Who’s that knockin’ at my door?

Monday, July 14

The interior of the Best Little Trailer glows from the light of the full moon.  I lie in bed before daybreak, watching the clouds drift above my window.  I listen to Spike breathe heavily as he sleeps at the foot of our bed, his head under the back window.

1-DSC05714-002Bridget is in her usual sleeping spot between me and the wall.  She wiggles and stretches under the covers.  All is well in the sleepy world of RVSue and her canine crew in a field of flowers above a meadow in Ashley National Forest, Utah.

What was THAT?  

I jerk my head from the pillow.  Propped on one elbow I strain to recall what I just heard and felt.  Did I imagine something?  No, no, that was real.  I felt a thump.  A definite thump.  Over by the door.  Good heavens.

I sit up and, like a vulnerable animal, I tune my senses to a possible threat nearby.

Someone or some thing is out there.  From the bed I fix my eyes on the partially open window on the opposite side of the BLT.  In the light of the moon I can see the field of flowers, a pine tree, the outline of the mountain, no movement . . . .

The window goes black!

Suddenly the BLT receives a strong jolt and rocks.  The mass of black at the window takes shape.

“Holy sh*t!  It’s a BEAR!” I gasp.

Another jolt.

What the hell should I do?  The bear moves away from the window, but before I can sigh with relief, he appears again at the back window!

Quickly I get up and close the side window and check the door.  All the windows and the door are closed.  The bear presses against the back window, wedging between the antenna pole and the glass, trying to find a way inside.

I reach in the drawer and pull out my air horn.

The antenna pole repeatedly slams against the fiberglass as the bear moves back and forth in frustration, hunched over the spare tire, pawing and pressing against the window.  Spike sleeps undisturbed, his face about 18 inches under the bear’s nose.  Bridget remains under the covers.

Sweet Jesus, don’t let that window break.  If that window breaks, we’re in deep doo-doo. 

It’s strange how, in situations like this, cold terror stops time dead in its tracks.

1-DSC05712Terror in the BLT!

Two possibilities play across my mind like black and white movie reels.  

The bear is going to push through the window, climb up on the bumper and spare tire, crash through the window and . . . . No, stop that movie!  Or the bear is going to give up and go away.

The BLT shudders. 

I stand poised in the aisle holding the air horn.  Do I need to get the gun?  As if the bear reads my thought, it gives up!   Suddenly it’s not in the window!

The antenna pole wobbles back into place.  I peer through the side window and watch as the bulky, black form lumbers across the field in the moonlight until it disappears into the woods.

I plop down on the bed in relief.

Bridget wakes up barking.  “It’s okay, honey.  It’s gone.  Thank God, it left.”

I’m in a state of adrenalin shock.  Well, no going back to sleep now.  I turn on the laptop to read the time.  4:30 a.m.   Might as well heat up a cup of coffee . . .

What a scare!  So that’s how fish in an aquarium feel when the cat is pawing the glass.  Gosh, the bear’s paw could’ve ripped right through the screen.  It was only a few inches away from the opening.   I think I’ll put bear spray on my next order with Amazon . . . .

Later that morning . . .

1-DSC05520Normalcy returns.  It’s another beautiful day at our camp.

1-DSC05697I measure from the top of the side window to the ground.  That bear was almost six feet tall standing up!

I walk around the field with the crew.  At the edge of the field I notice something has changed.

Hmm . . . That log wasn’t over there.  A depression in the earth, where the log used to be, is crawling with ants on the black dirt.

The bear!  The bear flung that log aside, probably looking for grubs.  That wasn’t curiosity shaking the BLT this morning.  That was hunger.

1-DSC05703

Here I am, day after day, thawing meat for the crew, browning slices of liver, dishing out sardines.  I should put a sign above the door of the BLT, “The Hungry Bear Cafe.”

rvsue

THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!

1-BlackBearBlack Bear

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278 Responses to Who’s that knockin’ at my door?

  1. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    Wow, I think I would had to change my Jammie’s! Glad he didn’t do any damage.

  2. B Beck says:

    AWESOME! You should write short stories … a reality series? Love the feeling you let flow through your writing!! I feel like I was there!! Thank you for my excitement tonight!! Wild!! Glad you all are well and safe! Now, how about telling it all from ‘the Crew’s” viewpoint?? They would tell on you!! <>

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The crew slept through all the excitement. Spike can’t hear and I guess Bridget thought the rocking was me. I don’t think her hearing is very good either. She probably picked up the scent that came in through the open window.

      Thanks for the great reaction to my story.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        She probably picked up on your fear.

        It is probably a good thing that they didn’t start barking. I don’t know how a bear would respond to that. The air horn probably would have convinced it to leave. I know that it would do that to me…

      • Gayle says:

        Your bear story was worthy of the tease. If you had run out of the BLT in a panic, you would have been running with a bear behind, so to speak.

  3. Gary Wood says:

    Glad you and the crew are safe. I had to laugh a few times, sorry, but it was more a relief I think. It was a worst nightmare scenario. I have seen what a bear can do ripping a car open, going inside and destroying it looking for food. This is one disadvantage of camping in areas with sparse humans population around 😉 Don’t mean to scare you Sue, it’s one of my nightmare scenarios too. Maybe you should get that bear spray and have it shipped next day 🙂
    Be safe, Gary

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I figured all it would take is for the glass to break and the food aroma would draw that bear right into the BLT.

      Until I can have bear spray shipped, I have my air horn handy as well as a pocket mace sprayer given to me by my niece when I set off for Texas to pick up the BLT.

  4. Paul-Montana says:

    Very cool post…like all of them. Thanks for the ride.

  5. Phyllis says:

    RVSue:
    This is your scariest post since the one where you were lost in the woods. I was even talking to a colleague about your current location, telling him that someday I would camp in that very spot.
    I am still shaking.
    Until your next episode, stay safe.
    Phyllis in Oklahoma

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, dear Phyllis, you can stop shaking now. That was Monday. It’s almost Thursday. No more visits by the bear. I am closing all windows when we go to bed, leaving only the ceiling vent open.

      Thanks for the wish for my safety.

  6. Caroline near Seattle says:

    WOW, how terrifying!!! I definitely would be changing my pajamas and the sheets after that experience.. Actually I’d have packed up and moved today!! I’m a chicken and not afraid to admit it.
    Take care.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Caroline . . . . If a place makes one uncomfortable, then it is best to move elsewhere.

      I didn’t anticipate this consequence of feeding the crew a raw meat diet!

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        I expect that the bear would have investigated no matter what the crew’s diet is. Whatever food you are producing for yourself or the crew will leave a scent that a bear would like…. omnivores that they are…

  7. Lee J in Northern California says:

    Oh my, I do believe that was a close one! Good thing old Smoky moved on…I bet he wasn’t used to finding his food in a little white trailer. They cause problems sometimes up in the places I camp, I take wasp spray, long reach might be handy.
    The air horn probably would have done the trick too! That made My heart give a thump, glad you and the crew are ok!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lee J,

      There are a lot of rigs tucked into Ashley National Forest. Most of the ones I see are empty. I wonder if the bears try to open them up.

      In our situation, I asked for a bear visit. It’s impossible to brown liver without the aroma escaping the BLT and bears have excellent noses.

  8. Bev says:

    This would have made me ____! They can smell food from a 5-7 mile radius. So happy you are o.k. and able to share your experience. Be safe!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Bev, for the kind message.

      This is “Boondock like you mean it” in action!

    • Linda says:

      What a great story! Airhorn will definitely work. I used one once while tent camping. Bear ran immediately. Stay safe!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I’m glad you shared your experience with an air horn and a bear, Linda. I hesitated to use it, wondering if it would enrage the bear.

  9. Elizabeth in S.E. NM says:

    Good Grief Girlfriend! What a sensational experience! While I wonder what I and
    my awesome Clyde cat would do in an identical situation….. I do not want to know
    experientially!!!! I have seen Grizzly’s from a safe and far distance….. Getting as close
    as you were does not appeal to me in the least…. even in a huge rig!

    You have my total respect and admiration! Hugz for you and your precious furkids from Elizabeth in SE NM….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth. . . In the moonlight I couldn’t identify the bear. Most probably it was a black bear as that is what roams Ashley National Forest. Thanks for the hugs and kind words.

  10. Did you tell the authorities??? IF a bear is bothering people they need to know about it as the next people might not be as lucky as you were….

    • Rhonda says:

      If she tells the authorities there is a very good chance the bear will be shot. It did nothing wrong. She just needs to get some bear spray and be very careful of her garbage.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Rhonda,

        The garbage may have been the problem, as well as the cooking aromas. I forgot to take it with me when we went on a day trip previous to the bear incident. I thought I was being careful . . . .

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rod,

      I understand where you’re coming from. One incident isn’t enough (for me anyway) to make a report. The bear was being a bear. I was the trouble-maker.

      • Diann in MT says:

        Good for you, Sue. I like your attitude.
        If people would take the extra steps to secure food and perhaps going to the length of changing the type of food one eats in bear country, there would be fewer bear encounters, and therefore unnecessary euthanizing.
        I am planning to camp in known bear country, and you can count on me to have plenty of single serving dried foods around–just like back-packing where one has to be extra careful about food prep and waste disposal.
        Your experience is enough to scare the Bejezzus out of me!
        Your courage to stay around is remarkable!

        • Kellee says:

          I like your attitude too. In bear country, you need to be prepared for bears. You did a great job holding it together – I would have jumped in the PTV and drove like &*^%$ out of there in pj’s!

  11. Love your negative photo! Terror in the BLT. Sounds like a low budget horror flick!

  12. Wendy says:

    You are one brave gal! I would have been hi-tailing it out of there at first light! Glad that you are safe!

  13. Teresa from NC says:

    Holy Bear, Batman!!!
    I wonder, with all the “excitement” that Spike has slept through, if he knew any of this after the fact, would he be peeved at missing it or thinking “thank goodness I was asleep?”
    I’m happy everything worked out in the end. It may have been monday, but it’s 1:09am on the east coast, and now I get to TRY to get some sleep! Jeepers creepers…& 6 ft tall bears:-)
    Teresa

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Teresa,

      When Spike got out of bed and went outside, I watched his behavior. He sniffed the ground by the BLT much longer than usual!

      I do estimate the bear at six feet. Since it wasn’t standing perfectly erect like the bear in the photo at the end of this post, but rather was hunched somewhat against the side of the BLT, it must’ve been close to six feet tall. It darkened the entire window and, like I wrote, the top frame of the window is six feet from the ground.

