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Colorado in October, road trip or....

Original Post
Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115

Soon, I will be putting together a 5-10 day trip to Pagosa Springs, for some part of the first half of October. Boise is a long way from, well, everywhere, so I need to decide on driving or flying then renting a car. 

Driving, means lots of time taken to travel. I'd need to do two days each way, and it would be best to add in some rest also. Old knees are only good for so long. The plus of driving, is I can camp in my Honda, and where to stay is taken care of. I can also wander at will, do what I please. That would likely be 2.5-3 days each way with a climbing stop somewhere and only three, four days in Pagosa. 

Flying, and renting a car, still takes up a fair amount of time, but lowers the driving part at least. I could go through Denver, which is cheaper and faster, but a longer drive, or Albuquerque, more money, but a shorter drive. If I want to try and camp, I'd need to bring that with me via the airline, which I can do, as I shopped for tent etc to go in a bag for travel. But, that means tent camping in October in a lightweight tent as opposed to just climbing in the back of the Honda.

I know this is like asking how to tie my shoes, but I haven't been much of anywhere, yet, and it is still intimidating, honestly. Any pros and cons I don't know about? Ideas? Thoughts?

And yes, I look forward to meeting people on this trip, especially in Pagosa, if you had connections to Steve.

Thanks! Helen

Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380
Lots of rock love going on in Ouray these days.They’re usually cool with you if you park in the city ice rink area either set up a tent or sleep in your car. There’s even outhouses and maybe even some water. There are also a few FS campground spaces just above town. The hot Spring Pool in Ouray is a great place to shower and soak.
John Reeve · · Durango, formely from TX · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 5

I moved to Durango over the summer.  

People who have been here longer probably have better answers.  I don't think that there is any cheap way to fly in or out of this part of the world without a long drive...  I've just made peace with having to drive out to the front range (I did that over labor day) if I want to see folks or make visits to places along the way... I also have a vehicle that I sleep in and unlike Texas (where I was before I moved here) there are no shortage of excellent places to stop and visit/camp/climb/etc.

I dunno if this is a useful thought, but I've had a really good time learning how to, like, just go places and just be okay travelling.  

It sounds dumb but until my son graduated and went off to college this fall I've never been able to just go places whenever I felt like it.  

Being able to just be like "I'ma float over to CO and see what's up there, I'm sure I'll find a place to stay when I get there" is still super strange to me.  But it's getting easier. 

I'm good for about 3 hours in the car, and then I just don't like driving, so I make my trips around that figure if I can.  Thankfully that makes Moab a single hop for me.

wendy weiss · · boulder, co · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 10

Helen, I have no experience flying to Idaho. But checking Kayak, I see that it's possible to fly Boise to Grand Junction. It's not nonstop and it costs a bit more, but I think it would cut the driving time quite a bit. Just a possible other option to consider.

The Raven · · SoCo · Joined Mar 2019 · Points: 0

GJ is about the same drive time as Denver to PS but through nicer scenery and less traffic.
You can rent a small U Haul for less than a car and sleep in the back quite comfortably.
Free camping within a few miles of town in almost every direction. You will be here during hunting season so that makes it slightly tougher to find a site. However, the sites are so abundant around Piedra that even in busy times you can always find a spot to yourself.  
Pagosa is cool. Deepest hot springs in the world. Free hot pool right down town on the river known as the hippy dip. Healing Waters Spa for a cheap soak, swim and shower.
OLH, is your Honda 4wd or awd? You can't get to Pagosa from the north without crossing a High pass or two. Usually the weather is mild around here at that time but we have already seen a trace of snow up above town. It's gone already but you never know around here. And that long distance between you and your destination.
I am headed for the Winds for the first two or possibly three weeks of October and unfortunately my house is already rented to hunters. Otherwise you could stay there. Good luck and have a great time.
Let me know if I can help in any way.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115

Thanks, guys!

Yeah, I looked at flying Durango, but it's not great, for price or time. GJ, is quite a bit more money, but, it does whack the driving time down. Also, nothing says I have to do the same airport both ways. 

A uhaul is a great idea! Didn't think of it.

I'm torn between keeping it a set trip, by flying/renting, and just walking out the door with a credit card sorta trip, lol! I can't afford plane tickets that way, last minute us Uber expensive and I'm a tightwad, kinda, but driving? The latter would mean the possibility of climbing stops both directions, but, I'd also be relying on you guys, for partners. Exciting, and scares the crap outta me, both. But hey, isn't that what the inner 19 year old is there for? Making out of the box decisions like a real climber? ;-)

Yes, I know this is semi pitiful, but I truly had a mighty constrained life up until pretty recently. I'm only just started...  

