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Old 02-03-2020, 12:42 PM   #1
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Going through Colorado in March

We are going to Crystal Springs Nevada the 2nd week of March. Heading through the mountains it is 30 hours by way of I-70

Coming in through the south on I40 it is 34 hours. Now naturally I would rather take the short route and enjoy the view of the mountains.

However I am not thrilled about driving through snow at that elevation. Has anyone drove I-70 through the mountains in March.

We are leaving the TT at home and just driving the TV 2014 eco diesel 4 wd.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:04 PM   #2
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Been there in December, one year leaving Dillion, Co took 1/2 hour on I70 to get east of the tunnel, previous year took 9 hours. Plan an extra day if there's snow forecast to stay put.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:05 PM   #3
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Few years back I landed at Denver in a blizzard on May 20th!!! Time vs. Safety, hmmm.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:08 PM   #4
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Even if you take the southern route, I-40, the area around Flagstaff is unpredictable and can close. Either way, keep an eye on the weather reports.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:20 PM   #5
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Yes, keep current on weather reports, make sure you have the appropriate tires on your vehicle and choose your route/timing accordingly. Enjoy the trip.

https://www.codot.gov/travel
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:23 PM   #6
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Key West Maybe

Key West is starting to look better
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:43 PM   #7
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Do you feel lucky? Three years ago We went from Des Moines, IA to Fullerton California in mid-March for my 50th High School Class Reunion. Before we left my sister-in-law's, in Denver, they were predicting blizzard conditions on I-70 west of the Continental Divide. So I had the bright idea of taking a southern route to Grand Junction.


We hit SERIOUS snow at Fairplay. We hit another storm at Poncha Springs. From Gunnison to Grand Junction it was nice and we got back on I-70. We then hit another blizzard around Green River, UT (in the dark).


Keep in mind, I was not pulling a camper, this was in a rented Chrysler 300 which did surprisingly well. Without your trailer, your truck should do fine, if you are used to snow driving.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:47 PM   #8
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I lived in CO for 10 years. I've shoveled deep snow in April and played golf in my shirt sleeves in January. Colorado doesn't follow any calendar.

Be prepared for ANYTHING. Snow, Hail (huge stuff), Wind (tornado's), Hot, Cold, you name it. It can happen at any time in CO.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bedubya View Post
Do you feel lucky? Three years ago We went from Des Moines, IA to Fullerton California in mid-March for my 50th High School Class Reunion. Before we left my sister-in-law's, in Denver, they were predicting blizzard conditions on I-70 west of the Continental Divide. So I had the bright idea of taking a southern route to Grand Junction.


We hit SERIOUS snow at Fairplay. We hit another storm at Poncha Springs. From Gunnison to Grand Junction it was nice and we got back on I-70. We then hit another blizzard around Green River, UT (in the dark).


Keep in mind, I was not pulling a camper, this was in a rented Chrysler 300 which did surprisingly well. Without your trailer, your truck should do fine, if you are used to snow driving.
The main highways (Interstates) usually have more snow removal and "sanding" equipment on them than the other routes. If I have to go somewhere and have the choice I prefer the routes that get the most attention during foul weather. One can still run into problems but they'll get handled quicker than on any secondary highway.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bedubya View Post
Do you feel lucky? Three years ago We went from Des Moines, IA to Fullerton California in mid-March for my 50th High School Class Reunion. Before we left my sister-in-law's, in Denver, they were predicting blizzard conditions on I-70 west of the Continental Divide. So I had the bright idea of taking a southern route to Grand Junction.


We hit SERIOUS snow at Fairplay. We hit another storm at Poncha Springs. From Gunnison to Grand Junction it was nice and we got back on I-70. We then hit another blizzard around Green River, UT (in the dark).