  14. Linda a. says:

    Moving might have been good option. Think about meeting up with ‘big bear’
    while you and the crew were outside or on a walk about. You were definitely
    in bear country! Yep, I would have moved on first thing ….. Be safe Sue. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda a.,

      Since the bear scare, the crew and I have taken walks in other areas like the “Aspen Nature Trail” off Hwy 191 a few miles south of here.

      Fortunately the nights are cool enough that we can sleep with the windows closed. The smell of food can still escape through the ceiling vent, but at least there’s glass or hard wall between us… more than screen alone. I’m surprised that bear missed the opportunity to stick its paw through that open window.

  15. DesertGinger says:

    Actually the lighting in the very first photo is a bit suspenseful…like a Hitchcock movie where you know the bad thing is going to happen….but when?!? Then the negative image is the perfect counterpoint.

    My friend Sheila awoke in her house in Wisconsin once, and wandered downstairs to find a bear in her kitchen! Scared the crap out of her. I don’t remember how she got it out. I am so not interested in getting up close with a bear.

    So happy all turned out well. I’m not sure if I would have had the guts to stay there. Maybe, it is such a pretty meadow.

    I don’t have much to report. Physical therapy came twice this week and kicked my a*$ both times. When she leaves I get really sore and swollen. But I have to do it…I don’t want to have a stiff knee. Can’t wait till I can get off the pain meds…I just hate them. I don’t feel myself, and have trouble focusing. Hopefully not too much longer…my pain is better daily, bit by bit.

    Love to all.

    • Tawanda (Ut) says:

      WTG DG, keep going but be patient with yourself don’t push against the river just go with it!!!
      (( ))
      T~

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, DesertGinger,

      No wonder you’re ready to put this entire ordeal behind you and get on with life. You have a good attitude about the physical therapy. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary.

      I hate that medicated feeling that comes with pain pills. I never was attracted to pot during the sixties when it seemed everyone was trying it. I like being alert, in control of my senses, and firmly planted in reality. I understand you not liking the pain meds. Soon you’ll be free of them.

      Love to you, too, Ginger, from the blogorino family.

      • DesertGinger says:

        Well, as you know I attend meetings so there was a time when I liked to be out of reality. But that time is over and I am very attached to taking each day as it comes, enjoying each moment. I do not like to feel numb at all! But…not crazy about pain either. Picky picky, that’s me. I’m the same about the weather! I prefer it no hotter than 85, no cooler than 55, not a lot of wind and sunny! Hahaha….and I get that a fair bit of the time. Have to work for it, but I get it. Seems like you feel similar Sue. A little rain is pleasant now and then, even the occasional thunder storm….but nothing scary or destructive. Gentle weather! And I’m picky about food. I guess I’m just a cranky old lady!

    • weather says:

      Dear heart touching brave Ginger,
      Remember that recovery unfolds it’s gifts over time,as it should.You will feel like yourself again.You will easily focus again.You will live without need of pain meds and therapy again.

      Allow the unfolding it’s time -please follow the professional’s advice to only ease off those things slowly,so you don’t suddenly risk your heart or limbs continued healing and strength.

      Soon enough you will be free of the pills and much else.For this moment,enjoy the freedom- from everything else -you have already overcome!

      • DesertGinger says:

        Thanks Weather…I’m doing my best to go with the flow. I keep envisioning myself bopping around, walking and dancing and having fun…on two good legs. Can’t wait for that! Well, I will wait cause I have to!
        Xoxoxo.

    • Cinandjules (NY) says:

      Glad to hear you are on the road to recovery. No pain no gain! Ice ice ice! And drink lots of H20…as those opiate derivative pain meds WILL make you constipated. (Sorry no beating around the bush on that one)

      Stool softeners and the pain meds don’t mix…

      Try to wean yourself off them slowly….going cold turkey is a recipe for a very disruptive mood. Kind of damned if you do damned if you don’t..pain or no pain but in a fog?

      Hang in there…

  16. Rhonda says:

    Hi Sue,
    I have been wondering if you carry bear spray on your walks with the crew. We live in bear county and have bears in our yard quite often. We live on the edge of town and would carry bear spray when we walked our dog at certain time of the year. You should always carry it. The bears never bother us but we do respect them, especially the Mother bears. The loud noise would probably scare him off. Bang a couple of pots together if nothing else. Do not know what you do with your garbage when you are cooking for the crew but if I have chicken bones or anything smelly I freeze it until garbage day. Get the bear spray but it really smells so be careful. You can carry it on your belt and should at all times. Stay safe. Love your posts. Your Canadian follower.

    • mockturtle says:

      I always carry bear spray when hiking or just out for a walk.

      Hey, Spike and Bridget! You are supposed to smell these things before they get so close! Shame on you for sleeping through a crisis! Some watchdogs you two are! 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rhonda . . . I promise to buy some bear spray. Freezing smelly garbage is a great idea. However, I don’t have room in my freezer to do that. I barely have enough room for the crew’s meat for extended boondocks.

      Thanks for caring enough to write suggestions and also for letting me know you love my posts. 🙂

  17. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Aren’t they prone to return?? I think I would be going down the road to a different spot at least!! I read that up around Lake Tahoe, and such places, due to the drought, the bears are loosing all fear of people and they are having to remove them. They are showing up places they never have in the past. Do be careful.

    That air horn sounds like a good idea…but I would not know. Do take care!! Bears are not to be trusted!!
    Elizabeth in WA

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      You’re right. Bears do tend to return to places where they’ve obtained food. Since we were camped here for several days without any bear visitors and none have visited since that incident, I don’t think there’s a bear problem here.

      Yes, I will be careful. Thanks for your concern. 🙂

  18. Kay says:

    Thinking…. I’ll stay hunkered down right here, behind this repair shop for another night or two!!!! Glad you are safe.

    Back in the early 80’s, we decided we take a little vacation and re-visit Glacier with my then, father and mother -in-law. Father in law had a pop up camper that held us all. Now, mind you I was not so certain about that popup camper because it was the kind that had the canvas tent like ends.

    Three years earlier, the then husband and I had lived in the Glacier area and I knew about the bears. Of course, “grandpa” as we called him once we had our first child, wasn’t scared one bit. I on the other hand on the third night had a sick sense that we should really move on. But, I could not get any supporters of my idea to move.

    So, long about 4AM, we are awoken by the sounds of a GUN SHOT and we spring straight up into a sitting position and the first thing I see…. there sits grandpa in his red shorts wearing cowboy boots holding a 357 and said to me “It was a bear coming for breakfast and I scared him away” within 2 seconds… I gathered our stuff and told Grandpa we can be found at the motel in St. Mary’s. We left. The next day we met up with Grandpa and he showed us damage from chasing the bear away.

    Be extra careful…. bears can really cause damage to your cute little BLT.

    (Thank goodness Spike was asleep and could not hear the bear, I can see his hair stand up! He really has retired.)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kay,

      Funny story to read. . . Not so funny at the time, I’m sure. I can see Grampa in his red underwear and gun. . . 🙂

      Did he stay camped there? I don’t like those campers with the soft-sided “wings.” They give a false sense of security. I see families with them a lot. Put the little kids to bed in the “wings” and wait for the bear to arrive for dinner. . .

      Spike would’ve gone nuts! I admit that sometimes I’m relieved that his hearing is gone. Thanks for the story, Kay. Best wishes on the repair issues.

      • Kay says:

        No, grandpa pulled stakes when the sun came up and met up with us. It was the last time I ever agreed to vacation with him and that camper! The best and funniest part of that whole ordeal, was the 6′ skinny grandpa sitting cross legged in those red shorts holding the gun. I will never forget it. It was the end of our camping in “bear-ability camper”.

        • Gayle says:

          Reminds me of my in-laws camping in a pop-up. A bear came by that night and ate all the breakfast food stored under the pop-up with the exception of the BEAR CLAWS pastry!

  19. BadgerRickInWis says:

    Love how you used the high contrast B&W and the negative photos to set the mood and then followed them up with images of happy nutcakes frolicking in the meadow the next morning. Wonderfully done.

    So glad that everyone is OK, scary stuff but as always you seem to have handled it with amazing aplomb. I understand that nothing short of getting a little propane stove and cooking outside would get rid of the smell of cooked liver but I’m curious how you store your garbage. I think it was Sebastian at simplelivingandsimpletravel.com that did a post on how he handles his garbage in bear country. He double bags and ties everything that can’t be burned then places it in a tight fitting plastic container and keeps it in the tow vehicle.

    As a backpacker I’ve gone to great lengths in the past to hang my food in a bear bag. Not always easy when one is close to tree line. Also when tent camping in bear country I always avoid any kind of greasy meat, that would be hard for you with the two paleo puppies.

    It sounds like you are aware that it was the food smells that attracted him/her to the BLT and I’m sure you will make adjustments accordingly. So please understand that I’m not saying that you’re doing anything wrong, just passing along some information gleaned from the net.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rick,

      Thanks for appreciating my photo mood-changers. I couldn’t end the post on a down note. Nothing like dogs in a field and light through a few aspens to brighten things up!

      I’ve become lax in my habits. I have a plastic bin in the PTV for sealing up garbage as you explained Sebastian does. However, over time the lid became cracked and wouldn’t fit tightly. I always double-bag garbage.

      Because the bin is no longer air-tight, I put the garbage bag in the bathroom of the BLT, behind the toilet, keeping the window and ceiling vent closed in there. With the bathroom door almost always closed, I thought that would be good enough. Probably not.

      I’d guess cooking odors waft far enough and linger long enough for a bear’s acute sense of smell.

      I do need to replace that bin with a new one. You (and the bear) have reminded me to take care of that!

      • klbexplores says:

        I can only imagine what the sound of the horn going off in the PTT would have sounded like!!!! Oh MY!! I bought a 5 gallon bucket at a home improvement store and instead of the snap on lid which do lose their seal or crack with repeated use, I purchased a lid that snaps on and another lid fits into the center by screwing into it. It has lasted a long, long time since there is no stress on it and it seals in the smells. As a precaution when animals might be around, I store it in the truck cab and dump at the earliest opportunity. Just left North Fork Campground near Randle, WA. Loved it!!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You were at North Fork? Isn’t that a great campground! The moss and ferns… lovely… not to mention the banana slugs!

