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HDT Roads-Less-Traveled


Dollytrolley

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Ok, we all know that the HDT can really click of those Interstate miles with ease but what about the …...Roads-Less-Traveled.......

 

With the HDT's huge brakes, Large power, Great Viewpoint, and well ya know..... is there a road that you like but have not really considered towing “in-your-lesser-truck-days”

Just like the HDT is not for everyone, likewise not all back-roads are a good fit for a HDT , However.....some roads we might have considered in our lesser-truck-days, just might be much better traveled with the HDT …....not having smoking brakes, trannys, and overheating engines are pretty much a distant memory on steep curvy roads these HDT-days...

 

Do you have a gem of a “Road” that is........well..... Less-Traveled but makes a “Interesting Trip”?

If you have a “gem-of-a-road”.... maybe jot down a few lines about the “Good” (great views) , “not-so-good” (grumpy moose in the road at MP-27) and the “Ugly” ( 35 gal. Pot-holes at MP43).

Many folks look at a HDT and wonder how “restrictive” our travels must be......but if we think about it the HDT just might open up roads that “lesser-trucks” might be better Not-traveled......

Here is a example of one of our many “less-traveled-roads”......

State: California

Road: Kelbaker Rd

Route: North / South interconnect from I-15 (North at Baker, CA) to I-40 (South “near” Laidlaw, CA)

Good: Almost no traffic, great views, perfect desert enviro, Great old train depot.

Not-so-good: Nothing comes to mind

Ugly: A few miles of the route just North of the Kelso train depot has rough pavement, we slow to about 30 mph.....(we ARE retired)...

Great: Almost all of the route is within the Mojave National Preserve ….stunning!!

A great mid-point stop is the “jewel” of the trip, is the Kelso Train Depot AND it has great HDT parking!!

 

Originally opened in 1924 as a train station, Kelso Depot was renovated and reopened in 2005 as the Visitor Center for Mojave National Preserve. Former dormitory rooms contain exhibits describing the cultural and natural history of the surrounding desert. The baggage room, ticket office, and two dormitory rooms have been historically furnished to illustrate life in the depot in the first half of the twentieth century. A 20-minute orientation film is shown in the theater.

Downstaors. the Desert Light Gallery features rotating fine art collections by local artists, focusing on the cultural history and natural splendors of Mojave national Preserve. Click here for information on the current exhibition.

 

Happy travels,

Dollytrolley

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Sibernut,

 

Right on.....LOL.....

 

What's really funny to go along with your "hell" comment is that one of the areas just East of this rout is named "Devils Playground"....who knows that might be the bottom of the "bucket-list"........ LOL

 

EDIT: On my original post I did not mention that just South of Kelso Depot is a long relentless grade for several miles that is pretty taxing for lesser-trucks but a HDT will likely not notice the "hill"......

 

Cheers,

 

Dollytrolley

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Yes lived in Bristol years ago, that route is only fun on a motorcycle. We visit Alaska last summer, the top of the world highway is the worst road for us in three years, no pavement only rain, mud and Dam cold. Not for every body. It took us 7 hours to go the 110 miles from Dawson city to Chicken and about 200# of mud.

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Sailor,

 

Indeed, Alaska really has the sticky mud recipe perfected....

 

We used to have anfib-floatplane and some days we would land in a mud hole (on wheels) and then take-off retract the wheels go land on a lake then lower the wheels to try to wash the mud off but often some still stayed in the gear wells.

 

Happy truck washing,

 

Dollytrolley

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I think the pictures here are accurate, at least they are tagged with the correct locations.

 

 

US 12 Lolo pass, Lewiston ID to Missoula MT Beautiful drive, fishing accesses and several RV parks last time we were through several years back. Still recall the sign at the top.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Lolo+Pass+Visitor+Center+%26+Ranger+Station/@46.3031946,-115.3984415,8z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x535e8aebd97faa7b:0xa93f82622dc67e

 

110802-7002winding-road-sign-lolo-pass-i

 

 

 

 

US 95 Idaho from Wieser (just off I84) to the Canada border and maybe beyond. Neat small towns, fishing, camping.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/44.206024,-116.930508/48.9837184,-116.177184/@46.9412293,-115.7159651,601324m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

White-Bird.jpg

 

 

 

Ellensburg canyon, Hwy 821 (Canyon Road) from Yakima to Ellensberg WA, river access, free camping, hiking.