Keep in mind, I was not pulling a camper, this was in a rented Chrysler 300 which did surprisingly well. Without your trailer, your truck should do fine, if you are used to snow driving.
OOPS! My memory is failing! I started thinking this was not that recent. It was 8 years ago and it was a Chrysler 200. But it was in March.
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Old 02-04-2020, 02:21 PM   #11
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I lived in CO for 10 years. I've shoveled deep snow in April and played golf in my shirt sleeves in January. Colorado doesn't follow any calendar.

Be prepared for ANYTHING. Snow, Hail (huge stuff), Wind (tornado's), Hot, Cold, you name it. It can happen at any time in CO.
Give me a break!!! I've lived in CO most of my life (still here) there has never been a tornado or hail in March. Hot? could hit 80 during the day and be 20 the next. March is the snowiest month for CO. You must have winter rated tires even with the 4wd or chains for I70. Don't plan on going west on I70 during the weekend (includes Friday) or you can sit for hours in ski traffic. I took a trip a few years ago to San Francisco in March and went south to I40, but I had my 43' 5er. If you have mountain rated tires on your 4wd and the weather is looking good take I70, but even if it's forecast to be above freezing that can change over night...
Have a safe trip!
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Old 02-04-2020, 03:01 PM   #12
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Check records for last year in Weld County. Also one 12 years earlier. It does, and has, happened.

As for March being snowiest, maybe on average but one October it took our Parker neighborhood 3 days to dig out after snow drifted in our cul-de-sac 5 ft + deep.
Like I said, CO weather follows no schedule.
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Originally Posted by CoMaddMax View Post
Give me a break!!! I've lived in CO most of my life (still here) there has never been a tornado or hail in March. Hot? could hit 80 during the day and be 20 the next. March is the snowiest month for CO. You must have winter rated tires even with the 4wd or chains for I70. Don't plan on going west on I70 during the weekend (includes Friday) or you can sit for hours in ski traffic. I took a trip a few years ago to San Francisco in March and went south to I40, but I had my 43' 5er. If you have mountain rated tires on your 4wd and the weather is looking good take I70, but even if it's forecast to be above freezing that can change over night...
Have a safe trip!
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Old 02-04-2020, 03:04 PM   #13
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Give me a break!!! I've lived in CO most of my life (still here) there has never been a tornado or hail in March. Hot? could hit 80 during the day and be 20 the next. March is the snowiest month for CO. You must have winter rated tires even with the 4wd or chains for I70. Don't plan on going west on I70 during the weekend (includes Friday) or you can sit for hours in ski traffic. I took a trip a few years ago to San Francisco in March and went south to I40, but I had my 43' 5er. If you have mountain rated tires on your 4wd and the weather is looking good take I70, but even if it's forecast to be above freezing that can change over night...
Have a safe trip!

SORRY...WRONG about March Tornadoes.
https://www.denverpost.com/2019/03/2...rch-tornadoes/
They are rare, but as things keep warming, they are less rare.
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Old 02-04-2020, 03:35 PM   #14
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Key West is starting to look better
Ditto. You have my vote for the Florida Keys and I live in Arizona.
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Old 02-04-2020, 03:53 PM   #15
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You have the option of a Southern Route at the cost of 4 hours of drive time.
That would be my first choice.

I live in Bailey, CO, and we have camped in 65 degree weather in March (photo), but FAR MORE OFTEN there is snow. Hell, it was 71 degrees Sunday afternoon, and this morning it was 9 degrees and there was over half a foot on the ground and I was plowing.

One of the bigger problems with snow in CO is that the roads have gates...even I-70. In the Plains, they will close the road for extended periods during and after a snow storm due to ground blizzards and drifting. If you are stuck out there, you can be there for 24 hours or more. They try not to let that happen, but there comes a point it's like the Coast Guard. They dock their cutters and conduct search and rescue later. Same with the police and highway crews.

In the mountains, one must have snow-rated tires and 4-WD (you may have that covered) or chains. Problem is that many morons don't, and if they're stuck, you're stuck behind them.

Spring snow can be nasty, wet, slick-as-snot snow.

