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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: US 41 on December 08, 2015, 11:43:25 AM

Title: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 08, 2015, 11:43:25 AM
I get 4 days off work next week in a row. (Yeah!!!!) I'm thinking about driving to Canada. I would enter at Windsor for sure (about 5-6 hours from where I live). Does anyone know of anything cool to do/see in the southwestern Ontario area?

Also do I really need a Canadian Insurance Card to drive in Canada? I still have my old one in my glove box and my policy hasn't changed. I also thought it was common knowledge that US and Canadian Insurance is valid in both countries.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: leroys73 on December 08, 2015, 12:08:58 PM
I have never been asked for proof of insurance with numerous trips to Canada over the last 40 years.  However, I guess if you were stopped by police for any reason or in an accident maybe it would be an issue.

As far as I know all US auto insurance is good in Canada as long as you have the proper limits.

I have never understood why my insurance company doesn't want to issue one for any longer than they absolutely have to.  They only like 30 days.  I think the next time I am going to tell them I need it as long as the policy is in effect.

Have fun and be safe.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: corco on December 08, 2015, 12:10:41 PM
I always forget to get a Canadian insurance card before going up there. Then again, I've also never been pulled over.

I wouldn't be too worried about it, I suspect not having I've is a common occurrence.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: oscar on December 08, 2015, 12:14:34 PM
But your US policy doesn't necessarily meet Ontario's policy limit requirements, which are probably higher than the limits customary in the U.S. When you got your old inter-provincial card, your insurance company may have temporarily bumped up your policy limits to meet Canadian requirements (which means more risk for the company that it won't lightly cover). That bump has presumably expired, and you'd need another one.

If your policy has unusually high limits, that already meet Ontario requirements, you might be able to get by with bringing documentation you already have on hand to prove that, rather than get a new inter-provincial card. I did that once for a short-notice trip to Canada, since my policy limits are really high and meet all Canadian requirements (being a lawyer, even a retired one, makes me a bit of a lawsuit magnet, so I pay extra for high limits).

Nobody asked for my insurance papers on that trip, so I don't know how well it would've worked, but probably better than nothing. But every time I've been pulled over by a Canadian cop (twice in Ontario), I've been asked for my inter-provincial card, which I had on hand right next to my vehicle registration.

You might see if your insurance company will quickly e-mail you a card you can print out ahead of your trip. My company sends me my card that way, promptly upon request. It helps, though, that I ask for a card most every year, and have "educated" my agent on how to get the company to approve my card without hassle.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: vdeane on December 08, 2015, 01:08:30 PM
I can't say I've ever bothered to get a different insurance card when going to Canada before, and I don't know if my parents have either.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: AsphaltPlanet on December 08, 2015, 01:12:13 PM
I get 4 days off work next week in a row. (Yeah!!!!) I'm thinking about driving to Canada. I would enter at Windsor for sure (about 5-6 hours from where I live). Does anyone know of anything cool to do/see in the southwestern Ontario area?

Also do I really need a Canadian Insurance Card to drive in Canada? I still have my old one in my glove box and my policy hasn't changed. I also thought it was common knowledge that US and Canadian Insurance is valid in both countries.

What are you looking to see?  Road stuff or non-road stuff?
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 08, 2015, 01:18:01 PM
What are you looking to see?  Road stuff or non-road stuff?

Honestly both. Bruce Peninsula Nat'l Park looks pretty neat from the pics. Have you ever been?
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: AsphaltPlanet on December 08, 2015, 02:07:14 PM
No, I've never been to Bruce National Park before.  A number of my friends have been and say that it is quite beautiful.  There isn't much to see from Highway 6 however on the way up.

A lot of the towns on the Hwy 21 corridor are fairly busy in the summer with beachgoers and campers, but will probably be fairly quiet this time of the year.  The weather has been mild, but just be forewarned, if the weather turns colder, the Hwy 21 corridor gets hammered with snowsquals.  During the right weather conditions, it's not uncommon for Hwy 21 to be closed for several days in a row due to snow.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 08, 2015, 02:18:51 PM
No, I've never been to Bruce National Park before.  A number of my friends have been and say that it is quite beautiful.  There isn't much to see from Highway 6 however on the way up.

A lot of the towns on the Hwy 21 corridor are fairly busy in the summer with beachgoers and campers, but will probably be fairly quiet this time of the year.  The weather has been mild, but just be forewarned, if the weather turns colder, the Hwy 21 corridor gets hammered with snowsquals.  During the right weather conditions, it's not uncommon for Hwy 21 to be closed for several days in a row due to snow.

Canada has to be better than where I live. :D I've always wanted to see the Georgian Bay, so it should be an interesting trip if I do go. Hopefully the border wait isn't too long. When I crossed at Sault Ste. Marie I was the only car. I probably won't be so lucky if I enter at Windsor or Sarnia. And I hope it doesn't snow!
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: AsphaltPlanet on December 08, 2015, 03:14:57 PM
this time of year, I doubt you'd have much wait at any of the border crossings.  The new 401 extension in Windsor is pretty awesome these days.  There is construction on the 401 through Tilbury.  I wouldn't expect any delays, but the highway is reduced to a single lane each way for about 15km.

Grand Bend, Kincardine, and Goderich are all pretty towns.  Grand Bend in particular will be very quiet this time of year.

If you have some time, there are two car ferries that cross the St. Clair River between Detroit and Port Huron.  On the Ontario side, they cross at Sombra and Walpole Island respectively, each with frequent crossings.  They cost a bit more than the fixed crossings, but offer a scenic alternative to either of the bridges.  Both crossings are well marked from Hwy 40 on the Ontario side.  I am less confident in how well they are marked from the US side.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: cu2010 on December 08, 2015, 03:52:11 PM
If you have some time, there are two car ferries that cross the St. Clair River between Detroit and Port Huron.  On the Ontario side, they cross at Sombra and Walpole Island respectively, each with frequent crossings.  They cost a bit more than the fixed crossings, but offer a scenic alternative to either of the bridges.  Both crossings are well marked from Hwy 40 on the Ontario side.  I am less confident in how well they are marked from the US side.

The ferry from Algonac to Walpole Island is right on M-29, very well marked.

The ferry from Marine City to Sombra...not so much.

To add to the original question, I've never had a separate insurance card every time I've driven in Canada...including all four times I've done it in the past year. They never ask for it at the border.

As for wait times at the border, you may wish to consider one of the smaller crossings instead. Both the Ambassador and Blue Water Bridges see heavy traffic, even during "off" periods...last time I crossed at Sarnia, there was about a 20 minute wait each way.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 08, 2015, 04:28:15 PM
this time of year, I doubt you'd have much wait at any of the border crossings.  The new 401 extension in Windsor is pretty awesome these days.  There is construction on the 401 through Tilbury.  I wouldn't expect any delays, but the highway is reduced to a single lane each way for about 15km.

Grand Bend, Kincardine, and Goderich are all pretty towns.  Grand Bend in particular will be very quiet this time of year.

If you have some time, there are two car ferries that cross the St. Clair River between Detroit and Port Huron.  On the Ontario side, they cross at Sombra and Walpole Island respectively, each with frequent crossings.  They cost a bit more than the fixed crossings, but offer a scenic alternative to either of the bridges.  Both crossings are well marked from Hwy 40 on the Ontario side.  I am less confident in how well they are marked from the US side.

I just checked out the car ferries. They're $7 to take. I paid $8 when I took one across the Mississippi River. I also didn't realize that the St. Clair River was so big.

I was also just watching a video on Youtube of the 401 extension in Windsor and realized it was one of your videos. It was a very good quality video BTW.

Thanks for all the advice.

If you have some time, there are two car ferries that cross the St. Clair River between Detroit and Port Huron.  On the Ontario side, they cross at Sombra and Walpole Island respectively, each with frequent crossings.  They cost a bit more than the fixed crossings, but offer a scenic alternative to either of the bridges.  Both crossings are well marked from Hwy 40 on the Ontario side.  I am less confident in how well they are marked from the US side.

The ferry from Algonac to Walpole Island is right on M-29, very well marked.

