Ruth’s new parking spot 4.0

After lots of adventures all across the country, Ruth (our Land Rover Defender) is glad to be back in Leelanau County. But she’ll be even happier when she’s in good working order again and can get back on the road, cruising along M-22 and the many scenic seasonal roads she loves in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National lakeshore.

She’s been tucked into the pine trees since our return to Northern Michigan, at Coastal Storage in Cedar, MI. It seems lately our whole life is here at Coastal Storage. We have most of our belongings tucked away into two units, plus Madre and I also have been renting temporary studio space in the loft upstairs over the garage. Although our living situation has become quite transient, our businesses are thriving and we needed a reliable place to go get work done, no matter where we lay our heads at night. We’ve been more than pleased with studio work accommodations and are sad to see that coming to an end.

While working here, I often think that there could be a reality TV series based out of this storage unit property. Scotty, the owner and his dog Prince are friendly and welcoming – chatting with those who come through. You never know who you might run into here. From trust fund brats, famous actors who have a vacation home here, to retired GM execs with a place in the Hall of Fame.

Down in the garage below, Scotty is always putzing with a vehicle, whether it be his mother’s golf cart, his son’s tractor, one of his sports cars, or a “project” that a buddy has dropped off. After Jackson had a recent conversation with him, Scotty offered to take a look at the Rover and pull her into the garage.

“Any vehicle lucky enough to enter this garage always comes out better than it entered…”

Meanwhile, we’re still looking for temporary housing and long-term property, and now new studio space. Let us know if you know of anything!

Related stories:

• Ruth’s new parking spot 3.0

• Seized Defenders – Our Story

• The Defenders Return


#thelandrovers #livewellrockwell #storyofRuth #follow #thedefendersreturn #hedrickrover #nomads

KY to MI

KY was a great adventure, full of new terrain (literally and figuratively), plenty of character building (don’t think I was ever going to get use to no cell phone service for a radius of 10 miles or the poisonous snakes) and got a few more tools in the tool belt (literally). Kentucky launched us into the next chapter…back to Northern Michigan.

IMG_1220

Kentucky provided humbling experiences, living among history of our great country’s’ beginnings. There were rock walls on the property that were built by slaves, muck boots became a required piece of apparel, copperheads and rattlers could be lurking near by, seasonal swarms of lady beetles, and stepping in a cow pie on the way to your car door – were all commonplace. All of this provided perspective, acceptance, strength and growth.

IMG_6040 Jackson station at Gusty Branch

We had a great opportunity to work and live in the same place. Jackson got to work on a historic replica of a Toll House, located in central KY, about an hour and half south of Lexington, in the rocky, hilly hollars. A gorgeous home built down the creek, .5 mile up a nob and back into the woods. He acquired tools of the trade, on-site education and became quite the craftsman. He did everything from finish plumbing and electrical, to creating his own trim, bead board and solid wood doors.

IMG_8651 Jackson wood working; processing wood paneling

If the job itself didn’t keep him busy enough, he also started a farm. The job-site property was set on hundreds of acres, providing the chance to start what Jackson has been waiting to start for years. If not now, never? Right?! So it was. Farming, here we come! We raise hair sheep, goats, turkeys, cows and pigs. Fencing mishaps, runaway goats, disappearing turkeys, and plenty of births provided more than a few stories along the way.

IMG_1206 raising hair sheep

Oh, and we got pregnant and had a baby too!

One of our biggest life lessons Ky provided was “you can’t do it all.” It’s better to invest your time and resources into a few things and do it really well, rather than be eager to achieve, spreading yourself too thin. So, we downsized and re-prioritized.

While we built friendships, two church families, gained experience (and some farm animals), we decided at the end of the day what’s really important to us: investing in sustainability for our  future generation and being close to family/community – in a place we feel like home.

Leelanau County, here we come!

moving back to MI_truck gusty branch KY_IMG_1584

 

welcoming Levi James

We welcomed Levi James Jackson to the fold November 4th, 2015!

He was born at our temporary home, on Gusty Branch Road, by the creek, near the hollows and rolling green hills of central Kentucky.

The labor came on strong and fast, giving us nearly no time to use any of our at-home preparations. Our midwife was on her way over, on speaker phone, as Jackson and Madre competently delivered the new baby, with our other son Abraham at my side. Fortunately, she had prepared us for such a scenario. Before we knew it I was loudly announcing….”This baby’s coming!”

