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RE: Pulling Travel Trailer in Colorado with Tahoe

Hi, I have an 08 (low miles) Tahoe, 3.73 rear axle, 5.3 L, V-8, 4-speed, tow capacity just over 7k, tow/haul mode, pulling a hybrid TT of dry weight 4,000 lbs with electric brakes, using weight distribution hitch and sway bar. Installing OEM trans cooler before the trip next June. Traveling from St. Louis, itinerary may be Rocky Mountain National Park (camping near Estes Park), then onto Glenwood Springs, then backtrack to Colorado Springs (probably through Denver), and finishing up at Sand Dunes Natl Park. I am asking for advice on roads to take/avoid and thoughts on how well my vehicle will do. I am most concerned about I70 West and then back again going through Vail Pass and Eisenhower Tunnel and should I stop short of that, drop the camper at a campsight, and go through Vail Pass onto Glenwood Springs without the camper? Any recs on campsights around that area if I camp before Vail Pass? Any other thoughts on other roads I may have difficulty on with my other locations? I can give you some insight into pretty much the same tow vehicle (I have a 2003 Tahoe LT,same engine, rear, etc now retired from towing) and had a 2007 Outback 25RSS, ~4900lbs fully loaded for camping, with WD hitch. The Tahoe can handle that weight but as others pointed out, it will at times be slow going. 45MPH up the approaches to the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels? Not a chance. Best I could do on either approach was 25MPH in 2nd gear, in line with the semis with my flashers on. You mentioned going to RMNP and Estes Park. Three different ways from the east to get up there -- US 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon, US 36 through Lyons and Pinewood Springs, and CO 7 through the South St. Vrain Canyon. I've been up the Big Thompson many times with the Tahoe/Outback combo and it's certainly doable. Some very slow going in the Narrows, and a steep,twisty section (10-12% grade) outside of Drake, where you'll be doing about 20MPH with that combo. Fortunately, there are a lot of slow vehicle pull offs for you to let traffic go around. CO7 up the South St Vrain, to me, seems to be much steeper for longer periods of time, with fewer slow vehicle pull offs. Also a goodly climb up from the CO7/CO72 junction to Allenspark and Meeker Park. Pretty steep descent in to Estes Park, but gearing down to 2nd makes it manageable. US 36 is a good way to get up to Estes Park. Not quite as "canyony" as the other 2, some fairly steep climbs up outside of Lyons up to Pinewood Springs, but with some climb lanes. If you're planning to stay inside Rocky, at either Moraine Park or Glacier Basin, be aware that, for the 2020 season, due to Covid there were restrictions on which loops were open and available. Glacier Basin has 4 loops, 2 of which were closed (just my luck, all of my reservations were in the closed ones). I would fully expect that, if the coronavirus is still as virulent in spring 2021 as it was this season, you'll likely see the same thing. Make sure to get reservations at the earliest possible date within the 180-day window. If you're staying in a commercial park in Estes, be aware that the rates were up a bit at some of the RV Parks. Again, get reservations early if you can. The least expensive park is the Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake, which is up in the $47-$51/night range now. ETA: Just recently checked Mary's Lake website, they are now up in the $50-60 range, depending on W/E or FHU sites.
Thom02099 11/12/20 08:55pm Tow Vehicles
RE: 2021 trips already being canceled.

Back to the topic folks; the topic is about needing, or not needing, to cancel travel plans because of Covid. ^^^^^ This. One can be optimistic and realistic. They ae not mutually exclusive. I am hopeful for a better 2021 season. Starting to make my 180 window reservations now, one already scheduled. But I know that, due to Covid AND fires here in Colorado, there will necessarily be some differences in 2021 vs 2020. I can still make reservations. Just enough of a realist to understand that I may be getting a refund. Or try for different venues.
Thom02099 11/08/20 08:20am RV Lifestyle
RE: Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

