scary Halloween night in RV

Things That Go Bump in the Night: Scary RV Invaders

Last week I was camped out in an auto shop about 100 miles north of San Francisco, getting my RV transmission rebuilt.  Being stuck and cooped up was trying, to say the least.  And one cold and stormy night, I had quite a fright!

It was just past seven, the air was chill and the wind howled through the metal walls of the old garage. The mechanics were working late, desperate to figure out why, even after a rebuilt transmission, my Class C RV wouldn’t shift into gear on it’s own. It was a mystery that had  haunted them for days…rv-pumpkin

I was alone, inside my RV, trying to escape the pounding noise of rain and wind slamming against the metal garage roof. I was about to make dinner when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. It shocked me. I was alone. Capone was fast asleep on my bed in the back.  What could be moving inside my RV?

I took a closer look: a ginormous black blob was creeping across the curtain rod in my seating area.  Earlier when I was in the waiting room of the garage, I’d seen a mouse scurry across the floor, so my first thought was: Mouse!

I gingerly inched closer to my curtain: Ho-oly Shit! What the f****???

I  turned around and bolted out of the RV and into the garage yelling, “Guys?!?! Not to be a total girl, but um… you have to see this spider!”

They smirked and gave each other “that look”: the knowing, smug look that rugged mechanic-dudes give  each other when a girl screams about a little spider.

Dave, the owner of the shop, dropped his wrench, and trying his best to not sound condescending, but not quite pulling off, said, “OK, let’s take a look..” He stepped up into my RV and I stood back, keeping a healthy distance in case this crazy alien spider decided to jump and attack. I pointed toward my curtain, “Look at THAT!” I blurted with a mixture of fear and awe.

He spotted the gargantuan, creepy crawly, monster of a spider right away and gasped. “Ho-oly shit!” And he yelled to his friend still in the garage,  “Norm, you have to see this!”  Yep – he knew he was going to need backup to take care of this monster!

Norm stepped into the rig. Dave and I were keeping a healthy distance and shoved our fingers out in the direction of the intruder, “What the …….?!? What the hell is that??” He cried in disbelief.

I Googled it: It’s a Wolf Spider I think

I felt vindicated. Ha, I’m not such a squeamish girl after all, am I?

They got a pair of vice-scrips to gently pull the colossal spider out from behind the curtain, where she’d ducked to try to hide from our probing eyes. In the process  of extracting her we realized the creepy bumps all over her back were dozens of tiny baby spiders that fell off and went scrambling all over my curtain when they probed and prodded her.

Once they had her safely captured inside a Tupperware bowl I shook out my curtain, but it didn’t prevent me from having the heebie jeebies for days. Holy cow! I’m a backpacker- I live in an RV in the woods, critters and insects are part of life, but THIS thing was beyond “normal”.

Dave and Norm put the bowl on the service manager’s desk as a nice surprise to start his day. And as I sat in the waiting room the next day I got to listen as he grossed out every customer he showed her to. It was good to know  I wasn’t just being wimpy! spider

The next day Brent, the manager set her free in the field across the street.  I was glad we saved her and I hope she’s somewhere safe. But I hope I never run into one of those again!

I did a Google search and it looks like she was a Wolf Spider. They’re pretty common and they can bite, but aren’t poisonous. All  I know is if I’d woken up and found that thing crawling on me, I’d have died of a heart attack!

What’s the scariest, ugliest or creepiest thing you’ve ever run across in your RV adventures?


  1. Whoa! I don’t want to trigger nightmares in you, but as I’m sure you know, that story could have had a really bad ending. Thank God you’re okay. I hope you got all those tiny ones out of your RV, too. I would probably want to fire off one of those insect “bombs” inside and leave for a few hours, just to make sure any lingering hidden critters are wiped out. I love reading your blog. Thanks for writing about your adventures.

    1. Thank you George. As I just wrote to Lori, a baby spider was spotted crawling on my face two days later (and now writing this I’m getting creepy crawlies again!). I haven’t seen anything else.. you’re right though -a bomb may not be a bad idea. I certainly don’t need an army of those buggers living with me! – Carolyn

    2. Brown recluse spiders that bite me over a hundred times and almost killed me. Spent two weeks in hospital and my face and head looked like some kind of monster.

  2. Okay, I was fine with the spider. Well, not FINE but not totally geezed out. But when you mentioned the “bumps” and all the baby spiders crawling all over your curtain, THAT gave me the shudders. Oh man, I hope you got rid of all of them. Did you ever find out what kind of spider it was?

    1. Lori, Two days later, Dave found a baby crawling on my face.. yeah.. kinda creepy. I think they’re all gone now! -Carolyn

  3. yikes! I lived in a low house in the Mryland woods and we had huuuuuge wolf spiders strolling around. I always thought they were just too big to be allowed. too big to squish! Fortunately I had a housemate who was untintimidated, and she would catch them and take them out. Brrrr!

    Now, snakes, no problem!

