Newbies - Geographic Anomolies
Areas: Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming
If you like to drive the scenic routes while you work, I-70 is glorious. During wintertime, residents and vacationers ski and snowmobile in their bright colored parkas and are seen playing in the deep snow on the mountainsides and along the frozen ponds. The weather is mild to cool in summer, though, bringing out the wildflowers. Fly fisherman stand in the Colorado River at some of the shallow spots, bicyclist ride on the many bicycle paths and courageous rafters brave the rapids.
Banked by a mountainous landscape, that is covered with ponderosa pine and aspen forest, I-70 follows the Colorado River, which cuts through the many passes with many switch backs and speed limits are under 50mph. This can certainly extend your travel time. If you have a JIT load in the winter you might want to take an alternate route to the south as these northern highways can sometimes be closed in the winter.
Weigh stations in Colorado are many. Their computers are not connected to each other so you may be called in to show the same paper work, repeatedly. Be prepared to show registration, drivers license, IFTA Cards, proof of insurance, 53' trailer permit and all HAZMAT paperwork. To prevent having to stop at all stations the next time you travel to the same route, vehicle identification numbers that are two inches high, in a contrasting color painted or taped to the right side of your cab should help a little.
Carry chains in winter whether you plan to use them or not. If roads become closed and you are without chains, you are stuck on the side of the road until the roads are cleared. You could receive a ticket if you don't have chains.
The tunnel at Loveland pass on I-70 is 13' 6" and if you are a fraction over height, bells will ring, sirens scream and traffic signals will signal you to pull over and stop to be measured. Snow and ice build up can contribute to the dilemma; the officials then send you around on highway US 6 if you are over height. That is more hazardous than the tunnel, especially in the winter as the road is narrow and steep; turns are sharp.
There are not many truck stops after you leave Denver until you reach Green River, although the rest areas are numerous but primitive with in-ground toilets, so carry your own toilet paper. There is no better place to sleep though than in one of these rest areas, as it is usually cool enough to cut your engine and get a good, quite night of sleep as rest areas are quite isolated.
Headed into the Red Lands of Utah, stop and show all paperwork at the weigh stations. In this state, you will see some of the most beautiful scenic landscapes in the world with high vistas and deep cut gorges. There is no noise except for your own tractor, as all sound seems to vanish in the high open spaces. Sparse traffic makes you feel quite alone in these wide-open spaces.
Nevada is one long drive in the desert. The climbs are so subtle that before you realize it you are downshifting to make the climbs and may go many miles before descending. Engine overheating is a possibility so you may want to carry a container of water.
Although fuel cost is in outer orbit--in the cities of State Line and Jean there is plenty of truck parking if you gamble or want to eat. If you love to eat, this is the place to be. Food is inexpensive and delicious. Las Vegas parking is tight except on the outskirts.
Wyoming it's beautiful, but cold and icy in the winter. I-80 is sometime closed on Elk Mountain, as the winds can be high enough to blow over an empty trailer. Ice can be so thick that it's hazardous even to walk.
Let us know about what its like to drive in other parts of North America by emailing us at layover.com