Dad had an abnormal obsession with the desert. Something about the dry vast nothingness of Utah's west desert called to the old man. He always answered the call!
Mom writes about one such near death experience in this excerpt:
"It has been an interesting week. So Dad had another great adventure in the dessert and of course, "almost died.": I don't know what we are going to do with him. He is so grounded from ever going to the desert again. I was a little upset with him because he took off Friday morning instead of going to the temple with me. He didn't tell me he was going . It was our mission reunion that evening and I guess he decided he didn't feel comfortable going limping in there with gimpy leg and non functional arm. He didn't want all the attention. Boy did his plan backfire. I go to the reunion and cry in front of everyone because I am worried about him and snot sure where he is or what he is doing. Now all the missionaries are worried abut him an Pres. Busche has already called him twice to talk to him and plans on taking us out to dinner and a long chat as soon as he gets back from Germany in a month. So much for not wanting anyone's attention.
So where's your crazy father you ask? yup he headed back out to the desert. His favorite run away place. But he drove too close to the lake edge and sunk up to his axles in mud. He tried digging himself out with his one arm and his collapsible shovel but that was about as effective as swatting at flies with a toothpick.
Then he gets the brilliant idea to call for help but since his phone had no reception where he was he decided he needed to tr and hike to a nearby hill to see if he could call anyone. He hiked for about a mile and a half (no easy task especially for him on very uneven ground) and just ended up getting himself good and lost. It got dark and he couldn't even find his way back to the truck. By divine intervention I'm sure he decided to try and dial 911 even without reception. Miraculously the operator answered and he was able to quickly tell her his predicament before his battery on the phone died. The Sheriff's came looking for him. They found his truck rather quickly but then it took another couple of hours for them to find him in the middle of nowhere with no light or way to signal them. They were the same cops that had helped him when he had the encounter with the bums and they remembered him. They were kind enough to all pitch in and dig him out. I'm sure we are going to get a huge bill from "Search and Rescue." He finally arrived home at 2:00 AM. I was worried sick and to make it worse... (I won't add this part) ... Old Deedle was putting in some of his super prayers and was about to head out to the desert on inspiration alone to find him. I guess if anyone could have done it, Davie could have. He sure has a lot of faith.
Well, I gave your father a good tongue lashing and told him he was grounded from the desert for a long time and could never go out there again alone. He readily agreed an d was so happy to be home. It really wore him out. His legs just aren't that strong and he was so tired he could barely walk in to the house. I think next year he will just face the music and go to the reunion. Even Pres. Busche told him he would have been much better off coming to the reunion. "