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Old 07-04-2013, 04:30 PM
 
2,264 posts, read 5,660,253 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogarven View Post
Wow! We are wimps, I guess. We are going from El Paso to Durango in one day ( done it before, not bad) and then going just to Ouray the next day. Trying not to be in a hurry over the mountain. Staying there two days. Need to find out more about the hotsprings in Ouray as I like those, great for my back an shoulders.
Sounds fun! I would have loved to spend more time there for sure. But we had already had a 10 hour drive day the day before just to get to Albuquerque, and we had another 5 hour drive the next day after we left Grand Junction. But I wanted my kids to see the Rocky mountains and that was the best way to do it!!

Can't miss Hot Springs Pool in Ouray - it's on 150. We stopped there for an hour or so before hitting the road again. I would have LOVED to stay longer, but the sun was setting and I wasn't sure how much more mountain range I had to travel and didn't want to do it in the dark.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:35 PM
 
1,051 posts, read 1,576,702 times
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I had an opportunity last Sunday to drive a 26' U haul loaded with my worldly goods down the million dollar highway on my way to Durango. When I got to Ridgway, the yellow "Attention Truckers" sign caught my eye & I chickened out. Instead I turned on to CO62, to CO145 thru Telluride, down to Dolores, then over to Mancos & finally Durango. Added about 60 miles to the trip but 4 days in that 20,000lb GVW truck just didn't make me feel confident enough to take it down that stretch of road. So I took the long way (the slightly more forgiving way anyway).
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Old 07-05-2013, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,756 posts, read 16,459,702 times
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^^^Smart man in my opinion! Why take the risk of injuring/killing yourself or another driver, especially when a reasonable, and safer alternative is readily available that adds only 60 miles to a 2000 mile drive.
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Old 07-05-2013, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,884 posts, read 7,087,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoButCounty View Post
I had an opportunity last Sunday to drive a 26' U haul loaded with my worldly goods down the million dollar highway on my way to Durango. When I got to Ridgway, the yellow "Attention Truckers" sign caught my eye & I chickened out. Instead I turned on to CO62, to CO145 thru Telluride, down to Dolores, then over to Mancos & finally Durango. Added about 60 miles to the trip but 4 days in that 20,000lb GVW truck just didn't make me feel confident enough to take it down that stretch of road. So I took the long way (the slightly more forgiving way anyway).
That's the way I'd go - in a regular car.

Last edited by Umbria; 07-05-2013 at 05:57 PM..
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Old 07-05-2013, 05:16 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,533 posts, read 29,257,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obbiemay View Post
I will be visiting in June and intend to drive the Million Dollar Highway. Which way is the safest, north or south? Also, can anyone tell me anything about highway 149. Is it scenic or should I bypass it altogether.
Even when you are driving North to South from Silverton to Durango, you are still just one lane away from 200+ foot sheer drop offs. All it takes is for some moron to lose control (don't think it doesn't happen), and he could easily take you with him on that long ride DOWN.

There is nothing even the least bit worth driving on that road for. I've been twice and that was two times too many. The ride to Farmington is much nicer, if you ask me. But then I am not impressed with mountains in the least.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:28 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,111,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoButCounty View Post
I had an opportunity last Sunday to drive a 26' U haul loaded with my worldly goods down the million dollar highway on my way to Durango. When I got to Ridgway, the yellow "Attention Truckers" sign caught my eye & I chickened out. Instead I turned on to CO62, to CO145 thru Telluride, down to Dolores, then over to Mancos & finally Durango. Added about 60 miles to the trip but 4 days in that 20,000lb GVW truck just didn't make me feel confident enough to take it down that stretch of road. So I took the long way (the slightly more forgiving way anyway).
You made a good choice. The Million Dollar Highway is not one for flatland amateurs, especially driving trucks. Now, I've been driving that highway for four decades, in everything from economy cars to trucks with big trailers--summer and winter. It is a road that I absolutely respect--it can kill the inexperienced or unwary. I constantly see idiots on that road that don't know how to gear down, can't brake properly, can't handle curves, can't safely drive in inclement weather, and a host of other mountain driving sins. Of course, such bad habits are not limited to that road, but just about any mountain highway in the Rocky Mountain West--it's just that the Million Dollar Highway can be spectacularly unforgiving of such sins.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:02 PM
 
16,181 posts, read 20,191,435 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
I disagree with those who say traveling US550 from north to south has less severe dropoffs. While the total distance without guardrails, etc. may be less, the most severe dropoffs with the least margin of error are on the southbound lane south of Ouray and north of the Riverside slide snowshed. There are places there where the edge of road (and cliff) is literally just off the right lane marker.

