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Old 02-13-2020, 12:29 PM   #1
bbaluski
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Question Road Trip across I 70

Hi I am planning a trip to California. I've taken the I 10 and I 20 without issues but I want to have some new sights so I'm looking at Interstate 70 between Denver, and Utah. Do you think my 2003 BT 5230 will have issues on the grades?
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Old 02-18-2020, 04:37 PM   #2
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If would help if you stated WHEN you’re planning your trip.

I-70 between Denver and Utah is no joke especially in winter time! CDOT has made it the law to have Winter tires OR traction devices (chains or tire socks) for all non-commercial vehicles. This is an attempt to prevent the huge backups I70 sees during the ski season because idiots err people can afford to ski but not buy decent tires.

I’m going to assume that your RV does not have a turbo, the elevations you will be seeing will definitely make your engine work. If your air filter has not been changed recently I would change that to help your engine breathe going over the high mountain passes. I would also make sure your brakes and brake fluid is up to the task. Keep in mind that coming down some of these long mountain passes you should be using your transmission and downshifting, even with an automatic transmission, so you are not riding your brakes down these long gone hills, don’t be “that guy”!

Make sure you your coolant has the proper temperature rating should you have pull over and spend the night in the high Rockies because of a winter storm. If your engine is GAS buy several bottles of HEET gasoline antifreeze to prevent gas lines from freezing. If you’re running a diesel, make sure you have an anti-gel in your fuel. Make sure to add this to your generator if you have one also.

You NEED winter rated windshield washer fluid in your reservoir (-20 or lower) You can buy Prestone washer booster, you add this to your washer fluid and it will lower the freeze rating if you’re currently running summer fluid. However, I would drain the reservoir and add a de-icer and make sure you run it through all the lines. The last thing you want is to clean your windshield and it freezes and you cannot see!

Watch your transmission temps and coolant temps as you go over some of the higher passes. Download a good weather app and pay attention to your area’s forecast... It can be 60į at lower elevations an absolute white out 3000 feet higher!
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Old 02-18-2020, 04:48 PM   #3
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I will be going late July but I heard it could snow even in July. That all makes great sense. I think we might want to unhitch the car and drive separate doesn't sound like a road to tow a car. We do that when we go over the mountain from Palm Desert, CA to the coast highway 74. Thank you.
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:46 PM   #4
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I will be going late July but I heard it could snow even in July. That all makes great sense. I think we might want to unhitch the car and drive separate doesn't sound like a road to tow a car. We do that when we go over the mountain from Palm Desert, CA to the coast highway 74. Thank you.
Yeah, I would unhook no need to burn up your transmission. Yes, we were in the High Rockies on July 26th a year ago, temps dropped 40* went from 60ís to the low 20ís in 2 hours and from Summer to WTH is Mother Nature upset about!?!

Summer time, definitely watch your temps, you will see semiís pull over into the right lane, turn on their flashers and slowly crawl up the mountain.. This is so they donít overheat the engine and or transmission. We will typically do the same thing, get in the right lane and slowly go up the mountain. if you donít like how slow weíre going, you can pass or kiss my mountain pass! . As long as your rig is in good mechanical shape you should be fine. It looks like youíre coming from North Carolina donít forget to check your bearings on the rig also.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:44 PM   #5
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Thanks again.
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Old 02-23-2020, 10:43 AM   #6
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I have a Sprinter RV so I don't usually slow down going up a mountain like a big RV or tractor-trailer, certainly not the Grapevine, and it is heavy and high enough that I trudge right thru snow that would stop most of my other vehicles (and it can tow great too), but going over the pass on 70 a few years ago I could not BELIEVE they let cars go that way. I was SURE we were all going to die, so snowy, slick and so steep. I am not sure if that was where I let my disc brakes overheat enough to warp, but it could have been. That was an expensive mistake and a scary ride!
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Old 02-23-2020, 10:45 AM   #7
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Driven that road many times when I go elk hunting in Colorado or deer hunting in eastern Utah. It does have a couple of steep grades, but I have never had any problems with snow or ice. You just have to check on the weather reports on the area when you are going to drive through those places. But if you are under powered on your motor home, I would disconnect the tow vehicle on those long grades.
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:34 PM   #8
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As a former resident of Kansas, have taken I-70 to both ends coast to coast. I would not even consider it during winter. During the summer, if a motorhome towing a car, I would disconnect and drive the car over the mountain passes. Your cooling system and brakes need to be in top shape on both the toad and the motorhome. The Eisenhower Tunnel is always exciting for me because I feel like I am really in the mountains at that point. Downshift and hang on going down and do not overheat the brakes.


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Hi I am planning a trip to California. I've taken the I 10 and I 20 without issues but I want to have some new sights so I'm looking at Interstate 70 between Denver, and Utah. Do you think my 2003 BT 5230 will have issues on the grades?
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Old 02-24-2020, 02:42 PM   #9
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What would you choose as an alternative. We have plenty of time.
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Old 02-24-2020, 04:22 PM   #10
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We have taken both I-70 and I-80 across USA to both East and West Coast (or as far as highway signage permits). Seemed like 80 across Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska had more truck traffic than I-70 in summer. 70 West of Denver seemed much more difficult and steep than -I-80 up in WY. Salt Lake City is right on 80 and worth a stop. Since I-70 more less ends at I-15, most would end up driving North to Salt Lake anyway.

In winter we take I-40 to CA, and it is an easy almost flat trip compared to I-70. We do get a little bored with the view in NM, but some would say the same about Western Kansas where even a tree is unusual in the landscape.

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What would you choose as an alternative. We have plenty of time.
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Old 02-24-2020, 04:38 PM   #11
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All roads can be dangerous when the weather sets in with snow or ice. I have driven all roads mentioned 80-70 and I-40 hundreds of times and it can also get nasty. Fact last year I hit snow from Flagstaff, Az all the way to Albuquerque, N.M. It was slick for automobiles, but my diesel pusher was not affected at all.

That is why I posted to check the weather. Does not matter which road he decides to take. Naturally the further north you go, makes common sense that it is more likely to get snow up in the northern states. But even then they are all do able, but you got to do your research before any trip.
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Old 04-19-2020, 10:38 AM   #12
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Thanks all I decided to take I 40 out and I 80 back later in the summer. Thanks for all the suggestions I 40 also had the most federal campgrounds and I do love the senior pass. Now I just have to hope the campgrounds are open. Might be doing more boon-docking that planned.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:36 PM   #13
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An excellent choice in our opinion. I-40 attractions will be hot in July/August but the driving will be much easier than the mountains. I do hope by then the campgrounds and parks will be open even if capacity limits are in place. Be sure to note all the small-town-parks along i-80 in NE and IA that offer free or low cost overnight parking. They will need all the business they can get to recover.

[QUOTE=bbaluski;30688]Thanks all I decided to take I 40 out and I 80 back later in the summer. Thanks for all the suggestions I 40 also had the most f
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:03 PM   #14
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Made it across country used I40 and stayed at some of the nicest federal parks. Glad I had my little BT it fit everywhere. Never paid more than $25 (with hookups) with my senior pass. Between NC and TN you go through the smokey Mountains the grade is a little steep but last forever we decided to unhitch the car and drive it to the bottom. I'm glad we did. Wealso went from Flagstaff to Palm Spring. Very hot but again no problems.
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