 

http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/site_info.php?siteid=265

 

KE110136.jpg

 

 

 

Zion to Capital Reef via US-89 and Utah-24

 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Zion+National+Park,+Utah/38.308432,-111.295843/@37.764371,-112.2610422,189424m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!4m7!1m5!1m1!1s0x80caead08844f8d9:0x7c2e3a15aa3656f5!2m2!1d-113.026298!2d37.298168!1m0

 

APPROACHINGCOLORADORIVERBRIDGE-vi.jpg

 

 

US 2 across northern Washington state, 20 is nice too.

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I drove it the first time in my Ford Excursion, pulling a 29ft bumper pull travel trailer. On that occasion I saw two stretches where the fog line disappeared, the road having crumbled and taken the little painted line down the mountain with it. While I would love to drive it again, I am not sure I would with my HDT.

US 550, the "Million Dollar Highway", runs from Durango, Colorado through Silverton and on to Ouray (if you didn't know) and is absolutely beautiful. There are no guard rails, much of the roadway has a 20MPH speed limit and there are numerous switch-backs and hairpin turns. Other than that, it is a great road.

 

620-million-dollar-highway-colorado-thri

 

f8e2deb4ad6efb45d45b0ef4730169c0.jpg

 

c73334735148e7221b284dfa05b9067b.jpg

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Great topic! Thanks DollyTrolley! We are in the SW this spring so your Mojave route might make a great detour for us. I hope more suggestions are posted.

 

Stanley, The route listed above has the most western part of the route left off of Google Maps. Is the entire Zion park road passable with HDT+fifth wheel? Some of those switchbacks near the East Temple look pretty tight, but it sometimes difficult to tell from GoogleMaps. We plan to travel that way next month and I want to be safe.

Also, thanks for the other great drives you listed. We took the rig down US 12 in OR last fall and thought it was spectacular! We even got a photo of the road sign in your picture!

 

Phil, Beautiful pictures, but I'm not sure I'll be taking any routing advice from you.

 

Here is one that most probably already know about. When driving to Glacier NP from the West, exit at St Regis and take HWYs 135 > 290 > 28. HWY 135 is the best part of that drive. I (Susan) drove most of this route and the only problem I encountered was not being able to grab the camera.
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/47.2975947,-115.0990134/47.8341316,-114.3482071/@47.471945,-114.8569807,11z/data=!4m9!4m8!1m5!3m4!1m2!1d-114.831899!2d47.4999315!3s0x53674c89835de4e5:0x502b5f6057fc46eb!1m0!3e0?hl=en

 

Another one we liked: In WY we drove through Wind Canyon on our way to Yellowstone. It was a short drive, but worth the detour. Drives like this make me wish we could put the top down on the 770. Do they make convertible versions of HDT?

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/43.646169,-108.2127275/43.23688,-108.1104866/@43.3750884,-108.1303548,10z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0?hl=en

 

Can't wait to try more "Less Traveled Roads" as we traverse this great country!

 

~Susan

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I drove it the first time in my Ford Excursion, pulling a 29ft bumper pull travel trailer. On that occasion I saw two stretches where the fog line disappeared, the road having crumbled and taken the little painted line down the mountain with it. While I would love to drive it again, I am not sure I would with my HDT.

US 550, the "Million Dollar Highway", runs from Durango, Colorado through Silverton and on to Ouray (if you didn't know) and is absolutely beautiful. There are no guard rails, much of the roadway has a 20MPH speed limit and there are numerous switch-backs and hairpin turns. Other than that, it is a great road.

I've driven that road many times. Usually in my Jeep. But it can be done in a bobtail HDT without an issue. Note - semi trailers travel that road every day. But they DO cross the lines. I'd do it in my trailer if I HAD TO. But otherwise I'd go around.

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Last time we took the rig from Montrose to Durango, we went by way of Telluride/Dolores. Phil's right, CO550 is a great road, on a motorcycle. One curve just out of Ouray is marked 10 mph. I went around it at 15 mph and was scraping the peg, on a sport bike.

 

And Stanley, you just added some more roads to my motorcycle wish list.

 

One road you'll never have to worry about towing a 5er is Bear Tooth Pass, running from Lamar Valley in Yellowstone, to Red Lodge, MT. I think the length limit is posted at about 26'.

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In the 4 million miles I have done since 1976 in 48 and all of Canada, there are too many cool places to mention. It is more a state of mind than anything else. It just comes together, beautiful weather, maybe meeting someone over breakfast at some cafe somewhere and being thankful that I have the health, time and desire to just stop and enjoy.

