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Gas gets super pricey in the mountain communities. Try to get from Grand Junction to Denver without gasing up. And don't worry about weather in the summer, but expect the road surface to be badly chewed up on parts of the mountain passes because of so many trucks with chains on their tires.
In most cars that is entirely doable. If the driver is in a truck, however, that's not likely. I used to drive my truck (30 gallon tank) and still ahd to fuel up in Silverthorne.
BTW, gas in Grand Junction is more expensive than people think it would be. Gassing up in Rifle is usually along the same lines so if one needs to wait a bit, Rifle is an okay bet.
I still can't find my trip sheet (yes I am that anal) for Vegas. I outlined all my stops for gas and such through Utah. It was mentioned Richfield and yes, that was one of my major stops. I was driving a rented Pontiac Grand Prix and I timed my stops through UT perfectly...Seeing as I know Colorado, gas stops here was easy.
You should be prepared for ANY KIND OF WEATHER at any time of the year going through the Colorado mountains. It can snow any day of the year once you get above 8,000 feet. If you don't have decent all weather tires, you might want to think carefully about continuing on if it starts to snow. The likelihood of significant snowfall at that time of the year is remote, but a few inches to a foot is not unheard of.
Gas will be expensive between Grand Junction and Denver, as others have mentioned. The traffic on I-70 going through Denver during the day shouldn't be too bad unless you hit the usual rush hours. If you want a nice scenic detour that might cost you about an hour or so, get off of I-70 at Silverthorne, follow the signs to Keystone and then to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (Loveland Pass). It's a fabulous drive that tops out at over 11,000' on top of Loveland Pass, and you get back on I-70 at the east entrance to the Eisenhower Tunnel. You get scenery and don't have to inhale the exhaust fumes in the tunnel. You'll find plenty of places to grab a bite between Silverthorne/Dillon and Keystone but nothing after that until Georgetown or Dumont on the other side.
In most cars that is entirely doable. ... I timed my stops through UT perfectly...Seeing as I know Colorado, gas stops here was easy.
yes the gas stops in UT are a stretch for some vehicles, I used to ride my motorcycle at 60 instead of 80mph to conserve enough gas to get from town to town.
Maybe they have a car like mine... I go 1200 miles between gas (fuel) stops in my 52 mpg Passat Diesel, I have more trouble planning my own fluid intake to keep me in the seat for 20hrs... my spouse is not impressed. Our last non-stop was Portland, OR to Arches NP (SE UT).
In my (gasser) pickup I would top off in Grand Junction and again in Brighton, and Julesburg, the on to Kearney, NE. and then Council Bluffs, Ia.
but as far as the weather... having been a commercial truck driver in my college years and doing all of Colorado, NE, SD, and Wyoming, I will have to say Colo is pretty mild in July. Maybe I've seen a skiff of snow, and sometimes hail (that is usually in June). Being on I-70 is quite safe due to plenty of traffic and patrols, kinda like being 'down-town' rather than out in the boonies.
Do your car service BEFORE the trip
essential for trouble free driving
1) belts if over 50k (adjust if not replacing, but best to replace and carry old ones as spares)
2) Hoses if over 80k (heater and radiator and ESPECIALLY bypass, the most likely to burst)
3) tires @ 1/2 life or better and up to highest pressure
4) Wiper Blades
5) fuel filter
6) fresh coolant if over 2 yrs old (and pressure wash the bugs and dirt out of your radiator)
7) Check water pump to see if it is leaking or any noise or pulley play... (They cost ~ $30 to replace yourself, or about $300 + a $300 tow if on the road)
optional... for better mileage and only if necessary
I always wash my engine if it is dirty, to help it stay cool and to watch for leaks.
Check fluids daily, and look under car at every stop for leaks (AC might leave some water, but you don't want to see anti-freeze, oil, tranny fluid or gas.
I carry tow strap, jumper cables, filters, wiper arms, light bulbs, flares, a 'bicycle' safety flag (In case you are off the road, or in a snow bank), 'space blanket', candles, water, crackers. (And usually a fair amount of spare parts, as most of my vehicles have over 300,000 miles, but they've never left me stranded)
I carry a 'non-contact' thermal temp Guage (like a speed gun, or some are ~ size of tape measure) ~ $30. I check my tire temps and wheel bearings at stops to verify everything is running similar temps. This is very important if heavy laden or towing.
Last edited by StealthRabbit; 05-08-2008 at 02:32 AM..
FWIW, I drove a Pontiac Grand Prix GT which has similar gas mileage as my Honda Accord. The gas tank was also the same size so I had no problem being anal about where to pick out the fuel stops in Utah.
I still can't find my trip sheet and that bugs me because I know I have it! I don't get rid of anything on my computer. I made the stops and didn't have any problems with gas so this is bugging me.
But, being anal also meant I called the local Pontiac dealership to find out the gas mileage and tank size. I would have driven the Honda but she's not as road worthy for that kind of long trip from C Springs to Vegas. I already knew where to stop in Colorado so for me, that's easy. I didn't have to stop from DIA (long story) to about Rifle. I gassed up in Grand Junction anyway (got me some good eats at- yeah Denny's) and then I made it through to about Salina IIRC. But there's not much between Green River and the 1-70 interchange to I-15. But the scenery between Green River and the interchange...oh my gosh. Nothing can compare and I was seriously jonesing to get out of the car so many times but I couldn't given my time contraints. It's a drive I plan on making very soon with no time constraints on the next trip.
The drive on I-70 from Salina, UT to Denver, CO is fabulous. Quite scenic. That through Utah often interesting and empty desert, and a good portion of Colorado to Denver high, beautiful mountains.
Beware there are NO services between Salina, UT and Green River, UT. There is one fuel stop east of Green River, UT, just east of the intersection of I-70 and US 191. Otherwise the next fuel practically available at Fruita, CO. Beyond that you needn't concern yourself, as many regularly spaced options.
Although possible, snow anywhere along I-70 in July is unlikely. Enough to cause any driving problems even more unlikely. The only snow you will probably see that remaining on the highest peaks along your route.
If you happen to drive between Summit County and Denver Sunday afternoon know that you may encounter more traffic than you'd like. Otherwise in this regard Utah will be very open and Colorado largely a pleasure.
This particular stretch (Utah-Colorado) is one of the great drives.
I had to drive I-70 frequently between Grand Junction and Denver for years. Personally, I would rather take a beating than drive that road, just because of the frequently nasty traffic, and the constant stream of idiot drivers that seem especially attracted to that highway. Nor is the near constant "resort suburbia" from about Edwards all the way to Silvethorne very attractive, either. I use longer, but slower alternative routes if I have any choice. As far as I'm concerned, I-70 is a blight on the Colorado landscape--much nicer when it wasn't there--which I can remember . . .
Everybody forgot the most important part of the trip....food.
Breakfast at home, and stop for a chocolate shake at in-n-out in Vegas. Top off the tank. Stop again in St. George at the Flying J for gas. Drive to Salina, and eat at the mexican place right off the highway. Top off the tank again, Green river is 110 miles, and Grand Junction 100 past that. If you're hungry in Grand Junction, take a left on Horizon Drive and eat at WW Peppers. Top off the tank, and you're good to go until Idaho Springs, where you can get an excellent pizza.....
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