Used to go to the USA.

25 posts / 0 new
Last post
jambo101 jambo101's picture
Used to go to the USA.

IMO America has gone nuts to the point we no longer enjoy excursions to the country.Living in Montreal we always took our long weekends and vacations south to the USA usually Plattsburg/Burlington/Lake George and a big Florida trip once a year but for the last year or so we have been instead exploring more Ontario and Quebec ,from Kingston to Gaspe offer some wonderfull weekend getaways,the big Florida trip was replaced with a trip to Vancouver this year. This weekend we are off to Gananoque for a 1000 island boat cruise and looking forward to some German food at the Maple leaf restaurant.,first week in October a 4 day run to the Gaspe.

Anyone else exploring more of Canada than the USA?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Gananoque is a great town if you like big old masions. It has some fine old homes from the age when the Toronto elite summered there. I have been somewhat afraid to go into the states for a number of years now. I figure one wrong word and some border guard with the powers of a dictator might decide to make my life miserable. This summer we took the grandsons to Drumheller and had a great week long adventure in Canada.

 

quizzical

many Americans aren't even visiting their own country from what we experienced this year in tourism and they weren't even on their way to Alaska.

6079_Smith_W

I like going to the states, and have always found the differences between there and here informative.

How else are you going to see a side of how it is there that isn't spoon fed by the media, or cranks like us who clog up the internet?

And yeah, I ran into a dictator the last time we crossed over. We made it there and back anyway.

 

quizzical

i find the differences between here and Vancouver Island informative, or between AB and BC even.

have you saw different sides than being depicted? or is it pretty much as spoon fed?

WA and OR are pretty much as general public perception says they are. 

6079_Smith_W

Yes, I did see different sides, positive and negative. Oregon might have a progressive reputation, but you likely don't appreciate what a white, racist (though very progressive in other ways) city Portland is until you go there.

And what we see of Arizona in the media is not what you see when you go to Tucson, or Flagstaff. There are lots of places I have never been, like the deep south. But I have seen enough to know it is not exaclty how we are shown it second hand.

 

6079_Smith_W

On topic though, I don't know about anyone else, but I plan to take advantage of the free entry into our national parks in 2017.

quizzical

i can't even imagine this and what it means to us.

i was in a 45 min line up this summer going through Jasper Park gates. the line up to get to the 2km gate warning was 6km long.

at least there won't be a hold up at the gates seeing as how there should be no one at them as it's free.

 

lagatta

I think for a lot of us, not travelling to the US has nothing to do with not liking destinations there, but a justified fear of what their border guards can do to us. A black mark in my passport, so I can't travel anywhere else? I'd love to travel to Burlington, and Boston, despite the lack of a proper rail link. No train between Montréal and Boston is rather absurd...

I remember travelling with a friend round Gaspé, and to Parc Forillon, though I don't remember how we got there - did the rare bus let us off? Neither of us had a car. National and Provincial parks are a treasure, but I have no idea how I could access them - it is probably easier for me to cross the Atlantic (when I do, a client or a non-profit I'm volunteering for is paying the airfare). The avian life at Forillon is extraordinary.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

From Toronto (and a number of other cities) there's a new service called "Parkbus" that will take you from "the big city" to various provincial parks.

It's designed for folks who want to take camping trips, but don't have a car.

Just learned about it recently from a friend who was using it.   As an example, the return fare from Toronto to Algonquin Park is $88.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I travel to the U.S. pretty regularly for work reasons, and have had some difficult border agents but haven't ever been turned back. There are a lot of places I like down there and have met some really fantastic people. It's still disconcerting to stop and wonder, though, how many people on the street may be packing.

abnormal

quizzical wrote:

many Americans aren't even visiting their own country from what we experienced this year in tourism and they weren't even on their way to Alaska.

I expect a lot of that has to do with the Canadian dollar.  When it's as weak as it is relative to American it makes Canada look far more attractive.

lagatta

Timebandit, of course most people aren't turned back, but some are. And no, not only because they were convicted felons.

6079_Smith_W

Actually the creepiest and scariest experience I ever had at a border (pointed questions about a landed immigrant friend who was not even there, as well as threats) took place coming into Canada.

Far scarier than a bomb search in the U.K., and more than the prospect of having my car taken away, which happened once going into the U.S., and was just stupid, as it concerned an ancient rolling paper covered with motor oil that had been there since before I owned the car.

(edit)

Actually, scratch that. Almost being machine gunned by a drunk border guard in Poland was scarier. But the bottom line is Canadian authorities can be just as sticky if not moreso about crazy and stupid stuff.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

We used to travel to the U.S. all the time when I was a kid.  A few Florida vacations were the big trips, but living in Sarnia, it was mostly excursions to Port Huron, or sometimes Detroit.  Sometimes for an event like a show, or an activity like skiing, but primarily for shopping and eating.

