Monday, April 24, 2017

We made it....

Our Location: Walmart front lawn, Hamilton, Ontario CANADA

No pics today, I'm too tired to do the editing. Today's post may be a bit more detail than you want to know but it's for myself and perhaps to put some sense to the reality of crossing the border with a vehicle purchased in the USA.  If it helps ease the worries for even one person out there, its worth having written it. I was stressed out about this crossing, the broker made it seem very daunting when in fact the whole thing was quite simple. I'm sure it could have been much more time consuming, difficult and even more expensive but I truly had no problems. If I ever do this again I will be certain to use the truck lanes as it's easier to get to the proper place using their lanes. I would also use a broker again, it simplifies things and you pay less GST using a broker.

Morning dawned in Le Roy, NY with a bit of a cool tinge to the air but nothing we couldn't handle. We noticed the overnight temps didn't seem too much different than the evening temps which meant it didn't drop much in the overnight hours. We've found that when the sun starts sinking the temps drop fast but last night the dip seemed to stop when the sun sank behind the horizon. Maybe that's a good sign!!!

About 6:45 am I rolled over, hopped out of bed (not literally of course) and started my day. Moving day is always a bit of an interesting event. Upon rolling out of bed every morning the first thing I do is make the bed, EVERY MORNING. So as I finish each morning ritual on moving day I also pack whatever items need to be packed away when I finish using them. When I finish in my room, and my bathroom, I move on to the living room and kitchen area. Some things get tossed on my bed, others get put into the sinks, etc. You know the drill, it never takes long but I always do at least a couple of quick rounds just to ensure it's all taken care of. So this morning by 7:15 am I was ready to start packing up outside. Riley takes care of her bedroom and 1/2 bath, she is also responsible for getting her cat into the carrier, moving the litter box and food/water. It's amazing how easily she's slipped into the routine. 

By 7:45 am we were doing the last checks for getting under way. Checking of the lights/signals/flashers is the next to last chore, always one last walk around and picking up the leveling boards, etc storing them in the back of the Dogsled. Then we're off. We hit the road running at 8:04 am with the big Dogsled itching to get going. I will admit I made a mistake. I told Riley to find the Queenston-Lewiston bridge but to avoid the tolls which are on the thruway I-90.  Our RV GPS whom we call Phoebe took us to Rochester and wanted us to go some wild way that I can't remember. I realized we were going too far east and managed to get turned around but couldn't seem to get where I wanted to go. We opted to just go back to the campground and start again, which we didn't really do but you know we headed back on 490 toward Buffalo and took the thruway paying the tolls anyway. I'm always amazed that I never get charged the same price twice when towing. Today's tolls added up to about $20 US. I think that's outrageous for the amount of distance we travelled. With just a car or when not hauling the tolls are much more reasonable but add the Igloo and it's nuts. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. 

We arrived at the Queenston-Lewiston Border area around 11:15 am. With the construction going on there finding our way to the export office wasn't signed quite as well as I think it should have been.  I wasn't completely sure where it was so I jumped out of the Dogsled, asked a fella on the US Incoming side of the barrier while I was standing on the other side,  the US Outgoing barrier. (When approaching the lead up to the Duty Free building (this building is on the right) off on the left there is a road that leads to  building beyond the cement barriers, you need to turn left and cross in FRONT  of the incoming cars at the border check booth (these cars haven't yet entered the USA as they have to talk to the Customs officer in the little booth), going left in front of the building to where the big rigs are parked on the EAST side of the building. DO NOT go behind the building, it is for trucks being X-RAYED) He pointed me in the right direction, told me which door to go to etc. Nice fella. Another fella came along as I was pulling in to the area, pointed me in the direction of parking for big rigs and before I knew it I was shutting down the Dogsled, gathering my papers, passport and wallet, heading inside. Easy, peasy, go thru the red door, follow the hallway signs, end up in EXPORT, two nice fella sitting behind their desks not doing much of anything, one asked a lot of questions and before you know it the other one is coming out to check the vin number. He okays that, tells me to have a nice day. Took less than 10 minutes. I asked him if I should go thru the truck lanes on the other side but he didn't know, said if I did and it was wrong they could call him up and yell at him. I laughed, he grinned and I thanked him for his help and told him to have a great rest of the day.  (Leaving the parking lot, look for the sign that says TO CANADA with an arrow pointing to the left or west, take that road, it will merge into the traffic heading over the bridge)
Back into the Dogsled, across the big bridge on which there was only a single lane Canada bound due to some kind of watering/washing of the bridge surface about half way across. It was odd, just some guy hosing down the middle of the bridge, no one else around.  Weird. Past the slow down but decided to head  on in with the cars, just in case they didn't feel like yelling at the other guy. ~laugh~ Talked to the fella at the little  booth, explained about importing the truck, he wrote up the yellow slip, sent me to the parking area which ISN'T set up for a smart car hauling a bicycle never mind a truck with a trailer of any length. Parked where he told me and entered the building. The nice lady in there started chatting about non commercial vehicles, I explained it is a personal truck but it will have commercial tags as all pick ups have them, you can't get a truck tag that isn't commercial as far as I know. All four of my trucks have had commercial plates. I explained about the broker saying I needed to go to visit the brokers office first. She checked with another person in the office before informing me I needed to go around to the back of the building. Another officer came out to my truck told me where to get around the building and park, he even came round a bit later to ensure I had found my way. I thanked him for his help, we locked up the Dogsled and headed inside.  (Canada Customs building on the right, commercial vehicles, brokers, big rigs are reached by going to the end of the building, turning right and parking in the big lot behind the building. Go thru the glass doors at TRUCKERS ENTRANCE, brokers are upstairs to the right down a long hallway. Find the right broker suite, give a name, collect the paperwork, go back down stairs to the IMPORT office, step inside to the big long desk, find the IN BOX, drop your paperwork in the box and go back outside the doors to the waiting room. They will call your name when it's your turn. When you are ready to leave (you may have to go back out to the waiting room and wait some more) you return the paperwork to the brokers office, they give you what is YOURS, and your done. When you leave you will still have to pass thru the PAY booth but customs is finished. You can go to the duty free shop from the broker level of the building).

