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RE: Trip to Colorado from Minnesota

Never been to Colorado and considering making a trip in few weeks. Looking to rent a drivable RV (off RV Share) and do not want to get in over my head as I have never driven anything larger than a standard pickup truck. I have two dogs (40lbs ea) so will need something with a bit more space and I do not want to travel too far or deep into Colorado but close enough to get a feel for it. Certainly no mountain/pass driving. Perhaps that will limit me forsure. Looking for suggestions of places to stay or visit that this time of year would be good, have room and maybe dog friendly (i.e. dog parks, etc). Thx. Not wanting to drive in the mountains or passes pretty much limits you to the eastern plains and foothills area along the I-25/Front Range corridor. Think Fort Collins area down to Denver to Colorado Springs to Pueblo. And even in these areas there's going to be limitations on where you can stay. USFS campgrounds are not an option, since they are mostly in the mountains and closed/closing for the season. Rocky Mountain National Park also not an option as you have to drive in the mountains to get there and then the best part of the park -- is the mountains. And the main campground there, Moraine Park only has one loop open since Glacier Basin has closed for the season. Probably your best option would be Colorado State Parks at this CPW link. From north to south, consider Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, St. Vrain State Park outside Longmont, Cherry Creek and Chatfield State Parks in the Denver area, Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorodo Springs, Mueller State Park west of Colorado Springs (a bit of a drive in the mountains but certainly not at all difficult), all as options. All of them have at least one loop still open/open all year. BUT -- COLORADO STATE PARKS REQUIRE RESERVATIONS. There are no first come/first served in any of these parks. The website above will provide information on reservations and you can search to see what might work for you. Aside from the state parks, there's also some commercial rv parks to consider, mainly in the area around Golden (just west of Denver) and in the Colorado Springs area. Here - Campground Reviews is a good place to start. As to the RV rental you're considering, keep in mind that you may have to pay a pet premium to rent something, and there's going to be limitations on where the fur friends can accompany you. State Parks again are a good choice, as there are only the usual pet restrictions,(must be on a 6ft leash, can't be left unattended). Weather is also a factor to keep an eye on. For the next 2 weeks, at least along the Front Range/I-25 corridor, current forecast is for highs in the 60s/lows in the 40s generally, but that can change dramatically. Last year we had a huge snowfall in October so it's something to be aware of. Forecast for the mountains calls for a huge storm possible in the mountains that could dump FEET of snow.
Thom02099 10/09/21 08:41am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: I'm actually in favor of high cancelation fees....

I have accepted that "gaming" the system is not going away regardless of penalties imposed. There will always be someone who does not care about the impact of their gaming the system and reserving blocks that they know they will not use. It helps level the playing field some to know when the reservation window(s) open on the various reservation systems. system for USFS and National Parks (for the ones locally that I want to reserve), the window opens 180 days prior to the date one wants, at 10am Eastern time/8am in Mountain time. For, the system for all Colorado State Parks, the window is also 180 days, but the time is at the stroke of midnight on that 180th day for Mountain time. I had to look through all of the fine print at the CPW website to find that information; I had wondered about that, thinking that it was also 8am mountain time for Colorado State Parks. Couldn't figure out why I wasn't able to reserve spots at the stroke of 8am when I should have stayed up and done it at the stroke of midnight. Not going to solve the core problem of this discussion topic, but does give a bit of advantage in knowing and using the exact times that the scammers are using.
Thom02099 09/28/21 07:00am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Two part ??? - Has your camping reservation been cancelled?

