Monday, January 30, 2023


Be aware of critters on your RV travels … or else!

In 1992 we were pulling a 13-foot trailer we called “The Bean.” It was green and round. That was the year we drove from west to east across the Trans-Canada highway for the first time. If you’ve ever taken that ride, you know the center of Canada on that road is like Texas—more and more of the same. My wife says that when you drive across the States, if you have to go through Texas, when you get to the other side, no matter where you are going, you are almost there. Well, on a long road in the middle of Canada, there was a lake next to the highway. So we pulled in to check out the area. We were amazed to have the entire park to ourselves. It was our lucky day.

Standing on the edge of the lake, we took in the view. Then I saw a distant subtle cloud headed in our direction. Within seconds I told my wife we better run for the truck—we did just in time. The cloud was a swarm of flies, and we were lunch. My wife noticed a few spots on my shirt. A few of the fastest flies got to me before I got to the truck and bit me through my shirt.

Places to see

There have been a couple of places my wife has always wanted to see. She keeps a list, and we will visit those places when we get to that area. One of those places was in the movie Somewhere In Time. The movie was filmed in 1980 with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. So, we visited Mackinac Island in May 2013. While there, we took a walk along the shore. I saw another cloud and this time it was closer. Within seconds we were swarmed by mayflies. Lucky for us, they didn’t bite. However, their favorite thing is to buzz around your face, land in your eyes and mouth, and be annoying. It’s almost as bad as biting! After we escaped, we sat on a hill (the flies didn’t go there) and watched people walking the trail. Within minutes they’d be flailing around to escape the flies. The flies were both pests and entertainment (when we were far away).

And then there was Bullwinkle

How about the moose? After we finished the Trans-Canada ride, we headed south into Maine. Late one afternoon, we drove over some buzz-bumps on a deserted stretch of road. Immediately I noticed two things: a sign that said MOOSE CROSSING and a moose about fifty yards ahead. As I took my foot off the gas, the moose headed for the road. Surely she sees me. If she did, that didn’t matter. Within seconds the moose reared up like a horse. That was good for me because she missed the windshield. However, she came down between the truck and trailer, putting a moose-size dent in the fiberglass. At the next town, I patched the trailer up with duct tape and continued on to New York, where the trailer broke from the hitch, left us on my wife’s side of the truck, and landed in a ditch. No more Bean.

These are three stories I’ve learned from. If you’re going to spend time somewhere, know what predators, nuisances, or large animals may be on the move. A moose may look like Bullwinkle from a distance, but they are fierce close-up. Stay away from moose and bison. The smallest things and the largest things can mess up a nice trip. And, if a campground or park is empty, there’s probably a reason. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there, but you need to know why no one else is.

Read more from Gary in his book “The Story of RVing: Van Living Explained.”



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15 days ago

We stopped at a rest area along an Interstate and went in to “rest” and grab a snack. When we came out a tractor-trailer stacked full with bee hives on it had pulled in. Some of the bees had decided to get out and rest as well. It was a bit of an adventure to get back to our car.

15 days ago

WOW, in northern Michigan in May and encounter Mayflies, imagine that. Driving in rural Canada in the home of Moose and encounter a moose. Sorry if this sounds snarky, but Come on man! There is loads of info available about everywhere, no one should be surprised by things you find. As my DW says, Google is your friend!

Bill Semion
15 days ago

Please make a correction. Mayflies are NOT pests. I’m a trout fisherman and have never, ever been swarmed by mayflies in my 45 years of fishing Michigan’s rivers. Mayflies are a signpost. They tell you if the nearby water–they live most of their lives underwater and emerge ONLY to mate–is high quality. No mayflies means water quality is poor. So, flip your lens, please. Be happy that mayflies were on the island when you visited–they emerge only at certain times of the summer. Mayflies provide food not only for birds. The lake’s and river’s fish also DEPEND on them. Be happy they were there. I always say, a little education about an important naturally occurring resource can go a long way!

Last edited 15 days ago by Bill Semion
15 days ago
Reply to  Bill Semion

Mayflies may not be pests but to be in a swarm is not fun and you have to have every window closed and crack sealed once you get inside. Just another joke that Mother Nature likes to pull on people.

15 days ago
Reply to  Bill Semion

Years ago we went to a restaurant for dinner on the shore of Lake Winnebago near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. When we came out we could not locate our car (this was before electric door locks and panic buttons) due to an infestation of mayflies. They literally covered every car in the lot so that they all looked like the same lumps. Sweep them away with your hand and they’d smear. It was like a B grade horror movie! Yuck!

Donald N Wright
16 days ago

Can anyone recommend “dog repellant” ? I use red or black pepper sometimes. I have tried a ring of ant killer about the trailer to keep away skunks. I suspect Squirrels all enjoy dropping nuts on the roof between midnight & dawn.

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