  20. Tawanda (Ut) says:

    Saaa-weet, had a feeling the ‘Terror’ was bear related 😉 Reading this was like being there with you (as are most all your posts), the pictures are great easy to see what it must have looked like in the wee hrs of the morning with the full moon… Quite the reality ck as you said, seems closing the windows worked, it’s probably good the crew slept thru it…
    Until Soon,
    T~

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Tawanda,

      I was glad both Bridget and Spike missed the action. Boy, it takes a lot to get Bridget out of a deep sleep!

      Thanks for the compliment — A writer (even a lowly blogger) always likes to hear that a reader felt “this was like being there with you.”

  21. Patsy from Ontario Canada - North says:

    Great post, woke me up when I read it.. I also live in bear country – black bears, always in the yard eating the grass in the fields. Respect, but there are so many of them now and food shortages, they look for easy food. Once they have it in their head there is food, they are relentless, friends have bear wire on their house. So glad everything worked out. Ps tried pots and pans with a big bear and just aggravated him, but the horn would have probably worked. Keep an eye out on the crew. So glad you are all ok. Take care be safe. Happy camping.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Patsy,

      Bear wire? I never heard of it. Boy, that’s bear country when you have to wire your house.

      I was afraid the air horn would aggravate this bear. That’s why I hesitated. If it didn’t leave in the next second or two, I would’ve used it. Once I pushed that button, Bridget’s screaming barks would enter the scenario.

      Thank you for the wish for our safety and happy camping.

  22. Noelle says:

    Good grief – so glad he was lazy and gave up. I am recently considering solo RV travel in a couple years when I retire and have been enjoying reading your blog. I travelled solo in a VW camper during college breaks so I know I’d enjoy it. In thinking what RV I would want now I always remember how safe I felt, being able to hop up into the drivers seat and leave should there be any trouble, so I’m leaning towards getting a class B van this time around. And yes – during those college travels I had a similar bear encounter in Tennessee! He stood up against the camper repeatedly, rocked it from several sides, but also lost interest – he did tear my window screens. I kept the dusty paw prints on the side of the camper as a momento for as long as they lasted!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Noelle,

      Congratulations on making the decision to solo RV! It’s wonderful to see retirement as a chance to make changes and live differently, instead of simply not working.

      Class B vans are nice. I question basing the decision on the mythical need to escape trouble. (In almost 3 yrs. that situation has never arisen for me and I have never heard it occurring for anyone else.) I assume you have other reasons to choose a B, because, as you know, the rig determines how you will RV. It’s a big decision!

      You have time to do your research in order to find your perfect rig. I wish you the best as you prepare. Thanks for dropping in and sharing your bear scare story!

  23. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    I can’t remember if I ever told my bear spray story….if so delete. A group of us went up to Glacier to do a west-to-east backpack trip. The trail we were on was rarely used and we were warned about grizzlies. We all carried bear spray, the super jumbo size, and most everyone had .45 cal Glocks. We had to ford the Flat Rock River which at the time was running fast but still wide. Once we reached the other side, we were taking a break to dry off and put our hiking boots back on. The leader of the pack, Tom, went off in the bushes for his morning constitutional. I told Gunther, Tom’s 16 year old, that we should test our bear spray so we would be ready. He agreed. So, we removed the safety tabs and were shooting shorts sprays to see how it would feel and get an idea for distance. Soon after, we heard Tom coughing up a storm. We asked him if he was OK. He said he was suddenly overtaken and was having trouble breathing and his eyes were stinging. I looked at Gunther as he looked at me and we both burst out laughing as it appeared that our spray had drifted over to where Tom was doing his business. He was OK and it wore off pretty quickly. We explained what happened and he shrugged it off and said it was a good thing to have tested the spray and after that everyone tested theirs as well.

    We never did see any bears, but did see some monstrous footprints and deer carcasses. The trip was fantastic, but it was the hardest trail I had ever hiked.

    • mockturtle says:

      I accidentally deployed mine once and coughed for half an hour. I was coughing so hard I wet my pants. It’s potent stuff.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Oh dear, mockturtle…. Wetting one’s pants is very high on the Distress Scale!

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        Sorry Mock, but that made me laugh. Not quite enough to wet mine, but this is one of those things that become more of a risk as the years pass… LOL

      • Cinandjules (NY) says:

        Oh dear!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nothing like zapping a friend with bear spray while he’s relieving himself. You’ve come a long way in the social skills department, John. LOL!

      It’s fun reading all these bear stories. I’m happy my post triggered this memory for you.

  24. Strelsi says:

    In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear confrontations, the Montana Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and be alert for bears while in the field. …We advise that outdoorsmen wear small bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren’t expecting them, and to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter….

    It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain lots of berries and fur. Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in it and smells like pepper.

  25. Chas anderson says:

    Up here in Pennsy, a bear climbed 12 feet up my vinyl siding to get to a bird feeder.Claws went in like a can opener and he ripped 8 rows of siding right off.Then we saw him gulping down the hummingbird nectar like a cold beer.Otherwise, black bears are pretty easily spooked.The air horn would have worked.Pretty scary in a tin can though.

    Do you know the state with the most bears per square mile?

    New Jersey…… has more bear problems than anywhere else.Used to live there.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Chas,

      Well, I’m glad the BLT is fiberglass and not vinyl siding! Your comment and others about the air horn have taught me to use it immediately if another bear shows up at our window. I was afraid it would rile the bear. If they’re “easily spooked,” then an air horn should be very effective.

    • Gayle says:

      Do those bears look something like Chris Christy?

  26. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Oh my! I would’ve been terrified. I’m glad you have the air horn and gun, just in case. Please, please move to another area. That bear will be back if he’s that hungry. I’m so glad you are all OK.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Move to another area because of the bear? No way! We may have to move to dump tanks. I’ll stay as long as we can. I love it here!

  27. cindy says:

    Just Holy Crap!

  28. Gayle at As Time Goes.....Bye says:

    How terrifying it must have been for you. So happy to hear all is well. Maybe it’s time to change camps, a hungry bear in the area isn’t safe. Be careful Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Change camps! But it’s perfect here!

      In mid-July until fall, I need natural air conditioning. I get that in the forests on mountains and that’s where bears live. If I run from this bear, I’m quite possibly running toward another. 🙂

  29. BuckeyePatti (OH) says:

    Holy Toledo! I would have been scared shitless (excuse my french). I’m putting 1 air horn and 1 can of bear spray at the top of my shopping list. So it was the liver that drew him in. Remind me never to cook liver while boondocking! Loved the black & white pic and the negative one of the BLT/PTV is downright spooky. You sure know how to set a scene 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Patti,

      You Ohioans sure do love Toledo! 🙂

      I don’t know what attracted the bear, although cooking liver is quite smelly.

      What’s “downright spooky” is something I figured out after the bear incident. When one lives with a dog 24/7, one learns to distinguish different barks. Bridget let out her “scream barks” at the bear.

      I was sitting around thinking about the incident when I realized Bridget made that same “scream bark” two nights previous to the morning of the bear. The three of us had stepped outside around 1 a.m. for their usual potty break. I had the door light on. Spike was wearing his red collar light.

      I thought Bridget’s scream-bark was for a deer in the dark, maybe an possum or some other harmless creature. Now I’m wondering if it had been the bear. I casually picked her and Spike up, tossed them back into the BLT, and we went back to sleep.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        hummm… maybe. Interesting idea. Does she do this every time something scares her? (and then there is the question of how many things scare her?)

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          That bark is when there is danger and she wants it to go away because it frightens her. I’m paying attention to her barks more closely these days. If she scream-barks again, I’m grabbing the air horn!

          • Elizabeth in WA says:

            Especially if you are out in the wee hours and pitch dark!! I have no idea if this might help…but we found some very large chimes that blow in the wind…and hung them on our porch, near where our car is parked…hoping to help keep crows away (they seem to have dead aim at our car…nasty things)…well, have been using for maybe over a month now….and so far, so good. I wonder if you hung that near your rig, and if the wind blows some at night…it that would help keep bears away??

  30. weather says:

    Good morning Sue,
    Wow,talk about times of intensity!Cold terror stops time dead in it’s tracks…when the importance of every detail becomes magnified.In those moments,as well as in hindsight,nothing is insignificant.Your already being awake-thereby having the where with all to slide the window shut to make the inviting odor “disappear” and no longer worth pursuing…the crew being still ,rather than anything that would have made the bear more interested.

    It seems at times we could trace the connection of contributing factors to an events outcome endlessly.Eventually,those memories lend teaching or peace.Both,whether received with gratitude or remorse,leave us with only one good alternative for the moment.LIVE!

    Aromas made as we give those we love what they need-…,-hope and faith in providence from Him-…these and all else send invitations that cause visits in our journey-with wonder at being given the opportunity to be on it-

    As we enjoy coffee this morning,I wish you breathtaking experiences through it all.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      I did enjoy your comment this morning over coffee. This post generated a lot of early responses! I’m sorry I didn’t respond to them all right away. The crew and I had a lot to do today and I wanted an early start. I answered the comments in the order they arrived and then quit, otherwise it would be noon before I knew it!

      Yes, I have learned from looking back at the bear incident and from what readers have shared. That was a “breathtaking experience!” And when one comes away from danger unharmed, it is a reminder to live each day fully and with gratitude.

      I hope your day has been a delight or fun or memorable or anything good!

      • weather says:

        Thank you,my day was all those things,and a lot got done as well.Besides early responses,I know this post generated a lot of prayer for your continued safety and well being.Sleep well and peacefully at this good day’s end 🙂

  31. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts., VA says:

    Sue, I understand the Black and white photos. Here, the bears are hungry and are in places they have not been before. I live in the Mountains and used to back pack, have seen many bears. Had a bad scare about a month ago while tent camping. The bear grabed my tent and bent it at the shock cords almost down, It ended up on my lap, I pushed and yelled, it went away for a moment then back again. Grabbed my sleeping bag and went for the car, there it was in the moonlight. Yelled again and was able to get into the car. It would not go away. Fell asleep to be awaken in the morning with the bear in the hood of my car. It stood up and showed all his dental work. I had no camera…duhhh…slammed on the horn…he went away. Car hood is dented and scratched, tent has slobber on two corners and hole where he bit through. I know this was aggressive behavior, territorial…unusual…. hunger took him over. So I can relate to your night visitor. Yes if they smell food in your camper they will try to get in. I beleive the air horn to be an excellent thing for you to have. There is some great research on Black Bear behavior on the net by reliable source … I searched Unusual Black Bear Behavior…Found a lengthy research article on Fatal Black Bear Attacks for Wildlife Management. Interesting read, maybe a few weeks from now. Respect them, because they are not always docile under extreme circumstances. Glad all is well and no one harmed including trailer. Take Care

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good grief, Diane! It’s scary enough when there’s nothing but a pane of glass between you and a bear, but outside with nothing but a collapsed tent? You “pushed and yelled”? That’s way too close!

