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Old 06-10-2013, 06:49 PM
 
20 posts, read 39,592 times
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I am planning a trip from Ind. to Phoenix AZ and back this summer (visiting family). I will be driving and am planning to take route 66 there, but would like to take another route home, to maximize my vacation time and allow my kids to see more parts of the country. After I leave Phoenix, I plan to go up to Grand Canyon and possibly up to the Arches in UT, then come back East thru Colorado on our way home to IL.
My problem: I am scared to death to drive thru the mountains. I have never done so, and keep having visions of missing a turn and driving off the side of the mountain. i've done some research and it seems that i70 wouldn't put me in that kind of situation but I'm wondering how heavily traveled it is. I don't want to be that crazy lady driving 20 mph and holding up traffic either. How steep is the decline coming into Denver--is it a gradual decline or a sharp decline?

If i go further north or south of Denver/I70 are there lower elevation areas that might be safer for someone like me (whose fear could turn into a hazard) to drive, yet still allow my kids to see the beautiful Rockies?

Any tips/ideas you can give is much appreciated.

(and yes, I know there are mountains in AZ but my sister assures me they are nothing like I will encounter in Colorado so I am not as concered about those)

Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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I-70 is fine, lots of guardrails and no real chance to drive off of anything. Fear not.

Consider an overnight in Glenwood Springs, relax in the hot springs, etc.
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:40 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,403 posts, read 39,732,014 times
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You mention IND > AZ, yet you mention decline into Denver... There is No Decline in elevation inbound from the east.

I-70 is very gentle grades and sweeping curves, can easily be driven at speed limit. (I drove semi trucks there for many yrs, winters are usually pretty good too (compared to WY)).

Take I-80 through Nebraska and enjoy Pioneer Village (Minden exit, 20 min south. also See Windmill state park on I-80 at Minden Exit)and Ole's Steakhouse / burgers (Paxson, 5 min & North (very western NE))

After your night at Glenwood Springs, CO consider heading south through Carbondale, CO to Moab, UT. The 2 national parks there are great, as are Bryce and Zion NP (If time is available on your way to PHX).
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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I-70 offers some wonderful scenery, where snow-capped peaks can be often found year-round. It's 4 lane throughout, with no hairpin turns or scary dropoffs. But it is high country, and you'll go over both Vail pass and thru Eisenhower tunnel, both 10,000 ft passes. Just drive it during the day and avoid driving into Denver on Sunday afternoon, as traffic congestion heading back into the city can slow to a crawl.

I second the idea on staying in Glenwood Spgs. The main lodge has hot spring pools which are fun to experience.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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Great. Thank you all for your input! I will definitly see about Glenwood Springs and those NP mentioned. Thanks again!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:33 AM
 
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You will have no problem with those interstates. They are wide and safe.

I'm sorry that your trip has you returning to Indiana at the end /pokes some fun @ midwest
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Kasey, I share your fear of driving in the mountains, and I can assure you that I-70 going east through Colorado from Utah is not scary. Yes, there are passes to go over, but the highway is designed to be safe for semis and other haulers, so it is safe for cars.

There is a long downhill run into Denver, with lots of signs warning truckers about being careful with their brakes. That's probably why your sister thinks that you may be scared. It's really not bad at all for cars. And with it being three lanes there, you can always drive behind one of the slow-moving trucks and not worry about causing a back-up.

Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Colorado - Oh, yeah!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
There is a long downhill run into Denver, with lots of signs warning truckers about being careful with their brakes. That's probably why your sister thinks that you may be scared. It's really not bad at all for cars. And with it being three lanes there, you can always drive behind one of the slow-moving trucks and not worry about causing a back-up.
The only caveat I would offer up is to down-shift into a lower gear so you aren't riding your brakes all the way down into Denver. Not only is it safer, but I think it would make the drive more enjoyable/less stressful for you.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:31 PM
 
20 posts, read 39,592 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
You will have no problem with those interstates. They are wide and safe.

I'm sorry that your trip has you returning to Indiana at the end /pokes some fun @ midwest



I am sorry too it has me returning to Indiana
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:32 PM
 
20 posts, read 39,592 times
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Hawaii and Native--thank you for your insight as well. I greatly appreciate all of it!
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