Mountain directories are an invaluable tool for route planning so what these Mountain directories and why do you need them well you know a road atlas is going to be able to show all the roads that you might take but it doesn’t show you what grades you might encounter in between these two books there’s one to the west and one for the east they cover700 different mountain passes and also about 22 States covered and those are the states that have the bigger Hills a lot of people think the big Hills are out west because they’re the Big Mountains.
out west but it’s more than just the size and the elevation of the mountain it’s the grade of the steepness of that road and the reason grades are important is because if you’re trying to climb up that hill especially in hot weather your RV or your large truck might get overheated and it could cause engine damage or transmission damage and then way down on a hill that’s even more dangerous.
Because the Brussels brakes overheat you can be in real trouble I mean I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever been going down a hill when your brakes start to fade but the engines revving high and you can’t hold your speed anymore and then the brakes pedal starts going soft and you smell the brakes it gets to be pretty stressful and so with the tool like this, you’re able to plan your route much more effectively.
so there are two versions of this book one for the east and one for the west and if you only travel in one region you’d only need one book there about eight maps by 11 and they’re fairly thin books but they ‘repacked with great information so let’s have a quick look inside the cover shows what a lot of the inside pages will look like on individual states but when you open it up has amice introduction on why it’s important the person who wrote this is over the road trucker for his whole career has a lot of experience and is worth reading because there’s a lot of really great educational information in that introduction so a table of contents the states are listed in alphabetical order and then when you come to the first state this one being Arizona.
You’ll see it’s a map of Arizona and all those little yellow triangles are the mountain grades of mountain passes and so you’ll see a number on each one of those and that number corresponds to one of the numbers over here but let me give you a couple examples when you might use this let’s say you’re in Gunnison Colorado down here and you want to get to Denver now if you go way the GPS says to go it’s going to take you the most direct route it’s going to try and take you up here or up here over all these passes you see there’s about seven or eight of the little yellow triangles in that little route now if you look this way you can take this route and there’s only one mountain pass to get for all a some Gunnison to Denver
So if you have a vehicle that doesn’t do well on grades it would probably be a good idea to pick the route that only has one major grade instead of seven and then you can read about what each one of those passes is like because you might have a route that has one major grade either way you go but one might be a lot less intimidating than the other in New Mexico Julie and I was recently in Carlsbad New Mexico and we wanted to go to Alamogordo New Mexico near White Sands
So you can see on this route there’s almost nothing that says a scary grade on it except this one yellow triangle right here and if you read about that triangle that’s number three so you go to number three called top Hill the following signs appear as you leave Cloudcroft westbound warning trucker steep grade 6%for 16 miles depth from Cloudcroft west continues goes all the specifics of that entire downhill including at what mile-marker you might see a runaway truck ramp there’s two of them on that downgrade the top of the hill starts with 30 miles an hour corners and it goes to 45 miles an hour corners there’s tunnel at this distance gives detailed information.
So you know exactly what to expect on that hill and so when Julie and I were planning that day’s travel we realized it was going to be hundred miles or so from when we started until we get to the top of that Cloudcroft hill and then pretty much from there on it’s just a steep little bit up and alone 16 miles downhill of six to seven percent grade which is pretty steep and we just get to the bottom and we’re almost to our final destination so it made total sense for us to simply drive the bulk of the drive and then when we start getting up the steep part of the uphill disconnect the car and she can drive separate that way not saying the heavy car up or down that long grade to our final destination further on that if you know that 16 miles of six to seven percent grade is going to be too much for your RV and you don’t have the opportunity to disconnect a Motor home from a car you’re a truck and trailer then you might choose a different route so instead of going north and across 182you might go south from Carlsbad and come through Texas and then back up to Alamogordo
Because this grade number 13is only 2 to 3 miles of a 7% grade instead of 16 miles so that’s a whole lot more manageable for a rig that has a tough time with grades that’s a great example of how this could be used so the Weston book cover here is 400 mountain passes and steep grades over 11 states and the east book is 300 mountain passes and grades over a living State and some people think although East Coast they don’t have the Big Mountains but they do they have steep grades so what the elevation might matter for the power-on getting up over the top if you’re driving up the pass but coming down those hills it doesn’t matter what elevation you are it’s the grade the steep of that Hill doesn’t matter if you’re going from ten thousand to six thousand or six thousand to two thousand.
If you’re going down the same grade it’s going to feel the same to your vehicles we have the paperback versions hereof this book which are also pretty light which is nice because we don’t like too much weight in our RB but they’re also available as evil and as an app on your smartphone so they’re about 15 dollars each for the paperback version and about25 dollars to buy both versions east and west combined on your I phone app so the great thing about having these in that is you don’t need to be online to use them so it doesn’t matter if you’re out of the cell coverage area you can still access the data in the map from the simple and straightforward it’s pretty much are presentation of the image that you’ll see in the books but another thing I like about this app it is a nice large type and spacious so it’s really easy to read because sole’s do a quick wrap-up on what we think based on our personal experience of these mountain directories.
now I think they’re awesome your rode Alice’s and your GPS can show you the most direct route but it’s not necessarily the best route and when you have a larger RV they have some limitations on being able to pull the big grades going up or down and so that’s why it’s really important to get tools that will specifically talk about grades you might encounter.
we have never been in a situation that’s been dangerous but I’ve been in situations that got my heart rate going up a little bit that I was starting to realize my brakes were getting hot so this mountain directories are a fantastic tool for route planning either to change the route you’re going to go or to at the very minimum at least know what to expect and plan and make some changes to your driving accordingly so we hope you’ve enjoyed this reviews if and we’d love to hear your comments down below do you have some or have you had some bad experiences on steep grades with these but it helped you outlet us know in the comments below and of course we’ll put the links down below