"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Monday, August 10, 2015

Serious Post About the Desert

I am taking the time to write a post about the desert southwest because of a recent tragedy and then what happened to Bill and I in El Paso, Texas yesterday.

In case you have missed the news, a French family was traveling the United States and having what seems was a great vacation until the visited the White Sands National Monument.  The family decided to take a hike midday last week.  Temperatures were near triple digits or even just above.

The mother ended up feeling ill and left the father and son to head back to her car.  She ended up dying before reaching her car.  The father passed out further down the hike and the 9 year old boy stayed with him because he did not know what to do.  The park rangers discovered the woman and upon looking at her camera realized she was with the man and child searched until they found them.  Both parents died.  The boy lived based upon his own testimony because his parents gave him most of the water~as a parent I understand. The water they had was far below the amount required in the heat of the desert.

This is a serious tragedy.  It breaks my heart to realize that on something that should have been so amazing that a horrible event occurred.  On to my trip with Bill to El Paso.  We live just a hop, skip, and jump from El Paso, even though we are in New Mexico.  After spending time in the city, Bill, Fourth and I headed home.  About 1/2 of a mile from the last gas/convenient store, a vehicle was on the side of the road with a woman attempting to change a tire.  On the shoulder of the road was a small child and an elderly woman.  It was triple digits mid afternoon.  We stopped and realized right away a few things.  First, the tire was more serious, and had broken lugnuts.  Second, they only had about one small water bottle between them.  At the time we stopped, they had been alongside the road for at least an hour.

They had cell phones but no one had responded and the woman did not know what to do.  They lived in NM just over the border with Texas in the community of Chaparral.  The owner of the vehicle did not wish to leave her car.  We gave several bottles of water and finally convinced the elderly woman that we would take her and the child to their home, and Bill would contact the towing company.  Now believe me, I understand how risky this is to trust strangers in the world we live in, but seriously the elderly woman looked like she was getting faint.  The driver looked bad too and after taking the elderly woman and child to their home (20 mile round trip), we went back to check on the other woman.  It was then that she told me that she was three months pregnant.  I had her get in the truck with us and Bill said we would wait until the tow company showed up.  It turned out that the towing company is one that Bill is familiar with and they towed the woman across state line to her home.

BUT this could have ended way worse.  It was a busy Sunday afternoon in Texas.  These women were alongside a very busy road that many many cars drove on.  No one stopped until we did.  Obviously no one called their situation in to law enforcement, otherwise in the two plus hours they were waiting a police vehicle would have stopped.

The temperatures in the desert are NOT to be toyed with. Hydration is a must.  You can never take for granted how quick you can go from feeling fine to near death or even death.  Even the women from yesterday, that live in the desert were ill prepared.

I am one that is over prepared.  I take an abundant amount of water, have blankets in the vehicle, matches, and even carry the understanding that the desert is lethal if not given respect.

Do not hike midday.  It drives me crazy to see the people in town walking their dogs midday. INSANE as their paws will burn.  But for people, midday is why in old times the siesta took root.  It is only common sense~not some quaint south of the border activity that is not for Americans. 

Water is key.  If you are traveling through the southwest you are often on barren roads even if they are highways.  Be prepared if you break down to wait awhile, meaning, having water on hand, an umbrella to cover you, light white clothing, and a blanket to sit on.  Road snacks are of course obvious as well.  Second, if your car breaks down~ STAY with the vehicle.  I remember a situation when Bill was a deputy where a man broke down, and by evening the family contacted the police as they had not heard from him.  Since they knew were he was traveling(I'll come back to this point), they began searching with this information.  The problem was that the man left his car, which they found only an hour into the search.  He was not found for another week, then he had died, as he ventured across the desert.  Because the southwest does not look like the TV image of a desert, I suppose travelers forget its severity. It is a rough place to visit, even harder to live in, unless you begin to respect your surroundings.

