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RE: What must we do in Colorado?

About 3 years ago I drove Road 295 to the trailhead and rode (or should I say 'abused'?) my Trek Pure Sport (a crank-forward comfort bike) up that Alpine Tunnel trail. Yeow, I can't believe I did that! With all the tree roots across the trail, plus rocks and puddles, I still wonder how I didn't bend a rim or two. But it certainly was fun coasting down instead of walking. Beautiful views along there, too. Definitely worth the visit. But I should have had a proper mountain bike.The coast down the dirt road is really more fun yet. And when one gets heading down that grade, it may be at about the same speed as the trains did it 125 years ago - but without all the cinders from the engine. Interesting to imagine.
4runnerguy 04/15/21 02:50pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: What must we do in Colorado?

2. Upper Arkansas River Valley Leadville/Buena Vista/Salida This is an area we go to every year. Leadville is an old mining town with lots of mining ruins all around the town. The ~14 mile paved Mineral Belt Trail encircles the town and has plaques along the way describing what you are looking at, often with historic pictures for comparison. It's at 10,000' so you'll notice the elevation, but it's paved and not by a road. We combine it with doing some loops on the Timberline Mountain Bike Trails on the south side of Leadville with access off the Mineral Belt Trail. Generally easy trails through the woods with lots of short loops. Good views and we've even seen a moose in there. West of Leadville is Turquoise Lake. Fish there or head out in your kayaks. Above the lake is the Hagerman Pass road, which is an old railroad grade that eventually climbed to go through the mountains on a now closed tunnel. Interesting trip though. South of Leadville you'll pass the turnoff to Highway 82 and Independence Pass mentioned above. Near Buena Vista, check out mountain biking on the Midland Trail. An old railroad grade although definitely single track where the trestles have been removed. We ride up from the end of town (the first mile is the hardest) then up the Midland Trail to Bacon Bits, take it to Sausage Link and return to the Midland that way. Then it's off to find breakfast after hearing those names! Out of Nathrop, take the road up Chalk Creek to St. Elmo, a well preserved ghost town. We'll park there and ride our bikes up to Hancock along the old railroad grade (dirt). From there, we'll take the trail out about 3 miles to the east portal of the Alpine Tunnel (collapsed). If you don't mountain bike, drive up to the trail head and hike out to the tunnel. Several side roads to explore with 4x4 off this road. At Romley, turn left and go up past some old mining ruins. Lots of great mountain biking around Salida (S Mountain and Methodist Mountain). Adventurous? Shuttle to the top of Monarch Pass and take the Monarch Crest trail down to the Rainbow trail and then fly down the highway back to Poncha Springs. You'll be above timberline for quite a while with great views. But at 35 miles, bring lots of food and water and prepare for 4-5 hours in the saddle. World famous ride. Each of these towns has it's own personality. Leadville is old mining town at high elevation. Salida is now a really interesting place. Lots of great restaurants and art galleries featuring local artists. Concerts in the park by the river. Speaking of rivers, the Arkansas River has an amazing assortment of sections of varying difficulty. One could spend a number of days kayaking there. Heading down through the Royal Gorge is challenging but very scenic. There are just so many places to fish, whether it's in some of the lakes and reservoirs, to high mountain streams. The area around Leadville itself isn't so good because of the mine tailings that have resulted in some pretty sterile creeks and streams. Hiking? How about climbing Mt. Elbert, highest in Colorado. Not at all technical, but obviously takes a while. Spend a week in Colorado getting used to the altitude before attempting. We like the route out of Halfmoon Creek SW of Leadville. Avoid weekends to avoid crowds (hard to find trailhead parking). A number of other 14,000' peaks along the range are also technically easy if you start to like the view from the top. Either one of these suggestions can easily use up a week or two or three of vacation. LMK if you want more info on either one. I don't know what your camping preferences are, but reservations have filled up fast in the last week or two. Skiing is about over and people are now focused on camping season.
4runnerguy 04/10/21 11:10pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: What must we do in Colorado?

