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RE: Guanella Pass from Georgetown CO

What is the maximum length permitted on Guanella Pass? We have a 25.5 foot long Thor Axis 24.1 Class A and wonder if it can handle the curves on the pass starting from Georgetown. There are 4 hairpin curves coming out of the Guanella Pass Campground, but they are not overly difficult and are broad enough in the curve. There's a few spots where there's a maximum 11% grade. I don't recall any signs that restrict any RVs, but I've read a few places where "large" RVs are not recommended. They don't define "large", but I'm thinking bigger than your rig. The hairpins are certainly no more challenging than the ones on the west side of Trail Ridge Road dropping down, or any other mountain pass. As passes go, it's not overly difficult. Need to be aware that, during the height of the spring/summer/fall season (read no snow) that there will likely be a lot of cars parked from the 4th curve up to the summit of the pass. There's 2 parking lots up top but they become full quickly so folks park along the roadway on the approach to the summit. Continuing on through to Grant, there's only one hairpin on the downward side as well as a sweeper curve, otherwise just following the valley down.
Thom02099 03/11/23 08:30pm Roads and Routes
RE: Camping in New Zealand

Did a Campervan tour of North and South Island pre-pandemic for a 6 week tour. There were no issues at all, no government red tape for a tourist visiting for a relatively short visit. Rented the Campervan in Auckland, toured around some LoTR sites, then ferried to South Island and continued on down to the southern tip of the island and over to Queenstown area. Only thing I didn't do was drive. I hired a local for the 6 weeks to drive and act as the guide. Well worth it.
Thom02099 02/28/23 09:07pm General RVing Issues
RE: Campgrounds along US St 36 in Kansas

I can recommend Lovewell Lake State Park as well as Prairie Dog State Park along US36. Stayed at Lovewell Lake on a trip back east headed eastbound. It's 10 miles north and 4 miles east from US 36, easy to get to with signs for directions. Lovely location on the lake amongst large cottonwood trees. Stayed at Prairie Dog SP headed back westbound to Colorado. Just a bit off the highway, there's several different loops with a variety of hookups available. Super nice SP, we stayed in a brand new loop with a great view of Keith Sebelius Lake to the south of the campground. H E R E - KS State Parks is the website that we used to locate these state parks. No reservations made in either direction, just was able to arrive on a Sunday and get a spot with no problems. Highly recommend these state parks. In a post above, it was mentioned about Long Branch State Park in Missouri. I can second that poster's recommendation, a great location and wonderful state park off the highway a bit, but easy to get to. Another place we stayed with no reservations. All of these trips were in mid-July time frame.
Thom02099 02/28/23 08:35pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Grand Junction to Denver in early to mid April

We're going to be in Monument Valley the first of April, from there we're considering going north to Moab and then up to I-70 and across to Denver. What is 70 usually like that time of year? We've been through the area a couple times, most recently last August we were in Glenwood Springs coming from Fort Collins and went through the mountains no problem. I don't own tire chains and have NO desire to have to use them going forward. :R Avoid I-70 in mid April or not?? Thanks in advance for your opinions. :C Dan B. H E R E - CO Chain Law is information on the Colorado chain law, which runs from Sept 1 to May 31 yearly.
Thom02099 02/24/23 10:25pm Roads and Routes
RE: Colorado please

