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Old 01-12-2012, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Arlington, Va
236 posts, read 363,007 times
Reputation: 132

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The more I think of this the more I think a "no-plans" plan is not a very good idea. My daughter took a road trip to western Colorado with some friends last May. She was the only one from CO and apparently the only one who had any experience with mountain driving, etc. She called it "the trip from h***". The guy who was driving would not listen to any of her suggestions (now I realize this is her side of it; he may be referring to her as 'that red-headed b****'!), but the GPS took them to a road that was closed due to snow. This was May, mind you. They had to backtrack and drive to Grand Junction, then drive back to the metro area. My recommendation is to take a map as well as GPS. You never know when you're going to have to find an alternate route. (It was DD who recommended going to GJ and getting on I-70.) Make a *few* plans, anyway. Bring plenty of supplies. One thing that came up on that trip was that it would be time to eat, and the driver would decide to go on to the next town, to make a few more miles. Well, sometimes the next town with a restaurant was 2 hrs away. Be forewarned.
when in Rome... (drive as others do) I am paying heed to the warning and I am sure I don't know half of what to expect. If I stay no further than 30miles west of I25 I should not get into any potentially bad situations? I am using google earth and I see that once one gets west of I25 weather ect may be alot worse. Such a bad time of the year I know it
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:42 PM
 
1,657 posts, read 2,177,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Artifact View Post
I am actually good for 14.hrs 16.hrs would be pushing it but I think I could make it to St Louis in a day even on RT50, I like to drive anyway I am using Latitude from Winchester Va it's on the 39th parallel and from Dulles Airport where the car is I would have to travel roughly 2.hrs north to catch 70W just to head back down SW to the 39th parallel near St Louis.

I should have been a truck driver I think... hopefully I will have enough time to see the north and south if I stay not far from the I25. It is a big state... how many hrs roughly from state line to line on I25?
Our son did the drive in a truck pulling their Ford Explorer behind him when they relocated from near Dulles Airport to Colorado Springs. With that load he made it to just the east side of St. Louis, in Illinois, the first night. He may have made it in to the Springs late the next night but due to his load, not to mention needing to pick up keys to a house, he put in just at the Colorado/Kansas border. Given what you are doing, IF weather cooperates you can do it in two long days. Be warned though, he claimed the drive, all 400+ miles through Kansas was the worst, most boring he could imagine.

One piece of advice on your east end start, if you are heading to I-70, go north of Dulles to Leesburg and pick up on 15 to Frederick to get I-70 but then cut across Maryland on I-68 to Morgantown and then north on 79 till you pick up 70 again. Avoid all the Penn Trnpk that way, but even out here, watch the weather as 68 can be messy in snow. Don't laugh Colorado folks, I know it doesn't compare.

Hope the weather cooperates so you can do 50 through Colorado. We live just off of it out here, have often seen the beginning of it in Ocean City, Md and had the fun of driving it through Monarch Pass, in AUGUST. Sort of neat realizing it's the same road. Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:44 PM
Status: "Fall is here!" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
81,346 posts, read 90,859,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Artifact View Post
when in Rome... (drive as others do) I am paying heed to the warning and I am sure I don't know half of what to expect. If I stay no further than 30miles west of I25 I should not get into any potentially bad situations? I am using google earth and I see that once one gets west of I25 weather ect may be alot worse. Such a bad time of the year I know it
30 mi. west of I-25 should be OK, except in a major snowstorm. However, that will barely take you to the foothills. You will not be able to go to RMNP by that criteria.
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:08 PM
 
9,809 posts, read 17,921,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Artifact View Post
when in Rome... (drive as others do) I am paying heed to the warning and I am sure I don't know half of what to expect. If I stay no further than 30miles west of I25 I should not get into any potentially bad situations? I am using google earth and I see that once one gets west of I25 weather ect may be alot worse. Such a bad time of the year I know it
Essentially you have to be prepared to plan ahead and adapt to rapidly changing conditions in the mountains. You can be on one side of the mountain and it will be sunny and the other side will be a raging snowstorm.

It's been a winter light on snow, but you always have to think once you are in the mountains, anything can and does happen. Temps can drop down to -30 in certain places, high wind can hit, ice and snow can coat roads.

Anytime I was off of I-70 or I-25(and even then sometimes), I always carried food and water, thick gloves, durable ski jacket, fleece, hat, small shovel, flashlight, spare batteries, charged cell phone, blanket, spare tire, tools, hot hands hand warmers, washer fluid, etc.

Rural Colorado is not disneyland, so driving around in winter, you have to treat it with respect. It's not like the populated areas back east with predictable weather and plenty of civilization around.

Also 2 lane mountain roads can be tricky with shaded icy areas around corners, no shoulders, lack of guardrails, lack of vision around tight corners, rocks on the road, optical illusions on snowy days, bright sunlight more intense than what you are used to, slow traffic, people driving too fast, lack of reflective markers, etc.
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:09 PM
 
2,279 posts, read 2,831,767 times
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Default She is adorable!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Artifact View Post
excellent! and thank you... No I didn't get woofie her wet gear yet and thanks for the reminder. Been scrambling to batten down the hatches here before I roll out.

Laika can't stand much cold
Laika is adorable! Once you get her hiking boots you might want to make sure you and your girlfriend have some that are good for hiking in snow and ice. I like Ecco as they have a soft rubber sole which I find does a good job gripping on the snow and ice. The key is to have something, warm waterproof and with a soft rubber sole.
ECCO 'Track II High' Boot | Nordstrom

and these from GoLite Pak Lite

Amazon.com: GoLite Men's Pak Lite Hiking Boot: Shoes

Between the two the Ecco is probably the better choice. I've had both and am currently using the GoLite but I don't hike as much as I used to.