Had that problem last year, with the massive fires in northern Colorado from the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires. Several of my reservations at USFS campgrounds were cancelled and refunded. Also had one State Park cancellation and 1 RMNP cancellation. And in September 2020, when the Cameron Peak fire was producing massive amounts of smoke, I camped at a state park about 90 minutes EAST of where I live and the smoke was so bad we hardly left the trailer. Cleared out some on the Sunday we were returning home.
Thom02099 09/05/21 11:43pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Cheyenne WY to Glenwood Springs CO

I-80 to Laramie, then WY 230 to CO 127 etc. to Walden. CO 14 to US 40. You'll join US 40 near the top of the passes there. It's a fair drop down into Steamboat Springs but just use your gearing. Lots of RV's do it every day. Then west on US 40 to Craig and south on CO 13 to I-70 etc. When you get to Rifle, take a left on Railroad Ave. at the three way intersection just past Wing Nutz. If you stay on CO 13 you may hit a back up because they are making people exit the highway at Rifle. When you get to the frontage road, stay on Railroad and cross the Colorado River and get on I-70 there. Things change day to day and they may make you detour on the frontage road. If so, head west on the frontage road to Silt and get on I-80 eastbound there. Except for I-80 and US 40, these are all lesser travelled roads but scenic in their own right. Wave at us when you get to GWS! And if you follow this excellent suggestion, make sure you fuel up in Laramie. There is no diesel available that I'm aware of between Laramie and Walden. It's 65 miles from Laramie to Walden and another 60 miles on to Steamboat Springs. There are 2 stations in Walden that both have diesel, neither of them are ideal for trying to get a truck/trailer combo in to fuel. They are right across from each other so if you need to fuel up there, you can choose the one that is less busy. Also be aware there is a goodly climb from Woods Landing-Jelm up to Mountain Home and the WY/CO state line. Doable certainly, but just be aware of it. WY 230 turns into CO 127 at the state line and is mostly down hill until you get to the junction with CO 125 in North Park. Relatively flat across North Park to the climb up to Rabbit Ears Pass on CO 14, which you'll pick up in Walden.
Thom02099 08/09/21 06:47am Roads and Routes
RE: Westbound to Leadville

I’m pulling a travel trailer to Leadville, CO in August. I’m looking for advice on the best path to take. Most recommendations have been to come in I70 to 91. I was wondering if anyone had thoughts if it would be an easier tow to coming in from the south. I know it would be longer, but I’m looking for something that might miss some of the steeper climbs. If you are traveling westbound on I-70, one alternative would be to get off in Limon and on to US 24 to Colorado Springs, and stay on US 24 thru the city. It continues westbound thru Woodland Park and on up to Antero Junction where it meets US 285. Stay on US 24/285 to Johnson Village, where you'll split from US 285 and take US 24 up to Leadville. Gradual up hill for most of the drive, a beautiful drive from Johnson Village thru Buena Vista and on up to Leadville. There is nothing overly steep about this route. Yes, you'll have some ups and downs, and some curves and one pass (Wilkerson Pass) which, for Colorado passes is ho hum barely noticeable. Biggest obstacle is the traffic in Colorado Springs, but no worse than what you'd have going through Denver on I-70. EDIT: Just saw the above responses as I was typing this. You could still follow this suggestion, with this added suggestion. Take I-80 to I-76 and get off I-76 in Brush and take CO 71 south to Limon where you would pick up the above suggestion. Yes, it's a longer drive, but you'll avoid several steep climbs this way.
Thom02099 07/30/21 06:43am Roads and Routes
RE: Colorado, I70 and 160 to 285 advice

