Yesterday we drove our class A 31' ft w/toad from the Mt. Rushmore area to Red Lodge, MT, and today from Red Lodge to Gardiner via the northern part of Yellowstone. I use the Rand McNally RVND 7710 GPS and Microsoft Streets and Trips to plot my routes. For the trip yesterday the GPS was having us go on route 14A and today both products plotted us to go on the entire US212 Beartooth All America Scenic Byway. I remembered cautions from posters on RV.net about using 14A and took an alternate route. I was planning to take the 212 route today but late yesterday evening followed an urge to ask about the viablilty of that route on this site. A couple of posters quickly advised me of the issues. As a result today we had a wonderful trip going on the Chief Joseph Scenic Bypass instead. My point is, although I love both products and will continue to use them, ultimately it is on the driver to do research, ask questions, and make the final decision. My experience also reinforces the true value of this forum.
It doesn't matter if you are using a paper map or an electronic one, or going by advice gleaned from an internet forum, the ultimate responsibility for the route you take is YOURS!
It is just like taking a camper under the railroad underpass in downtown Billings. It doesn't matter what the map says, or what the GPS says, or what somebody told you, THE SIGN SAYS 8' CLEARANCE, AND IT MEANS IT! Ignore it at your peril!
Then, pick up the pieces. Don't be a litterbug!
CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad: 2006 Jeep Rubicon LJ
Other toad: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy: 1977 Dodge W100 CC SWB, 3/4 ton axles & springs
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"
Just a note of interest perhaps: we took that route a couple of years ago just for sightseeing with my son and his family and had a wonderful trip. But when we got to the very highest point of the AllAmerica Scenic Byway (locals call it the "Top of the World"), we passed an old man in his 70's riding a unicycle! He had ridden it all the way up that highway and in talking with some younger bicycle riders at a restaurant in Red Lodge later, they were still shaking their heads. They said he passed them like they were sitting still! I can't even imagine riding a unicycle much less up to the top of a summit on that particular highway!
If you're a native Floridian, then you know that the highest mountain in that state is about 5 feet above sea level. If you intend to travel in the west, where the mountains are much newer geologically and much steeper, it would be wise to pick up a copy of "Mountain Directory West". It doesn't tell you not to drive a route, but it tells you what you'll experience so you can decide for yourself if you want to try it. You have a lot of extra weight pushing you down the mountainside. If you ride the brakes to the point of boiling the brake fluid, you have no brakes, and that's a heck of a time to find out. If in doubt of your skill level, go around as you did in this case and live to tell us about your enjoyable trip.
Retired and visiting as much of this beautiful country as I can.
We drove Beartooth today in our Chevy Equinox and overall really enjoyed it. There were a few times DW had to close her eyes but we stopped often and took lots of pictures. I actually think that after being on it I could have driven it in the RV but it wouldn't have been as fun, we could not have stopped in all the places we did in the car, and, knowing me, I probably would have felt pressure from holding up others while going up grades. Just a note on Florida mountains, Disney World's Space Mountain is the third highest "mountain" in Florida.
One other update on Beartooth highway. A number of guardrails have been installed on the switchback curves and they were in the process of installing more today. Kind of mitigates that "drop-off" feeling.
Chief Joseph is probably as steep as Beartooth, if I remember correctly, but it's a lot newer and wider. Therefore, it feels a lot better. When you topped the crest and looked out over all that land going into Yellowstone, wasn't the feeling one of, gosh that's a lot of country to be able to see from one place. Out here in the West, we get to see a long ways when we get to the top of roads going up and down mountains. Glad you had a good experience in our wonderful country.