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Old 05-30-2016, 07:13 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by PKI View Post
Silly question....maybe? Feather boas are not allowed in an effort to keep pests out....most fly fishing flys are feather or fur of some type. Folks do make them from synthetics now, but most do not. Anyone had a problem with the foul content of their flys?

Appears that byproducts of meat are not allowed. Would canned chicken broth be considered a meet product hazard or just the dry bullion type of soup started?

Tool boxes have come up as a "red flag" possibly to identify folks that want to work. Never knew anyone who did not travel with some sort of tool box. Any ideas on this? Would Hand tools not be a concern and power tools represent an issue or any tools at all are a problem?

My apology for asking a bunch of questions. There is a phone number to call with questions. Anyone done that with good results?

From what we read, the landscape will be fantastic. We look forward to making a trip.

Travel safe and thank you for the help. Pat
Never had an issue with my flies nor with my fly tying gear which includes deer hair, bear hair, elk hair, feathers of all descriptions. So long as there's nothing on the endangered list, you should be fine.

Never had an issue of canned or freeze dried foods of any description. The concern is, I believe, with fresh meats and veg.

Tool boxes were only red flagged because of people full-timing with no fixed address. The question, I suspect is how big is the box and does it contain specialized tools that go beyond basic repairs.

As I mentioned earlier, don't overthink this stuff or you'll give yourself an ulcer and be put off by the thought of travel. I suspect that the people who have the biggest problems at the borders are the ones with lousy attitudes. If in doubt, declare it and answer the questions asked in the simplest terms possible. These folks have the job of protecting our borders so just be straightforward and let them do their job. Above all, don't panic.
Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:42 PM   #62
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Thanks Cameront - thanks for the encouraging words. We think the beauty of Canada makes the trip worth while. Pat
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:57 PM   #63
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To give this discussion a little balance let me tell you about some experiences I have had entering the US. Outline only since complete details would be too long to keep interest.

1. I have had a package of gravy mix containing "simulated beef flavour" seized during one of the mad cow scares.

2. Had a sealed bag of cat food clearly labeled "manufactured in the USA" seized on the grounds that there was no way of knowing if it had been "tampered with" while in Canada.

3. One lemon (grown in the USA, but not labeled as such) seized from the fridge. This resulted in a two hour hold up while the entire rig was x-rayed, and we were individually searched and questioned. Signed a quit-claim document giving up the lemon.

4. Had a frozen pork-chop seized on the grounds that the inspector could not determine of it was beef or not in its frozen state. (mad cow scare again)

5. Had a US customs agent tell me at length that my F-150 with ecoboost was not adequate for pulling my 34ft AS. This based on what his friend, who knows about such things, told him.

Now, having given those examples let me say that the vast majority of my interactions with US Customs have been professional, reasonable and satisfactory in every respect. I don't let myself get all bent out of shape because of a couple of people having a bad day or enjoying the exercise of power.

Over the years I have dealt with a very limited number of doctors, dentists and gas station cashiers who behaved like turds. Does not turn be against every person who works in those jobs. You should see the amount of crap people working with the public put up with while smiling and telling them to have a nice day.
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Old 05-31-2016, 01:15 AM   #64
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I just entered British Columbia two days ago from Montana, with a firearm. I fully expected to be grilled, but found the officers to be friendly and respectful.

The issue of Colorado's pot law didn't even come up, as it does in our bordering states. In fact, I was not even asked about liquor, let alone marijuana.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:37 AM   #65
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Experience with Canadian Customs

Disclaimer: This post contains no guns or reference to guns!

We used to own a fishing cabin in Ontario. After 30 years of reasonable border crossings with the usual fish cooler scrutinization, we had a series of unpleasant Canadian customs inspections. We sold the cabin and haven't traveled to Canada since.

I travel international a few times a month. If it wasn't for crew lines I'd spent 1/2 my life standing in customs lines. It always amazes me that honest people following the rules are so scrutinized when we allow free passage of those that don't. For the most part I think it's a typical knee jerk reaction to give the appearance that the government is doing something about a completely out of control situation.

