Monday, June 17, 2013

Border crossing

There may be no pictures to go with this blog update - I didn't take any pictures on this leg of the trip.

I had to stick in some pictures. This is a craw-dad hole in Texas.

The past few days we have been in Canada. I was really taken with the area we drove through. This is the very northern tip of the Carolinian Forest Zone that stretches from South Carolina to this area between the great lakes in Canada. It is the primary agricultural area in Canada and the population center of Canada.

Unlike the Central Valley of California it appears that Canada still has lots of small family farms, large-scale agri-business hasn’t taken over here. I found myself just marveling at how neat and well kept were all the farms we passed. And there were lots of farms we passed.  The drive was eye candy.

There were lots of little fresh produce stands along the road. We saw lots of yard sales signs too. We didn’t see any billboards.

This is the only bill board I remember seeing in Canda. This is looking from the falls. 

The day before we brought the trailer into Canada we bought some colorful Canadian money and checked out how difficult it would be to bring the trailer across. The Canadian customs person was a young lady with a very nice smile. She reassured us that we would have no trouble with the crossing as long as we didn’t have firearms, dirt, or firewood. She wished us a pleasant trip and gave us a smiling wave and ‘good by” as we left. The folks at the Canadian information center were just as nice and had us laughing at a few things before we left.

Brenda and a few other tourists at Horseshoe Falls

The actual crossing with the trailer was uneventful.  We pulled up to the RV area at Canadian customs and stopped. There was no one there. We looked for signs explain what to do, there weren’t any. We hoped out of the car and walked around and started to enter a building when the customs fellow came out smiling. He said, “you’re supposed to stay in your car.” Then he asked us a few questions, took our passports inside for a minute, came back out, smiled and said, “pull around the corner and I’ll open the gate for you. Have a good trip.” We were in Canada with the trailer – 5 minutes it took.

The object at the base of Horseshoe Falls is the Maid of the Mist tour boat. 

Our campsite for the night was Long Point Provincial Park about half way between Niagara Falls and Detroit. We pulled into the park during a snowstorm of cottonwood blossoms.  Long Point is a long sand spit which is rare in the great lakes. Canadians pour into this area in the summer to enjoy the beaches and dunes. The park was nearly filled when we were there. It wasn’t the nicest campground we’ve been in, by far, but it was pretty and we got out to look for – birds.

The next day it rained as we drove to the border crossing at Point Huron.

I had been thinking about how the US customs folks have behaved all the times I have crossed the border into the US. This crossing at Point Huron was about the 50th time I’ve driven into the US from Mexico or Canada.  I don’t remember ever having the US border guard smile.

I mentioned this to Brenda as we approached the border. We weren’t disappointed by this guy. He didn’t crack a smile or even act very civil. As we passed our passports he asked what our citizenship was - he was holding our US passports. He asked where we were from. He asked where we were going. He asked how long we had been in Canada. He asked where we were coming from. He asked what we bought in Canada. He asked who owned the trailer and the car. Then he passed back our passports and said, “OK, you can go.” This really bothered me. Why do the US border people act like that.? Are they trained to be offensive?

I’d be curious to hear if any of you have run into a friendly US border agent driving into the US.

We started out in Michigan on interstate highway 69 but after a few miles of bone-jarring miles we took off on back roads. Michigan is much like Canada. There are lots of small farms here although they generally aren’t quite as neatly kept as the ones we saw in Canada.

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