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Almost another "death by GPS" over Thanksgiving...

Discussion about places West of the Rockies
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Candace_66
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Almost another "death by GPS" over Thanksgiving...

Post by Candace_66 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:29 am

Yet another near-tragedy in the desert... Would like to know exactly where she was. Pretty damn lucky that apparently she got stuck near a flowing spring...and that it wasn't summer.

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2015/12/0 ... /76607178/
A California dirt bike rider on his way home from Las Vegas found a Sparks woman stranded in the Mojave desert seven days after she had been reported missing by her family.

Joan Scolari, 73, called her family last week to tell them her car had broken down in the desert near Nipton, Calif., Sparks police said in a news release Monday evening.

Scolari had flown to Las Vegas on Nov. 22 and was reported missing two days later. She was found Monday, her car stuck on a dirt hump on a remote road in the Mojave National Preserve in California.

Scolari’s family had told police she called her daughter early Nov. 24 and told her she had rented a car she planned on driving to Lake Havasu. That was the last time her family heard from her, police said in an earlier statement.

Kevin “Chili” Walker, 34, was riding from Las Vegas to Joshua Tree, Calif., on his dirt bike when he saw a white Kia Optima high-centered on the road.

He then saw a woman next to the car with her hands crossed at her waist just staring at him, he said.

“I waved at her and she waved back in a very shy way,” Walker said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “As I puttered past her, I looked back over my shoulder, and when she realized I wasn’t stopping, she started waving me back.”

He took off his helmet and cracked a bad joke about the worst places to get stuck. Then he learned she had been stranded for a week.

“She had not seen or heard any traffic in the seven days she was out there,” Walker said. “She was in complete disbelief when she heard my motorcycle coming her way.”

Walker was working as part of a rapid response rescue team for the annual LA/Barstow/Vegas two-day motorcycle cruise. The event included about 600 riders, and Walker was in charge of providing first aid if anyone crashed. He said he often has to carry items such as gauze, bandages, ice packs and emergency blankets.

Luckily, Scolari looked like she was in good shape, he said.

“I’m usually dealing with high trauma cases where people get broken necks, broken legs, broken shoulders… or they get heat exhaustion or hypothermia,” Walker said.

Walker said he was taking the remote route home to explore.

“It was very lucky,” he said of finding Scolari. “I had people trying to talk me out of the ride home, people calling me crazy, people offering me a ride home, but I told them, ‘I’m just riding through...’”

The first thing he did was offer her water, which she quickly drank, he said. Scolari told Walker she had found a pipe with clear water coming out of it and had been sipping from a yogurt cup, Walker said. She also told him she was running the car heater at night.

“I wouldn’t say desolate is the right word for it… but there are no people, and there’s a couple of mining claims out there,” Walker said of the area. “That’s where she was able to find the water.”

“It’s literally just roads through the desert,” he said.

Scolari became stranded on her way to Lake Havasu and had followed the car’s GPS system.

“Apparently, the GPS told her to go this way, that way and down this one,” Walker said.

“I don’t know if it was looking for the fastest route or the shortest distance, but I think that’s what happened,” he said. “She was just trusting the GPS.”

Walker eventually helped push the car forward, and Scolari was able to drive to the nearest town for gas, he said.

“I think she would have kept drinking the water and unfortunately – unless someone else went out that way – she probably would’ve starved or froze to death,” Walker said. “If she wasn’t running that heater in her car, I imagine the cold would have gotten to her.”

Sparks detectives worked with authorities in Kingman, Ariz., and Scolari’s family in attempt to locate her.

Scolari was in good condition and back with her family. She did not return calls Tuesday for comment.
I wonder if the guy who found her was dressed like he is in the photo accompanying the article...lol

D.A. Wright
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Post by D.A. Wright » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:21 pm

The Reno TV news had a piece on her reported missing. Wonder if she's related to the family who owns the Scolari's chain of grocery stores in the region?
D.A. Wright
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Post by N0 02 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:15 pm

Very lucky lady. The biker saved her life. Luck or whatever the woman is alive and the biker is to be thanked for it. Well done.