The hairiest single spot on US550, in my opinion, though, is in the northbound lane about a mile or so south of Red Mountain summit. The road is narrow, with a severe dropoff on a sharp left-hand curve on an uphill grade for northbound vehicles. The problem is that the road there is canted toward the edge of the cliff. If the road is snowpacked, icy, or wet, it is very easy for a northbound vehicle to slide toward the dropoff on the right side of the road. It's been that way for years and there are still some wrecked hulks of vehicles down the cliff from that spot. Why CDOT has never seen fit to fix the elevation of that curve, I don't know.

Again, I speak from experience of driving that road hundreds of times in all weather and road conditions, including numerous trips towing large equipment or livestock trailers.

How scary is the Million Dollar Highway to some flatlander drivers? Enough that, on several occasions, I've seen drivers "frozen" in the middle of the road--unable to drive another foot. A couple of times, my passenger had to get out, and drive their vehicle over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton for them.
I know that spot Jazz is referring to all too well. In 1979 I came upon a stalled Dodge RV that was starting to roll backwards at a few hundred feet at the spot jazz is referring to. It was an elderly couple from Arizona. I got ahead of them, got out, threw a couple blocks under his rear wheel, got out my tow chain and hooked him up, and pulled him a couple miles till I could safely get off the road.(I knew just the spot where I could!) Fortunately a state trooper was coming the other way, pulled a "U", and got behind us. He radioed in for a tow truck. Looking back on the reason that they stalled, I figured the carburetor wasn't adjusted to high altitude driving. It was an older camper, the old man was scared out of his mind, and couldn't thank me enough for the help.

I learned a lesson a few years previous on this road. I was visiting friends in Albuquerque and coming back over Red Mountain I burned out one of my brake drums. I was planning on doing a bunch of work on the Plymouth when I got home. I got cheap and it cost me. But I learned.

Whether you're inexperienced in high country driving or not, know your vehicle! Stay on top of your maintenance! Take your car or truck in for a safety check before a long trip.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:52 PM
 
2,264 posts, read 5,660,253 times
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Yes that road is no joke! As I said before I have a fearof heights. And a major fear of going oer overpasses...strictly due to the heights and narrowness of them. I actually started to have a mild panic attack with tunneling idiots I even thought about going oer this mountain pass. But the I told myself I was in conteol of my car, I didn't care if I was going 30 or slower....and didn't care about the fast ass cars behind me. I just kept breathing, kept a tight grip on the wheel, decided that if some idiot came into my lane that a head on was better than going off the side. I had my whole family in the car (hubby of 18 years and our kids who are 3 and 7). At the end of the trp, they felt it was worth the scariness.

I did sort of freak out when we came around a corner of a narrow part, and I saw a sign that said "lanes narrow" ahead!
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:53 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,111,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhafer View Post
....and didn't care about the fast ass cars behind me.
That made you an impediment to traffic flow and a hazard to other drivers. You should have pulled off at the first (and every available) opportunity to let faster traffic pass. That kind of discourtesy is inexcusable. Just because you could not properly drive the road, you should not penalize other drivers with your inexperience. Given your fear and inexperience, you had no business being there in the first place
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:27 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,533 posts, read 29,257,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
That made you an impediment to traffic flow and a hazard to other drivers. You should have pulled off at the first (and every available) opportunity to let faster traffic pass. That kind of discourtesy is inexcusable. Just because you could not properly drive the road, you should not penalize other drivers with your inexperience. Given your fear and inexperience, you had no business being there in the first place
Thinking back, Jazzlover, I don't recall anywhere that you can "pull off" until you get to Coal Bank Pass. There is no shame in going slow on those roads. Once in a while some hot-shot who just *has* to go 45 in a 20 mile zone goes flying happily off the side. Just because he is just too darn MACHO to go the speed limit.

20yrsinBranson
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