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

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, 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 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