When you’re a fan of old signs and abandoned buildings, there are often a few risks involved . Most of them involve getting hurt by debris laying around. But there’s one risk that can land someone in legal hot water if not careful: A run-in with the police.
On our latest road trip, hubby and I had one of these run-ins. With no “No Trespassing” signs in our sight, we ventured onto the property of an old gas station sitting vacant along Interstate 15 in California.
The sign to the left is one both of us have been wanting to shoot for awhile. We pass it on every road trip into California but never stop, often because we blast past the exit and don’t realize we did until it’s too late and don’t want to turn around.
This time, we remembered long before the exit. Surprisingly, it was after spending the past three days on the road in the scorching desert heat.
Hubby and I intended to make it a quick stop. We looked around at a couple buildings and photographed the sign we wanted to shoot for a long time. The light hit perfectly and the presence of white puffy clouds made for a gorgeous scene.
We walked around for several minutes checking out the sights. The image below is one of the two buildings that stood on the property. I was fascinated by it and knew I had to get a few shots.
After a mere 5-10 minutes and only a handful of images, we started walking back to the car. Just over the fence and up a small hill that lead to the road we heard a car racing into the property, kicking up a lot of dust on the way in. Seconds later I looked over and saw it was California Highway Patrol.
The lone officer parked and said “Come over here now!” through a loudspeaker. My heart began racing. Although I kept my cool and did as I was told, I knew this could get ugly if not careful.
According to hubby the officer had his hand on his gun for a brief moment but quickly removed it when he saw we had cameras. In the officer’s defense, two large cameras could possibly appear to be weapons at first glance.
When we approached the officer he looked at us and said, “Taking pictures, huh?” We nodded and said yes. We were then told it was private property and there were signs indicating no trespassing. Neither of us had seen them.
I muttered out an apology while hubby calmly said, “Oh. I didn’t see them. I’m sorry!” The officer told us the owners were living on the property and they have a conniption fit when anyone trespasses. The shot below is one of the few things I was able to photograph.
We apologized a second time and were told to leave the property immediately. Not wanting any more trouble we did what we were told and got in the car. I noticed hubby had left the tailgate open and let him know so he could close it. Although we had avoided any serious trouble my hands were still shaking and heart was still racing.
When we drove off the property we spied a small “No Trespassing” sign on a post. I wasn’t surprised both of us had missed it on the way in.
Our brush with the law was not what I would call a highlight of the trip but it did leave us with an interesting memory. It also served as a reminder to be careful and pay attention to our surroundings.
I can sit here now and almost laugh at the events that happened. We got lucky this time. Next time? Let’s just say I don’t want that to happen again.