For the tail end of your trip, to RMNP and Moraine Park, there are a couple of options. On US 285 when you get to Aspen Park, shortly thereafter there will be a long downhill through Turkey Creek Canyon, but it is 4 lanes and a good road. Just watch your speed -- gear down and keep it at or under the speed limit. Town of Morrison PD is aggressive in enforcing the speed limit. When you get to CO 470, head north toward I-70. Once you get to I-70 you have a choice. Stay on CO 470 and go into Golden where it intersects with US 6. Take US 6 into Golden where it meets CO 93. Take CO 93 through the remainder of Golden and stay on it all the way up to Boulder. In Boulder CO 93 becomes Broadway/CO 7 through the city and CO 7 intersects with US 36 north of the city. US 36/CO 7 north to Lyons, then in Lyons stay on US 36 up to Estes Park. Alernatively -- instead of going into Golden and the traffic of Golden and Boulder, where CO 470 intersects with I-70, get back on I-70 and head WEST to the exit for US 6. Make sure you are in the right lane down a ginormous hill and watch for the US 6 exit as it can sneak up on you. Take US 6 east to CO 119 and then take CO 119 north toward Black Hawk and stay on it all the way to Nederland. In Nederland pick up CO 72/the Peak to Peak Highway and stay on that until the intersection with CO 7. Make a left and go through Allenspark and Meeker Park and on in to Estes Park. IF you miss the US 6 exit, not to worry. You can get off I-70 at the Central City Parkway and take that up to Central City/Black Hawk. Just follow the signs through both towns for CO 119 where you pick that up in Black Hawk and follow the directions above. As you come in to Estes Park on CO 7, watch for Mary's Lake Rd. Make a left and take it down to where it intersects with US 36/Moraine Ave. Make a left on to US 36 and you'll be just about to the Beaver Meadows entrance to RMNP. There's a good visitor's center there. At the entrance gate let them know you have a reservation in Moraine Park; that will be your timed entry into RMNP. Print out a copy of your reservation confirmation before your trip as added proof of your reservation. Turn off US 36 on Bear Lake Rd and stay on that to the entrance to Moraine Park. None of this is difficult towing. Many folks at various experience levels do it all the time. Just take your time and enjoy your visit!
Thom02099 07/22/21 07:07am Roads and Routes
RE: Central Missouri to Colorado Springs

If you want to avoid traffic (and there will be traffic in Boulder), stay on I-25 northbound to the CO 66 exit for Longmont. Take CO 66 west to Lyons and pick up US 36 there in Lyons. US 36 is not a difficult drive between Lyons and Estes Park but you will be climbing. There are periodic climb lanes on that route. You could also continue further north to the Loveland exit for US 34 and take US 34 west up to Estes Park through the Big Thompson Canyon. Not a lot of steep, but a lot of curves and a few climb lanes as well. "The Narrows" at the entrance to the canyon is impressive and you'll need to take your time; you'll know you're out when you reach the Colorado Cherry store about 7 miles up. Hopefully you already have a reservation for a place to stay in Estes Park. Finding an opening without will be a challenge. Most of the commercial campgrounds are likely booked completely and inside RMNP some of the campground loops have been restricted once again this season, making finding a place to stay very difficult.
Thom02099 07/20/21 06:20am Roads and Routes
RE: Cripple creek/Pikes Peak

Manitou Cliff Dwellings Cave of the Winds Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Seven Falls (does involve hiking/climbing stairs) Will Rogers Shrine Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
Thom02099 07/17/21 07:35am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: What's up with Rocky Mt. National Park entry?

If one has a reservation for camping inside Rocky, the confirmation of the camping reservation is required to show proof of reservation and the $2.00 reservation fee doesn't apply. Buried deep within Visitors with campground reservations and wilderness camping permits will use those permits as their timed entry reservations. You may enter the park on the first day of your camping reservation. Entrance fees apply and can be paid at the entrance station. Visitors must have these camping permits in advance. There will be no same day sales at the park’s campgrounds. Visitors must have their camping reservation confirmation visible.
Thom02099 06/10/21 06:52am General RVing Issues
RE: I-70 vs I-80 road condition, which is better.

I have somewhat the same question. How do road conditions between 70 and 80 compare between Indiana and Denver. We just came back from a trip out to Denver without the 5th wheel on I80 then 76 into Denver to 70. I80 had some terribly bumpy areas in multiple areas. One in the Chicago area could probably launch you into a low earth orbit if conditions were just right. 76 in Colorado had its issues as well. We are heading out in August with the 5th and wondering if I70 might be worth a thought. Once again only very recent experiences not years ago. Have travelled back/forth between Colorado and Indiana several times, destination in NE Indiana (Fort Wayne area). Using that as a marker, I take US 24 west to I-57, I-57 south to I-72. I-72 turns into US 36 at Hannibal, MO and I stay on US 36 across MO and KS, and on in to CO where it meets up with I-70. Particularly on US 36, this is a much better route IMHO. The road surface is better, the traffic issue is a non-issue and for me, it's just a better experience. Small towns (especially in Kansas) about 30-40 miles apart, doesn't slow you down that much and gives a good leg stretching break or fuel stops.
Thom02099 06/01/21 06:47am Roads and Routes
RE: From N. Platte, NE to Breckenridge, CO

