Updating Mental Pictures

These are the signs at the entrance to Woodcutters Road. Neighbors put the top two up years ago, and Andy added the red one last year:


It used to be a through road, eventually (after 7 to 8 miles) ending at the main highway, and Andy wanted to warn people that is no longer true — the Forest Service now prevents people from going past the end of Woodcutters Road (at the north end of our property). Andy used to travel the rest of the road once a year to remove trees, rocks, etc. to keep it open as a fire exit, but now it’s undriveable.

Unfortunately Sunday a fellow either didn’t see the sign or else chose to trust his memory/mental picture of how it used to be. He drove with his wife up Woodcutters Road until he was stopped by a tree across the road and had trouble backing up.

Andy met the couple as he was driving up from the Sunday walk in the Valles Caldera Preserve. The couple had already walked about four miles and had been trying to phone for help using their cell phones. Lots of luck with that! Anyway, Andy was happy to help but could take only one passenger in his Jeep.

Fortunately a neighbor came by with a passenger car, so all four of them drove back to the stuck car to see if Andy could pull it out with a winch. No way! So they continued up Woodcutters Road to the fallen tree, Andy got out his saw and cleared the road, then they drove up to a good turnaround place. Andy went on to the house and the neighbor took the couple to the Valles visitor center where they could phone a friend with equipment to pull their car back on the road.

Just another example of how we can’t always believe what we think and that it’s a good idea to update our mental pictures of the world from time to time. Reality keeps changing on us!


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14 Responses to Updating Mental Pictures

  1. Cathy in NZ says:

    those stuck people will be reevaluating their plans in the future…and they hopefully learnt some valuable lessons. I guess they got hot/bothered with all the unplanned walking…glad though it all worked out in the end, even if it was much trouble for those attempting the rescues etc…

    • Jean says:

      Apparently the wife was upset about not being able to reach anyone on their cell phone. I’m glad Andy and the neighbor were there to help. Their car was gone by the time he went up Monday morning, so it all worked out.

  2. What a picture! You can just imagine the danger if that truck went over the cliff! There are always the one or two people who don’t believe warning signs…think they are meant for other people!
    Still the Lucky Few´s last blog post ..Does social media help old people feel less lonely?

    • Jean says:

      It’s not a cliff, just a deep ditch caused by the flash flooding after the fire. The fellow thought the signs were just no trespassing signs and he still had the right to use the road and do what the had done in the past. He didn’t realize Andy’s warning was something different.

  3. Rummuser says:

    I have come across other cases of such overconfidence and have had to rescue some sheepish looking individuals. Some people simply will not trust signs.
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..Marginal Utility.

    • Jean says:

      It happens a lot here too.

      It reminds me of the story about the guys driving to a bridge seeing the sign “The end is near!” They assumed it was about religion, until they drove off the road and into the water because the bridge was out.

  4. tammy j says:

    if the signs had been old and tattered perhaps one might think twice.
    but when they’re obviously new or recent… why do people not obey them?
    it’s always like those few who see the sign ‘avalanche area – do NOT enter.’
    and they do it anyway. I have little sympathy for them.
    and always others have to risk their necks trying to rescue them!
    kudos to andy. he’s such a trooper. or is it trouper? anyway. he’s a great guy!
    tammy j´s last blog post ..moving on old bean

    • Jean says:

      Andy tried, but you can say only so much in a sign. We all have some outdated mental maps of the world, this was just one example with no dire consequences.

  5. Cindi says:

    Maybe their mental picture was one of their truck just going up and over whatever they encountered.
    How foolish of them.
    Thank god Super Andy was there to rescue them!
    I hope they were very grateful!
    Cindi´s last blog post ..Blue

  6. Linda Sand says:

    “Reality keeps changing on us!” Yup! What I think my body can still do and what it can actually still do are getting further and further apart. But, I’m learning to pay attention to the signs.

    • Jean says:

      It’s a big adjustment and is bound to take time. I hope you can still get some joy out of your present circumstances.

  7. nick says:

    Whatever their memories of how the road used to be, you’d think they would be deterred by three separate signs all warning them to turn back. Some people are determined to ignore all sensible advice and go their own sweet way! And as Tammy says, others then have to go to great lengths, and possible personal risk, to rescue them.
    nick´s last blog post ..Fuggy no more

    • Jean says:

      Only Andy’s was a warning about the road. Sometimes people put up no trespassing signs even when the public is legally allowed to drive there. It’s complicated, which is why Andy was happy to help.

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