Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Backcountry Camping => Topic started by: PyramidBlaster on June 04, 2007, 07:45:00 PM

Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: PyramidBlaster on June 04, 2007, 07:45:00 PM
Greetings.

As part of my big trip in October, I'm seriously considering a trip on the River Road down to Talley, to hike the Mariscal Rim. I know Randell and ShaneA did this back in February and remarked about the problems, and I've seen many a warning...Truth is, how likely am I to get my stuff jacked while I take a 1/2 day hike?

I'd love to hear any of the park staff's input on this one. It's a new site for me, as I've only been on the River Road as far as the mine...And have only been to the river at Boquillas Canyon, never Solis or anywhere else...
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: 01ACRViper on June 05, 2007, 12:24:58 AM
well i know my stuff was fine there for 4 hours while i hiked  :(
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: chisos_muse on June 05, 2007, 06:50:19 AM
It's a gamble any time you park your car in the city, country, or otherwise. I never heard of anything happening the whole time I worked there. Some visitors would ask about sites by the river, and we told them that it does happen occasionally. It's hard not to leave important things in your vehicle when you're on a trip like this, but I would definitely take things like a wallet, cell phone & camera with you. After all, how much does a Thermarest go for on the black market? :roll:
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: PyramidBlaster on June 05, 2007, 10:37:43 AM
Coming from you, Muse, that means a lot...Yes, I will be taking some of the bigger 'goodies' with me, but naturally i'll be there to do significantly more than hike and camp...It's just that I need a shot dangling the camera over the edge of the 1200' cliff for the film....

OK, and I just want to hike this trail too, I admit it...It's Randell and ShaneA's fault...

Has ANYONE here actually experienced anything at Talley in the short-term, or would most of the break-ins tend to pick on the rafting set, who park for longer periods?
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: chisos_muse on June 05, 2007, 12:55:35 PM
I wasn't aware that Randell & Shane had a break in when they were there?  :?
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: randell on June 05, 2007, 02:33:07 PM
We had no problems and we saw no other people while hiking Marscal Rim in February.  

We did see a shovel near the trailhead that seemed out of place.  We also found a woman with a flat tire on the way back to River Road.  Other than that, nothing but mountains and desert.
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: PyramidBlaster on June 05, 2007, 03:11:28 PM
Quote
I wasn't aware that Randell & Shane had a break in when they were there?

No, I meant that R & S mentioned that they had taken measures to counteract any theft...

...Then they posted their great pix online of their hike...Now I find myself adding this hike to MY itinerary after reading their trip report!

...That's why it's 'Their fault'!
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: TheWildWestGuy on June 05, 2007, 07:10:10 PM
I have never had any problems anywhere in the Park.  Have had my vehicle broken into twice in the so-called 'secured parking' area at work though.
I do have a trick I use in the Park which may not help much but makes me feel better when I am in my tent 17 miles from the trailhead.
All you need is a clipboard and a short 6-8' length of rope.
Step 1 write "Nothing of Value Left In Vehicle" with big black sharpie on the clipboard paper and put it on your dash.
Step 2 next tie the rope onto one of the door handles and lock it then go to the other door, slip your hand inside and tie the rope to the other door handle as tight as you can.  Clips or snap-links help a lot in this situation.  So now you have a door-to-door rope security system which will deter (if not prevent) break-in's.
Car alarms are not very useful and often annoying.  Sometime's they can prevoke vandalism if they keep going off when the wind blows the vehicle or late at night/all night long.  Nobody is around to hear it anyway and they will break-out your side windows and unlock the doors, snatch-and-grab gear and head for the river.
The clipboard and the rope might make them decide not to do it or scare them off once they try it.   They aren't ready for it and it's so "innovative" that it might take them by surprize. :idea:    At least that's what I tell myself when I am sleeping in my tent at night while my vehicle sits out in the vast desert all by itself at some remote trailhead where the thieves might have "all night" to work on it and can see other vehicles coming from 2 miles away.   So far so good! .. TWWG
Title: Countermeasures?
Post by: SHANEA on June 05, 2007, 07:22:39 PM
Quote from: "PyramidBlaster"

No, I meant that R & S mentioned that they had taken measures to counteract any theft...


Only countermeasures I can think of is that we put everything of any value in the "vault" area of the Avalanche - the covered area.  

It is a definite must do hike!   You will enjoy it.
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: Boot Canyon 1 Cougar on June 05, 2007, 09:39:54 PM
PyramidBlaster,

We did that exact hike on a Saturday in early February this year.

We did not see a soul anywhere near Talley, and had no trouble at all.  

There were a bunch of things in the back seat of our crew cab.  It looked like a mess.  I am unsure whether it would have been discouraging for someone to have to sort through the mess, or a challenge.

I suspect it is all the luck of the draw.

In hindsight, I would prefer to not leave anything of value is sight.
Title: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: presidio on June 10, 2007, 11:57:56 PM
Quote from: "TheWildWestGuy"
Step 2 next tie the rope onto one of the door handles and lock it then go to the other door, slip your hand inside and tie the rope to the other door handle as tight as you can.  Clips or snap-links help a lot in this situation.  So now you have a door-to-door rope security system which will deter (if not prevent) break-in's.


