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wmw999

Denver to SLC driving for scenery and fun

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We’re driving across country, with a stop in Salt Lake City. Currently in Ohio.
We’re not in a hurry, but we are in a fairly tall van (9’9”; we really like 10.5’ clearance). What’s the most drop-dead gorgeous way to cross the Rockies? We’ve done IH80, and are thinking that US40 would be fun. Significantly longer in time, but we can stop for lunch and see a friend in Steamboat.

We’re aware that it’s the difference between an overnight on the road and a straight-through, and that’s fine.

Thoughts?
Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Trail Ridge Road is still open: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/road_status.htm
($25 for a day pass)
Plot a course to Estes Park, then over TRR to Grand Lake -> Granby -> Hot Sulphur Springs -> Kremmling -> Steamboat

Stop here for lunch in Grand Lake: https://grandlakelodge.com/
(The road to it is slightly North of town.)

And when in Granby, don't mention the bulldozer! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright. ;)
"There are only three things of value: younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles" - Arthur Jones.

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Since ryoder actually lives there, I won't argue with him.

But I've done that a few times. 70 west from Denver is pretty cool. There is a looooong uphill pull right out of Denver (watch out for slow trucks). The Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnel is the highest major road tunnel in the world.
Once you get most of the way through the Rockies, you go through Glenwood Canyon. It's claimed to be the most beautiful stretch of Interstate in the entire country. I don't doubt that.

Once you cross into Utah, take US 6 north out of Green River. It's "red rock" country. Not Moab, but very similar. Cross Soldier Summit (again, watch out for slow trucks), and it takes you into Provo. North just a bit on I-15 to SLC.

I've done this in a semi truck, so your van would have no problems. I've done it in a 30 year old Porsche 928 with my 76 year old mother (yes, really). Long story, but we took the car from Green Bay WI to Oakland CA to visit my sisters. Out across Minnesota & South Dakota to Wyoming, then across 80 to Oakland. Coming back, we went south from SLC to Provo, then 6 to 70.
I had told my mom how gorgeous it was. After we got through it, she said something to the effect of "I didn't believe it would be as beautiful as you had described, but even your description didn't come close to how wonderful it was."
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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I've trucked that route as well. I would also highly recommend it. Do you have your return mapped out yet? If not, and exploring is your thing, go to Durango. Take US550 south from I-70 and just go there. Or find another way to Durango and go north back to Grand Junction. It has the most spectacular high mountain pass I've ever been on. Switch backs, narrow road, (but not too narrow) and steep drops. In the San Juan Range.

And yes, the road through Rocky Mountain Park looks awesome. I'll never get to truck through there though.

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Remember to go to the James Brown Center of the universe bride in Steam Boat. If you have time go to Glenwood Springs, largest hot springs pool in the world, with bar service too.

U can take US 36 instead of the Interstate. At least take it across Kansas. Lot of free camping in little towns. Geogaphic center of the lower 48.
U only make 2 jumps: the first one for some weird reason and the last one that you lived through. The rest are just filler.
scr 316

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As a native Coloradan, I'm fully on board with Ryoder and Phillbo's routes - 100% on point. If your route also happens to take you through Kansas, my uncle and I accidentally found this can't miss gem in Dover, KS while my father was in the hospital in Topeka:

https://sommersethallcafe.com/
https://www.denverpost.com/2009/08/17/finding-a-slice-of-heaven-in-rural-kansas-cafes-pie/

Best pie in the United States, certified by GMA, and you'll be hard pressed to disagree. It's maybe 10 miles off the Interstate in a one-stoplight don't blink or you'll miss it rural America town. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

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The Summer-set hall cafe has changed ownership and in my opinion is not nearly as good as it used to be. They are still using Norma's pie recipes since she passed but the end result is just not the same. This is just my opinion but I personally don't think it's worth the detour.


Blue Skies

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Hi, Wendy.

A couple of friends and I just took a scenic Harley tour of; Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Northern Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. We based our trip on as many national parks as possible. We used the following tool to help plan our route and the National Park Service was amazing at giving us directions for the back-est roads we could take from park to park. 7,000+ miles and three weeks. We live in an amazing country. My favorite leg was from Moab to Taos. Enjoy.

https://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm

Keith
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

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Just make sure you don't 100% rely on GPS to lead you the right way. I learned that lesson driving from Blackhawk, CO down to Idaho Springs on I-70. Instead of the paved road, it led us to an unpaved road barely wide enough for two vehicles, no guardrails and 1000 foot drop offs. :o
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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BillyVance

***Hey, you got the white knuckle scenic route !;)



FIFY, but yeah! Even noticed a wrecked vehicle below the road too. :o

I was just playing with Google Maps to figure out what that route was.
The Google Streetview car hasn't even taken all of it!:D
"There are only three things of value: younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles" - Arthur Jones.