The ferry from Marine City to Sombra...not so much.

To add to the original question, I've never had a separate insurance card every time I've driven in Canada...including all four times I've done it in the past year. They never ask for it at the border.

As for wait times at the border, you may wish to consider one of the smaller crossings instead. Both the Ambassador and Blue Water Bridges see heavy traffic, even during "off" periods...last time I crossed at Sarnia, there was about a 20 minute wait each way.

I probably won't get a new Inter-Province Insurance Card. If I get pulled over I'll show them the old one that proves that my insurance is valid in Canada. My insurance company wouldn't give me one when I asked them a month ago for one since I wasn't going to Canada right away. I guess I should've lied and said that I was going to go in a few days (which is what I'll do for now on). When they wrote my old one they made it good for 6 months (the same length as my US coverage). The woman was probably too lazy to write me a new one.

I'm okay with a wait that is 30 minutes or less. 20 minutes isn't too bad. I waited for 10-15 minutes to get from Fort Erie to Buffalo. I just don't want to wait longer than 30 minutes to get across.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: GaryV on December 08, 2015, 04:49:07 PM
Don't forget you need a passport or enhanced license to get back into the US.

Look at Great Getaways http://www.greatgetaways.tv/ - they've had several shows about the Bruce Peninsula.  Not the highest quality production, but you'll get the idea.  I'm not too sure what will be going on there now, between the Fall Color and the Skiing seasons.  It's probably a much shorter trip to cross at the Blue Water Bridge (vs Windsor) if you're headed up that way.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 08, 2015, 05:03:25 PM
Don't forget you need a passport or enhanced license to get back into the US.

I have a passport book. I actually drove to Ottawa in July and walked over to Boquillas, Mexico, last month. My passport is the first thing I'll pack. In fact I always pack it even if I don't plan on leaving the country.

Your right. The Sarnia crossing will probably be the best crossing if I plan on going that way. Thanks for the link.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: SignGeek101 on December 09, 2015, 10:27:28 PM
Don't forget you need a passport or enhanced license to get back into the US.

I have a passport book. I actually drove to Ottawa in July and walked over to Boquillas, Mexico, last month. My passport is the first thing I'll pack. In fact I always pack it even if I don't plan on leaving the country.

Your right. The Sarnia crossing will probably be the best crossing if I plan on going that way. Thanks for the link.

If you're interested in construction projects or new alignments, you can take the Windsor crossing to travel down the newly opened Herb Gray Pkwy (the 401 in Windsor).
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: leroys73 on December 10, 2015, 12:09:15 AM
No, I've never been to Bruce National Park before.  A number of my friends have been and say that it is quite beautiful.  There isn't much to see from Highway 6 however on the way up.

A lot of the towns on the Hwy 21 corridor are fairly busy in the summer with beachgoers and campers, but will probably be fairly quiet this time of the year.  The weather has been mild, but just be forewarned, if the weather turns colder, the Hwy 21 corridor gets hammered with snowsquals.  During the right weather conditions, it's not uncommon for Hwy 21 to be closed for several days in a row due to snow.

Canada has to be better than where I live. :D I've always wanted to see the Georgian Bay, so it should be an interesting trip if I do go. Hopefully the border wait isn't too long. When I crossed at Sault Ste. Marie I was the only car. I probably won't be so lucky if I enter at Windsor or Sarnia. And I hope it doesn't snow!

It is funny you said you were the only car when crossing a Sault Ste. Marie.  The last time I crossed there it was the middle of the summer in the middle of the day.  I was not looking forward to the traffic.  It turned out I was the only one there.  I was on a motorcycle and had to wait for the border guard to wake up, I guess, as it took him a while to come to the window.  He didn't even ask for an ID, let alone my passport.  He just said, "Have a good day."  And I did.  I crossed there once many years ago at night and had traffic plus car almost got searched.  I crossed at Windsor several years ago, traffic flowed well.  I guess it is just luck of the draw.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: ATLRedSoxFan on December 10, 2015, 03:54:30 AM
When I lived in Boston, I drove up to Montreal to see family every year. I had Gieco(liability) and never had a problem.And, yes I was covered, even in Quebec. Not an issue. Plus, having Triple A didn't hurt. I never was pulled over, but would have been covered if I had been.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 10, 2015, 09:46:42 AM
I've got time today so I think I will go ahead and get a "yellow card". It seems like when driving to Canada and Mexico there are always those questions that no body really knows the answer to. For Mexico it was the "Do I need my title to get a TIP or is my registration good enough" question. (P.S. I still don't know that answer and no body else seems to know either.) When it comes down to it I guess it is better safe than sorry.

It is funny you said you were the only car when crossing a Sault Ste. Marie.  The last time I crossed there it was the middle of the summer in the middle of the day.  I was not looking forward to the traffic.  It turned out I was the only one there.  I was on a motorcycle and had to wait for the border guard to wake up, I guess, as it took him a while to come to the window.  He didn't even ask for an ID, let alone my passport.  He just said, "Have a good day."  And I did.  I crossed there once many years ago at night and had traffic plus car almost got searched.  I crossed at Windsor several years ago, traffic flowed well.  I guess it is just luck of the draw.

I-75 was completely closed for about 20-30 miles in the upper peninsula when I went in July. That may have helped a little. I also crossed at 10 p.m. There were two cars behind me, but there was no one in front of me. They asked me about  6 questions ranging from "where are you going, why are you going, how long are you staying, have you ever been fingerprinted, what do you have in your car, have you ever been to Canada before?" I can say that Canadian customs (from my experience) has nicer people working for them than American customs. When I came back from Spain and Canada customs acted like I went to ISIS meetings or something. It was a really hateful "Why did you go to Canada?" Then the same stupid woman after I gave her my passport asked me if I was a US Citizen (Of course I said yes). But really, I didn't know the US gave passports to people that aren't US Citizens (sarcasm). Ironically the only time I have ever had a good experience with US Customs is when I came back from Boquillas, Mexico. Maybe it was because I was talking to them through the phone and the ranger that searches you is very respectful.  :)
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: leroys73 on December 10, 2015, 10:24:35 PM
For the most part, IMO, the Canadian customs are more laid back than US.  Even when I crossed into BC and the Canadian guard asked, "Your are from Texas, do you have a concealed carry license?"  When I said yes (I knew not to lie) he asked, "Where are your guns?"  He was cool about it.  I told him at home where they belong when going to Canada.  There was a few cars behind me but he did not care.  After he handed back my passport we laughed and chatted for a few minutes about guns and Canadian laws.

Coming back from Quebec the US lady treated me like a convict.  I thought I was headed for Guantanamo.
 
But then leaving Hyder, AK (no US guard) the Canadian asked me very strange questions (probably a trainee) as if I was able to travel thousands of miles in Alaska by road for the 4 hours I was in Hyder after crossing at the same crossing earlier, the only place to cross.  There are almost no roads in that part of AK.  But then when I returned to the lower 48 I turned off my motorcycle for at least 20 minutes and the US border guard and I just BSed.  No one was behind me.

Each crossing is different.  Each person has their "tells" they are looking for.  Plus part of it is purely random.  I believe in always being very polite and only answer the question without any extra info.  I know what appears to be just "shooting the breeze" is part of the act.  But this usually comes after they return the passport and I like that part as I like visiting with them plus I have nothing to hide, except maybe a knife.  :ded: 

Driven in 21 countries while crossing borders since the 60s and my vehicle has only been searched once.  That was at Italy-Austria border south of Innsbruck in 1968 around midnight.  Three young college age males in a VW Beetle, I wonder why??? :confused:    We were clean.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 11, 2015, 01:14:16 PM
Well I decided to go ahead and get my Canadian insurance card yesterday. It is valid until late May (when my insurance expires).

My three alternatives right now.

1) Enter at Sarnia (clinch I-69 in Indiana and Michigan).
2) Enter at Sault Ste. Marie (again) and drive north on ON-129 to go see some forested wilderness.
3) Just stay home and relax for 4 days.

