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Missing couple in motorhome, thought to be in Nevada


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Nye County Sheriff's Office: Missing Indiana couple found

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The Esmeralda Sheriff’s Office said earlier cellphone data indicated Ronnie Barker, 72, and his wife Beverly, 69, were near U.S. Highway 95 in the high desert east of the Sierra Nevada between Reno and Las Vegas west of Tonopah on March 27.

The Civilian Air Patrol confirmed Tuesday the 32-foot River Seeker RV they were driving was found stuck in a ditch in a remote area without the passenger car they were towing.

 

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17 hours ago, Twotoes said:

They were heading from Oregon to Tucson after a stop in Vegas but were found near Reno looking for Fallon. Why would they go north to Reno from Vegas if they were heading to Tucson?

They were headed from oregon to fallon, then to vegas and then on to tuscon. however, by the looks of it, they were way off course. 

Edited by ashton23l
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On 4/5/2022 at 8:41 PM, Twotoes said:

They were heading from Oregon to Tucson after a stop in Vegas but were found near Reno looking for Fallon. Why would they go north to Reno from Vegas if they were heading to Tucson?

They never made it to Vegas, which is what triggered the search.  On their way from Reno they wandered onto Jeep trails in the mountains west of Tonopah/Goldfield instead of staying on Hwy 95 and got the motorhome stuck.  Then they made the fatal mistake of taking off in their Kia toad to try and get help and got stuck again without food or water.  Tragic but preventable.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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From what I have read and heard is that they didnt realize the seriousness of their situation until it was too late, but it was just another case of blindly following their gps without knowing the route it would take them.

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We never relied solely on our GPS.  Paper maps are still the best.  If going to be in a state many times getting the Benchmark Atlas is good to do.  It shows the tiny backroads clearly and all public lands and also campgrounds.

Here's the account in Beverly's own words... toward the end of the article.   

https://www.wthr.com/article/news/local/missing-indianapolis-couple-nevada-ronnie-beverly-barker/531-ca6859c0-fbf2-4f73-bcbf-f5eb7fd378ac?fbclid=IwAR1tRf_BvXMHABTpHTxG65uJHsyPy8S6Ao_Fhl2tlkVJaiCqS5KVtE2qToo

Edited by 2gypsies
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Somewhere or other I read that the woman told her relative that they didn't have "highway" checked on the gps. I gather that would have prevented the gps from leading them up jeep trails. At any rate, It can be rather dangerous to blindly follow a gps. Sad.

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4 hours ago, jbh said:

Somewhere or other I read that the woman told her relative that they didn't have "highway" checked on the gps. I gather that would have prevented the gps from leading them up jeep trails. At any rate, It can be rather dangerous to blindly follow a gps. Sad.

 

4 hours ago, jbh said:

Somewhere or other I read that the woman told her relative that they didn't have "highway" checked on the gps. I gather that would have prevented the gps from leading them up jeep trails. At any rate, It can be rather dangerous to blindly follow a gps. Sad.

Our GPS led us in our Class C up a jeep trail in the mountains one time. We were lucky that Dave has such good driving skills that he got us out safely. If you are ever in the Big Horns, don't take Alkali Road in anything but an off road vehicle. Even then, think twice about driving a "road" that is all rocks and loose shale. We nearly slid off that road more than once but Dave used his snow driving skills to steer us to safety. I'm so glad he was driving!

Linda

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If you go to Google Maps and put in Coaldale as the start point (which is an abandoned town -- more like a collection of derelict buildings rather than an actual town), and then put in the GPS coordinates where the RV was found, you wonder how in the #*$! a GPS would route them that direction if their end point was Las Vegas?!  Even if they didn't have "highway" entered into their GPS, why would it route them that way -- it's certainly not the shortest, or the quickest, route to Las Vegas!

This is why I would NEVER rely 100% on a GPS, particularly if I was not familiar with the area...I've read of too many instances like this where people relied on their GPS and ended up in very serious trouble.  I would always check the route on a paper map first to get a general idea of where I should be headed.

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20 minutes ago, LindaH said:

If you go to Google Maps and put in Coaldale as the start point (which is an abandoned town -- more like a collection of derelict buildings rather than an actual town), and then put in the GPS coordinates where the RV was found, you wonder how in the #*$! a GPS would route them that direction if their end point was Las Vegas?!  Even if they didn't have "highway" entered into their GPS, why would it route them that way -- it's certainly not the shortest, or the quickest, route to Las Vegas!

This is why I would NEVER rely 100% on a GPS, particularly if I was not familiar with the area...I've read of too many instances like this where people relied on their GPS and ended up in very serious trouble.  I would always check the route on a paper map first to get a general idea of where I should be headed.

I agree.  I went to Google Maps, put in Luning (where they were spotted by someone's camera) and then Las Vegas as destination.  I told it to avoid highways.  The only alternative from the obvious route would have taken them southwest on Hwy 360.  That would have at least gotten them northwest of where they were found and in the general area of where their last cell phone ping was.

The thing is Google won't even let you drag the route to where their class C was found - so far as I can tell it doesn't see those jeep trails as roads.

Now, this is Google Maps - I don't know what GPS they had.  Still, I'm not convinced that this is really the fault of the GPS

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18 minutes ago, GR "Scott" Cundiff said:

I don't know what GPS they had.  Still, I'm not convinced that this is really the fault of the GPS

My thoughts exactly! In addition, how much common sense is needed to know that you don't want to take some dirt trail with an RV to travel to Las Vegas? Wouldn't any driver understand that paved highways are the best route to any tourist town? I am frequently astounded by the number of stories of people being lost in some remote area because they followed their GPS. I think that people make really foolish choices and then blame the GPS when in reality they made the decision to go where they were and didn't follow the suggested route. 

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Many people don't understand their gps settings or don't even bother. For example, with two items set wrong my gps will route me straight through downtown Atlanta on surface streets.

I suspect there were medical cognitive aspects.

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2 minutes ago, jbh said:

Many people don't understand their gps settings or don't even bother.

It is true that most things work better if you use them properly and understand the instructions. At 72 & 69 there could be cognitive issues but shouldn't be normally. 

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One thing that the wife made clear after she was rescued was that they didnt recognize the seriousness of their predicament until the car got stuck, that is why they didnt bring any food for water with them from the motorhome. They thought that they could just drive back down the mountain and get help, so no need to bring food and water.

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There's a good chance that the road in the photo is the one they turned down.  If not, it would be one like it.  Honestly, had I tried to take our rig down a road like that I would have faced a mutiny in the passenger seat unless there was a campground or at least other RVs in plain sight.  Again, just trying to understand the "they followed the GPS" explanation.  

road.png

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You should read or listen to the wife talking about taking this road. They were not concerned because even though the road was rough gravel, and the toad bounced around a lot they said they saw other vehicles on this road which diminished their concern.  Again, they simply did not recognize the risk they were taking until it was too late.

Edited by pjstough
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11 minutes ago, pjstough said:

You should read or listen to the wife talking about taking this road. They were not concerned because even though the road was rough gravel, and the toad bounced around a lot they said they saw other vehicles on this road which diminished their concern.  Again, they simply did not recognize the risk they were taking until it was too late.

Yes, I read that.  She thinks she remembers another RV - but surely, that wasn't on that one lane road!  How could you meet another RV on that road and not specifically remember it?  Of course, they may have met other vehicles on 773 - but once they turned off it seems very unlikely.  Their RV was found 10 miles on south on that road.

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