A couple of ideas but I'll break it into two posts so it doesn't get too long. 1. Aspen/Marble/Glenwood Springs. A trip to Maroon Bells is worth the time. You've probably seen it on a calendar at some point. Access is by shuttle bus. Or do like we do and ride your bikes up there (that's free to do and that's a price we like to hear). Almost all the traffic is the shuttle buses and they know to watch for bikes. We park at the (free) Tiehack Lift parking, take the foot/bicycle bridge across the gorge and ride up from there. In July the flowers along the road are many, so we use the excuse we are taking flower pictures when we stop for a rest! There's also a paved bike trail all the way from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. It's on an old railroad grade so it's not too steep. We'll park at Old Snowmass and ride into Aspen from there. Aspen is so much easier to explore on bike rather than trying to drive the busy roads. Lots of interesting historic houses and buildings. The drive up CO 133 along the Crystal River to Marble is one of the most scenic in the state. On the way up from Carbondale, keep an eye out for the Redstone Campground sign and turn left there, following that road all the way through Redstone. It will join back up with the highway on the other side of town. Don't miss Hayes Creek Falls on your right. Turn left at the sign for Marble and follow that into town. Yes, there's big chunks of Marble all around town. The road onward from there is 4x4, although I've eased our RAV4 through there in the past. (No problem for your jeep, but if your daughter's 4x4 PU is full sized, it will be a challenge. If it has dual rears, forget it.) You'll go by the Crystal Mill (another calendar shot) just before the "town". Beyond Crystal, you can try you hand at Lead King Basin (gorgeous flowers, but again a real 4x4 road) or head up Schofield Pass if you're really daring. That road takes you all the way to Crested Butte. In the Aspen/Glenwood Springs area there is lots of fishing, whether high mountain lakes or the Gold Medal waters on the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan Rivers. Kayak the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon or ride your bike on the bike trail there. So much easier to see things when not flying by on the interstate (although last year's fire did a number on some areas). Hikes? Try American Lake or Cathedral Lake up Castle Creek above Aspen. There are also a variety of trails off Independence Pass (no trailers or RV's on that road). Lost Man or Independence Lake trailheads get busy on weekends for a reason.
4runnerguy 04/10/21 10:45pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: No Dispersed Camping Near Crested Butte, Colorado

This isn't the first place in Colorado to have this type of designated dispersed camping locations. I know of a number of other places where this would also be welcomed. It isn't because of campers who purposefully destroy the campsites. It's because there are just so many people out looking for boondocking locations nowadays. In many places where we camp anymore, we've given up on boondocking and hit the NFS campgrounds instead. We usually have more privacy than the boondocking spots where people get pretty wall-to-wall.
4runnerguy 04/07/21 11:40am Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Leave TT Unhitched?

We just use a hitch lock. For the generator, I either put it away, or use one of those heavy duty u-shaped bike locks and secure it to the trailer frame. No one can stop a determined thief. But my philosophy is just to make our stuff look a little more difficult to get than an easier mark somewhere else in the area. Besides, most thieves will be a little wary of getting discovered in the middle of their escapades when an owner returns. Can't exactly make a fast getaway on a dirt road pulling someone else's rig. In some ways, tent campers might be a little more concerned as it's far easier to just throw sleeping bags, tents, etc. in the back of a vehicle and speed away.
4runnerguy 04/07/21 11:28am Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Boondocking in the sand -- how soft is too soft??

Here's a quick way to pre-screen boondocking sites in the Moab area. If you are within 30 miles of Moab, if you don't see evidence of a lot of camping spots on the other side of a wash, don't try it. In the Moab area, things get crazy busy and every potential spot is filled on weekend in the spring and fall. Of course that doesn't eliminate spots where the sand consistency is, well, inconsistent. For instance the Willow Springs road heading the back route into Arches NP has a sand crossing that can be no problem at times, but in the spring after weeks of car, 4x4, motorcycle and ATV traffic, that crossing gets pretty deep sand. Not impassible for most vehicles but no way I'd attempt to take a trailer through it. Hopefully you've discovered the BLM map showing where one can and can't boondock. Moab BLM camping map PDF Note the blue areas on the map. Those are state lands not impacted by the BLM restrictions. That's why the Willow Springs road is so heavily used. Utlimately it becomes a choice based on the balance between wanting a degree of privacy vs. how far one has to travel every day to get to the parks, the hikes, etc.
4runnerguy 04/07/21 11:20am Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Colorado Hwy. 50 road closures