Weather Forcasts:

1) Sarnia=>  Tuesday= 48F, 10% chance of precipitation;  Wednesday= 49F, 20% chance of precipitation ; Lowest it will get= 39F
2) Sault Ste Marie=>  Tuesday= 38F, 10% chance of precipitation;  Wednesday= 39F, 60% chance of rain showers;  Lowest it will get= 35F

Both places will be reasonable temperature wise. The 60% chance of rain showers in Sault Ste Marie scares me a little because it could very easily turn into snow or even worse an ice storm, although it isn't supposed to start until later in the afternoon on Wednesday.


Driven in 21 countries while crossing borders since the 60s and my vehicle has only been searched once.  That was at Italy-Austria border south of Innsbruck in 1968 around midnight.  Three young college age males in a VW Beetle, I wonder why??? :confused:    We were clean.

My current goal is to drive in 49 states (not Hawaii), all 10 Canadian Provinces, 2 Canadian territories (not Nunavut), and all 31 Mexican estados. I only have 3 countries on my mind, but it will be an impressive feat if I ever accomplish it.

21 countries is a very impressive accomplishment. I'm guessing quite a few of those were in Europe.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: vdeane on December 11, 2015, 01:19:42 PM
For the most part, IMO, the Canadian customs are more laid back than US.  Even when I crossed into BC and the Canadian guard asked, "Your are from Texas, do you have a concealed carry license?"  When I said yes (I knew not to lie) he asked, "Where are your guns?"  He was cool about it.  I told him at home where they belong when going to Canada.  There was a few cars behind me but he did not care.  After he handed back my passport we laughed and chatted for a few minutes about guns and Canadian laws.

Coming back from Quebec the US lady treated me like a convict.  I thought I was headed for Guantanamo.
 
But then leaving Hyder, AK (no US guard) the Canadian asked me very strange questions (probably a trainee) as if I was able to travel thousands of miles in Alaska by road for the 4 hours I was in Hyder after crossing at the same crossing earlier, the only place to cross.  There are almost no roads in that part of AK.  But then when I returned to the lower 48 I turned off my motorcycle for at least 20 minutes and the US border guard and I just BSed.  No one was behind me.

Each crossing is different.  Each person has their "tells" they are looking for.  Plus part of it is purely random.  I believe in always being very polite and only answer the question without any extra info.  I know what appears to be just "shooting the breeze" is part of the act.  But this usually comes after they return the passport and I like that part as I like visiting with them plus I have nothing to hide, except maybe a knife.  :ded: 

Driven in 21 countries while crossing borders since the 60s and my vehicle has only been searched once.  That was at Italy-Austria border south of Innsbruck in 1968 around midnight.  Three young college age males in a VW Beetle, I wonder why??? :confused:    We were clean.

I think Hyder has a ferry connection to the rest of Alaska and that US customs checks people there.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: oscar on December 11, 2015, 01:41:46 PM
But then leaving Hyder, AK (no US guard) the Canadian asked me very strange questions (probably a trainee) as if I was able to travel thousands of miles in Alaska by road for the 4 hours I was in Hyder after crossing at the same crossing earlier, the only place to cross.  There are almost no roads in that part of AK.

I think Hyder has a ferry connection to the rest of Alaska and that US customs checks people there.

Nope. The ferry connection went away in 1994 (I remember well, the route was discontinued while I was on a ferry down the Inside Passage, and I wasn't told my reservation to Hyder had been changed to Prince Rupert BC until I got off the boat in Ketchikan). Even when it was going, the ferry terminal was in Stewart BC, so to take the ferry from Hyder you would've had to pass through Canada. I don't know how customs checks were handled for travelers from Stewart to Ketchikan, though US Customs might've done checks in Stewart like they do for Alaska-bound ferry travelers out of Prince Rupert.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: jeffandnicole on December 11, 2015, 02:20:09 PM
After attending the final Phillies-Expos series in Montreal and still in our Phillies shirts, I was headed thru the border patrol, and happened to get an agent who formerly lived in Philly.  He was talking to us all about the Eagles game that was played earlier that day! 

There used to be a secondary checkpoint on I-87 about an hour south of the border for whatever reason.  The checkpoint was directly in the lanes of travel; no pull-off area or anything like that.   The female agent we talked to there was equally as friendly, and had seen many fellow Phillies fans earlier that day. 

Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 11, 2015, 02:41:36 PM
After attending the final Phillies-Expos series in Montreal and still in our Phillies shirts, I was headed thru the border patrol, and happened to get an agent who formerly lived in Philly.  He was talking to us all about the Eagles game that was played earlier that day! 

There used to be a secondary checkpoint on I-87 about an hour south of the border for whatever reason.  The checkpoint was directly in the lanes of travel; no pull-off area or anything like that.   The female agent we talked to there was equally as friendly, and had seen many fellow Phillies fans earlier that day.

They still have those secondary checkpoints down in the states bordering Mexico. I went through 3 of them last month. Basically they are there to try to stop illegals and drug trafficking. It's kind of odd they used to have one of those in a state bordering Canada.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: vdeane on December 11, 2015, 04:12:00 PM
After attending the final Phillies-Expos series in Montreal and still in our Phillies shirts, I was headed thru the border patrol, and happened to get an agent who formerly lived in Philly.  He was talking to us all about the Eagles game that was played earlier that day! 

There used to be a secondary checkpoint on I-87 about an hour south of the border for whatever reason.  The checkpoint was directly in the lanes of travel; no pull-off area or anything like that.   The female agent we talked to there was equally as friendly, and had seen many fellow Phillies fans earlier that day. 


It's still officially there, just not used often.  They usually only use it whenever the president wants to look tough on terrorism.  Ditto for the ones on I-89 and I-91 near White River Junction and Lebanon, NH.  I believe there's one on NY 30 in the Adirondacks north of Saranac Lake.  Border Patrol is quite active on the northern border as well.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: Alps on December 11, 2015, 05:17:46 PM

My current goal is to drive in 49 states (not Hawaii), all 10 Canadian Provinces, 2 Canadian territories (not Nunavut), and all 31 Mexican estados. I only have 3 countries on my mind, but it will be an impressive feat if I ever accomplish it.

21 countries is a very impressive accomplishment. I'm guessing quite a few of those were in Europe.
I recommend adding Hawaii to that list. There are some wonderful drives there.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: AsphaltPlanet on December 11, 2015, 05:23:03 PM
Well I decided to go ahead and get my Canadian insurance card yesterday. It is valid until late May (when my insurance expires).

My three alternatives right now.

1) Enter at Sarnia (clinch I-69 in Indiana and Michigan).
2) Enter at Sault Ste. Marie (again) and drive north on ON-129 to go see some forested wilderness.
3) Just stay home and relax for 4 days.

Weather Forcasts:

1) Sarnia=>  Tuesday= 48F, 10% chance of precipitation;  Wednesday= 49F, 20% chance of precipitation ; Lowest it will get= 39F
2) Sault Ste Marie=>  Tuesday= 38F, 10% chance of precipitation;  Wednesday= 39F, 60% chance of rain showers;  Lowest it will get= 35F

Both places will be reasonable temperature wise. The 60% chance of rain showers in Sault Ste Marie scares me a little because it could very easily turn into snow or even worse an ice storm, although it isn't supposed to start until later in the afternoon on Wednesday.

Hwy 129 is very scenic where it runs beside the Mississagi River.  That said, this isn't the time of year to drive Hwy 129.  The temperature could be a few degrees lower in the Algoma Highlands than it is in Sault Ste. Marie, and Hwy 129 won't be salted nearly as often as busier roads such as Hwy 17.

Stay South.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 11, 2015, 09:59:28 PM
I recommend adding Hawaii to that list. There are some wonderful drives there.

I'm not too big on flying long distances. That said there is a decent chance I will end up in Hawaii one day. If I ever go I would definitely want to go to the big island (Hawaii).


Hwy 129 is very scenic where it runs beside the Mississagi River.  That said, this isn't the time of year to drive Hwy 129.  The temperature could be a few degrees lower in the Algoma Highlands than it is in Sault Ste. Marie, and Hwy 129 won't be salted nearly as often as busier roads such as Hwy 17.