Gods grace and provision surrounded us – I believe due to my surrender and obedience, to be open to a home birth experience. Everyone is healthy, happy and flourishing!

FYI – We are heading back home to northern Michigan to live, work, give and love very soon!


#homebirth #naturalbirth #livewell #thelandrovers #rockwell #thejacksonshouse

Ruth’s new parking spot 3.0

After having our Rover released from potential Government seizure, plus a planned trip to MI, we decided it would be a good time to welcome our Land Rover Defender (aka Ruth) to the Kentucky countryside we reside in. Kevin’s brother Andrew was excited to have his basketball court back (the driveway) and we’re glad Mom didn’t turn the Rover into a really expensive flower pot.

Since we started this blog, got the Rover, and made big life changes – paying off debt and being good stewards has been an ongoing goal and priority. Kentucky has provided a great opportunity for work that’s launching us into achieving some greater goals. We decided it was time to walk into the bank and payoff our remaining debt on the Rover – giving us freedom and an asset. (Cheers and Praise!)

“With God, all things are possible.”  ~Mark 10:27

“Much like Indiana Jones, we never know what’s going to be around the bend…”

And thus is life. Believe for the best and don’t get bent out of shape with challenges arise and things go less than smoothly. While we envisioned driving the Rover with no problems all the way to KY from MI, we also anticipated the possibility of, well, anything.

After a few breakdowns, phone calls with Safari H.P., some attempted repairs, an extra day in Ohio with family, we played it safe and had to tow Ruth into her new parking spot – at Gusty Branch, in the hills of Kentucky.

Some say we should just sell the Rover. Although this Defender is just an earthly object, it represents something deeper, something bigger. While the world would have us give up on Ruth and go another direction – their direction – we’re inclined to fight for her. It’s kind of like following Christ that comes down to one simple decision and conviction of the heart. The challenge is to be ok with uncertainty, what lies ahead, and choose to follow Him, no matter the resistance.

#proudparents #expecting #oneontheway #thelandrovers #livewellrockwell #storyofRuth #follow #thedefendersreturn #hedrickrover


Looking for genuine Rover parts? Need customized service and restoration? Please check out Safari Heritage Parts! They’ve been amazing to work with (even just over the phone) and are thankful we were referred to them! > Visit Safarihp.com | Like + Follow on Facebook


 Morals of the story…

• Abraham is always up for the adventure.

• Do what you gotta do, but make sure to slow down and intentionally enjoy the journey.

• 3 year olds are smarter and more capable than you think. Take everyday life moments (and challenges) as opportunities to teach them – they’re listening and watching!

• Surrender what’s out of your control. You don’t have as much control as you think.

• It’s good to have someone reliable and non-judgmental to call in an emergency – no matter your location.

• Be passionate and persistent.

• Instead of driving the quickest route possible, take your journey through small town America and off the interstate. You’ll see who America really is – and have a better perspective because of it.

• Road trips/Travel give you experience, perspective and education that can’t be found anywhere else. You’ll connect with people you never normally would – making friends for life.

• Drive a Defender – then you might understand 🙂

Related stories:

• Seized Defenders – Our Story

• The Defenders Return

Seized Defenders | Our Rover Story

When the Sheriff comes looking for you…

Never would I have imagined a my mom, calling me in a panic, saying “The Leelanau County Sheriff was here looking for Jackson.” Of course little information was given and we had no idea why. So all we could do was call them and find out.

1984 Land Rover Defender, TheLandrovers.comIt’s the Spring of 2014. We were traveling frequently from MI for Jackson to begin his work on Gusty Branch in KY, while I was busy maintaining my business Rockwell Art & Design throughout the transition. In addition, we committed to attend various events and weddings last summer, not allowing us to be in one place for what seemed like more than two weeks at a time. With that said, you can see why we were “hard to find” from the Sheriff’s perspective.

They looked for us at our last know address. We could have been in either Leelanau, Brighton, or Kentucky. Later we found out that not just the Sheriff, but Homeland Security was looking – not for Jackson -but for our Land Rover Defender. Not only was Jackson not in Leelanau, but neither was the Rover. We had driven it down-state to Brighton, in one of our hauls on the move to KY. It happened to be parked in my in-laws’ driveway. Little did we know, that’s where our Rover would stay…for an entire year.