I'd sure like to see a photo of this and an explanation of how it prevents the usual method of entry.....breaking a window. Nobody needs to open a door to relieve a vehicle of its contents. Car glass...especially side windows is so incredibly easy to smash but a lot of folks have never seen how easy it is and thus are surprised at the pile of glass next to their violated vehicle. Take a look at the river parking areas and you will see lots of evidence of break-ins as scattered safety glass granules. (Of course, those broken windows COULD be from the owners who locked their keys in the vehicle...I have some virtual property for sale if you buy that one).

Nothing wrong with the sign, though you might want to learn how to write it in Spanish, too. And, because we apparently are in dire peril from middle easterners illegally entering the US via the Big Bend border you should write it in Arabic also.

If I used a sign I'd prefer the more direct message 'there is nothing in this vehicle worth your life'.

Way back in 1972 we dropped my Datsun 510 (ahem, there's that sedan in the backcountry, again) at Solis and then parked a VW van at Talley as we rafted Mariscal Canyon. Even then, there were warnings about break-ins on the river. Sure enough, when we got back to the van, the wing vent midway (middle passenger seat) on the driver side was broken. It was a strange window to break as the only thing within reach was a pair of jeans on the seat and they were undisturbed. The vent was too small for anything other than an arm and there was no way to reach the front door locks. I've always wondered what the person was thinking when they chose that window to smash.

The best solution is to leave nothing of value in the car. The next best solution is to leave nothing visible. I built a platform in my pickup and the compartment lids lock with a home-made dead bolt that is 6' long and made from electrical tubing (you need a locking tailgate for this to be work). Can it be breached? Sure, with time. Does the typical smash and grab expert have the tools to breach it? No.

It's not even real obvious that the deck is there since the camper windows are dark tinted and the platform is carpeted with dark gray material.

I also have a metal lock box bolted in the bed (again, out of sight) that can hold small high value things like wallets (though I never leave mine in the truck), cash, watches, etc.

If you're real concerned about the whole vehicle going missing, install a well-hidden (in the desert you have lots of time to look for stuff like this) kill switch for the fuel pump or take the distributor cable with you. Of course, you never know when a thief will have a replacement cable, so dummy up one that does not have a conductor and swap it out so there's nothing obvious missing. If you have a diesel, you'll need to find some other method of disabling it. But, know what you are doing so you don't end up stranded by your own hand. That would be so Darwin.
Title: Re: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: JodyH on January 02, 2008, 01:05:31 PM
Back when I had a really old junker Toyota P.U. I'd just leave the doors unlocked.
They must have thought it was some kind of trap/sting because I never noticed any of my stuff rifled through.
With my "new" truck '02 Toyota I usually pull a few of the major fuses (fuel pump fuse is a good one, starter relay etc.) and hide them.
They could eventually track down all the fuses I pulled, but will hopefully decide it's not worth their time.
I also try to park next to more inviting vehicles (Suburbans, Expeditions, new P.U.'s)
 :icon_wink:
Title: Re: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: Undertaker on January 02, 2008, 06:43:52 PM
Once again, never had a problem in Big Bend, have had stuff stolen in patroled lots, church lots and hospital lots, may be considerable more problem since 911.  Caution entry into this vehicle may cause death or serious injury, personnel attempting to enter assume all civil and criminal liability is a good sign in window, or no sign whatever makes you happy. I am always happy when in the Bend. :eusa_dance:
Title: Re: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: deadlizard on January 08, 2008, 04:26:36 PM
The one time I rafted from Talley to Solis, there were 2 vehicles with smashed windows and stuff taken at Solis when we got out.  Upon arriving back at the campsite in Chisos, someone had taken items from within my closed tent.

This soured me so badly on BBNP, I didn't go back for years.  Apparently theft is rare, but personally I can think of few other parks that have this type of reputation.  But then I nearly always hang around the river which skews the viewpoint.
Title: Re: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: TheWildWestGuy on January 08, 2008, 05:08:13 PM
I use the door-to-door rope trip all the time when I am leaving my vehicle overnight in some remote area like the Dominquez Springs Trailhead or Mule Ears parking lot.  My theory is that either it will discourage breaking and entering or at least slow them down a little if they don't have a knife handy.  Mostly I think it makes me feel good that I have "done something".  Of course I "Club" the steering wheel but don't lock the club.  I think your chances of messing up your own vehicle or losing keys/fuses/etc is probably much better than detering vehicle theft.  Almost all the trouble in the park is vehicle contents not the vehicle itself.   It's pretty hard to prevent someone from breaking out a window as any nearby rock will do the job.   Maybe the sign on the clipboard helps, maybe it doesn't but it helps me sleep better at night.  So far so good.. TWWG
Title: Re: Just how bad is the theft problem at Talley?
Post by: Undertaker on January 08, 2008, 06:00:24 PM
If the bad guys want in they will get in, no law, no sign actually helps, it just keeps the honest folks honest. :eusa_doh: