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Old 08-22-2014, 02:05 PM   #29
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Motorhome crossing border to Canada

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I guess my point is that if I'm driving my rig then at least I have some control of what happens, even when I drive responsibly something could go terribly wrong. That being said when you are in a plane you have no control of what happens and I'd rather my pilot not have a drug issue. As far as the stats 2012 was the safest year since 1945, but 3 different web sites had different numbers. I guess I just come from a background where we fired employees who had any drug abuse issues the first time, the second dui got them fired, and we did all are work on the ground. And having been in charge of fatal collision investigations before, I agree it is still more dangerous driving, but there should be a zero tolerance for at least drugs when it comes to flying for a major airline..just my opinion( and it doesn't even get me a cup of coffee haha).

My airline and most others are zero tolerance. However if someone calls and asks for help in advance that's different. 4000 is the number since the 70's. Five percent of the population has some kind of problem with drugs or alcohol and I'd rather have my family flying with someone in recovery than someone who went underground. Prior to the 70's many were underground. Back in those days it was a lifetime ban-no treatment allowed. That 5% also includes the doctors that operate on you. Most drug issues today are caused by over prescribing of pain medications after surgeries etc. I do not want to hijack this thread so will not comment further on this one.


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Old 08-22-2014, 02:22 PM   #30
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Coming back through a busy checkpoint can have its advantages. We came back from Calgary a few years back by turning south just east of Medicine Hat and coming into the US on 232 into Havre, Montana. It is a two lane road with no accommodations for a long long ways. No food, fuel, or residences for nearly the entire way.

Halfway through the journey was the border. The Canadians waved us through but on the US side there was a small guard house and a small residence. One lone attendant stopped us there and was anything but friendly about it. We had to supply the papers for our dog, cat, ect and he wasn't nice about it. I think he had nothing else to do and probably had been sent there because of his winning ways in other places.

Last year we entered the US at Baudet, Mn. After a rickety old bridge there is a modern Customs facility. We were the only vehicle in sight. Two young agents in the drive through office told us to pull over and wait. Then four agents, all males, came charging out.

In loud commanding voices they ordered me to open all compartments while two of them went inside. I did so and the agents looked into one of them and said close them up. Not a smile among them.

Inside they searched everything and ended up taking my Wife's limes and lemons out of the fridge. They even closely examined her artificial fruit basket. They were not friendly folks.

I worked in the Federal Govt for 35 years. I never saw a need to not have a smile for the public. You can get a long ways with the three Fs. Firm, Fair, and Friendly. There is seldom a need for the caustic actions they displayed.

I think they had all these agents with nothing to do. Perhaps one was an inspector checking on them.

I have been stopped twice because the Inspectors just wanted to see the inside of the coach. Irregular but not a problem.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:26 AM   #31
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I have been doing it for years. These are the things that you want to watch out for:

Criminal records are a no-no, especially a DUI or DV. A friend of mine had a 12 year old DV conviction and he was told to get back on a plane and return to the states. After he had paid $1500 for a hunting trip in B.C.

If you carry alcohol be sure you are under the limit (one case of beer per person or 1 ltr of any other alcohol). If you forget it will cost you $$$ in taxes. (been there done that).

Guns: Pistols are a complete no-no. You can take a shotgun across, but you must fill out declaration forms before you get to the border, declare the firearm and pay $25 and make sure it is easily accessible. The customs agent will want to inspect it. You can download and print the declaration forms on line.

Drugs of any kind? Absolutely positively not, no matter what.

Have your pet vaccinations up to date and the documents to prove it.

One other thing, if you are traveling with children that you are not the parents of (grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc..) have a letter from the parents stating the relationship and that you have permission for them to travel with you. Get it notarized. (divorced parents that means you too).

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Old 08-23-2014, 02:55 AM   #32
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I have only experienced "attitude" from agents on the US side. It makes me ashamed of what we've become as a nation. Please don't ask me to elaborate as I'm sure an explanation would violate a forum rule.

Anyway, whatever you do don't try to come back to the US side with an old set of bagpipes or some Kinder Eggs.

Regarding your original concern, it seems, funny enough, that the easiest way to assuage your worries is to just take care of the proper paperwork and bring a shotgun to Canada with you. Then no one will be looking for a gun if a dog smells ammunition propellant because you'll be presenting the shotgun for inspection anyway. ;-)
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:39 AM   #33
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On our first trip into Canada, I was asked if we had EVER had a gun in the motorhome. I wasn't prepared for that question and there were no guns or ammo in it when we crossed. I had to think before answering, but we were already being flagged for inspection. It was an unpleasant way to spend 1.5 hours. They didn't check everything, but what they did go through was only haphazardly put back together. We took about 30 minutes to reorganize the inside for things we carried out and things that got moved. Later a vent cover fell off (not put back on right) and I almost dropped my laptop that wasn't zipped up in the case.

They invited me to remove "valuables" from the RV before the search. Maybe I asked to many questions, as I had to remove my jacket and turn for a visual search...something they didn't ask my husband to do. Fortunately, it was the only stop on our trip. When we returned to the mainland USA, we were given a very friendly welcome home by the US inspector.
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Old 08-23-2014, 04:35 AM   #34
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One other thing, if you are traveling with children that you are not the parents of (grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc..) have a letter from the parents stating the relationship and that you have permission for them to travel with you. Get it notarized. (divorced parents that means you too).
We recently took a trip to Victoria and brought along my sons best friend. We had all his paperwork and the notarized letters in hand. The process went smoothly both ways. Both the US and Canadian border officers had the child state his full name, birthdate, my name and my relation to him. As we were not related we found out answering "none" does not cut it if not a relative...they want the child to state why s/he is with you. In our case he had to say "she is my best friends mom" and then point to my son when they asked who the friend is. The border officer one direction told us in advance do not answer anything for the child, they must answer for themselves.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:30 AM   #35
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I crossed there 2 years ago and the crossing didn't take 3 minutes. In fact, all border crossing on that Alaska trip didn't take more than 5 minutes with the quickest didn't take a minute.

