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Old 06-16-2014, 04:34 PM   #1
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North of the Border advice?

We are soon to be heading toward Kokanee Chalets RV Park and Campground, Crawford Bay, BC, to rendezvous with some long-time friends from Idaho for a few days. Neither we nor our friends have been to Crawford Bay before. Our friends will be staying in a cabin with their grandchildren, while we relax in SittEscape.

We have not traveled to BC since bringing home our Escape in 2011. Any advice you BCers can give us?

We know enough not to bring any weapons, despicable criminal records, or bad karma. Are there other things we should avoid? The Canada Border Services Agency webpage seems pretty clear on what to bring and what to avoid. Nevertheless, it always seems like we do something dumb like bringing that extra bottle of wine. That's probably because there's so much room in the Escape.

Is it worth loading our refrigerator with food? Or will our grapes bring us wrath at the border?

And, while we're in the Crawford Bay, are there places you recommend to see? Or things to do? Other than hanging out by the water, of course.

Thanks in advance.

Klaus & Karen
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Old 06-16-2014, 04:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ksitte View Post
We are soon to be heading toward Kokanee Chalets RV Park and Campground, Crawford Bay, BC, to rendezvous with some long-time friends from Idaho for a few days. Neither we nor our friends have been to Crawford Bay before. Our friends will be staying in a cabin with their grandchildren, while we relax in SittEscape.

We have not traveled to BC since bringing home our Escape in 2011. Any advice you BCers can give us?

We know enough not to bring any weapons, despicable criminal records, or bad karma. Are there other things we should avoid? The Canada Border Services Agency webpage seems pretty clear on what to bring and what to avoid. Nevertheless, it always seems like we do something dumb like bringing that extra bottle of wine. That's probably because there's so much room in the Escape.

Is it worth loading our refrigerator with food? Or will our grapes bring us wrath at the border?

And, while we're in the Crawford Bay, are there places you recommend to see? Or things to do? Other than hanging out by the water, of course.

Thanks in advance.

Klaus & Karen
Assuming you are going to return to the US I would also be reading up on your US Customs Service requirements page.. they can also be very picky with goods regardless of where you say they originated.
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:22 PM   #3
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When we returned to the US from Osoyoos, the US border folks seemed very concerned about fruit and vegetables.
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:01 PM   #4
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We buy our fruits and veggies when we get to BC to avoid hassles. We make sure to eat them all before crossing back to Washington
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:20 PM   #5
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We always do our best to comply with the law but still have had a couple of incidents:

One, we had some potatoes Dump them we were told. But there're Idaho potatoes my wife protested. "They're not in their original bag" so they got dumped by one fuming wife

This Spring, heading South with the new trailer we go the full agriculture inspection at the border. Yea Nexus card They went trough the trailer and truck canopy and truck cab. After 45 minutes he walked in with the evidence. Two green onions who knew?

I think our new policy is no produce of any kind, wait till we've crossed the border and hit the first grocery store we see.

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Old 06-16-2014, 06:26 PM   #6
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My friend had a plant (flower plant) in the back of her 6 horse trailer she forgot it was in the back now she is on a list and gets searched everytime.
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:20 PM   #7
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Yes you gotta watch what you try to take into the US. We ensure we have no fruit, vegs, etc. even if they came from the US. Last crossing with our trailer he wanted to have a look inside, only spent about two minutes in the trailer and we realized we had a lily plant given to us for our 40th anniversary and he either didn't see it or just let it go - knowing we'd be crossing back into Canada within a couple of hours.

I noticed a couple of months ago when I was in the Pembina ND customs office they had photocopies of the allowable foods into the US from their website sitting on the counter. Guess they catch a lot of people inadvertently bringing in food. Returning to Canada we often have groceries and just tell them we have some groceries and there's never a problem.

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Old 06-16-2014, 09:39 PM   #8
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I just crossed several times at Sumas, Abbotsford and Port Angeles. We made sure we did not have fruits, vegetables or meat going into Canada, we purchased once in BC. The Canadian officials at our crossings never asked nor searched. I think Canadian beef is the best, a great excuse to plan our menu.

Coming back to the US we were searched when we answered wrong to their preliminary questions. Yes, we had meat, a pound of hamburger for tonight's supper. That tripped the trigger but they never took the meat, instead we lost a lemon and a package of snow peapods. The watermelon was not taken because he stated the only place they grow at this time of year is California.

It seems citrus will always result in a search.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:55 PM   #9
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Funny this thread surfaced again. We disconnected our trailer in Grand Portage, MN and drove up to Thunder Bay for the day on 6/8. We were singled out for a complete vehicle search by Canadian border guards. My wife and her purse were also searched during the process. Had we had the trailer in tow we might have been there for hours. We have never crossed with anything illegal that would have put us on a list. The experience was unpleasant and a real turnoff to ever returning to visit Canada.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:06 PM   #10
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David

Sad to hear about your experience. I wondered today how your MN trip was going, thought maybe the mosquitos and black flies got you! Unfortunately customs choose one vehicle in every I don't know how many to pull over and do a complete search. You just did not luck out as you were that one. You were not on any list. I hope that the experience does not turn you off from visiting our country another time.