Bullet-Proof Vests & Guns in Holsters

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a man named Darin gets his Rover seized.

“Dozens of the iconic Defender models were seized by the Department of Homeland Security after U.S. buyers purchased them from abroad and had them shipped here. Vehicles that do not comply with safety and emissions standards cannot be purchased from foreign sellers unless they are 25 years or older, and therefore exempt from the regulations” ~Fox News.com, June 12th, 2015

Only by fate did Darin meet Will Hedrick, a lawyer that lived just 2 minutes down the road, whom he’d never met – until now. By fate, they met and Darin shared his story. Will wanted to help Darin, but didn’t want to charge him for it. Will slept on it and the next day decided, “If I’m going to help this one man, I need to help the others.” So with Darin’s support and permission, they agreed to take on this case of seized Rovers and all help represent ALL Defender owners across the country that were involved in this case.land rover seized by feds

While we were pursued by a Sheriff and Homeland Security, by grace, apparently we had it easy. Some Rovers were taken rather violently, like Jennifer who reports,

“I had seven law enforcement officers block my driveway and take my Land Rover, with bulletproof vests and guns in holsters.”

Some Rovers that were seized, got almost totally wrecked from lack of care while getting impounded. While the Feds claimed these vehicles were initially imported illegally, failing emissions regulations, doesn’t this SWAT team type force, towards non-criminal classic car owners, seem a little extreme?

Helped by a Stranger

Not only did the Sheriff have a hard time tracking us down, but so did Will.

Fast forward to Winter 2015. On our way to church in Danville, KY one Sunday morning, we get a call from a stranger. “Hi, this is Will Hedrick, is Kevin Jackson there?” “Yes,” I replied. “Oh great! I’ve been trying to find you guys for over 6 months! Your Rover is the only one I’m not yet representing in this case!” Will said. While excited, and a little skeptical (what Lawyer wants to help you for free?), An exciting and uncertain journey with our Rover began, and a stranger turned into a friend.

While other defenders were getting taken by force, only by miscommunication and grace, was our Rover the only one NOT SEIZED. One department thought it had already been taken, while another department opted to drop out of the case.

Defended_Jennifer gets her Rover backFor most “personal property seizure cases” the value of the property gets far outweighed by the potential legal fees and the long haul of fighting a case that’s involved. Most people are forced to cut their loses and then opt to not fight it. So if it wasn’t for Will, and his choice to take on Goliath, there would be a lot of us across the country “cutting our losses” right now. Instead, he joined forces, and together we came out victorious, with the Government settling!

Final Score: Hedrick – 30 (Rovers). Governement – 0.

Here we are today. Will is still working on getting some of the Rovers back to their rightful owners, meanwhile, we’re working on getting our Rover back to Kentucky with us.

The Defenders Return!

#defendersreturn #hedrickrover #thelandrovers

the defenders return_Rover owners celebrate victory over the governmentRelated story: Celebrating the return of the Defenders > GO

Celebrating the return of the Defenders

IMG_1546_#thelandrovers #DefendersReturnThe Defenders Return

Jennifer, who also had her Defender seized, put on a great party on her property in North Carolina to celebrate our recent civilian victory against the government, with the return of our Land Rover Defenders.

Most of us who attended were meeting face to face for the first time. Over the last year, while we were in contact with our one common tie, Will Hedrick (our lawyer and selfless hero), we could not know the others involved or talk about the details of the case as it unfolded.

The party could not have had better weather or a location. It was catered with fantastic food, an unending supply of ice tea and lemonade supplied, entertained by the band Raffe Hollister, and even included swimming in a pool. By the end of the night, stories were shared, contacts and friends for life were made. We came together over our common passion…adventure + our Land Rover Defenders.

 A gift of Thanks

How do you thank a lawyer who racked up over $500,000 in legal fees while fighting for you?

How about a Defender 110 that was previously owned by a couple from France, that had patina from their own adventures across African soil? Collectively, as a gift of thanks to Will, the 25+ Defender owners he represented, went in together to get him his own Safari vehicle. It providing an unforgettable moment, a dream come true.

What’s better than the gift of adventure?!


#defendersreturn #thelandrovers #HedrickRover

Read related story: “Seized Defenders | Our Rover Story” > GO