    1. Patrise- Snakes, no thank you!! Yeah, you can’t squish a bug that big, it would be like squishing a rat! No!!! lol – Carolyn

  4. Just one more thing, Carolyn. Unsolicited advice (I know no one likes it but I can’t help myself!): Call a professional exterminator and then read all you can get your eyes on, online and anywhere else, about bug proofing your RV. Mary’s comment is all too real, and frankly, I’m not at all like you, because I would have tried my hardest to kill that thing. It easily could have killed you. It’s great that you can make a fun story out of it, but you MUST do all you can to protect yourself. Dem critters is bad, bad, bad.

  5. Despite being an arachnophobe, I want to put the brakes on the spider panic. If it was a wolf spider they are largely harmless. If you roll over on one she might bite you, but they’d rather eat other things!
    Brown recluse are rare, and reclusive, unlike this mama. You might see black widows in San Francisco area, but they are easily identified, since they look like Disney designed them and made ’em out of black patent leather!

    from Wikipedia:
    “the brown recluse spider has not established itself in California”
    more details on their range and appearance:

    1. Patrise, I’m with you.. There was no way she was going to get close enough to me to bite me- she wasn’t exactly stealthy! I tend to take the “Nothing out here wants to hurt me. Nothing really wants to eat me” approach. I do it backpacking when I hear bears outside my tent and I’ve carried that mentality to my RV life. If I danger-proofed my life, I’d have not an ounce of fun , or adventure! And with risk comes a little danger. C’Est la Vie!
      Thank you for your thoughts..

  6. Now that totally creeps me out..I am not a fan of spiders, especially large ones that carry babies on their back. I am glad you let her live though. I wish you caught her with the babies so they could stay together……just not in your RV. Having one crawl across your face must have been freaky too.

    1. Shelley, most of her babies stayed intact.. just lost a few. and yes, one on my face – TWO DAYS Later? wth? – Carolyn

  7. I’ve trained my dog to kill insects I find in my house. Especially spiders.
    wolf spiders are pretty scary but harmless.Still i don’t want them in my house.
    happy travels

  8. I understand your feelings on all this, everybody, and I don’t live in constant fear, either. I’ve just read and heard the horror stories about the extreme and prolonged suffering spider bites can cause. Happy camping and travels to all! And thanks again for your great blog, Carolyn.

    1. George, nothing wrong with being careful! I appreciate the concern! I wish you the best — and no spider bites! – Carolyn

  9. When you overwinter in Quartzsite be on the lookout for tarantulas and scorpions. You might also have a visit from the 7″ wingspan giant Black Witch moth that comes from Mexico. Some people mistake it for a bat, but to me it looks nothing like a bat. It is actually very colorful with an intricate shaded pattern on its wings. Google it. There is a lot of folklore about that moth and what seeing one means. I saw one for the first time in my life a month ago. I live about 37 miles from Quartzsite.

  10. The Black Witch moth migrates at night so most people never see them, yet they are near by all over the US. I have only seen one in my lifetime and it is a memorable experience to see such a creation of nature. It is easy to see why there has been folklore evolve around it.

  11. OMG!! Can’t tell you how many times I have laughed reading on your site!! I finally have to post after the spider episode…since I am a total freak of spiders and snakes…no matter how big or small!! I know when I start my camping adventures it will be one of the BIGGEST fears I will have to “deal” with – I can’t use the word “overcome” because that would be a lie. Looking forward to more of everything.. Safe travels!!

    1. Shelly – That’s music to my ears! So glad you’re enjoying my stories! Yeah, the spider was RIDICULOUS. I STLL have the creepy crawlies! And you make an excellent point, there are plenty of things we deal with but never truly overcome! lol. Thank you so much for note, it made my day. Have fun, be happy and safe! – Carolyn

  12. I’m really enjoying reading your blog and hearing your stories about your RV life! I hope to be joining this lifestyle in a year or so.

    Not sure if you’re into natural remedies or not, but I use a mixture of Dr Bronners Peppermint Castille liquid soap and peppermint essential oil. This will kill most smaller insects on contact, but it also repels spiders. Cinnamon too, I put cotton balls saturated in cinnamon essential oil under my kitchen sink and in my lower cupboards. But… I live in Western Washington so…. not so many of the bad guys here.

    1. Kathy – Yes, I am into natural remedies. A couple years back I switched to all natural everything! No more chemicals in soaps, shampoos, makeup (not that I wear that much anymore.. lol). This is great info – thanks so much for sharing it. I happen to have DR. B’s peppermint castille- AND some essential oils too I think! Thanks for the tip. Will remember that !

      And thank you for reading and joining me on my journey! – Carolyn

  13. Wow, what a cool spider. I’ve always liked them. I remember my boss freaking out because a spider was crawling up his office wall. His wife usually took care of things like that, but we were the only ones there. I picked it off the wall and cupped it in my hands. It was scared and bit me, but I still managed to take it outside to release it. Poor little thing.

    I like snakes, too, and my cats take care of any mice.

  14. That’s one big spider!! I’m not usually very bothered by spiders, but that was a big one. My scariest encounter with spiders was when having my RV parked at a big ranch in Nevada. I worked as a ranch hand, and one day one of the horses got bit by a white recluse. She almost died. That was very scary, and it took her a long time to get back to her normal self.

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