      Readers write that I’m brave. Well, I’m not brave enough to sleep in a tent in bear country. Not something I would ever do!

      Thanks for sharing your bear story. Whew! That’s the stuff of nightmares . . .

  32. Sue (Alabama) says:

    WOW!! So glad things turned out just right! Your story and pictures were wonderful, I would have blown that air horn just so he would leave and hopefully not come back.
    Brings back a time we were camping at Lake Trinity in North Calif. Ten of us sleeping outside on blowup beds, all San Jose police, night vision goggles and guns next to us!! We wake up to a noise, thinking our kids were out of their tents we just listen, use the goggles and there are two bears that had gotten into a couple of bags of candy sitting on ground eating!! They were about 20′ away!
    So glad all turned out great for you and the fur babies!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Haha! Those bears hit the mother lode! I bet the kids were annoyed when they discovered their candy had been eaten.

      Thanks for the compliment on the story and pictures, Sue. I enjoyed your story, too!

  33. Nan & John says:

    Now, that was exciting! Glad you three are safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Nan and John . . . Yes, it was exciting! Funny how blog material comes knockin’ . . . .

  34. Jean/Southaven, MS says:

    I am glad Spike wasn’t out doing his business when the bear paid a visit. Bears are scarry. Please get some bear spray soon. The wasp spray sounded good too. It will shot a long way. I don’t know how far bear spray will shoot. I would want something that would give me a good head start on my running. You are very fortunate that you haven’t had a visit before now though. Thanks for the story and stay safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Jean,

      I promise to order some bear spray. I wouldn’t use it for “a good head start on my running” though. (Running is the worst thing you can do when in the presence of a predator animal.) I figure I’m in good shape with bear spray and an air horn and a gun (which I’d do everything I could to avoid using on an animal!).

      Thanks for the wish for my safety.

  35. Dawn says:

    So glad you and the crew are okay! Your story gave me a fright and then Strelsi gave me a laugh. I’m very glad you didn’t have to resort to any measures, that all was unharmed, but I think I agree with some of the others, I would have been packing and moving camp the minute it was light – you got some cajones girlfriend!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      I can understand that some folks would react by moving away and quickly. Maybe that is the best thing to do. Who knows? Time will tell.

      Letting this incident spoil a camp I’ve come to love is not my way. My life seems to play out better if I make decisions based on confidence and faith, rather than on worry and fear.

      Always good to hear from you, Dawn! I appreciate your gladness for me and the crew.

      • DesertGinger says:

        This is such a good post! I love the idea of making decisions on confidence and hope, rather than fear and denial. Perhaps you will occasionally wind up with a bad decision but I bet the odds are dramatically reduced.

  36. Susan in Dallas says:

    Great story, even greater outcome! I’m impressed that you must have had your air horn within arm’s reach, ready to use. Fumbling around for it would not have been good.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan . . . .Your comment made me smile. It’s nice that I impressed you. However, EVERYTHING in the BLT is within arm’s reach! Storage drawers line the side opposite our bed. All I had to do was pull one open and grab the air horn.

  37. Fred Wishnie says:

    Boy, that must have been scary! One of the things I just read about when there is an intruder trying to get into your rig is to press the panic button on your car remote. That activates the lights and horn and should help.
    Good luck,
    Fred

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great suggestion, Fred! Thanks.

      I can’t use it because the PTV doesn’t have a remote, but there may be readers who will take note.

  38. Robert says:

    What! no photo of Yogi?……….he was just looking for Boo Boo and the pick~a~nick basket they heisted earlier. Im sure he took off when he saw the park ranger coming, lol.

    I do suggest the bear spray, just don’t spray it in the BLT or you might get a dose to and that wouldn’t be fun.

    I gun would be a last resort but if nothing else works and you have one don’t be afraid to use it.

    You might be or rethinking boondocking……….I wouldn’t, I think campgrounds get more bear visitation because of sloppy campers and their poor trash and food handling.

    This bear seems to have paid a visit more out of curiosity as to what the jelly bean on wheels was all about. (BLT) or maybe he was confused and thought it meant “bacon, lettuce and tomato” “to go”………..I gotta poke some fun!

    Have fun and enjoy all that comes from adventure and the great outdoors, because it sure beats reading about it in a book.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Robert,

      That’s right — no photo. If I picked up a camera (while that bear was pawing at the window and rocking the BLT) in order to have photos for this blog, well, it’s time to take away my laptop!

      No, this bear wasn’t curious about the BLT. This bear was on a mission… to find dinner! I’ve seen that look before on my ex-husband.

      Rethink boondocking?!!?! Hell, NO! This is RVSue, remember? Boondock like you mean it and all that . . . 🙂

      You have fun, too, Robert. BTW, which Robert ARE you? Help me out here with a hint.

      • Robert says:

        The long haul trucker from NE Oregon, ive been reading your blog for about a year and a half now, forget now how I even stumbled across it, but it’s part of my everyday routine now to check and see where your at and what kind of trouble your getting into…..lol……..you make my day.

        Im the guy that has one of those nasty quad runners, but remember mine is a tool not a toy, remember me now?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Yep, thanks a lot. Maybe in the future you could add something to your name… Oregon Robert…. Long Haul Robert . . . anything to help me connect.

          • Robert NE Oregon says:

            ok i’ll do that!

            • Robert, in it for the long haul says:

              ok now I have thought of one, In it for the long haul

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Thank you, Robert, for the very personal message you sent to me. I read it very carefully and appreciate your good advice. I agree with everything you wrote. I had a similar experience. I asked and received an answer that removed all doubt. We are blessed. 🙂

            • Robert, in it for the long haul says:

              Yep we are, and we must continue, and still have fun at the same time, I just wanted you to know that God see’s how hard you are working and he is smiling, it takes ever so much energy to just do your job these days and be a good human being and a good role model for others, it’s an uphill battle these days. My days are not numbered or I don’t feel so, I receive energy by getting off my ass and telling a good soul that she is doing well and as one human to another and has found her niche in doing Gods works and getting payback in the same life while living it.
              My comment as to Flowers and your love of them and nature were not meant as a slam, I just have a different way of experessing myself as you do and I see the same beauty in Gods creations that you and others do, it’s so simple but sooooo complex at the same time.

              I had great parents that opened the doors to my life as far as a life that included God in living it, they never even knew what a Pandora’s box they opened.

              My father did tell me a a saying not his own and way before his death and his father before him told him…………All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to sit idle and do nothing! ive found that so much the truth in life! If God wasnt as what he was cracked up to be, how could people like us still communicate.

              I just felt a need to communicate on your blog and I have my own way of humor that I knew you wouldn’t toss and a way……an honesty of telling you so with a knowledge that you have creative (what ever the hell it’s called)……oh yeah. Licence! as to what ever is put out there.

              If you haven’t realalized, Gods a God of perfect timing and has never failed in doing so.
              by my telling you this it’s only to yet again bolster what you already know.

              I always told God and still do today I don’t want to be dead to see what you wanted and what you promised, I took you at your word and you did me and didn’t blink an eye.

              Let me remind you of the movie, “it’s a wonderfull life” a man feeling overwhelmed by life and doing right and was shown that his efforts weren’t in vain!

              Some of the best music I remember is Gunfighter balleds by Marty Robbins, like when the” master calls” or “Elpaso” or even weirder when the new song came out el paso city……..wow that will set you back! these songs are so old now, but command so much attention when listened to by the user.

              I have nothing else to tell you, no advise in your belief, no great stories to tell, just to let you know that God hears all things, I warned you about getting your bearings packed and so did another guy……….it’s a guy thing…………were mechanical minded and look after women that we see that might be overlooking the obvious, it aint gonna work forever and needs attention. so will your engine, just put away where you can and save for the day that it serves it’s last day, again it’s a guy thing! lol

              I look forward to your next post and it means a lot as it does to theirs in so many ways and you found a way to enjoy life as you live it and so have I.

              Enjoy, live life and prosper, no…………my names not Spock and I don’t fly a starship.
              just know that one man on the face of the planet took the time to craft a letter to bolster you views.

              Robert

  39. Marilu says:

    Hi Sue,
    What a wonderful story teller you are. The setting of the story and the progression of photos is perfect. What an experience! I don’t agree with some others that you should necessarily move because of the bear. It was acting with curiosity but not aggression. You boondock in bear country and they are out there whether you see them or not. One idea just occurred to me. How about cooking up a big batch of liver sometime when you are not in bear habitat, dividing it up in portions and freezing it. Then you could just thaw enough for the crew’s dinner without sending out tempting signals to nearby bears. I’m glad you didn’t use bear spray to scare away the bear. Some of it might have ended up inside the BLT, you all would have been coughing and gasping for air. You might have all ended up needing to run outside just to breath! I’m going to go to amazon and look for an airhorn before our trip into the Sierras next month. That sounds like a perfect bear deterent. Can’t wait for more of your adventures.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marilu,

      It’s nice to read someone agrees with my choice to stay. You’re right – I “boondock in bear country and they are out there whether you see them or not.”

      That’s an appealing idea… cooking up a batch of liver while away from bears. Of course, that may be a while as I want to keep cool during the summer and high forest bear country is where we will camp.

      A link to a horn is below in Micky’s comment. If that one doesn’t suit you, use the Amazon search box in the sidebar.

      Thanks for writing, Marilu.

  40. Hi Sue,
    I’m purchasing this through your site right now. Has good reviews. Maybe you could add it to your amazon list.

    Falcon Safety Push Button Horn

  41. Illinois Jane says:

    OMG, Sue, what a scare! Wow! I felt it just reading about it! So glad the bear gave up and hip, hip hurray for your BLT! (of course, I would hope and expect it to hold up to that, but…) My thoughts, too, were, please move to a safer place.

    When I head to the open road, if I’m not so lucky to have a friend give me an air horn, I’ll buy one for sure.

    That was an interesting and astute comment you made yesterday about males. I love ’em, they are wonderful and you’re dead on. Yup, it’s my little Casita and I can only be sure something is done right if I do it. Just had a little refresher course!

    So glad you’re all OK.
    Jane

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m glad you and your Rose Bower are okay, too, Jane.

      Yes, my friend Lynn who gave me the air horn and adopted Janie is a very thoughtful and practical person. I miss her!