I think you should attempt to go up in the mountains along your route if the weather is favorable. As others have said going west on 70 is a spectacular drive. It is a well maintained road and the only caution is to not actually be driving on it during a storm. Otherwise it is quickly cleaned up and very passable.

Staying on I-25 will have you missing alot of what is great about the state. However when you get to CO spend a few days exploring some of the things similar in area to the links I sent which will allow your body to adjust to the altitude. Then when good weather is predicted head on up into the mountains. Not following your GPS. :-)

There are a couple of fallacies that people (mostly men) believe about GPSs. That if they show a road that means it is passable without big muddy ditches, trees down or rocks in the path. Not true. If they show a road that means it is open. Not true. That if they show a road that means there will be some place along the way to turn around. Not true. Always ask someone who is familiar with the area about the advisability of going on a route and what the current road conditions are if your going off the main roadways.
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:33 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,480,883 times
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Wink Flatirons & other aspects

To begin with, if wishing a direct route, you may get some mountain driving in from the outset from Winchester, VA. A more direct, if winding route might pass through Elkins, WV on the way to intersecting I-79, thence I-64 on into St. Louis.

It is about 3 hours from the Kansas state line via I-70 into Denver, assuming decent conditions. But notice from the map how I-70 takes a decided swing northwest at Limon towards Denver. If wishing to intersect US 50, a more direct route would be to take US 24 from Limon southwest to Colorado Springs. Denver and its region might perhaps be included later on return.

Pueblo isn't exactly situated along the front range, if in a line of more major towns running north to south from Fort Collins to Trinidad, near the New Mexico border. Trinidad is too far south, and too small, to be considered along the front range in but only the widest of technical terms, or wildest flight of imagination of the tourist commission. But Pueblo more nearly qualifies as being only shortly south of Colorado Springs on I-25, if not exactly as the mountains veer to the west towards Cañon City from Colorado Springs. So Pueblo is left high and dry in the same direct line south, but with its mountains well off in the far distance west.

Anywhere else north of there you'll have no problem finding the mountains, as distinctly present not far west of I-25. In the slight divide between Colorado Springs and Denver you'll even be in them, but more usually through the flats of city and suburbs. Therefore if only concerned with mountain driving, a clear demarcation of where that will begin to happen. Although in inclement conditions some of the nastiest conditions possibly even on the interstates through Denver or some other city, and quite possibly no picnic at all out east on the plains.

By the way, the Flatirons are a series of distinctive rock formations which form a good part of the mountain rising up directly behind Boulder. If visiting that fair town, then with a good view of them. A closer appraisal can be had by driving Baseline west up through town to where it begins to wind up Flagstaff mountain and through aspects of these colorful red rocks. The Flagstaff restaurant with its superlative views of Boulder below is not even halfway up that mountain, with near the top a city park which affords magnificent views of the front range mountains to the west, and to the east down out across Boulder and the plains beyond. Or another fine alternative is to drive into south Boulder along US 36, to turn right on Table Mesa Drive, winding up it to public parking at the quite distinctive NCAR buildings. Up front and quite close are the Flatirons.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
12,075 posts, read 20,991,456 times
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Driving all the way out to Colorado, to see Colorado, and only staying within 30 miles of I-25, isn't really seeing Colorado.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Arlington, Va
236 posts, read 363,007 times
Reputation: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
30 mi. west of I-25 should be OK, except in a major snowstorm. However, that will barely take you to the foothills. You will not be able to go to RMNP by that criteria.
true and I am realizing this now, when I was posting I was looking at google earth and I don't think I was zoomed in far enough Staying within 30 miles to the west I25 is not going to cut it for me... I really like RMNP and I have been reading on their site most of the evening, Wendy has been reading on the Great Sand Dunes NP which is very unique.

The 2+ hours it will take me to get upto I70 north of Dulles Airport will probably be that extra time it takes on 50W going through some of the small towns, that time can be wasted on 50W. When I leave I am heading west along the 39th parallel for sure and if I notice it is too slow I will just redirect north to I70. I do have my heart set on 50W since I have not been too far past Romney WV, and living off of 50 all my life I have just taken in too much of the lore and history.

The suggestions and tips everyone is providing has given me a crash course on Colorado which was surely needed. I knew I was coming maybe not even a week before I posted so all the information here is very valuable to our safety.

EDIT: we are taking a 4X4 from Dulles instead of switching up when we get close... we may encounter bad weather coming across the plains and it will save some money (/air miles) since it will not be a one-way rental.

Last edited by Cosmic Artifact; 01-13-2012 at 08:21 AM..
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,527 posts, read 8,242,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
but the GPS took them to a road that was closed due to snow.
Recall the tragedy in Oregon a few years ago ...

Quote:
This was May, mind you. They had to backtrack and drive to Grand Junction, then drive back to the metro area. My recommendation is to take a map as well as GPS. You never know when you're going to have to find an alternate route.
The recreational maps provided by GTR Mapping (GTR Mapping: Topographic, Recreational and Geologic Maps) indicate the winter closure dates for highways. GTR maps are the best general purpose road maps.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Arlington, Va
236 posts, read 363,007 times
Reputation: 132
I failed to mention I am taking my Meade LX200 and I am out to get a glimpse of the Backbone of Night... I seen this once when I was young in the Mountains of Virginia but everytime I go looking for it even on a moonless night I haven't seen it again. I have been to the Blue Ridge in the winter and during a new moon and still nothing!

sometimes I wonder if that's what my personal quest is all about...
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