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2 Flat Tires Lead To Tragedy In Death Valley


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Arizona congressional aide found dead days after going missing with girlfriend on Death Valley camping trip

The missing Subaru was located at approximately 11 a.m. Thursday off Gold Valley Road with a note inside that read,
"Two flat tires, headed to Mormon Point, have three days’ worth of water."

https://www.foxnews.com/us/arizona-congressional-aide-missing-girlfriend-death-valley-camping-trip

 

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Simply because a route is "designated" doesn't mean it's suited for travel on 4 ply hiway tires. I've been on designated routes in there, in my Dodge 4 x 4 where I'd never take the wife's Outback. Peo

You are welcome to change your point Bob. Now you get it. I'm glad I helped clarify that for you. The earth's crust discussion must be in another thread?

There are several legal-to-drive roads in there that will get you in trouble...especially on hiway tires and little ground clearance. A German couple and two kids died the same way in there 10 or 15 y

Posted Images

I wonder why two flat tires caused them to be found on a remote, steep ledge?

Seems like they would have stuck close to the road they drove in on.

Do you suppose they looked at the GPS in their Subaru and figured they would go cross country to the nearest point? What else might cause a person with 2 flat tires to strike out across the desert with three days water and wind up "on a remote, steep ledge" that was too dangerous for an airlift rescue?

 

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If you drive dirt  roads at highway tire pressures and speeds(makes the washboard smoother), punctures are inevitable. 

I wonder if a plug kit and pump would have helped.

If they were blowouts:aw-shucks:...

Sad.

 

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4 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

I wonder why two What else might cause a person with 2 flat tires to strike out across the desert with three days water and wind up "on a remote, steep ledge"?

 

Delirium 

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15 minutes ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

Delirium 

I suppose. They were out for a few days. They obviously had a car and camping gear though. And 3 days water left. They are described as "experienced" so you would assume they know the basics. 

They needed a ride and a tire repair. You would have to be pretty delirious to strike out cross country navigating steep terrain in search of that.

Maybe they were situated fairly close to Mormon Point but many miles away by road? Maybe they figured that was the best way?

Staying put is usually the best plan. If they had stayed at the vehicle they would have been in much better shape. 

 

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I had read this earlier. 

Willow Creek and Mormon Point are about a mile away from each other.  This whole story doesn't make sense for experienced hikers.  I think they put too much info in the story based off assumptions for those of us who are having a slow Sunday.

IMO, they were likely not in either area.  First reports in these rescue situations are often way off.  With a story like this, we're inlikey to get any follow up information.

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My guess is they had highway tires and were not concerned about off road travel in the desert. Being from AZ you'd think they knew better. 
I always used off road tires, had 2 spares, lots of plugs and a compressor. 
Going off road and cross country seems to have been their fatal mistake. It's hard to tell without knowing the exact location of the car but walking out to the road they came in on was probably a better bet. 
It has been pretty darn hot in Death Valley. Water was only one concern. 
I wonder what carrier they used for their cell phones. Making a 911 call should have been their priority. 

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1 hour ago, Dakota Slim said:

My guess is they had highway tires and were not concerned about off road travel in the desert. Being from AZ you'd think they knew better. 
I always used off road tires, had 2 spares, lots of plugs and a compressor. 
Going off road and cross country seems to have been their fatal mistake. It's hard to tell without knowing the exact location of the car but walking out to the road they came in on was probably a better bet. 
It has been pretty darn hot in Death Valley. Water was only one concern. 
I wonder what carrier they used for their cell phones. Making a 911 call should have been their priority. 

Isn't that area a National Park?

You can't drive off road in most areas much less in a National Park. Leaving an established road is mighty unethical if not downright illegal.

Do you suppose the fools just decided to drive their Subaru across the desert? I figured they were following some kind of a dirt road and had two flats. If they were off road out there somewhere they deserved what they got IMHO.

 

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There are several legal-to-drive roads in there that will get you in trouble...especially on hiway tires and little ground clearance. A German couple and two kids died the same way in there 10 or 15 years ago. They still haven't found all their bodies.

Jim

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3 hours ago, Dakota Slim said:

I noticed the same when I went to gEarth to scope it out. Maybe they figured if they climbed a bit they would get cell coverage.

