Saturday, June 22, 2013

Border crossing and back into Canada…


As our mini-vacation came to an end we packed up and made our way back down to Tonawanda New York where we had left our RV. We heard that the border crossing back into the USA was always long and tedious but we must have timed it pretty well as there were only a few cars ahead of us in our line. The USA customs officer asked us several questions and then we asked him one about bringing back any live plants. We were concerned that when we bring our live herbs back into the USA after we cross over again in the RV that we might have them confiscated and he pretty much assured us that it was true… Sigh… The USA customs officer was also much less pleasant than the Canadian fellow and seemed to have more of a power chip on his shoulder though we passed through unscathed.

Niagara Falls Parkway 018We got back to Colton RV and paid the bill for the installation of our 135 watts solar system. The system looked nicely installed but we really didn’t care much for where they selected to mount the solar charge controller but we take partial blame since it didn’t occur to us to ask where they were planning to install it. After we paid we were also a little surprised that no one really came out to summarize what was done so we were left to do our own walk through.  We did find the users manual as well as the new panel inside and I climbed on top to peek at their handiwork. Our receipt also reflected that the technician replaced the DC fuse to our generator as we asked but upon testing, we discovered the generator still wouldn’t start. Apparently they didn’t test to see if the fuse was indeed the problem so I took off the panel where the fuses are located on the generator and pulled all three only to find one was blown. I walked back inside to get a fuse, replaced it and now the generator works just fine.

Niagara Falls Parkway 046We spent one more night at Colton RV and really appreciated not having to leave right away. We met some nice folks on either side of us who both traded in their 5th wheels and purchased new Tiffin Allegro Open Road motorhomes. Early the next morning we packed up the RV and started our journey back into Canada to stay at the Toronto North/Cookstown KOA near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This park is out of our budget as it will cost nearly 58 per night but we wanted to visit Toronto to be near our friends Jeff and Martine before heading on. This time I made sure the Canadian maps were working properly in our Garmin before heading across.

Niagara Falls Parkway 005Once we arrived at the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara we queued up in the far left lane right behind one other 5th wheel. A few minutes later a nice Canadian Border Agent lady asked me a few questions and asked for our passports. Then she and another fellow boarded the motorhome to look around asking us to remain outside.  They really didn’t stay too long before coming out and handing us our passports saying we were good to go. While waiting for the agents look over the motorhome we were able to enjoy the view of the Niagara Falls one last time.

Niagara Falls Parkway 024With a happy Garmin loaded with Canadian mapping we made our way toward Toronto. As we neared the city the traffic picked up noticeably and at times came to a complete stop. Once we headed north on the 400 we thought all was going to be great but the traffic was actually worse there. Our friends warned us about the traffic and since we are retired and patient we took it easy as we plodded along. Eventually we ventured off the highway and pulled into the Toronto North/Cookstown KOA. Happily there happened to be a promotion going on this weekend so the site fees were less than anticipated!

Pa and Buffalo NY 034After setting up we took a short drive over the Lake Simcoe and picked up some groceries at a No Frills grocery. We went down every row and enjoyed browsing the Canadian brands and offerings.  After touring the shoreline of Lake Simcoe we headed back to the park but stopped by the nearby Outlet Mall before going home. And lo and behold we actually bought something as Sharon found a pair of purple-liscious tennis shoes she just HAD have and for the super sale price of only twenty bucks… score Sharon!  We will stay here for a few days to tour Toronto with our very own fantastic tour guides Jeff and Martine…  really looking forward to this time with them…


  1. Nice that you had easy border crossings, we cross at various places all the time and goes smooth.
    We too find the KOA campgrounds not in our budget. Thats why our membership camping has paid off so well.
    So much to see and do, its nice that you have tour guides to show you around.
    Have too much fun.

  2. I am totally bummed out about the herbs being confiscated. I wanted to tour the maritimes this summer but I have 6 very large herb plants that it would pain me to have go to some custom's agent home after only being driven around in Canada for a month. I can understand if you bought plants in Canada but if they are US plants that stayed inside the entire trip??? What's with that????

  3. We carried a mum with us from September 2011 all up the east coast and into Canada in June 2012 with no problem only to have it confiscated by US Customs upon our return in July 2012. We protested a bit at the time that the mum had been purchased in the US, but when asked if we could prove that, we couldn't and they took it to freeze it. Maybe if one got an affidavit from a US nursery?

  4. For the life of me I'll never grasp the silliness that goes on at our shared border. I can see if there's a "Cheese smuggling ring" or something (I'm not making that up either), but a few herbs? Really? I'd be more concerned about crazy assed bugs coming in on pallets from places like China.
    I think it's the luck of the draw whether you get an agent with a chip on his/her shoulder or not. I think they're trying to be professional, but I think I'm being generous. On any of our trips to and from Europe, we just decided we'd avoid any stopovers in the States if at all possible. Sad really, but easier on the nerves.

  5. Oh and, Welcome to Canada!
    (Where are my manners? Sheesh)

  6. Sorry the US guys gave you a hard time.
    Every time I've been to Canada I say I'm not going back because of the way the Canadian guys treat this old lady. And I love Canada!

  7. Saw those purple shoes on facebook. Good score indeed!

  8. Generally Americans traveling to Canada have a fairly easy time to cross the border, as long as they have the necessary documentation and all is in order.

    US Waivers For Canadians