Leaving N. Platte, NE to Breckenridge, CO, West bound on I-80 to I-76, RV Trip Wizard continues on to I-70 thru Denver. GS Trip Planner routes the same but exits I-76 before Denver on West Stoneham and onto S I-25 north of Loveland and the onto W I-70. I drive a 36' motorhome towing 4 down. Why the 2 variances in routing between RV Trip Wizard and GS? Have no idea where/what West Stoneham is, north of Loveland to I-25, but that trip planner obviously doesn't know about any of the construction that's been going on for I-25 in the Loveland area. Best to avoid that and, as recommended stay on I-76 to I-70.
Thom02099 05/25/21 06:33am Roads and Routes
RE: I-70 vs I-80 road condition, which is better.

We're heading out to Richfield, Utah area in a couple months. I'm wondering which road is in better shape, I-70 or I-80? It's only about 100 mile difference. I planing on I-70 thru the tunnels. Pulling a 45' 5th wheel with a dually. In Colorado on I-70, 3 climbs to deal with. The first is the climb out of Denver up to the Evergreen area and then the Floyd Hill descent outside of Idaho Springs. Second is the climb up to the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnels and the (somewhat long) descent into the Summit County towns. And finally the climb up and over Vail Pass. 11000+ feet for #2 and #3. Your rig should handle it fine. Just be aware of the slow traffic that you'll encounter on all 3 climbs. You can handle it; others maybe not. I-80 in Wyoming, the high point is outside of Laramie at ~9600 feet with a drop into Laramie to ~7200 feet. That high point is the highest on all of I-80, coast to coast. It's a gradual climb from Cheyenne to the summit and the descent to Laramie is only about 5 miles or so. West of Laramie is a lot of rolling terrain and as pointed out, the winds can be tricky. But there's no significant elevation changes. Your choice as to which you would be more comfortable with.
Thom02099 05/18/21 06:56am Roads and Routes
RE: Estes park

We were wondering what would be a nice RV park to stay in closest to Estes Park and if our class C 23 foot is small enough to tour around the National Park There are a variety of RV Parks/campgrounds in the Estes Park area. They include: Elk Meadow RV Park Spruce Lake RV Park Paradise on the River RV Park Manor RV Park Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake KOA Estes Park Jellystone Estes Park Check for more information on each. The first 2 are owned by the same company and are the most expensive. Elk Meadow has a mix of back in and pull thru sites and offers FHU. Paradise on the River usually fills up quickly for the summer season. Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake is run by the Estes Park Recreation and Parks Dept, and is the most reasonable in price. They also offer FHU, W/E only or tent/no hookup sites. KOA is on the east side of town, Jellystone is about 7 miles outside of town on US 36. There's also several USFS campgrounds along CO 7 heading south out of Estes Park. The closest is Olive Ridge CG just outside of Allenspark. There's also Peaceful Valley/Camp Dick on CO 72 between Allenspark and Ward. You didn't say when you would be travelling, but be aware that most of these parks fill up very quickly for the season so reservations are strongly recommended. Also, most will be opening in various weeks of May 2021, some just before Memorial Day. Memorial Day weekend is likely already booked pretty solid for most if not all of these parks. Also, Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road are not open yet. And with the snows in the past few days, any plowing that they've done will need to be plowed again. Trail Ridge usually opens Memorial Day weekend or the weekend after, Old Fall River Rd usually doesn't open until late June/early July. Also, there is a timed reservation entry into RMNP. See their website for more information on that.
Thom02099 05/12/21 06:06am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Estes Park to Loveland

