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Old 09-21-2009, 09:04 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,772,192 times
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20yrsinBranson,

You are thinking of Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton. There are no significant dropoffs between Montrose and Ouray. I've only driven the roads all the way from Montrose to Durango about a thousand times (no exaggeration)--I know what I'm talking about.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Unless there is a freak storm, you shouldn't have any problem driving Golden to Ouray in October if you have a lick of winter driving sense, and your front-wheel-drive car has decent tires. You actually have two available routes--I-70 to Grand Junction, then US 50 to Montrose, then US 550 to Ouray; or US285 to Poncha Junction, then US50 to Montrose, then US550 to Ouray. The I-70 route has the advantage of 4-lane highway basically all the way to Montrose, then 36 miles of two-lane to Ouray, but it is slightly longer mileage-wise. The US285/US50 route is two-lane for most of the distance, is slower, but is shorter and far more scenic, in my opinion. Now, I will qualify the following statement with this caveat--I've been driving the Colorado mountains, including both of these routes for nearly 40 years now, in all kinds of weather. Given that, I would take the US285/US50 route in a heartbeat. Main reason?--there is far less traffic and the route is much more scenic for my tastes. Either route can be an absolute b***h in a bad winter storm, but there are usually far fewer idiots on the US285/US50 routing, which also is a plus in my book.

My last advice would be to pad your schedule a little--get to Ouray a day early. The one unknown is if an accident or bad weather will close the highway for hours or a day at a time. I-70 of late seems real prone to this--even in good weather (usually when some dolt in a semi wrecks). At that, for several years I was splitting my work between the Western Slope and the Front Range (Golden) and drove both routes as frequently as a weekly basis. Only once did I have to stay overnight en route because of road closures--that in an epic storm that shut down a good chunk of the state.
As always Jazzlover covers the bases here. And some good input by a few other people here.
A quick note, though. I live in Fruita and go through there every other week or so. One thing also to keep in mind, and that is wildlife. CDOT has had a problem with deer in 2 specific spots on highway 550. They've dropped the digital billboard trailer 5, maybe 6 miles south of Ridgway with the digital board flashing "Deer crossing/danger/please watch your speed." Earlier this year the trucks nailed a lot of deer through that stretch, especially at dusk.

And the law is filling out ticket books. Keep it at the posted speed. Rigway to Ouray is 55. Montrose to Ridgway is 60. Don't speed, they're not cutting drivers slack anymore. The law, particularly the state patrol, is dropping the hammer on bonehead drivers, especially on that stretch.

Drive safe! Drive smart, and enjoy Ouray.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:48 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,255,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
20yrsinBranson,

You are thinking of Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton. There are no significant dropoffs between Montrose and Ouray. I've only driven the roads all the way from Montrose to Durango about a thousand times (no exaggeration)--I know what I'm talking about.
Oh.

You're right. I'm wrong. My apologies.

tee hee

20yrsinBranson
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,832,501 times
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The rise in elevation from Grand Junction ( 4597 ) to Ouray ( 7811 ) is so gradual, that you barely notice the elevation gain....except for the change in roadside vegetation.
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