A personal perpsective of life in our Virginia vineyard... Christine Wells Vrooman



A Bear In WHOSE Car?!

In my last post I promised to talk next about our grape stomping marathon and fruit processing.  But I have to share with you first, this story about what happened this past weekend, totally unrelated to grapes and wine.

The second weekend in October for the last ten years our fabulous staff from Beach Pet Hospital back in Virginia Beach comes to the mountain for a campout, replete with campfires, smores, starlit nights and the annual Garlic & Wine Festival at Amherst County's Rebec Vineyards.  

The Beach Pet Hospital Campout setting up.  The blue streak in front was from the lit up sneakers of a six year old running.
Friday nights of the campout weekends are usually late nights, with the last of the stragglers this year arriving around 1am!  It was a crystal clear night.  Chilly, but not too cold. Perfect sleeping weather in the mountains.

The campers say goodnight and finally everyone is tucked in their tents on the level below the house.  Everyone has arrived safely and are now asleep under the stars.  All is well.  Around 6am everyone is still asleep in the chilly, quiet calm of pre-dawn.  It is still dark but the light of daybreak is rising on the horizon.  From our sleep we hear a car horn beeping.  Short beeps, long blasts, no pattern whatsoever.  Long pauses, then again, long blasts, short blasts.  I thought at first it was Melissa trying to wake everyone else up to see daybreak rise on the horizon. The honking continues.  Finally we get out of bed to scold the naughty staff member.  Dennis goes to the front to yell down to the campers.  "It's not from down here," they yelled.  Dana is out on the balcony deck overlooking the parking area behind the house. "It''s coming from Chris's car."  In my foggy state, I think, who else is here named Chris besides me?? No one.  My car?!  I run to it, marching across the gravel in my barefeet.  All the doors are closed, the windows are all steamed up.  All I can see is black inside while the car seems to be thrashing from side to side.  Did I leave Boomer in the car I thought?  He must be desperate.  I hear loud crashing sounds inside.  Just then Dana yells down to me, "It's got to be a bear!"  I peer in the passenger's side window and try to open the door which is jammed and can't open.  Then the blackness retreats and the figure turns.  I am staring a bear in the eyes.  His long orange snout and big ears four inches from my face! "Ahh!! It's a bear!! In my car!  He's ruining my car!"  I try to open the back door.  It doesn't open.  I run to the side door of the house to make sure it is not locked so I can enter it quickly, then go back to my car that is thrashing from side to side.  I go to the side door behind the driver and it opens!  I swing it wide open with the door protecting me, then make a beeline to the house door.  Dana watches from the balcony as the bear jumps out the back door and then looks up at her.  Just then Guppie Puppy is walking up the driveway with Melissa who is coming to see what is going on.  He growls at the bear, the bear looks at him and lunges on all fours away from them, back up into the woods.  We hold Guppie back.  Still in disbelief, I walk to my car and try to open the front doors to assess the damage.  They can't even open. I climb in the opened side door and look around inside.  He had ripped off the inside panels, ripped off headrests, seat belts pulled apart, seats are covered with bear... you know what.... I don't know how long he had been in there, but the fact that he could open the doors (along with the doors of two other vehicles) is amazing.  This is a bear from the wilderness.  We have no park grounds or suburbia around us.  I don't know how the door closed behind him.  But he was stuck in there and could not get out and he was not a happy bear.  Black bears are afraid of humans.  They don't want to attack.  They just want to get away, so opening the doors was not a concern for me.  But I did make sure first that I had a quick get away because he was so agitated.   My one regret is not stopping first, before letting him out, to capture an image of the bear looking at me from inside the car!  All I wanted to do at the time was to save the car, but alas it was too late.  My car was towed away and will one day return to me, hopefully as good as new.
I am posting the least graphic image.  It was a mess!
So far, he has not returned. 

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