The firefighters are probably having a tough time w the conditions. Nothing like waking up to a foot of new snow and then having to lace up the frozen White's boots for a nice 16 hour day in the cold. Firefighters would give anything for a foot of snow. Some other people do not like working outdoors. Looks like another snowstorm is on the horizon for the weekend. Will see if it's over the fire areas, could be more of a southern event.
Thom02099 11/05/20 09:03pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

Winding River Resort (the one popular with RVers) is OK. They only had minimal loss. Winding River Ranch, which is nearby and an event venue/guest ranch was destroyed. Here's the update from Winding River Resort's Facebook page: The East Troublesome Fire came in from the South and the 1st structures it encountered were at our Sasperilla Saloon (Before and After Photos). In addition to the Saloon we lost 2 large buildings and a small horse shed. All other barns, buildings, cabins, campsites and houses remain standing. The fire skirted around Winding River Resort property. Update from Winding River Ranch: We were devastated to learn about the total loss of The Winding River Ranch at the hands of the East Troublesome Fire that raged out of control last night. As many of you know, the wildfires in Colorado took a turn towards Grand Lake last night. The Winding River Ranch was in the path of the fire, and all buildings were burned to the ground. This event venue and the animal sanctuary were destroyed; however, all of the animals, Granny, Travis, Kristin, and their staff, are all safe. Thanks for the update and clarification. Bittersweet.
Thom02099 11/05/20 09:01pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

Just found out that the Elk Creek Campground, just outside Grand Lake, and down the road from Winding River Resort, did in fact survive the fire, according to their Facebook page. As posted earlier, the Winding River Resort was completely destroyed by the fire. Close proximity to each other, one survived, the other didn't. And in the Cameron Peak fire to the north, also found out that nearly all of the USFS campgrounds in Poudre Canyon did survive the fire with little to no damage, with the exception of the Jacks Gulch CG, which sustained significant fire damage. Chambers Lake, Aspen Glen, Big Bend, Big South and Tunnel CGs all escaped the fire.
Thom02099 10/31/20 06:39pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

Firefighters have been put up in the Stanley Hotel in Estes. They had a down day, as pointed out, due to the extreme cold and poor road conditions. It was interesting to look toward the foothills this morning and see what appeared to have been steam rising from the western view. And in Grand Lake area, the Sheriff over there organized a certified group of folks to go in to evacuated houses and do everything they could to winterize the houses. His department put these folks in touch with homeowners to winterize as many houses as they possibly could, given the current weather conditions. HUGE KUDOS to Sheriff Brett Schroetlin of Grand County for thinking outside the box for a solution to a monumental problem.
Thom02099 10/26/20 08:32pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

News reports indicate that the Winding River Resort just outside of Grand Lake was completely destroyed by the fire. Can't find any information on the Elk Creek Campground, but the mapping would indicate that it probably sustained damage. The East Troublesome Fire was also burning up toward the Kawuneeche Entrance/Vistors Center but had not reached that far north. Hopefully the weather will help to stall out the fire from moving further north. On the east side spot fire outside Estes Park, parts of Moraine Park have been burned, around Cub Lake and Fern Lake, and appears that the fire may have gotten in to the Campground Loop D (the tent loop). Also burned are areas north of Moraine Park up to US 34 and the Beaver Meadows area. Right now, here in Loveland, we've got probably 7-8 inches of snow and it's still coming down pretty good. 11 inches reported in NW Fort Collins and 17 inches reported in the area of the Mishawaka in Poudre Canyon. I so hope that they are getting dumped on big time on both the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires.
Thom02099 10/25/20 07:57pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

Fire as of 10.24.20 is now on the western edge of the Town of Estes Park and approaching the Bear Lake Road in RMNP. H E R E - Update is an update, this is now a national news story. All of Estes Park now under mandatory evacuation, and areas south along CO 7 from Lily Lake to Allenspark are now under evac orders. Two deaths have now been reported as of last night's news broadcasts. An elderly couple refused to evacuate the home in Grand Lake that had been in their family for generations, and they tried to shelter in a concrete bunker on the property. The house was destroyed and they did not survive in the bunker. This is such a devastatingly sad report. M O R E - INCIWEB More from the inciweb site, with an up-to-date map of the spot fire that jumped the divide.
Thom02099 10/24/20 01:44pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

