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Thread: My Fellow Canadians

  1. #1
    Luddite Looney wecm31's Avatar
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    My Fellow Canadians

    Getting me and my posse geared up for the ride to the rally in Bloomsburg and a question has come up.

    There will be three of us, each on our own bikes. This will be my first two wheeled border crossing, none of us have any serious issues with legality of the border, but long hair and radical ideas can be problem enough

    The question is, do we process through customs one at a time and regroup on the other side? Or given that we are travelling together for a common purpose, do we ride up together and face the man as a team?? Whats the norm?
    Gerald P
    The last thing I want to be is just like everyone else...
    1985 R80RT
    1969 Sport Fury Convertible

  2. #2
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Not a Canadian but have crossed the border many times. When traveling with a group I've never been allowed to the checkpoint as a group. One vehicle at a time; the others stay back several meters until told to advance one at a time.

    And officers on the Canadian side are much more human. Ours are required to have no sense of humor, and to express no emotion.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  3. #3
    2 kids = 1 sidecar angysdad's Avatar
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    I've crossed many times. In groups and alone. Either way is OK. DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT.
    You are riding BMWs, right?
    Give strait, truthful (as much as possible), direct answers (Yes SIR/MAM, No SIR/MAM). Keep your 'radical ideas' to yourself. Know where you are going and when you will return (very common questions).
    When asked something like, 'how much cash do you have on you?', the correct answer is NOT, 'None of your business!' I've heard that answer and it cost the whole group 1/2hr wait while the idiot went through secondary inspection. By the way, it is their business.
    Leave any recreational phamarceuticals at home.
    Any prescriptrion drugs should be in original bottle, not five days supply thrown into a zip-lock.
    Borders always stress me out a bit, but keep in mind that the border agents are just doing their jobs and they actaully want you to enter their country and spend money.
    speed safely...see you in Bloomsburg!
    Big D
    '85 K100/EML

  4. #4
    2 kids = 1 sidecar angysdad's Avatar
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    Oh yeah...
    Remove helmet or flip up chin guard so they can see your face.
    Remove sunglasses.
    Big D
    '85 K100/EML

  5. #5
    Sir Darby Darryl Cainey's Avatar
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    WE live only 15 miles from the Border so we cross many times a year.

    Be carefull of programed responses.

    I have been asked many strange things, pay attention!

    They will try to trip you up to see if you are hiding something.

    Turn the bike off they like that!
    Last edited by DARRYL CAINEY; 05-24-2011 at 11:57 AM. Reason: spelling
    Ambassador BMW MOA Ontario Canada
    President Niagara BMW Riders #298
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    1977 R100RS, (Retired) 1993 R100GS (just getting started)

  6. #6
    Motorradfahrer jogitu's Avatar
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    You definitely have to go through one by one. They want the passport and want to ask you some questions. I have never had any issue crossing either way on trips which I did four times last year. I don't know which way you are going but they it took more time at the smaller check points. They have less traffic or no traffic and have more time. Niagara Falls they waived me through immediately. When I crossed out of Quebec into Vermont they had lots of time to talk, same with the ferry crossing at Walpole Algonac. You can tell they are trained to to take everything you say and question it further, just forget the small talk as it just makes them ask more questions.
    Kevin
    "I ride therefore I am"

    2012 1600 GTL

  7. #7
    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    I've crossed a few times in various locations. Always travelling with my hubby. We usually pull up together unless one of us is directed otherwise. I've been asked to remove my sunglasses and asked a few mundane questions but have had no problems.

    During the Vermont rally a few years back, a few of us took a ride and crossed at a rather obscure point. As we pulled up, the officer stopped us to say that the border was closed to BMW's as they've already reached their quota for the day. Love a guy with a sense of humor!

  8. #8
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    In my experiences crossing with a group, usually the lead bike will proceed alone at first. Sometimes the border guard will have each bike proceed in turn, other times they will wave the group up together with the first. Basically I figure you may upset them if you assume all should move up in a group, but less likely to do so if you assume to proceed one at a time and let them make the call.

