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Old 07-24-2017, 08:36 PM   #1
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Best way to Cortez CO: Santa Fe or Albuquerque?

We are going to Cortez CO from Central Texas via 285 next week. We know the route very well, and prefer to go the slower, scenic way through Santa Fe to Chama, Pagosa Springs, and Durango to Cortez. I know that it is shorter to go through Albuquerque & Farmington, but it's not as scenic, and I've never gone that way towing a fifth wheel, so I don't know how the mid-week traffic compares.

The worst part of the 285 trip is going through Santa Fe on St Francis Street, so we have always timed our trip to go through on a Sunday morning when traffic is lightest. This time we'll have to go through mid-week, but we can time our passage for early afternoon (pre-rush hour).

This is going to be a short (10 day) trip, so traffic avoidance is my primary concern to maximize time in Cortez. What route would you all choose?
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Old 07-24-2017, 10:55 PM   #2
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That route looks good!

In Santa Fe, it takes you out of the way but you can take the bypass 599 on the west side to avoid downtown.
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:25 AM   #3
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Just don't go through at lunch time like we did last year. It wasn't bad coming back through there in the afternoon before rush hour like you plan to do.
Oh, and the train ride in Chama is well worth the time spent. Beautiful scenery, especially for this flatlander.
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Old 07-26-2017, 01:47 PM   #4
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We were able to adjust our schedule so we can travel through Santa Fe this coming Sunday morning. We will leave Central Texas early Friday morning and put in a long first day (380 miles) with an overnight in Carlsbad. Then we'll have a shorter day to the south-east side of Santa Fe (250 miles) on Saturday, and another short day (250 miles) through Chama & Pagosa Springs to Cortez on Sunday. We'll return through Santa Fe the following Sunday.

Atom ant, I think we will try the 599 bypass this time. Driving on St Francis sucks!

Texastbird, we really want to stay in Chama and take that train ride. We've reconned the two RV parks there on previous trips and they both look nice, but I don't think we'll have time to do it this trip. Unfortunately, this is not a pleasure trip. Our four year old grandson has been living with my wife and me here in Texas, but our daughter insists that we take him up to Colorado so he can start pre-school there next month. We were hoping she'd let us keep him another year while she gets on her feet in Cortez. It's really killing us to have to give him up! Then on August 28th, just about the time we readjust to life without our boy, my wife will go in for a total knee replacement, followed by two months of rehab. Looks like this 11 day trip will be it for us until she's healed up in November.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:11 PM   #5
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I did the knee thing twice (both of 'em) and it isn't much fun. But when you get healed up, you'll know it was worth it to be able to walk nearly (well maybe a little arthritis here or there) pain free. Man, those little grandkids can really get under your skin. I feel for what you are going through. Have a safe trip.
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:03 AM   #6
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We made it to Cortez without having to deal with Santa Fe traffic. We over-nighted at the Santa Fe KOA on the southeast side of town, then broke camp at 7:10 am Sunday morning and only had to share that dreaded St. Francis stretch of road with MAYBE 12 other cars. We were through town in no time.

We did have two minor problems on the way. At the beginning of the first day our check engine light came on, our ABS turned off, and we got a message saying we needed to service the electric trailer brakes. We dropped the trailer at the Carlsbad KOA and then found the Dodge dealership. They ran a check and said that a sensor had misread something and had shut down the ABS. They reset it, and we were on our way again in under an hour, no charge (warranty). The second day we picked up a nail in a tire and developed a slow leak. We made it to Roswell and Discount Tire patched it at no charge, and we again were on our way in less than an hour.

The big and ongoing problem is with the slides though, and that will be the subject of a separate rant. Stand by!
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