Weather will now be a factor, and hopefully Mama Nature will change her mind about what's happening. SNOW is now forecast and here's hoping it is an upslope. My current weather alert is telling me to expect 8-12 inches of snow here in Loveland from Saturday through Monday. Hoping for even more in the high country. ETA: On 9News tonight, it was reported that the East Troublesome and the Cameron Peak fires are less that 11 miles apart. Officials are now expressing concern that the 2 fires could combine into one mega-fire. Prayers that this does not happen. ETA: Just reported at 10:13PM....the Grand Lake Lodge has survived the fire. Lodge manager reported to the news that it's safe for now.
Thom02099 10/22/20 10:02pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
Fire in Grand County CO - 10.31.20 update

Another fire that has been growing rapidly. The East Troublesome Fire is reported to be moving into the west side of Grand Lake and the western border of RMNP. Mandatory evacuation order for the entire town of Grand Lake. Only real way to get out is south on US 34 to Granby, so they have made US 34 a one way highway southbound only. H E R E East Troublesome and H E R E - 9News are 2 sources of information. Snow is forecast for the weekend. CANNOT come soon enough.
Thom02099 10/21/20 10:27pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-Cameron Peak Update 10.18.20

A sad update to this post. The Cameron Peak Fire has exploded to over 202,000 acres, now the largest fire in recorded Colorado history. Just from Friday 10.16.20 to now, 10.18.20, the fire expanded an incredible 37,000 acres. Damage assessment is still on-going, but so far over 100 homes have been lost that they know of. The difficulty has been in emergency services personnel being able to get in to burn areas to assess the extent of damage. Some areas it's still just too dangerous to get in. The fire maps that I've seen have previously shown areas like Rustic, Archer's Resort, Poudre City, Kinikinik, and Spencer Heights as being spared, but more recent maps show that all of these areas are within the burn area. Notably excluded is the Chambers Lake CG, and the Tunnel Campground. I cannot imagine that the Aspen Glen, Big South, and Big Bend CGs have survived. I don't know about Kelly Flats or the Narrows CGs. Fire crews have been working very hard to save the 80 buildings on the CSU Mountain Campus between Stove Prairie and Rustic. As of this writing, the Horsetooth Mountain Park west of Fort Collins and the surrounding residential areas are under mandatory evacuations, as well as all of Rist and Redstone Canyons, the Stove Prairie Road area, and all of the Buckhorn Canyon area including Pennock Pass, which were included in the explosive fire growth of the past 48 hours. Also under mandatory evacuations is the Masonville area, the Glen Haven and Drake area in the Big Thompson Canyon, and Storm Mountain. US 34 is closed from the Dam Store outside of Loveland all the way to MP 85 outside of Estes Park. I went up to Golden Gate Canyon SP this weekend and on the way up went through Boulder. The smoke was so intense in Boulder along CO 119/the Diagonal Hwy, that visibility was near zero and winds were blowing fiercely from the NW. I could feel the winds buffeting my trailer and was only going about 35mph. It was the most incredible sight I've ever seen from the result of a fire that was miles away. Two other fires are now burning, one north of Jamestown in Boulder County, and another just reported within the past few hours near Ward, forcing the mandatory evacuation of Ward. This has been an absolutely horrible fire season for Colorado, and the fire crews have done a remarkable job in protecting what they were able to protect, in the Red Feather Lakes, Crystal Lakes, and Glacier View areas. Terrain and weather has been difficult for them to deal with in the areas where the fire has exploded. Please keep our valiant fire fighters in your thoughts and prayers, and pray for a change in the weather...we can use all the good thoughts and positive energy out there.
Thom02099 10/18/20 03:45pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Boulder, County Fairgrounds Open Yet?

