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  1. Default From LA to Colorado

    Hello all!

    I need some guidance :)....At the end of this month I will be moving to Fort Collins, CO from Los Angeles and undecided on how I want to get there. I'll be driving alone out there and plan to make the most of this experience. I previously drove there (alone) and went to Zion, took highway 12 and 24 (and fell in love), went to MOAB (hated it) and to Boulder (hated it too) and then to Fort Collins. I loved Utah and would not mind one bit taking the scenic routes again. I have never been to the Grand Canyon, northern Utah or Wyoming. I want to make the most of this trip and Ideally I'd take about 3 days or so (flexible). I know the roads can be dangerous this time of but one thing to consider is I do have an AWD. I won't be towing anything, it'll just be me in my little SUV and belongings. When I went to Colorado on my last trip, I spent several hours in traffic going through the tunnels. I'd like to avoid that if possible. Any and all help will be appreciated. Thank you and Happy Monday! :)

    -April

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    The biggest factors in your trip really come down to things you won't know until just before you leave - weather and traffic.

    There are plenty of winter days where you'll have perfectly good conditions and would have no weather or traffic problems at all. There are some days where the weather could be a headache, but still passable, and there are days where you'd really be best off not traveling at all - especially on the fairly remote roads you're looking at using.

    If it were me, I'd make plans based on what you want to see and do, and then look at the conditions when you are about to leave and then make adjustments as needed.

    I will say beware the "consideration" of AWD. It certainly can provide some help in winter conditions, but nearly as often it gives people a sense of overconfidence. If you look along the side of a road in a snowstorm, often it's the people with AWD who are in the ditch, because they forgot that while AWD will get you going, it does nothing to help you STOP in slippery conditions!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    1100 miles the shortest way in 3 days is comfortable but doesn't leave lots of sightseeing time. Especially if weather is involved.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post

    I will say beware the "consideration" of AWD. It certainly can provide some help in winter conditions, but nearly as often it gives people a sense of overconfidence. If you look along the side of a road in a snowstorm, often it's the people with AWD who are in the ditch, because they forgot that while AWD will get you going, it does nothing to help you STOP in slippery conditions!
    Very good to know. I've always only driven in dry conditions until recently when I drove in snow for one day up in CO. It wasn't bad at all but it also didn't last long. Thank you :)

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by noFanofCB View Post
    1100 miles the shortest way in 3 days is comfortable but doesn't leave lots of sightseeing time. Especially if weather is involved.
    Good point. My last road trip was 3 days and ended up making less and less stops towards the end due to time and feeling rushed. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aprilthegreat View Post
    Very good to know. I've always only driven in dry conditions until recently when I drove in snow for one day up in CO. It wasn't bad at all but it also didn't last long. Thank you :)
    Snow conditions vary quite a lot so if you encounter it - treat it as a new experience and feel it out very, very carefully. I've commuted over a quarter million miles in the last 10 years thru all kinds of weather and this morning's ice-under-the-snow was about the second slickest driving I've done in 40 years. One NEVER knows it all.

    Looking at Google for alternate routes I'd be inclined to avoid I-70 if the weather was looking bad and take the southerly route along I-40 across New Mexico. It adds 200 miles but if it avoids the 25 mph crawling on the hills west of Denver it would be worth it.

    Going up thru Utah to I-80 and Wyoming is almost the same mileage as the shortest route but I-80 can be icy and drifted. On the other hand you'd be running downwind or at least crosswind. And Ft. Collins is closer to Cheyenne than Denver and you'd not be dealing with any Denver or rush hour traffic.

    I-70 is a crowded corridor near Denver due to commuting and ski traffic. And the hills give trouble when it's slick.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

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    I-70 is a crowded corridor near Denver due to commuting and ski traffic. And the hills give trouble when it's slick.
    Tell me about it! I was coming back from the west coast after Christmas a few years ago and decided to take a chance on I-70. Mistake. I hit a snowstorm and it took me an hour to get from Dillon up to the tunnel. It was a Friday which made it even worse. What was especially bad is I have a manual transmission. By the time I got up to the tunnel my left leg was numb and starting to spasm. Traffic was literally stop and go, I couldn't even idle up the hill in 1st.

    It was about 5pm when I got to Dillon - in hindsight I should have bailed out and spent the night but I had reservations in Georgetown. Being a Friday night in ski season I don't know if I would even have been able to find a walkin room in Dillon or Silverthorne.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    More good reasons against I-70.
    I had a daytrip on a Saturday in October between camping and ski seasons and I-70 was fine but I also watch the TV news and see how often there is trouble.

    Imagine being a truck driver with their stiff clutches......

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Not any more - truck clutches are now all air-assisted. They also have creeper gears. Lots of them now have automatics.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by noFanofCB View Post
    Snow conditions vary quite a lot so if you encounter it - treat it as a new experience and feel it out very, very carefully. I've commuted over a quarter million miles in the last 10 years thru all kinds of weather and this morning's ice-under-the-snow was about the second slickest driving I've done in 40 years. One NEVER knows it all.

    Looking at Google for alternate routes I'd be inclined to avoid I-70 if the weather was looking bad and take the southerly route along I-40 across New Mexico. It adds 200 miles but if it avoids the 25 mph crawling on the hills west of Denver it would be worth it.

    Going up thru Utah to I-80 and Wyoming is almost the same mileage as the shortest route but I-80 can be icy and drifted. On the other hand you'd be running downwind or at least crosswind. And Ft. Collins is closer to Cheyenne than Denver and you'd not be dealing with any Denver or rush hour traffic.

    I-70 is a crowded corridor near Denver due to commuting and ski traffic. And the hills give trouble when it's slick.
    Thank you for the info! I definitely will avoid I-70. As I've began mapping my route,a bunch of construction is showing up for I-70...no thank you! What about going to The Grand Canyon and heading up to Telluride? I want a scenic route but I cannot stand crowds and traffic. It's one of the main reasons I'm leaving LA.

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