After a quick trip through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, we reentered Canada below Montreal. Ycch…another perilous border crossing, and stupidly on a Friday night. Mainly Quebecois heading home, they brought us to a standstill for an hour. Passengers were out of their vehicles, picnicking, riding skateboards, and throwing frisbees and footballs across the freeway. The delay was made more tolerable by the antics of a wonderful Jack Russell Terrier who chased a speedy remote control toy car all over the center divide throughout the delay. I guess he thought it was a rat, and he did not give up. Tenacious critters, those terriers.


During our earlier crossing near Ottowa, the Canadian Border Authority stopped us for a “Customs” issue; they clearly thought we were drug mules and searched the Roadtrek carefully for an hour, but were very welcoming once the search was completed. This time they stopped us for an “Immigration” issue. The dialogue between me and the border agent went like this:

Agent (hereafter “A”): Why EVER would you stay in the Canadian Atlantic Maritime Provinces for three months?

Sally (hereafter “S”): We hate heat and humidity.

A: Why did you only return to the U.S. for 10 days?

S: Steven had business in California, and could not fly out of Canada on his expired U.S. passport.

A. What are your occupations?

S: I am a retired lawyer, and he is a retired engineer.

A: Are you carrying over $10,000 Dollars in Canadian currency into the country?

S: No. Four credit cards with $26,000 limits on each.

A: What valuable assets do you carry in the vehicle?

S: The dog. (He didn’t even crack a smile at this…)

A: What assets do you have in the United States?

S: We both own homes, and have investment portfolios.

A: What is the value of your homes?

S: (WTF????..No, we didn’t really say that, exercising great self control). $600,000 each. What EXACTLY is your concern here?

A: Clearly you are not coming here to look for work so I am concerned that you don’t have sufficient assets to support yourself….you know, to… to …SLEEP… in Canada. What is the source of your income?

S: We both have pensions.

A: (a long glare with narrowed eyes, and then….) Okay. You’re free to go. (and he never cracked a smile…)

We have pondered this interrogation and decided that we either look like bums and should clean the exterior of the van and the bikes, and dress up a bit before we cross the border, or more likely, we drive too small and old an RV, as we doubt that he would have such a conversation with the driver of a 40 foot long RV worth $150,000. Perhaps it is an anti-California bias, or he hated my blue toenail polish and Steven’s pierced ear. Actually, he as much as told us we were suspicious because…who would leave the great weather of California to stay amid the icebergs, rain, and fog in the Maritime Provinces? That would be us, your stealth camping worst nightmares. We don’t expect this level of suspicion when we cross into Canada to enter British Columbia and Alberta during the Autumn. They are way more used to West Coast Weirdos…they have a few of their own.


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About Sally

A Studio Artist and painter trained at Stanford university, Sally has since then graduated from a long career as an Attorney with the Public Defender, and returned to painting. Living in Mexico with her son for a year, they adopted a feral dog, Lety. Sally's son left for college and their dog adopted her new best friend, Steven.

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