      Hmm… I don’t know where a safer place is. 😉

  42. loraceel says:

    Holy cow! I’m living vicariously through you.. my stomach was churning when I read your post. Be safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, loraceel… Stomach churning… That’s not the reaction I was going for. Sorry about that! LOL!

  43. Rob says:

    Bears!
    Back when I was working at the front end shop in Minnesota a couple came in to ask the owners his opinion on some tires they had repaired on vacation in Montana. While they were hiking a bear had bitten several of their tires while the car was parked at a trail head parking lot.
    I’m glad it worked out!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      A tire-biting bear? Now I’ve heard everything. Maybe they drove through a berry patch. 😉

      Thanks for sharing your bear story, Rob.

  44. Mick'nTN says:

    And I think the “Promo” was spot on!

  45. Teri in SoCal says:

    Maybe the bear wants to full time, and had a few questions regarding the PTV/BLT setup. He might have been checking out your solar panels.

    I think you should post this on a big sign near your campsite.

    PLEASE, NO DROP IN VISITS. THANK YOU!

    All kidding aside, I am so glad that everything turned out ok.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Teri,

      I forgot to put my “Allen Party” sign out front! I know… I’ll make a sign of a picture of a bear’s face, draw a circle around it with a diagonal line… “No Bears Allowed.”

  46. Talk about terror!! It was very difficult to read this. So very glad that you and the crew were able to weather the event and everyone is safe:) What an experience!!! Thank goodness he didn’t do any damage.

  47. RachelDLS says:

    “Sweet Jesus, don’t let that window break.”

    My dear friend, you were definitely calling out the right name! Your story makes me wonder now about a night when my van was rocked twice, hard. It was earlier this spring in a fairly remote area. Macha and I both woke up with the first shake and I wondered if I had imagined it, but Macha was doing her low, ‘something bad is out there’ growl. When that second bump bounced the van around, I too, was calling on the good Lord and praying it was just a nosy cow. But I never saw who was knocking on my door.

    I don’t even want to think about actually Seeing who was knocking! Talk about terrifying! I am so glad you are okay!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rachel,

      It’s very likely that your van was rocked by a bear, especially since it happened at night. Cows aren’t the night prowlers like bear are.

      I’m glad you’re okay, too!

      • Robert NE Oregon says:

        Sue the cows are the ones responsible for night van shaking events, it’s their revenge for the cow tipping that the teenagers were doing in the past, they figure turnabout is fair play.

  48. Shelia says:

    So glad you and the crew are safe. I had a scare with a black bear in Eastern Oklahoma one summer while tent camping with a Sierra Club group. Perhaps Casita can now advertise their trailers as “bear resistant”. :o)

  49. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Good morning, Sue,

    All I can say is HOLY CRAP!!!! Did you pee your pants?! I would have!!!!

    I’m glad Smokey decided to give up on getting into your little egg and went elswhere. Whew!

    Have a good day – back to work at da job for me! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Inquiring minds want to know if I peed my pants. Sheesh. NOOOO…. I did not.

      Now that we got that out of the way… Thanks for the sweet message. I’m a little late replying. I hope your day went well, Denise. 🙂

  50. Applegirl NY says:

    Wow, just wow! Love the photos, too – RV Sue meets the X Files!

  51. JodeeinSoCal says:

    Most excellent story-telling! Once again I think Casita should pay you for selling the stability and safety of their trailers “Bear Tested, RVSue Approved!”
    I too wondered about the trailers that are left in that area unattended and think you’re right about the lack of food smells keeping them “un-interesting”. Glad you didn’t have to use the air horn – I bet Bridget would have heard that!!! I’m wondering if shining a light in his/her eyes would deter or just make mad?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, JodeeinSoCal,

      From what readers write here, I get the impression it wouldn’t take much to scare off the bear. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time. I was hesitant to do anything, thinking I might make the bear angry.

  52. Sally says:

    Holy crap!

  53. PJ Crim says:

    I’m glad your “bear visit” ended without damage to you, the dogs or the trailer. And it wouldn’t hurt to try to limit food odors, but unless you want to go to freeze dried food, the bears will be able to smell your food and garbage. I saw a test where bears could smell tuna through a sealed tin can from a couple of miles away. So I’m pretty sure it will be impossible to completely rid yourself of food odors. Better to enjoy your food and have defense ready in case a bear investigates you again. But I will say that the behavior of this bear is “habituated” and it has probably gotten food in the past from people’s camps and it would be wiser to move on. In 2010 we were camped outside of Crested Butte, Colorado and planning to start a backpacking trip up the valley the next morning when my husband went to gather sticks to start our evening campfire. He saw a bear getting into the tent at the next campsite (it was almost dark.) We moved our camp and did not sleep there that night, nor did we backpack up that particular valley the next day. I have been checking online for bear problems in that area the last few years because we really want to take that trip. And this is the year, in fact just last night I found my notes from that trip and re-read them! Now I’m questioning whether your encounter was a warning and if we should wait a couple of years. They are still having problems at that campground, but not in the backcountry…..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, PJ,

      I think you make a good point about food smells. If a bear can smell through a tuna can, well… there isn’t much one can do.

      You are brave to backpack in bear country! Interesting comment. Thanks for writing.

  54. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    I am very thankful that this happened at night, while you and the Crew were snug inside the PLT. If this had been during the day, with Bridget and Spike trying to defend their home….just the thought sends shivers down my spine.

    Glad you have that firearm, just in case. Do you keep the PTV keys in the trailer? Not sure if that model has key fob – if so, hitting the alarm would sound the horn.

    So glad and thankful that you survived the TERROR. You sure were’nt just baiting us with the preview of the upcoming post! Oh, and what I admire the MOST about this whole situation is that you dealt with it, and went back to enjoying your camp. You go, girl! You truly give those of us wannabees and hopeful future trailer owners the confidence to go explore – be prepared – and enjoy all that comes with the journey. Thank you, Sue!

    Any damage to the window screens or scratches on the trailer?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Denise,

      No damage to window screens or to the BLT. Only some slobber on the back window . . .

      The PTV doesn’t have a key fob to sound an alarm. I think I’m safe in saying that bears come investigating campsites mostly at night or early morning. Wild critters tend to rest during the day and prowl at night.

      About going back to enjoying our camp . . . . I don’t ever want to make a decision based upon fear. When presented with a LIKELY threat (like an approaching forest fire, for instance), sure I’ll retreat. However, boondocking in a forest is something I love and want to continue. Bears are part of that.

  55. Terri From Texas says:

    Hi
    Gotta put my 2cents in as well. Rangers at the Natl. Parks will tell you-if you are hiking or out in the open and are confronted by a bear never ever run from it. Try and face it down. If it rushes at you drop to the ground and be as still as possible. It might even drag you away but remain quiet. Many people with the stamina to do this have survived. If you run you instantly become prey. Glad you are ok Sue. Did you even think of your gun at the time?

  56. Lolalo says:

    Geez! What a nail-biter!
    You portrayed the scene very well with the photos. These added to the TERROR of the moment.
    Of course, I am SO thankful that all turned out well. I am a lot like you – I think I would have handled the situation the same way. But heed the warning and get a new covered basket for the PTV. And get your bear spray. We selfishly want the saga of another day in the life of RV Sue to continue! And what a life you are LIVING! I admire you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Lolalo. I promise to get some bear spray and new containers. I appreciate the feedback on the photos. I wanted to add a bear looking in the window in the second photo, or maybe standing OVER the BLT, but my connection was too slow to do all that fussing around. It could’ve been pretty cool though . . .

  57. Terri From Texas says:

    I just reread your post. Yes you did think of your gun. Glad you didn’t have to use it.

  58. Cherie from OH says:

    Did ya read Bob’s recent post (cheaprvliving) about the bear whisperer? That gave me chills, but your experience was just way too close for comfort. Sure glad he gave up and you and the crew are safe. I’m guessing he chose to enter the back window because it is the biggest. I think I would consider having bars installed over that window or maybe all of them if I was going to camp in bear country very often. Be safe!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cherie,

      Yes, I’ve been keeping up with Bob’s posts. Those Alaskan bears are beautiful!

      Bars on the windows of this little house? I’d feel like a caged animal. Besides, one of my favorite things is looking out these big windows at my latest “yard.”

  59. Ron in TX says:

    Maybe the bears last name was Allen and he was just coming for the party.
    Ron

  60. Goodness that was scary! So glad that you’re all okay.

  61. Alan Rabe says:

    Hi, Sue. Sounds like fun. This is what camping is all about, meeting the local inhabitants. Black bears can be found just about everywhere, you have been a little fortunate to not encounter one sooner. The California sierras are full of them. So it is possible you can meet one in the Alabama hills and all points north. They are pretty much docile animals and will run at the slightest provocation. However they can smell food of any kind, even can goods, so don’t think you did anything that could attract them. I chased a mother and 2 cubs away with just a hiking stick and yelling. They rarely ever attack humans, unless they feel their cubs are threatened.
    But still no need to tempt fate. You could have used the flash of your camera to chase it away too. Like I said they run at the first encounter of resistance. Now Griz, that’s another whole issue entirely, I think they drink bear spray for lunch, and eat the owner for supper.
    Love and best wishes .

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Alan,

      It’s fun in hindsight. Not so much when the outcome is uncertain!

      You drove away a mother bear and two cubs with a stick? Well, I suppose you didn’t have much choice. Ya do whatcha gotta do!

      I appreciate the information on bears. I’ll use scare tactics on the next one that comes along.

    • Gayle says:

      … and poop out the bells.

  62. Shelly says:

    Wow Sue, this is both terrifying and exciting at the same time! I really admire your independence and spunk. It’s so much fun reading about your adventures. Eventually, I plan on hitting the road full time. So much life to live out there. Be safe 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Shelly,

      That’s a good description.. “terrifying and exciting at the same time.” I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying our episodes. It’s always sumpthin’ with me and the crew!

  63. Maura says:

    Great photo suspense! Loved it LOL! I would have started blowing that air horn immediately! Glad that hungry bear didn’t disturb spikes sleep (maybe deafness works well for slumber!) Great post!

    Maura

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Maura,

      Spike does sleep very well these days. I’m glad there’s a benefit from his hearing loss.

      Glad you enjoyed the suspense of this story!