If you get good weather, the drive is to die for, but if you get crappy weather, that same drive can be unnerving to say the least. There's nothing quite like cresting an 11,500 foot mountain pass and facing 25 to 30 miles of relentless downhill at 4% to 7% grades to soil your undies.

And then there's rock fall. Not sissy rock fall, real rock fall.
https://ourcommunitynow.com/news-loc...ernet-by-storm
We occasionally have rocks drop into the road that are so large that they move the road instead of moving the rock.
https://www.motor1.com/news/354227/c...r-blocks-road/
Remote you say?
This was on i-70 just 10 years ago. https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C...w=1366&bih=625
If it's snowing or raining, the rocks are falling.

So, I live here, and we all get around just fine....kind of. This fall/winter, they closed i-70 and detoured people on "our" road (285) to South Park (yes, THAT South Park) and Fairplay, then "right" on 9 over Hoosier Pass and down through Breckenridge to get back to I-70. About a 4 hour detour.
https://www.codot.gov/news/2019/nove...osure-update-1
I was actually caught in this as I was heading home from Denver.

If you're the adventurous and WELL PREPARED type, give it a go. Otherwise, the southern route might be better.

By the way, on the subject of roads in the Rocky Mountains. They build roads through the cracks in the mountains, and even then, there are many mountain passes along the way that crest 11,000 feet...on the major roads. There are precious few roads through the mountains, because there are precious few cracks.

Pack lots of clothes. Bring plenty of cash for an unexpected night in a hotel and food at a restaurant...when credit cards might not work. Bring emergency supplies from food and water to extra layers, flashlights, shovels, tow straps, flares, jumper cables, and so on. Always keep at least 1/2 tank of fuel, because fuel stops can be VERY FAR apart. (I carry this stuff in both vehicles routinely.)

Hell, right now on I-70 Eastbound, they are shutting down the road for about 30 minutes or so almost every day for SUN GLARE. https://www.9news.com/article/news/l...2-b9b3bad28fca

By all means do it, but if you do, be ready.

P.S. We don't believe in guardrails in CO. If you're dumb enough to go over the cliff, so be it. This is NOT your route, admittedly, but this IS a major highway in CO with lots of truck and RV traffic. It's the million dollar highway. https://i1.wp.com/wp-denverite.s3.am...40%2C419&ssl=1

https://www.dangerousroads.org/north...ghway-usa.html
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:58 PM   #16
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Last May 9th, we woke up to 13 inches of snow at my cousin's place, outside of Buena Vista.
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:08 PM   #17
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I agree with the Colo. folks. As long as your tires are M+S rated and you said you have four wheel drive, you should be fine. I’d carry a set of chains if you have some just in case. They do a good job of keeping the interstates plowed. Ten years of mountain living, I haven’t once had to use chains with M+S tires and four wheel drive. I did take I- 70 thru the Rockies when I was driving a newly purchased motorhome home. There was a late season storm and 8” snow overnight. I pulled over and waited til noon and let the sun melt the icy hwy. before proceeding through the mountains.
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:40 PM   #18
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Winter in Colorado

It is fair to say that there is absolutely nothing predictable about the winter months here in Colorado. Two days ago it was mid 70's and beautiful here and one day ago it was mid 20's with snow. March can be the same way. All you can really do is look at the forecasts for the area a day or two ahead of time (and hope they are accurate). There isn't much of a chance of a meteorologist ever being considered accurate in Colorado, the mountains are a major force when it comes to weather changing from what it was five minutes ago.
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Old 02-04-2020, 09:46 PM   #19
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I-40 through NM, AZ and TX can be shutdown in March due to snowy weather. If not snow, afternoon winds can send a lot of those towing trailers to rest areas waiting for the winds to subside.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:01 AM   #20
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All you can do, anytime of the year, is watch the weather and plan accordingly. You also need to be able to change plans when necessary. We always have warm and cold clothes packed, all year.
Get a good weather app and pay attention to it
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