If you are travelling on the weekend, you should be OK. CO 92 is not a particularly convenient detour. It will take you from the west end of Blue Mesa Reservoir to Delta where you can catch US 50 again. CO 92 is not a particularly fast route as it winds in and out of every drainage heading down to the Gunnison River. Pretty route though for those who haven't taken it. Adds about 1/2 hour to the trip to/from Delta.
4runnerguy 04/07/21 11:02am Roads and Routes
RE: Free overnight camping in small towns

Some links to check out. You should use all three as some places are only listed on one of the sites: iOverlander USCampground.info freecampsite.net
4runnerguy 03/25/21 08:16pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Craig Co. to Canon City Co

Notice several mountain passes on this route. I have pulled over some before on our travels but this many will be more than all those put together! However, don't see other routes thus far in my planning. How are the passes? Switch backs are the concern not just the altitudes. Thanks,Rabbit Ears Pass isn't much of a problem in your travel direction as it is two lanes uphill most of the way to the summit so just keep right and you'll do fine. The grade down the other side is an easy one. Lots of RV's on both these passes. Hoosier Pass just south of Breckenridge has some switchbacks as you approach the summit. So switchbacks on the downhill side of that pass. I think your biggest issues might be the traffic in Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge, esp. if it's a weekend.
4runnerguy 01/30/21 10:54pm Roads and Routes
RE: Camping options for Moab, Utah Area

older fossil has it right on about two base camps. For some info on the Moab area, check out this thread: A Primer on Moab. You didn't mention Zion or Bryce so maybe they aren't on this trip, but if so, I'd recommend a separate campground for each rather than staying in one and "commuting" to the other. Just too far about and too much time on the road every day.
4runnerguy 01/25/21 05:53pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: St. Mary’s Glacier NP inconsistent dimensions??

Almost all of the campsites at St. Marys are pull-throughs. Depending on which site you are looking at, part of the Driveway Length may also be shared with adjacent campsites. Some of the pull throughs also have pretty tight turns, limiting maneuverability of your combination. I have also found that vehicle length means different things at various NFS and NPS CGs. For some, it's the total of your TV and trailer. For other CGs, it's only the trailer length. Also note that the example you posted also shows a moderate grade. They may be trying to account for how far up or down your tongue has to be to get level.
4runnerguy 01/18/21 10:50am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Looking for I70 alterantives Colorado trip in February - .

I hope you have a bit of flexibility as to when you travel. None of the routes are great if we get a snowstorm. (Kinda hoping we get something soon, though - this drought is getting scary). Even taking I-25 south from Denver over Monument Hill can be a challenging tow in a snowstorm. And Raton Pass on I-25 can also be a real bear during a snowstorm if you think you want to head south to I-40. Leaving a day or two early or waiting a couple of days after a snowstorm would be the best bet. Given that advice, you might consider taking US 285 SW out of Denver down to US 160 and take that west. The passes on US 285 out of Denver are really quite easy by Colorado standards. But do not attempt this route if they are predicting snow for the southern part of the state as Wolf Creek Pass on US 160 is quite high and can get walloped with a lot (think feet) of snow. You can also take US 285 out of Denver down to Poncha Springs and then west on US 50 to Grand Junction. But again Monarch Pass just west of Poncha Springs is one to be aware of if snow is predicted. Or if snow isn't an issue, at Montrose head south on US 550 to Ridgway, then west on CO 62/145/141 to US 491 and over to US 191. You avoid and I-70 driving but miss Moab if that was a destination. Of course even the roads in southern Utah and Arizona can get his with snow. One year we were in Tucson at the end of December and had to tow back up I-17. The 30 mile stretch south of Flagstaff was really quite interesting, made all the more so by others on the highway who had no idea how to drive in snow. I-70 can be a pain, especially with skier traffic, although I've heard it's a lot better this year with many of the ski resorts limiting visitation through a reservation system. IMHO your route selection may be determined by if and where the snow might fall during your travel window. Keep an eye on the weather for a few days before your departure.
4runnerguy 01/15/21 11:14pm Roads and Routes
RE: Big 5 National Parks in Utah