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Susan, the switchbacks leading up to the tunnel are not a problem but the tunnel restrictions may be an issue for a motorhome, HDT or anything pulling a trailer. We dropped our fiver here to get into the park. The trip east from the campground above Zion to Bryce or Capital Reef are easy drives pulling a fiver with a big truck.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.2364943,-112.8549128,394m/data=!3m1!1e3

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Stanley, The route listed above has the most western part of the route left off of Google Maps. Is the entire Zion park road passable with HDT+fifth wheel? Some of those switchbacks near the East Temple look pretty tight, but it sometimes difficult to tell from GoogleMaps. We plan to travel that way next month and I want to be safe.

 

Susan,

 

What you're referring to there is the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel. You'd definitely have to have an escort if you could go at all--http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/the-zion-mount-carmel-tunnel.htm. But if you're in the area, definitely drive through on the scooters! The views from the tunnel are incredible (I know that sounds strange...). Angel's Landing in Zion is one of my favorite hikes.

 

If you're going to be in that area, and really want to get off the beaten path, here's another one to consider. It's unpaved, but in good shape (30mph would be no problem on a good bit of it)--just don't try it if it's raining or might rain nearby. Grosvenor Arch is a neat point of interest along the way (look close and you'll see a couple of guys on top!).

10-Jun-StudentUtah%2B239.jpg

10-Jun-StudentUtah%20253.jpg

 

 

And if you want a challenge, you could always take the Moki Dugway (it's always good when a road feature gets a name!) between Natural Bridges and Monument Valley (Utah Route 261). It'd be easily passable with the truck (it was built for trucks hauling uranium from a nearby mine in the 1950s). Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5mdW2Uro9A. If you're over near Natural Bridges, even if you don't drive down the grade, go to the top (from the north) for some impressive views.

mokee1.jpg

 

And along US550, not too far north of Durango (before all the stuff Phil posted) is a campground at Haviland Lake:

07Oct7-%252520016.jpg

Columbus Day weekend we weekend we were the only ones there.

 

I'm sure I'll think of more, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what else shows up.

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Jeff ,

Great thoughts to ponder.

 

Early one morning at a little cafe in the far north coast of California we started chatting with a old local truck driver and we mentioned that we had a few days to kill.......The old geezer said well then take "little detour" down the "lost coast" road and at the end of the day you'll likely arrive in Shelter Cove. I ask, "how good is the road" and he laughed "heck it's almost a freeway in places"......then he smiled and said he hauled 65 ft power poles out of the forest for years......(the road was fair.....but hauling 65ft poles would be real work on that road).

 

Well it did take all day to get to Shelter Cove and every mile was breathtaking and we had miles of black-sand beaches ALL to ourselves..... As I recall we met only two pickups all day long.........indeed the Lost Coast.......

 

Look up Shelter Cove on the North Cal coast then look real close for the very faint grey lined road up the Lost Coast....what a ride.....

 

Cheers,

 

Dollytrolley

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Another one we liked: In WY we drove through Wind Canyon on our way to Yellowstone. It was a short drive, but worth the detour. Drives like this make me wish we could put the top down on the 770. Do they make convertible versions of HDT?

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/43.646169,-108.2127275/43.23688,-108.1104866/@43.3750884,-108.1303548,10z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0?hl=en

 

Can't wait to try more "Less Traveled Roads" as we traverse this great country!

 

~Susan

Alicia and I always enjoy the ride thru Wind Canyon as well. Traveling south bound the canyon is narrow enough that you lose site of the horizon and it feels as if the river below is flowing uphill.

 

This past summer we came out the North East Gate of Yellowstone (Cooke City) and took the Chief Joseph Highway to Cody on our way for a brief visit with TreyandSusan then south on our way home. Always a nice ride. First time in the HDT and no problems. Section with switchbacks and hairpin turns. Still enjoyed it very much.

 

We also enjoy Sylvan Pass (East Gate - Yellowstone - via Cody). Up or Down. Done it multiple times in both P/U & HDT. Seems like there is always somebody at the top of the pass spewing smoke/steam from under the hood. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. Downhill with the jake and proper gear selection and you will never touch the service brakes, just enjoy the view.

 

Have also done the climb to Priest Station (between Moccasin & GroveLand CA. - West of Yosemite NP). Another one where the trailer will cross the line in some of the corners but very pretty drive. Trucks do it all the time. Most traffic, especially when they see the larger vehicles starting the climb/decent will take Old Priest Grade. No trailers allowed. So traffic has never been an issue the two times we have done it.

 

Been years since I have done the Million Dollar Highway. Have only done it in a car. Never with truck (P/U or HDT) and trailer but would not hesitate. I think Priest Station would be worse.