We climbed the stairs to the brokers office, picked up the paperwork (which I didn't need to print out after all even though the original guy told me I had to print it out), went back downstairs, dropped the stuff in the inbox in the import office, we headed back out to the waiting room. Chatted with a nice fella hauling cars, said he'd been there since 8 AM it was now pushing 11:30 am, said he'd been called in twice already. So I'm thinking this isn't going to be fun. We chatted for about 15, maybe 20 minutes, they called my name, I went inside, they handed me my paper work said, "You're good to go." I grabbed it, headed back to the brokers office upstairs, gave them what they needed, came back down, slid out the door and we were free to go. It was just about Noon. Took us less than an hour to do the entire thing. I can't tell you how easy it was, how relieved I was and how good it felt to be finished. ~laugh~ 

I called my dad right away as I knew he would be worried. He of course wasn't home but I left a message anyway. Jumped into the Dogsled, turning the nose toward Hamilton and we headed out. We enjoyed the drive along the QEW, it was uneventful, a bit windy but otherwise very calming and pleasant. The leaves are starting to pop out here, the waters of Lake Ontario were choppy and churning with white caps quite visible. We pulled into the Wally World, tucked ourselves up against the curb, checked with Customer Service, we were given the green light to stay for a couple of nights and hurried out to have some lunch. We were unhooked, and finished lunch by 2:30 pm. Shortly after 3 pm we were back inside stocking up on a few things that didn't buy in the US as they are about the same price but actually cheaper as there is no exchange here. Riley headed for the Tim's while I brought home the groceries. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing a few little things, calling a few people, reading and just kind of settling down a bit. My dad called around 7 pm and we chatted for a quick couple of minutes before he had to go which was fine as it was time to start dinner. Tonight we added a few more things to an already made but frozen 4 cheese pizza. Popped that into the oven and shortly there after we were enjoying piping hot pizza. 

After dinner we pulled out the Yahtzee game for a bit. I can tell you that Riley is such a little stinker, she rolled TWO Yahtzee's in one game. Can you guess who didn't win that game? ~Laugh~ I did roll a Yahtzee in the second game though and I even won the second game!!! I was glad we called it at a draw, I'm sure I wouldn't have won another one. ~laugh~ 

After that it was off to our own ends of the Igloo to do what we do to amuse ourselves every night. So there ends the busy day and the crossing of the border with my new to me Dogsled. It was an excellent day, I have absolutely no complaints, I'm happy to be back in the beautiful province of Ontario, and before long we'll be visiting with middle daughter Bradey and her partner David. I'm tired but it's a good tired. 
A huge thank you to cousin Craig for his wonderful information in helping me to get thru this process. It was as easy as you said it would be. Thanks again. 
Welcome to George and Susie from Our Awesome Travels. I've been reading their blog for a few years and have enjoyed their travels. George and Susie winter in the southwest most winters and I've enjoyed reading about their many adventures both there and here in Ontario. George prepares the most amazing things on his Weber Q, and I've taken many ques from his posts which has led us to enjoy some amazing things on our own Weber Q. Thanks for the tips George. I hope you enjoy your visit here, thanks for stopping by. 

Thanks for stopping by, it is most appreciated. Nothing too exciting but it keeps us entertained. ~laugh~  I hope you enjoyed your visit, feel free to leave a comment. Until next safe, take care...


  1. Sounds like quite the process but you were well prepared. Welcome home to Ontario!

    1. Thanks Patsy. It's good to be back and we are enjoying our time here in Southern Ontario.

  2. Well that sounds like a busy day, but you made it across the border through customs and back home to Ontario.
    Now to just enjoy the summer months as they approach us.
    Thanks for the shout and glad that you enjoy your Weber and some of my tips.
    We have been checking you blog occasionally , just don't think I have commented before.

    1. We pretty much always enjoy ourselves, like you George, we take each day as it comes and look for the good things, appreciating them! The summer is coming closer each day and before we know it we'll be basking in the warm rays and soaking up all that vitamin D!! Looking forward to it.