Also, any recommendations as to private campgrounds would be appreciated. Are you needed full hook-ups? There are some fine public CG's in these areas, some with electric. The public CG's in these parks are in simply amazing settings. If you are looking for hookups only to have electricity, remember that Bryce Canyon, at 8000' elevation, stays pretty cool in the spring, so a/c isn't necessary. Snow can be an issue even into April in some years. North CG at Bryce is a good alternative to Ruby's Inn and within walking distance of the rim from your campsite. Dump station at the CG entrance. Near Moab, check out Dead Horse Point SP near Canyonlands. There are electric sites, but you do need to haul your own water up there. Dump station near the CG entrance. Great views at DHSP and nearby Canyonlands. You're also away from the madness of Moab. BTW, if you can, avoid being in Moab on the week before Easter. (March 27th - April 4th 2021) The jeep safari is scheduled to be there and it is an absolute madhouse on the roads, trails, stores, gas stations, etc. Moab in the spring is a real zoo from March through May anyway. There's a whole lot of information on everything Moab, including Arches and Canyonlands NP's here. Watchman CG in Zion also has electric hookups and a dump station at the entrance. Great, scenic setting right in the canyon next to the Virgin "River" (more like a stream much of the year). Walking distance to the Visitors Center where the shuttle buses originate. As noted, the shuttle is the only way into the canyon (unless you have bikes, and then it's well worth the ride). Wherever you plan on staying, reservations should be obtained as soon as possible. I don't know how you are getting to Arches to begin with, but if you're coming from Colorado on I-70, do take UT 128 (exit 204) down to Moab. Shorter and slower, but far, far more scenic. You'll follow the Colorado River down this amazing canyon. Plenty of pull offs for photo ops.
4runnerguy 11/30/20 10:49am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Hwy 50

Based on road construction between Montrose and Gunnison am thinking hwy 24 from I 70 to Cheyenne State park. How is hwy 24?It's a good road. There's a 3 or 4 miles section above Minturn to just after the ghost town of Gilman that's a bit of a pull, but past that, the grade is good to the top of Tennessee Pass. From there, it's an easy drive all the way on US 24. I would avoid driving this section on a Sunday. Lots of going home traffic. Once they paved the road over Cottonwood Pass, seems many are taking that instead of coming over Monarch Pass. So the left turn US 24 takes a couple of miles south of Buena Vista can back up all the way into town on Sundays. We probably drive US 24 one direction or the other from Minturn to at least Leadville 20 times a year. There's an interesting historical area a few miles before the top of Tennessee Pass. Camp Hale was the training area for soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division during WWII. Many learned to ski and fight during winter conditions they expected in northern Italy and elsewhere.
4runnerguy 11/19/20 11:10am Roads and Routes
RE: A traffic mess in Moab

So for a few days I've been looking at the UDOT traffic cam at the interestion of US 191 and UT 128 (where US 191 goes over the river). For the last week anyway, it seems traffic in general is lighter so the lines are much less. Not surprising as it is almost November. The week of Thanksgiving might get a little busy, but were definitely into the off season now. I'm guessing things will be OK until early March, when people get tired of being cooped up and head to Moab for some outdoor time. As for when we were there, coming into Moab on UT 128 in the afternoon was definitely the best choice if coming from the east. One day we even debated turning around and heading up to the interstate and down UT 128 since we were camped on the river. Waited it out as we didn't want gasoline to be an issue.
4runnerguy 10/31/20 11:27am Roads and Routes
RE: Zion to Escalante - UPDATE

