Overdue Quad Rider
Written by Matt Jordon
On Sunday evening February 9, a call-out was received for a missing quad rider just outside Garner Valley off Highway 74 and Palm Canyon Drive. Being a former off-road enthusiast, I started having flashbacks of all the times I've been hurt, out of gas, or just plain lost - so I grabbed my gear with extra vigor, said bye to my wife and her family that was visiting and headed east toward our meeting location. For team members on the desert side - there are few missions more fun to respond to then those up Highway 74. The drive is awesome.
Nevertheless, I was first from RMRU on scene and after checking in with the Sheriff on post and giving my warm regards to rescuers Eric and Mike who had just shown up, I began to pack my sleeping bag for a possible overnighter when I heard and saw someone in the distance calling out from a nearby dirt road -- something to the effect of "I found him!" I quickly yelled back and hopped in my car to head that direction and soon after spotted two worn-out looking fellows hiking in t-shirts and blue jeans. The first guy introduced himself as the brother of the missing subject and the second fellow was the missing subject. Apparently, that guy had been out riding in an unfamiliar area (he was from Desert Hot Springs); he said that his little quad was stalled and stuck and he got lost on the way back. His brother mentioned that he used to be a sniper and it was his duty to go find his brother. I commend him for doing so and if only there were more brothers of this caliber out there!
At this point the mission was over. I drove the two guys back to base and turned around with Eric to go get two Sheriffs that were out tracking with a bloodhound. This mission was certainly lining up to be a good tracking experience, but fortunately it ended very well with no injuries and basically just some worried girlfriends shivering in their cars. If things had gone a bit worse - if there was an injury or if the fellow was further out in the boondocks, this mission could have easily stretched several more hours or even days to finally find him in that terrain.
It's always a good idea to have a charged cellphone on when a rider is out and about because it doubles as a homing beacon. It's also a good idea to have a helmet and proper riding gear (even for an overnighter). This young fellow had none of those which made finding him more challenging and reduced his overall chances of survival if he were injured or seriously stranded. Additionally, he had no map, no flashlight, and no water. All of these lessons apply to hikers, campers, drivers, off-roaders and more. Always be prepared!
RMRU Members Involved: Glenn Henderson, Mike Herman, Eric Holden, and Matt Jordon.