Canada offers a lot of beautiful scenery: majestic mountains, towering evergreen trees, massive bodies of water, bright green grass, abundant wildlife, and quaint towns. Many RVers enter the country for a peaceful camping experience. We had a trek to Alaska in mind, which requires driving through British Columbia and the Yukon.
We had done a little research before crossing the Canadian border to find out what we could take, what we couldn’t, and special requirements. We learned there were restrictions on chicken and eggs but that fresh produce was OK to bring.
After watching videos of other RVers’ border crossings, we realized the Border Services Officers didn’t tend to request much in the form of paperwork. We felt prepared to enter the country and decided to cross at Eastport, Idaho, as we were working our way from Eugene, Oregon, to Dawson Creek, British Columbia, for the official start of the Alaska Highway.
We reached the border crossing and stopped behind a semi-truck. After about 10 minutes in line, it was our turn to approach the border inspection station, where we handed over our passports and were greeted with a battery of questions:
Because we live in our RV, we often answer the “Where are you from?” question by saying we’re full-time RVers. Thankfully, Bob remembered to provide our legal city and state: Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
We assured the officer no one was traveling with us. We didn’t know at the time that we had a stowaway (more on that later).
Excitedly, we shared that we were headed to Alaska and would be in the country fewer than 30 days. Bob enjoyed telling the officer that I worked as an editor and that his job was to “keep looking this good.”
Bob volunteered that we were carrying two rifles and had paperwork for them. That led to another question: “Why are you carrying the rifles?” We answered for protection against dangerous wildlife. Bob also volunteered that the rifles and the ammo were locked separately. The agent asked where the rifles were. We told him.
Then the officer asked if we had any other weapons. We told him we left them behind in Arizona. He asked what we left behind. Bob rattled off the list. The guard asked if we had any pistols with us. We assured him we didn’t. He asked if we had any other ammo for guns we didn’t have in our possession. We told him no.
We remembered we had a small canister of CBD cream we had picked up about three years earlier and divulged that information. We had purchased it for its supposed benefits for bodily aches and pains. After a few uses, we weren’t convinced it really worked.
Because we had rifles and the necessary paperwork to carry them through the country, we had to park and go inside the building. The guard told us not to take the rifles with us, to leave them where they were, but to take the CBD cream. We obeyed.
Inside the building, we presented our paperwork and the CBD cream to another official. We paid a $25 fee to carry the rifles. The officer told us they’d accept anything but American cash.
As for the cream, it seemed to be problematic as cannabis and CBD items are controlled substances in Canada. As such, it required extra paperwork for the Border Services Officers but not for us. We offered to surrender the CBD cream if that would make things easier. The agent told us that was going to happen anyway.
Because of that extra paperwork, we had to show an ID. Since our driver’s licenses didn’t display our current address, the official also requested to see our truck registration. I ran out in the rain to get it.
We saw another fifth wheeler get turned around back to the U.S. for having what looked like some sort of vape device.
After showing our truck registration, we got our rifle paperwork back along with a receipt for our payment, and we were free to tour the country — about 20 minutes after arriving at the border crossing.
We didn’t know we had smuggled a stowaway into Canada until later that night, when we heard scurrying across our ceiling as we tried to sleep. The day before, we had discovered evidence that a rodent had found its way into our rig. Since we were boondocking in Eastern Washington state at the time, we guessed the unwelcome houseguest to be a field mouse.
Much of our incentive for risking a rainy drive to enter Canada was to get away from field mice. We had hoped the washboard road away from our boondocking spot would be enough to scare the critter away or knock it out permanently. No such luck.
After setting up at a campground in Kimberley, British Columbia, and enjoying a relaxing evening, Bob stayed up late playing a video game. A field mouse scampered across the living room floor in plain sight, uninhibited by the bright lights. (I had read that field mice don’t like light.) Ours was a rebel.
We went out the next day to purchase mouse traps. Before we left, we discovered signs of a mouse in our upper cabinet, which we thought was safe from rodents. We knew if any got in there, they would hit the mother lode: baking ingredients, cereal, rice, dry beans, and pasta.
How did a mouse get in there? we wondered. We removed all of the contents from the cabinet and found evidence that the mouse had chewed a hole in our interior. The creature had been traveling across our rafters, having a heyday. That’s why we had heard it overhead in bed.
After returning from the store, we set out four traps. By 3 p.m., one snapped, announcing that we had caught a mouse. We reset the trap to make sure we didn’t have more rodents. That night, we didn’t hear any ceiling scurrying.
By the next morning, we caught another mouse. We reset that trap too. Better safe than sorry. Sure enough, the cycle continued, with a third trapped mouse the next day. We reset the traps again and awoke the next morning to find them all empty.
We had successfully freed our rig from three illegal, unwelcome guests and could get back to normal full-time RV life.
You might also like Driving Across the Border to Mexico.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.