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I agree with Slim.  It's all a conspiracy. The pieces of the puzzle just dont add up.

The only logical explanation is they were recently vaccinated. They had bad reactions to the Pfizer and the government dumped them in the desert to cover it up.

 

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3 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Isn't that area a National Park?

You can't drive off road in most areas much less in a National Park. Leaving an established road is mighty unethical if not downright illegal.

Do you suppose the fools just decided to drive their Subaru across the desert? I figured they were following some kind of a dirt road and had two flats. If they were off road out there somewhere they deserved what they got IMHO.

 

Google it bob. They quit maintaining roads back there. If the tires don't fit, they blow and you sit. 

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2 hours ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

I noticed the same when I went to gEarth to scope it out. Maybe they figured if they climbed a bit they would get cell coverage.

Hopefully the gall that survived will explain a few things. After looking at the map and reading about that area, I think they were a long ways out of cell range. 
I read something about flowers out there at Mormon Point. Maybe that's what they were so dead set on seeing. Maybe they figured they could hike in and come back out but the heat got to them. I think the temps were well over 100. 

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12 minutes ago, Dakota Slim said:

Google it bob. They quit maintaining roads back there. If the tires don't fit, they blow and you sit. 

There is a difference between "off roading" and driving on an unmaintained road.

I understand how flat tires work Slim. Thanks!

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

There is a difference between "off roading" and driving on an unmaintained road.

I understand how flat tires work Slim. Thanks!

Go ahead bob. Explain the difference as it pertains to tires.
Here is a slide show of Mormon Point...
http://www.panamintcity.com/galleries/black/mormonpoint/mormonpointcyngallery.html

Edited by Dakota Slim
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I’m back to the article is wrong.  Mormon Point and Willow creek are within a mile of each other.  There is a paved road within a half mile of each, bad water road.  I think the National Park Service left something out of the press release.  What I don’t know.  I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy though.  I t could have been something like they left the paved road to follow an unauthorized trail and didn’t;t want that released to prevent others from doing that.  Could have also been the first news agency to carry the story embellished it, as so often happens.

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This report indicates they decided to walk cross country to Mormon Point rather than hike out 22 miles by road.

It also says the vehicle was found on Gold Valley Road, an unmaintained two track that winds up at Willow Springs. Willow Springs was their original destination.

They were within 2 miles of Mormon Point when rescuers found them.

https://amp-azcentral-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/amp.azcentral.com/amp/7166812002?amp_js_v=a6&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFUAKwASA%3D#csi=1&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From %1%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.azcentral.com%2Fstory%2Fnews%2Flocal%2Farizona-breaking%2F2021%2F04%2F09%2Ftucson-man-alexander-lofgren-dies-woman-hospitalized-after-rescued-death-valley-national-park%2F7166812002%2F

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10 hours ago, Dakota Slim said:

Go ahead bob. Explain the difference as it pertains to tires.

It is really simple Slim. If your tires are on an unmaintained road it is legal. If your tires are off road it is illegal.

You are welcome!

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There is no law preventing off road travel so technically it's not "illegal". There are NPS agency management regulations in the National Parks that can result in monetary fines if you haven't obtained a permit for driving off road.

"36 CFR §4.10 – TRAVEL ON PARK ROADS AND ROUTES

  • (a) Operating a motor vehicle is prohibited except on park roads, parking areas, and on routes and in areas designated for off road travel.
  • (b) Off road travel “routes and areas may only be designated in national recreation areas, national seashores, national lakeshores and preserves”. Death Valley National Park has no designated off road routes or areas.
  • (c) The following are prohibited:

    (1) Operating a motor vehicle not equipped with pneumatic tires, except that a track-laying motor vehicle or a motor vehicle equipped with a similar traction device may be operated on a route designated for these vehicles by the superintendent.

    (2) Operating a motor vehicle in a manner that causes unreasonable damage to the surface of a park road or route.

The above restriction is in effect to protect the habitat of aquatic species or sensitive species and to provide for public health and safety."

Obviously it would be a violation of the regulations to drive on your rims. I'm not sure any of these rules would, or should, make a bit of difference to someone who's life is in danger.

Edited by clay
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1 hour ago, clay said:

There is no law preventing off road travel so technically it's not "illegal". There are NPS agency management regulations in the National Parks that can result in monetary fines if you haven't obtained a permit for driving off road.