    I've never had any problems, never been searched or grilled in depth. I have had a few odd questions posed to me, likely to test my reactions. All in all, if you should not have any problems as long as you don't go creating them.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  9. #9
    100,000+ miler 32232's Avatar
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    I highly recommend approaching the primary inspection booth one bike at a time.

    There are plate reading cameras at work and having more than one bike in frame at a time causes issues so the plate numbers have to be entered manually.

    It's actually faster to go through one at a time and the officers prefer it that way.
    Dave

    '06 Triumph Scrambler (Trans-Labrador veteran)

  10. #10
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angysdad
    Any prescriptrion drugs should be in original bottle, not five days supply thrown into a zip-lock.
    This has always been a challenge for me. I take four meds: baby aspirin and three prescriptions; none of the prescriptions is even a scheduled drug. The pills are small, but they come in large bottles. The labels wouldn't fit on something smaller, and would be destroyed in any event if I tried to remove them. Carrying the bottles would double the size of my shaving kit - and that's significant, as my wife and I like to travel very light, often multiple-week trips carrying only daypacks.

    In the past, I've just decanted the pills all together into a single, smaller bottle. I've flown a lot, including month-long international trips, and haven't had an ICE or TSI person even open the shaving kit.

    Any other ideas? How do others deal with this issue?
    Last edited by dbrick; 05-25-2011 at 12:11 AM.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  11. #11
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    I live in a small town so things might be different here, but I simply ask my neighborhood pharmacist to put copies of my prescription labels on a smaller bottle. Then I decant a few day's worth of meds from the large bottles to the smaller.

    Not sure if a chain pharmacy would be receptive, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.

    Pete
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  12. #12
    Luddite Looney wecm31's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses, one at a time it is!!

    I am otherwise okay with the border process, I fly/drive in/out of the US several times a year. Customs is not something to fool with, they are by far the most powerful officals in our world. They don't need rhyme or reason to ruin your trip!! I have stamps from both Cuba and Vietnam in my passport, always wondered if I would be identified as a commie! (I'll leave the NDP membership card at home)

    Good tip on the meds; I do haul vitamins and aspirin around. But they aren't prescription so hopefully its not an issue.

    Tuck in the pony tail, flip the lid, pull the sunglasses off, shut 'er down and don't forget to SMILE!!
    Gerald P
    The last thing I want to be is just like everyone else...
    1985 R80RT
    1969 Sport Fury Convertible

  13. #13
    Motorradfahrer jogitu's Avatar
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    I find Canadian Customs more inquisitive than US Customs. Probably because we all have guns and are rude. I am heading up to Sault Ste Marie Friday to start my trip across Canada to Nova Scotia. I find the Canadian people generally more friendly and considerate. I cannot wait to see new parts of the country as well as some of our favorites. Quebec is just the best. I can't help but feel I am in Europe when there and the ride along the St. Lawrence is simply great and never ending. Not enough of us on this side of the border travel there or know anything about Canada. Maybe that is best as I see what we did to Niagara Falls.
    Kevin
    "I ride therefore I am"

    2012 1600 GTL

  14. #14
    Luddite Looney wecm31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jogitu View Post
    Probably because we all have guns and are rude.

    A current issue in Canada is arming the customs agents. Never mind that the US Customs carry guns, like many of their citizens, in Canada not even the border guards have guns.
    Gerald P
    The last thing I want to be is just like everyone else...
    1985 R80RT
    1969 Sport Fury Convertible

  15. #15
    Two Bricks Shy of a Load RocksforBrains's Avatar
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    Different Experiences in U.S and Canada

    Canadian customs are much more human. Going through Canadian Customs at Sault Ste Marie last summer my buddy and I rode up individually. We each had two questions posed to us. Mine were: 1) Where are you going? and 2) Where are you from? My buddy who rode through next was asked: 1) Are you with him (me)? and 2) Do you have any weapons? The whole process for both of us combined took maybe two minutes max.

    Coming back into the U.S in NE Minnesota (Hwy 21 revisited), the U.S. customs officer was much more inquisitive. Didn't ask what my favorite color was but asked dang near everything else. It took at least 10 minutes. I guess two old guys on motorcycles in full ATGATT look suspicous.

    So yes, ride up individually and just answer the questions. I do not think they would appreciate any attempt at humor.

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