Should not be a problem, good road with turns but not to sharp. ^^^^^ This. After the 2013 Flood, much of the roadway, especially below Drake, was rebuilt. It was raised in places, and straightened out in places. Very good road surface. If you have the time, 2 places to check out: The Cherry Pie place just before you enter the Narrows on the eastbound side, has great cherry cider, pies, and jellies; and the Dam Store as you exit the Narrows and canyon, has a great view of a waterfall there and a gift shop.
Thom02099 05/06/21 06:44am Roads and Routes
RE: Route

I am planning to travel from Page, AZ to Durango, CO on May 5th, 2021. I am traveling in a 35 Ft Diesel Pusher Motorhome towing an SUV. I am planning to take Hwy 98 south from Page to Hwy 160 east to Durango. Has anyone been over this route in a big rig and is it okay for my set up. Thanks for any info you can provide. Don't have a big rig but applicable to anything travelling this route...there's little to no paved shoulders on AZ 98 or US 160 if there happens to be a need to pull off these highways. Shoulders didn't seem to be wide enough to get completely off he roadway, more like bike lanes than shoulders. The dirt/sand shoulders also have a slope downward. The roads themselves were fine; however in Colorado from US 491 to the state line, that stretch seemed to be rougher than in Arizona. Also be aware of few fuel stops. I know there's one in Kayenta on US 160 since I stopped there to top off my tank before proceeding to Page.
Thom02099 04/28/21 08:15am Roads and Routes
RE: I-25 in Colorado

Looking for recent info on travel on I-25. We’ll be traveling north from New Mexico through to Denver where I’d like to take I-76 northeast to I-80 and head east to Lincoln NE. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Dan There will be construction projects, large and small on I-25, particularly around Colorado Springs, from the Springs to Monument, Monument to Castle Rock, and Castle Pines north for about 10 miles. Since you would be getting off on I-76, the construction projects north of Denver won't be a factor. There is an alternative unless you have a compelling reason for wanting to stay on I-25. Take US 160 EAST out of Trinidad to US 350. Take US 350 toward LaJunta. Before you get to LaJunta, CO 71 intersects. That's the road you want to take, all the way to I-76. There's a bridge repair project outside of Rocky Ford just off US 350 but shouldn't impact much, with a detour posted. It's wide open travel and some say boring, but well worth it to avoid the circus that is I-25. Fuel up in Rocky Ford or top off your tank; it's about 90 miles from Rocky Ford to Limon with nothing in between. Proceed on north on CO 71 from Limon to Brush, again with not a lot in between, and about 75 miles. Pick up I-76 in Brush (US 34 east a few blocks to the entrance to I-76 east) It's a good state highway, but I cannot emphasize enough that it is a long, straight, boring drive. That said, I will take it over I-25 any time that I need to go from northern to southern Colorado.
Thom02099 04/24/21 08:11am Roads and Routes
RE: Park Reviews