Most of the focus on our unpleasant crossings was scrutinizing the camping supplies we were claiming. The last one was an old old propane tank stamped 30 lbs. The customs agent said it was a 40 lb tank. When my dad pointed out the stamped capacity we got impounded and searched. 4 hours later we were on our way with no discrepancies other than a couple gallons of residual gas in our empty boat tanks that were not claimed.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:40 AM   #66
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Thru the years we've crossed over to Canada and back to US many times. In all cases I have noted, like everything else in life, that it depends on the person. Each border security person is different on both sides. Some are bullies, and bullies pick on the easiest target - retired people with money, ie an AS. Some are cordial, professional and great people.

We have never had an issue, in fact at one crossing in 2013 the Canadian Border Security agent asked about our dog, we produced her papers and then she asked if she could have a cookie and gave her a dog biscuit. She died while we were in Nova Scotia, sudden unknown auto immune disease. While crossing back into the states the agent on the US side asked about our dog, we told her and she started crying and waved us on.

No plans to go to Canada, but a few instances of others harassment will not be a deciding factor. Now if we do go and if it does happen that will be it for us.


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Old 05-31-2016, 07:08 AM   #67
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I agree that you can encounter nice folk and also miserable SOB's crossing the border in either direction - we certainly have over the years!

I think all you can do to improve your chances of a more pleasant interview is to do what is right and display courtesy and not give any smart ass remarks!

I always automatically remove sunglasses - and helmet if we are on the bike - and answer all questions as clearly and concisely as possible. If we are in the truck with the trailer I have learned to automatically shut it off when we are at the booth as I know it can be a bit hard to carry on a conversation with it running!

I'm pretty sure we have encountered far more reasonable people than miserable ones - every now and then you do meet one that for whatever reason just seems to want to make your experience an unpleasant one - I always find that a bit upsetting when I have tried to be polite - all I can do is just put it out of my mind as soon as I ca after clearing the booth thinking that I will likely have a better day than he/she will!

The last time we returned home to Canada, crossing at Niagara Falls, the crossing was quite empty - no line up at all. The Canadian customs officer spent more time discussing our truck that anything else as it turned out that he owned exactly the same one!

No point in being anything but polite even with the miserable ones - in fact maybe even more so with them, as they certainly have the upper hand if they have it in mind to give you a hard time!

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Old 05-31-2016, 08:44 AM   #68
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How else am I going to get to Tim Horton's unless I cross the border of BC?

"It's like magic, only real"
(Bud Light commercial)

Women and cats can do as they please, while men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.(R. Heinlein)
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:49 AM   #69
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Although we only go up there every couple of years, or so, we look forward to our visits and always enjoy ourselves.

I think people can find misery anywhere they look. I just don't look for any.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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Old 05-31-2016, 09:54 AM   #70
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My Dad smuggled Tobacco, Alcohol and Coffee

Europe 1960 to 1964.

My parents were cigarette and coffee smugglers to my mother's Dutch relatives in the Netherlands. Our 1954 or so Studebaker was bright yellow with the chrome bullet looking front end. We were considered celebrities while crossing borders in Europe with the US Military plates on this rarity in Europe.

American whiskey was a welcomed smuggled item and treasured for card games in the Netherlands. We were not bootleggers.

My Dad also smuggled cigars to my mother's dad. He would smoke them down to the last inch.

Crossing the borders of any European Country was a glance at the Military Plates.

Traveling Europe today from one end to the other was never an issue for my wife and I twenty years ago on the Eurail System.

My Mom a few years before she passed had a suitcase full of Dutch chocolates leaving the Netherlands. She was pulled out of line randomly and was terrified that they were after her hoard of chocolates. She was embarrassed also that she had not laundered her clothes which Customs pawed through her underwear and garments. She passed the Chocolate easily, not admitting about her contraband days to the Netherlands.

