robotland wrote:Tell me more about this "extra cost and time"- The route I plotted is very close to the '80 route by length, but I suspect there's more up-and-down-and-around in the Rockies on '70. Is that where the time and money go?
It also greatly depends on what you're driving and how well it goes up and down huge hills aka mountains. And how well it will do this with a shit ton of gear.
Also, what you are driving and how competent you feel driving it down 6%, 7%, and 8% percent grades.
For us, we take a motor home, with a relatively new engine (8,000 miles) but it is still an old gas 34' RV. Sadly, not a Diesel Rear Pusher. So going up hills we will start going 80, but will inevitably be going 40 after the first few hundred yards. The longer the hill the more time we're going 40. If you are able to travel 55-65 mph the whole time, you will get to the CO/UT border quicker going on I70.
Also, going up these hills will cost you plenty in gas. Though, going down these hills you will save plenty in gas.
Which brings us to competency going down grades in big heavy vehicles. I love flying down grades in cars, with little more than a few passengers, a tank of gas, and a bit of luggage. I personally am a little intimidated by going down grades in huge big vehicles loaded with camping gear, hundreds of lbs in beer and water, and passengers. I actually feel more comfortable going down grades in our RV+gear than in the Suburban+Trailer+gear. The RV is designed to run at huge loads, where the Suburban can run at huge loads but isn't designed as its main function.
Godda keep in mind, that your brakes can over heat. Personally I feel 35-48ish is a good speed to go down grades with big heavy loaded vehicles. 40 is slow enough that I can actually stop relatively quickly with out loosing control or over heating my breaks. In any vehicle loaded to capacity you must understand the relationship with lower gears and pulse breaking, and how lower gears get you up hills better, but not necessarily quicker.
I70 is way prettier, but you're continuously going up and down hills at 40 mph (at least in the vehicles I take camping).
I cannot comment on the I70 route to BRC after Moab/Arches National Park. I do believe that it can get a little twisty turvy after Green River.
Not to say that I80 doesn't have a couple of grades to be respected. I believe the first is coming down from Elk Mountain, its a nice little 6%, not super long, and the road quality is great. Its perfect figuring out your vehicle's current condition if you haven't had a chance yet. Wyoming does a really good job maintaining I80- though it also means the construction along I80 never ends. The next grade that is worth mentioning is coming down from Park City, UT into Salt Lake. It is long, and has bends in it. Also, be aware that you are climbing it. On the east side it is very slow and not steep, on the west side it drops pretty quick. Then there are other minor grades at the UT/NV border but nothing too intimidating.
I70 is a beautiful drive compared to I80. As far as scenery goes, they don't even compare.
As mentioned Glenwood is amazing! The hot springs are not far off the road, a great place to stay the night if you've been driving for a while. The huge contrast and how quickly it happens from Glenwood Springs to Grand Junction will blow your mind! The weekend before labor day the traffic into the mountain on I70 probably wont be too bad. But probably will be terrible later that week. Though all highway towards camping areas are crowded the days before labor day weekend.
We choose I80 because it is an easier drive on the driver, it is quicker over all, and costs less gas. But we also make weekend and 3 day trips west on I70 all the time, so in the case of getting to Bman seeing the mountains is not a priority.
I also must add that the drive around Green River, UT is beautiful. In less of a trees and mountains type of way but more of a beautiful rock sort of way. It has been years since I've done it, but I do remember it being great.