Held at Gunpoint

Last Saturday, we left our campsite at Blue Spring State Park, headed to the oversize parking lot at Orlando International Airport. Shortly after we filled up with fuel, the truck went into limp mode so we pulled over to the side of the road. The truck wouldn’t start back up, so we made our first call ever to Good Sam Roadside Assistance.

An hour and a half later, the tow truck arrived and brought the truck and the trailer (separately) to a nearby Ford dealer.

We spent the night at the Ford and in the morning, after talking to the service department, we headed to the airport for our trip to New Orleans.

This detour actually ended up saving us, because we thought we were flying out of Orlando International but our flight was actually out of Orlando Sanford International Airport. We figured that out by chatting with they Lyft driver on the way. Had we not stayed at Ford, we probably wouldn’t have realized this until it was too late.

It seemed like luck was on our side. The timing of the breakdown was perfect. We didn’t need the truck that week, got rerouted to the correct airport and survived flying a budget airline.

Throughout the week we were in touch with the service department. We reminded them that our Airstream was in the parking lot and that we were returning late Friday. It was all ok they assured us.

Midweek, we learn that the high pressure fuel pump had failed and they weren’t going to be able to fix it before we returned. Brian reminded them about the Airstream and our return date and time.


Friday night, we survived another budget flight and ordered a Lyft to bring us back to Ford. During our walk through the parking lot with our luggage, a voice comes over the loudspeaker telling us we are trespassing. There isn’t any visible security, so we wave and keep walking.

Once we’re inside the trailer, I joked that they probably wonder where we disappeared to. Then we settled in. It was late but we still needed to unwind, so we got into bed and watched some Ray Donovan.

About 45 minutes later, I hear someone try to open our front door, fortunately it was locked. Our adrenaline spiked and Brian peeked out the window. At this point lights went ablaze outside, and there were multiple voices shouting at us to come outside. Brian remembers them identifying themselves, I only remember the vicious dog barking and the female repeating “COME OUTSIDE NOW, YOU WILL NOT GET BIT” and the male shouting “COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!”

Brian, who was in his skivvies, pulls on his jeans and goes to the door. I asked him if he thought I should call the cops to verify that it was actually the police. He said, no, it’s really the police and he opened the door, put his hands in the air and came face to face with two gun barrels.

The first thing Brian said was “What’s with the guns?” and then quickly followed it up with “My wife is inside” so I wouldn’t startle them in my hoodie and “Our truck is getting serviced, Ford knows we’re here.”

When I came to the door, they shouted for me to put my hands up, and pretty quickly saw that we were a boring middle-age couple and lowered their guns. They asked for IDs and explained that security had called them, and said that they saw us enter the trailer and they thought it was a robbery.

One of the cops came inside with me to supervise while I got both of our IDs. I asked if I could get Brian a shirt and the officer said that it wouldn’t be long, so B remained shirtless for a bit longer.

Once they ran the trailer plates and found that the names matched, they apologized and explained again why they came at us so intensely. They thought it was a robbery.

I appreciated that and thanked them for protecting our trailer.

Brian told them how it really got his adrenaline going and the officer said his was racing too. They weren’t really expecting anyone to be inside and when they realized there were people in the trailer they went into high alert.

I finally was able to give Brian a shirt, and in the end, one of officers even recommended a campground in the neighborhood.

It was a really weird week and despite the gun drama, we feel really lucky.

2017 Cost of Camping:
11 nights free camping
62 nights paid camping (thru 3/15)
73 days this year
Total spent on camping this year: $2413.45
Daily average cost of camping: $33.06

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  • Reply Alicia March 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Thank goodness you’re safe!

    • Reply Larry November 25, 2018 at 5:55 am

      Wow! My wife hasn’t laughed that hard in a while! Sorry, it was probably terrifying at the time but is hopefully funny for you now in retrospect(?)!
      Glad you are well & that all (including the dog!) stayed safe! 🙂

      • Reply Leigh November 26, 2018 at 3:10 pm

        Hi Larry – glad we gave you a laugh. 🙂 It’s definitely the craziest experience we’ve had in the trailer. Lucky for us, it deescalated as quickly as it did.