Now to another point~ALWAYS give someone your itinerary.  Then others will know when to begin searching, etc.   When traveling at state or national parks, there is always a Welcome Center of sorts.  They have sign in sheets and more importantly information flyers to give you a window to the place you are.

Also~observe the locals.  At the White Sands, we never venture beyond the line of sight of the vehicle.  The park is over 275 sq. miles.  I always take at least one five gallon water cooler, and most times take two.  We rarely go to the White Sands in the summer and if we do, we go after 6 pm. 

When we travel to El Paso, even for a simple grocery run, we have water in the vehicle.  EVERY single time.  Warm water is better than no water.

I am deeply saddened that the price of ill preparedness is so high and I pray that those that read this post take an extra moment to prepare themselves for the situations that they are putting themselves in.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Very good blog posting. A must read for all who live or drive through arid and hot places. Even here in East Texas (I live 30 miles north of Houston) it is going to hit 103 this week, it is already 102 here now. With the humidity in this area, that feels like you are in a pressure cooker. . .

Deanna Rabe said...

What a sad story. That poor boy to have lost his mother and father. What you have said is wise. I think those ladies with the tire issue likely had let their guard down as they live there and perhaps had never had an issue. I grew up in So. Cal, and my parents were always prepared with water and some canned food etc, in case of a severe earthquake, but most people were not and likely still are not prepared.

Preparation and remembering the potential dangers are wise. That way one doesn't have to live in fear.

Thanks for this post.


Michelle-ozark crafter said...

The desert can be a quick killer. As a child whenever we had to travel thru the desert around Needles CA, we always traveled at night and had lots of water.

Lamb said...

Great post. I hated desert living...but I always had plenty of water stashed in the car...even for short trips!

Anonymous said...

I read the account on MSNBC, I was horrified, we lived in Colorful Colorado for about 7 years, we never went anywhere in summer or winter without provisions, we lived in a cul de sac with retired Colorado state and game inspectors and true outdoors native Coloradans, I did not want my husband to perish in the southwest without any provisions, he traveled for his job..I worked air force finance and VA and everyone told me one minute it would be nice and the next it could be severe weather and always winds and lots of times heat like in an oven..Not to ever not keep emergency provisions and to let others know where you are going and coming from to the T. We did that all the time, took our new baby everywhere and I mean everywhere with PROVISIONS..That tragedy could have been prevented completely if the couple from France has asked anyone in New Mexico about White Sands..I say better to be prepared than die in the most gorgeous state in my opinion and I adore colorful Colorado too just don't want to die in it's natural beauty before in my opinion The Good Lord calls me home..Some crazy people from California went into a Ice Cave melting here in Washington state we are in a 100 year drought and it was melting the one lady my age nearly 67 got hit by huge ice chunk and passed from this earth, they could not get cell phone service and she was gone before rescuers could help her, her husband went to a bar in California to repay a nice person who had helped his family and some person hit him and he fell and died now their kids are ophans 5 of them to boot, when the good Lord calls you will be going but NOT IN AN ICE CAVE MELTING IN A 100 YEAR DROUGHT AND DEFINITELY NOT IN A BAR..Love your blog, just found it again, lost it with windows 10 could not think of your blog name, praise God for me finding it at last and God's blessings to you and your hubs for helping that family..

Humble wife said...

DD-yes it is so important to take the time to learn about where you are going as it could save your life. Oh my the humidity, I do not miss that btw!

Deanna-yes so sad. It is good that you shared about your familys earthquake preparedness. It is SO IMPORTANT to understand not only where you travel but your region as well.

Michelle-when Bill and I lived in so california we did not have air in our vehicle and did as you did, we traveled at night!!

Anonymous, I am so glad you found the blog again. It is critical that we all spend the time to share with those visiting our areas even if it seems redundant about the serious issues, as it can save a life. I am happy your back and hope all is well!!

Humble wife said...

Lamb-I missed your comment. The people we helped lived where you lived(or still live?)