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Old 06-29-2015, 11:42 AM
 
4 posts, read 2,886 times
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Some background......

Taking a family trip later this week from Los Angeles area to Colorad Springs.

Details:
Driving a '12 GL350 (diesel) pulling a small pickup. On the way back we will not be pulling anything. We have the car full (all 7 passengers). Leaving Friday morning as early as possible (around 1 or 2AM PST, or really late Thur around 10/11PM PST). I have 2 routes planned, but want to take the most fuel efficient there and enjoyable back!

(all data from Google Maps/Google Earth)
Route 1:
15N to 70E ~15.30hours 1,072miles. But getting closer to Colorado it looks like I will have to go through the Rockies. We have been checking the weather and it looks like there have been a good amount of thunder storms and consistent rain through the week.

Route 2:
40E to 25N to 85N ~15.5hours 1,125miles. But it looks like I will have more frequent elevation in AZ and NM. but maybe an easier run once I hit the 85N.

Any advice on which route makes the most sense, considering I'm pulling? I have 2 maybe 3 drivers so we plan on doing either 5 or 8 hour shifts on the way up. We would like to make it there the same day.

I did search the forum first for any similar posts but didn't find anything (might be using the wrong keywords though).

I appreciate any help, or questions for more info.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:52 AM
 
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Scenery will be much nicer on the I-70 route. Storms are mainly an afternoon thing but they occur most days this time of year.

If you do take the I-40 route, consider stopping in Williams, AZ to eat at the Pine Country Restaurant, just a mile of the highway. They have amazing food and at least 25 types of home baked pies every day; worth the stop.
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Old 06-29-2015, 12:44 PM
 
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Mike thanks for the reply. Pulling the truck though, which do you think would be the "easiest" my thought is the 70 but not sure when I hit the Rockies to go through.

I initially though the 40, but looking on Google Earth it has a lot more terrain to go up/down through.
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:04 PM
 
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I think I-40 is the easier route, IMO less mountainous.

IIRC the only serious mountain pass is Raton in northern NM near the CO border and it's well lesser of a summit than those on the I-70 route.

Here's a thread that is a proxy for the drive you'll be making and it has a lot of good thoughts in it.
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:21 PM
 
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Thanks again for the quick response. It's funny how the recommendations bounce between both routes as safe and dangerous. It does look like the 40 will be easier there and the 70 home!

I appreciate the support and direction.
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:45 PM
 
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Not sure the quoted thread mentioned it, but most engines lose X% of their power with every thousand feet of elevation gain.

IIRC only engines with a turbo can keep their power at elevations which makes the I-40 route a better choice.

I-70 is very heavily traveled all year long, especially weekends. The other route is busy but it's not nutzo traffic.
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:50 PM
 
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Agree with Mike, the I40 route is "easier" though longer. I typically prefer the longer, flatter I-40 route when pulling a trailer/truck/etc and the I-70 route when not pulling anything. Just drive "safely" in any event and enjoy the trip.
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:06 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
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As others have said, your best bet is to take the south route to COS, and the north route on return. While Raton Pass on I-25 is a 6% grade, IIRC it is fairly short. The 6% grade on the west side of I-70's Eisenhower Tunnel is way longer, and you have the 7% grade of Vail Pass also. Going westbound the challenge will be to stay off the brakes, use a lower gear while descending.

Also this way you avoid the Floyd Hill descent coming into Denver eastbound, which has "runaway truck" ramps due to long steep descent.

https://www.codot.gov/travel/maximum...in-passes.html
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Old 06-30-2015, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Avondale, AZ
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I-40 is definitely easier, although a bit longer mileage wise. You can usually maintain a higher average speed though. I like the idea of the southern route out and I-70 return. Without the tow vehicle I-70 is fantastic this time of year.
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:37 PM
 
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I-40 is definitely easier but I haven't driven thru SoCal and Arizona in a while. I was in New Mexico last fall and Raton Pass is the only concern for hauling anything. Glenwood Springs had some recent rock slides from all the rain and I have driven Vail Pass in the snow on a motorcycle in July.

Another thing to consider is all the construction on I-70 and there is a lot of it right now.
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