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Old 06-29-2015, 09:00 PM   #1
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Best route - Texas to Wyoming

Good evening -

We are driving from Austin, Texas to Grand Teton NP (and then on to Yellowstone). It will be our first time to tow our travel trailer a very long distance.

I would be very interested to hear from veteran travelers on what is the best way to travel when towing a large trailer; i.e., sticking exclusively to interstate highway system vs. "most direct route" which could be a combination of interstate/state highways, etc.

Here are two possible routes we could take:

MOST DIRECT: 1,387 miles (21 hrs 41 min)
- Hwy 183 from Austin to Brownwood
- Hwy 84 to Lubbock
- I-27 N to Amarillo
- Hwy 87 thru Dalhart, Clayton, Raton, Trinidad
- I-25 N to Denver/Fort Collins
- Hwy 287 (Ft. Collins) to Laramie (cut the corner)
- I-80 to Rawlins
- Hwy 287 to GTNP

INTERSTATE ROUTE: 1,549 miles (23 hrs 41 min)
- I-35 N from Austin to Salina, Kansas
- I-70 W to Denver
- Loop E-470 to I-25 N to Cheyenne
- I-80 to Rawlins
- Hwy 287 to GTNP

My main concern is getting on a "back road" with only single lanes going in each direction and backing up traffic. Also a little worried about finding diesel at a service station that I can drive through with a 35-foot trailer!

Many thanks,
Dave
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Old 06-30-2015, 03:49 PM   #2
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We drove from Colorado Springs to Jackson, Wy. in '09. If I recall right we left I-80 at Rock Springs, Wy., and headed north on 191 to Jackson. We had a toy hauler then, a little shorter than yours, about 30'. No problems on the non interstate roads. Just take it easy, whatever is comfortable for you and let the folks behind you get around if you do gather a train. We stayed at the GT's campground just about a half hour from Yellowstone. We returned home from the east side of Yellowstone, down through Cody. We spent a night in Thermopolous at an RV park with multiple hot spring pools. We enjoyed that place even though it wasn't fancy. We were backed up close to the RR tracks. I grew up on them and so was thrown back about 50 years, slept like a baby! There is some roadwork shown right now on the interstate around I-25/I-80 area, but not much you can do about that. We have similar TVs and mine now pulls a larger trailer than back then with no problems. You will want to keep your rpms well over 2000 on the long pulls, even with the 6.0 cooler, which I also have. On the hottest days the tran. temp won't exceed 210, only for a short time then. Level temps are far cooler, 150 or so. That tranny is the weak link in the rig but just fine if you keep it cool and don't lug. Don't ask how I know. But I don't recall any hard climbs like some other trips. And if you are not used to mountain driving let me suggest using brakes less on descents by dropping into 2nd gear. I have a Pacbrake on my truck and seldom need the brakes on the downgrades. If you ride your brakes you run the risk of them overheating and possibly losing them when you need them the most.
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith3 View Post
snip...
We are driving from Austin, Texas to Grand Teton NP (and then on to Yellowstone). It will be our first time to tow our travel trailer a very long distance.

I would be very interested to hear from veteran travelers on what is the best way to travel when towing a large trailer; i.e., sticking exclusively to interstate highway system vs. "most direct route" which could be a combination of interstate/state highways, etc.
...snip...
My main concern is getting on a "back road" with only single lanes going in each direction and backing up traffic. Also a little worried about finding diesel at a service station that I can drive through with a 35-foot trailer!
Many thanks,
Dave
Dave,
I don't have much to offer regarding "... the best way ..." but I do have a few suggestions that might help.
Because you are not accustomed to towing for lots of miles, I'd suggest you start on the interstates:
- I-35 N from Austin to Salina, Kansas
- I-70 W to Hays, KS
- Hwy 183 N to I-80 (On Google maps street view, Hwy 183 looks straight, flat, and has ample shoulders if you need them. There are lots of very nice 2-lane roads that see little traffic; Hwy183 looks to be one of them.)

This initial route will help with 2 things: It keeps you on the interstates while you get used to the TT & TV and lets you fuel at truck stops while you get used to maneuvering when getting fuel. Pilot/FlyingJ is especially good at having fuel access and parking for RVs and keeping you out of the fuel lanes for the big rigs. (In addition, on a personal note, I dislike Toll Roads and E-470 is a Toll Road so you can avoid that/those by staying away from Denver.)

Best wishes for a safe and fun trip.
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:11 AM   #4
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Thank you, both. Appreciate those comments very much.

-Dave
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:36 AM   #5
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We live outside of Ft Worth and traveled to southern Wyoming last summer and have family in Lubbock. We took almost your 1st route last year to Wyoming.

It was a very good route and I would highly recommend it, one of the unexpected highlights was the RV Park north of Raton just before you get to Colorado. It was Cedar something and had spectacular views to the south.

We drove from FTW to Lubbock and took “back roads” to get there and actually prefer them to Interstates. From Lubbock we went to Dumas and turned left towards Raton never having any issues then up 25 into Wyoming. We went through Denver but should have taken the Toll loop around.

We have friends who have taken the 35 to 70 route before and like it. BUT 35 out of Austin is a mess with all the construction from Temple to Hillsboro a lot of it is white knuckle narrow then you have to contend with DFW traffic then OKC traffic. If you take this route at least take 35w through FTW it is the lesser of the evils.

Fueling was easy just stay away from the little local stations. A few phone apps really help; All Stays is worth its weight in gold, Flying J, Loves Travel Stops to name a few. If you don’t have gas buddy you might get it also.

On the way home we went from Denver to Lamar, Co to Amarillo and thought that sucked, the roads were very rough.
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:47 PM   #6
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Me thinks you are over thinking this endeavor. Too much planning. You will be a nervous wreck when not meeting all of your spots.
Good luck with your trip.
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