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Old 07-19-2014, 11:02 PM   #15
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Same experience here heading back into the U.S. We declared that we had some food leftover in the trailer (that was originally purchased in the U.S.) - and that was enough to pull us over, search the truck and trailer and put our dogs into a kennel while they searched - not fun! This was in October of 2013.
Same here. We have crossed the border both ways with the trailer several times, but the last time we re-entered the US we got the whole treatment--search the trailer, question my wife and me separately to make sure our stories agree, etc. They ended up confiscating a few green onions and an orange. We decided that was our last trip to Canada with the Airstream. The game ain't worth the candle.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:33 PM   #16
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Nuvite, I am sorry that this experience turned you off against the entire country of Canada. It has so much breath-taking scenery.

We frequently cross the border, and just assume that we will be asked about our food. It is always a good idea to check the website about allowed/disallowed produce going from Canada into the US. We get pulled over periodically by the Americans (not the Canadians) who ask to look at our food supply, but I don't blame them, given all of the foreign insect pests that can devastate a crop. We NEVER bring any kind of citrus fruit into the US.

The funny thing is, I think some of the horticultural police just want a Looky-Lou peek at the Bambi. We've had two US border patrol agents in full regalia inside our little trailer asking us, "How much does it weigh?" "I bet it tows really well." &c.

And that's fine.
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:40 PM   #17
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Same here. We have crossed the border both ways with the trailer several times, but the last time we re-entered the US we got the whole treatment--search the trailer, question my wife and me separately to make sure our stories agree, etc. They ended up confiscating a few green onions and an orange. We decided that was our last trip to Canada with the Airstream. The game ain't worth the candle.
Wow - that was quite an experience. Not sure how I would react in the same situation - maybe exactly the same - but I would like to think that I would eventually recognize that these folks have a tough job to do - and sometimes your (our) number just comes up. It probably doesn't help that some law enforcement types enjoy their job just a little too much - and I'm sure even the good ones have a bad day - heck - maybe they were looking for folks who were real bad guys crossing in an RV (any RV). Guess what I am saying here is I would want to come to the point where I'm thankful for these folks - they have a job to do and if they don't get it right then others suffer.

Give the border another chance.


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Old 07-20-2014, 06:47 PM   #18
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:07 PM   #19
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Meanwhile, the borders are wide open to Illegals, while we get shaken down
By our own Gov't And the TSA.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:18 PM   #20
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Our last time in Canada was in 2010 and it was the first time we went with the trailer. We crossed the border 8 times—we went to Alaska and 4 times into the US and 4 into Canada.

The Canadians were polite, quick and efficient and the only food some were interested in were potatoes. I think it varies by province.

The US border police were often rude and loved inspecting the trailer for fruit. Of the 4 times, we were held up twice while they looked through the trailer. I'd keep computers and smart phones in the truck so they are less likely to look through them. Not too many years before, you could go into the trailer with them, but in 2010 you are not allowed inside while they rummage around in your stuff.

They focus on fruit, but other things may be important to them. Check the US regs online. The irony is that the fruit and veggies in Canadian markets look and taste better than a lot of the stuff in US stores.

The US has hired thousands of border cops since 2001. Many have little experience in the job or life. They act somewhat paranoid. Some are former soldiers who may think they are still in a battle. Many are young and taught to be suspicious of everyone, but have poor skills in differentiating between types of people.

On that trip we went to both Skagway and Haines as side trips—that mean crossing the border 4 of those times. The older US guy at one of those crossings was obviously very experienced, friendly and efficient. The other ones were not and seemed to be anxious to hassle us; at the Alaska Highway crossing into the main part of Alaska they were very slow. They also were hassling a truck driver and stopped him for so long it was too late to get his Alaska permit that day, so his trip was extended by a day. If I recall correctly, they misidentified something in his paperwork and that's what held him up. When we came back though Montana, they were so far behind—half an hour or more just to get to the station, so we got through fast because they were so understaffed. The guy there (and the older guy) actually said "hello"; the others had never been taught to be polite in any way. My theory is the more obscure the crossing is, the less likely they'll hassle you, but I don't know if that is true.

Next time we will probably skip side trips because of the hassles. If I were not living in the US, one experience with many of these people would probably keep me from ever visiting again. US immigration cops have always had a bad reputation. It used to be customs cops were friendly and they alternated every other kiosk at big crossings. Having crossed the border scores, maybe hundreds of times, back in the '70's, we'd try to see the color of the uniforms at the kiosks ahead of time so we'd get the customs guy. Now they are all the same and have adopted immigration's bad attitude.

On that last trip, no one asked us about what we had bought. We could have smuggled prohibited items and very expensive items. All they cared about was fruit.

Since we were caught with contraband fruit once, i suspect ever after that is in the computer and that's why we got hassled again. Only the long lines the last time probably saved us from more hassles.

Then there are the bug stations when you enter California, but we've never gotten searched there.

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Old 07-20-2014, 08:07 PM   #21
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Thanks to all! We had a seamless crossing. The border agent just checked our papers, asked the usual questions and sent us on our way. I did notice he looked at our passports carefully but he explained that he had watched CFL last night and a player on one of the teams was from Waxahachie. The announcers discussed the proper pronunciation of it and where it was located. Then, to his surprise, we turned up at his booth today!

Good thing you didn't mention Dale Hansen . . . You'd still be waiting . . . Reallllllllyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!


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Old 07-20-2014, 08:39 PM   #22
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It isn't the TSA at the borders, it is the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol..). They are supposed to use combinations of people-reading and computer database history to determine which returnees merit a more thorough search. When we came back, CBP asked to look in trailer, but were claiming to be more concerned that people might have been hidden in the trailer. Store-bought apples made it home with us.. Within the past few years, perhaps because they are so ineffective at southern borders, they have seemingly become more aggressive elsewhere. They've stopped pilots in small planes on domestic flights with SWAT teams, dogs and machine guns for warrantless searches, and made the Fruit and Veggie searches more dramatic than they need to be. That said, I'd never miss a chance to get back to Canadian Rockies or BC over a few oranges or potatoes.. As long as you aren't packing guns, the Canadians are very welcoming coming into Canada, especially on less busy routes...
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:09 AM   #23
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I forgot about Dale! Maybe I should mention him on the way back in.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:45 AM   #24
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We decided that was our last trip to Canada with the Airstream. The game ain't worth the candle.
Too bad when it's not even Canada's fault.

We are heading back in a few weeks and when we come back into the US you won't even be able to smell a fruit or vegetable in the trailer.

When they inspected us we had to wait in the building while they inspected. I gave them the keys to the trailer and then panicked that they would unlock it and leave the key in the door when they opened it, denting the trailer. I ran out to warn them, catching it just in time.
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:38 AM   #25
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I have throughly enjoyed all my trips inside Canada. It is a most delightful place with sights and people that beg a return visit. However, based on border guard behaviour, I'll be flying in and out in the future.

My last crossing revealed a concern that seemed ludicrous as they were fixated on getting serial numbers off all my appliances and technology items to ensure I wasn't importing or exporting stuff without the proper authority/paperwork. Attitudes could have been greatly improved had the US staff gotten a good night's sleep before appearing for work that morning. I concur with Nuvite-F!

I was treated better by a surprise INS inspection near Big Bend NP when stopped and searched by canines and armed guards trailing mules who had just crossed the river.
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:45 AM   #26
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:30 PM   #27
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We are preparing to go back across. Do you get the forms to declare everything at the border? The only website I have found about food is TSA for traveling and that doesn't seem to fit. Thanks everyone!
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:53 PM   #28
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Quick! Eat everything!!!


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