"36 CFR §4.10 – TRAVEL ON PARK ROADS AND ROUTES

  • (a) Operating a motor vehicle is prohibited except on park roads, parking areas, and on routes and in areas designated for off road travel.
  • (b) Off road travel “routes and areas may only be designated in national recreation areas, national seashores, national lakeshores and preserves”. Death Valley National Park has no designated off road routes or areas.
  • (c) The following are prohibited:

    (1) Operating a motor vehicle not equipped with pneumatic tires, except that a track-laying motor vehicle or a motor vehicle equipped with a similar traction device may be operated on a route designated for these vehicles by the superintendent.

    (2) Operating a motor vehicle in a manner that causes unreasonable damage to the surface of a park road or route.

The above restriction is in effect to protect the habitat of aquatic species or sensitive species and to provide for public health and safety."

Obviously it would be a violation of the regulations to drive on your rims. I'm not sure any of these rules would, or should, make a bit of difference to someone who's life is in danger.

You are incorrect Clay.

It says in paragraph (a) that travel off designated routes is prohibited. And it says in paragraph (b) there are no designated off road routes in the park.

So by the regulations you posted IT IS illegal to drive off road.

Not only is off roading prohibited but driving on an undesignated or closed road is also prohibited. So are off road vehicles, ATV's, UTV's and any vehicle permitted as an off road vehicle.

Every designated route in Death Valley has signs telling you it is illegal to drive off road. Many of them. At regular intervals.

Everyone knows you can't drive off the designated routes in the park. To say otherwise is ridiculous.

 

https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/backcountryroads.htm

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Simply because a route is "designated" doesn't mean it's suited for travel on 4 ply hiway tires. I've been on designated routes in there, in my Dodge 4 x 4 where I'd never take the wife's Outback. People die often in the outdoors because they don't believe it can happen. It can...and does! All serious outdoors people often walk a thin line near tragedy, and the only thing that determines which way you go is often a seemingly innocent decision.

Jim

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35 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

It says in paragraph "A" that travel off designated routes is prohibited. And it says in paragraph "B" there are no designated off road routes in the park.

So by the regulations you posted IT IS illegal to drive off road.

Not only is off roading prohibited but driving on an undesignated or closed road is also prohibited.

How else could you interpret this code?

Every designated route in Death Valley has a sign telling you it is illegal to drive off road Clay. Everyone knows you can't drive off the designated routes in the park. To say otherwise is ridiculous.

 

https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/backcountryroads.htm

As I pointed out in my previous post Bob this is a regulation - not a law. To be "illegal" a person would have to violate a law. This is not a law it's an agency management regulation. Violating a regulation or a rule is an "infraction" of the regulation and not a violation of law.

In the American system of government (see U.S. Constitution) laws are only passed by a majority of elected representatives. That is an exclusive function of Congress.

Regulations on the other hand are created by the executive branch. The executive branch can not create laws. No elected representative ever voted on the management agency regulation that I quoted above. Regulations are published in the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) by the regulating agency. There are no laws in the CFR only agency regulations.

The signs in Death Valley do not say it's illegal to drive off road. They say "Driving Off Roads Prohibited".

DV.jpg

I understand that to many readers this is nitpicking. The fact is good citizens in a republic understand their duty to hold the government within the bounds created by the republic. Executive actions that create regulations and fines are well within the bounds of the republic. I'm not saying there is no off road regulation or that a violation of a regulation can't lead to a fine. I am saying that the regulation is not a law and therefore violating the regulation is not breaking a law or "illegal". There is a big difference between civil action to enforce a regulation and criminal action to enforce a law.

 

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25 minutes ago, Idaho Jim said:

Simply because a route is "designated" doesn't mean it's suited for travel on 4 ply hiway tires. I've been on designated routes in there, in my Dodge 4 x 4 where I'd never take the wife's Outback. People die often in the outdoors because they don't believe it can happen. It can...and does! All serious outdoors people often walk a thin line near tragedy, and the only thing that determines which way you go is often a seemingly innocent decision.

Jim

Case in point from Death Valley NP

5-Death-Valley-Off-Road-8852.jpgdv5.jpg

Edited by clay
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