As stated, look at the agent, no sun glasses, and answer directly. Even having more alcohol, in open bottles, didn't raise eyebrows. Be honest.

Our coach was never entered.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:12 AM   #36
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I have always had more alcohol than allowed and liquor bottles that are open. I always tell them how much I have IF asked but have never been asked to pay duty on the excess. I have always stated that all of it is for our own consumption.

The coach is our home as stated on the Alaskan license plates (R HOME) so it's difficult to temporarily modify your daily life just for crossing the border with too much alcohol.

There could come a day when crossing where I am asked to pay duty but I will deal with that situation at the time IF it happens.

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Old 08-27-2014, 01:44 PM   #37
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Thanks for all of your helpful comments and advise.

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Old 08-28-2014, 06:26 PM   #38
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All the above info is good, but I'd like to add one more thing about your guns. I have talked to some gun owners who have a concealed carry permit who were asked by the border inspector "WHERE are your guns?" instead of the usual "DO YOU HAVE any guns?".

Seems like the US is sharing who has a CC permit with our neighbors. Just be prepared to answer the question asked, whichever one is asked, directly and honestly.

We enter and leave from Sweetgrass/Coutts (I-15, Montana) when we go to Alaska every second year and have never had an issue there. However, when we crossed at Eastport, Idaho, a much less used POE, we got the complete search after waiting 30 minutes for agents even though there was absolutely no one else there. Even then, although they disturbed many items in the RV, the search was very cursory, and a total waste of time had I been inclined to smuggle anything. Just based on my multiple crossings, try to stick with the better used spots. It seems the guys with little to do try too hard to justify their existence.
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:37 PM   #39
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Man I must have a dishonest face. I travel back and forth a lot, drag racing motorcycles in canada. I get pulled in more often than not for a full inspection. They count liquor bottles, look in the fridge for veggies on their list (don't bring potatoes) and search thoroughly. THey make you wait in the immigration building but its not hard to tell.
One thing to remmeber. They pull your plate when you drive up and often know who you are before you answer a question. so, being consistent is a consideration. They also share info across the border.
One funny story. Several years ago I went north. As usual, I took out any guns, but left the ammunition, which for the most part is legal to have. I just got drilled by the canadian border guys, to the point of threatening me and pulling a cabinet off the wall. It was about a 3 hour process. On the way back, as I pulled into the us booth, the agent smiled and asked how much ammunition I had on board. I'd never had a problem with ammunition previously.
You also can have problems based on who you hang out with.
For years, top fuel harley racing in canada was dominated by members of the hells angels. When I'd cross the border and they saw the bike in the trailer, I'd get hauled in and drilled about who I knew, what I knew about their business etc etc. Total pain in the butt.
I do find it ironic that you get grief for things like ammunition, but I can carry a 55 gallon drum of nitro methane back and forth with barely a question.

Overall, its not my favorite way to spend and afternoon.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:53 AM   #40
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Man I must have a dishonest face. I travel back and forth a lot, drag racing motorcycles in canada. I get pulled in more often than not for a full inspection. They count liquor bottles, look in the fridge for veggies on their list (don't bring potatoes) and search thoroughly. THey make you wait in the immigration building but its not hard to tell.
One thing to remmeber. They pull your plate when you drive up and often know who you are before you answer a question. so, being consistent is a consideration. They also share info across the border.
previously.
You also can have problems based on who you hang out with.
For years, top fuel harley racing in canada was dominated by members of the hells angels. When I'd cross the border and they saw the bike in the trailer, I'd get hauled in and drilled about who I knew, what I knew about their business etc etc. Total pain in the butt.
I do find it ironic that you get grief for things like ammunition, but I can carry a 55 gallon drum of nitro methane back and forth with barely a question.

Overall, its not my favorite way to spend and afternoon.
Bing Bing Bing we have a winner. Hells Angels are a very big deal in Canada. One of the biggest criminal organizations in the country. Law enforcement frequently checks on not only known members but associates or possible associates. I would be willing to bet $$$ that you have some notation next to your name that you have been seen frequently in venues where the HA have been known to be present. Even if you have had no dealings with them directly, the perceived association is enough draw all kinds of unwanted attention.
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:27 AM   #41
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Where you are from In the United States makes a difference also. If you are from New York City, Any where in Massachusetts they are much less likely to doubt you when you say you do not have a gun. If you are from a southern state with a history of gun ownership they are going to question it more. My first entry into Canada I was talking about going and one of the guys I work with was from Michigan told me not to take a gun because they are very strict on that. I took his advice and did not take one. When I was asked by the Canadian BP if I had a gun he looked at my Arkansas drivers license and said why not. It is well known that people from the south like to carry their handguns why do you not have one. I told him about the guy I worked with from Michigan warning me how strict Canadian law was so I did not bring one. The BP thought about it for a good 5 minutes then decided to let me go. This was before concealed carry permits so it was not that. I do not drink alcohol so no DUI. His entire scrutiny had to do with the state I was from.
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:29 AM   #42
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We travel with three cats and are considering a trip into Canada. We are very careful when going in or out of the MH. We're concerned that if we do get selected for a more thorough inspection, will they be careful as far as our cats are concerned?
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