Locked Out

Sometimes, someone may set their keys on the drivers seat while they put on a jacket. Sometimes, another someone may lock the car, ready to begin a hike.

We won’t go around pointing fingers and allocating blame. But today, we were three miles from the road, in a desert wash, with no cell reception, and our water, jackets, money, ids, keys, and most anything of use locked in our truck.

Oh, and the sun was about to set.

I contemplated a rather large rock by my foot. We could break the windows but that would mean the time and cost of replacing that window. While I pondered which window I would break, I noticed something else: the two inch gap of our rear-passenger-side window. With a little scavenging and wriggling about, I could fit my hand, wrist, and a long branch into the car.

First, I tried to get the long, brittle stick to the drivers seat, where the keys sat, taunting us. I even tapped them a couple times. But we could never loop the branch through the key ring.

Locked out of our Avion Ultra C11 truck camper in the Palm Slot Canyon of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Cowboy reaching into the truck with a stick, trying to hit the unlock button on the passenger door.

Locked out of our truck in the Palm Slot Canyon of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
So close and yet so far: keys locked in the truck and inches from reach of our stick.

Next, we started to walk out of the slot canyon. Maybe we could hitch a ride and…what? Most places would be closed this late and we had no money or ids. Besides, we knew enough about survival that you really shouldn’t abandon your vehicle. No, it had a lot of resources in it.

So, we returned to the camper and began fiddling with the camper door. This was not as secure as the truck door. We now had access to food, water, and warmth. The game changed. We could make it through the night. I began looking for tools

Cowboy went back to the window crack, now attempting to tap the unlock button with a branch. When he yelled, “I’ve got it!” We were in the car and driving out of the wash by sunset.

I felt the need to commemorate the moment with a picture.

A triumphant departure from the Palm Slot Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with our Avion Ultra C11 truck camper
A triumphant departure
Exploring the Palm Slot Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Exploring the Palm Slot Canyon

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.


  • August 27, 2019

    There is nothing immediately worse for travelers then this scenario, I know.. I do not keep an extra key attached to the vehicle, ever. I do carry an extra key that I plant outside before I ever lock the door for the first time in wilderness locations. It has saved the day years later when the impossible happened and the mistake I had learned from was repeated1 … HA!
    This method insures security from another person getting their hands on my keys while guaranteeing I never, ever, get locked out again.
    An important and appreciated subject write here, … As Always, Blessings to Ya from Oregon1 … Mike.


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