Stay South.

Good point. I looked at the weather for Chapleau and it is supposed to be just below freezing. I think I'm just going to enter at Sarnia where it is going to be lower 50's / upper 40's. Most of Canada should be a summer activity anyways.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: leroys73 on December 14, 2015, 10:24:30 PM
Well I decided to go ahead and get my Canadian insurance card yesterday. It is valid until late May (when my insurance expires).

My three alternatives right now.

1) Enter at Sarnia (clinch I-69 in Indiana and Michigan).
2) Enter at Sault Ste. Marie (again) and drive north on ON-129 to go see some forested wilderness.
3) Just stay home and relax for 4 days.

Weather Forcasts:

1) Sarnia=>  Tuesday= 48F, 10% chance of precipitation;  Wednesday= 49F, 20% chance of precipitation ; Lowest it will get= 39F
2) Sault Ste Marie=>  Tuesday= 38F, 10% chance of precipitation;  Wednesday= 39F, 60% chance of rain showers;  Lowest it will get= 35F

Both places will be reasonable temperature wise. The 60% chance of rain showers in Sault Ste Marie scares me a little because it could very easily turn into snow or even worse an ice storm, although it isn't supposed to start until later in the afternoon on Wednesday.


Driven in 21 countries while crossing borders since the 60s and my vehicle has only been searched once.  That was at Italy-Austria border south of Innsbruck in 1968 around midnight.  Three young college age males in a VW Beetle, I wonder why??? :confused:    We were clean.

My current goal is to drive in 49 states (not Hawaii), all 10 Canadian Provinces, 2 Canadian territories (not Nunavut), and all 31 Mexican estados. I only have 3 countries on my mind, but it will be an impressive feat if I ever accomplish it.

21 countries is a very impressive accomplishment. I'm guessing quite a few of those were in Europe.


Thanks

Yep, all were in Europe except the three in North America.  A road trip from Munich to Athens got a few of them all in one trip.  I have driven by car in all U. S. States and DC plus all Canadian Provinces/Territories with paved roads except Newfoundland which will be take care of this summer.  I have only driven in two Mexican Estados. 

None of this was job related and no I'm not wealthy.  Just in the right place at the right time and I like to road trip.

I the 7.5 years of motorcycle riding I have ridden my made in the USA Honda VTX 1300R motorcycle in 49 states, DC, and 8 of the Canadian Provinces/Territories with paved roads.  NB, NS, PE, and Newfoundland-Labrador will be taken care of this summer.  By then I will have put over 130,000 miles on the VTX in eight years.

Maybe I can get someone to pay to ship my VTX to HI so it can be said I have ridden it in all 50. 

41, keep that goal in mind and you may surprise yourself how things will work out so you can complete it. When I was a kid of a very poor widow I never thought I'd ever leave the little "one horse" town I was born in.  I had dreams though.  And things just happened.  Also, yes, the big island (HI) is awesome.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 15, 2015, 09:20:50 PM
41, keep that goal in mind and you may surprise yourself how things will work out so you can complete it. When I was a kid of a very poor widow I never thought I'd ever leave the little "one horse" town I was born in.  I had dreams though.  And things just happened.  Also, yes, the big island (HI) is awesome.

Very true. I am only 19 years old if you weren't aware, so I have a lot of time to reach my goal. I would say that driving through 19 states, 2 provinces, and walking over to 1 estado is a pretty big accomplishment for me at my age. When I road trip I ecotrip. I'll sleep in my car at rest areas and truck stops. (You'd be surprised, the back seat of my car is actually quite comfortable.) I also shunpike toll roads, take my showers at truck stops, grocery shop rather than eat out, etc. On my latest road trip I drove all the way west to Arizona and the Big Bend Region of Texas. (I live in Indiana.) It was a 4000 mile road trip that lasted for 7 days. I only spent $320!

I'm going to be driving to the Peguis Canyon in February (20 miles west of Ojinaga). I'm definitely looking forward to it. I'm going to finish what I started. I would have drove to it the last time, except that the Mexican insurance place was closed the day I went through and I had no way to order any online. (At 19 I still use only cash. I don't have a credit or debit card yet.) I'm going to call them before I leave and see what days and hours they are open. I met a guy in the Big Bend Nat'l Park that has drove to the Peguis Canyon in his words "lots of times". I asked how safe it was and he told me he has never had any problems and that I would be perfectly fine driving out to it. He also recommended going to Boquillas while I was in the park (which I did).

I am going to hold off on Canada for now and give my car a rest. I'll be going back to Mexico in about two months anyways. My dad just revealed to me today that he wants to go to North Dakota next summer to visit with my uncle (his brother) that lives in Williston. We are planning on going to Saskatchewan and Manitoba while we are up there. He refuses to go to Mexico with me. He thinks I'm nuts. :sombrero: (I do plenty of research. For example Juarez and Reynosa are two places I'd refuse to visit along the border. The Ojinaga area seems to be reasonably safe.) Just out of curiosity, which two estados did you drive in?
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: leroys73 on December 16, 2015, 03:14:10 PM
WOW, 19, you do have time.  I started my serious travel at about that age.  I have slept in the car many times, a tent was a step up.  I still tent at times and enjoy it even at age almost 67. I even have spent a few hours sleeping on my motorcycle.

Glad you made it to Big Bend.  I went there in the 70s and camped.  I loved it.  I always wanted to return but didn't until I bought my motorcycle a few years back.  It was on my list.  Been there a few times since. The River Road, FM 170, is awesome as is the park.     

I got the wanderlust itch when I was probably around 6 when we went to visit my aunt in upstate NY traveling from the Cincinnati area.  Then my big boost was after we moved to Oklahoma traveling back and forth to Ohio to visit relatives.  My dad was in the army, very, very low rank. We went to Germany my senior year plus two years of college in Munich. I got a job, bought a car and became an addict hooked on road trips.  I was only 19 when a buddy and I were in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, the morning of August 21, 1968, the morning after the USSR rolled tanks into Prague, Czechoslovakia.  The locals were pissed because the US did not help the Czechs.  Yugoslavia was communist but Tito was in charge.  He did what he wanted to do not what the USSR did.  We weren't sure what to do so we continued our road trip through what used to be Yugoslavia, sleeping in the car and a tent without any problems.  I really liked that country and the people in all parts were very friendly.  Too bad they had to suffer the war.   

I am a bit hesitant about Mexico but I have been hearing from reliable people that once away from the border, no problems.  I have not crossed at Presidio.  It seems like a good place to cross the border, pretty laid back and friendly people come and go across the border.  Our church stopped doing mission trips to Juarez because of the problems.  I have heard if you stay away from Juarez and Tijuana not much problems.  I haven't heard anything about Reynosa but I know Laredo, Tx had some serious problems not long ago.  I passed through Laredo a couple of years back and it seemed OK. 

I have been to Chihuahua and Coahuila.  Coahuila in the 70s, crossed at Del Rio then drove a ways south before turning around.  Chihuahua crossed once at Juarez in the 70s.  We just made the short drive to the market center.  Then in the 2000s I was the driver for two trips over there with my church to build houses south of Juarez.  They discontinued that mission trip a few years ago as unsafe.

I talked to a couple this summer who made a motorcycle trip, just the two of them, down the Baja just last year.  They said it was great and no problems. I have always wanted to do that trip.  A couple of years ago I ran into a guy who lived in Mexico as a retired US Citizen and was riding a motorcycle from his home in central Mexico to New York.  He said no problems.   

Keep the dream, go cheap when you feel the need, and go long when you can.   
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: J N Winkler on December 23, 2015, 11:47:25 AM
I've got time today so I think I will go ahead and get a "yellow card". It seems like when driving to Canada and Mexico there are always those questions that nobody really knows the answer to. For Mexico it was the "Do I need my title to get a TIP or is my registration good enough" question. (P.S. I still don't know that answer and no body else seems to know either.) When it comes down to it I guess it is better safe than sorry.

I know the answer to the latter question:  you just need a copy of the registration receipt that shows you are one of the owners of the car.  I have never travelled with the title to any vehicle I have owned, nor have I been asked to present it when arranging temporary vehicle import on entry to Mexico.

