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Old 04-16-2015, 11:33 AM   #1
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Colorado Travel - Driving in Mountains

My wife and I will be traveling to Duragno, CO. in July and are concerned about driving our 2015 Georgetown 329 in the mountains. Will the engine be able to handle the 10,000+ feet of elevation? There will be a total of 7 adults in the motorhome. Any suggestion or tips on making it up some of the steep grades? This is all new to us...first motorhome.
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Old 04-16-2015, 12:12 PM   #2
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My wife and I will be traveling to Duragno, CO. in July and are concerned about driving our 2015 Georgetown 329 in the mountains. Will the engine be able to handle the 10,000+ feet of elevation? There will be a total of 7 adults in the motorhome. Any suggestion or tips on making it up some of the steep grades? This is all new to us...first motorhome.
Yes, the thinner air decreases horsepower in combustible engines. When we moved here from Texas, we really noticed it in our van and car. I think the rule is a 300 HP vehicle will lose around 50 HP at 10,000 feet.

The mountain passes can take you up pretty high but, if you stay on the main roads, there is always either multiple lanes available or they'll have passing lanes set up on the steeper parts where RV's can be on the right and the speedier folks can zip around you.

But you should be fine...just don't push your vehicle and, most importantly, DON'T stand on your brakes when you are coming down the other side as you can actually lose them due to the heat....go into a lower gear and only use the brakes when you need to. (You will find spots to pull over if you find yourself using them a lot...safer to stop and let them cool for a bit.)

Also drink plenty of water here as the thin air will make you dehydrated and be careful if hiking or doing physical activities. (I've seen out-of-state football players pass out at our Air Force football games...the stadium is just under 7,000 feet.)

You'll love Colorado (and, no, not everyone here is a pot-head...most of us think the law is stupid and needs to be repealed.)
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Old 04-16-2015, 03:35 PM   #3
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Estimate calculation....for HP loss at altitude
(elevation x 0.03 x horsepower @ sea level)/1000

Are you coming into Durango via Hwy 550 or via 160? Hwy 550 is also known as the million dollar highway and is spectacular; but not sure if it would be driving a motorhome.

First time I drove it, there were two cars, and the guy driving the car in front across the two-way and stated, "a million dollar highway and they couldn't afford guard rails!"
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Old 04-16-2015, 03:55 PM   #4
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We will be traveling on US 160 and was concerned about the Wolf Creek area as it is over 10,000 ft in elevation. However, the tranny does auto downshift going down hills. Hope that will be enough for the almost 7% grade.
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Old 04-16-2015, 08:18 PM   #5
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Don't be alarmed with 4000 RPM and you will be fine. Let the tranny downshift as needed, both up and down. After you do it once the next pass will be a piece of cake. That V10 should hold you back quite nicely going down, I know my V8 does as I have crossed a half dozen passes in Colorado from 9500-11000 feet.


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Old 04-16-2015, 08:52 PM   #6
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mountain passes

good advice in previous posts.

Also, when u get to the top of Wolf Creek Pass, slow down, real slow, like 20 mph.

you don't want to enter the down hill grade with any excess momentum. Can't remember if there is a pull over, but I would if possible to let any accumulated folks behind you pass.

Colorado law requires slow moving vehicles to let faster traffic pass WHEN ITS SAFE TO DO SO (my emphasis)

I recall that gas engines lose about 3% of power per thousand Ft of elevation rise, so 10000 Ft would be about 30% loss of HP.

Durango is really great, if you haven't made reservations (really needed in Colorado during the summer), I recommend the Durango KOA, nice folks, one of the best KOA's we have been to.
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Old 04-16-2015, 09:44 PM   #7
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Wolf creek , highway 160, is now 4 lanes to the bottom of pass
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:09 PM   #8
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Drive slow, watch your temp gauges and remember not to use overdrive. Wolf Creek Pass is very beautiful and now that there are more lanes you won't have as much guilt about slowing other drivers. I think you will love it here. Take water if you walk around at the scenic area. Enjoy yourselves.
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:16 PM   #9
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Wolf creek , highway 160, is now 4 lanes to the bottom of pass
I believe there's a pull off spot at the top to get out and look around, as well as to let the motor/tranny cool. We too are wanting to go out west and wondering if our 1500, 350 Chevy Suburban with 3.42 gears can pull our 4800 lb. travel trailer over those high passes.

Good Luck and enjoy. Wolf Creek is one of the prettiest passes in Colorado!
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:06 PM   #10
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Thanks so much to all of you that replied. We will take it slow and easy in the mountains, especially Wolf Creek area.
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