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We are thinking about going from Kalispell Mt. to Golden, BC on 93. We might be in our converted van and wondered if they are going to rip my van apart just for fun? Any suggestions or thoughts about that area?
I cross into Quebec and New Brunswick. Very easy.... Unless your converted van is full of dudes, then chances are everything will be checked but not torn apart. A couple usually gets a few questions, where you from, where you going..... They always ask if you have any guns - I always tell them I left them all home. Nothing to it.
I always take helmet/sunglasses off, have passports ready, they'll want to see that. We just crossed into Mexico, everything is as it always is.
We came the opposite way in June from Radium Hot Springs, that border crossing is some what remote. The US customs/immigration guy was some what of **** to us but we did not get sent to secondary.
With Canada Boarder agents they always ask where you are going and staying, ask about alcohol & drugs, if you are bringing any gifts, etc. Be polite, respectful and answer their questions. I've only got sent to secondary once, we were crossing at International Falls going canoeing, we had 3 dads and our sons pulling an enclosed trailer. They wanted to see our alcohol and inspect the trailer and SUV, didn't tear anything up.
Yeah, quit going to Canada in 2018 because of ass hats on both sides. Not worth the interrogation for riding a fast-looking bike, and the new 40KPH over law of impounding and 1000 fine. Spent 2 hours in a SS room because a riding companion had a 20+year old DV on his record. Had happened at remote and larger crossings, plus that comment about "I left them at home", I said the same thing and got threatened with total disassembly of my bike to check since I admitted to even being a firearm owner. I can get hassled a lot closer to home now.
True, speeding fines and penalties are ridiculously punitive in Canada. Anyone with a OUI/DWI conviction decades ago will usually be turned away - there is a bonding procedure though for folks with old an DWI. Gallup polls claim 44% of Americans live in a home with guns, so Canadian customs folks know many Americans own guns. You must have run into a customs officer who was having a bad day.
I'm always polite on either side. Make eye contact. I always thank the US Customs for the jobs they do when they say I can go - not before.
It's not like Canada doesn't have any outlaws; it has quite a few.
They ask Citizenship, we always must answer for ourselves, so, two people, two "U.S." answers, take off gunglasses, turn down radio, put out cigarette, no jokes, "why are you visiting Canada", "who are you seeing", maybe "what roads are you taking", "how long will your visit last", "anything to declare", "any guns or alcohol". They see huge numbers of people every day, they play the odds, if you pull up with open headers, dark windows, music blaring, missing headlight, car reeking of weed or freshly sprayed air freshener, and, sometimes, political stickers on your car, in my case it was an "NRA" sticker only, you may well get grilled and ask to proceed to the orange roofed building where you will be politely run through another grilling and search, if you are cleared, you will have to put your car back together yourself. They are quite firm but very polite. You need a passport now and they run your plates and passport through all known data bases, facial recognition, Interpol, dogs may sniff your car.
NOTE- on approaching the border booths, pick a lane, and, STAY IN IT, the lines move fairly quickly.
My experience has only been at Niagara Falls and Windsor, both HUGE volume crossings. We did however cross over into Quebec from Maine one time that reminded me of the film "Stripes" when they pulled up to the striped shack with two guards and an old style lift gate right out of WWII. Things went swimmingly when I started speaking French to the guard and my wife was staring at me wide eyed as she didn't know I spoke French, I don't. My one and two word answers were fine and we were sent on our way.
Bottom line, a mature looking guy and his wife with a destination in a safe and legal vehicle with no firearms will not have a problem. Canada is a very friendly, safe, inviting and beautiful country populated by wonderful people that we are most lucky to have as a neighbor. Go and have a great time.
I am not planning on doing anything wrong but someone that uses my van sometimes stinks it up. If you know what I mean. I don't want that to trigger the type of tear down we see at the southern boarders. The van is full of nooks and cranny's and would take hours to take apart and put back together.
I did cross back in from Hyder AK & got a full search. Riding partner went right on through in front without any issue, but they flagged me. They went through my camping gear, dirty clothes, tank bag & all. Once they got done & all was well. I ask them what prompted the search. Their answer was it's not a very busy crossing, so they have to look like their doing something occasionally & it was just my day.
Roadside chats with the RCMP being threatened with arrest & bike impoundment are no fun. Don't ask me how I know!
I've never had an issue entering Canada. No, the only times I've dealt with being hassled is reentering the USA. The Canadians have mostly been friendly and kept the delay to a minimum. The USA on the other hand has more than once treated me like I was a criminal and needed to prove my innocence. It's probably not as strict anymore. You shouldn't even need a car. Just get caught crossing the boarder illegally. They will welcome you in, and fly you where ever you want to go with gifts.