As for the Canadian inter-provincial insurance card, I obtained one before I went to Canada in 1998, but thereafter did not bother for any other trip to Canada.  I generally fly under the radar, though, and have never been pulled over for anything in Canada.

When I came back from Spain and Canada customs acted like I went to ISIS meetings or something. It was a really hateful "Why did you go to Canada?" Then the same stupid woman after I gave her my passport asked me if I was a US Citizen (Of course I said yes). But really, I didn't know the US gave passports to people that aren't US Citizens (sarcasm).

Actually, we do.  American Samoans are US nationals but not US citizens yet are issued US passports.

I cultivate imperturbability (and the appearance of having a room-temperature IQ) when dealing with immigration inspectors.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 23, 2015, 01:32:33 PM
I've got time today so I think I will go ahead and get a "yellow card". It seems like when driving to Canada and Mexico there are always those questions that nobody really knows the answer to. For Mexico it was the "Do I need my title to get a TIP or is my registration good enough" question. (P.S. I still don't know that answer and no body else seems to know either.) When it comes down to it I guess it is better safe than sorry.

I know the answer to the latter question:  you just need a copy of the registration receipt that shows you are one of the owners of the car.  I have never travelled with the title to any vehicle I have owned, nor have I been asked to present it when arranging temporary vehicle import on entry to Mexico.

I'm glad someone knows. I am going to Ojinaga in late February. I've already made 2 copies of my vehicle registration, passport, and driver's license. In fact I think I might have read somewhere that you have driven on MX 16 between Ojinaga and Ciudad Chihuahua. I haven't decided if I will go past the Peguis Canyon yet. If I do I'll only go as far west as the intersection with 80D. I'm also thinking about going to the Coyame Caverns. Multiple people in the Presidio, TX, area told me that the Ojinaga area is pretty safe.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: J N Winkler on December 23, 2015, 10:20:06 PM
I'm glad someone knows. I am going to Ojinaga in late February. I've already made 2 copies of my vehicle registration, passport, and driver's license. In fact I think I might have read somewhere that you have driven on MX 16 between Ojinaga and Ciudad Chihuahua. I haven't decided if I will go past the Peguis Canyon yet. If I do I'll only go as far west as the intersection with 80D. I'm also thinking about going to the Coyame Caverns. Multiple people in the Presidio, TX, area told me that the Ojinaga area is pretty safe.

I have actually been on Mex. 16 twice--once just between Ojinaga and Chihuahua city, and then again between Ojinaga and Hermosillo, Sonora.  But this was over ten years ago, before the narcotraficantes made travel in Mexico interesting, and also before 80D was finished.  I remember seeing billboard-sized signs advertising its future availability around the tie-in to Mex. 16 just east of Aldama, as well as some rough grading for a future four-lane divided highway, but as of my last visit to Mexico in 2003, none of it was actually open to traffic, and I think the then governor (who pushed hard for it) had been out of office for several years by the time it finally opened.

The Mexican economy in some ways is extremely sclerotic (wealthiest man in the country is a cellphone monopolist, and it takes three weeks just to open a bank account), but some things can change astonishingly rapidly.  Signs I remembered from the first trip (winter 2001-02) were gone without trace by the time of the second trip (winter 2002-03).  A major (but still flat) intersection on Mex. 16 just east of Chihuahua where I did a photo study of an unusually clean "Desviación" sign now (according to StreetView (https://www.google.com/maps/@28.6569965,-106.0562384,3a,75y,326.68h,88.7t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7f8Gah3y1DLO8pnLmiGX0Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1)) has something like three levels, and looks like it was transplanted from one of the ejes víales in Mexico City.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: vdeane on December 24, 2015, 04:30:17 PM
Actually, we do.  American Samoans are US nationals but not US citizens yet are issued US passports.
That's an interesting complication of how US territories work.  American Samoa is fully part of the US, but the people there don't get birthright citizenship, and technically aren't citizens of any country.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: hbelkins on December 27, 2015, 08:37:36 PM
Those of you who don't procure overnight lodging on trips are a different breed than I am. I generally like to be off the road at dark, if possible, and that's usually a few hours before when I typically go to sleep. I spend the majority of that time watching TV or surfing the 'Net in my room, and would probably be incredibly bored sitting in a car at a rest area or a Walmart parking lot. I could sleep comfortably just about anywhere, but the hours between when I stopped driving and when I went to sleep would probably be quite boring. And I had my fill of communal showers when I was in college. I like my privacy for my grooming rituals. And I like to bathe every morning if I'm on the road, although there have been a couple of exceptions the last day of a trip if I was only a few hours from home and didn't plan on interacting with anyone other than the possibility of patronizing a drive-through window for food. The idea of sleeping in my car and showering at truck stops has no appeal whatsoever to me.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 29, 2015, 05:31:57 PM
I'm glad someone knows. I am going to Ojinaga in late February. I've already made 2 copies of my vehicle registration, passport, and driver's license. In fact I think I might have read somewhere that you have driven on MX 16 between Ojinaga and Ciudad Chihuahua. I haven't decided if I will go past the Peguis Canyon yet. If I do I'll only go as far west as the intersection with 80D. I'm also thinking about going to the Coyame Caverns. Multiple people in the Presidio, TX, area told me that the Ojinaga area is pretty safe.

I have actually been on Mex. 16 twice--once just between Ojinaga and Chihuahua city, and then again between Ojinaga and Hermosillo, Sonora.  But this was over ten years ago, before the narcotraficantes made travel in Mexico interesting, and also before 80D was finished.  I remember seeing billboard-sized signs advertising its future availability around the tie-in to Mex. 16 just east of Aldama, as well as some rough grading for a future four-lane divided highway, but as of my last visit to Mexico in 2003, none of it was actually open to traffic, and I think the then governor (who pushed hard for it) had been out of office for several years by the time it finally opened.

The Mexican economy in some ways is extremely sclerotic (wealthiest man in the country is a cellphone monopolist, and it takes three weeks just to open a bank account), but some things can change astonishingly rapidly.  Signs I remembered from the first trip (winter 2001-02) were gone without trace by the time of the second trip (winter 2002-03).  A major (but still flat) intersection on Mex. 16 just east of Chihuahua where I did a photo study of an unusually clean "Desviación" sign now (according to StreetView (https://www.google.com/maps/@28.6569965,-106.0562384,3a,75y,326.68h,88.7t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7f8Gah3y1DLO8pnLmiGX0Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1)) has something like three levels, and looks like it was transplanted from one of the ejes víales in Mexico City.

Well its confirmed. I will be driving from Presidio to the 16/80D intersection (on MX 16) and back. I will be making stops at the Peguis Canyon overlook, the Coyame Caverns, and at the Coyame Hot Springs. The caves and hot springs both cost $30 MXN ($1.70) each. The overlook is free. I will be doing this all in a day (will spend the night in Presidio for 2 nights most likely).

The drive is only 4 hours long, the tour of the caves lasts about an hour, and then I'll probably stay at the hot springs for an hour or two. Getting / cancelling my TIP and FMM will probably take between 30-60 minutes depending on how busy the crossing is. It usually is a pretty easy crossing according to most. 

Here's the links to the information, along with pictures, of the hot springs and caverns in Coyame. The first one is from the official government website of Coyame (in Spanish). The second one is translated into English using Google Translate.

http://www.coyame.gob.mx/Contenido/plantilla5.asp?cve_canal=3936&Portal=coyame

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.coyame.gob.mx/Contenido/plantilla5.asp%3Fcve_canal%3D3936%26Portal%3Dcoyame&prev=search
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: Pete from Boston on December 30, 2015, 04:26:03 PM

I cultivate imperturbability (and the appearance of having a room-temperature IQ) when dealing with immigration inspectors.

I describe my persona in such situations as "just happy to be here."  It is my hope that they spend the rest of the ten seconds they remember me marveling at what mundane travelers there are these days.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on December 30, 2015, 11:42:50 PM

I cultivate imperturbability (and the appearance of having a room-temperature IQ) when dealing with immigration inspectors.