  • Reply Alison Easterling March 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Oh my goodness you guys that is an insane story… but well, you are in Florida. Guns in the face is no fun!

  • Reply Brian March 14, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Dang! My heart is racing just reading your story!

  • Reply Kier from Oregon March 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Holy cow! So how long before you could get your heart rate down enough to go to sleep? That is a very scary story and so glad it all turned out ok! I might have given Ford a piece of my mind too (after you got your truck back).

    • Reply Leigh March 15, 2017 at 4:26 am

      Hi Kier! We were up for another hour (until about 1am) – but it certainly was a crazy experience to have in your own home.

  • Reply Betsy browning March 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Yikes!!! Scary!!!

  • Reply Lisa on Lummi March 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    That is TERRIFYING!! Never a dull moment. 🙂

  • Reply Emily March 14, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Crazy story! Wow. Glad everything turned out well.

  • Reply Jim and Gayle March 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    That is quite story! Luckily it had a happy ending.
    I think this is the longest post you have ever written 😉

  • Reply Kerensa March 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    This has to be one of the longest posts I’ve ever read from you, but I’m glad you didn’t spare any details. What a crazy night! Shirtless Brian makes me think we should expect to see you guys on Cops. Please let us know whenyour episode will air. 😉

    • Reply Leigh March 15, 2017 at 4:27 am

      Hahaha! Yes, beware of the occasional long post!

  • Reply Tres March 14, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Crazy! Glad you’re ok!

  • Reply John March 14, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    I’m curious now about your cost reporting – will the truck repairs be reflected in your camping fees? 😉 Glad you’ve survived the excitement!

    • Reply Leigh March 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Hi John, our cost of camping is just the cost of the campgrounds, so the 2 nights we stayed at Ford were free though not really worth the savings. While unrelated to camping costs, the truck repairs are fortunately covered by warranty – it turns out they have to rebuild our entire engine!!

  • Reply Hunter Hampton March 14, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I live an hour from there, and have courtesy parking… next time leave your trailer at my place. It will be safe and no one will come with guns.

  • Reply Eleanor March 14, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Wow, that’s insane! So very glad it ended peacefully. I’m going to love hearing you tell this story in person.

  • Reply Michael Maherad March 15, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Glad you’re safe. So much could have gone wrong.

  • Reply Jim March 15, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Scary! Nice job relating it though. Glad it worked out without bruises and scrapes.

  • Reply Ben March 15, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Thanks for the story! Glad it all worked out. Reminds me when the cops came rushing up to our trailer in the desert of AZ, but not nearly as scary. No guns drawn, just looking for someone in the area.

  • Reply kl March 15, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    How did you like Blue Springs? BS is 15 min no of me and SIA is 15 min south of me.
    I am thinking not too many manatees due to our warm weather. With 30’s tonight , there will be hundreds in the morning

    • Reply Leigh March 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Hi KL, we loved Blue Springs State Park! You can see my review here:

      • Reply kl March 15, 2017 at 4:40 pm

        Did you hike ? The 8 mile trail I finally did for the first time last month, it’s pretty nice. SIA is so much better then MCO, lucky you to fly from there, I have yet to. Interesting story about the police, your title caught my eye.

        • Reply Leigh March 15, 2017 at 5:26 pm

          Hi KL, we didn’t have a chance for a hike, though we did walk the boardwalk looking for manatees. Glad the click-bait worked! 😉

  • Reply Sandi B March 15, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Holy WOW! I’m glad y’all are OK, and I guess Ford takes protecting your camper very seriously! 🙂

  • Reply Scott I March 16, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I’m so glad everything worked out. That was REALLY scary. It was really smart to remain calm and show respect to the authorities at all times.

  • Reply Terrie March 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    In FL, people have been killed for less…one recently over a doughnut?! I’m glad you survived your meet up with the law…What do they think happed to your truck engine?🤢Hope you guys and the truck are great again now💖

  • Reply Beth Saltzman MD April 10, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Oh my. In FL? If you were black you probably be dead. Glad you’re not.

    • Reply Leigh April 10, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      The same thought crossed my mind. We were really lucky.

  • Reply James Beaubeaux April 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Love this blog post!!!

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