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Mountain Directory East for Truckers, RV,…
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Mountain Directory East for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers

by Richard Miller

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0964680572, Paperback)

Since 1993 we have been collecting and publishing information about mountain passes and steep grades. Combined, "Mountain Directory East" and "Mountain Directory West" give the locations and descriptions of over 700 mountain passes and steep grades in 22 states. The eastern book includes over 300 locations in the following 11 states: Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The "Mountain Directory" books tell you where the steep grades are, how long they are, how steep (%) they are, whether the road is two, three, or four lane, if there are escape ramps, switchbacks, sharp curves, unusual speed limits, etc. With this information, one can make an informed decision about whether to go over or around. If you decide to go over, perhaps the cool morning hours would ease the strain on the engine and transmission during the climb. Unhooking a towed vehicle would make! both the climb and the descent easier. Knowing what lies ahead is half the battle.

Many people are under the impression that the grades in the eastern mountains are not as serious as the grades in the western mountains. Apparently this is because the elevations are not as high in the eastern states. But elevation alone is not the problem -- it is the change in elevation that makes a grade potentially hazardous. If all other factors are equal, a grade that descends from 4000' to 1000' over 10 miles is no different than a grade that descends from 10,000' to 7000' over 10 miles. In either case, you have a 3000' change in elevation spread over 10 miles. This example would result in an average grade of almost 6% for 10 miles.

A large percentage of the grades in the western states are in the 6% range. A large percentage of the grades in the eastern states are in the 8, 9, or 10% range, sometimes even more. In the northeastern states, the grades tend to be very steep but fairly short. As you go farther south into Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, the grades are not only very steep, but they begin to get long as well. The main ingredients involved in overheated brakes during mountain descents are the length of the grade, steepness of the grade, weight of the vehicle, and speed of the vehicle. Reducing any of these will improve the chances of getting down the mountain without overheating the brakes. Usually, the only ingredient the driver can control is speed. Reducing speed may keep you alive. Remember the old phrase, "You can go down a mountain a thousand times too slowly, but only once too fast."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:59 -0400)

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