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Thread: Traveling in Canada

  1. #1
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    Question Traveling in Canada

    For my rally trip it looks like the best route is above the great lakes. But I've never ridden in Canada. Any tips on what to expect from the border crossing in upper Michigan (where I would cross over) to anything else you guys think is worth knowing?

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    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemertom
    For my rally trip it looks like the best route is above the great lakes. But I've never ridden in Canada. Any tips on what to expect from the border crossing in upper Michigan (where I would cross over) to anything else you guys think is worth knowing?

    ....where are you traveling from and why Upstate Mich? (of course unless that's where you live). Check out ferry to Tobermory, Ont. Nice run down toward Toronto and up the seaway a bit and cross over in NY. That's the quick answer. -Bob
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    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Bring a passport for the border crossings it is a lot better then the driver's license routine. Also make sure you have your Canadian Insurance paperwork. Your insurance company should be able to get that for you. Most of them do not charge extra for them.

    Also I highly recommend turning off the motorcycle as soon as you get to the gate. I have a little sign that I brought that said, "I wear ear plugs, so talk loud. Do you want me to take the helmet off?" No one asked me to take it off.

    It is great fun riding up there. Also do get some Canadian money at an ATM as many places will accept 'Merican but give change in CN. Not a problem, but not always a good exchange rate.
    -=Brad

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    Registered User burnszilla's Avatar
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    Stop at Mrs. B's for a slice of pizza in the Soo.

    http://www.communitypowerpoints.com/...sbs/mrsbs.html

    Also stop in Blind River at my uncle's Tim Horton's for a cup of coffee and a cruiller.

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    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradfordBenn
    Bring a passport for the border crossings it is a lot better then the driver's license routine. Also make sure you have your Canadian Insurance paperwork. Your insurance company should be able to get that for you. Most of them do not charge extra for them.

    Also I highly recommend turning off the motorcycle as soon as you get to the gate. I have a little sign that I brought that said, "I wear ear plugs, so talk loud. Do you want me to take the helmet off?" No one asked me to take it off.

    It is great fun riding up there. Also do get some Canadian money at an ATM as many places will accept 'Merican but give change in CN. Not a problem, but not always a good exchange rate.
    ...we.ve crossed the border sooo many times. Searched once with the car and twice with the bike (both on Canadian side....and we're Canadian). Our Bike Rules: Stop engine, take off helmet, take off sunglasses, be honest and modestly friendly. Simple. Search? Don't get nervous; just assist as possible. However, the process is usually cordial and straight forward. Just folks with a serious task. (BTW I don't recommend saying what I did crossing from NY to Ontario in '98... "Do you have anything to declare?" It was a long, wet day and I said "ya, a sore butt". It was ok though ) -Bob

  6. #6
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
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    I would recommend you cross the border back into the US at either Rt30 in NY or Rt114 in VT. No hassles, nice roads, and no traffic!
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    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Money and crossing stuff!

    I've been riding up north for years and found a few things worth knowing! Use your ATM and/or credit cards only and exchange rate is automatically figured at best rate. You need cash? Just go to nearest bank in Canada and buy some Canadian $$$ and the banks give best rate exchange. Don't do this at merchants. If you travel across border with juvenile passenger, you better be able to prove who your young passenger belongs to; eg: Birth certificate! I had my daughter travelling with me several times and this saved me. I am curious myself about having passport, as one has never been needed in recent years. I've heard passports are going to be required on our north and south borders soon. I can't imagine this after all the years of safe crossings in Canada over the years without a passport. Anybody heard anything about "absolutely having to have one". I may start a separate thread if no answers here. Happy Trails. I may see you in Canada, as this will be my preffered route from west. R/Polarbear

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    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    All you need to know about getting into and out of Canada

    This link will provide you with all you need to know about getting into and out of Canada.

    Canadian Crossing Requirements

    At present US citizens DO NOT need a passport. Drivers license will suffice BUT if you do have a passport definitely bring it to simplify crossing.


  9. #9
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    border crossing

    Tom:
    The border people are usually friendly and you shouldn't have any problem. Just don't bring your bear spray with you if you plan to hike, or handguns or long knives.
    The language barrier shouldn't be any problem as long as you add "eh" to every sentence.
    Enjoy your trip.

    Rinty

  10. #10
    raven
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    Riding from points north and west...

    I would suggest avoiding any of the interstate crossing, Derby Line, Highgate Springs in Vermont and especially Champlain in New york.

    Delays at these crossing can be trying, for a number of reasons. If you are travelling for the rally it's July, hopefully warm and sunny, you should consider the possibility that you will be trapped in traffic, in your helmet, protective gear, boots etc, delays at Champlain are sometimes measured in Hours. Lane splitting at the Border is unwise, others frustrated by the wait will likely react in less than welcoming manner, and will likely be perceived by those manning the border as an aggresive, and Illegal act. How long will your airhead, oilhead, Brick, or whatever run before overheating. Pushing a bike on the asphalt apron in the summer sun isn't joyfull.