Headed up to RMNP in July for a few weeks. Starting at Stillwater near Grand Lake, then over to Estes Park at Mary's Lake for a couple weeks. My question is the route to Stillwater from Raton Pass. I'm pulling a 36ft 5th wheel (16K lbs) with a Ford dually with exhaust brake tune. Lots of mountain driving experience. Def want to avoid Denver. Looks like there are three good options other than going thru Denver: A - cut off at Walsenburg and go up thru Salida, Leadville, Silverthorn, Kremmling, Granby. B - cut off at Pueblo and go up thru Canon City, Silverthorn, and on up. C - Co Springs and over to Hartsel, up to Silverthorn, and on up. Which would you choose? Also, going from Stillwater to Mary's would you go? Thanks for your help!! Mark My personal preference would be A, since it takes you through some beautiful scenery. Not so much on I-25 and there's lots of construction going on in the Springs and north of Denver. Mary's Lake is a favourite of mine, make sure you have reservations well in advance. I believe they have a 6 month window for reservations. Run by the Town of Estes Park Recreation and Parks department, it's the least expensive campground in Estes Park. I also would not recommend taking Trail Ridge over to Estes. Once you start climbing out of the valley on the west side of RMNP, there are 5 very tight hairpin curves to deal with and they are blind curves. Also, going the EASTBOUND route, you will be on the "outside"/drop off side for a goodly amount of time and there are steep drop offs and no guard rails for probably a good 15 miles. Once you drop down below treeline on the east side it's not so bad. It's just the getting there part. You also have to contend with a lot of traffic, especially around the Alpine Visitor's Center. Also have to contend with the "lookie loos" that will stop in the middle of the roadway to try to get that perfect picture of the elk up waaaay too close than they should be. Traffic can frequently back up due to this inconsideration. There are pull offs but the Karens and Chads don't think that they need to use them. Alternative would by to go from Stillwater back to Granby, go west briefly on US 40 to CO 125 and take that north to Walden. Then take CO 14 east up and over Cameron Pass (fairly easy pass) and then down the Poudre Canyon to US 287 into Fort Collins. On the north end of FC, take Shields St southbound thru FC, and stay on it all the way down to Loveland (it becomes Taft Ave in Loveland), to US 34, and then US 34 west to Estes Park. There are other ways to go, but this is, in my opinion, the best scenic route. Also be aware of the "timed entry" reservations needed to enter RMNP. Those reservations are made thru just like camping reservations. They WILL turn you away if no reservations. H E R E - Timed Entry Info is the current info available for 2023 entry to RMNP. Timed entry starts May 26, 2023.
Thom02099 01/28/23 03:12pm Roads and Routes
RE: Rocky Mountain National Park

The campgrounds inside RMNP are on a 6 month window, so yesterday/11.18.22 was the opening window for 05.18.23. The reservation system is based off the Eastern time zone, so 10amEST/8amMST is the time when the window opens for reservations. As noted above, Moraine Park Campground will be closed all of 2023 and expected to reopen in time for the 2024 season, with significant improvements made to the CG. Glacier Basin is the only other real choice for you for inside the park, and D loop is the only one that has sites for larger RVs. D-144 thru D-150 should be able to accommodate larger rigs. H E R E - Glacier Basin is the campground photo website that gives you a view of the specific sites. I've stayed in D-145/146/148 multiple times with my 28ft trailer and dually tow vehicle. I've seen larger rigs in those sites in the past, a couple of big motor homes were able to get in. I wouldn't look at the other loops at all for a larger RV. For outside the park on the Estes Park side there are: KOA Estes Park - likely too tight to get in to a site there with a larger rig and the sites are close together. Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake - This is run by the Town of Estes Park Recreation and Parks Department and they have FHU, W/E, and no hookup sites available. The FHU sites would likely be able to accommodate you as they are all pull thru sites and I've seen a wide variety of rigs there, with toy haulers and large motor homes. The W/E sites would likely be a bit of a challenge though for larger than 28ft. Elk Meadow Lodge and RV Resort and Spruce Lake RV Resort are owned by the same corporation and are practically across the street from each other. ElK Meadow has sites that will accommodate any size rig with mostly pull thrus and some back in sites. Spruce Lake is all back in sites and is a bit tighter than Elk Meadow. Manor RV Park is next door to Spruce Lake but on a different street, access is a bit tricky getting in and around in the park and the sites are tighter together than Elk Meadow and Spruce Lake, but I've seen larger rigs there so there's that. Forget about Paradise on the River RV Park, as it's usually completely booked from season to season by returnees and is more of a challenge to get in/out. Same for Estes Park Campground at East Portal, it's more for tent campers and popups, with only a few sites the could accommodate trailers up to maybe 22ft. There's also Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park and Larimer County's Hermit Park on US36 out of town. I've not stayed in either of these but have looked at them, of the 2 Jellystone might be doable. Hermit Park is also more for tent campers and smaller rigs. H E R E - RV Parks in Estes Park is the website with reviews on the parks mentioned. I've written several reviews (ThominColorado) there. My go-to park is Glacier Basin simply because it has the best views. For D loop, it's one way counterclockwise, but the rangers will allow you to go in "backwards" for sites such as D-145 which has an awesome view of Longs Peak from a different perspective. I know that it's going to be a lot harder to get reservations in Glacier Basin in 2023 with Moraine Park being closed all season. Check the prices for the various websites noted. It's not cheap. Elk Meadow, for example was $82/night last season with FHU including cable. Mary's Lake is the least expensive but it's going to be in the $45-$57 range depending on site. Spruce Lake will be comparable to Elk Meadow. Also be aware of the timed entry policy for RMNP that will (likely) be in place again in 2023. H E R E - RMNP Timed Entry is info on the timed entry policy. Though it's not in effect for the winter season, it's been in place for the past several summer seasons and I can't see the Park Service NOT using it again in the 2023 season, as it's been quite sucessful in limiting traffic in the park. IF you have a campground reservation INSIDE the park, you don't need a timed entry pass, but you will need to show your campground reservation to several checkpoint sites. ETA: Forgot to mention the WEST side of Rocky. In Grand Lake there's Winding River RV Resort and Elk Creek Campground and RV Resort just outside of town. Both would be doable for larger rigs. Winding River has FHU sites in one area of their park and W/E elsewhere. Layout of the park is sort of odd, but it's a nice place. Both of them escaped damage from the East Troublesome fire of a couple seasons back, but there's a lot of fire damage in and around that area, as well as the west entrance to Rocky. South of Grand Lake there's a goodly number of USFS campgrounds available. H E R E - Arapaho USFS campgrounds is a website for the USFS CG in the area, under "Granby" as the town. Stillwater and Green Ridge in particular could be doable and they are on the water and have spectacular views from the CG. Stillwater has water/electric hookups. ETA: JUST RE-READ YOUR ORIGINAL POST, GLACIER BASIN CLOSES EVERY SEASON RIGHT AFTER LABOR DAY, SO UNLESS YOU CAN BE THERE LATE AUGUST OR LABOR DAY WEEKEND, IT WON'T WORK FOR YOU. LABOR DAY IS SEPT 4, 2023 AND WILL CLOSE THAT WEEK, WON'T BE OPEN AFTER SEPT. 5TH Good Luck with your visit!
Thom02099 11/19/22 09:01am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Another CO ?

