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akadeadeye

Million Dollar Highway CO 550

Question

We are planning a trip which includes southwestern Colorado. I have heard pros and cons about Highway 550 from Durango and beyond toward Silverton and Montrose. Some people with big rigs like ours say the shear drop offs are too much for them to handle. Is it that bad? Also, is early September too early to catch the Aspen Fall colors?

Don

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Yes, it's that bad. We detoured over 100 miles to avoid that segement in our RV. It's a great trip in a tow vehicle or possibly even a smaller RV, but a large RV is not going to be any fun at all.

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I have driven CO 550 from Durango to Montrose in our 40 ft DP, towing a Grand Cherokee. I enjoyed the drive myself, and my co-pilot couldn't stop talking about the great views from her seat. There was one hairpin turn between Silverton and Ouray that was really tight I wouldn't hesitate to do it again, and I really don't like man made heights. I guess it all depends on your constitution. OBTW: I drove CA 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) from Los Angeles to Monterray in the same coach. I might not do that one again!

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Funny, I drove PCH 1 from Montery South (and that's the outside) and would do it again in a minute in either direction. Take it slow and enjoy the view. Still, no Million Dollar Highway for me.

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I drove PCH North from San Francisco to the end, with no issues. The difference was a 31 ft coach (north) vs a 40 ft coach. (south)

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I have driven the million dollar highway many times in a 40' MH as well as a 38' fifth wheel pulled by a Freightliner truck. Take your time and use common sense. It is a beautiful drive and does have numerous pull outs.

Gerald

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Yes, I believe you will be able to drive it just fine. Its really worth it! I would take it from Ouray to Silverton since this will be uphill, and you won't have to worry about your brakes as much.

If you have the time and money, take the Durango/silverton train as well.

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I am not taking my RV on the Million Dollar highway OR the Durango/Silvertion train!!! :o

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We have run it several times in our 34gasser ( no exhaust brake ) from Durango to Ouray. In October we will leave Lake City heading to Montrose on US 50 pulling a Subaru Forester behind a 40 ft DP with an exhaust brake. We will then head south on US 550 maybe stopping in Silverton for a couple of days and the on to Durango. Not bragging just stating a fact/ I am an experienced mountain runner in a tractor trailer with no incidents during a long career. My advice is to keep your speed down and pay careful attention to your task. Don't worry about the cars that may be backed up behind you. Most of them are probably enjoying the scenery. There will places where you can pull over although sometimes far between. Use your retarder to full advantage through downshifting. If you are afraid of heights take the lengthy detours, but you will miss some amazing scenery. Be sure that your slack adjusters are well greased and in good shape.

Re: Fall Scenery. Normally after about the first week in September the aspen
start to turn yellow up high, but the area seems to be getting a lot of rain again this year. That really slowed the fall colors last year when we were out there.

Hope that this helps. It is a beautiful part of the world.

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We have run it several times in our 34gasser ( no exhaust brake ) from Durango to Ouray. In October we will leave Lake City heading to Montrose on US 50 pulling a Subaru Forester behind a 40 ft DP with an exhaust brake. We will then head south on US 550 maybe stopping in Silverton for a couple of days and the on to Durango. Not bragging just stating a fact/ I am an experienced mountain runner in a tractor trailer with no incidents during a long career. My advice is to keep your speed down and pay careful attention to your task. Don't worry about the cars that may be backed up behind you. Most of them are probably enjoying the scenery. There will places where you can pull over although sometimes far between. Use your retarder to full advantage through downshifting. If you are afraid of heights take the lengthy detours, but you will miss some amazing scenery. Be sure that your slack adjusters are well greased and in good shape.

Re: Fall Scenery. Normally after about the first week in September the aspen

start to turn yellow up high, but the area seems to be getting a lot of rain again this year. That really slowed the fall colors last year when we were out there.

Hope that this helps. It is a beautiful part of the world.

I think I will travel Highway 550 in my toad and leave the heavy duty driving to old fearless and experienced pros like you.

Don

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It is not the route for everyone! I remember some steep drop offs on US 550 heading north to Silverton . My DW was very quiet in those spots. There is still a lot of beautiful scenery else where.

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I just spent 2 months in Dolores, CO. and have been up/down 550 in my Jeep Wrangler. I have not even thought about doing it in my 45' coach!

I will leave that trill to the younger folks. There are too many side roads to take and I have done most of them in the toad...that's why I'm in that area every year. Where I go, the sheep don't follow!

I forgot, you don't want to be on that road in a storm.

Carl C.

My dog Lucky

AMC Tradition 45'

Toad = Wrangler

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I will be 70 in nine more days, but I wouldn't miss the trip from Ouray to Durango with a stop in Silverton. I have seen big rides in the 2 RV parks I know of in Silverton and even a big coach at the South Mineral Camp Ground near Silverton where we enjoyed ourselves several times in our 34" gasser.

The 40 Phaeton will be even more fun.

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We did this run on CO 550 this past summer in our 40' DP pulling a 24' enclosed trailer from Durango to Silverton, and stayed in Cunningham Gulch for two weeks, and I too was worried about the million dollar highway, but one of our boondocking neighbors was from the area and told me I would have no problem with it. HE WAS RIGHT !!! Wound up taking it from Silverton to Ouray. The speed limit was only 15 mph in most places, so with MH in 1st gear with engine brake on, I only had to use the brakes a couple of times. Like the earlier post said, with a few pullouts, we were able to pull over and let the rat racers around us. Please do not be afraid to go this route, as you will miss a lot of God's beautiful scenery. From Ouray to Wally World in Montrose for OVN stay and then on to Taylor Park for two more weeks.

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