Canada Crossing

by Rachel Gertz

Day 195

It’s been almost a week in Canada.

We were thinking there’d be a whole falootin’ cavity search, Who-is-your-daddy-and-what-does-he-do 20-Question game at the border, but we can’t offer to spare you the drama. Know why?

There was none.

We sweated and cleaned and boxed and sorted, working out Walter’s kinks the best way we could. We wanted him to look like a cherub of the recreational vehicle variety. The whole time, a dialogue of questions flitted through our conversations. What would we be asked at the border that would make us stutter and stumble? We have nothing to hide. We’ve done nothing wrong.

What would we say that would unconsciously walk us into an immigration nightmare? The likes of which would scar us permanently and prevent any further re-entry…


I remember the night perfectly. Friday, April 23rd. 9:17pm. There is a drizzling rain prevailing (as it flipping has since the day we left on this gd trip). We pull up to the station and there is a short young woman with a blonde ponytail. And a bulletproof vest. Could she smell our fear? I remember two things: earrings and eyeshadow. It would not compute. This woman was far too pretty to be spending her time checking cargo in the dinky little border town of Houlton, Maine at 9:30 on a Friday night. She had manicured nails! Yet here she was. And a smile played at the corner of her lips.

“Where you from?”


“Where were you traveling?”

—All over the US.

“How long?”

—Six months.

“That’s great. Any tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, or firearms in the vehicle?”

—We have 2/3rds of a bottle of tequila, about 1/2 of a bottle of rum, 2 beers in the fri—

“Okay, thanks. Just park over there and come inside. Bring your receipts.”

—(stunned silence)

  • We were not asked for our passports.
  • We were not asked for our licenses.
  • We were not questioned about our reason for wanting to explore the United States.
  • We did not have to undergo mentally exhausting questions.
  • We did not have to fill out endless T numbered forms and be told they were filled out wrong.
  • We did not have to go along with the good border cop/bad border cop routine.
  • We did not have to allow Walter to be examined by intruding patrol fingers.
  • We did not have to relinquish our sanity or our integrity just to cross the border.
  • We did not have to give up those awesome fireworks we purchased in New Mexico. Damn, I wish we hadn’t handed those fireworks over to a fire station in Portland, Maine.

We paid fifty-one dollars & forty-five cents to spend six months in the US of A and acquire approximately two-thousand five hundred dollars worth of taxable goods.

I’m sorry, but Canada is pretty fucking awesome.

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