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Another lost tourist story

 
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MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident


Joined: 09 Feb 2008
Posts: 1803
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:01 pm 
Post subject: Another lost tourist story


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I just stumbled across this while doing some research

http://calnativehortgal.blogspot.com/2010/12/wrong-turn-surviving-death-valley.html

It is an interesting combination of evident incompetence (the CHP rescue pilot drove their stranded vehicle out of the sand for them) and being particularly well prepared (food, water, warmth) and doing pretty much the right thing. Once again, in the Hunter Mountain area after a late day visit to the Racetrack.

The NPS has that really solid new Teakettle Junction sign... but maybe given the appeal of the Racetrack to the tourists visiting Scotty's, there should be Dire Warnings of Death posted on the Hunter Mountain road? I dunno.
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Gowergulch42
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Joined: 06 Oct 2012
Posts: 652
Location: Southern CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:05 pm 
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I am of the opinion that Racetrack rd. maintenance should be discontinued to the degree it is now (I.E. graded regularly and heavily signed) and it should be taken off the standard road map just because so many people go up there and end up lost or where they shouldn't be. It's a little extreme but it would be better for most because its too full of people anyway. I was up there earlier this year and there was traffic on the road! The lots were jammed full and there was hardly a moment where there wasn't a car directly in front of us! It was congested, like one should never see on a backcountry road.
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ETAV8R
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Joined: 07 Nov 2010
Posts: 188

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:21 am 
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These are great ideas. Hearing of this area/road congested makes me sad. It shouldn't be like that.

Gowergulch42 wrote:
I am of the opinion that Racetrack rd. maintenance should be discontinued to the degree it is now (I.E. graded regularly and heavily signed) and it should be taken off the standard road map just because so many people go up there and end up lost or where they shouldn't be. It's a little extreme but it would be better for most because its too full of people anyway. I was up there earlier this year and there was traffic on the road! The lots were jammed full and there was hardly a moment where there wasn't a car directly in front of us! It was congested, like one should never see on a backcountry road.
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Sparky of SoCal
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Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 74
Location: Buena Park

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:22 pm 
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Never any traffic on Lippincott road.
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netllama
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Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 472
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Sparky of SoCal wrote:
Never any traffic on Lippincott road.


Depends on what you mean by "traffic". The only time I've driven Lippincott, I passed 5 vehicles going the opposite direction. I'd consider that to be traffic, if I have to stop or pull over to let them pass.
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Gowergulch42
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Joined: 06 Oct 2012
Posts: 652
Location: Southern CA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:44 am 
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It's hard to determine when there is traffic there. I was last there on Presidents' Day weekend and there wasn't a soul on Lippincott.
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Moly Man
Breyfogler


Joined: 15 Oct 2006
Posts: 95
Location: Bagdad, Arizona

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:53 pm 
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Netllama wrote

Depends on what you mean by "traffic". The only time I've driven Lippincott, I passed 5 vehicles going the opposite direction. I'd consider that to be traffic, if I have to stop or pull over to let them pass.


The one time I drove Lippincott grade, I met a truck from AAA (yup...the Automobile Club of America) coming down it. The encounter was near the bottom and passing wasn't a problem. Stopped to chat with the driver on road conditions higher up and he mentioned that they were checking out the route for map purposes although I can't imagine they would ever include Lippincott as a serious alternative route to the Big Pine-Eureka route.
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dmac
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Joined: 17 Mar 2010
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:28 pm 
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A classic case of where Darwin's law of selection should have been allowed to function to the logical conclusion.
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desertdryad
Breyfogler


Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Posts: 146
Location: The Arid Zone

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:09 am 
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I seriously think the advent of the SUV has made many people fearless about unknown dirt roads, and given them the feeling 'I can do that' when not necessarily warranted by know how and experience.

I well remember being in Death Valley the first time, in a rental sedan, in the early 90's. I was, I think, appropriately afraid of long dirt roads anywhere in the park... I think we've by and large made so many National parks So 'safe' that people just expect all vehicular roads to lead to the campground, the ranger station, etc.

DV is different. But most tourists don't realize that.
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Sparky of SoCal
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Joined: 26 Jan 2012
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Location: Buena Park

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:43 am 
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The SUV and the GPS has made some fearless and others are just to dumb to be scared.
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gedstrom
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Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 323
Location: Glendale, California

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:03 am 
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Sparky of SoCal wrote:
The SUV and the GPS has made some fearless and others are just to dumb to be scared.


I wonder how many people there are that just put blind faith in their GPS! On my iPad, using MotionX GPS Drive, I asked it to plot a route from Los Angeles to Mesquite Campground in Death Valley. It was going to route me over Hunter Mountain Road and Racetrack Valley Road! I can just see someone taking that to be "THE WAY". It took a couple of "Via" points to force it to use the route I wanted. Of course, I always knew the way...I just wanted to see how many miles it was.

Gary
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Az_Rael
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Joined: 07 Apr 2011
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:17 pm 
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Wow, that story was a bit crazy - I didn't read the whole thing, but it sounded like they didn't continue to try to free the truck after getting it stuck the first night? I guess I didn't understand why not? It sounded like they settled in and just waited to be found, and were just lucky they had their camping gear with them.



Racetrack is a tough one. It was on my photographer's bucket list the first time I came to the park and I was sorely disappointed when I got out there as to how much vandalism had occured. Rocks missing, moved, tire tracks and TONS of footprints on the lakebed where people have walked on it while it was wet. Lots of people there as well.

I almost think there needs to be a ranger station out there to better monitor people and keep them from taking the rocks or walking out when its wet. It isn't going to get LESS popular so not maintaing the road won't help - people will just get stuck on the way out there costing more $$ to rescue folks.
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