    Traffic separation is poor, you are in the mix with trucks of all sorts, the interstate crossings are 'the' commercial crossings. The Champlain crossing is the busiest commercial and non comercial crossing between Buffalo and the atlantic coast. Several horrific crashes have occurred when commercial vehicles have slammed into stopped traffic. The crossing at Champlain is currently undergoing a 50+ millon dollar re-construction and will be for the next year or so.

    July, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th weeks are typically plant shut-down weeks in Quebec and so traffic historically reaches the annual highs to coincide the most desirable vacation weeks for Customs and Immigration personal on both sides of the Border. This confluence sometimes is just all to much for Immigrations Canada union personal so they stage a work slowdown.

    On the positive side of thing the interstate crossing have the best dutyfree shop(s) with Champlain being the largest if thats your thing.

    And best of all it fairly easy to avoid the fun at the Highway hassle Castles by using one of the smaller ports especially near Champlain. (ie Moores, Overton Crossing, Rouses Point etc.) Another writer in this thread suggests Island Pond, or Trout River both great little ports. Both of these crossing are likely to be way out of the way for most travelers. (Trout River is used to seeing an ecclectic mix of older BMWs, Laverdas, Guzzis,and Ducatis headed for regular service or restoration at Les Entreprises Montecristo.)

    Motorcyclists sometimes receive addtional attention thanks the criminal activities of the "biker gangs" in Montreal and surrounds.

    While a passport is not yet needed for US or Canadian citizens crossing in either direction a Photo ID issued by some governmental entity and proof of citizenship IS. A photo drivers license is NOT proof of citizenship. A visit to the Department of Homeland Security website or the Canadian site listed by another writer to this thread is advised.

    Crossing the Border is not a big thing if you are reasonable, polite and have at least the minimum Identification they Require. Smile for the cameras, a little wave, eh?

  11. #11
    Stronger, Faster, Tougher iRene's Avatar
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  12. #12
    BUBBAZANETTI
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    shutting off your bike is a must

    i was riding through a border crossing in maine and my friend didn't shut his bike off and got a lot of flack comming back in (loud triumph tripple)

    just be friendly and courteous........

  13. #13
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    To underscore what others have said, make sure you cross at the little tiny border crossings. The whole experience is much more pleasant in every way, believe me.

    Be completely honest and keep your answers brief and directly to the point. for example, they will ask if you are carring any alcohol, tobacco, or whatever. Instead of simply saying "yes", which may well get you pulled out of line for "special" attention, answer with useful information such as "I am carring an 8 oz flask of bourbon and two packs of Marlboros. Nothing else".

    They may keep circling back to a particular question and ask it several times in different ways, while interspersing other random questions about destination or whatever. This happened to me once after getting off the ferry to Yarmouth NS. For unknown reasons, the border guard was concerned about me having weapons. He asked if I had any weapons and I said no. Then asked me about something else, then asked if I had any guns. I said no. Then asked me about something else, then asked if I had any large knives. I said no. Then asked me about something else, then asked if I had any mace or chemical sprays. I said no. Then asked me about something else, then asked if I had any billy clubs or brass knuckles or anything like that. I said no. He then asked me "no weapons of any kind???". I was becoming a bit exasperated (which is a bad idea, but I was trying not to show it) so I responded with "only my wit". He looked at me and said "so how's that working out for you?" and smiled. I just kind of shrugged and smiled ruefully and he told me I could go ahead.

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  14. #14
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    Canada border crossing

    I did the route across from Sault St. Marie to Vt/Maine and back summer of 04, here is what I learned.

    carry passport and hand over first thing (tone on reentry to US takes a quick change for the better)

    shut off bike and make sure you are pulled far enough forward so they can see the plate. appears to be matched against a database of owner and registration on entry to US. always asked if I was the recorded owner.

    take off sunglasses and be ready to pull off helmet.

    respond with "yes sir" "no sir" straight forward answers, do you really want them tearing apart your bike, didn't think so.

    tell them exactly what you are carrying, swiss army knife in tank bag, no fruit or meat products, have some snacks in tank bag etc.

    cash machine for a few dollars but credit card is best, be ready for french road signs as you head east, enjoy some fries with gravy, go slightly faster than semi trucks, don't over drive headlights can't see moose at night until you are on them and it's too late.

    have fun it's a nice ride!

  15. #15
    Registered User OSAIYID's Avatar
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    Crossing the border

    With the kind of name I have and my Middle Eastern looks, I always feared some extra attention at the border. Instead I always found good people trying to do their job as efficiently as possible. I have never had any hassle in 20 years of frequent crossing the border (my daughter is married to a Canadian and lives in Canada).

    I agree with almost all the recommendations. But above all be as helpful as you can be, no smart talk. The border guards work long hours, deal with many kind of people but are trying to their job and keep us all safe.

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