Best, Helen

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 674

As long as your vehicle is reliable, what's the downside to driving?
You can probably arrange people to climb with along the way (SLC, Moab, Durango, even Grand Junction if you go out of your way.)
And if you can't set up partners or they bail, you are driving through a beautiful part of Utah and Colorado at a nice time of the year.
You can hike or canyoneer or whatever. Just be sure to bring a sharp knife in case you need to sever an arm :-)
Use Freecampsite.net to find places to sleep or crash in your partner's driveway.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 883

If you go the Denver route, I could round up some camping gear for you to borrow and show you around Eldo, clear creek or south platte before or after your long drive. 

The Raven · · SoCo · Joined Mar 2019 · Points: 0

Don't let the mile difference fool you. The drive time is the same. Slower speeds through the mountains as opposed to interstate for a good portion from Denver. But from GJ to Pagosa you get to see the mighty Sneffels Range, Ouray, 550 the "million dollar highway", Durango, Chimney Rock... all from the drivers seat.
From the top of Molas Pass, you can see far into the Weminuche Wilderness. I was told the other night Steve considered the Weminuche to be his garden of eden, temptation and all. He was known to take extended trips there with just his dog.

If I was doing the trip I would fly into GJ, rent and take the drive described above. With the fall colors it will truly be representative of the best Colorado has to offer. 

Brother Numsie · · AnCapistan · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 880

Red Mountain Pass from Ouray to Durango is a nerve wrecking experience, at best, if you aren't used to hairy mountain driving.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115
Brother Numsie wrote: Red Mountain Pass from Ouray to Durango is a nerve wrecking experience, at best, if you aren't used to hairy mountain driving.

Um... Idaho. Got a bit of mountains here, plus the creative expression of what passes for a "road" by the FS and BLM.

I don't want to chain up and be driving with idiots, but I am good on snow and have been for decades.

Seriously pondering the road trip, so I also posted up an open invite to all of you, in a separate thread.

Other than the running away from home and being irresponsible part, the only reason I couldn't do a road trip is..... just me.

And since this trip is about Steve? How he chose to spend his last year?

Yeah. I think he'd very much like me to sail into my future. 

Best, Helen
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Old lady H wrote: 
I know this is like asking how to tie my shoes, 

You beat me to it.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115
FrankPS wrote:

You beat me to it.

:-)

Kevinmurray · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 0

Just drive, you will enjoy it more and you can bring all your stuff and not worry about forgetting something. I have driven Red Mountain Pass hundreds of times in every condition and as long as you drive as the conditions allow you will have no problem. I was up there today. My daughter got her learners permit on a friday and she drove over it the next day to Pagosa and back in a snow and rain storm. There are just no guard rails. Where would they put all the snow when they plow it in winter if it did have rails, and this last winter there was a lot of if.Plus in oct. all of the 6 fingered texicans in motor homes are gone.

The Raven · · SoCo · Joined Mar 2019 · Points: 0
Kevinmurray wrote: Just drive, you will enjoy it more and you can bring all your stuff and not worry about forgetting something. I have driven Red Mountain Pass hundreds of times in every condition and as long as you drive as the conditions allow you will have no problem. I was up there today. My daughter got her learners permit on a friday and she drove over it the next day to Pagosa and back in a snow and rain storm. There are just no guard rails. Where would they put all the snow when they plow it in winter if it did have rails, and this last winter there was a lot of if.Plus in oct. all of the 6 fingered texicans in motor homes are gone.

Exactly. I drove Red Mountain pass every week for 20 years. Unless it was closed in winter. Since you are driving on one of the most spectacular roads in the country just take your time and enjoy.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115

Unless something happens, like snow everywhere, I'm leaning heavily toward a real road trip!
https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/117745436/road-trip-early-october-city-of-rocks-to-pagosa-springs-return-to-boise-via-well#ForumMessage-117746968

Thanks, all, you have really helped, more than you know.

Best, Helen

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115

Trip is on, a two week road trip. City of Rocks, Maple Canyon, Grand Junction, maybe Moab, maybe Denverish, but? Piedra River for sure! OLH, is climbing OLH, in remembrance of Steve.

Best, Helen

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Colorado
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