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Two Santa Barbara ATV riders found dead in the Mojave Desert

California has an extreme diversity of natural environments and a diversity of extreme natural environments.

Some of those environments can easily kill human beings, even the young and the strong.

Kern County, California sheriff’s lieutenant Steve Hansen announced that the dead bodies of Daniel Preddy Carbonaro, 27, and Chris Wayne Rice, 29, both of Santa Barbara, were found in the Mojave Desert on Thursday after a massive search. The two had been missing since Sunday. They had traveled with their girlfriends to a remote corner of the Mojave Desert that is popular with “off-roaders,” campers, and recreational enthusiasts to  test out Rices new 2011 Polaris ATV (all-terrain vehicle).

The search’s Facebook page, “Friends of the Chris Rice and Dan Carbonaro search” reported the deaths, and a memorial fund was set up on the site.

Carbonaro and Rice left a Randsburg, California (Google Map) hotel at around 2:30 AM on Sunday, told their girlfriends where they were going, and said that they would be back within a few hours. The men were going by ATV to the Cuddeback Dry Lake Bed in San Bernardino County, a large and popular area for “off-roading,” which is 15 miles away. Robert Carbonaro, Daniel’s father, was concerned about the men getting disoriented on the dark, moonless night, and about abandoned gold mine shafts in the area. However, Kern County authorities said that the bodies were found in a ravine area with rugged, steep terrain.

Relatives of the two men participated with authorities who were involved in the search: members of the California Highway Patrol, the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and the Indian Wells Mine Rescue Team.

California has environments that can be particularly deadly in winter, others that are particularly deadly in summer, and some that can be deadly all year ’round. Please respect the power of nature and prepare adequately for your natural adventures.

We at Cheshire Cat Photo express our sympathies to the families and friends of the two men, at this holiday season.

-Bill at

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