Wednesday, August 15, 2007
In Canada, looking south at the USA. The gate is the border!
Sunday we decided to head north to Canada. About 90 miles north of Usk is the Canadian town of Nelson. It is supposed to be a quaint town, lots of little shops, and very picturesque. We thought we'd take a leisurely drive up, have lunch, look around, then have a leisurely drive back to Usk.
The drive up to the border was very nice, and we saw some places we'll tour in the future. The local PUD has a dam upriver, and they give tours, so we'll definitely take that one. Electricity is cheap here - about 4 cents/KWH due to the hydro!!
Things changed drastically when we got to the border. As we crossed over into no-man's-land, we were next in line at Canadian customs. There was a white van in front of us. Hmmmm, doors open, engine off. OK, the border patrol was inside the van. A half hour later, I got out of our truck to ask the guards if I could turn around and head back. "Get back in your vehicle, sir, NOW!" was the reply. They then moved the van from the lane into a separate area. Hurray, we said, now we'll get through. Wrong. There were only 2 border guards at this station, and they had decided to empty out the van. There were 3 people in it, two very long-haired (dreadlocks) men, and one woman. One guard had to watch the occupants while the other opened suitcases. Finally, after about an hour, one of the guards returned to the line, which had grown to many vehicles. We should have turned around at that point, but we decided to head up to Nelson in spite of the delay. All right, I can go 100 here...no, that's kilometers per hour, not miles per hour.
We saw a lot of young hitchhikers between the border and Nelson, and some signs that said "Event Ahead". Finally we got to Nelson, and found a restaurant that was open. After eating a slightly different version of a burger, we started walking - not much open. On Sunday, in British Columbia, virtually all the stores were closed! We're outta here!
The trip back to the border was uneventful except for one thing: when I came around a corner, about 500 feet in front of us, a black bear was crossing the road. Donna grabbed the camera, but it was gone by the time we got close enough for a picture.
When we got back to the border, this time we had to wait about 20 minutes for the American border patrol. They checked our passports, had their dog sniff the truck (luckily we had left Abbey back in the fifth wheel), and asked us the usual questions. He also asked us if we had been to the drug event...OK, we asked, was that really what it was? Yes, he said. One of the questions he had asked us was if we were bringing back any drugs. He asked us using the slang name of the drug, and was quite amused at our blank stares. So that was our big adventure in another country. Shoulda stayed home!
Speaking of which...Thursday morning we are leaving our resort here and heading back towards Denver. We will arrive Sunday afternoon, and will be staying in Monument, at our Coast to Coast home park. We are excited to see family and friends, and visit some of our old haunts! Not as exciting will be going through storage to get chairs and a few other accessories that belong on the fifth wheel. When we return to Oregon in September to pick up the new rig, the fifth wheel will need to have all of it's original stuff with it.
In case you are wondering, the river our resort is next to is called the Pend O'reille. The actual pronounciation of that is Ponderay...go figure, French-Canadian influence I guess!