How did you like Thunder Bay? What did you see?

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Old 06-16-2014, 11:13 PM   #11
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Is it worth loading our refrigerator with food?
When we come back to Canada from the US, my wife loads up with all the acceptable foods she can, as prices are way cheaper. I bet she grabs 20 lbs of cheese alone.
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The experience was unpleasant and a real turnoff to ever returning to visit Canada.
They were just doing their job, cut them some slack. Should they ever miss catching someone with contraband, or someone who should not legally enter, they get lots of crap.

I got searched big time, and was given a real runaround, about 20 years ago heading into the US. This was long before passports were needed, and we had forgotten the birth certificates for our kids. Though easy enough to see they were ours, the acted on the assumption that they may have been abducted.

I never for a moment considered this to be representative of what US citizens are like, and have thoroughly enjoyed dozens more visits south of the 49th, and in doing so have met hundreds of wonderful folk.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:35 PM   #12
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Funny this thread surfaced again. We disconnected our trailer in Grand Portage, MN and drove up to Thunder Bay for the day on 6/8. We were singled out for a complete vehicle search by Canadian border guards. My wife and her purse were also searched during the process. Had we had the trailer in tow we might have been there for hours. We have never crossed with anything illegal that would have put us on a list. The experience was unpleasant and a real turnoff to ever returning to visit Canada.
Hmm.. I try my best to prevent border experiences (pleasant or not) from determining what countries like to visit. If that were the case I would have long ago given up: annual visits to see the Detroit Tigers (Ticketed Canadian fans of the team lined up and searched by dogs) Skiing at Sugarloaf Maine (rental car almost dismantled under watchful eye of multiple machine gun toting US Border Patrol) and concerts at Art Park NY (car side scanned with portable radar truck (I was allowed to get out and shield myself behind a concrete wall))

I believe the folks protecting our borders are doing a very important and at times very dangerous job that doesn't always jibe with our expectations of how we would like to be treated/greeted. I don't let those minor transgressions (irritating as they might be) colour my opinion about visiting a whole country.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:47 PM   #13
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I am trying to put it all behind me. Heck ...we were from Texas. They were just doing their job. Guess they were looking for our pearl handled six shooters. We left them, the Sharps 45-70, and Bowie knives back at the trailer.
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:04 AM   #14
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...The experience was unpleasant and a real turnoff to ever returning to visit Canada.
No doubt, but this is not specific to Canada. A similar experience - or in some cases something far worse - could occur on any border crossing... even back into your own country (no matter which one that is).
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Old 06-17-2014, 02:56 AM   #15
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Yes I have had bad crossings in both directions and home from Mexico I never blame the country. Not sure why some guards are so un pleasant but I think people are just that way many are really nice - sometimes we forget about the nice ones.. It would never stop me from going to Canada it's so crazy beautiful in Canada and the people are great!
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:57 AM   #16
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Not sure why some guards are so un pleasant....
I am pretty sure they have been instructed to be, and to not be light and friendly. They are not there as a welcoming committee. I have a bad habit of trying to get people like this to smile, but have had little success with border personnel.

A couple incidents have shown me the human under the thick skin. One I am sure I shared here before, but when crossing pulling our trailer a few years back, with my wife and our dog, the US crossing guard walked up to my window, and with a stern look on his face, held up a MIlkBone to me, with the warning "That is not for you, sir!", then did a quick walk around the vehicle. No crack of a smile, no other chit chat, a couple questions, and we were on our way.

The other was at an airport with our two then younger kids, who were behind us nattering away (all excited to go on vacation) while we talked to the customs agent. He looked at the kids, and hissed out a loud "Shhhh". Well, the kids shut up immediately. The customs agent then did crack a wee smile, and said "It works every time."
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:17 AM   #17
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I had a border guard on the USA side almost refuse us entry into the US. We were traveling to Seattle for a Mariners/Oakland game, and unfortunately, we were wearing the wrong baseball caps (my son was on an A-s team back home at the time). The guard told us that he would make an exception and let us through, but next time we were to wear proper apparel.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:44 AM   #18
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Hi: All... Once on our return to Canada the Officer asked me "What was the purpose of your Vacation". I did my best Jack Benny impression ever. She laughed and said "Oh I guess I answered that myself".
Humour works... if they're in control. Alf
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:46 AM   #19
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I have no problem with Border Guards. They do their job and we do ours. People can be unpleasant no matter what their job is. I'm glad they're there.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:26 AM   #20
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That reminds me that my passport expires about the same time I'm due to pick up my trailer. I need to do something about that.

I've been quizzed about guns, fruits, and vegetables every time I've gone through the border. With Colorado plates, I'm expecting a pot quiz, too, this time.

The only problem I've ever had was proving that 2 toddlers were mine at the Calgary airport. Both were exceedingly unhelpful (and got passports when we got home).
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