Thanks for the update. Part of me wishes we wouldn't get such good news out of Utah, because I don't want anyone else to go to our favorite spots. We sure love that state. I mean I hate it. It stinks there. Avoid UT at all costs. The place is ugly and the people are monsters.And the campgrounds are all run down, the roads all rutted and potholed, and it's too tough to get a beer!
4runnerguy 10/29/20 11:44am Roads and Routes
RE: best non interstate route from Cottonwood to Albuquerque

Don't know if you've already headed out, but I'd take US 89A through Oak Canyon to Flagstaff then east on I-40. Walnut Canyon NM is an interesting stop if you can deal with the hiking. East from there you'll hit Petrified Forest NM. However you want to route it, I'd recommend NM %# to take you past El Morro NM and El Malpais NM. We been to quite a few NP's and NM's and El Moro was really quite an interesting, worthwhile stop. You can do it in a couple of hours.
4runnerguy 10/29/20 11:39am Roads and Routes
RE: A traffic mess in Moab

Can anyone confirm if this issue with traffic on US-191 is an ongoing thing or was it just temporary. We are picking up an RV in American Fork taking it to Florida in two weeks, our plan was to head south on 191, looking for I40 but if there is construction we may just head east on I70 instead.All I know is it had been going on for the two weeks in the middle of October. I haven't talked to anybody who has gone out there since (a lot of people from Glenwood go out there often - the snow a few days ago means a lot of people will wait until the trails dry out). I will say that if you avoid going into Moab between 3 and 7 p.m., you should be in good shape. Yes, there will be delays (maybe an extra 5-10 minutes) but it seems the traffic heading back into town after a day of 4x4, hiking, biking, visiting Arches or Canyonlands etc. is what causes the worst problems. As for taking I-70, if you are thinking about that route keep an eye on the weather. We had a decent snowfall a few days ago (10" on our deck at 5900'). We are firmly into the time when snow on the passes is a distinct possibility. Not necessarily fun with a new RV you're just getting used to.
4runnerguy 10/29/20 11:30am Roads and Routes
RE: A Primer on Moab

4runnerguy...not doubting what you saw but we are currently in Moab @ OK RV Park....been here 3 days. We did get to Arches around 8 a.m. both days and sailed right thru. Coming out between 2 & 4 there was a line of about 8 autos but it looked like the normal backup when people pay to get in. The road construction is a pain but it didn't take us more than 15-20 minutes (3 times) to get from where the construction begins then into town where the construction ends. Snow is predicted for Monday and temps are dropping, so I'm guessing that the traffic volume will start dying down a little. 15 to 20 minutes has been pretty common in the spring and fall for several years now. I guessing visitation had dropped quite a bit then. Lucky for you. People we know in Moab said that the construction was creating the worst traffic mess they had ever seen, even in town. Three different couples we know went out there the week before we did and ended up cutting their trip short because of the traffic. (Unfortunately our paths didn't cross before we headed out!). Winter visitation is less than spring and fall, so things might be OK for a few months. But what happens in March when everyone starts heading back out? :( :E
4runnerguy 10/28/20 01:45pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Southern Utah boondocking: how long do roads take to dry?

So much depends on the underlying rock. In places where the roads are on sandy soils, they dry out pretty quickly. On roads with shales and siltstones underlying the roads, they can take quite a while, depending on temperatures and sunshine. So maybe scout out potential sites with satellite before you head out. Red roads most likely are sandy and will dry faster. Gray roads not so much (and I'm not talking about the color of the lines on a map!). Of course even if you wait until the roads with lots of bentonite dry out, you really have to keep an eye on the weather to avoid getting stuck. We were out mountain biking at Klondike Bluffs a couple of years ago and got hit with a surprise rainstorm while still on the trail (came up from behind the hill). Tough to even get back to the truck because of the clay around the tires. But even in 4x4, getting out of there was a tricky, slippery mess. Spent a lot of money at a car wash in town to get 2" to 3" of mud caked everywhere under the truck.
4runnerguy 10/28/20 01:39pm Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
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