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George @Number7 had a little adventure over last weekend, rescuing his friend's Rhino SxS. Below is his friend's write up about their experience. When he mentions in the story that they had to go over a spot that he had marked on his map as 'impassable' he's talking about Rocker Panel Pass (which G says is rougher than ever right now). If you were with ORP on a trail ride in 2010 and we found a tortoise out past Rocker Panel Pass, that's about where the Rhino was.

 

Rhino Side by Side Adventure  

On Monday 2/8/21 we did a fairly strenuous hike on a high ridge above Horseshoe Canyon so we planned an easy ride on our Rhino side by side for Tuesday.  The plan was to visit the area of the 2019 Verde forest fire shown on the map below.

 

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We had been on the trails in this area on a small 2WD quad ATV in 2001

 

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                                   2001                                                                                 2021

The Rhino we now have is 4WD and well equipped with large oversized tires, skid plates, etc.

We started out from the Bush trail head and went north on forest trails 1848,403,1852 and 1096.  The trip took about four hours and was unusually tough with many rocks, boulders, washouts, steep up and downs, etc., so we decided to take a different route back.  Plan was to take 160 east to 1855 south, then 1851,403 and 1847.  Many times we have found that trails numbered with 3 digits are more traveled and in much better shape than 4 digit trails, hence we choose 160 going east. 

Surprise, the 160 trail was TERRIBLE.  The further we went the worse it got. The downhills were so steep and rutted that we were at the point of no return back up those hills.  We have driven our Rhinos 15,000 miles on all types forest trails in the last 16 years with no accidents, this time we flipped ours on its side.

 

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We were stuck on this very steep hill, miles from any help and no cell phone service.

 

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For about 10 years we have carried at Spot device which can send a SOS message to search and rescue folks and provide them our exact location.  We had never had occasion to use it before but needless to say we did now.

 

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The device indicates when a SOS is sent but there is no feedback showing the message was received.  We waited on site for 1 hour and then started hiking on down the trail realizing we would probably not reach help by nightfall. 

A short while later a low flying helicopter went past us and hovered directly over the Rhino. A short while later they spotted us and landed a short distance ahead of us and got us onboard.             

 

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                                                       LIFT OFF…..OUR RHINO CIRCLED IN RED        

The Maricopa Sheriffs copter took us directly to the Bush trail head where our car and trailer were parked.

 

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 There two officers awaited us along with our daughter who had been notified of the SOS by them.  They checked our health and asked for identification so they could complete a report AND SEND US A BILL FOR THE HELICOPTER SERVICE!   I once heard someone was charged $1700 for the service.   We got our drivers licenses from the car and I inquired as to the possible cost, the officer replied he was JOKING, hallelujah and many thanks to the Sheriff’s search and rescue team.

 

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The officers said that we were on our own as far as retrieving our Rhino and they would not be helping in that endeavor.

Retrieving the Rhino turned into exciting 1.5 day adventure which will be documented in the near future.

 

RETRIEVING  OUR  RHINO                                                            1/10/21

 

The rescue helicopter took us to our car at the Bush trailhead.  While driving home I called our friend George Zalman who operates the OFFROAD PASSPORT jeep club.  We live close to each other and only about 10 miles from the trailhead.  He was home and told us to swing by which we did.  We showed him where our Rhino was on a topo map and he was very familiar with the area.  He said he could retrieve the Rhino with his jeep and would pick me up at our house in a few minutes.

The shortest way to the Rhino from Highway 87 was the dreaded 160 trail.  The Jeep folks are aware of how bad that trail is and about 2 miles in we came to a section I had marked on my topo map 20 years ago as an IMPASSE (see red X on attached map).  George has modified his jeep to handle about any terrain and I cannot describe how tough this section of 160 is, I’m still in disbelief that we got through it (sorry no photos).

We got to the Rhino and got it upright by winching to a large hillside boulder (again no photos). Next problem was it would not start.  All the gas had run out on the ground but an onboard spare gallon tank was full and we used it but still no luck starting.  We tried dripping gas directly into the intake, bypassed brake starting switches, and everything else we could think of to get it started but with no success.

It was getting dark and the decision was made to tow it out.  Without describing all the details I will just say that doing this in the dark was a nightmare.  Because of sharp switchbacks it was not possible to hook the Rhino directly to the jeep but instead we had to drag it using the winch cable and I was onboard steering it in the dark with no lights or power steering because  the battery was rundown. It was critical to drag the Rhino brakes on the steep down hills to avoid smashing into the jeep.

