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Author Topic: Phoenix to Las Vegas - how mountainous? Possible to do it w/o a jake brake?  (Read 1751 times)
DROdio
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« on: July 10, 2006, 04:51:29 PM »

Well, at the end of July I'll be making the big 2500 mile trek from Virginia to Las Vegas (the bus' new home).

The jake brake in my bus isn't currently working (actually it's an electromagnetic retarder on the VanHools), and i'm wondering if I can safely make the trip w/o the jake brake.

I'm not too worried about most of the trip (should I be?) - seems like most of the central US is pretty flat, but i'm just worried about the Rockies.

For that reason, I was going to cross over on one of the following routes, anyone have any suggestions?

- Albuqurque to Flagstaff on the 191, then Flagstaff to Las Vegas on the 93:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=albuquerque,+nm&daddr=las+vegas,+nv&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1

or if that's too mountainous, then El Paso to Tuscon, to Phoenix, and from Phoenix either north to Flagstaff or west to Lake Havasu and then up to Vegas
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=el+paso,+tx&daddr=las+vegas,+nv&ie=UTF8&ll=33.961586,-110.808105&spn=8.142549,15.88623&t=h&om=1


Remember, no jake brake, but I can keep it in 2nd or 3rd gear if necessary (it's an automatic that has 1/2/3/D)

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
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"WonderlandBus"
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2006, 05:51:30 PM »

I have traveled all the interstates cross country several times and if I were doing it I would go I-40 to Barstow and pick up I-15 north to Vegas.
Alternate, drop down to I-10 somewhere to miss the passes in the Flagstaff area.
Just take it easy on the downgrades and slow down before you start down the grades and keep it in lower gears on the downgrades.
Richard


Well, at the end of July I'll be making the big 2500 mile trek from Virginia to Las Vegas (the bus' new home).

The jake brake in my bus isn't currently working (actually it's an electromagnetic retarder on the VanHools), and i'm wondering if I can safely make the trip w/o the jake brake.

I'm not too worried about most of the trip (should I be?) - seems like most of the central US is pretty flat, but i'm just worried about the Rockies.

For that reason, I was going to cross over on one of the following routes, anyone have any suggestions?

- Albuqurque to Flagstaff on the 191, then Flagstaff to Las Vegas on the 93:
http://http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=albuquerque,+nm&daddr=las+vegas,+nv&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1

or if that's too mountainous, then El Paso to Tuscon, to Phoenix, and from Phoenix either north to Flagstaff or west to Lake Havasu and then up to Vegas
http://http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=el+paso,+tx&daddr=las+vegas,+nv&ie=UTF8&ll=33.961586,-110.808105&spn=8.142549,15.88623&t=h&om=1


Remember, no jake brake, but I can keep it in 2nd or 3rd gear if necessary (it's an automatic that has 1/2/3/D)

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2006, 05:59:08 PM »

You can drive any US numbered highway without a Jake brake. Buses ran scheduled service into almost every town in the country before engine brakes were invented. Start down any grade in a lower gear and don't gear up until you can see the road all the way to the bottom. You usually go down about the same amount as you went up (although the slope  may be different) so you have a good idea of how much you are going to drop. Before the advent of big engines, the rule was to go down in the same gear as you used going up.
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DROdio
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2006, 07:03:39 PM »

It's lookin' like taking I-40 west to Flagstaff, then west to Williams and Kingman is most direct... and then there is some un-numbered road from Kingman to Boulder city, has anyone used that?  It looks like a straight road on Google maps (see this: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=barstow&ie=UTF8&ll=35.598136,-114.495392&spn=0.998279,2.433472&t=h&om=1 ).  - DROdio
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"WonderlandBus"
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DROdio
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2006, 07:05:15 PM »

That un-numbered road i was referring to above is I-93 from Kingman to Boulder City; anyone done it?
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"WonderlandBus"
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Beatenbo
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2006, 07:21:55 PM »

If you go from Phoenix to Flagstaff over Williams and up across to Hoover Dam and into Nevada you wouldn't need aa jake! You would need a big turbo..It's uphill all the way. Elav 2,000 ft Phoenix
7,000 ft at Flagstaff. I have gone from Flagstaff to Phoenix straight down a couple times, said I would hate going north.
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Beatenbo
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2006, 07:27:57 PM »

Micrsoft streets shows quickest way bup US93 100 miles farther Interstate thru Flagstaff. Still uphill.
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2006, 07:39:42 PM »

Daniel,

Lots of luck on the move to Vegas.  Keep us posted on the trip!

Michelle and I will somehow in the future try to come out and visit you and Sue. [I hope]

Nick Badame
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2006, 07:46:16 PM »

First off, if you do have an electro magnetic retarder (Telma?), why don't you get it fixed?  Usually it is only simple relays that go bad, and then it only requires you to clean the relays-simple system.  Even if you only get it going on full on, it will work well.

From my years of truck driving on the road, the flatest route would be to take I-40 across to Little Rock, Ark, then grab I-30 west to Ft Worth where you'll take the 635 south to I-20 west to avoid going through the middle of both Dallas and Ft Worth.  Then on down to I-10.  On west to Phoenix, Ar where you'll take the 101 bypass around town and then go north on highway 60 that turns into highway 93 at Wickenburg, Ar.  Continue on highway 93 over Hoover Dam and onto Las Vegas, Nv.  While this is the flatest route, it'll be the hottest route also.
Otherwise, just take I-40 west all the way to Kingman, Az and then go north on highway 93 over Hoover Dam.  The down hills from Flagstaff to Kingman are not to severe, just take it easy.  Gearing down to 3rd would probably be enough.   Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2006, 08:05:59 PM »

Tom's right, been across the I-40 rt is what I would take
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Stan
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2006, 05:43:05 AM »

If you follow TomC's route you cross the Rockies (dirt hills) East of El Paso and then pick up  IH 8 at Casa Grande if you want flat road. It is bare a** desert all the way to Yuma and then just 300 miles North on 95 to Vegas.  As Tom ponted out, this is a hot road in the summer (any time between March and December).
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Buffalo SpaceShip
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2006, 08:40:58 AM »

The northern route (I-40 most of the way) would be my preference. You'd avoid Dallas and Phoenix, and a lot of hot weather. It also appears quite a bit shorter. Whatever you do, make sure that your cooling system is up for the challenge. Heat, elevation, and long climbs can be a bad trifecta for bus cooling systems.

Manually shift your coach going uphill and also downhill. Most Allisions will try to pull grades in too low an rpm (esp. if your coach is a 2-stroke).

One of the best investments I've ever made was buying the Mountain Directory guidebooks. They list every major mountian pass in either the Western or Eastern US (two books) and tell you what to expect for grades. I ordered the Western one online and it arrived in just a few days: http://www.mountaindirectory.com/ I use it all of the time for route planning, and giving me a heads-up on what to expect and where on each road.

My Mountain Directory lists Householder Pass on US93 between Kingman and the Dam (you'd drive this with either route) as: "last 16 miles are a roller coaster ride of2-6% grades... last 6 miles starting at milepost 6-1/2 mostly 5-6% downgrade... then very curvy with 15-25mph curves" etc.

It also shows I-40 near Ash Fork west of Flagstaff having a decent, but fast downgrade (6% grade for 6 miles).

A also use Google Earth routinely for a God's-view of roads, elevations, and large parking lots to fit my bus. I also waste entirely too much time with this amazing piece of free software.

HTH,
Brian Brown
Longmont, CO
GMC4108-216
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Brian Brown
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