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#178926 - 08/09/09 09:55 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: philip]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
The vehicle she was driving didn't really seem to be the issue. It was probably more a case of multiple poor choices of someone who has watched a lifelong diet of happy endings. I doubt that it even occurred to her that anything could go wrong. Just another trip through Dizzyland.

The kids and the pets are always the ones who pay.

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#178934 - 08/09/09 11:06 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: Susan]
2005RedTJ Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 475
Loc: Birmingham, Alabama
Yeah, I don't think the vehicle choice played much into it, after doing a little more reading on the situation. More a matter of lack of knowledge. Knowledge of the water situation being first and foremost in my mind, followed by knowing where you're going and making sure others know also.

In this instance, I don't even know if making sure others knew when to expect her or where she was traveling would have saved them. She went off her planned path anyway.

The number one problem I see is going alone without at least one other vehicle. No matter how much recovery gear, experience in fixing/recovering a vehicle, knowledge of the area, etc... you have, it's still possible to get in way over your head. Living in Alabama where we don't have deserts or even wide open spaces like that, I can't imagine the conditions there, so I would not have undertaken that trip solo.

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#178996 - 08/10/09 05:26 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: 2005RedTJ]
Husky71 Offline
Stranger

Registered: 12/17/06
Posts: 15
Loc: Southern California
Reading on this forum about the various misadventures of others has helped me in my preparedness. I don't have a PLB, but do carry a Spot Tracker with me, which I test often, and extra batteries.

Sadly, too many of us assume we can rely on technology and don't do our homework before heading off the beaten path.

I've been through DV in the spring - don't know what she was thinking heading out there in the heat of the summer.

Poor kid . . .

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#178999 - 08/10/09 05:46 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: Husky71]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I've been to Death Valley in the summer, but I did it very carefully.

For one, I never left the paved roads. Summer isn't the time to go offroading there, because even one mistake can kill you. And the rangers do cruise the roads, checking stopped cars. Both times I was there, they stopped to see if everything was okay.

Secondly, even though I was staying on the paved roads, more than half the net weight in my car was due to water. I always had water in the car, even in town. Desert = carry water.

But I grew up in southern California, and know how little natural water there is.

People who are not familiar with deserts often don't realize how large they really are. The Mojave Desert alone (Death Valley is just part of it) encompasses over 22,000 square miles (MILES, not acres). And the Great Basin (only part true desert, the rest is just dry), lies to the north with over 200,000 square miles. To the south and east lies the Low Desert (aka the Sonoran Desert) that extends into Mexico, covering 120,000 sq miles. That's a total of about 340,000 square MILES of mostly uninhabited space with almost no accessible water.

People who know the desert just from television and movies just don't understand.

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#179013 - 08/10/09 09:28 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: Susan]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted By: Susan
>SNIP<
It was probably more a case of multiple poor choices of someone who has watched a lifelong diet of happy endings. I doubt that it even occurred to her that anything could go wrong. Just another trip through Dizzyland.


I think that's it. Louise and I have camped in Death Valley a few time over Thanksgiving, but we never leave the roads, we carry a satellite phone and our HF transceiver, and we have more food and water than we'll need (so far).

We read the Death Valley bulletin boards about conditions before we go. Those guys have 4WD and tires with more plies than I've ever heard of, jacks, winches, and think they're having fun. :-> It's a scary place if you know enough.

I really feel sorry for the woman. She's learned a very harsh lesson at her son's expense. That's something she'll live with every day.

I think you're right - it's almost always not one mistake that kills you. It's an accumulation of poor choices plus some other factors you don't control. We all do those dumb things, but mostly we don't pay this hard a price.

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#179036 - 08/11/09 06:32 AM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: philip]
Chisel Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/05/05
Posts: 1154
If she is a nurse and she truely made all these mistakes, I feel worried about ptients in the hospoital where she works.

Sorry but this is how I feel.
And yes I am very upset for the boy

The only justification I can see for her is that maybe she has panicked. When you leave a flat tire and wheel ( and a water bottle too) and then take a turn into an unmarked trail ... there must be something wrong like she has started freaking out.


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#179040 - 08/11/09 12:09 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: Chisel]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4897
Loc: SOCAL
Hard to say what was going through her head. After changing a tire in the desert heat and leaving in such a hurry that she left the tire and water behind, frustration and anxiety (maybe anger) come to mind. Who knows. . . Suffice to say she maybe realized she was in over her head. At this point I'd be looking to turn around, but that would disappoint the kid so she pressed on.

I've used a GPS long enough to realize that they are very fallible (not infallible). For a trip like this I'd pre-flight by comparing the GPS maps to GoogleEarth. Adds just a bit of reality to the situation.

Stay on paved roads. Carry lots of water. I have 3 gallons in the truck now and I'll be on I-5 for my entire trip.

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#179059 - 08/11/09 05:31 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: Russ]
el_diabl0 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 301
Loc: NE Ohio
I think after the first day I would have traveled by night back the way I came, hoping to get back to the main road. Not sure how far that might have been, maybe dozens of miles or more.

What's the best thing to do if you find yourself in the same situation? Of course she should have been better-prepared, or shouldn't have been there in the first place, but given the case of water and some camping gear, what would you do in the same circumstances? Let's say she's 25 miles from a main road...can she hike out alive?
_________________________
Improvise, adapt, and overcome

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#179061 - 08/11/09 05:44 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: el_diabl0]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
So, should she be forced to pay for her rescue based on her apparently reckless behavior?

Or would that be a wast of resources based on the likelihood that she was insane at the time?
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#179062 - 08/11/09 05:47 PM Re: Death in Death Valley - Jeep Stranded on Camp [Re: Chisel]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
> If she is a nurse and she truely made all these mistakes, I feel worried
> about ptients in the hospoital where she works.

I'm sorry to say I don't see the connection; can you enlighten me, please?

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