My Experience at the Canadian Border March 2020

I had originally planned to pick up Jazzy in mid April. I was sure the weather would be right by then and it would give me adequate time to plan a trip of that magnitude. The Covid-19 thing caused everyone to modify their lifestyle and plans and this trip was no exception.

I had word that the Canadian Border would be closing down to non-essential travel. I didn’t have the exact date just that it would be happening. Initially I thought I would need to postpone picking up Jazzy for a few months but my co-worker urged me to drop everything and go NOW!! I am so glad he did this. Monday the 16th of March 2020 he gave me the advice. I had to work Tuesday the 17th but I left by Weds the 18th starting late in the afternoon.

I was prepared. I had renewed Zulu’s shots just to be safe for the border crossing questions. I had all my documents ready; proof of insurance, road side insurance, proof of payment for Jazzy (I had to pay for her shots before pick up). … I had read of others experiences at t eh border and felt very prepared for any questions or concerns regarding my entry. Coincidentally, I had just accomplished the needed oil change, upgraded my headlights to led, insulated the RV walls and under my bed with bubble-wrap to help keep me warm in the more drastic elements. I was preparing for the trip in April but really, I was already prepared so there was really no reason to not leave at once! The next posting will be my video of the trip it is about 20 minutes long but very fast paced and enjoyable to watch if you have interest in experiencing travelling cross country in less than 20 minutes.

The country was starting to go into lock-down for the Covid precautions. My neighbour in the harbour seemed alarmed that I would venture out an alarming time such as this but at this point I knew it was the right thing to do and I felt that I would be just as isolated if not more so on the road as I would have been at home.

I do not stay in campgrounds!! I travel with loose destinations in mind and use this great app, iOverlander to figure out where I am going to spend the night. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or National Forest Service Lands have become my preference. Travelling in this manner, is great! I have terrific privacy and am able to enjoy the camping experience with my dogs without them necessarily having to be on leash as is necessary in most campgrounds. It is also a very safe way to camp being mindful of the Covid-19 safety precautions and keeping social distance from people.

You’ll see the video of my trip next post but I just wanted to talk a little bit about my experience at the Border to Canada. I was going to meet the owner of Jazzy at the Duty Free shop at the Canadian border. She didn’t have a passport so I would have to cross the Border to get to the Duty Free shop. When I pulled up to the border crossing I spoke with an immigration gentleman in a drive through booth. He asked how long I would be in Canada and I told him, “hopefully no more than about 15 minutes!”. I explained the purpose of my trip – he seemed surprised but supportive and directed me to park and then go in and speak with the actual Canadian Customs officials. I had a brief wait and then I spoke with a very official Customs agent. Gradually 2 other customs officers joined the conversation. They were all official but friendly. They seemed to meet together and discuss a plan and then one of them disappeared for what seemed an eternity. He finally came back and told me that they would allow me to proceed to the duty free parking lot which also takes you to the American side of the Canada Border. I would meet Kendra there and they told me I must not get closer than 6 ft to her.

I found her with Jazzy on leash at a picnic table. I gave her the balance of the money and then I tried to take Jazzy to the car. It was Jazzy’s first experience on leash it seemed and she did not want to be lead away! She resisted and pulled away from me. I noticed that her collar was very loose and I did not want her to escape her collar so I let her leash drop figuring that if need be, it would be easier to catch her on leash than with no leash or collar. Kendra’s husband was able to call her back and hold her. I then had to pick her up and carry her to my RV. I had Zulu tied up inside near my bed so there would be no issues with a new dog introduced. Jazzy was terrified and hid under the dog perch so I figured I would go ahead and let Zulu resume his normal stance in the dog perch for our journey back through to the American side of the border.

Heading back across the border to the USA was uneventful. The American Immigration agent asked the nature of my business and asked if Zulu was the dog I had picked up since he was the one he could see. I told him no but that the new dog was hidden under the bed. He sent me on my way an easy process overall!.

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