Couple Follows GPS, Gets Stranded For Three Days

While GPS can be a great tool, following the directions of a GPS system without question isn't always the best move, as one couple from Nevada recently found out. After leaving Portland, John Rhoads, 65, and his wife, Starry Bush-Rhoads, 67, followed their Toyota Sequoia's GPS system as it directed them down a remote forest road.

The GPS system took them south on U.S. Highway 97 to Oregon Highway 31, which goes through Silver Lake and Lakeview before connecting with U.S. Highway 395 to Reno. While in Silver Lake, the GPS system told the Rhoads to turn right on Forest Service Road 28 and then take a few other spur roads. Nearly 35 miles later, the Rhoads found themselves stuck in about 1 ½ feet of snow near a place called the Thompson Reservoir.

Thompson Reservoir

Thankfully, the Rhoads were prepared: They had warm clothing, water, and food as well as cell phones with GPS. The problem is their phones were unable to get service. Finally, three days later, atmospheric conditions apparently changed enough so that their GPS-enabled phones could get a weak signal and relay coordinates to a dispatcher. A Lake County deputy then found the Rhoads and pulled their four-wheel-drive Toyota Sequoia out of the snow with a winch.

Tags:  GPS
acarzt 5 years ago

lol... figures it would be old folks that did something like that... Most GPS system you can change it so that it does not take you down back roads and sticks only to certain kinds of roads.

Dave_HH 5 years ago

You can bet the wife was nagging at him to ask for directions... doh! :)

Manduh 4 years ago


Dave_HH 4 years ago

heheh.. Manduh, it's most likely sad but true. The problem is, I doubt there was anyone around to ask!

Manduh 4 years ago

So I just had a similar experience over the weekend, although we didn't get stranded!  My mother and I were driving up north a cpl hours away to family's.  She brought her GPS so we could get there EASILY.  Well I found myself yelling at the damn woman that kept telling me to take the next left or the next right when I was sure all I had to do was travel on the same highway for 50mins.  I was starting to get nervous that maybe I should listen to "miss Navigon"  so decided to finally take her next suggested turn.  And of course we ended up lost for about 30mins.  We were in a little town and my mom kept telling me to ask for directions.  When I finally did, a man told us to get back on the highway that we WERE ON and keep going for another 20mins.  WELL needless to say we unplugged the GPS and read our google printed map the rest of the way. Found it without a hitch!

acarzt 4 years ago

lol, yea the GPS in my car acts a little crazy sometimes.

For instance it got a little out of sync and showed on the map that I was driving through some neighborhoods... and according to the map, probably a few people's yards.. when In actuality I was on the highway. lol Imagine if I really was on the route it claimed I was while doing the 70mph I was doing! GTA anyone? lol

Also, it sometimes randomly tells me to do a U-turn. Or it will want me to take some Ridiulous out of the way route. It want me to go about 3 hours out of my way one time lol. It made a Huge L shape across Texas. Took me a while of messing with it to make it do a straight line lol

I also find it fun to totally ignore the GPS all together and make my own route. It will constantly try to recalculate the route and suggest a new path or just tell me to do a U turn lol

rapid1 4 years ago

why do people just totally trust technology though, they should get to know it deeper so they can tell if there having issues problems etc such as this you can zoom out a gps and see where your at in a wide view this in general would show you you were not where you were supposed to be.

Soupstyle 4 years ago

And on topic, I have always like the Trip Planner notebooks that AAA gives out to members if you give them your trip details.

Inspector 4 years ago

Thats why you should use your GPS only when needed and you absolutely don't know where to go. while still looking around for signs and people to ask!

gibbersome 4 years ago could have been worse:



acarzt 4 years ago

I wish I could see the vid... it is blocked here at work. :-(

gibbersome 4 years ago

Have you tried using a proxy?

Go here


Then paste this into the box to view the video:

realneil 4 years ago

I've wanted a GPS unit for a long time but I think that they're too pricey. I think that the maps should all be standardized and should be forever free to download into your device. Here in the Virginia backwoods a Tom-Tom will know where you really are 99% of the time, while a Garmin is lost about 30% of the time. I noticed no difference while in the city (Washington DC & New York City) We had them both going and we were comparing them. (they were my kid's toys)

I like OnStar service and wish I could get it in my '06 4X4 Tacoma. My sister Has a 2000 Denali and they shut off her OnStar service last year because her car was too old. (they went to an 'all-digital' service and hers was analog) In this case, the car outlasted the OnStar. So like a good Chevy customer, she promptly went out and bought another one. It's an expensive service, but it's also a good one too.

gibbersome 4 years ago

I never bought into Onstar, for the life of me I still don't know exactly what it does.