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US Route 191 - Arizona (The Devils Highway) Clifton / Springerville

This is where the "Dark Side" really starts to shine.........do a little homework .......find the "sweet-spot" to park the HDT and then unload the Harley, Smart , Jeep or......... and get ready to "twist and turn".

 

U S Highway Adm lists the 100 miles of this route as perhaps one of the most "curve / elevation challenged" highways in N. America.

 

One of the things that sets the devils highway apart from most mountain highways is that this road climbs up, up, up to the top of the mountain range (well above 9,000ft) and then it wiggles along the TOP of the mountain range so..... yes children some sections have drop-offs on both side of the road! Several sections of the road have curves rated at 10 MPH for 6 miles back to back so wear those Nomex driving gloves to keep your handle bars from catching fire....

 

As I recall the main section of the road is limited to total length of 45 ft and bobtailing the HDT would be a real wheel-twister however at the North (Springerville) end of the road many very nice places will provide world places to bed-down the HDT for the day-trip-ride on the Devil.

 

We used to drive the Devil with a company F250 non-turbo and even empty it was pretty breathless at sustained elevations above 9K but most HDT-Toys have power to spare so should be a pure joy to travel the Devil.

 

Having a bit of a engineering background I tend to look at curve speed limit signs and assume that they are based on some spec but after having the wife yell "slow down, I want to shoot more pictures" and then I look at the speedo and it says 8 MPH I guess the geek that put the 10 MPH sign up never factored in the photo-shooting-factor......

 

Obviously this road is not a full-up-HDT-5er travel route but as Stanley, Trey, Susan and others have said it is a huge pile of fun to use the HDT to stage at the gate of the attraction and then hop on the toad and let the good times roll.......

 

Cheers,

 

Dollytrolley

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If too many hair-pin turns are getting you down maybe the "Winnemucca to the Sea Highway" (Nevada SR 140 / Oregon SR 140) might be a road to consider.....

 

For the most part SR140 between Winnemucca NV to Lakeview Oregon is comprised of Long straight sections (+20 miles) with curvy sections over some of the higher elevation mountains but for the most part this road is a cruise-control-queen.......

 

Oregon Dept of Trans calls the SW section of Oregon the"Oregon Outback" after more than a few Aussie-Visitors told officials that it reminded them of the Aussi-Outback but perhaps Ore-Outback a bit more remote.......this is not really true the is only one section of the 211 mile route that has 179 miles between fuel stops ( half-fuel HDT No Prob).

 

The wide open expanses with almost NO traffic makes this drive a pure joy, The highway is fairly smooth and very nice overall for a secondary highway.

 

Some of the largest wild horse herds in the world reside along this route but do seldom do the horses become road hazard and often the horses are hard to see unless they are up at the skyline of the hills.

 

SR crosses the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, and this portion of the highway can be stunning BUT be aware that the Pronghorn Antelope

tend to be like LA freeway drivers.... they like to race-up along side you ......and then cut-in-front of you so........ if you find a Antelope along side you it's better let him win the race rather than see how close he can pass.....

 

Once you arrive at Lakeview or Winnemucca you have several routes of US395 or I-80 to travel to wherever you desire.....

 

Happy travels,

 

Dollytrolley

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People, I love this post. Those kinda places are the fun spots. But I do want to remind all of you that our HDT's have one major downside on this kinda road. I was warned (wisely) about taking an air brake vehicle up places like Pikes Peak. The problem is coming down. We got great brakes---until the air runs out. Repeated activation of air brakes on steep winding roads can result in using up your air faster then the compressor can fill the tanks. Then you have one of two scenarios...a runaway or all the emergency brakes lock up. Just BE AWARE and watch the air gauge--if necessary, pull off and stop until the air recharges.

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People, I love this post. Those kinda places are the fun spots. But I do want to remind all of you that our HDT's have one major downside on this kinda road. I was warned (wisely) about taking an air brake vehicle up places like Pikes Peak. The problem is coming down. We got great brakes---until the air runs out. Repeated activation of air brakes on steep winding roads can result in using up your air faster then the compressor can fill the tanks. Then you have one of two scenarios...a runaway or all the emergency brakes lock up. Just BE AWARE and watch the air gauge--if necessary, pull off and stop until the air recharges.

Low gears and a good "jake" brake solves that issue. There is no scenario I can imagine on Pikes Peak that would result in a runaway truck (bobtail) if driven appropriately to the situation. Now, if you are racing DOWN the hill, OK, maybe. Because then you would not be using gears and jake.

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