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Colorado roads


amxguy

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anyone driven on Hwy 550 out of Durango or Hwy 145 out of Cortez pulling a fifth wheel. I'll be in that area & wondered about roads since I will be wanting to go to Montrose. I do not want to go I-25 & Hwy 50 if I don't have to.

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Both roads are doable but different. I use 550 in my MH/toad or my 5th wheel, but many others avoid it due ro Red Mountain Pass between Ouray & Silverton. US 550 is mostly 3 & 4 lanes of good road but the section between Ouray & Silverton has some severe exposure, 1000 ft drop off with no guard rail, & lots of twisty turns going up/down the Red Mtn Pass section. If you have little or no experience driving steep/narrow mountain roads, it may be best to use the alternate.

Co 145 via Telluride & 62 to Ridgway is a beautiful drive except in winter. Its mostly 2 lane road and still goes up & over the mountains, but not as steep and without the severe exposure of Red Mtn Pass. 145/62 is the preferred alt for those who like to avoid Red Mtn Pass.

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We've driven both highways with our 40' MH but we're used to mountain roads. You might want to do 145 pulling the trailer but, for sure, once you get to Montrose, do take a day trip on 550 down to Silverton. It's awesome and Silverton is a full little mining town.

 

I would also recommend that you purchase the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers". It comes in both western states and eastern states. We use it all the time. It give you mile by mile on what to expect.

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With limited mountain experience, take the 145/62 route. It is much easier than the 550 route.

 

However neither of the routes have "narrow" roads. Both are standard width roads, just like you find in open level country. The difference is the drop offs w/o guard rails and steep roads. This make everyone nervous and if you loose control, that is not good.

 

The most important thing to remember about going DOWN the mountain is go SLOW and gear down. Let the engine do as much braking as possible.

 

When you start down, a steep slope say about 6%-7%, try starting off at 30-35mph. When the speed increases by 10-15mph push hard on the brakes getting your speed back to your starting speed in less than 10 seconds of braking. If you speed goes back up by 10-15mph in less that 30 seconds to 1 minute you are probably going to fast in too high a gear. Go to a lower gear and slow down. The ideal driving situation is to go down a 7% or greater grade without touching your brakes unless you need to slow down for a curve. Slow and low gear is the way to go. When you see 18 wheelers going down a steep winding mountain road, they seldom use the brakes. Yes they have good Jake brakes, but when you go by them, you just hear the engine at close to red line and they are going slow.

 

Going up, gear down, keep your RPM's up and watch the temperature gauge.

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I live in Ridgway, 30 minutes South of Montrose. As others said I'd stick with 145. Lizard Head Pass is a beautiful drive as well as Dallas Divide coming into Ridgway. However once you get to Montrose make sure you day trip over Red Moutain Pass!

Not sure if your a beer fan but lot's of good breweries in this area.

Delores River Brewing

Telluride Brewing

Colorado Boy (Ridgway)

Ouray Brewery

2 Rascals Brewery (Montrose)

Enjoy,

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