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Old 09-26-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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Hello...I am going to be driving to Grand Junction from the Dallas Ft. Worth area. Will be driving a UHAUL truck hauling a vehicle behind me. I'm wondering what the safest route would be? Worried about grades etc. Thanks in advance!!
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
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How big is the truck and when are you planning on going? Your best bet for getting to Colorado from Fort Worth is 287 to Dumas, then US-87 through Dalhart to Raton, NM.

From there either take I-25 to Walsenburg and then Colorado 69 to US-50 or go further up I-25 to Pueblo and take US-50 West all the way to Grand Junction.

You're going to hit passes no matter which way you go. The safest path is probably 287 from Fort Worth to Limon, CO, and I-70 from Limon west to Grand Junction.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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Wink Think, New Mexico

If concerned with grades, you should largely avoid Colorado on your trip from Fort Worth, TX to Grand Junction, CO. It is possible to make such a trip with little in the way of mountain passes.

Briefly, such a route would take you through Texas, New Mexico, possibly Utah, only a small portion of Colorado.

More specifically, follow US 287 from Fort Worth to join I-40 at Amarillo, thence west to Albuquerque, NM, briefly north on I-25 to then head northwest on US 550 towards Farmington, NM. From there the most direct route is to continue north on US 550, but NOT if you wish to avoid high mountain passes. Thus the easiest detour of sorts would be west on US 64 to Shiprock, NM, north by northwest on US 491 to Monticello, UT, then north on US 191 through Moab, UT to intersect I-70. From there it is a simple matter to head east towards Grand Junction. One could alternately remain in Colorado by taking such routes as CO 141 between Dove Creek and Montrose, but it really is not worth it, and there are some grades involved. Although no route will be perfectly flat.

As the crow flies, it would be a shorter distance through the center of Colorado. There is no way to do it however without crossing some mountain passes. The most reasonable route through Colorado would be vis US 50, but that will entail the relatively moderate pass between Raton, NM and Trinidad, CO, on the border, and more challenging Monarch Pass between Salida, CO and Gunnison, CO. The top of Monarch Pass resides at 11,312 feet. Gunnison sits at 7,683, Salida 7,080. Nothing that cannot be done with a trailer, but you will know you've crossed a pass.

Also consider that highways such as US 50 tend to be more scenic than fast. This is also the case with some I mentioned, such as US 491. But it is not difficult, and the greater distance on roads such as I-40, US 550, and even US 191, will prove fast and simple.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
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If you're worried about grades and such, you can always downgrade, go slow, brake, etc.

Driving with that setup is never fun, even on flat land. You'll find yourself checking both mirrors pretty constantly just to make sure your back end isn't in the other lane.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluescreen73 View Post
You're going to hit passes no matter which way you go. The safest path is probably 287 from Fort Worth to Limon, CO, and I-70 from Limon west to Grand Junction.
Probably the easiest way is take 287 out to Dumas and then the other highways over to Raton, NM and I-25. Raton Pass isn't too bad.

The main thing they'll have to worry about is Floyd Hill, Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass. As long as you gear down and keep your speeds below 35 mph in the right lane you should be okay. The big mistake will be not gearing down and riding the brakes all the way down. If you do that you'll be taking flight by the bottom of the hills and you wont even need wings.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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I just saw another example of the VERY UNUSUAL affect of not towing correctly. Coming up 84, south of Lubbock TX on our way back to CO, we saw a towed vehicle that had completely burned. It looked to be a mid-size GM sport ute, and was on a dolly, front wheels elevated.

I've seen this once before and have heard of it happening but not sure what causes it.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
I just saw another example of the VERY UNUSUAL affect of not towing correctly. Coming up 84, south of Lubbock TX on our way back to CO, we saw a towed vehicle that had completely burned. It looked to be a mid-size GM sport ute, and was on a dolly, front wheels elevated.

I've seen this once before and have heard of it happening but not sure what causes it.
If it's a rear-wheel drive you're supposed to either tow it by the rear wheels or remove the drive shaft. That sounds more like a wiring issue, though.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:45 AM
 
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None of those listed is the route with the least grades. In fact, I-70 is one of the worst as far as sustained grades. If avoiding grades is your goal, then the best route is to take I-40 out of Texas to Cline's Corner, New Mexico, thence northward on US285, through Santa Fe, all the way to Saguache, Colorado. Then take CO114 west over Cochetopa Pass. Cochetopa Pass is one of the lowest elevation crossings of the Continental Divide in Colorado and has moderate grades. It does have one slow stretch through Cochetopa Canyon on the west side, but is safe if driven prudently. Then west on US50 through Gunnison to Montrose and Grand Junction. There are some grades and curves on Blue Mesa and Cerro Summit, but are manageable.

Unlike the I-25 and I-70 routing, you should not hit much traffic my routing this time of year. Just remember, it is the law to pull over at the first available opportunity to let faster traffic pass you on a two-lane mountain road. Also, drive on the top half of the fuel tank. There are some long stretches without fuel availability. Also, during winter, Cochetopa Pass is not plowed during the nighttime hours.

Absolutely, absolutely DO NOT take the US550 route unless you are an experienced mountain driver who has driven a large truck over an arduous road. That route--over the Million Dollar Highway--has steep grades, sharp curvature, and numerous places with a narrow road (for a truck) with severe dropoffs and no guardrails.

By the way, I've been driving all of the routes listed for nearly 40 years--some of that time in a truck and trailer, so I'm speaking from first-hand experience.
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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The route that jazzlover outlined makes good sense to me. If it was me doing the drive mentioned by the OP with the same concerns, I'd follow that route. Chochetopa is one of the gentlest passes that I've travelled through in Colorado. Please note that CO 114 between Saguache and Gunnison is a very lonely stretch of highway, and make sure you are not low on fuel when you leave Saguache. I wouldn't want to get stranded along that highway. Even on a holiday weekend, there was not much traffic when I travelled thru there on Labor Day a year ago. You will get to see a part of Colorado, that most tourists never see.
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:26 AM
 
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Thanks everyone for your thoughtfulness!! We have decided to go through New mexico instead of the eastern part of Colorado. My Aunt knows the area and suggests going the way Idunn suggested....thanks Idunn!!
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