Consider the following story before riding through the desert. Although fictional, it is based on the thousands who die from the elements every year by not properly preparing themselves for the desert environment. A back-up ground power unit is absolutely necessary for safe travel through the desert for both practical and recreational purposes.
David Crawley survived nine days in the desert without food and very little water after riding his quad out into the desert. He regrets the decision to ride at such a distance upon his rescue, and reports that he felt invincible on his off road vehicle. He didn’t realize how far he had actually rode, and how long it would take to get back. He began his trip in the morning bright and early, and admired the grandeur of the Mojave mountain ranges against a cool sunrise. Soon, the cool desert air began to swelter with the mid-day sun. David brought a couple bottles of water with him, but he planned to refill them once he returned before lunch.
The unthinkable happened. As David was about to return, the battery shorted and the vehicle sputtered to a stop. David had the vehicle inspected before riding, but the mechanic failed to locate a problem with his battery. Now stranded and lost in an unfamiliar area of the desert, he must walk back to a familiar area. He knew the mountain ranges, so eventually he would end up on a highway. The serious concern was how long he could last in such conditions. His steps became heavier and his mouth became so dry, he couldn’t salivate. Even walking fifteen steps became a challenge due to his extreme thirst. Eventually David was rescued by reflecting a mirror in their direction.
Thousands of people die in the desert every year, many of them off-road enthusiasts looking for the thrill of adventure and exploration.
There are many precautions that can be taken to prevent an episode like David’s. Experts recommend packing more water than you think you will use on every trip out to the dunes. Even a 2 mile trip in heat over 115 degrees can cause heat stroke if caught stranded. Temperatures can reach up to 125 degrees in the desert. One gallon of water per person, per day should be the minimum. Dress appropriately, and bring a hat with sunscreen. Invest in a spare gasoline container and spare lithium ground support equipment that fits on the back of your off road recreation vehicle. Bring along a spare tool kit and use maps provided by the visitor’s center. Bring tire sealant to protect your vehicle from thorny plants. Bring a whistle, air horn, mirror or flares to get attention from rescuers if something does go wrong. When you leave for a riding trip, tell family and friends about your plans so they can send a search party if something happens. Never, ever ride in the desert alone.