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Well, it was scenic. We’d planned on cutting south in steamboat (131 is supposed to be gorgeous), but a light came on, so we just stayed on 40 and kept going after making an appointment with the SLC dealer.
Don’t think the light is critical, as there are no messages or guidance. Dealer said to just come on in...
Those of you who are in the area — the colors are absolutely stellar right now. And that’s from someone who lives in New England.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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ryoder

Do you own this van, or is it a rental?
If it's a rental, then maybe you'd like to try Billy's route.:D



LMAO :D When my wife and I went to Maui for our honeymoon, our rental agency told us that we are not to go off the paved road past Hana. They'd had enough of people returning rentals with fucked up suspensions and undersides, broken mufflers, etc, when people kept trying to go all the way around to Kihea. :D I tried looking for Charles Lindberg's grave but didn't have enough time. We didn't want to drive back around in the dark. That road was crazy. :S
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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ryoder

******Hey, you got the white knuckle scenic route !;)



FIFY, but yeah! Even noticed a wrecked vehicle below the road too. :o

I was just playing with Google Maps to figure out what that route was.
The Google Streetview car hasn't even taken all of it!:D

I think it was Virginia Canyon Road. It certainly looks like it, based on what I'm seeing on google maps. Came down right into the middle of Idaho Springs.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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BillyVance

***Do you own this van, or is it a rental?
If it's a rental, then maybe you'd like to try Billy's route.:D



LMAO :D When my wife and I went to Maui for our honeymoon, our rental agency told us that we are not to go off the paved road past Hana. They'd had enough of people returning rentals with fucked up suspensions and undersides, broken mufflers, etc, when people kept trying to go all the way around to Kihea. :D I tried looking for Charles Lindberg's grave but didn't have enough time. We didn't want to drive back around in the dark. That road was crazy. :S

Nothing handles better than a rented car. You can go faster, turn corners sharper, and put the transmission into reverse while going forward at a higher rate of speed in a rented car than in any other kind. You can also park without looking, and can use the trunk as an ice chest. Another thing about a rented car is that it's an all-terrain vehicle. Mud, snow, water, woods – you can take a rented car anywhere. True, you can't always get it back – but that's not your problem, is it?
-- P.J. O'Rourke
"There are only three things of value: younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles" - Arthur Jones.

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ryoder

******Do you own this van, or is it a rental?
If it's a rental, then maybe you'd like to try Billy's route.:D



LMAO :D When my wife and I went to Maui for our honeymoon, our rental agency told us that we are not to go off the paved road past Hana. They'd had enough of people returning rentals with fucked up suspensions and undersides, broken mufflers, etc, when people kept trying to go all the way around to Kihea. :D I tried looking for Charles Lindberg's grave but didn't have enough time. We didn't want to drive back around in the dark. That road was crazy. :S

Nothing handles better than a rented car. You can go faster, turn corners sharper, and put the transmission into reverse while going forward at a higher rate of speed in a rented car than in any other kind. You can also park without looking, and can use the trunk as an ice chest. Another thing about a rented car is that it's an all-terrain vehicle. Mud, snow, water, woods – you can take a rented car anywhere. True, you can't always get it back – but that's not your problem, is it?
-- P.J. O'Rourke

You can also do this with a rental car, or two... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YGn3ZyyejE

:D:D:D
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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BillyVance

Just make sure you don't 100% rely on GPS to lead you the right way. I learned that lesson driving from Blackhawk, CO down to Idaho Springs on I-70. Instead of the paved road, it led us to an unpaved road barely wide enough for two vehicles, no guardrails and 1000 foot drop offs. :o



You afraid of heights??
:ph34r:

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Amazon

***Just make sure you don't 100% rely on GPS to lead you the right way. I learned that lesson driving from Blackhawk, CO down to Idaho Springs on I-70. Instead of the paved road, it led us to an unpaved road barely wide enough for two vehicles, no guardrails and 1000 foot drop offs. :o



You afraid of heights??
:ph34r:

I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of falling off a cliff in a vehicle. ;)
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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