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Old 08-02-2016, 01:28 PM   #1
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Vancouver Border crossing rant

We were returning to Vancouver in our 45' class A. Approaching the border we had a choice of the Peace Arch or Commercial truck crossing. We chose the truck crossing as the signs said "truck and bus" crossing. We approached the booth area where passenger cars and smaller RV's were lined up, vehicles closed in behind me forcing us to move forward.I have driven fire trucks, concrete mixers and dump trucks for over 40 years and never had an accident. I inched forward knowing it was very tight on either side and then heard a screeching sound as the passenger side contacted the protective barrier. We had touched the right front wheel nuts and the lip on the front of the entry door. Looking out my drivers window I might have had 6" of clearance on the drivers side.
We were directed to back up and after a slight adjustment cleared the booth. This crossing was never designed to accommodate wide or lengthy vehicles. When I queried the border guard as to whether we could use the commercial entrance where trucks and buses cross, we were told absolutely no. When I asked how we were supposed to cross, they said that we should have used the Peace Arch crossing as their crossing was never designed for vehicles of our size.
I wrote a letter to Canada Border Services outlining the above and in particular the fact that if travellers of any nation were unfamiliar with the crossings, the signage would steer these people toward the truck crossing.
The return letter from CBSA said that we should contact the Washington State Highway people as signs on the I5 were not their concern. (The CBSA can screw up the design but not take any responsibility for their errors).
Since then we have heard lots of horror stories of class A's, 5 th wheels and trailers hitting these barriers. Do not under any circumstances take a larger RV through this "truck crossing"
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Old 08-02-2016, 01:34 PM   #2
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Yep, take the Peace Arch crossing.

The Summas crossing is fine heading south, but super tight heading north !
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Old 08-02-2016, 04:20 PM   #3
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My S&B is a short 28 blocks north of the Pacific and Peace Arch border crossings and I respond to many questions about where to cross the border in the Vancouver area.

#1:
I always suggest the Aldergrove/Lynden crossing as my first choice. They have a truck/RV lane southbound and the northbound lanes provide straight access with ample room.

#2
Number two is the Peace Arch border crossing. It is a straight and easy crossing coming north but some care is required going south. The US guys narrow the lanes down on the approach that the corner just before the booths can be very tight at times. You also want to stay well to the left or you may be forced to make a very tight left turn, followed by a "U-turn" after exiting the guard booth. Then, if they want to do an agricultural inspection, they have big rigs pull over to the side of the driving lane, on the curve. The last time I was forced to do this they insisted I pull over until my wheels hit the curb and then I could not proceed forward without backing up, with a toad, or unhooking and then backing up. This is a new crossing facility but poorly designed for large RVs.

#3
I've only used Sumas once for our RV due to its distance east of where we live and the closer Aldergrove crossing.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:13 AM   #4
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Canada US border crossing

We usually cross at Sumas if heading east. They have a Nexus lane northbound that RV's can us, Unfortunately coming back, the Nexus lane is to narrow for an RV. I live 5 minutes South of the Aldergrove crossing, but have never crossed with our RV, only with a car.

The truck crossing should be labeled in the US (I5) for no RV's. It would be easy to add that signing as you enter Blaine going North. Who knows, maybe next year. In the mean time we have this forum to spread the word.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:53 AM   #5
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I don't remember any of the crossings being any Smaller or larger. They are ALL tight! Line up straight clear the mirrors(this is about 3" each side) and go slow. If you don't like tight spots don't use the Dawson City ferry across the Yukon, 63' long first in line last on a full ferry.
In any of these tight situations it's tough to keep up reading and driving.

LEN
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Old 08-04-2016, 03:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLYLEN View Post
I don't remember any of the crossings being any Smaller or larger. They are ALL tight! Line up straight clear the mirrors(this is about 3" each side) and go slow. If you don't like tight spots don't use the Dawson City ferry across the Yukon, 63' long first in line last on a full ferry.
In any of these tight situations it's tough to keep up reading and driving.

LEN
The primary concern I have with the Pacific Border Crossing (Hwy-15 Truck Crossing) is the tight turns in the approach lanes. The lanes are tight and then they trough in a couple of tight turns that a long wheelbase cannot negotiate without encroaching on the other lanes (crammed with traffic that won't move for you) or the barrier pylons.

I personally did not find the Dawson City Ferry a problem for my 43 ft coach and Honda CR-V (61 ft total). When I crossed they had RVs and large trucks in one lane and cars in the other. They loaded the large vehicles first and then filled in the remaining space with cars. Between our coach and a large truck, only a pickup truck made it on with us.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:09 PM   #7
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I've crossed at Sumas and other ports of entry on the Canada US border. Found it very important to take it very slow and not get anxious to get through the port. Granted this doesn't help you with your issue but it might be good for others to really take it slow and closely watch the barricades and poles. They won't move but you can avoid making contact if you really are careful. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-05-2016, 12:10 AM   #8
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We've used the Sumas crossing with our 40' motorhome with no issues but you have to have a good feel of where your RV is at all times.
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