The Campground remains closed. The dump station remains open. During wildfires, the fairgrounds is frequently used to shelter animals and livestock that has been evacuated from a fire area. There are 2 new fires within the past 12-24 hours in Boulder County resulting in new evacuation orders in Boulder County, so my guess is that the fairgrounds may be used not only for sheltering animals, but also for spaces for folks with RVs to evacuate to.
Thom02099 10/18/20 03:24pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: 35-foot fiver in Grand Canyon Mather?

Some ten years ago, I camped at Grand Canyon Mather with a 35-foot (including hitch) fifth-wheel. I showed up with no reservation, the Mather check-in person assigned me to a pull-through, and I had no problem. I realize that today you have to have a reservation. But the on-line information is not very helpful, and I imagine that if I call for reservations then I will be talking to someone who is just looking at a computer screen. The sites all have limits of "30 feet or less". Question: Have any of you recently been able to get into Mather with a 35-footer? Have any of your reserved a pull-through that you could not get into with a 35-footer? Haven't been to Mather, but H E R E - Mather Photos is a website that provides pics of each site within Mather. The pics were taken during colder weather when there's some snow on the ground, but I think you might be able to get a good perspective of the sites, such as that #103 that was noted in a post above.
Thom02099 09/21/20 08:41pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-Cameron Peak Update 10.18.20

How did the Snow do in helping put out the FIres?? It was a help. No fire spread noted. Fire location received around 14inches of snow, and there have been snow showers up there since the big snow. Temps are in the 30s during the day, dropping into the 20s at night, wind chills in the teens. Possibly hit 50s on Friday and a return of winds up there. The snows have dampened any fuel sources for a while, but the fire is certainly not knocked out. 1200 firefighters assigned and they've been able to get more fire lines established. Unfortunately, there has been some property losses, some historic buildings were destroyed. Sheriff's Department hopes to have a property loss assessment soon. I'm fearful for Spencer Heights, Poudre City and Rustic, all of which are in the fire zone.
Thom02099 09/10/20 12:34pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-Cameron Peak Update 10.18.20

All day Monday it was indeed "ashing" all over the Fort Collins/Loveland/Greeley/Windsor area. Visible accumulation, my truck and trailer were covered in it, and there was a odd coverage on the trees. Pre-snow, the Cameron Peak Fire exploded again to over 102,000 acres. From Friday through Monday it went from 24,000 to that 102,000 acres, and according to the Sheriff it as doing runs measured in miles. The snow will give local authorities a chance to get in and see first hand what sort of destruction there's been to any structures in the area. They stated that there were some losses in the Rustic area, now they may be able to see how bad.
Thom02099 09/09/20 06:29am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-Cameron Peak Update 10.18.20

Just back from Labour Day weekend in Estes Park. Cameron Peak fire has exploded in size; was 24000 acres on Friday 09.04.20, now at over 40000 acres on Monday 09.07.20. CO 14 remains closed from around Kelly Flats west to Gould. Yesterday, Sunday 09.06.20 Trail Ridge Rd closed at 3pm for several reasons. Heavy smoke from the fire was creating visibility issues AND the fire had moved into the northern reaches of Rocky. From the Alpine Visitors Center, one could see the fire immediately to the north and it was a frightening sight. Trail Ridge Rd will be closed indefinitely; Old Fall River Rd closed the day before. There was also an increase in Ranger traffic as well as fire personnel traffic up on Trail Ridge. Was able to get in and make it to the Alpine Visitors Center, staff there warned that all visitors make sure they exited the park on the side on which they wanted to be, as there would be no re-entry to the park for the foreseeable future. The community of Glen Haven (NE of Estes Park) is under a voluntary evacuation order, as is areas of the Poudre Canyon as far east as the Stove Prairie Rd, and the area around the CSU Mountain Campus. Fire lines have been built to try to protect Red Feather Lakes, Crystal Lakes, and Glacier View Meadows -- all areas more than 10 miles from the current fire location. Winds were fierce up on Trail Ridge as well as in the town of Estes Park. Trailer was a rockin' in the wind, a bit unsettling this morning. The GOOD NEWS is that SNOW is forecast for the entire area. Estes Park forecast calling for 7-11 inches of heavy wet snow. Fire location around Cameron Pass is calling for snow around 12-18 inches, whiche will certainly benefit the fire fighting operations. Earliest snow since September 3, 1961. ETA: H E R E - Cameron Peak Fire is the official information on the fire, which has exploded to nearly 90,000 acres. NINETY THOUSAND. The Larimer County sheriff said that the fire burned 10 miles in a day, and mandatory evacuations are now approaching the Buckhorn Mountain area which is west of Fort Collins.
Thom02099 09/07/20 01:05pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Colorado Fires