I describe my persona in such situations as "just happy to be here."  It is my hope that they spend the rest of the ten seconds they remember me marveling at what mundane travelers there are these days.

I figure as long as I have my passport and I don't have anything illegal with me then they can't really do anything to me. When customs asks why I am entering their country (Canadian Customs) or why I went to a country (US Customs), I always reply with either "vacation or tourism". It's kind of a vague answer but it is the truth. Mexican customs didn't ask me anything. They just wanted my passport and for me to fill out an FMM. When I went to Spain 2 years ago they simply stamped my passport and never spoke a word to me.

At this point in my life I think Canada and Mexico will be the only two foreign countries I'll visit for now on. When I have to renew my passport I will just get the passport card rather than the book since I don't like flying.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: Pete from Boston on December 31, 2015, 08:48:05 AM


I cultivate imperturbability (and the appearance of having a room-temperature IQ) when dealing with immigration inspectors.

I describe my persona in such situations as "just happy to be here."  It is my hope that they spend the rest of the ten seconds they remember me marveling at what mundane travelers there are these days.

I figure as long as I have my passport and I don't have anything illegal with me then they can't really do anything to me. When customs asks why I am entering their country (Canadian Customs) or why I went to a country (US Customs), I always reply with either "vacation or tourism". It's kind of a vague answer but it is the truth. Mexican customs didn't ask me anything. They just wanted my passport and for me to fill out an FMM. When I went to Spain 2 years ago they simply stamped my passport and never spoke a word to me.

At this point in my life I think Canada and Mexico will be the only two foreign countries I'll visit for now on. When I have to renew my passport I will just get the passport card rather than the book since I don't like flying.

I got both since the card was something like $30 extra, chump change over ten years.  Now, the card stays in its little sleeve in my wallet, avoiding those times in Vermont or New York where the lack of a passport has been the thing that prevented a fun excursion over the border. 

And to clarify, I'd never cross the border with anything to hide.  I just know from a lot of experience how little things get misunderstood and lead to uncomfortable grilling, so I prefer to say as few little things as possible.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: J N Winkler on December 31, 2015, 11:14:36 AM
And to clarify, I'd never cross the border with anything to hide.  I just know from a lot of experience how little things get misunderstood and lead to uncomfortable grilling, so I prefer to say as few little things as possible.

I don't underestimate border officials' ability to make a (mostly) law-abiding traveler feel that he or she failed to sanitize himself or herself adequately before attempting a border crossing.  The real purpose of my "border face" is to signal that looking at me more closely is going to be a lot of investigative effort for little to no reward.

I have passport renewal coming up in a little over a year and will probably get a passport card as well as the book (thanks for the tip).
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: vdeane on December 31, 2015, 12:46:18 PM
Another good reason to use the passport card/enhanced driver's licence is that it speeds up the crossing a little.  With the passport book, customs likes to flip through every page (at least on the US side), and the keep grilling you the entire time.  Last time they were even questioning why I had a job in transportation planning with a computer science degree (yep, they decided to ask about my career and college, for reasons I can't discern).
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: corco on December 31, 2015, 02:51:57 PM
I usually get questions about my job - the best was "What does GIS stand for?" when I told them I was a land use planner.

I guess if you can prove you have a stable job, you're less likely to be doing something weird.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: Duke87 on December 31, 2015, 04:37:13 PM
When I came back from Spain and Canada customs acted like I went to ISIS meetings or something. It was a really hateful "Why did you go to Canada?" Then the same stupid woman after I gave her my passport asked me if I was a US Citizen (Of course I said yes). But really, I didn't know the US gave passports to people that aren't US Citizens (sarcasm).

Actually, we do.  American Samoans are US nationals but not US citizens yet are issued US passports.

I had a customs agent ask me what country I was a citizen of after looking at my passport once, and then subsequently explain that he did so for the sake of "comparing my spoken declaration to my written declaration".

I figure this sort of apparently stupid question is designed to trip up someone who is being dishonest. Someone who hands customs a falsified US passport might slip up or become visibly nervous if they are then subsequently asked their citizenship, whereas a US citizen when asked such a question presumably can answer it without issue.

That, and it's a question to ask purely for the sake of asking a question, because the more questions you ask the tougher you look. Security theater and whatnot.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: J N Winkler on December 31, 2015, 05:59:27 PM
I had a customs agent ask me what country I was a citizen of after looking at my passport once, and then subsequently explain that he did so for the sake of "comparing my spoken declaration to my written declaration".

I figure this sort of apparently stupid question is designed to trip up someone who is being dishonest. Someone who hands customs a falsified US passport might slip up or become visibly nervous if they are then subsequently asked their citizenship, whereas a US citizen when asked such a question presumably can answer it without issue.

I don't get asked many questions by US immigration officials because they sort of lose interest when they realize that they are going to have to write questions down if they don't want there to be any misunderstandings.  But a young and keen officer at (I think) O'Hare asked me, writing the question down, how long I had been out of the country.  At Oroville, Washington (BC 97/US 97 shared-shed border crossing), the US official pointed at the Turkish visa stamp in my passport but didn't ask any questions about it when he realized he would have to write them down.

That, and it's a question to ask purely for the sake of asking a question, because the more questions you ask the tougher you look. Security theater and whatnot.

There has to be a presumption that they are videotaping everything because there is no expectation of privacy (and therefore no Fourth Amendment violation) when going through passport control, notwithstanding the routine prohibition on arriving passengers videotaping their own or others' interactions with immigration inspectors.  Besides the possible reasons you cite, I have long suspected these apparently stupid questions are designed to evoke accented speech that is not consistent with the documentation presented.

Aside from the border, where the Fourth Amendment carve-out for border search has to be taken into account, I don't show a lot of patience with these seemingly obvious questions, because I find they tend to be (1) hostile attempts at elicitation or (2) opportunities for transcription error.  A couple of examples:

*  In the past few years, Kansas has enacted controversial voter photo ID and voter citizenship proof laws.  Their stated rationale is to prevent non-citizens from voting but many, myself included, believe the actual purpose is voter suppression.  Until quite recently, the elections office in my county had a practice of requiring prospective voters to recite their names before signing the poll book, in addition to showing photo ID.  I have not been able to find a law or rule that gives them the authority to require this.  I suspect the motivation is to elicit accented speech that can be cited as proof that the existing laws are not sufficient to keep non-citizens from voting, and thereby be used to promote even more restrictive laws for the real purpose of voter suppression.  Rather than attempt to vocalize my name when asked to do so, I have said things like, "As shown in the documents presented" (invariably both my driver's license and US passport, because if they try to argue I am not really a citizen, I want to be able to come down on them like a ton of bricks); "It is actually your responsibility to say the voter's name" (I checked the statutes and yes, it is theirs); etc.

*  My local public library has a Friends of the Library membership program that includes free hold requests.  As a convenience, the annual renewal form gives you the opportunity to sign up for email notifications (which you can get even if you are not a Friend of the Library) and asks for your email address, but does not give you a blank to say that you are already receiving notifications.  I don't want to leave this part of the form blank, and have notifications turned off.  But I also don't want to write down my email address, take a chance on the person processing the form not being able to read my handwriting, and have the correct address in their system overwritten by an incorrect one.  So, on that particular blank, I write "(Already in the system)" instead of the actual email address, and write "I already receive notifications" elsewhere on the form and pray for common sense at the receiving end.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: vdeane on December 31, 2015, 11:11:57 PM
I figure this sort of apparently stupid question is designed to trip up someone who is being dishonest. Someone who hands customs a falsified US passport might slip up or become visibly nervous if they are then subsequently asked their citizenship, whereas a US citizen when asked such a question presumably can answer it without issue.
Probably.  Only issue is, I immediately try to psychoanalyze why they're asking the question and start to get nervous about whether they think I'm not "normal" enough and deserve extra scrutiny or something else.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: The Nature Boy on December 31, 2015, 11:13:17 PM
I always wonder how they handle people who are naturally anxious or have an anxiety disorder of some kind. Some people can be 100% innocent but still incredibly anxious and nervous. At the same time, some people can be 100% guilty and appear to not have a care in the world.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: Pete from Boston on January 01, 2016, 10:42:38 AM

I figure this sort of apparently stupid question is designed to trip up someone who is being dishonest. Someone who hands customs a falsified US passport might slip up or become visibly nervous if they are then subsequently asked their citizenship, whereas a US citizen when asked such a question presumably can answer it without issue.
Probably.  Only issue is, I immediately try to psychoanalyze why they're asking the question and start to get nervous about whether they think I'm not "normal" enough and deserve extra scrutiny or something else.

