Western roads, Feb-March 2018

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Chip_Oatley
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Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Chip_Oatley » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:41 pm

I am in Colorado. I will be heading back to Denver from the mountains in a few days.

I need to be in Boise two weeks after that. So this could be a great road trip, or not, depending on weather. Other option is to fly somewhere and then drive to Boise. No vehicle yet.

Would like to explore Glenwood Springs, Co., etc, and am open to suggestions. I have a friend in SLC, and that's on the way.

I assume that Lost Soul, Wilster, and/or Section8 may have some experience here.

Ta muchly. xo

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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Wilster » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:12 pm

Yeah, weather could be your friend or foe.

You could bust up I-70 and hit Glenwood Springs or even Grand Junction. A mate of mine and I did just that not too long ago, but in the spring. I met him in Denver after driving his uncle's car from New Haven, CT (I think you already read that before) where we played a round of golf en route to Grand Junction and spent the night. From Grand Junction we went SW to southern Utah to play golf and meet another mate driving up from Phoenix.

I don't know, if you're up for a road trip, I'd probably drive west in the northern part of the State to get to SLC. Obviously go through Rocky Mountain National Park if you haven't been, then pick up Hwy 40 in the direction of Steamboat Springs and further west from there. If you didn't want to do RMNP, then maybe spend a night in Ft. Collins (or not) and pick up Hwy 14; again in the direction of Steamboat Springs.

There's plenty of sights in Idaho, just not so much driving from SLC to Boise. There is the Craters of the Moon National Monument which might be worth the diversion to getting to Boise. If you wanna roadtrip it to get to Boise, then you see the Craters and muscle on up through Ketchum and the fantastic Sawtooth range via Hwy 75, then left turn at Stanley and Hwy 21 before bringing 'er on home to Boise.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Lost Soul » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:14 am

It will be winter, so main roads only. But main roads are all you want in winter anyway.

Just be sure to rent a car with snow tires (look for the S or M+S on the sidewalls) and you'll be fine. 'All-season' radials suck ass in winter. I rented mine in Vegas this trip and it was a challenge to find them, but they exist as almost standard on any SUV or mini SUV like a RAV4.

Boise is a boomtown.

Both roads heading north from Boise are beautiful mountain drives. Just wait a day after the snowfall for them to plow the roads and then go for it. Baker City, La Grande and Enterprise, Oregon also makes a fine day trip from Boise. The road to the Hell's Canyon lookout will probably be too snowy then.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by section8 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:21 pm

I've never been through Boise. Northern Idaho is great, if you can avoid the Nazis.

I'd be inclined to go south at this time of year and hit spots along the Mogollon Rim. Better weather, less snow, and for me, more interesting than snow and mountains.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Lost Soul » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:39 am

BTW, I-70 is prettier than I-80 between Denver and SLC, so go do Glenwood Springs. And enjoy the 11,300 foot elevation at the top of the Eisenhower tunnel. And the sign in Utah saying: "Next Gas 135 miles", unless you diverge from it to the NW at Green River. I believe it is the longest 'No Gas' sign on any interstate.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Stephen_Dedalus » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:51 am

Quality travel advice from LS there.

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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Chip_Oatley » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:16 am

Chip_Oatley wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:41 pm
I am in Colorado. I will be heading back to Denver from the mountains in a few days.
LS, thanks, but yes, I have done that I-70 trip Denver-mountains now back and forth, in a shuttle.

Thanks all for the info.

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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Lost Soul » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:09 am

Excellent. That leaves the prettiest road to SLC yet to do. Hang a right on I-70 just west of Denver and aim for Granby, Steamboat Springs and Utah. Nice country. It also goes right by Dinosaur National Monument, and everybody loves dinosaurs.

I-80 across Wyoming doth suck. It's high, cold, bleak and boring. Fort Bridger is the only redeeming stop, but you can see the other side of the Uinta mountains from the road above.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Wilster » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:41 am

Lost Soul wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:09 am
I-80 across Wyoming doth suck. It's high, cold, bleak and boring. Fort Bridger is the only redeeming stop, but you can see the other side of the Uinta mountains from the road above.
Yep, and I got a ticket (well, warning, an actual citation tho') for hitchhiking thru Rock Springs, WY in 1980. Peeps were actually yelling at me for being a "hippy" (in 1980, c'mon!). Ended up taking a bus to Laramie, WY where I was to meet my dorm-mate-hitchhiking-mate on the State campus, sleep in the bushes, but shower in the gym. The drag was that when we were hitching down to Golden, CO I would walk a head of my non-ticketed mate and when he would get picked up, down the road he would go and ask if his ride could pick me up too as I had been ticketed the day before. :shock: No prob, I got a few clicks out and then my mate and ride would be pulling over to let me get in--good times. No probs when we crossed the border into CO.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Lost Soul » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:14 am

I got a bunch of speeding tickets in WY when I lived there in the 80s. The routine was to go as fast as the road allowed, rather than the stupid 55 MPH. When the cop pulled you over, he gave you the option to cede guilt and pay a $15 fine on the spot, in exchange for a no-points ticket. Book it, Dan-O.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by rider5 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:54 pm

What is it you'd like to do on this road trip? Observe scenery while driving? Skiing? Hiking? Sipping hot cocoa in some posh hotel and looking out the window at a winter wonderland? Spa time?

There's a lot of mixed terrain between Denver, SLC, and Boise. All of it cold this time of year. I drive to Montana and back from Colorado every year during the warm months and I've finally perfected a route that completely avoids the gigantic sprawl of the Wasatch Front so I probably can't help much. I'll try though. I try to avoid interstates even if I'm interested in making time.

I need more info from you if I'm going to bother to reply in any sort of detail.

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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Lost Soul » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:11 am

I agree with avoiding the horror show of SLC. It's awful in the winter especially, when it's capped by a pollution-filled inversion layer.

If you must, cross it at midnight or noon.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Chip_Oatley » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:04 am

Good to know re SLC. I had considered flying there and driving the rest of the way to Boise.

65F today and temps will drop to 12F for a snow event on Saturday. I am considering taking Amtrak to Glenwood Springs for a couple of days until it warms up again. Or stay in Denver through the weekend.

"Observe scenery while driving? Skiing? Hiking? Sipping hot cocoa in some posh hotel and looking out the window at a winter wonderland? Spa time?"

I already got in my ski/scenery/hot tub time. Spa and hot cocoa sounds good. Recommend any destination spas?

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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by Lost Soul » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:28 am

Ouray Hot Springs is prettier than Glenwood Springs. And Chief Ouray of the Utes preferred it even before they put an Interstate next to Glenwood Springs.

It's about three miles by crow and 50 miles by road from Telluride. Silverton is closer if you don't want to pay resort prices at either Telluride or Ouray. Durango is a nice, funky town too.
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Re: Western roads, Feb-March 2018

Post by 5waldos » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:35 am

Not a snow event- looks to be about 3 inches, and warm the next day. I should have been tracking on this. The train to Glenwood Springs is a very beautiful trip- highly recommend although have only done it in the summer. And sitting in the pool in the Springs as the snow comes down is fun.

Anyway- yes I am in Denver so drinks or dinner are a great idea- no real plans for the weekend (or the week for that matter) so let me know and we can plan something.

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