Yeah, I've only owned Garmin GPS's thus far, but I think I'll be switching over to TomTom. With user submitted updates, their maps are so much better than Garmin's now. Also, this lifetime map update feature is especially appealing.

acarzt 4 years ago


acarzt 4 years ago

I work with the Gov't. And i'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find a work around, but it's not worth my job lol

gibbersome 4 years ago

The govt doesn't allow its employees to view pics and vids? Talk about suppression of freedom of expression! Indifferent

rapid1 4 years ago

Rofl gibbersome. Anyways when you get out to the great uncharted territories (especially places like due NW states) I am sure there is a lot of this. It still kind of boggles the mind though. If you are in the middle of nowhere and have no clue where your going unless that's your aim it's generally better to turn around rather than going further right.

gibbersome 4 years ago

[quote user="rapid1"]

Rofl gibbersome. Anyways when you get out to the great uncharted territories (especially places like due NW states) I am sure there is a lot of this. It still kind of boggles the mind though. If you are in the middle of nowhere and have no clue where your going unless that's your aim it's generally better to turn around rather than going further right.



I've traveled with a GPS cross country a few times before. This is before the Garmin name became ubiquitous, and I always made sure to pack paper maps with me. The winter season is not a good time to get lost.

I'm just glad that their relatives and friends were smart enough to backtrack and find them. Also, I wish they had stated the brand of the GPS system that was the culprit. As far as I can tell, it seemed like it was a factory installed system.

rapid1 4 years ago

yeah probably factory installed, though those are generally covered by big name GPS companies so I don't know if thats a better result.

Soupstyle 4 years ago

One reason they don't let people watch videos and block facebook and stuff is because the government (or its contractors, I have worked for the gov't and now work for a defense contractor) would get killed over its employees wasting time and therefore federal funds and therefore taxpayer's money. Same deal with government contractors, it is illegal to charge the government for work when you were goofing off or something.

Another reason is because (as we have talked about in the iPad threads) that flash and other websites that can lead to phishing and other malicious links/etc can lead to secure systems to be hacked or attacked, which the government and businesses don't usually like.

This is the reason why I don't post on the forums at work also.

infinityzen 4 years ago

I set mine to avoid back roads. No sense taking the brand new G37 down some dirt and rock trail.

ClemSnide 4 years ago

Life imitates art? I remember seeing this kind of thing on a TV show, though I've forgotten which one. The idea was that the couple was slavishly following the GPS, which was leading them into a lake; the show's protagonist advised them not to follow society's rules and instead do the things they really wanted. Hilarious misadventures ensued, of course. Just wish I could remember which show that was...

mentaldisorder 4 years ago

This keeps happening because people don't know how to use their gps.  Same thing happened to my dad when he was heading up to Buffalo with my mom.  The GPS kept wanting to drive through Pennsylvania and he was yelling at it because it didn't stay in NY.  They weren't aware of you being able to change the route to stay on certain roads, and I'm sure there's a way to stay in a certain state.

Joel H 4 years ago


Yes. Hopefully the GPS can be adjusted to ensure you remain in a state we refer to as "moving." ;)

ClemSnide 4 years ago

@Mentaldisorder: Isn't the point of these devices, though, that you DON'T have to be an expert on them to get use out of them? For my own part, when I plan a trip I go to SEPTA's trip planner (being visually impaired I'm a non-driver), get the routes I need, then go to Google Maps to find out where the train will drop me off and how to get to the destination. It's easy for me, but a nontechnical person would boggle (and has boggled) at that effort.

The priest my mother cooks for has OnStar, and I think that's a great combination of technology and human assistance. On a recent trip from New Jersey to Philadelphia, I told the nice lady our destination, and the route was downloaded into our console-- choosing the same path I'd have taken from experience. And, of course, it has other advantages. Now if only OnStar support could go into a handheld device!

mentaldisorder 4 years ago

Hey Clem, the point of these devices is so that you don't have to have much technological know how, but do you really think that is the case?  There is clearly a flaw in these systems because not everyone can use them properly, as we clearly see time and time again.  However, I;m not solely blaming the manufacturers.  People need to exercise caution when using a GPS and they need to be aware of their surroundings and truly understand where they are driving.  In all of these cases the people did no research whatsoever, and that shows in them getting lost.  Additionally, you don't need to use the guidance system on the gps.  You can still use it as a digital map, blending old school with the new school.

rapid1 4 years ago

I still don't get what these people were thinking personally it makes very little if any sense to just go skipping along while having to know you were in the absolute middle of nowhere.

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