After about an hour of this my 87 year old arms gave out (they had been steering the Rhino for over 5 hours earlier that day).  George said we only had two more hours to go but I wimped out.  We left the Rhino and it took us an hour just to jeep out. I got home about 10:30 that night.                                               

 

 

  ANOTHER  DAY  ANOTHER TRY                                                 1/10/21

 

George was available Tuesday afternoon and I recruited our grandson Kramer to be the Rhino pilot.  He and George went in the Jeep to get the Rhino while Del and I towed our trailer to the Sugar Loaf trailhead and several miles on the 402 trail so as to shorten the Rhino towing distance. To our surprise the tow crew appeared with the Rhino in less than 2 hours.  In the daylight they had unhooked the winch on some steep hills and let Kramer freewheel down.

            In summary, it was an interesting 2 day adventure with lots of lucky happenings after the not so lucky wheels up flip.  The most important lessons learned are:

1.      Do not proceed beyond the point of no return

2.      Do not proceed where passage is doubtful

         Many thanks to George and Kramer and the Guardian Angel that kept us injury free. 

 

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Excellent write up!   Thanks Diane for sharing that well written summary.

 

Nice job George!  That sounded like one heck of a recovery.

 

The Rhino operator having a PLB was huge in this case.  Can you imagine the difference it would have made if someone was injured?
 

Edit:  Also a thumbs up to the MCSO officers and SAR personnel 

 

Edited by jgaz
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Great write up, thanks for sharing Diane. Nice job on that recovery  @Number7 !

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Wow thats a heck of a story! Go George!

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wow! sounds like the lesson there was: if you venture off-road, you should always know a George!

 

a few of the trails in that area really are quite rough...

 

i once ended up on some of those trails in my XJ with a small budget lift. i had started out from Lower Sycamore and just kept exploring further and further. as it got close to dark, i didn't want to try and return the difficult way i had come, so i was trying to exit the nearest way i could find back to the 87...

 

i ended up getting stuck on a berm trying to get off the trails at a nearby ranch. it was just after sunset and i was pretty sure i was on private land at that point, so i was getting nervous about getting shot or in some form of trouble. i didn't have a Hi-Lift, winch, SPOT or even a decent sized shovel - total noob and completely unprepared.

 

eventually some nice farmhand dudes saw my headlights out at the edge of the field and came over in their pickup. the one thing i did have was a tow-strap, and they easily pulled me off the berm and showed me the way back out to the 87. 

 

 

 

 

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Excellent George!  They sure were lucky, both with the injury free, plus they knew you and ORP!  You are indeed a good man George, and I am glad you are my friend!

smiles, karen

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Well done "G"...   This is THE reason to carry some sort of location equipment...   One never knows when an emergency will arise... ;)

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On 2/18/2021 at 6:45 PM, theksmith said:

wow! sounds like the lesson there was: if you venture off-road, you should always know a George!

 

a few of the trails in that area really are quite rough...

 

i once ended up on some of those trails in my XJ with a small budget lift. i had started out from Lower Sycamore and just kept exploring further and further. as it got close to dark, i didn't want to try and return the difficult way i had come, so i was trying to exit the nearest way i could find back to the 87...

 

i ended up getting stuck on a berm trying to get off the trails at a nearby ranch. it was just after sunset and i was pretty sure i was on private land at that point, so i was getting nervous about getting shot or in some form of trouble. i didn't have a Hi-Lift, winch, SPOT or even a decent sized shovel - total noob and completely unprepared.

 

eventually some nice farmhand dudes saw my headlights out at the edge of the field and came over in their pickup. the one thing i did have was a tow-strap, and they easily pulled me off the berm and showed me the way back out to the 87. 

 

 

 

 

Mental note....add George's email to the SOS function of my Garmin InReach Mini function

 

Great write up and Kudos to George for this.  We need to pitch in and get him a giant steak dinner for this!

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Good everything runs well!

 

For that I did carry a Delorme (Garmin) inReach at 2012 at my Transafrica and at 2015 for my south america journey. 

 

If something went wrong, you are happy you just have to press "sos" and a help signal with coordinates are sent automatically.  Travelling without out of cell coverage is asking for the darwin award - at least in my eyes....

 

Surfy 

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21 hours ago, Surfy said:

Good everything runs well!

 

For that I did carry a Delorme (Garmin) inReach at 2012 at my Transafrica and at 2015 for my south america journey. 

 

If something went wrong, you are happy you just have to press "sos" and a help signal with coordinates are sent automatically.  Travelling without out of cell coverage is asking for the darwin award - at least in my eyes....

 

Surfy 

 

Traveling out of cell coverage is something I do as often as possible because I like to get away from everything. I haven't won a Darwin award yet. I kind of thought that was the whole purpose of the overlanding thing, so maybe I've missed your point.

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