This is a great time of the year to do Dumont. With El Nino working we weren't sure what to expect, but felt the river would be running because of all the rain. When I got there around seven PM on Friday, Hector and Ginny, Cutri and Gary were already there. The river had changed course some, but still went over the concrete entryway. Gary had picked a spot that seemed kind of tight for everybody to fit in at first, but we decided to stay there and see what happened. The wind was blowing, but Cutri hadn't eaten so we decided to build a fire. We built it downwind and a good thing too, because the sparks were flying, but dying about eight feet out. Around 9PM, Lion and Orijano came in. They decided there wasn't enough room at that spot, so they moved downstream to a small island. Lion was in his Cherokee, but Orijano was pulling a trailer with a quad. More about this later. The wind finally died around 10 PM and the night was peaceful. About that time, Andy and Kathy pulled in in their motor home towing the CJ5. I finally went to bed, but heard others come in at various times during the night up until around 12:30. They were Pappy and Nancy, Lauren, Baker, Robert and Diane, and our new members Jerry and Tracy. This was a trip of many dogs. Hector and Ginny had their brood of 7 or 8, Cutri had his dog, Orijano had his two dogs, Jerry and Tracy had theirs', and Pappy and Nancy had Inky.
Saturday morning was overcast and the wind started up around 7 AM. While we were eating breakfast, it started to rain, but stopped by 9:30. It was cool and cloudy and the traction in the sand was great. Eventually the sun came out so we went around to the backside and tried to get up Competition Hill. The only one who seemed to make it was Cutri who owned the dunes with his new V8. Gary also did very well with paddles tires on all four wheels. At some time, I broke a shock mount and eventually had to remove the shock entirely. After playing there for a while we continued around the dunes. At one point during this run, Pappy decided to unload his jeep on the side of a hill. With his tailgate wide open, he went flying up the dune spilling everything in the sand behind him. After getting him loaded back up, we continued on. We eventually came around to the front again and went back to play on the dunes further to the north. Hector came out and joined us. Around 12:30 we headed back to camp for lunch. In camp Robert discovered he had a water pump problem and Cutri drank some gas trying to siphon some from a can into his jeep.
Everyone wanted to go out again that afternoon so away we went. Cutri broke the belt on his power steering and did not have a spare. Shortly after we had given up trying to fix it, the tragedy of the trip occurred. It was a confusing time and I've probably got a lot of it mixed up, but this is how I remember it. I was over a few dunes when I heard on the CB that someone was down and hurt. When I got to the spot, it was Orijano. He had come over a dune too fast and had gone airborne with his quad and came down hard in a small bowl. He was not responding when we got to him and was knocked out. A number of things happened that probably saved his life. At the time we didn't know how badly he was hurt, but another quad rider said they were running some kind of motorcycle race near us at Little Dumont and Jerry got on his new ham radio and was instantly connected to the paramedics working that race. They headed in our direction immediately. While everyone else stayed with Orijano and tried to help him, Pappy and I went out to meet the paramedics and lead them in. We brought them to the first row of low dunes, and they transferred their equipment to mine and Lion's vehicles and we brought them to the bowl. They checked him out the best they could and we all carefully transferred him to a carry board and Jerry brought him out to the ambulance in his Forerunner. From that point on he was out of my sight, but this is what I was told happened. The first paramedic ambulance transferred him to another ambulance waiting at the pavement and they took him to Baker. On the way, they had to stop and give him fluids because his blood pressure had dropped way down. In Baker he was transferred to a helicopter and was flown to University of Las Vegas Medical Center. Later on, Nancy and Lauren drove to Vegas to be with him and see how he was. We had our fire that night, but were all worried about Orijano. The wind blew most of the night.
When Nancy and Lauren came back to camp the next morning on Sunday, we were shocked to learn that the fall had pulled Orijano's pulmonary artery away from his heart and they had to do open heart surgery to reconnect it. He had other bumps and contusions, but they were nothing compared to this heart problem. Nancy had called Patti who had not gone on the trip and she drove from home to Las Vegas to be there with him. According to information from Patti later, they had to pump fluids from his chest cavity after the surgery. She had to remind them to give him antibiotics and respiratory therapy. We finished out the morning playing some horseshoes (Rooster and Jerry beats Pappy and Baker) and packing up to go. Our hearts weren't really into the wheeling after what had happened to Orijano. We had loaded his quad, which was not hurt in the accident, back on his trailer and packed up his stuff. Lion took his dogs and Robert was driving his Jeep pulling the trailer with Diane driving Robert's jeep with the sick water pump. Hector had loaded his Cruiser on his trailer and he and Ginny left with Robert and Diane. Pappy and Nancy, Lauren, Jerry and Tracy and I left together. When we got to Baker, we caught up with Hector's bunch. It seemed that Robert's jeep lost the water pump a few miles from camp and they had switched it with the Cruiser on the trailer. Now Robert is driving the Cruiser, Diane is driving Orijano's jeep pulling his trailer and Hector has Robert's jeep on his trailer. Have ya got all this straight? Their plan was to go to Gary's house and repair the pump and then drive to Culver City. When Pappy's bunch got close to Barstow, it was clear that the Freeway was a mess, so we got off and took old Highway 66 all the way to Victorville. When we got back on the Freeway, it was pretty clear sailing the rest of the way home. This trip had everything you could want or not want in a trip. We had a variety of weather, we had good wheeling in the dunes, and we had some fun breakdowns. What happened to Orijano was definitely not what we ever want to happen on a trip. We're thankful he is recovering and hope he is back to normal soon.