  64. AZ Jim says:

    Well Missy you reminded me of a similar situation that happened to me up in the Northern California mountains in 1956. I was tent camping out in the wilds with no place to stash my food but a small cooler. It was outside my tent a few yards. About 3am I awoke to a clattering noise and some growling sounds. I peeked out of the tent flap and saw a huge bear working on my cooler. I had no air horn, no bear spray, no gun. I laid back down, tried to control my breathing and waited. Soon the noises seemed further away, I looked out again and no cooler, no bear. I figured it prudent to stay put until daylight and in the morning I found my destroyed cooler about 50 yards from my camp location. No food. End of trip. I had no food and I was a long way from stores. I called it quits and packed up all the while thankful that the bear had not taken an interest in the small popup tent containing one trembling, terrified man. And now you know why most of my boondocking adventures were in more substantial domains. Truck campers, travel trailers, small motorhomes…..I’ve done ’em all. But back then I had only my popup tent and a complete lack of brains.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Gee, Jim. That was awfully thoughtful of you to go all the way up into the north California mountains to bring food for the bears. That’s taking Meals-On-Wheels to the extreme! LOL!

      Yeah, I’m with you…. No soft-sided camper or tent for Missy!

      One of the campers that has been sitting empty since the crew and I came to this camp is now occupied. It’s one of those pop-up campers with the soft bed “wings.” I hope he makes it through the night.

      • Marsha in MI says:

        There are some campgrounds near Yellowstone that prohibit soft-sided campers and tents of any sort due to bear activity.

  65. Chris B says:

    Wow! I think that’s right up with with any “think you could possible be killed” experience. I could feel my heart pounding when you discovered that it was a bear and the window was open and he wasn’t giving up. Generally, the brown ones just want food but you never know! I’ve seen cars in Sequoia totally demolished from bear damage because there was an ice chest in the back seat or food left inside. Glad that you and the crew are okay. Until you get some bear spray, I understand, as somebody mentioned, that wasp spray is good in a pinch.

    Safe travels,
    Chris

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Chris,

      The scariest part of a situation like this one is later when you think about what could have happened. That open window… gee, open about five inches… and the bear’s face and paw so close to it. I can imagine the bear’s arm ripping through the screen and tearing out the window.

      And yes, I’ve heard about cars being torn apart. Again… what could’ve happened is scariest of all!

      I have flying insect spray inside the BLT. I never have a use for it. Might as well use it on the next bear!

      • Chris B says:

        I just read up on the wasp spray vs bear spray. Check it out on the internet. Get yourself a can of bear spray. After you purchase it, you are guaranteed never to have another bear encounter. Isn’t that how things work? 🙂

  66. Kitt N.W. WA says:

    Yikes! Glad you are ok. The air horn is a great idea. The bear spray might have been a last stand if he had actually broken in. Good to know our Casitas will stand up to a bear mauling! Not something anyone really wants to test.

    We had one stand on the back of our van one morning in a campground in Canada. I thought we were having an earthquake, sat up to look and scared a bear away that was inches from me on the other side of the window! He left a big gouge in our spare tire when he sprang away. He trotted next door past the tent campers. Made me very glad for our hard sided van!

    Our daughter and son-in-law were camping in their tiny 13ft Boler in a Canadian park and had a similar experience. They woke up in the middle of the night to a tremendous banging, with the whole trailer rocking. They were yelling, my son-in-law couldn’t remember how to turn on the flashlight, my daughter was holding the door shut since the latch was a bit sketchy, and their two big dogs were absolutely silent. They could hear the fiberglass cracking on the side of the trailer. Finally, the bear gave up and left. No sleep for them for the rest of the night! Very, very scary!

    Enjoy!
    Kitt

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Two great bear stories, Kitt! The fiberglass cracked on the side of your daughter’s Boler? Now THAT’s terrifying! The dogs were silent. Ha!

      Thanks for writing a very entertaining comment.

  67. Glenda in OZ! says:

    Oh my gosh…………..how scary was that!! I was shaking in terror too……….so glad this hungry bear gave up and left you without any damage except to your nerves. I would have needed a stiff drink………..shiver shiver!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow! My post caused tremors all the way to Australia! Haha!

      Hi, Glenda. Thanks for sharing my terror.

  68. Sue says:

    close call !!! Did you blast the air horn? and is that what made it go away???
    A lady I clean house for here in Tahoe just had a Bear breakin. The bear helped itself to all kinds of things in her fridge and pantry and then took a bear dump in the living room !! Ha Ha…. I guess it opened the screen door and came right in as it has been so hot they had the glass part open overnight. Just remember that if they found food, they will come back !!! so be on alert! We have lots of bear breakins where I live .

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sue,

      No, I didn’t sound the horn. The bear gave up and left on his own.

      What a bear story! It reminds me of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” which probably was edited to leave out the bear dump.

      This bear didn’t find food at our camp. Hoping it’s moved on …

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        I finally made it to the bottom of the page. What a fun collection of comments after a fun post. Thanks Sue!!

        • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

          Now… why did this comment end up way up here? Oh well.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            The comments section gets a little ornery when the number of comments goes over 150 or so. It’s acting squirrelly with me, too.

  69. Sondra-SC says:

    Wow…I’m happy nothing more than a scare! The air horn sounds like a good thing…did you yell or bang any pots I would have been making some kind of racket to give him a scare. We had to be careful when backpacking and hung all our food, burned all paper trash and did not being any canned foods along…just smells too good to critters.
    When I visited Alaska I attached a bell to my pack then the ranger showed us a jar with bear scat and in it was a bear bell…LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s funny, Sondra. That’s like Strelsi’s joke up above. 🙂

      No, I didn’t make any noise at all. Seems dumb in hindsight. You were wise when backpacking. I’m not about to give up eating normal food though!

  70. Well DANG! That’s no fun.
    The lack of bears makes the casino I’m currently camped at seem like a slightly better thing.
    Keep safe.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m glad you like casino camping, Al. I’d rather have bears. Keep solvent. 🙂

  71. Joy A. - No. Cal. Foothills of theSierras says:

    Hey Sue,

    If I were ever to have to use my Air Horn, I’d blast it out the roof vent. That way I wouldn’t hurt either my ears or Lily’s by blasting it inside the trailer. They are mighty loud.

    As far as food odors. When in Bear country, knowingly, I’d definitely cook outdoors. That’s what I noticed 99.9% of campers were doing when I was on my Alaska trip. They’ve got much bigger Bears up there than our Black ones down here. Of course we’ve also got those big Grizzly here in the lower 48 but they are up around Yellowstone and Glacier, for the most part. However, any bear can do great damage and harm. By the by, that hard fiberglass shell is not all that thick in fact it is mighty thin. Blow that horn.

    While you don’t want to let fear move you, how about calling it being cautious. I’m of the opinion also that the Bear might be back now that he knows your trailer is there and nothing had scared him away. Had you blown the horn he might possibly be wary of coming back.

    Just my thoughts.

    Joy & Lily, too

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting information, Joy. I will blow the horn if he comes back.

      He came by here on Monday morning and now it is Thursday evening. No sign of the bear.

      This is a popular recreation area. If I were to move camp, how could I tell that the bears around the new camp aren’t habituated to campsite raids, maybe worse than the bear that came here?

      It’s not practical for me to do all my cooking outdoors because I don’t have a camp stove, only a charcoal cooker. I didn’t think about cooking outside. Hmm…

  72. Pat in KS says:

    I have been pleased to finally hear about Desert Ginger in your blog. First I was on vacation for a week and then I got sick and wound up in the hospital for four days. I was missing all the things I usually follow. I was sorry to hear that the experience was a bad one. Some hospital experiences are worse than others. I too have been in the hospital with a kidney stone. No one listened to anything I said, so they removed my appendix. They put me in a room and my husband went back to our hotel room. I ran a fever of 106 and developed pneumonia. I had a heart attack and went into kidney failure. Thank goodness they finally figured it out and installed a stent to keep the stone out of my plumbing. I did eventually recover enough to undergo lithotripsy. In all the excitement, no one even called my husband. He went off to work the next day believing that I was fine. My visiting friend came to visit and found me in intensive care.

    So Desert Ginger I am very sorry that you have had this rotten experience. I know you will be better. Just keep doing your therapy. I am wishing you the very best.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m stunned, Pat. That’s horrible! As if a kidney stone isn’t bad enough, then you go through all that other stuff due to incompetence. Your hospital story and DesertGinger’s hospital story make a bear pounding on the window seem very minor in comparison. Your stories are so similar… heart attack, kidney failure, pneumonia…. Gosh, it’s scary going to the hospital!

      And your husband isn’t notified! Good heavens. It reminds me of my father. He was in a hospital far from where I lived and worked. I visited him on the weekends. He took a turn for the worse on a Monday. I wasn’t notified until he died on Friday.

      I hope you’ve recovered from your hospital nightmare, Pat. Thank you for sharing your story with us, especially with DesertGinger.

    • DesertGinger says:

      Hey Pat…so you know! You’ve been there too! Pretty scary when everything starts going wrong. I was afraid I would die in that hospital. So happy we both made it! I’m doing well now, a bit better every day. Hope you are too.

    • Lolalo says:

      Another nightmare due to incompetent hospital staff! The more I see and hear such stories, the more determined I am to STAY AWAY from doctors and hospitals. They are good for trauma, but not so great for other problems. My uneducated suspicion is that much of the problems you suffered were from the drugs they pump you full of (heart attack). And they will probably only bill you an extra $100,000 for THEIR mistake. Hope you make a quick, full recovery, as well as Desert Ginger.

  73. susan says:

    WOW! I have always worried about you & the crew – if danger in the form of animal or man got close. At least now I feel better knowing you have that air horn and a gun! Can’t believe the crew slept through the “bear attack” – even if Spikey can’t hear, he can smell and you would think he would have smelled that bear – Bridge too!

    Happy you are all safe and can jut chalk this up to one more adventure! susan

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, susan,

      I’m late responding to your comment. Somehow I missed it. Sorry about that.

      Well Bridget didn’t smell the bear because she was asleep, totally covered by a quilt. I don’t think the bear smell permeated the interior of the BLT very much. Once I closed the side window the only air flow was from the ceiling vent.

      Not to worry about me and my crew. Staying away from people the way we do eliminates a lot of dangers. I feel safer now than when I lived in a city!

  74. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    That has got to be one of the best suspense filled entry! I think all of us blogorinos were huddle in the corner of the BLT trying to keep quiet while you dealt with the incident!

    And then the negative photo! That was great!

    Glad it all worked out. Denise had a great idea of activating the alarm on the key fob!

    Thank god the BLT was your fortress! You handled it perfectly!

    If you’re inside…lord knows you don’t want to open anything to administer your line of defense. The air horn….used inside the BLT…everyone’s ears, including Spike’s are going to be ringing for days! Huh? Worst effects with the bear spray….get the drift?