This is where the "I am the most mundane traveler there is" mindset comes into play.  The key is to just not let your mind or words go anywhere that implies "nervous."  It just simplifies the process. 


I always wonder how they handle people who are naturally anxious or have an anxiety disorder of some kind. Some people can be 100% innocent but still incredibly anxious and nervous. At the same time, some people can be 100% guilty and appear to not have a care in the world.

Easy: the former get grilled and/or searched, and probably made to feel worse since their demeanor cost the agents time and effort.  The latter enter the country unhindered, unless they draw the "search" straw.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 01, 2016, 06:59:17 PM
I always wonder how they handle people who are naturally anxious or have an anxiety disorder of some kind. Some people can be 100% innocent but still incredibly anxious and nervous. At the same time, some people can be 100% guilty and appear to not have a care in the world.

Easy: the former get grilled and/or searched, and probably made to feel worse since their demeanor cost the agents time and effort.  The latter enter the country unhindered, unless they draw the "search" straw.

Wouldn't be surprised if they base searches in part on how long you're gone as well. I had a trip to Thunder Bay last fall sort of get off the rails so I returned to the US sooner than planned after only a couple hours. I got the full search treatment from US customs. I am also naturally anxious though as well, which prompted the irritating "you're nervous, are you hiding something?" from the idiot in the customs office who searched my pockets and wallet.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: corco on January 03, 2016, 03:36:34 PM
But your US policy doesn't necessarily meet Ontario's policy limit requirements, which are probably higher than the limits customary in the U.S. When you got your old inter-provincial card, your insurance company may have temporarily bumped up your policy limits to meet Canadian requirements (which means more risk for the company that it won't lightly cover). That bump has presumably expired, and you'd need another one.

If your policy has unusually high limits, that already meet Ontario requirements, you might be able to get by with bringing documentation you already have on hand to prove that, rather than get a new inter-provincial card. I did that once for a short-notice trip to Canada, since my policy limits are really high and meet all Canadian requirements (being a lawyer, even a retired one, makes me a bit of a lawsuit magnet, so I pay extra for high limits).

Nobody asked for my insurance papers on that trip, so I don't know how well it would've worked, but probably better than nothing. But every time I've been pulled over by a Canadian cop (twice in Ontario), I've been asked for my inter-provincial card, which I had on hand right next to my vehicle registration.

You might see if your insurance company will quickly e-mail you a card you can print out ahead of your trip. My company sends me my card that way, promptly upon request. It helps, though, that I ask for a card most every year, and have "educated" my agent on how to get the company to approve my card without hassle.

Interestingly, I just had to print my new insurance ID cards from GEICO, and to quote their website:

"Traveling To Canada?
As long as you are visiting Canada as a tourist, your U.S. insurance ID card is sufficient proof of auto insurance, and an additional Canadian ID card is not necessary."

That's definitely new - it wasn't there last time I printed ID cards.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on January 17, 2016, 10:44:58 AM
Another good reason to use the passport card/enhanced driver's licence is that it speeds up the crossing a little.  With the passport book, customs likes to flip through every page (at least on the US side), and the keep grilling you the entire time.  Last time they were even questioning why I had a job in transportation planning with a computer science degree (yep, they decided to ask about my career and college, for reasons I can't discern).

At the interior checkpoint just south of Marathon, TX, customs asked me if I was a US citizen and if I was carrying a passport. He started flipping through pages. I saved him time and said I went to Boquillas, Mexico. I was then asked if I brought drugs back from Boquillas (really?) and why I went. There's really only one good reason to even go to Boquillas and that's just to say that you've been to Mexico. It is pretty cool taking a boat across the famous Rio Grande River. I can only imagine the look on their faces next month whenever I tell them that I went to Mexico twice (Ojinaga and Boquillas). I still haven't decided whether or not I will go past the Peguis Canyon. Not sure if I really want to mess with temporarily importing my car, since I'd only be down there for around 6 hours at the most if I did.

I can see where a passport card would be better. My passport is good until 2023 and I highly doubt I use all the pages (I have 24 blank pages left) since Mexico seems to be the only country that puts stamps in your passport. I did read that US Customs in Antelope Wells will offer to put a stamp in your passport if you want one. That's the downside to a card. I kind of enjoy looking in my passport at the different stamps I have collected.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: oscar on January 17, 2016, 11:06:31 AM
I can see where a passport card would be better. My passport is good until 2023 and I highly doubt I use all the pages (I have 24 blank pages left) since Mexico seems to be the only country that puts stamps in your passport.

For land/ground crossings, perhaps. My passport was stamped on my one visit by air to Canada (but none of my many land crossings), as well as my only visits to the UK and Italy.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: AsphaltPlanet on January 17, 2016, 11:09:26 AM
Another good reason to use the passport card/enhanced driver's licence is that it speeds up the crossing a little.  With the passport book, customs likes to flip through every page (at least on the US side), and the keep grilling you the entire time.  Last time they were even questioning why I had a job in transportation planning with a computer science degree (yep, they decided to ask about my career and college, for reasons I can't discern).

At the interior checkpoint just south of Marathon, TX, customs asked me if I was a US citizen and if I was carrying a passport. He started flipping through pages. I saved him time and said I went to Boquillas, Mexico. I was then asked if I brought drugs back from Boquillas (really?) and why I went. There's really only one good reason to even go to Boquillas and that's just to say that you've been to Mexico. It is pretty cool taking a boat across the famous Rio Grande River. I can only imagine the look on their faces next month whenever I tell them that I went to Mexico twice (Ojinaga and Boquillas). I still haven't decided whether or not I will go past the Peguis Canyon. Not sure if I really want to mess with temporarily importing my car, since I'd only be down there for around 6 hours at the most if I did.

I can see where a passport card would be better. My passport is good until 2023 and I highly doubt I use all the pages (I have 24 blank pages left) since Mexico seems to be the only country that puts stamps in your passport. I did read that US Customs in Antelope Wells will offer to put a stamp in your passport if you want one. That's the downside to a card. I kind of enjoy looking in my passport at the different stamps I have collected.

When I flew back from Denver a few years ago and crossed back into Ontario at Detroit, the border guard asked me if I had used marijuana while I was there (since it's legal there now).

I hadn't, but I told the border guard that I "had complied with all local and state regulations when I was away".  The border guard didn't like that answer, but oh well...
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: J N Winkler on January 17, 2016, 12:41:38 PM
I can see where a passport card would be better. My passport is good until 2023 and I highly doubt I use all the pages (I have 24 blank pages left) since Mexico seems to be the only country that puts stamps in your passport.

Most countries outside North America routinely stamp passports for US citizens.  In addition to entry stamps, you could be dealing with exit stamps (always used in the Schengen zone because that is part of how they keep track of whether you are complying with the 90-in-180 rule), and visas that are attached to a passport page (either stapled or glued) and may be issued with minimum requirements as to the amount of available free space left in your passport.  Relatively few countries make an attempt to design stamps for efficient use of free space in a standard passport book (I think the format may be standardized by ICAO; the machine-readable front page certainly is).  Britain, for example, has a default stamp for standard six-month tourist leave to enter that is designed to take up just one-quarter of the page, but there are special stamps for leave to enter of nonstandard length that take up pretty much all the usable space on a page when it is used with the immigration officer's personal stamp.  And Mexico has an unusually oblong stamp (I suspect to accommodate the multicolor design--special split red-green pads are used to ink it) that can leave no room for other stamps on the same page if it goes in at a slant.  The one time I had to obtain a visa was on arrival at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, and that was a small sticker about the size of a postage stamp, but I have heard stories of others enclosing their passports with visa applications only to have them come back with full-page visas.