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wbdeford
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Post by wbdeford » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:18 am

[nitpick alert]
GPS gets a bum rap. The GPS did its job. It told the mapping software where it was on the globe. It was the mapping software that told her to take those roads, not the GPS.
[end nitpick]

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gedstrom
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Post by gedstrom » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:08 am

wbdeford wrote:[nitpick alert]
GPS gets a bum rap. The GPS did its job. It told the mapping software where it was on the globe. It was the mapping software that told her to take those roads, not the GPS.
[end nitpick]
ANY and all GPS mapping tools contain errors...Even traditional paper maps contain errors. But since the advent of GPS, SOME people seem to be ready to accept what the computer says as absolute fact, no matter what the road looks like. I have MotionX GPS HD and MotionX GPS Drive on my iPad. I love them, but they are NOT without error. If I have the program plot a route from my home here in Los Angeles to Mesquite Campground in DV, it plots a route going over the dirt roads of Hunter Mountain and Racetrack Valley! Both of the programs can show minor dirt roads as major highways, and visa-versa. I submit error reports whenever I spot them.

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:36 am

Wow that driver is amazingly lucky to have found good water to drink! Otherwise, it's another case of trusting the GPS over common sense. The problem goes deep when people learn to totally rely on the technology, and stop using or even learning how to read maps. Combine that with the experience of a city driver being transported to a world where something that shows on some map as a road may not be passable - especially in a rental vehicle.

I don't know about the map databases used in the vehicle nav systems. Would be nice if they had quality of road info, at least whether it is a paved road, and would default to paved routes only.

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Death by GPS

Post by TrailHound » Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:48 pm

I remember after another one of these incidents that DVNP was going to work with GPS makers to get DV dirt roads out of the map databases. The GPS makers rely on public (meaning free) maps like USGS 7.5' maps which show ancient mining tracts across the desert as roads.

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:03 pm

Well it is certainly the case that the NPS does not want the old roads that may be in wilderness areas to show up! Anyway my recollection was that the response was varied depending on the map supplier.

But in this case the location is outside the park, I believe.

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Post by David_Bricker » Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:01 pm

I don't have a lot of faith in the reporting process, or any updating, for that matter.

There is a road 500 yards from our house. This "road" was a good, well traveled road -- in the 1920s. At this point, I can't even get my 4wd ATV through there. But yet, it remains on the maps, even with the name of the road.

The best part is the first 400 feet of the road is someone's driveway. After that, you drop into the stream bed for about 1/4 mile, then scramble up the side of the hill, and break out to the "road".

I've reported this as long as 10 years ago. The latest maps still show it like always.

If it doesn't look like a good route for what you're driving, find another route! I don't drive my MazdaSpeed6 on the same roads I drive my XJ, even though they're both 4WD.

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:20 am

Someone posted a nice hand made sign at the entrance to a nearby street: "Don't believe Google. This is a dead end".

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gedstrom
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Post by gedstrom » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:54 am

MojaveGeek wrote:Someone posted a nice hand made sign at the entrance to a nearby street: "Don't believe Google. This is a dead end".
It has been years since I have seen a "Dead End" sign. They now say "No Outlet". I guess using "Dead" has become politically incorrect! :-)

David_Bricker
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Post by David_Bricker » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:06 pm

gedstrom wrote: It has been years since I have seen a "Dead End" sign. They now say "No Outlet". I guess using "Dead" has become politically incorrect! :-)
We still have "Dead End" signs around here. My understand of the difference: A Dead End is a single street, with only one entrance/exit. No Outlet will have multiple streets, but nonetheless has only one entrance/exit for the group of them.

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Candace_66
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Re: Almost another "death by GPS" over Thanksgiving...

Post by Candace_66 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:42 pm

It's been a long time, but I did finally find out where this happened.

According to this article, the woman was stranded somewhere near the site of Hart. This would be way over on the east side of Mojave National Preserve. Or maybe it actually is in the new Castle Mountain National Monument. Anyway, the nearest town was Searchlight.

Despite finding this extra information, I still have NO idea how she ended up out there, while attempting to drive from Las Vegas to Lake Havasu City. :shock: :?:

http://z1077fm.com/joshua-tree-man-resc ... or-a-week/

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