A fulltime RVer boondocking in a dry lake bed was caught off guard when rains pounded down heavier than predicted and stranded him in a dry lake bed with the water level rising, reported the Hi-Desert Star.
“I live on the road,” said Steve Miller, a freelance writer and golf teacher. “I follow 75 to 80-degree weather and Joshua Tree is the place right now.”
Miller set up his RV Friday night on the Coyote Dry Lake Bed, ready to camp with enough food and water for two weeks — a fortunate coincidence, as it turned out.
“I saw the forecast and it was 90 percent chance of rain, but almost always on my phone I’ll get a flash flood warning or I’ll get some kind of notice if it’s going to be bad,” Miller said. “I’m always worried about that because I’m out in the boonies. But I didn’t get any sense that it was going to be bad until it started raining, and then it was too late.”
All night, Miller listened to the rain and hail pounding down and other campers spinning their tires trying to get out as the dry lake bed got wetter and wetter.
But then Miller’s luck changed when the Stumpers Offroad Jeep Club showed up just in time. “We are a club that usually does trail runs together,” member Phil Baker explained. The members from the Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley area, motored up amid the flooding to help the campers out of the lake.
“When they did the first rescues, I was impressed by these guys. They’re amazing people. They’re just going around pulling everybody out with their Jeeps,” Miller said.
But he didn’t want to be rescued. “They came up to me and I said ‘I’m going to wait it out, I’m hoping the water will go down in a few days.’”
He’s grateful now one of the members gave him his phone number just in case. Over the next three days, Miller waited while the water level stayed the same; he figures it went down from 12 inches to 10 inches deep in that time.
“On the fourth day I called and said, ‘The water isn’t going down at all. I think I’m ready to be rescued.’”