We have a trip planned in a couple weeks heading to CO for the fall colors. How bad are the fires and smoke in the Lake City, Leadville and Grand Lake areas. I'm in Loveland and the smoke has been terrible for several days here. Can see/taste/smell it everywhere. Advisories have been posted and last night on the local news/weather segment, they were pointing out that smoke from all of the fires was starting to push and be seen in the midwest area around Chicago. If you're coming in early to mid-September, you're going to be just a bit early. Colours start to pop toward the latter part of September heading in to October. But with the current drought conditions, that could all change. Also, at least for the Cameron Peak fire (the one closest to Grand Lake), fire behaviour is difficult to predict since it's so weather dependent. Extreme conditions have been forecast for that fire for at least the next week to 10 days. Fire movement has been toward the south and east. Remote sections of RMNP have been closed. IF the fire were to move into Rocky, it would have a lot of fuel available as there's an abundance of beetle kill stands on that west side of RMNP, the area north of Grand Lake. Keep an eye on news reports, as fires can change dramatically and rapidly, depending on weather and conditions. One report over the weekend said the Cameron Peak fire would likely not be anywhere near containment until the first big snowfalls of the season, which would be into October/November timeframe.
Thom02099 08/24/20 06:40am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-Cameron Peak Update 10.18.20

From personal knowledge and experience, there is a LOT of dead beetle kill trees in that area, so there's considerable fuel for the fire. We can only hope for some monsoon moisture to help the firefighters working this fire.My memory is dimming daily, but wasn't there a fire that threatened the Chambers Lake area in maybe the late 80's/early 90's? Hey might be thinking of the Kilpecker Fire that was in the late 70s between Red Feather Lakes and the Laramie River Valley. Wasn't all that big in comparison to fires of today's measurement, but was a significant fire at the time. There's still scars from that fire visible west of Red Feather off the Deadman Road and the Green Ridge Road.
Thom02099 08/22/20 03:51pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-Cameron Peak Update 10.18.20

Update 08.22.20 Fire is now up over 16000 acres and jumped CO 14 and is now burning on the south side Poudre Canyon as well. CO 14 is closed from Rustic to Gould. All of the campgrounds in the Poudre have been closed as far east as the Stove Prairie Road area as well as Bellaire Lake CG outside of Red Feather Lakes (15 miles from the current fire activity). Oddly enough the Ranger Lakes, Bockman and Michigan Lake CGs in the State Forest SP are still open. Fire appears to be moving in an easterly direction, perhaps the reason they are still open. H E R E is updated information from Incident Command website. From personal knowledge and experience, there is a LOT of dead beetle kill trees in that area, so there's considerable fuel for the fire. We can only hope for some monsoon moisture to help the firefighters working this fire.
Thom02099 08/22/20 09:54am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: I-70 Glenwood Canyon Colorado fire closure

Based on last nights briefing, I'm guessing maybe another week, maybe more, before the canyon opens up. It's amazingly quiet at night right now, as there is no through traffic on the interstate. Is there a safe alternative route if I70 does not open soon from Silt to Estes Park? We have a 36ft 5th wheel. H E R E is a link to the recommended detour. There just is no easy way around that area. You don't need to take US 285 all the way in to Denver. You can take CO 9 to Breckenridge and Frisco and get back on I-70, then take I-70 to the Central City Parkway. That takes you in to CC/Black Hawk where you can pick up CO 119 to Nederland then CO 72 to CO 7 in to Estes Park.
Thom02099 08/19/20 09:38pm Roads and Routes
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