Hermione II, Maiden Voyage - Page 4 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-10-2015, 01:28 PM   #31
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You're much braver than we are. We had issues on a 10% grade coming out of Yellowstone so can I only imagine what towing on a 26% grade would do to my nerves (funny, that road has never seemed that bad in a car ... ). Glad you had a memorable (and safe) journey home.
Ah, now I remember that grade. We did it in a tiny '77 Honda Wagon, kids, food, and ice chest in the back, towing a small covered utility trailer packed full of our camping gear. 2nd gear going up, and 2nd gear going down.
Stopped part way down and took a cool-off-the-disk and drum-brakes break. We watched a large RV hi-tailing down the hill, and expected to see a wreck at the bottom later. No wrecks; I guess they made it.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:35 PM   #32
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Enjoyed your report, thank you for sharing.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:38 PM   #33
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What IS an appropriate & safe way to descend unexpected steep downgrades?

I don't remember % grades, but I remember three notable steep grades encountered in previous travels with the Boler. No brakes on the Boler, and I warped my 1995 Ranger manual transmission brake rotors!

Coming into Death Valley from the West, out of the Panamint Range. Coming down into Carson from Lake Tahoe. Coming into Monument Valley/Mexican Hat from Natural Bridges Natural Monument, down Utah 261.

Aside from appropriate trip pre-planning (and thus missing some wonderful country & drives), is it reasonable to descend part-way, stop & rest (yourself & the brakes) at pull-outs, before carrying on? Or something else?
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:39 PM   #34
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You're much braver than we are. We had issues on a 10% grade coming out of Yellowstone so can I only imagine what towing on a 26% grade would do to my nerves (funny, that road has never seemed that bad in a car ... ). Glad you had a memorable (and safe) journey home.

Brave, or stupid? Thing is, we were sort of coerced into taking Sonora Pass after a conversation with another traveler. He had just gone through Tioga Pass (Yosemite) and strongly recommended going around it. We were ill advised. We saw the warning signs but decided to attempt it anyway.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:35 PM   #35
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What IS an appropriate & safe way to descend unexpected steep downgrades?

Aside from appropriate trip pre-planning (and thus missing some wonderful country & drives), is it reasonable to descend part-way, stop & rest (yourself & the brakes) at pull-outs, before carrying on? Or something else?
General rule: use the same gear going down that you had to use going up. If you came from a different route to the top, stay in as low a gear as you need to hold your speed with just periodic brake applications. If it seems to want to get away from you, stop & rest the brakes part way (before you're in trouble).
There's nothing wrong with 1st or 2nd gear on a steep grade when you're keeping 4000 lbs. of tow and 4000 lbs. of trailer under control. Never hurry it.
If you find you're saying to yourself "I just ...."; Pull over and think it though, then proceed slowly.
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Old 08-10-2015, 05:15 PM   #36
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Regarding grades and surprises…

Having been caught unawares several times, I finally decided to buy these "Mountain Directories" to help us with trip planning. It doesn't mean we won't decide to go a particular route, but at least we will know what we are in for.

Mountain Driving Guide for Truckers, RV and Motorhome Drivers

We have no association with the company. We bought the print versions.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:53 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maurerl View Post
What IS an appropriate & safe way to descend unexpected steep downgrades?

Aside from appropriate trip pre-planning (and thus missing some wonderful country & drives), is it reasonable to descend part-way, stop & rest (yourself & the brakes) at pull-outs, before carrying on? Or something else?
Stoping and resting at pull outs is perfectly appropriate, either on the way up or the way down. It is always appropriate to stop and enjoy the scenery as long as there is space to get completely off the road.

Also, +1 to the mountain directories mentioned above. Sometimes they help us plan. Sometimes they remind us of where we have been, and give us confidence that we can do what needs to be done. D.W. Used to be worried when she would see signs that said '8% grade next x miles'. But now she says 'oh. We have done steeper stuff than that'
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:06 PM   #38
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What IS an appropriate & safe way to descend unexpected steep downgrades?
Have a target speed in mind, usually whatever you came up at is a good thumb rule. Then gear for it, then use brakes to stay +/- 10 from that target. Never ride the brakes, apply firmly then let go. Repeat.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:38 PM   #39
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I am amazed with the braking performed by the "Tow mode" in certain trucks with the factory brake controller install. Mine will start to downshift as soon as I hit the brakes and continues to brake until gas is reapplied.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:13 PM   #40
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I am amazed with the braking performed by the "Tow mode" in certain trucks with the factory brake controller install. Mine will start to downshift as soon as I hit the brakes and continues to brake until gas is reapplied.
Chevy has had that with their bigger pickups and the Allison transmission for many years now. My Ford has it now too, though my 2002 didn't. It certainly is nice that it does that, letting you keep your foot off the brakes more.
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