What time of year? If it's for next spring/summer here's suggestions: 1 - CO-91 to I-70, east to CO-9, north to US-40, east to CO-125, north to CO-14, east to US-287 and in to Fort Collins. It's a beautiful drive 2 - OR...CO-91 to I-70, east to Central City Parkway, north to Central City/Black Hawk, CO-119 north to CO-72, north to CO-7, east to CO-66. east to US-287 then north to Fort Collins. Again another beautiful drive. 3 - FTC to Durango, you could back track #2 above and when in Leadville go south on US-24 to US-285 and continue south to US-285 to US-160 then west to Durango. 4 - OR...alternatively US-287 south from Fort Collins to I-76, west to junction with I-70, west to CO-470, south to US-285 and stay on US-285 all the way to where it intersects US-24, then the remainder of #3 above. These routes are what Colorado is all about, but best done when the weather is cooperative. IF you're thinking of any time from now onward, all bets are off, it's still doable but you'll need to keep a close eye on the weather and road conditions and maybe plan on the I's if it gets nasty weatherwise.
Thom02099 11/08/22 07:08am Roads and Routes
RE: Leadville, CO

While it has been awhile, I stayed atSugar Loafin'. As noted on their web page, they don't reopen util May 13th... ^^^ This if you need hookups Sugar Loafin is not far from town and the only other option in the area that is not USFS is Leadville RV Corral, which is not very highly rated. H E R E - For Reviews and H E R E RV Corral For their website. As to the USFS campgrounds, there's several in the Leadville area, the best of which are Baby Doe, Matchless, and Molly Brown. These USFS campgrounds are very seasonal and are at or higher elevation than Leadville. No amenities at all, some narrow roads and generally better suited to tent campers and smaller trailers/motor homes under 25 or so feet.
Thom02099 11/06/22 08:10am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Montrose, CO to Durango