    Lastly, the firearm. Of course only at the last resort with the creature actually making entry with the determination of causing great bodily injury or death. Dont know your model but ..A snub nose 38 has the accuracy of approx 7 feet. As long as you’re not shaking and the trigger squeeze is smooth. But one just wants it to leave…the way it arrived….in one piece!

    Whew! I understand sharing the land with the wildlife….but that was seriously too close! And how dare s/he mess with Mick’s antenna! I could about hear it twanging back and forth as you told the story.

    It made me laugh….cuz Spike and Bridget slept thru the whole ordeal….and they aren’t gonna believe you! Hah. I wonder if they did their “big dog serious bark” if the bear would have left.

    In the meantime….perhaps the fire extinguisher might be a WOO (weapon of opportunity)..shoots a long distance and the sound of it dispersing might be enough to scare it away. Easy to clean up and no lasting irritant for you or the crew.

    Just a thought….sorry it’s so long.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      You gave me a good laugh with your description of the blogorinos huddled and watching in the corner during the bear episode.

      In the situation I was in, distance wasn’t a concern. I wasn’t going to attack the bear with a spray, bullets, or any other weapon until he/she had broken into the BLT. Once that happened, the bear and I would be within a few feet of each other. When the crew and I are walking around, well, that’s different.

      Yeah, the whacking of the antenna pole against the fiberglass was one more thing to add to the excitement.

      It is amazing that the crew slept through it all. Bridget always wakes up very slowly and the bear’s presence at our windows, although it seemed like a half-hour or more, probably was only a few minutes. The Bridge doesn’t wake up in a few minutes! She’s the sleepiest dog I’ve ever known! Haha! No wonder she’s fat. Her metabolism is measured in geological time.

      Spike, of course, didn’t hear anything. He’s used to me bumping around in this capsule of a home after he’s dozed off for the night. From his position on the bed, with his head against the back wall, he couldn’t see anything unusual.

      I think the bear’s scent finally got through to Bridget and that’s when she sat up giving her rapid-fire scream-barks.

      Hmm . . . . Never thought about the fire extinguisher. It’s good to have all these options.

      I love comments… no matter how short or long.

      Enjoy your day! Hugs to AO!

      • Cinandjules (NY) says:

        Oh no I know you wouldn’t use any type of WOO unless the crew or you were in imminent danger.

        Again I thought your actions were spot on! I did say oh sh@t and had to read the blog to Jules.

        Hmm…guess you could have opened the door and threw the trash bag out to him! 😉 Naw…then you would have to pick up the remmnants in the morning!

        Bears are an abundance up here now that the city folk leave their trash outside. Duh!!!! Had a coyote (DEC. Says no wolves up here…right! ) stalk and take two young fawns at the end of our driveway. Wanted to blast it…but we live in their territory and have to respect their food chain.

        AO got ahold of her gentle lead head collar and chewed it beyond it’s purpose…..hence the addition to your supplemental income!

        Have a great day. It’s always a pleasure to read your blog!

  75. Nancy Klune says:

    I’d be getting a hot wire to string around the RV, at least at night.

    • Gayle says:

      Hot wire? What is this hot wire of which you speak?

      • MK in NE GA for now says:

        Electric fencing often used for livestock. I had it when I had horses. Don’t know if it’d keep a bear out though, it’d have to be pretty strong.

  76. Holy sh*t is right! What an amazing telling of your bear encounter. It was so good I had to read it to Bob.

    Our biggest wildlife encounter was a bison at Yellowstone. They roamed through the Fishing Bridge Campground at will. Luckily it did not try to get in our “Rig”amarole.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      At least you got to SEE bison at Yellowstone. I had to drive to South Dakota to see Bison at Custer State Park. Man, they were all over the place.

      I will admit having them in a campground is a bit disconcerting. That’s a lot of poundage on the hoof.

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the story. I hope Bob enjoyed it, too.

  77. Reine says:

    This story is one reason why we do most of our cooking on a camp stove on the picnic table. When we’re in bear country, the camp stove is packed up and stowed in the truck when we’re not in camp unless we’re in a campground with a “Bear Box” to store stuff.

    Glad Mr. Bear decided to get a good back scratch on your antenna pole and go about his business.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You know, Reine (I’m gonna’ show my lack of camping experience here)…. I never heard about cooking outside when in bear territory. My first thought is… gosh, you’re making it easy for the bear to pick up those cooking aromas. I guess the reasoning is to keep the smells out of one’s abode.

      Maybe I should get a camp stove… and a table to put it on since I don’t go to campgrounds all the time.

      • Crystal says:

        My son got me a folding table that’s supposed to hold a propane stove. It’s Coleman, and I love it. Lightweight, and stores in a bag similar to a bag chair. Has a net underneath for pans, a paper towel holder, lantern holder, etc. A very handy item. I don’t know that I could sleep again after that bear encounter…I mean for days! Whew, what an event! So glad all is well.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        I wonder how much difference it makes one stores food in the camper anyway? I grew up in bear country, and it was “known” that you would NEVER bring any sort of food into your tent. Not even a candy wrapper! All food was hung in a tree overnight (now they have “bear boxes” at campgrounds). The tent and the clothing you wore to bed were sacred and never eaten in or around (nor was food kept in a pocket, etc.) Pajamas, sleeping bag, tent…. no trace of food ever.

        But of course that is not practical for an RV one lives in. There will be food stored, food eaten, traces of food everywhere. I wouldn’t think plastic bags or the like would do much to eliminate the smells. So cooking is just one more, and you likely would not be cooking at night when they are active (unless you are a night owl like me….).

        I’m not saying to be sloppy, but I dislike taking measures that are a pain, but turn out not to matter anyway, and I genuinely wonder about the efficacy of cooking outside IF one has any food or traces of food in one’s RV anyway. Maybe someone knows. (But note that many cars are torn apart by bears going for food inside a closed cooler….. certainly no cooking going on there.) Maybe it does reduce your chances of a bear encounter to cook outside (?)

        Probably late enough that no-one will see this, but I had to comment.

        Now I have to go back and see where I missed what happened to Desert Ginger. I had been wondering how she was doing and worrying because it had been so long since we last heard from her going in to surgery. I obviously missed her “re-entry.” DG, glad you are back!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Well, I saw your comment and found it very interesting and thought-provoking. You made good points about the futility of controlling food odors when one lives full-time in a camper.

          I tend to think the best plan is to develop strategies for scaring off the bear. That’s why I like this air horn idea that Mick came up with. I understand that there are aggressive bears that will not be put off (grizzlies). Don’t know what to do about them except have tools for defense ready.

          We did not hear from DesertGinger for a long time after her surgery because she was waiting to have some good news to share. While in the hospital she had the surgery, suffered kidney failure, developed pneumonia, and had a heart attack, the latter leaving her with heart damage. She recovered from all that and is now in the rehabilitation stage, living with a friend in Irvine, CA, keeping up with her physical therapy regimen and anxious to put all this behind her and go home to Tucson.

          Feel free to wish her well under a recent post. She’s still struggling with the aftermath of the trauma of the past few weeks and any encouragement will do her good, I’m sure.

          Thanks for good insight and information re: the bear situation! Hope you are well and enjoying life on the road, Pen.

  78. DesertHawk - Las Cruces, New Mexico says:

    RVSue,
    You do live an interesting life. Utah has been very productive in the interesting category for you.

    Good advise on the air horn, yep, sounding it out the vent makes a lot of sense.

    Happy you have seen & identified an elk. By the way, in Europe what we call moose are called elk. Also called wapiti, a Native American name for them, in the states.

    In New Mexico at lease, the elk are spreading into Mule Deer territory & pushing Mule Deer out.

    Yep! A bear checking out an egg’s windows would be a terror producing happening.

    Be carfare out there!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, DesertHawk,

      Utah continues to be interesting! I would be happy to circle the state again before cold weather arrives (but I won’t). I’d like to revisit a lot of the places we’ve been this year.

      Part of the charm of this camp is the herd of elk. Ever since that first sighting (when I mistook them for deer), they have gathered in the meadow in view from my window (except for one night when I missed them).

      The night before last the herd doubled in size. They galloped as a herd from the edge of the forest down the slope of the meadow in one grand circle, around and up to the trees again. A glorious sight! I couldn’t capture it with my camera at such a distance. Instead I grabbed my monocular. And people are telling me to leave this place?

      Great hearing from you, Adrian!

  79. TexasTom says:

    You did great.

    Break camp and move on.

    Remember bears are to fast to go up through your deterrents from horns, bear spray and then lethal force.

    A 12 gauge pump shotgun loaded for bear with slugs will stop anything on the North American continent. They are much harder to shot yourself with than a pistol. The sound of someone racking a shell into pump shotgun is a very strong deterrent to bad people too.

    You and the crew be safe out there.

    Tom

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, TexasTom,

      I try to picture myself with a 12 gauge shotgun and I can’t. As you say, it’s much harder to shoot yourself with a shotgun than with a pistol. I do think the recoil would probably blast me into the wall!

      Thanks for your concern and advice, Tom. A shotgun ain’t my style. As for bad people, I don’t plan on running into any of them. Where are they anyway? Y’all got them cornered in Texas? 😉

      • Cinandjules (NY) says:

        Tom is correct…..just racking a shotgun…gets their attention! You don’t even have to be actually loading a shell…

        Such a sweet sound! 🙂

        Dem snub noses have more kick than a shotgun….unless y’all is using slugs!

  80. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Here is another true bear story. We used to go camping a lot when I was a kid, in Yosemite Valley. One night we had fried chicken and we went for a walk before it was time to go to bed (we always had a trailer to camp in). When we got back to our trailer…there in the live coals, the bear was fishing out the chicken bones my dad tried to burn in there so the bears would not be attracted. He got burnt…but that did not stop him until he had fished them all out!! FREAKY!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, there’s proof that bears are tough critters!

      I’ve seen chicken bones in fire rings. Spike got hold of some one time and was chowing down before I caught him. I know now to check all fire rings before letting him out of the PTV at a new camp or walking area.

  81. Libby Nester says:

    Oh Goodness! I would have been so afraid. I’m glad Bridget and Spike slept through it.

    I’ve been reading another blog where Bob Wells has been in Alaska scouting bears out. And, here you have them coming to you.

    I really enjoy the adventure from your blog. I’m glad you are quicker thinking than I am. I would have been frozen in place.

    All I have to say is watch out Bears! RVSue is on guard.