Crossing was pretty simple back then, too.

Border guard:  Hi folks, where ya from?

Dad:  Canada.

Border guard:  All Canadian citizens?

Dad:  Yup.

Border guard:  Purpose of your journey?

Dad:  Just going to do a little shopping.

Border guard:  Have a nice day!

ed'd to add:

Oh ya, and on the way back:

Border guard:  Any purchases to declare?

Dad:  Nope.  <---  99% of the time a lie

Misfit Misfit's picture

Magoo, sounds like the 80s. My sister and I went from Sarnia to Port Huron, and once across the river, there was a McDonalds just off to the right. When we stopped for food we couldn't get over the thick American accent, and it was like we were just ten feet almost into the United States.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

For me it was more like the 70's.  But even as a regular visitor, I too found the differences fascinating.  To this day I can usually tell if someone grew up in Michigan or Ohio just from their "Great Lakes accent". 

This wouldn't make much sense to someone growing up today, where we have everything everywhere, but a big "perk" of a cross-border trip used to be all of those things that were only available in the U.S. -- everything from a Babe Ruth bar to kettle-cooked chips to an Arby's.

 

6079_Smith_W

Second last time I drove back over the guard asked me if I had someone hidden in the back, then didn't bother to look.

(which tells me a lot about the questions they ask)

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

We used to periodically get waved over for an inspection, which really just meant having to open the trunk.

One time Dad opened the trunk, and there was a brand new pair of skis in it which we had, of course, just purchased.

The border guard -- a woman -- asked my Dad whether we had just purchased them in Port Huron, and my Dad replied "Lady, those skis are older than you are.".  She paused a second and waved us on.

Pull shit like that today and it'd be cavity searches for the whole family.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Been there. Yawned heavily and came back, Nothing to see there. But I remember the food,smokes and beer were dirt cheap. Now I think cigarettes cost more than up here in many states. But judging by the enormity of most of the bodies walking about,I'm sure the food is still dirt cheap.

Misfit Misfit's picture

On my way back from Cape Cod in the late 80s, I had purchased two American flags for my nephews, a Boston Red Sox pendant, some fold up lawn chairs I had never seen anywhere in Canada and figured we're unique to the United States. Anyway, I was driving a hatchback, and at the Canadian Customs, the customs guy asked me if I had anything that I wished to declare? I said no. He turned his head and looked in the back hatch and asked if I had purchased anything in the United States? I said no. He looked again and said like two American flags, a Boston Red Sox pendant, folding lawn chairs? I said nope. He laughed and said go on through. That would not happen today.

lagatta

Yes, but he probably viewed you as a buddy with your Yankee flags and Red Sox pennant. And doesn't everyone carry folding lawn chairs around in their hatchback cars?

I do think really crappy food is cheaper in the US than in Canada - and certainly in most European countries I've been to, where one simply doesn't find giant formats of potato chips and such. Friends from NYC found vegetables often cheaper here, but I suppose being from a megacity with extremely high business rental costs might have skewed their outlook on that.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Yes, but he probably viewed you as a buddy

For whatever it's worth, when you go through Customs on a bridge, you go though twice.  Once on their side and once on ours.  Misfit says this happened on our side, not theirs.

Quote:
I do think really crappy food is cheaper in the US than in Canada

When I was a kid, even not-crappy food was cheaper.  I remember my parents buying up some stuff -- raw chicken and suchlike, not deep fried pork rinds -- at the Piggly Wiggly in Port Huron to bring home. It wasn't a big reason for our trips, but now and again they would.

jambo101 jambo101's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

We used to travel to the U.S. all the time when I was a kid.  A few Florida vacations were the big trips, but living in Sarnia, it was mostly excursions to Port Huron, or sometimes Detroit.  Sometimes for an event like a show, or an activity like skiing, but primarily for shopping and eating.

Crossing was pretty simple back then, too.

Border guard:  Hi folks, where ya from?

Dad:  Canada.

Border guard:  All Canadian citizens?

Dad:  Yup.

Border guard:  Purpose of your journey?

Dad:  Just going to do a little shopping.

Border guard:  Have a nice day!

 

 

 While thats the way it usually works it can get totally out of hand given a control freak border guard who for some reason has an instant dislike for you, goes like this=

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDYMw1p8s9M

iyraste1313

last time I travelled through the USA en route to canada, a 3 day trip, I was threatened with guns on three occasions travelling my old VW van with a bunch of friends...just ordinary folk all wel armed....