Good Sam account representatives visit every Good Sam park every year. They do not 'review', they ' rate' based upon the 10/10/10 point system which is divided into 3 sections, that evaluate camp amenity, facility and sites. Usually when they arrive in camp its unannounced, except for an email up to a week before that they will come soon. They drive and walk the camp and rate based upon their observations. When this is done they sit down with management, present their rating, proceed to listing and advertising. In our 19 years, there was no discussion allowed on their rating. It cant be bought or altered. One year after we had done extensive upgrades to all 3 categories our rating jumped 6 aggregate points. Within a week Ed and Jan Thierfelder, Good Sams Quality Assurance team checked in unannounced rated the camp, to verify our 9.5/10/9.5 . Reviews about the camp on the GS link are from guests. Ratings amd Reviews are apples and oranges apart. Opinions about rudeness or some other slight may be construed differently. Some want to be led by the hand, some are offended if help is extended. The customer is not always right, its why businesses have the right to refuse service. Consider the region. being a extensively well traveled westerner, I would not call the New Yorker rude for being what is percieved for NYC. A New Yorker might be put off by the graciousness in the south, thinking it, intrusive. ^^^^^ This. There is a very big difference between a RATING and a REVIEW. Ratings takes a more objective view. There is a check list. Does the property have this? Does the property have that? Does the property have something else? A list of items to be checked off; the more checks, the higher the RATING. In a nutshell. A Review is much more subjective and in many cases more detailed. It is an opinion based on an experience and a first (or more) impression. When I do a REVIEW of a location at I try to be factual about the amenities as well as giving an opinion about how those facts translate into an enjoyable camping experience. Having water/electric/sewer are factual; they either have them or they don't. How nice the site is, is more opinion based on expectations. I have a different opinion and expectation of a USFS or National Park campground versus a commercial campground/RV resort. Both can be highly favourable based on EXPECTATIONS and does the property deliver on that expectation.
Thom02099 04/17/21 06:33pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Cortez, CO RV parks?

We stayed at the campground inside Mesa Verde National Park. It was a very large campground but there were only 15 or so full hookup sites. Does the lifetime senior pass still get the 50% off sites, inside the National Park? No discount at the Morefield Campground in the park. Under a private concessionaire operation. Also, fuel up outside the park and have a full tank when going in. The fuel inside the park is significantly higher than outside. Best bet is to fuel up in either Cortez or Mancos. The stations outside by the entrance are also much higher in price. You'll be doing a lot of driving inside the park as it's deceptive the distances between the cliff dwelling sites.
Thom02099 04/17/21 06:16pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: What must we do in Colorado?

In normal times, I would recommend checking out the northern Colorado area, places like Red Feather Lakes, Poudre Canyon (CO 14) from Fort Collins to North Park/Walden area, then exploring the North Park area for it's isolated beauty. But these are not normal times. Why? H E R E Colorado Fires is a map that shows the 2 biggest fires ever in Colorado, that finally came to an end last year with continuous snowfall. The Cameron Peak Fire burned a lot of territory in the area between Red Feather and the Poudre Canyon, particularly from Rustic up to Cameron Pass, as well as a lot of area south of the Poudre Canyon. Miraculously, only 1 campground (Jack's Gulch) was damaged by the fire. The East Troublesome Fire initially was a huge fire in the Grand Lake/Granby area, but it JUMPED the Continental Divide and destroyed a lot of area in RMNP east of the Divide and west of Estes Park. The maps show that it was dangerously close to Estes Park and areas in Rocky, around Moraine Park and the Fern Lake/Cub Lake trails area was impacted. There could have been some damage to the D loop of the Moraine Park CG. With the now on-going spring snowmelt, we will have a clearer picture of what these areas look like, particularly in the Poudre Canyon. I'd like to be optimistic about the recovery for both of these fire areas, recognising that it will take a long time for recovery. Now, mudslides and flooding become an issue. Avoidance of these areas for any camping would probably be warranted, for safety reasons, at least for now. The areas impacted by the fires are some some of my favourites, for the beauty and solitude and the "real" Colorado experience. Huge forests just waiting to be hiked and explored. considerations must prevail. At least until we have a clearer picture of the extent of devastation.
Thom02099 04/11/21 08:29am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Amirillo to Denver via 87-25?

We have traveled 287 in the past. But instead of getting on IH-70, in Limon, we drove north on highway 71 to Brush. We then traveled west on highway 34 toward Greeley, then on to IH-25 north. We avoided the Denver area. (Greeley has many, many cattle pens so roll up your windows!) could follow the advice about going up to Limon and then getting on CO 71 BUT no need to get off on US 34. Stay on CO 71, it continues north into Nebraska where it is still 71, and intersects with I-80. Avoids Denver AND all the smells of the feed lots outside of Greeley, and minimal traffic as well.
Thom02099 04/07/21 10:41pm Roads and Routes
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