Yet... crossing the borders to Canada to USA and USA to Canada I feel discomfort and am uneasy. Smuggling coffee and tobacco products processed in the USA days are no longer necessary. Border crossings between Montana and Canada were routine in the forests and the Montana county number was your Passport if discovered. Was questioned if we had any 'fur products' leaving Canada. We had a Coonskin Davy Crockett style camp purchased in Canada. All fake fur for a nephew in New York. Almost thought we were going to lose it as the cap looked like fur and might of been contraband.
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Old 05-31-2016, 01:42 PM   #71
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Why bother with Canadian customs, just drive over. Canada on the right side of the medium.!8i6656
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:59 PM   #72
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We live close to the border and cross it a lot, mostly via our small local border crossing.

I think sometimes there is a red-flag response, like having no fixed address.

Sometimes the reasons for a lengthy process have nothing to do with you, like one of the officers is being trained, under the supervision of the other officer. (We definitely had this happen to us once: young minority officer, senior Anglo officer watching the process.) Periodically we seem to get a local horticultural alert, where the agents want to inspect the contents of our fridge and cupboards.

Our local weekly paper publishes the local RCMP blotter. Once in a while there is a report of someone apprehended at our border, in cooperation with US authorities. Reasons are things like drugs or an outstanding warrant for an arrest. Possibly Canadian customs has a profile of a wanted individual that could match more than one person crossing the border.

Canadian customs and immigration also tightened up after 9/11, in cooperation with the US

The episode reported in the OP seems really unfortunate; but presumably the greater purpose is to keep everyone safe. "Safety" does play out differently across the border.

Honestly, the biggest issue we've ever had has been the delays at the major border crossings like Niagara, Detroit/Windsor, Sarnia, and the Peace Bridge between Vancouver & Bellingham. It can take hours just waiting in line. We'll take a small, out-of-the-way crossing any day.

Right now the Canadian dollar is worth about 76c US, so anyone willing to brave the fearsome Canadian border agents should find some good travel deals up here-- except for gasoline.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:04 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Kota View Post
Disclaimer: This post contains no guns or reference to guns!
Now that's refreshing...

Moderator hat on: Folks we have removed a number of posts from this thread that had to do with gun control, general political commentary and outright snarky remarks intended to insult other members or nationalities. This thread is about crossing at the Canada/USA Border, not about gun rights, political agendas, ethical issues associated with carrying a gun or the general demeanor of citizens of either country.

Let's stay on topic and focus on the experiences we have in common and Airstreaming and avoid these other topics as they are specifically prohibited at AIR forums and are extremely divisive. There are plenty of great places to have these debates on the web but this forum is about Airstreams.

Thanks for understanding
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:39 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by drboyd View Post
Geez. Y'all ought to try crossing back into the US from Mexico some time!

They sell better Coca Cola in Mexico, made with real sugar instead of HFCS. The US border guard asked what we had bought in Mexico and I said, "Oh, and we've got a case of Coke back there."

That was a very tense few seconds!
Funny! I like Mexican Coca Cola better as well. BTW, Sam's Club carries them.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:24 AM   #75
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We love visiting Canada. Despite the possibility of an occasional grumpy northbound or southbound border agent, we expect to do so again.

When we want to visit Canada with our Airstream, we'll compare our packing list with the lists of what is/isn't allowed and comply with them. Here's a couple of handy links:
Previous advice about removing sunglasses and being unfailingly polite to border agents, no matter what, is great. Another thing to consider is whether it's worth our time to get Nexus and/or Global Entry. We're looking into Nexus and may go for it, as that also gets us TSA Pre-Check clearance for domestic flights.
Have fun and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

<edit> Should say I also regret the OP's poor experience at the border this time around, and I hope their next border crossing is more pleasant. </edit>
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:44 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
We love visiting Canada. -- snip -- we'll compare our packing list with the lists of what is/isn't allowed and comply with them. -- snip --
R - Do you declare everything on your packing list? Do you declare restricted items that you carry in an allowed quantity? What I get from most comments is that declarations do not include the traveling inventory and folks only declare items that need to be validated as tax exempt or those which are not and need the duty paid on them. Any input would be appreciated.

