Women lost on Sunday drive unknowingly drove into Utah

Grand Junction residents Ila and Deanna Bell sit in their white Dodge Caravan after being stuck for two days when the front end of their vehicle became lodged in a ditch. Roy Joseph of Grand Junction happened upon them Aug. 17. They were about 10 miles on the Utah side of the Utah-Colorado line.

Two Grand Junction women who were stuck in their vehicle for two nights last week unknowingly crossed the state line into Utah, one of the men who found them said Monday.

Grand Junction resident Roy Joseph said Ila and Deanna Bell were well into Utah on an isolated road that few use.

The 84-year-old mother and her 65-year-old daughter had decided to take a Sunday drive through Colorado National Monument and Glade Park when they ended up on a road somewhere near the Dolores River.

The pair got the front end of their white Dodge Caravan stuck in a gully from about noon Aug. 15 until about the same time two days later.

“We really and truly didn’t feel like we were lost, we were just bogged down in sand,” Ila Bell said Monday. “I said to Deanna, ‘Where do you think we are?’ She said, ‘I bet we’re close to Naturita,’ and I said, ‘Well, I think we’re closer to Moab.’ “

Mom was right. They were closer to Moab.

Joseph said they were near Granite Creek where it dumps into the Dolores River east of Dewey, Utah.

He and a friend, Paul Fox, happened upon them while in Joseph’s Jeep. The two, who are members of the Mesa County Jeep Club, were “geocaching” at the time. That’s a kind of a hide-and-seek game that involves using GPS technology to find hidden caches others leave.

The two women could remember only Joseph’s first name, but when he saw a story in The Daily Sentinel last weekend about their plight, he contacted the newspaper and sent a copy of a photo he had taken of where they were.

“I have no idea how long they would have been there for someone else to show up,” Joseph said. “It isn’t a highly traveled area, especially during the middle of the week. They were a long ways out there.”

Joseph said the women had about a quarter tank of gas left and feared that had he and Fox not come along, no one else would have for several days.

He also said they were lucky that the monsoonal rains that hit the region Aug. 16, causing flash floods in some areas, weren’t worse.

Had they been, the Caravan might have dropped about 30 feet into the creek, he said.

The women had a cell phone, but couldn’t get a signal. Because of their health and ages — Ila needs a walker to get around, and Deanna has asthma — neither could do much to free their vehicle.

“I said to Deanna, ‘It’s your turn now, God,’ and he sent us someone,” Ila Bell said.

“They were wonderful men, so polite. Men are so dear. I just love men.”


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