West Texas Sandhills (Kermit, TX)

Green Horn

aka Chip Carbone
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#1
Considering I didn't make DW'03 I decided I still owed myself a trip out riding. I hadn't been in over 8 mos. I got the KTM back together and runnning good. I headed out with 2 other guys and we made the 6 hr drive to Kermit, TX (7 mi from the border of NM). We had a blast, and I realized that knobbie tires don't fare too well on dunes. They'll surfice on sandy river beds, but if you're doing some serious dunin', you need to go with a paddle. So the KTM spent most of it's time sittin' at the camp looking purdy. :) I did however get the chance to ride a couple of quads and had a blast. 4 wheels make big bowl turns much more enjoyable. We even knee boarded behind one of the quads, and it almost felt like being on water. :thumb:

Now for the One of Life's Lessons part of the story...

The group of about 8-10 guys likes to do what they call a Midnight Run. I of course was invited but declined at first. I then told them I would if there was a 4 wheeler available w/ good lighting. Sure enough, a guy in the camp says,"Here, take mine.". So off we went. Seven of us alltogether. Keep in mind though that I am new to the riding area only having a total of about 20 min earlier in the day to "see" what the dunes were all about. I was doing fine and kept up with the group of screamers for the most part. They'd stop every once and while when I'd get stuck on the face of a dune and have to make another run at it. While all the guys in the group were patient with the newbie, it only took ONCE for me to get lost from the rest of the pack. As I crested the top of a dune after being stuck again I realized I didn't see anyone elses lights. I cut the engine to listen for other riders...NOTHING QUIET!! At that point was when I decided to venture on and try to find them. [BAD MOVE] Being that I didn't know the dunes too well I ended up wandering further away from the main trails AND forther away from camp. Frantically searching, I came across the top of a gradual sloped dune only to find that the other side was a 15 ft drop off. Luckily enough I didn't get hurt as went crashing down into the brush/ small trees. The down side is that I had the quad wedged into the brush that I was unable to get it out myself. (Time is probably around 12:30am) At this point I left the quad in order to seek higher ground so that I could hopefully be noticed. I could then hear the other guys riding but couldn't make eye contact. I tried to follow the sounds but noticed I was just "circling" due to being lost in an unknown area. Next the rain came. Luckily it didn't rain too hard but the wind and 50 degree temps all played a factor. I decided it would be best if I found some shelter to get out of the rain and wind. Remember...I'm in the desert. ;) I crawled up under some brush and luckily didn't find any snakes or other critters. I was beyond thirsty and had no water with me. I'd lick the rain drops from my helmet and goggles just to get some moisture in my mouth. It was better than nothing. Another thing, sand is COLD after the sun goes down. I spent the next several hours hiding under bushes then getting up to walk around so that I wouldn't get too cold. As the sun came up I got my second wind. I was excited that I had made it through the night. Through the wind, rain, howling coyotes (yes coyotes and it's unnerving when you keep in mind that you're in THEIR territory.) and a wandering mind. Looking back I'd have to say that the mind is the biggest handicap a person can have when being stranded. Your mind wanders way more than it needs to when you're in a dark and unfamiliar place. So back to the daylight part. It's light out again and I can hear motorcycles. I start walking towards the sounds since it's easier to SEE where I need to go. I notice one bike getting louder and louder. My torment is over when across the top of a dune I see a buddy of mine coming right towards me. He pulls up and looks at me astonished. He explains that he and 6 other guys were up till 5am trying to find me. I knew they were up late because I could here them all night long but never saw a one of them. For those of you who haven't been in sand dunes, let me tell you that it's very hard to go by any landmarks to find your way. Everything looks the same for miles and miles and miles. I then ask my buddy nicely if we can trade stories later and that I just wanted to get back to camp and get some water. (Time is around 8am) Snuggling up on a dirtbike with another man isn't my favorite past time, but a person tends to overlook that when they've just spent the night alone out there. :) I get back to camp and there is virtually a crowd of people waiting/ helping/ finding out about the lost rider in the dunes. After sucking down what seemed like a few gallons of water, I felt greatful just to see the campsite again. Granted it could have been alot worse. They found the 4 wheeler in good condition and it took two guys to get it out of the "hole". It was about 1/4 mi from where they found me. I am glad everything worked out ok. I also feel fortunate for that little scare. It makes you stop and think + also makes you appreciate some of the finer things while out riding. :thumb:

Ride Safe All...
 
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XRpredator

AssClown SuperPowers
Damn Yankees
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#2
Well now, there's an experience one won't soon forget. Glad you honed your survival skills!
 

Patman

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#3
So now Greenie will always take his hydration pack with an emergency whistle in it everywhere no matter if it's across the dunes or across the back yard.

