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Looking for Vacation advice: Denver > Los Angeles

Old 12-09-19, 10:02 AM
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TakingMyTime
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Looking for Vacation advice: Denver > Los Angeles

This isn't necessarily bike related but I thought I might tap into the collected wisdom of this subforum and solicit some help. Before I get started I would just like to point out that I'm looking for general instructions. I'm not looking for a turn by turn guide. Just some basic ideas, warnings and suggestions. We would like to do this during March or April.

No Bikes. The wife and I would fly into Denver early on a Saturday morning and then spend the remainder of the weekend visiting relatives. We plan on renting a car and leave the Denver area early Monday morning and drive back to Los Angeles.

This give us 7 days to to cover 1100 - 1200 miles which is plenty of time for us to enjoy some of the sites and have a layover day or 2, along the way. What worries me is that there may still be snow on several of the routes and we would prefer to keep moving. A long detour or delay would really suck the fun out of the trip.

What would the suggested routes be that time of year? I'm looking at going a bit North on 80 and then catching the 15, or just take the 60 to the 15. Are these roads generally kept in good condition where I won't need chains etc?

Sorry if this is a bit off topic. Thank you in advance for any help.

Last edited by TakingMyTime; 12-09-19 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 12-13-19, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
This isn't necessarily bike related but I thought I might tap into the collected wisdom of this subforum and solicit some help. Before I get started I would just like to point out that I'm looking for general instructions. I'm not looking for a turn by turn guide. Just some basic ideas, warnings and suggestions. We would like to do this during March or April.

No Bikes. The wife and I would fly into Denver early on a Saturday morning and then spend the remainder of the weekend visiting relatives. We plan on renting a car and leave the Denver area early Monday morning and drive back to Los Angeles.

This give us 7 days to to cover 1100 - 1200 miles which is plenty of time for us to enjoy some of the sites and have a layover day or 2, along the way. What worries me is that there may still be snow on several of the routes and we would prefer to keep moving. A long detour or delay would really suck the fun out of the trip.

What would the suggested routes be that time of year? I'm looking at going a bit North on 80 and then catching the 15, or just take the 60 to the 15. Are these roads generally kept in good condition where I won't need chains etc?

Sorry if this is a bit off topic. Thank you in advance for any help.
I’m not sure what you mean by “the 60”. If you mean I70 then, yes, it is kept in good condition most of the time. It does, however, occasionally have snow and can be closed in major storms even that late in the year. There is no way of predicting when storms will occur, either. The worst part of that route is going to be the section from Denver to Eagle, about 120 miles. From there, you are in a more arid area with less snow. Not, no snow, mind you but less than higher up and less frequent storms.

On the other hand, I80 might have less snow but if you happen to get caught out there in a snow storms, it’s actually worse than being in the mountains. The wind can get up and howl out there making the storms 10 times worse.

Also be aware that March and April are the snowiest times of the year here in Colorado. You may want to look into the traction laws the Colorado has in place now as well. Rental cars may not meet the requirement either.

Finally, you may want to look at your route and not stick to the Interstates. There are lots of places out there that are off the beaten path and can be beautiful. For example, you can go south out of Grand Junction to Whitewater and then west on Colorado 141 through the Unaweep Canyon. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful canyon. Follow it south to Uravan and take a dirt road (it’s not 4 wheel drive) over to Paradox Valley and then go west to La Sal. I’d go south out of La Sal towards Mexican Hat and on towards Tuba City. It’s not the “fast” way to go but it’s the interesting way to go.

For information on what to see in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona...New Mexico too if you have the time...look into Atlas Obscura. I use it (and have contributed to it) extensively when I travel. It allows me to find all kinds of off-beat places.
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Old 12-13-19, 08:17 AM
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Thanks for the tips. It seems that the general consensus is that I should probably try and push this back a month or 2 in order to avoid the snowy road conditions. The route is still up in the air.
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Old 12-15-19, 11:17 AM
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You might consider a southern route through Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, etc.
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Old 01-03-20, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

Finally, you may want to look at your route and not stick to the Interstates. There are lots of places out there that are off the beaten path and can be beautiful. For example, you can go south out of Grand Junction to Whitewater and then west on Colorado 141 through the Unaweep Canyon. Itís a breathtakingly beautiful canyon. Follow it south to Uravan and take a dirt road (itís not 4 wheel drive) over to Paradox Valley and then go west to La Sal. Iíd go south out of La Sal towards Mexican Hat and on towards Tuba City. Itís not the ďfastĒ way to go but itís the interesting way to go.

For information on what to see in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona...New Mexico too if you have the time...look into Atlas Obscura. I use it (and have contributed to it) extensively when I travel. It allows me to find all kinds of off-beat places.
I live in western CO and Hwy 141 is my favorite road in the whole state. The route through the canyon of the Dolores River is beautiful. I have ridden my bike through the Paradox Valley to La Sal, UT and that is also a great area.
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