Author Topic: How Do You Respond to People Asking for Advice Who Already Know Everything?  (Read 4199 times)

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Offline jamawani

It's one of the most irritating things about touring blogs.
Somebody who has never been to Montana asks about riding Going to the Sun Road in May.
When you tell them it is closed in May, they respond, "I don't believe you."
Or similar stuff.

Yes, I know the best response is simply to walk away.

I remember a time back 10 years ago - two young guys were biking the Northern Tier in October.
I remember telling them that they were really pushing the envelope and they blew me off.
That is - - until October snowstorms hit - - which are normal for the Northern Rockies.
And, not surprisingly, campgrounds and motels were closed for the season.
They ended up arguing with each other and splitting up - and I helped each one find routes and places to stay.
I don't know if I would do it again - probably so, but.

Yes, I know the best response is simply to walk away.

I remember, more recently, a guy who planned to ride thru Yellowstone in April.
Again, I said that Craig Pass would be closed and overall conditions would be difficult.
Again, he said that I didn't know what I was talking about.
What's more, he said that he had gotten special permission to ride and camp in closed areas.
Well, I knew that was total BS, but I contacted rangers in Yellowstone to confirm.
They assured me that no such permission was granted and the cyclist would be arrested.
(The area is closed for grizzly protection as they wake from winter hibernation.)

As it is, cyclists many times violate camping and entry restrictions in national parks.
To the point that such infractions may impact access for the broader cycling public.

Yes, I know the best response is simply to walk away.

People from Atlanta and L.A. - let along Japan and Britain - have no clue about the Northern Rockies.
They think that May means bluebirds singing when much of Glacier N.P. is still under 6 feet of snow.
A professor from the University of Louisville died in an early snowstorm in 2017 in the Bighorn Mountains.
And it really wasn't that bad of a snowstorm - but it can be if you are unprepared.

So, I struggle with walking away, but I will for the most part.
I certainly don't want to see people place themselves in danger.
I also don't want to see people head out at a time or in a place where they will likely be miserable.
But I will call out anyone who feels they have a right to violate NPS or USFS policies.

Pic - Early October Snow, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 12:33:03 pm by jamawani »

Offline aggie

Well said.

My brother was a law enforcement ranger at the Grand Canyon.  He can tell many stories about the absolute stupidity of some visitors.  One example is being high while rafting down the Colorado river.   Depending on the violation you can be charged with a federal crime and have your gear seized.   A couple of years ago some mountain bikers thought it would be cool to ride on some trails that are off limits to bikes.  Needless to say they spent some time in jail, paid a big fine, and had their bikes seized.   

Offline jamawani

I don't know if Grand Canyon N.P. still uses the poster -
but they used to have one that showed a young, gnarly dude with the caption -
"The people who need rescue usually look like this."

I have a friend who was a ranger at Phantom Ranch in the inner canyon.
She switched out for a year or two because she got tired of the emergencies and deaths.
I was down there once when a guy was heli-evaced out - who later died.
Completely avoidable with preparation.

Another friend worked search & rescue here in Wyoming.  He quit after 7 or 8 years.
Why?  Not just the number of rescues - but recoveries.
Every year people die in our mountains -
and they are usually from Georgia or Texas or California or overseas.

I really think that the internet has made things worse.
Esp. the radical travel bloggers - like the 3 young Canadians who died at the BC waterfalls.
Everybody has to do something more and more extreme - usually on public lands.
2 of the Canadians had earlier been convicted of walking out on the crust of Grand Prismatic Spring.
They could have easily fallen through and been boiled alive.
As it was, they did damage to the fragile hot springs ecosystem.

So if cyclists have their bikes confiscated because they are "stealth" camping at Yellowstone,
they will get zero sympathy from me.

Offline John Nettles

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I usually just tell them and if they insist, I give them my source(s) so they can see a second opinion.  After that, I wash my hands of it. 

That said, I too was young and naive once.  When I first crossed the country at 17, I flew to Portland to start the ride and when I got to Astoria, it was cold (at least to a Oklahoma boy who's used to upper 90s for temps in early June).  It was something like 62 and I asked if it was always this cold and was told this was normal to warm.  Promptly bought a track suit (remember those!) to get warm as I didn't pack any jacket, long pants, etc.  Again, I am from Oklahoma and 62 is cool.

Then when I got to Yellowstone July 4th, I got snowed one (lightly, but still).  I didn't even think it was possible it could snow anywhere in the Continental US in July.  Frozen that night in Coulter Bay.

Later, after graduating from college, I decided to do a perimeter tour at the last minute and took off from San Diego and headed north on July 4th.  Then when I got to Vancouver after a month, I started to look at weather averages around along my tour and found out I needed to do more miles to beat the cold (again, anything below 60 for me) in the New England area.  I had planned on doing the Northern Tier with a few layovers and diversions and take 75-85 days but realized I had to miss those in order to get to Portland, ME, by early October so I could head south before the cold hit.
I now can be accused of planning too much for a ride.

Anyway, I try once or twice to give the information but give up after that and wish them a safe journey.
Happy Trails, John
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 08:09:25 pm by John Nettles »

Offline BikeliciousBabe

I usually just tell them and if they insist, I give them my source(s) so they can see a second opinion.  After that, I wash my hands of it.
+1. You cannot always save someone from themselves.

Offline aggie

Years ago when I was "young and dumb" my step dad advised me not to do something.  I went ahead and did it anyway and it turned out the way he said it would.  When he asked me why all I could say was "guess I had to learn it myself".  Guess we are all like that sometimes.

Offline oldguybiker

Wry humor on a T-Shirt gift from my Durango, CO grandson raft guide:
"La Plata County Search & Rescue - Interfering with Natural Selection Since 1981."

Offline fahrrad

  There is a great book titled "Over the Edge: Death In Grand Canyon" that compiles all the recorded deaths occurring in the region, from early adventurers to casual tourists. It is a sobering read, told mostly according to park personnel archives, and it will leave you with a new-found respect for the rangers, the rules, and most importantly Mother Nature. Rule #1: carry water. Rule #2: carry extra water. The old saying 'To be old and wise you must first be young and stupid' holds true for many, myself included. I shudder at some of the decisions I've made traveling through the years.

Offline hikerjer

All you can do is give them your best advice based on your knowledge and experience. If they choose to ignore it, then that 's their problem. Just don't take it personally.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 01:22:12 pm by hikerjer »