have them.
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:33 PM   #22
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Ratón Pass can fool you. It isn't all that high, but the north side can be snowy or icy, and the south side just wet. Lots of shaded areas on the north side when you are going north where snow doesn't melt as fast. It is high enough to keep weather on one side and the other side may be clear.

The state transportation dep't has a lot of traffic cameras and other info online and you can see in real time whether a road is snow covered or not if you have internet access in your truck. Try Googling "CDOT" and you'll find the website.

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Old 01-03-2015, 12:31 PM   #23
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Winter driving

I live in the vail valley part-time. We have have had over 5 feet of snow at our house. There have been days and days of below freezing temps. They have some of the best snow clearing plans I have ever seen here. However, without a clear and long enough weather window to know the passes are dry I would not attempt towing in this region in the winter. If you are on one of our famously long 6% down grades and hit ice or packed snow you could be in trouble. If I absolutely had to tow to Denver I would go through New Mexico and into Kansas to approach from the east. We drive an F250 also two wheel drive and tow a 34' class limited.
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:13 PM   #24
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Hoboplayer... you are a 35 year old trapped in someone else's body.

Mojo had the best to consider. Weather report. I would still opt for the I-80 option as the easiest once out of Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah. The interstate around Park City can be "shady" and the snow/crush has to be worn off by traffic.

Accessing the Ski Areas' websites are the best of "optimistic snow reports". When everyone living at the base of a ski run measures 2 inches of snow... the resort reports 14" of fresh powder. I have looked to see where they measure these optimistic numbers and it could be a metric ruler taken as inches and not centimeters.

February can be balmy along I-70. March even nicer. But it can go sour quickly. And the source of the snow reports can be spotty at best. If the Ski Resort says
"sunny and no chance of snow"... you know that is the day! The ski resort never misses a chance to predict wild amounts of fresh powder near the end of their seasons.

Wyoming's highways are exposed to more sunlight after a snow and after being plowed so the roads dry quickly. Rawlins is the spot with the blizzards and drifting to be aware. Getting east of Laramie, Wyoming is the last gauntlet. I had to drive Wyoming for the State for a couple years during my youth and never found myself stranded nor at risk even during the worst of times.

Talk to the truckers at each gasoline stop. They will be short and to the point. Beats the pre recorded weather reports on the radio and any ski resort weather report!

If you have a generator and get stopped a day, you will be able to keep warm by running the furnace fan at the maximum.
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:13 PM   #25
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They call it weather

Because you never know weather it's gonna snow or not. I don't get why people want to camp in the winter anyway.

My brother got sleeted on in August in Colorado.

In Pennsylvania it was 28 degrees one night, ……..on the Fourth of July

One time I was just about to head home, but it started raining. I went into the trailer, read for a while, played with the dog, played mandolin, made some food, and took a nap. It stopped raining….I went home. I should have just said that I don't even like to tow IN THE RAIN! Point is, why take chances if you don't have to. Why not play it safe if you can
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:06 PM   #26
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Leaving Sacramento (that's where I live) I-80 is the better choice vs. Hwy 50. As others have already said, keep your eye on the weather forecast. If snow is predicted, delay your trip. They won't let you over Donner Pass on 80 without chains, and I wouldn't want to attempt that towing an AS even with chains. 80 is freeway all the way vs. Hwy 50 which turns to two-lanes above Placerville. Once you get past Reno, it should be a breeze. But, you could still run into high winds, ice, and snow. Again, watch the weather forecasts. And, if we didn't already say it, watch the weather forecasts.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:53 AM   #27
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It's been a while since I drove I-80 across Wyoming in the winter-- hopefully the snow fences are better positioned now than they were then. We did check the weather reports in advance and it looked fine. Well, it was blue sky overhead, but the ground blizzard was ferocious: blowing and drifting snow and horrible visibility.

Our mistake was probably not checking with the Wyoming DOT, but this was before the Internet and cell phones offered easy access to highway reports.

With all due respect to the OPer, my first reaction was, "What, are you crazy?" I don't mean this harshly, but we are planning a trip from eastern BC to Death Valley in early March, and are happy to have studded snow tires, a lot of extra time to make the drive in case we need to pull over and hunker down, snow emergency-type equipment in our 4wd truck, and up-to-date methods of checking on weather and highway conditions.

Gene expressed our sentiments very well.

Having been in an accident with Bambi #1 in August on dry pavement-- we realize that it takes only a split second for an accident to happen. You might be an excellent driver, but you have no control over the person in front of you. (The accident-causing driver in front of us fell asleep at the wheel.) Unlike driving on dry pavement, however, you cannot see black ice on the road. Visibility in a snowstorm can be about nil, but you may not catch it in a good place to pull over and wait. (We once drove through a big white-out in March on the stretch of I-70 between Salina and Green River, Utah, the one with no services for 105 miles.)

Controlling a skid on a winding mountain road (like I-70 through the Rockies) while towing a trailer is not always possible, even with the skills they taught you in driver's ed.

This isn't about macho courage vs. wimpiness. We live in the mountains and are used to winter driving.

Without snow tires or plans to buy them, waiting till Spring if your time is flexible seems like a smart idea. April and early May are still winter at high elevations, but at least the day length and long stretches of good weather are in your favour.
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