    Take care and enjoy life. We can’t enjoy life if we are afraid of what could happen. Just deal with it and go on! 🙂

    -Libby Nester

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Libby,

      That’s one of my life strategies… “Just deal with it and go on!” I’m not going to run off from one of the most beautiful and interesting camps in our three years of full-timing. It has been very convenient to explore the Flaming Gorge area from here.

      Yes, I’ve been reading Bobs blog, too. There are so many bears in Alaska it’s a bear jam! Handsome creatures . . . .

      It never ceases to thrill me when a reader writes that they enjoy my blog. Thanks for writing.

    • Marilu says:

      I just returned from Alaska. I would love to read Bob’s blog. How do I get to it?
      Thanks,

  82. Marilu says:

    Out of curiosity I just went online to learn more about the frequency of bear attacks. According to a bear research center, from 1900 to 2003 there were 107 bear caused fatalities in all of North America. That’s approximately one per year. Now think about the frequency of other dangers… there has been an average of 51 fatalities per year from lightning strikes just in the U.S., an average of 88 fatal dog bites per year in the U.S. and around 32,000 traffic fatalities. In 2010 there were 11,078 firearm related homicides in the U.S.
    Just sayin’ ya’ll might be giving bears a bad rap!

  83. weather says:

    Good morning Sue,
    What a wonderful experience life is trusting that promise He’s always given- and that you mentioned “…if I make decisions based on confidence and faith rather than on worry and fear.”!!!

    It’s become counter-intuitive to most of humanity to make choices that hold real freedom,safety and happiness.When confronted by challenges an unflinching stance makes most of them disappear.

    Watching,all my life,and at times reading here,I ache to see people gain lives filled with beautiful days without unnecessary limitations.

    Confidence,faith,wisdom,so much in life- grows best by practicing it.These are vital because preparation,at times,can only take us so far.On that note,I’ll mention,if inside an egg with 6 eardrums 3 sets of lungs and bodies to protect,my only reach would be for my 12 gauge as I waited to see how things would/had to play out.

    Canary songs and sunlight are circling around me as I wish laughter into your day.

  84. rvsueandcrew says:

    Good morning, weather,

    “Canary songs and sunlight” goes together like a horse and carriage! 🙂 Thank you for that lovely wish for my day.

    Here it’s not canaries, but bluebirds! The little ones were flying around my lounger yesterday as the antenna and the pine tree are their favorite perches. I was pushed back in the lounger with one leg crossed over the other so that one knee was sticking up. One of the baby bluebirds flew toward my knee like he was going to land on it.

    At the last moment he changed his mind, put on the air brakes, and then seemed to run out of gas. He fluttered in front of my face and finally regained enough stability to fly off to the pine branch. I’ve never seen such dopey birds! I think Mom and Dad are hanging around longer than bluebird parents usually do, and with good reason. Their latest offspring don’t have very good bird sense. 🙂

    I hope I never have to resort to violence while living in the forest or in the desert or anywhere in between. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see that black form loping down the slope of the field!

    Interesting and valid point you made about the choices for a full life being counter-intuitive to most of humanity. People strive for the things that can block contentment and can lead to misery.

    Eagles or canaries, storms or sunshine… Whatever comes your way today, may you be swept up in the glory of it all!

    • weather says:

      Just came in to share a cold meat and watermelon smoothie with the pups for brunch.Was hillside seeing summer prove it’s peaking here,making plans on my cell to share my secret places on Ontario lake with out of state friends passing through soon.

      Now, in here,- I sense being in the lounger with entertaining bluebirds all around- and know laughter and being swept up in the glory of it all were wishes He held for us before we thought of them at all…

      • weather says:

        P.S.Will the brilliant idea listed below be available in the techie section like the solar and wifi stuff is?Wow, keep our hearing and avoid violence!

  85. Mick'nTN says:

    A air horn mounted outside the BLT would make sense to me. I looked on Amazon and found several that had 12 volt compressors separate from the horn. A tube connected the two pieces together. The compressor would plug into a 12 volt outlet inside the BLT and have a push button switch to activate it and blow the horn. The air tube would have to run through a window, like the antenna coax. You don’t have to worry about cans of compressed air with this method. Your LTA would be happy to design such a system upon request.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m intrigued, Mick. Where do you see it being mounted?

      (I’m still not able to open emails. Long, boring story.)

      • Mick'nTN says:

        How about on the antenna pole? Then the air line and the coax could run together through the window and be stored in the same manner as you currently do.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh, Mick.. I was hoping you’d say that.

          Gosh, I’d have to make sure it didn’t blow the baby bluebirds off the antenna. Haha!

          • Mick'nTN says:

            Okay, I’ll make a prototype and if it works out we will market it. I’ll order the parts today and have a unit ready for shipping in two weeks. The compressor and “Panic Button” will mount on your wall with carpet hooks. What is your 12 volt outlet; cigarette lighter type? How far from your mounting spot?

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              iWhat will be mounted on the wall? How big is it? The outlet (which is underneath the channel so it is positioned upward) is 5 Inches from the wall. Then it is 15 inches to below the television.

              Since I don’t know the dimensions of the compressor and panic button, it may be 15-20 inches to allow for a diagonal length to center it under the tv.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Brilliant idea, Mick. You design it and I’ll use it.

          It may have other applications besides scaring off bears. I’m thinking C-L-I-N-G-E-R-S!!!!

          • Mick'nTN says:

            What is your 12 volt connection? Do you have a cigarette lighter socket? How far away from the air card location? Do you have a carpeted wall space there?

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I’m sorry I haven’t been quick with my replies. I had to get away from the computer for a while.

              I have two 12 volt, cigaret-type sockets located on either side of the mount from which the television hangs. (The plugs are in the fiberglass channel that goes around the ceiling and houses various cabinets.)

              The air card doesn’t need to be close to the outlets. I have a multi-plug-in surge protector. That’s what I plug the air card into. The air card can be plugged directly into the inverter (it has two outlets, one for the surge protector and one not being used.)

              The inverter sits on a storage box underneath the television with its cigarette-type plug plugged into one of the 12-volt outlets.

              There is carpeted wall space below the television. It follows the same curve as the shape of the BLT’s corner.

          • Mick'nTN says:

            Is the carpet on your walls loop pile or cut pile? Will velcro stick to your carpet walls?

          • Robert, in it for the long haul says:

            yep, just tell people about communicating with others and watch the clingers run for the hills.

    • Joy A. - No. Cal. Foothills of theSierras says:

      You know that’s something I’ve contemplated for quite some time. I had thought about installing one prior to my Alaska trip in 2006 and never got around to it. Since then I’ve simply kept carrying my little air horn.

  86. gypsy chick says:

    Just for you, Sue 🙂 The live webcam on these brown bears in Alaska pans to different views so is always interesting to watch. I’ve seen 5 bears at a time fishing in the falls.

    http://www.nps.gov/katm/photosmultimedia/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls.htm

    • Robert, in it for the long haul says:

      Good then leave them alone and they wont bother you!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Robert… Gypsy chick is not near the bears on the webcam and there’s no reason to think she bothers bears she encounters while fishing.

  87. YIKES… 248 COMMENTS ON THE BEAR!!!! Please forgive me for not reading them all!

    I just wanted to tell you that I think you are brave, I think you are right to order bear spray but damn girl… honk that air horn LOUD the next time !!!! Sheeeeesh!

    Loved the photos and loved the comments I did read… please TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR SELF WOMAN !!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      As always, I’m taking good care of myself and the crew. Not to worry!

  88. MK in NE GA for now says:

    Wonderful photos, scary stories! Glad all is well. I love Micks idea of an outside mounted airhorn (snicker at the clingers). Mick, could the air horn be battery operated and have a remote trigger? I’m very interested in this.

    BTW Sue, I saw a documentary on bear problems in the Lake Tahoe area and they hired a guy with a pair karelian bear dogs and boy did they do the trick!

    I’d never have a soft side camper, there’s safety in a hard side, now I’ll be looking at more overhead air vents…LOL.

    • Robert, in it for the long haul says:

      Sorry I have to be so brutal, but Bears open up the sides of trailers like a can of Sardines……….hell type a search! and watch the video, it’s not staged, you be the judge.

      • Robert, in it for the long haul says:

        im sorry for being insenseative to your question, but your dogs will chase the bear no matter what the breed, even a small dog, it’s their nature.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Hi MK in NE GA for now, Yes, the air horn can be mounted outside and the electrical, 12 volt DC compressor would be inside with a push button switch. The compressor sends air through a line that must go to the horn, through a window or whatever. Looks like RvSue and I will be working on the details on the blog as her email is broken. So, do you know any Penwells from NE GA? I know Polly from Ellijay.

  89. Doris from Pa says:

    You may want to look into electric fencing, there are systems available that are light weight and run on solar.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Electric fencing doesn’t appeal to me. Seems the antithesis of boondocking. I know, I’m crazy.

  90. Jolene/Iowa says:

    So here I am out camping all week, no wifi nearby and come home for a few minutes and I check in on here about my heart is racing as I am reading about your bear scare! That would have been a big scare for sure!

    I will be back in a week so I will look forward to hearing further adventures. I am out fly fishing and enjoying time with family. Oh and BTW… I sure do envy you in your secluded forests, this small campground we are at is crawling with people. I even had someone take the personal item I had on a campsite off of it and not check our tag that I had paid on the post and set up camp in the campsite for my mother when we left for an hour to go bring her camper over. We got back and I had to have them tear down and there wasn’t another site for them to go to. Some people and then he called me bad names besides!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ah, the joys of camping in campgrounds! What in the world did they figure you did wrong? Sounds like the type that doesn’t take responsibility for his/her own actions (like not reading the post tag) and projecting the error onto someone else (you). Um… the personal item is a clue…

      Fly fishing and enjoying your family… good for you! Have a wonderful time, Jolene, and then come back here. 🙂

  91. Bonnie says:

    Hi Sue, thanks for the story………….When I was in Yellowstone the rangers have you sign a sheet of instructions/rules you must follow because of bears. If I left camp I could not even leave out the dog water dish. They said the bear has a great sense of smell so no matter what is/was going on food wise in your camp a hungry bear will find it. A deer hears a pine cone fall in the woods, an eagle sees the pine cone fall in the woods and a bear ‘smells’ the pine cone fall in the woods. Even if we grilled out that day we had to store our grill in a bear proof locker. When in bear country we all need to be so very careful. Ever bird feeders should be brought in at night.
    Stay safe girl and keep us all entertained with your adventures. Thanks for the story.
    Bonnie

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