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Old 08-08-2010, 06:10 PM
Location: Long Island City, NY
38 posts, read 70,750 times
Reputation: 15


Hey everyone,

I have a bit of an odd/unusual question. I work with a band and we're currently routing a tour back across the country from Los Angeles toward the East Coast. Unfortunately the tour van has been through a lot (tons of miles) over the past couple years, and we're not sure if it can make it over the mountain ranges, especially while pulling a trailer. At the same time, though, certain cities that would likely be good tour stops (Denver in particular), seem to fall in the middle of the mountains.

Having taken I-70 on several occasions in the past, I know that route is pretty much out-of-the-question. It's unlikely the van will make it through all of those steep, extensive, up-hill climbs.

I'm looking for opinions on the I-80. This would allow us to make tour stops in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, and Denver. Would this route be do-able, or would we run into the same problems with steep mountain drives? From what I can tell on google earth (I know... not a very reliable source, that's why I'm asking), it appears the freeway winds it's way around the mountains a bit more, instead of going up and over. I've never taken this drive, though, so I'm interested in hearing opinions from people who have. Also, how is the drive on I-25 down from Cheyenne to Denver?

We were also considering going through Las Vegas, Flagstaff, and Albuquerque... then up to Denver (through Santa Fe, Colorado Springs, etc.). How is the drive up the I-25 from the South?

My other question is in regard to weather. I'm sure the I-10/I-40/I-25 route is probably fine in mid-late October, but how is I-80? Would it already be snowy/icy/hazardous along that route?

I'm guessing the more southern route is probably safer (both in terms of the van not breaking down and the weather), but the more northern route would allow them to hit different cities than they played on the way here, if it would be do-able.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/ideas/recommendations you have to offer!
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:00 AM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,585 posts, read 39,962,822 times
Reputation: 23724
What time of the yr are you gonna do this? (mid Oct can be good or bad either route, BUT if bad, only for a couple days. This site is your friend. http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/product...4day/index.php
Be a bit flexible.

I think I-80 is the flattest, BUT I would not waste my time driving to Cheyenne if I were wanting to go to Denver. Route 287 Laramie to Ft Collins is much flatter and MUCH faster. Personally I would cut off at Saratoga, WY and take a free dip in the Hot Springs Hobo pool, then head on south through Encampment (great museum), then Walden, CO and Ft Collins (bit slower, depending on how long you dip). THEN Denver (though I avoid Denver if at all possible). Ft Collins, Boulder, Golden, Colorado Springs is much more Colorado. Denver has a terrible Brown Cloud much of the time and it is huge.

Laramie would be a better place than Cheyenne to play a gig. And Ft Collins / Boulder better than Denver (If you expect an audience)
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:00 AM
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,666,896 times
Reputation: 7720
If you're going to the Bay Area and/or Sacramento first, you won't be able to avoid the mountains. You'll have to cross the Sierra's on I-80, US-50 or (God forbid!) up the Feather River Canyon. It's either that or go all the way down to Bakersfield.

You have some pretty good hills across Nevada on I-80, but they're nothing to really worry about that time of year. However, after Salt Lake City, you'll have to climb up Parley's Summit and October isn't too early to see snow in the Wasatch Front. But, it can be totally avoided by going up I-15 to Ogden and east on I-84.

Wyoming has some up's and down's between Evanston and Little America and one long up-grade east of Laramie but, other than that, it's just 300 miles of high plains boredom. Yes, it can snow in October (I've seen flakes out there in JULY!), but it probably won't stick except around Elk Mountain, between Saratoga and Laramie. There, your biggest problem will be the wind and, if it's snowing, the wind will glaze the road wherever there are no snow fences. Cheyenne down to Denver is a piece of cake. It's all Great Plains and mostly flat.

The southern (I-40) route takes you up through Flagstaff, AZ, which is about 7000 feet in elevation. It can snow and snow hard there in October, but it probably won't.

From Albuquerque up I-25 through Santa Fe, Pueblo and Colorado Springs, you only have a couple of places to worry about, but since it'll be October, I wouldn't worry too much.

First is Raton Pass on the Colorado line, which tops out at about 6000 ft, but it's only about 30 miles of mountains. Maybe less. Next up is the Monument Hill area between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock. It's an upland, part of the Palmer Divide, which is substantially higher than any other place along that route. If it does snow, it'll snow hard and really blow, but it probably won't during that time frame. If it does, just slow down and tough it out. You'll pass out of the danger zone at Castle Rock and have clear sailing on down into the Mile High City.

Since your van is pretty old and worn, your biggest threat may be the desert heat between Barstow, CA and Needles, CA.
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