Even if you confine travel to countries where US citizens have visa-free entry, you can easily fill up a standard-size passport book making frequent trips in and out of an immigration zone where US citizens are routinely stamped, like Schengen.  I have a friend who used to fly often between London and Düsseldorf (UK is not in Schengen, but Germany is) and he wound up having to send his passport away for additional pages.

Since the US will now no longer insert extra pages into a passport book, I would recommend paying for the passport with higher page count when renewing if a lot of international air travel is anticipated during its period of validity.  This reduces the chances that the passport will fill up at an inconvenient point in your travels, or that you will be refused a visa because there are not enough empty pages left.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: 1995hoo on January 17, 2016, 02:17:11 PM
I can see where a passport card would be better. My passport is good until 2023 and I highly doubt I use all the pages (I have 24 blank pages left) since Mexico seems to be the only country that puts stamps in your passport.

For land/ground crossings, perhaps. My passport was stamped on my one visit by air to Canada (but none of my many land crossings), as well as my only visits to the UK and Italy.

The only Canadian stamp I have is from the ferry terminal in Yarmouth. Did not get a stamp at the cruise ship terminal in Vancouver.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: hm insulators on January 20, 2016, 11:02:40 AM

My current goal is to drive in 49 states (not Hawaii), all 10 Canadian Provinces, 2 Canadian territories (not Nunavut), and all 31 Mexican estados. I only have 3 countries on my mind, but it will be an impressive feat if I ever accomplish it.

21 countries is a very impressive accomplishment. I'm guessing quite a few of those were in Europe.
I recommend adding Hawaii to that list. There are some wonderful drives there.

Having lived in Hawaii, I can vouch for that. You can clinch the Interstate system on Oahu and well as the Pali Highway (Hawaii 61) and Likelike (lee-kay-lee-kay) Highway (Hawaii 63) over the Koolau Mountains. Kauai is the "Garden Island" and just about every numbered road is worth clinching, especially the drive up Waimea Canyon, the "Tree Tunnel" near Koloa, and Kuhio Highway (Hawaii 56) all the way to the end.

Maui has the Hana Highway (Hawaii's iconic drive) and the road up to the top of a volcano called Haleakala. Speaking of volcanoes, you'll also need to visit the Big Island (Hawaii Island) to see a real drive-through volcano (Kilauea) in action. Drive down the Chain of Craters Road until it disappears under a layer of hardened lava. Hawaii 19 and 11 constitute the Belt Road around the island, and the Saddle Road has been improved quite a lot since I saw it in 1981.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on August 02, 2016, 02:09:14 PM
Well I am planning on going back to Ontario later this month or early next month. I am going to enter at Sault Ste Marie. I thoroughly enjoyed driving across the Mackinac Bridge and the SSM Int'l Bridge. I haven't completely determined what route to take. I have considered the following.

1) Take 17 west to 11. Take 11 east/south to Toronto. Reenter the US at Sarnia.
2) Take 17 east to 129. Take 129 north to 101. Take 101 east to Quebec and do some driving over there. Head back and reenter the US at either SSM or Sarnia.

If anyone has any suggestions for interesting routes up there to take please let me know. I plan do plan on seeing Lake Superior no matter what. I'll only be able to stay in Canada for 2 (and maybe a half) days.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: oscar on August 02, 2016, 02:39:11 PM
Well I am planning on going back to Ontario later this month or early next month. I am going to enter at Sault Ste Marie. I thoroughly enjoyed driving across the Mackinac Bridge and the SSM Int'l Bridge. I haven't completely determined what route to take. I have considered the following.

1) Take 17 west to 11. Take 11 east/south to Toronto. Reenter the US at Sarnia.
2) Take 17 east to 129. Take 129 north to 101. Take 101 east to Quebec and do some driving over there. Head back and reenter the US at either SSM or Sarnia.

Hwy 11 between Nipigon and Cochrane is incredibly boring. South of Cochrane, you can take a short detour on hwy 66 east to the small town of Swastika, which stubbornly clung to its original (and originally honorable) pre-Nazi name despite pressure during Hitler's regime to change the town name to something more seemly.

Do not underestimate the travel times in the region north of the Great Lakes. Especially hwy 17 north of Lake Superior can be slow going, especially if you take short detours for better views of the lake.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: AsphaltPlanet on August 02, 2016, 03:10:08 PM
Hwy 17 across the northsore of Lake Superior is definitely a worthwhile drive.  If that's on your radar though, I'd suggest entering Ontario from north of Duluth and heading easterly (or vice versa).  I did this drive again last year.  MN-61 didn't really do much for me, but Duluth is definitely a city worth checking out.

I'll echo Oscar's sentiments.  The first few km of Hwy 11 out of Nipigon are nice, but the remainder of the trip is beyond boring.  South of Cochrane, Hwy 11 gets better.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: 7/8 on August 02, 2016, 06:09:51 PM
One nice spot on Hwy 17 is Old Woman Bay (https://goo.gl/maps/2XG8363eSQw) south of Wawa. It's right on the highway, and offers great views of the Lake!

And don't forget to see the famous Wawa goose :)
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: GaryV on August 02, 2016, 06:25:21 PM


1) Take 17 west to 11. Take 11 east/south to Toronto. Reenter the US at Sarnia.
2) Take 17 east to 129. Take 129 north to 101. Take 101 east to Quebec and do some driving over there. Head back and reenter the US at either SSM or Sarnia.

Both of those are a LOT of driving, unless you don't want to stop and see anything.  In May we took one day from SSM to Wawa, another day from Wawa to Thunder Bay, and a 3rd driving day (after a layover in TB) to Duluth.  All 3 days we ran out of time to see everything.  To us, "seeing" meant stopping to take some 1-3 mile hikes from time to time.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on August 06, 2016, 01:14:27 PM
I'm now starting to think about driving this route instead. https://goo.gl/maps/Nk4XeNxUFMu

It seems like I could drive at a more easy going pace, stop and see more stuff, and then if I had extra time (which I probably will) I could drive some other highways while I'm up there.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: coatimundi on August 06, 2016, 03:49:32 PM
Years ago, I crossed at Osoyoos on a weekday morning in the summer. The guy flipped through my passport and got really interested in whether or not I was going to try to sell the 15-year-old CRT monitor I had in the car with me. I told him "I bought this for $5 at a thrift store" and that finally ended the discussion. It causes more problems sometimes to cross at checkpoints where the guys are just bored.

I believe the Canadian card is just a statement from your insurance company that you're actually covered in Canada. It's silly, but there's also no real reason not to have it.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: 7/8 on August 06, 2016, 04:18:32 PM
I'm now starting to think about driving this route instead. https://goo.gl/maps/Nk4XeNxUFMu

It seems like I could drive at a more easy going pace, stop and see more stuff, and then if I had extra time (which I probably will) I could drive some other highways while I'm up there.

I've heard the segment of 129 along the Mississagi River is beautiful, though I've never been on it myself. I think this a more reasonable route than your last one in terms of time, and I agree it's nice to have some extra time to make stops.

But whichever route you take, I hope you enjoy the trip! :)
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: US 41 on August 06, 2016, 10:58:45 PM
Thanks man. I already know I'll enjoy the trip. Nothing beats driving through the Canadian wilderness. I'm only going back because I enjoyed myself so much last year.
Title: Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
Post by: ZLoth on August 21, 2016, 05:14:15 PM
The last time I was in Canada (September 2013), I had just obtained my passport book and passport card. (Yes, I spent the extra $30. You never know....) I had taken the ferry from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC, and the Canadian border agent started quizzing me, asking if I had any friends or family in the area (nope), where I was staying, if I was employed, when do I report back to work, etc. etc. . The return trip was easier because the boarding area in Victoria, BC was sealed off, and the US Border Patrol then did their processing prior to boarding the ferry.

As for car insurance, I stopped by my carrier, mentioned that I was going to Canada, and they said, OK, we'll make the start/end date the entire length of your trip, handing me a printout, and said "Have a nice trip."