Crossing the border from the U.S. into Canada is a fairly easy process in my past experiences. But, we were not sure how smoothly the process would be when we drove across the border in our “house” and with all our “stuff.” Our border crossing was along the Chief Mountain Highway at the intersection of Glacier National Park (NP) and Waterton Lakes NP. This was a great place to cross because there was a short line and, since you are still in the parks, the border crossing backdrop is gorgeous.
We pulled up to the border guards’ booth said a cheerful “hello” and handed over our passports. The guard started going down his litmus list of standard questions such as where we were going, how long we would be in Canada, etc. But then he got more detailed with his questions and the “yes” answers I was giving him caused him to pull out a yellow pad of paper and write down my answers. His eyebrows rose slightly when he asked if we had any alcohol. Duh, yes! Did we have a firearm? Yes. Did we have pepper spray/mace? Yes, we carry bear spray while hiking. Whoops, now both eyebrows were up and he instructed us to pull over and another officer would be out to “get some more information.” Now the line at the border crossing was getting longer.
The gun thing had us a little worried because so many people told us we could not bring a firearm into Canada. But a little digging on the Canadian government’s website indicated we could depending on the type of firearm and it would have to be registered. Soon the new officer walked over to us and asked to see the firearm. As many law enforcement officers, he quietly inspected it, reviewed my application permit and asked a few questions about why I had it, what I used it for, and where I was going. I could not get a read on him and was getting worried there was a problem as he looked at the gun and hymned and hawed. But, after a few minutes and a couple more nervous minutes, we went inside to complete the paper work and payment (about 26 Canadian dollars). Whew, no big deal! With the gun safely registered, he followed me back to the motorhome and said he was going to “take a look around.” Spirit (not one to miss an opportunity to meet a new person) greeted him with a big ol’ doggy “hello,” wagged her tail feverishly, and welcomed this strange man into our home. The officer did a thorough job of opening all cabinets and drawers inside the coach but surprisingly never looked in the “basement” compartment or in the car.
We were very truthful about what we were bringing into Canada including the amount of alcohol we had. And while we were over the legal limit, we figured paying duty was better than abandoning our libations and cooking ingredients. So with the marsala safely in Canada, it looks like chicken marsala is back on the menu and sangria will be chilled.
With our border crossing behind us, we anticipate spending 6-8 weeks enjoying Canadian National Parks and admiring their Rockies. Our first view of them are spectacular.