Folks ask me all of the time, “Aren’t you scared traveling solo as a female? Do you carry a gun?”
My answer is a combination of, although I did enjoy growing up shooting for target practice on the family farm, I’m not a huge fan of guns plus I feel very safe way out in the middle of nowhere. And the RV/Trailer community is the most friendly group of people I have met. Plus, I did carry bear spray once and it ended up falling in my dish water and going off inside of my trailer, so I have no business carrying a gun.
However, this road trip did start with a lot of anxiety. Unknown to me, I needed four new truck tires which altered my budget and plans. I had to ditch my boondocking plans for Alabama Hills due to 70 mile an hour trailer rolling winds and almost a foot of snow. And several things started to not work and break down on my fancy Airstream. So after a late start I ended up going further up the 395 where the weather is a bit cold and propane is expensive. Now my my trip is back on track. I landed in one of my favorite small towns, Lee Vining, which overlooks Mono Lake.
The other night I thought I heard a trailer pull in next to me but there was nothing out there, and then later I heard the noise again, I felt a lump in my throat as the following scene unfolded. My bedroom is closest to the hitch and truck. I heard the noise and Dudley seemed to also, but he had already curled up for the evening and seemed unconcerned. It was after all midnight. Something told me to peek out the front window. My mouth dropped as in the pitch black I could make out a large figure kneeling on top of my truck cover working on undoing the lock.
I flew out of bed in nothing but my nightgown, grabbed my keys, turned on my side outdoor light, slammed the trailer door, locked it and headed right at the very bold intruder. When I came around the front end corner and they were still up there working at the lock, I couldn’t believe it! I let go of a spew of cuss words and threats, that I really can’t write here, calling the intruder way outside of their name. They jumped down on the other side of the truck. As I stood silent I could not hear them run away so I started to worry that they were not planning on leaving. Fear replaced my anger and I ran back into the trailer asking myself “Where did I put that darn bear spray?!” I grabbed my flashlight and found the spray, added pants and boots to my wardrobe, slammed the door again and locked it and set off my horn on my truck a few times.
Then I crept around the other way to the front by the truck. The intruder had left. I noticed they had successfully torn off the top rubber cover of the lock on the truck cover. Anger returned and I marched out further into the darkness swearing some more horrendous threats, letting them know they better keep on trucking. Ok, yes, I do have a little cray cray in me. Maybe that’s why they left.
Thinking to myself, they will be back. How bold! I looked around for any trailers with lights on, since my cell phone has no reception here. Breaking the rules of trailer park etiquette I started knocking. The first trailer ignored me. Then I met Terri from “Myrtles Meanderings”. She actually opened her door, helped me call the police, and brought out blankets to stay warm while we sat out until the police got here.
(Dudley did courageously take on this bear in town earlier in the day. And he picked up the scent of the real bear the next day. As for the cover on my lock, I think I will just reattach it with duct tape. I’ve tended to like the little dents and bruises along the way that represent our Tiny Adventures.)
Once the police arrived, you may have guessed it, we discovered, it was not a person at all. It was a bear that had been trying to break into my trailer. It was a bear that I chased after cussing out and came within a couple feet of. What an amazing, agile, strong, smart, graceful creature. And ironically silly me had my dog food in my REI bear canisters in the back of my truck. We found the prints on the sides of the trucks. I was sure it was human as it was working at the lock. I guess it’s that time in the Eastern Sierras where the bears are waking up and hungry.
While I got my canisters into the trailer, the officer stood watch. But she knocked over the can of bear spray which went off, sending us both hacking and coughing, and later laughing. I told her she would have a great story to tell about the dumb camper with the bear canisters of dog food that attracted a bear that she ran after in her pjs, and then how she caused the officer to get sprayed with the bear spray instead of the bear!
(Yep, the intruder was not human. Bear prints on the back of “Beast” my truck.)
I will say, I was incredibly relieved to know it was not humans trying to break in. Humans can be a lot scarier than bears. I stick with my beliefs that things are pretty peaceful and safe when you get out further into the wilderness. And now I am not as scared of bears as I was when I first hit the road.
I’ll be leaving camp to head further north on the 395 just in time to miss a whole bunch fishing opener folks. Then the peace and quiet will really be gone.
In my next post I’ll try to share a little more of this beautiful area where I’ve been parking just north of the Tioga Pass which leads into Yosemite.