And I am talking about when you are also inside of it at the same time.....
Picture this, (A true story!)
A woman alone...out in the mountains of Ojai, California, the only trailer there in the canyon...at 3AM.
The Labs woke me up barking, I told them to quiet down, don't fuss about the coyotes, go back to sleep. Then my female, Vige, standing on my bed where she usually sleeps, is glued to the window and changes her bark to an unearthly sound that could possibly preclude a tornado. I am instantly awake, eyes wide open. I switch on the big Mag Lite and there, directly below my bedroom window in front of me, is THE biggest bear I have ever seen. In a previous life I was a backpacking guide, I have seen a lot of bears..this guy is huge. I flash the light around, yell at it to take off, meanwhile the two dogs are doing cartwheels off the walls. It has been 102 degrees for the past week and every window is open letting in the fragrance of Eau de bear to whip them into a manic frenzy. This bear isn't even flinching, he just silently stares me down. After a bit of this to set me a little on edge, he wanders slowly around towards the back of the trailer.
I sidestep fast from the bed to the bathroom, and there he is again, but this time so close, even I can smell him. My entreaties for him to leave my landscape are now in earnest. I grab my cell phone to hit the number of a friend camping a few canyons beyond me; more company is what I really would like at this moment. Cell service up here is quite ephemeral, I heard them say, "Hello," and instantly, the line goes dead. I am redialing just as fast as I can, over and over, with the same result. The back of my mind is thinking, remember, you have planned for an encounter like this, more noise would be better. I grab the car keys to hit the panic button and set off the car alarm right as he stands up to his full height, quite emphatically eyeball to eyeball. I push the button and nothing happens. Push, push, push, PUSH; nothing happens. BOOM!! The entire bathroom screen comes flying towards me with a flick of his wrist. (I know by now some of you are wondering why I haven't shut the windows. This is an old 1965
model with rickety, cranky, tiny cranks, that take me fifteen minutes per window even under much more pleasant circumstances. Yes, I have siliconed them.) I drop the phone in surprise, but grab the pepper spray next, aim point blank with his nose three feet away. Flick off the safety and push the button. Nothing happens. I hear my voice going octaves higher than any previous history. My male lab, Mike, is trying to climb the toilet past me and hurl himself through the window. That does not sit well with me and I am trying to hold him back despite the fact that he weighs 80 lbs and I weigh 110 and for once my stubborness has found an appropriate outlet. With the other hand, I am beating the large Mag Lite back and forth very fast and very loudly against the metal frames of the window and wondering where on earth I put the Marine air horn cannister. Unbelievably, he goes back down on the ground. Unfortunately, it was what I believe, is called a feint. Revised reality is the appearance of those very large front legs coming, oh my God, right in through the window, head following quickly as a close second.
This is pretty much where I at last throw in the towel, one hand switches firmly back to the car keys while every last ounce of my energy is segued into removing the three prior owners swiftly off the property.
However, my dogs, as I open the front door, are once again, having hearing problems. "In the car! In the car!," was somehow misconstrued into "Get the bear! Get the bear!," perhaps due to my high decibel level. I however, chose to head for the car, parked in front of the trailer. As a final offering, I threw open two car doors for them, which then finally set off the car alarm. There was intense barking going on at the back of the trailer, then Vige came flying into the car. Just then, like in the movies, or that last hand that slaps down all the Aces, here comes the Cavalry. Car lights appear on the horizon. My heart stops though, when I realize I hear no more barking, no noise except the car alarm and I am too afraid to go see around the corner. I call and call for Mike. The truck pulls up behind the trailer with headlights blaring, Mike shows up out of the blue from a totally different direction, I sneak a look and the bear is gone.
Apparently when the phone hit the floor, cell service suddenly improved even though all he ever heard was, "Get out of here, get out of here!", which sounded a bit fishy from me at 3AM and off he went.
I needed a little respite, locked up all the windows and left the Airstream to fend for herself, then followed along to the other campsite to watch the sun come up.
Epilogue: After the day had gotten a firm start and my heart was more calm, I went back to investigate for any further repercussions. On one side of the trailer the bear left his indelible signature of claw marks from both paws reaching up, as if to attempt climbing on top the trailer. I am 5'7" and standing on tiptoe, can barely reach the top of the marks. Windows were intact, but on both sides of each one, I found giant bear prints where he had stood up to make his own inquiry into possible gustavory satisfaction while we lay sleeping. Vige must have made a sudden nose to nose aquaintance as our window was being checked and induced her hitherto unknown voice which, thank God, brought me to my senses. She can henceforth sleep perpendicular to me whenever she pleases, hogging most all the bed, without any interference on my part. Mike, as always, due to his big heart, big body and valor in battle, remains in complete control of the entire front sofa. (Both came out totally unscathed....)
I offer up this story, at once, to all of you, (this just happened last night!) revealing my shortcomings in testing my equipment, in hopes that it will give that extra jab to recheck yours and hopefully reduce the number of heartpounding moments that I am ever so happy to have behind me.
PS This is my first year owning a trailer but during this time, this place has been where I have spent three to four days of every week and is very familiar to me. I have seen only one very small bear for about 30 seconds in all that time. Also when this occurred, I was doing a one nighter, brought no food with me and everything already in the trailer was dried or canned. All I can guess is the heat brought him down looking for water, then he maybe he was looking over the other options at the checkout stand.
I would love to hear what other campers have been through and how they dealt with it....