What Canada Day means to me. A lesson on how not to treat tourists. I’ll be the first to admit it, when we began planning traveling to Canada in a motorhome there was so much research involved. To be honest, finding information about Canadian motorhome border crossing was not on the top of our list. This turned out to be a major issue for our family as we were delayed at the Canadian Border crossing yesterday for almost two hours as our motorhome was violated by a major cavity search of all of her orifices.
With all the travel plans for our two-month cross-country vacation we honestly never thought to go to VisitCanadaEh.com to check out restrictions when crossing the border. To be fair, we do visit Mexico from our home in Califonia quite a bit and they always just wave us through, Bienvenidos and welcome to Baja California! We did not however realize that booze is taxed so heavily in Canada. And also tasers are outlawed. Seriously? In a country that is experiencing extreme civil unrest in Toronto’s Punjabi community right now, don’t tell me that the only real danger comes from Moose in GTA (The Greater Toronto Area)
We have only been out and about in Canada for eight hours now and it already seems like a ridiculous country. When traveling to Canada in a motorhome keep in mind tasers and pepper spray are illegal in this maple syrup-producing country but bear spray is totally okay! Animal repellent spray as long as it’s labeled as such is totally legal from Alberta to Ontario as long as it is clearly marked for us on a wild animal. Um, my taser was also for use on wild animals. Does anyone remember how many times my pup and I have been attacked by coyotes? But I didn’t want to argue with Officer Cocker Spaniel and delay our stay at the border checkpoint any longer yesterday evening.
Our motorhome had an almost two-hour cavity search at the Canadian Border, all because we had no idea that you are only allowed to take 2 liters of alcohol for each person over the age of 19 into Canada. Now how are you supposed to have a happy
Canada Day when the Canadian government taxes you on all the pinot grigio you purchased at Trader Joe’s in California a month ago? And that is after the 6.8 percent tax I paid on my Delicious Monster South African white wine while we were in California still. When we were in Fargo, North Dakota a week ago we stocked up on alcohol for the next three weeks because we figured we wouldn’t see another Costco that sells alcohol until we get to Nashville at the end of July. Well, this plan backfired just a bit thanks to the Canadian government and yes, our poor planning.
As we rolled into the Canadian Border checkpoint at Grand Portage Pigeon River around 3. p.m. yesterday we had already had multiple motorhome delays. We had been on the God-awful terribly weather-bitten roads of northern Minnesota since 6 a.m. We decided to abandon our plans to stop and take touristy selfies on the shores of Lake Superior because we were hours behind in our journey. We still had a two-hour drive to Nipigon, Ontario when we crossed the international border. If you are also traveling to Canada in a motorhome sometime in the future I highly recommend checking out this list of all the ridiculous things you cannot bring into Canada, eh. I say ridiculous because apparently fresh fruit and meats are not allowed in. Yet Officer Cockroach strip searched our entire rig, we have a month of random foods packed for this journey and they didn’t confiscate our frozen bison or my organic peaches. You also can’t bring soil into Canada. So for the love of God, don’t try to smuggle in any topsoil. As we rolled into the border checkpoint, in our 34-foot motorhome we were happy to guest-i-mate all the alcohol we had on board. And it was a lot. We had no idea we were going to be taxed on a ll of that. Why would we admit we had so much alcohol on board if we were trying to hide something?
I’m pretty sure the border patrol agents thought we had something else hidden away in the motorhome beside the best pinot grigio from Trader Joe’s. Otherwise, why would they spend an hour and a half searching every nook and cranny in our 34-foot Fleetwood home away from home? I mean we did declare the crazy amount of wine, scotch and vodka we had in the motorhome but we estimated. And I did declare and surrender my ten-dollar taser I take in my hiking pack. We tried to be as forthright as possible and all we accomplished by that is having our Canadian Day happy hour pushed back two hours by Officer Cockatiel.
Adventures of the Eh Team
I mean come on Canada, do you really think the American family in the 20-year-old motorhome is sneaking a Fleetwood full of handguns and tasers into your maple syrup-filled country? Was an almost 2-hour cavity search of our motorhome really necessary? No problem for us to pay the extra fine of 38 hard-earned American dollars for the overages in booze they eventually found. But seriously, in a country where it’s legal to take weed across the border, we were targeted because one of us is the most ethnic person to cross the border today and also one of us might have been dressed head to toe in camo. I work in the tourism industry. This is not a polite way to treat first-time tourists to Canada Officer Cockerton! ( His real name, I promise)
Our family has been traveling in our 34-foot motorhome since 2018. The A-Team (As we call ourselves for Adrian, Amber and Anika) has been through a lot of adventures but this is for sure one tall tale we will be telling for years to come. By the time we reach Toronto in early June, this fable will have turned into a novella!
