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Old 09-04-2019, 08:59 PM   #1
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Denver - San Fran I-70 in Gas 460?

I will be traveling west out of Denver/Golden and am trying to find the safest route for me and my '98 Itasca (F460 gas engine). Looking at I-80 and down through Nevada or south through Santa Fe and then across the desert. Would love to take I-70 but I'm a bit nervous about my older RV and driving solo through the mountains.

RV condition is good - new alternator belt, new tires, new radiator, Banks power and OD and clean oil changes. But I'm just unsure. Any feedback would be great! I've driven the mountains in a car and know about down shifting etc but I've never really done it in a motorhome. Took this one through part of the Blue Ridge mountains west through Chattanooga TN and we did fine but those are MUCH smaller mountains.

Also any thoughts on nice places to stay along the way would be great. Don't need to be fancy, just clean and safe. Thanks!!
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:16 PM   #2
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We’ve got a V10 (2008). We came over a few weeks ago and averaged about 40 up the mountain on 70. I’d say if that is the most direct route that you should take it. I think as long as your rv is in good working order you’ll be fine. We passed trucks going much slower than us.

On the way to Denver we stayed in North Platte, NE. I think it was the Holiday RV Park right off I-80. On the west side of Denver we stayed at the KOA in Silt. It’s also right off the highway. Being that you’re coming out of Denver one is not an option and the Silt KOA would probably be too short of a day. We headed out of there toward Bryce Canyon so didn’t stay anyplace else while on 70.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:49 AM   #3
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Thanks! I'm just a bit nervous and can't remember how long that mountainous stretch is.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:28 PM   #4
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I live in CO and have driven I 70 in various MH for over 40 years. I don’t know how long and heavy your unit is but your engine will work extremely hard to get up and down the mountain passes. The issue is not just how fast you can go in relation to other drivers. If your engine isn’t powerful enough you will have the gas pedal to the floor and only go 25-35 mph. That is really hard on your engine for the 5-6 hours it will take you just to Utah line. So do a little more research probably. The other thing is try hard to not drive it Friday-Monday or you will basically be suiting in a parking lot. Our highway has not kept up with the greatly increased traffic heading to the mountains on a weekend or holidays.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:31 PM   #5
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I've traveled West from Denver via I-80. I would use caution however because of the wind. Listen to the forecast especially the wind report. I-70 was too mountainous for us.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:01 PM   #6
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Travel round trip Colorado Springs (100 mi south of Denver) to West Coast 4 times per year. I choose the route based on the season, weather and HWY construction,


West/east routes:

HWY 80 Windy through WY, lots of construction, hills are moderate, heavy semi traffic, from Denver go N on HWY25 to Fort Collins, take HWY 14/287 to Larime WY, join HWY 80, prepare for clousers during winter. My most frequent route. Big grade east of Salt Lake and Donner Pass CA.

HWY 70 - busy, lots of slow semi's, big, long up grade to Eisenhower Tunnel, well maintained 4 snow

HWY 50 - Go S on HWY 25 to Pueblo join HWY 50, my favorite route if you have time, abt 2 hrs longer than HWY 80 but few semi's lots of wildlife, 2 long grades, Monarch Pass and leaving CO, then entering CA. Great scenery, goes near Capital Reef and other NP's in UT known as "the lonliest highway" in UT & NV watch your gas. Long stretches wo services.

HWY 40 - Often times open during winter when 70 and 80 are closed. Long and boring, has grade entering S CA (Tehatchippi Pass), narrow road lots of semi's a 2nd grade in CA to get to HWY 5 or HWY 101 - last resort route.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:28 AM   #7
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Just sayin' ... never say "San Fran" or "Frisco" to anyone who lives in San Francisco (The City). Fighting words to the locals.

That said, you just might try I-80 all the way. Yes, you'll have mountains from Reno to Truckee, then it's downhill from there. But I wouldn't think about taking the RV into the city...traffic is always congested, bike folks will not give you room to maneuver (nor twill the residents for hat matter).
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:33 PM   #8
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Yes, traffic is a mess in the Bay Area, pulling an RV trailer is a bold proposal, makes getting to SF look easy. On the bright side, unhitching and having a passenger vehicle is a plus.
Avoid rush hour if at all possible, come into the Bay Area on Sunday using HWY 580/680 if possible, crossing the SF Bay on the Freemont or Dunbarton Bridge to HWY 101. HWY 80 route will take you over the Bay Bridge through downtown SF. All bridges have automatic tolls.


Checkout Treasure Island Trailer Court in Colma, CA and Thousand Trails in Pacifica, CA both are a short commute by mileage to SF. Both are near the Pacific Ocean so prepare for cold, wet fog. A 3rd choice is Oyster Point RV park near Brisbane CA, better weather on the bay side of the peninsula. Good Luck, I plan to be there @ EOM.
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:48 PM   #9
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One more thing.......

Consider temporarily changing your insurance deductible to $50.00 if you have extended side view mirrors. Put a lock on your spare tire, be sure to lockup (inc. windows and trailer hitch) when you leave your trailer. Lots of people with hunting/gathering lifestyles!
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:58 PM   #10
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Denver to SF

Wrap-up
Took HWY 50 (Pony Express Trail) 9/29/19, Beautiful trip, high altitude Aspen Trees were yellow/orange in another week will be red. Whispy snow on Monarch Pass CO, light snow on Donner Summit, CA. Steady head wind through UT/NV.


Bay area traffic heavy, found a parking place in a neighborhood in South San Francisco/Westborough during daylight, neighborhood was full at evening. Will be returning on 10/7/19, HWY 80 (Orergon Trail) if weather permits.
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:59 AM   #11
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You will enjoy Hwy 80; almost as scenic as Hwy 50, but more trucks, easy to travel. Take a side trip into Truckee; easy RV parking in town and many great places to eat. Great views from Donner Pass and summit.
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Old 10-07-2019, 06:24 PM   #12
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Agree, Truckee is a good stopover, I have dear friends there and several distant gold fever hanger-on-er relatives. Nice river in the summer time.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:25 PM   #13
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We drove the I-15 to Denver segment last July. Most of the drive was very good and uneventful with fantastic scenery. When in the area of all the famous ski resorts the terrain becomes quite extreme with very significant up and down grades. The highest elevation of around 11,000 feet was also in that area.

My advice would be to ensure your brakes are in tip-top condition and learn everything there is to know about using the transmission to help slow on the downgrades. If you're equipped with tow/haul, use it religiously.

Most of all, enjoy the scenery!
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