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Driving to Alaska: Day 4

May 6, 2010

Oh, Canada!! (I’ve always wanted to start a post like that) 🙂

I spent most of the day riding with Scott in the UHAUL. It was nice to have a chance to catch up with him, and we find similar things about the scenery interesting, so we had a good time chatting most of the way. We changed our route again, and decided to drive from Grand Forks to Minot, ND and then head north to Canada from there.

Western North Dakota is not a part of the country I had driven through before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The strangest thing we found was driving through a couple of the small towns and seeing there were years written in white stone on the side of most of the small hills. They appeared to be class years for the local high school, and some years even had “state champs” spelled out below the year. I’m not sure if each year the local graduating class is told to go out and “claim” a hill, or what.  I cannot adequately describe just how strange it was to see them.

We reached Portal, ND and switched vehicles to cross the border into Canada. Crossing the border was interesting. First, we drove by a booth where we were given the customs declaration forms, then we were directed to park the UHAUL and the truck, and go inside to wait to speak to a border agent and customs official. This wasn’t just because we had everything we owned with us either – they did this for every car that crossed. The Canadian border agent was very nice, but also did his job effectively. After asking our group a few questions, and running our passports through their system, we were brought into a room with him individually and asked more questions. For example, he asked me what I did for a living, when I was last in Canada, where I lived previously, and also about my trip to the Bahamas last year (he saw the stamp in my passport).

After all of our interviews were completed, they had us drive the UHAUL into a garage so they could look in the back. They also separated Howdy and I and asked us even MORE questions – specifically whether we had any firearms. They really couldn’t believe that we are a military family and did not have a single gun with us. They must have asked me whether we had any firearms at least 6 times- rephrasing the question every time. Howdy told me later that they asked him even more than that. They seemed to think that he was issued a gun and we were either not declaring it, or it was being shipped to us. But really, we don’t have one. We plan to buy some when we get to Alaska, but that wasn’t relevant to crossing the border. We were very worried that they were going to want to pull everything out of the UHAUL, which probably would have made me cry, because I have no idea how we would have gotten it all back in there – but luckily, they just looked in the back and kept asking the firearms questions.

Finally, after nearly an hour, we were on our way into Canada! I had never been to Saskatchewan before, and it is FLAT. You could see for miles and miles (or should I say “kilometers”?! ;). Howdy and I were in separate vehicles, but we both were thinking that it reminded us of Altus, Oklahoma. We drove northwest, and stopped for dinner in Regina, the capital of the province. We continued to Saskatoon where we stopped at a Super 8 for the night. We were so exhausted when we got to Saskatoon. We chose the Super 8 because it was the first hotel we saw and they allowed dogs, but seriously – nicest Super 8 I’ve ever seen! And the beds were glorious! It had been very windy all day, and even snowed huge, fat flakes most of the way between Regina and Saskatoon. It was 37 degrees, cold, windy and wet – which was definitely a huge difference from the 70/80 degree temps back in Charleston! I also kept repeating “Saskatoon, Saskatchewan”, because I like how it sounds and I’m crazy like that. 🙂

(side note: I can’t seem to locate the cord that connects my camera to my computer. Fail. I have a bag in mind where it might be hiding, but until I find it, I can’t add pictures from our drive. 😦 Soon though… seriously. Also – I have 680 unread items in my Google Reader from the last 2 weeks. I’m trying to catch up on my reading, but whew! that’s a lot!)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2010 6:06 am

    Oh my goodness! That’s so awesome! I didn’t do the drive with my husband and sometimes i really wish i did! Can’t wait to see pics! What an experience of a lifetime!

  2. May 7, 2010 3:30 pm

    I am looking forward to the pictures! I love looking through my parents photos of their move to Alaska. Can’t wait to see how things have changed.

  3. Jen B. permalink
    May 7, 2010 7:28 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe you guys are in Canada! I would have totally freaked out at the border questioning and possibility of them pulling everything out of the Uhaul…how crazy! I had horrible thoughts of the customs inspectors pulling all of our stuff out of the shipping container…and then just chucking it all back in there, destroying everything in the process! It sounds like they do a much more thorough interrogation at the Canadian border compared to their counterparts down South. Oh, and I completely understand repeating a word because you like the way it sounds…for years, my word of choice has been “token”, just because I like the way it sounds. Now you know a weird fact about me! 🙂

  4. May 7, 2010 9:28 pm

    You know, even though I would have nothing to hide I would be so nervous getting questioned like that crossing the border! So funny that is has got so intense. I used to go to Canada all the time when I was in college and all we did was show then our IDs and cross! Good luck on the rest of your trip and drive safe!

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