We really think we are outside the box, but keep looking for issues that might put us in it. Breathtaking scenery is a really enticing siren's song.

Anyone have experience with taking a sewing machine? Wife is a quilter and likes to get some piecing in when the pups take me for a walk. Not exactly a construction tool box and not a commercial machine, but also not your regular kit for the run of the mill tourist.

You all travel safe. Pat
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:03 AM   #77
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Oh Canada....

I have been traveling to Canada for both business (flying typically) and also towing travel trailer for many years. I never find it a great experience entering nor leaving. I always feel like they are not friendly on the Canadian side. I have Global Entry and I still get flagged; never have I just whizzed through security like the Canadian citizens seem to. I do love the scenery and the people are very friendly, so I think we just have to suck it up and put up with the only depressing part of the trip. Especially if we want to drive to Alaska...seems the only road goes through Canada!
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:09 AM   #78
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Hi from AZ. . . to AK & back last Summer, we probably crossed borders 6 or 8 times & had NO difficulties on either side. I take off my sunglasses, look them in the eye, say yes sir & no m'am & smile. The folks we encountered were pleasant &/or professional.. . . sorry the op had a bad experience, but I guess anybody can have a bad day. . . regards, Craig
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:21 AM   #79
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Like anything else the folks at the boarder have a job to do. In this day and age we have to understand that they meet all kinds and if you deal in customer service like I do, some customers come in picking for a fight. It's hard to not let some of these bad eggs rub off if the day is particularly trying.

We also have enormous expectations regarding these folks keeping us safe. I dare say we'd be the first to criticize if they drop their guard and let someone pass through who causes havoc and potential loss of life of innocents.

I and my family were subject to a vehicle search by the Canadian officials years ago at Niagra Falls. We probably fit a profile, a family of 3 driving a large van. Why a big van with 2 adults and a child? We were asked to get out of the car and sit on a bench while everything, tool box, and storage containers, glove boxes were opened and emptied. Of course when they were done I had to put everything back. Thankfully my trailer was at a campground in Niagra Falls or they might have opened it up too. Personally I'd rather not go through that again and decided that my trailer would stay south of the border and I'd do day excursions into Canada instead.

To each his own as others have said, but with what is going on in the world today, the folks at the boarder crossings are carrying a lot of responsibility.

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Old 06-02-2016, 10:38 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by PKI View Post
R - Do you declare everything on your packing list? Do you declare restricted items that you carry in an allowed quantity? What I get from most comments is that declarations do not include the traveling inventory and folks only declare items that need to be validated as tax exempt or those which are not and need the duty paid on them. Any input would be appreciated.

We really think we are outside the box, but keep looking for issues that might put us in it. Breathtaking scenery is a really enticing siren's song.

Anyone have experience with taking a sewing machine? Wife is a quilter and likes to get some piecing in when the pups take me for a walk. Not exactly a construction tool box and not a commercial machine, but also not your regular kit for the run of the mill tourist.

You all travel safe. Pat
You declare everything that is controlled (ie guns), you declare anything that is in a quantity over the allowed daily limit (ie liquor in excess of the published limits), and you answer questions about non-controlled items that may indicate to the border agent that you are planning on doing something different than you have stated (ie working in the other country).

Yes, I took a sewing machine, in to the US in this case. As carry on for a flight, in transit to South America. We couldn't buy one there, as it was a fancy electronic quilting machine. US Border Agent asked what it was. I showed him, and said it was a present for my wife. Agent said "lucky her". End of conversation. Agent in Chile asked what it was. Same discussion. Similar response.

These issues generally aren't about Canada, they are about going through border checkpoints to any country. I have never had trouble in thirty years of frequent international travel, apart from occasional agents having a bad day, in whatever country. And the one time I lost my exit visa in a third world country, but that was my fault, not theirs.

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