Hi. I’m the problem. It’s me
I have to say I may have given Officer Cockroach a weird vibe because as soon as he said they were searching the motorhome I said well I have to go out there and restrain the puppy. Perhaps this is why our motorhome was so thoroughly searched. The puppy who is a rescue, does tend to act aggressively towards men, especially big men.
Officer Cockerspanial definitely thought we were the problem. I honestly don’t know what the Canadian authorities thought they were going to find in the motorhome. When we were allowed to send my boyfriend’s 17-year-old daughter into the RV to open the safe for the officers, Officer Cockerspaniel asked her “Is this where your Dad keeps his handgun?” PS Handguns are illegal in Canada. And we don’t own any guns at all. I know that I gave a weird vibe by trying to protect the Canadian law enforcement officers from the puppy but seriously we are not the criminals here. We are just ill-prepared tourists from southern California.
But really we truly think a lot of this delay came down to my boyfriend being ethnic looking at the border crossing in Grand Portage Minnesota, a place filled with very white-looking weirdos. Don’t believe me? Go shopping at the Walmart in Duluth. And bring your camera.
Here we are in the year 2023 and racial profiling is just not cool bro. Border patrol corraled us down into an extremely buggy grassy area with our confused rescue puppy for two hours while they searched our rig from top to bottom. Seriously, bro, we did not deserve this cloak-and-dagger crap while we are standing down in the grass sweating in this humidity. This is why Californians don’t go to Canada. They take cheap Baja cruises so they don’t have to put up with a country that is basically America’s hat.
After two hours of standing outside swatting at the Minnesota state bird, I mean big-ass mosquitos border patrol gave up. Empty-handed, they decided to let us go so they could go find an actual criminal, not the brown-ist guy you have seen in two weeks and his family. Just because my boyfriend was dressed like a red-neck in head-to-toe camo we just had to be smuggling something. The Canadian Border Patrol definitely thought they found some bad hombres today at the Grand Portage Pigeon River border crossing. Unfortunately for them, they only found the Eh Team.
Yes, we did misfire on the estimate of how much booze we had in our rig when traveling into Canada. But it was a simple mistake and not worth this thirty-eight-dollar power trip by these two border patrol agents. We have a travel agenda; Get to Toronto. Meet family. H
ave a good time and make memories. This piss poor customer service might be a great story but it was not part of our plan and led to us finally reaching our campsite in Nipigon, Ontario at nearly seven p.m. in the evening.
What not to do when traveling to Canada in a motorhome
The top five things Canada is known for is maple syrup, ice hockey, moose, pouton, and taxing naive Californians who did not plan accordingly and brought a lot of alcohol into Canada. We planned a three-month cross-country road trip in our 34-foot motorhome. This trip was so much planning. How could we possibly think and research everything? We had absolutely no idea that all of our declared Canadian booze would be taxed. If we did, we would not have stocked up for the next month at Costco in Fargo, North Dakota!
The border authorities didn’t check to see if our puppy was vaccinated. Border patrol did not care at all to see the registration for our vehicles but man did they take seriously us short-changing our alcohol content by 2.5 liters. After over an hour and a half of us hanging out in the grass with the bugs and our anxious rescue puppy, oh guess what, we basically did nothing wrong. And did I pick up my American puppy’s poo in the grass? Nope. Take that Canada!
This right here could be why I had to get high off of bug spray when we rolled into camp in Nipigon Ontario. We had left Duluth, the bug capital of Minnesota very early in the morning and it was a long and stressful drive to Grand Portage. The Minnesota roads were such complete crap. The Canadian roads are just so much better and it must be because they tax the crap out of unsuspecting tourists like us. Okay, I did not try to get high off of bug spray but when we parked the RV and stepped out into the wilderness of Nipigon we were coated head to toe in mosquitos. We all rushed back into the motorhome and grabbed various cans of Deet. Someone may have accidentally shot some down my throat. I will not get bug bites there.
To make matters worse when our motorhome was being searched the officers broke the tracking on our junk door. Thanks a lot, Officer Cockup! But the good news is whatever the Canadian authorities were looking for, they did not find in our rig. We were allowed to, eventually, mosey on through Ontario to Nipigon, Wawa and beyond. When we finally put on our bug nets and set up camp in Nipigon our puppy became BFFs with the Himalayan cat next store. Because the Great White North; Everyone walks a kitty cat on a leash up here. My theory is that everyone in Canada is high. Canada does not care at all if you bring in loads of Marajuna but heavens, don’t take a tazer into Canada!
Turns out we are not bad hombres after all! On to Nipigon Ontario! Break out that Deet!
Happy Fourth of July, Canada Day or whatever patriotic celebration you are observing this weekend wherever you live.