MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN - It was supposed to be the perfect Fourth of July trip: Head to Mammoth Mountain where last winter's massive snowpack still has skiers and snowboarders around the world watching with envy.
David Herndon and his wife thought skiing in July would be the craziest thing that would happen to them.
Herndon left his Mercedes unlocked and parked sideways on a slope overnight.
That's when a curious bear showed up.
The bear popped open the passenger door and it apparently slammed shut on him, trapping him inside.
He freaked out.
The tattered pieces of Herndon's interior tell the story: The bear chewed up the seats. And the steering wheel. And just about everything else he could sink his teeth and claws into.
But that's not all.
He also did in the car what, well, bears normally do in the woods.
The stench was, of course, unbearable.
"And in this heat, it is pretty ripe," Herndon said.
The good news was the bear was able to finally escape the car on his own.
And the Mercedes started just fine.
Plus Herndon had a friend who offered to drive the stinky, mauled vehicle for nearly five hours to get it home.
"We duct-taped the rear view mirror on, a couple other things. And he drove it back."
He doesn't know why the bear went after his car. He didn't have any food in there.
Of course there was a Cornell sticker in the window and, well, the school's unofficial mascot is a bear.
For Herndon, the experience offered a simple lesson for all drivers:
"You've gotta lock your doors. Even if you're not worried about thieves. Because the bears will get in."