Any issues with taking 550 with a 36' DP towing a car? I have quite a bit of experience in mountain driving including a 16% grade in BC Canada. Thx Experienced mountain drivers had varied opinions about driving this. "Truckers do it all the time"...because they are truckers, it's their job and they have done it many times. Familiarity with the road is a big factor in driving it safely. It's not just your driving skills that are at play. There's other folks on the road and there will be very inexperienced drivers along with you, the truckers, and other RV'ers. There are 3 passes to cross...Red Mountain, Molas, and Coal Bank. Heading south you will be on the "outside" for a goodly portion of the drive, particularly from Ouray to Silverton. That means drop offs (very significant ones), no guardrails and twists and turns, with hairpins towards the top of Red Mountain Pass. A frequent problem is OTHER DRIVERS that cross over into your lane, something to be very aware of. "It's a very beautiful drive". Yes, it is. But you (and all drivers) should be paying attention to the road and traffic and not the sights. There will be pulloffs where you can enjoy the views along the way, particularly when you get up and over Red Mountain Pass. You will also be on the "inside" lane going down from Molas and over Coal Bank for a goodly part of that drive. If you are experienced, aware, and take your time and drive defensively, you will be fine driving it.
Thom02099 09/18/22 08:56am Roads and Routes
RMNP - Moraine Park Campground Closure 2023

Multiple sources reporting that Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed for the entire 2023 season, reopening tenatively in June 2024. Infrastructure improvements include water and sewer updating, new electrical and possibly electric at some sites, and relocating some sites out of wetlands. Also, handicap accessible sites are in the plans, since there are currently none in the campground. H E R E and H E R E are a couple of sources. It will be interesting to see what impact the closure might have on the other campgrounds, notably Glacier Basin. Moraine Park has been difficult to get a reservation whereas Glacier Basin has least for the current season. Next season?
Thom02099 08/28/22 09:00pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Antelope Canyon

Yes, there are other cool things to see and do in the Page area besides Antelope Canyon. There's Glen Canyon Dam just outside of Page. There's the Horseshoe Bend view point southwest of Page. There's a variety of trails around Page. North of Glen Canyon Dam there's the Wahweap area with a marina and campground, where one can rent a houseboat (at least you could pre-pandeminc) or other boats. My step-daughters worked there at the marina one season cleaning houseboats and got to meet a few Hollywood types who came there to get away, so there's that too :C . Further out from Page there's the historic Navajo Bridge over the Colorado at Marble Canyon. There's plenty of other things to do depending on how much time you want to spend there and how far out. Since you're relatively close, there's also the North Rim area of the canyon that's definitely worth it.
Thom02099 08/25/22 07:56pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Colorado Hwy 50 @ Monarch Pass

If you have the time, highly recommend stopping at the top of the pass for the Monarch Crest Tramway. H E R E is a link to the website for the aerial tram. Definitely worth it, the vistas at the top are what Colorado is all about.
Thom02099 07/23/22 10:31pm Roads and Routes
RE: Chicago to Cedar City, UT - route 70 or 80?

Highest point on I-80 is between Cheyenne and Laramie WY, at ~9600 feet and going westbound the climb is barely noticeable, it's that gradual. There's a decline into Laramie for about 7 miles, but it is not difficult at all. This is the highest point on the entire length of I-80. I-70 gives you 3 climbs. The first is a long climb out of Denver up and over Floyd Hill and an impressive decline into Idaho Springs area. The 2nd is the climb from Silver Plume to the Johnson-Eisenhower Tunnels which tops out at over 11,000 feet and then a long downhill into Silverthorne. And then there is the climb up and over Vail Pass which also tops out at over 11,000 feet. These are the highest points on the entire length of I-70. For easiest crossing, I-80 wins. For stunning views and vistas, can't beat I-70.
Thom02099 07/21/22 06:23am Travel Trailers
RE: 2022 campgrounds

