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rvdog

Driving through Colorado and Utah Questions

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We are considering a trip from New England to some of the national parks in Utah and are in the early stages of planning.

We have a 36' MH on a gas (Workhorse) chassis.

What can we expect traveling through Colorado on I-70, as far as crossing the terrain? Are the mountains navigable in this RV?

Similarly to get from the Moab, UT area to, say Zion, how easy/difficult is the driving through the southern portion of the state? Or do you have to stick to the interstates?

Thanks.

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Coming across Colorado on I-70 you will have one high pass just west of Denver. Motorhomes travel it all the time. Just expect that you will be shifting down and not going very fast on the up hill leg. As for going from Moab to Zion----there is no straight line. Don't know how much time you've got. The quick way would be to go back to I-70 to I-15 and south to Highway 9 north of St. George. Another route would be two lane but interesting. South from Moab on 191 to 163. If you have the time visit Monument Valley. Go across northern Arizona on 160 and then north on 89. Continue on 89 to Kanab, UT. Choices at Kanab---back south on Alternate 89 to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Continue on 89 to east entrance to Zion. This will require you to go thru the tunnel. There is a charge for motorhomes and you are held because for a motorhome it is a one way road and they only allow motorhomes at certain times.. You keep to the center. Doable and interesting. Another option is to come south out of Kanab on Alternate 89 to 389/69 at Hurricane, UT. From there to the west entrance. Check RV parks in Springdale or in the National Park.

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I am going to refer you to a discussion from several months ago. I have an entry in answer to a similar question. I have suggested one route through southern Utah and given some campgrounds you may be interested in. There are entries from others in this thread as well. Go to Western Trip to National Parks in Utah.

Regarding the travel through Colorado, I-70 west of Denver (5280 feet elevation) is quite a long and steep grade up to the Eisenhower Tunnel at 12,2xx feet elevation. It can be done, we have done it. Generally when traveling west we prefer to take I-80 through Wyoming. There are no extreme high elevations (8,xxx), no tunnels and generally much less steep grades. If however you find the distance too great taking this route, you should be able to do the drive I-70 through western Colorado. Be sure your radiator is topped off and take it slow and easy on the climb.

There is a southern route across Colorado on US 160 that is interesting and brings you into Utah south of Moab. You'll see 10,xxx feet elevations on a two lane road. Just another suggestion.

We have driven all these routes and enjoy them all. Have a great trip.

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Guest BillAdams

No one in a motor home should fear any kind of a grade on any Interstate Highway. It's simply not an issue. The roads are designed to accommodate every vehicle type and your RV is really nothing special in that regard. You will gear down and use the truck lane if necessary. Take your time (what's your rush anyway!) going up and going back down and you will get there in plenty of time for cocktails!

Enjoy the trip. If you do take the I-70 route be sure to leave time for a stop in Golden, CO and stay at the city park there while you visit the Coors factory. After you get across the big pass East of Denver you will find Glenwood Springs where you will want to stay at the campground there at the exit called No Name so you can visit the Hot Springs in Glenwood. All things Moab are excellent including Canyonland and Arches. From there your choices are nearly unlimited. Turning South you can visit Cortez, CO for the cliff dwellings, Canyon De Chelly, and 4 corners (tourist trap but a great photo op). Which way would you like to go or will you be heading back from there?

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I live in Colorado and have gone over the passes (there are several) on I-70. Don't worry about them. The scenery is beautiful and just today, I saw a herd of bighorn sheep grazing on the side of the highway outside of Vail.

With your gas engine, expect to climb the passes at about 35 mph in places so keep this speed in mind as you plan the trip. When you get to any of the downgrades on the opposite sides, be sure to down shift so you are going about the same speed you were going up the pass, without having to hit your brakes frequently. If you have an exhaust brake, retarder or other supplemental braking system, use it!

The advise about stops along the way from the previous posters are good suggestions. You might not think of a highway as being beautiful, but the highway they built through Glenwood Canyon is absolutely stunning, as well as the canyon itself.

Enjoy your trip, and feel free to ask more questions if any pop up.

Chris Guenther

1989 33' Southwind (gas 454 Chevy engine)

F3508-S

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Thanks for all your suggestions. We're looking forward to the trip west.

35 MPH on I-70? That would be "wicked fast" compared to what we experienced going across Wyoming to Grand Teton NP a couple of years ago!

We're not sure which route we'll take back to New England; haven't gotten that far in our planning.

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Guest BillAdams

Make the trip. Have a great time. Take lots of pictures and tell us all about it when you are done (or even better, while you are doing it).

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