The End. :laugh:

(so much for that "Survival of the Fittest" thing)
 

Rooster

Today's Tom Sawyer
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#4
:eek: Howling 'yotes is a scary thing when you are out in the middle of nowhere.......glad you made it back safely.
 

Green Horn

aka Chip Carbone
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#5
Gee Patsy, I thought for sure you'd reply with the PoopyPants part of the story. :)

I'll spare ya'll the details but let's just say that having the squirts couldn't have come at a worse time. :eek:
 

Patman

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#6
Bet ya' would have liked to been able to pound sand right about then huh? ;)
 

DaveRS575

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#7
Originally posted by Green Horn
Gee Patsy, I thought for sure you'd reply with the PoopyPants part of the story. :)

I'll spare ya'll the details but let's just say that having the squirts couldn't have come at a worse time. :eek:
Aww dude.. Don't tell me....... On second thought.. I don't wanna know :(

Glad you survived. You are very lucky. It's a good thing the Coyotes (and other nocturnal flesh eating creatures of the desert) weren't super hungry that night, although the poopypants might have ruined their appetities (lol)

Most people may not know this, but it's true.. You can live for approximately 30 days without food, but you won't last 72 hours without minimal water in most environments. (especially the desert) That is a fact. Never go into the desert without lots of water. What you may think is only going to be a three hour tour could turn into a 72 hour multiple flat tires, blown radiator hose, dead battery, empty tank of gas..etc...

Once again.. glad you survivied to tell the story. Hopefully at least one less person will get in this predicament as a result of you sharing your embarrasing but very important experience.. Thanks for posting it!

Dave
 

Green Horn

aka Chip Carbone
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#8
Originally posted by DaveRS575


Glad you survived. You are very lucky. It's a good thing the Coyotes (and other nocturnal flesh eating creatures of the desert) weren't super hungry that night, although the poopypants might have ruined their appetities (lol)[/]


Yeah I was hoping that all their yipping was because they just finished off something else for a meal. I heard them as if they were pretty close at one point (maybe a couple of dunes over) and tried to make my way further from where I had heard them. Not that I could have outrun them. If they wanted me bad enough they could have caught me.

Most people may not know this, but it's true.. You can live for approximately 30 days without food, but you won't last 72 hours without minimal water in most environments. (especially the desert) That is a fact. Never go into the desert without lots of water. What you may think is only going to be a three hour tour could turn into a 72 hour multiple flat tires, blown radiator hose, dead battery, empty tank of gas..etc...
Luckily my bad thinking didn't cost me too dearly. I had a camelbak but opted not to fill it since I was only planning on being gone for under an hour. I now know better. I didn't worry too much about being dehydrated too badly since I had high hopes that someone would find me in the morning.

Once again.. glad you survivied to tell the story. Hopefully at least one less person will get in this predicament as a result of you sharing your embarrasing but very important experience.. Thanks for posting it!

Dave
Thanks Dave. And yes I hope others will read this and not do the same dumb things. ie. ALWAYS take water, and let the group come back and find you. Don't try and look for them if you're in an area you don't know.
 

DaveRS575

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#9
Originally posted by Green Horn


Thanks Dave. And yes I hope others will read this and not do the same dumb things. ie. ALWAYS take water, and let the group come back and find you. Don't try and look for them if you're in an area you don't know.
Chris, you did nothing dumb, you may have made some decisions that were not in your best interest, but overall, your decisions were sound. You ARE here telling us this story... that.... in and of itself.... is impressive.

Don't forget this experience, and forchristsake, have fun with it.. that will make people remember it that much more!

:)

Glad you are still among us!
 

Green Horn

aka Chip Carbone
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#10
Originally posted by DaveRS575

Don't forget this experience, and forchristsake, have fun with it.. that will make people remember it that much more!
I think this is a story I'll be able to remember for my grandkids. :thumb: And yes, I've been getting a good laugh now that it's over with and no harm was done. A few of us split the cost on a tent camper rental and I jokingly told one guy that I didn't want to pay full price since I didn't stay in it the first night. :laugh:

You ARE here telling us this story... that.... in and of itself.... is impressive.


That reminds me...I don't think I posted how thankful I am for those guys trying so hard to find me. I don't think any of them frequent these boards, but I'd still like to put it out here. Cody, Todd, Brian, Cort, Tim, Renee (the guy who's quad I was on) and the two guys from the other camp, THANK YOU! They spent 4-5 hrs riding the dark dunes looking for me. The two guys who we didn't even know from another campsite found the quad the next day and brought it back to camp. I don't think of this as a survival story but rather an event where a dedicated community stuck together to help out one of their own. :thumb: And you'd better believe that if I ever hear of a lost rider I'll be the first one out there trying to help find the person and return the favor.