We had a 3K mile trip planned for our summer get out of Arizona trip. Cut it about in half due to diesel prices and decided to not go outside Colorado. When we called to cancel our reservations in MT, ID and WY, were told those campgrounds were facing many cancellations. We were able to snag 10 days in Gunnison where you have to almost wait for someone to die to get in. We made reservations in Estes Park at the last minute and got a several week stay. Normally, they are booked months in advance. Manager said they've had lots of cancellations. Numerous vacant sites every night. Very unusual for Estes Park in July. With several decades of summer experience in Estes Park, I can say the crowds here are definitely thinner. Just got back from a weekend at Glacier Basin CG inside RMNP and there were sites available throughout the weekend there. Site right next to us was vacant the entire weekend as were several others. Entering the park on Friday afternooon didn't take much time, line was short for the Beaver Meadows entrance. Sunday was a different matter -- entry traffic backed up for over a mile. Driving past Elk Meadow Resort, although on first glance it appeared full, looking closer there were a goodly number of sites available on Friday going up as well as Sunday coming home. The KOA on the east side of town also didn't seem to be as full as usual.
Thom02099 07/10/22 11:54am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: 2022 campgrounds

Here in northern Colorado so far everything has been full, there's been no changes that are noticeable. Went up the Poudre Canyon recently, all of the first come/first served CG were full. And the State Forest State Park Ranger Lakes CG was completely full. Checked to see if some of the other State Park CGs nearby had any openings and there's absolutely nothing. However, with diesel now at $5.50+ here, will be interesting to see if that changes.
Thom02099 07/05/22 08:32pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Note to Newbies with Children

Don't sit around a morning fire in your underwear while chain smoking cigarettes and guzzling coffee. Straight from Nomadland ;)
Thom02099 07/04/22 09:16am RV Lifestyle
RE: Best route

Good suggestions for you. Something to be aware of, there is a massive construction project going on for I-25 between the Berthoud exit (CO 56/Exit 250) and north of the Loveland exit (US 34/Exit 257) with narrowing lanes, lane shifts and huge periodic backups in both directions. This is all north of Denver. Was just in Denver yesterday, all of the construction projects from downtown north to Berthoud are all completed so no problems there. A suggestion to miss Denver and the construction would be to stay on US 287 up to Limon CO where you can take CO 71 north all the way into Nebraska (stays as 71 except NE 71) where you can get on I-80 and take that west to I-25 in Cheyenne. Very easy drive, CO 71 is a good roadway but no fuel stops between Limon and Brush CO.
Thom02099 07/04/22 09:07am Roads and Routes
RE: Kansas City to Estes Park

An option to consider would be to take I-29 NORTH to St. Joseph and take US 36 all the way across Kansas. It's a good 2 lane road, small towns every 30-40 miles apart for pit stops/fuel/food or just to rest. Flat in the eastern part of the state, more rolling hills as you get further west. A couple of nice state parks in the western portion at Lovewell Lake SP or Prairie Dog SP. Both offer various hookup options if needed. At St Francis KS, there's 2 options. Stay on US 36 to CO 71 and north to Brush, or take KS 27 north to Haigler NE where you can pick up US 34 and take that all the way in to Brush, Fort Morgan, Greeley and Loveland on the way to Estes Park. Personally I prefer the 2nd option to go up to US 34, I've done that several times both directions.
Thom02099 06/30/22 08:02pm Roads and Routes
RE: Durango, Silverton & Telluride Area

Well, thanks in advance for any input. We are heading to the area of Durango late July for a few weeks and looking at places and things, a lot. A lot of places to camp. Last time I asked here was a few years ago and someone told be about Four Mile State Park near Niagara Falls, perfect place. So this time, near Durango. will stay for about a week near there and take in the sites, maybe move on to Silverton or Telluride area. Any great ideas of camp spots, roads to avoid will be helpful and greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jeff & Karen That area of Colorado has a lot to offer in the way of campgrounds. However, without reservations you may be hard pressed to find a place to camp. There's state parks in the area but all Colorado State Parks are reservation only; H E R E - CPW is a link to the reservations page. There's Navajo and Ridgway State Parks in that general area, it's possible you might be able to find a cancellation that could work for you. USFS campgrounds are available at Again you might be able to find a cancellation that could work for you, but they are all very popular and get reserved usually 6 months ago when the window opened for reservations. And can point you toward some of the commercial campgrounds in the areas you're interested in, may be able to find something in one of the private campgrounds in the area.
Thom02099 06/30/22 07:51pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Credit Cards For Fuel Discounts

American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back on grocery purchases and 3% cash back on fuel.
Thom02099 06/26/22 08:07pm General RVing Issues
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