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Author Topic: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question  (Read 12143 times)

US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #50 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.
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USA (36)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
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oscar

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #51 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.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #52 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...
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J N Winkler

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #53 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #54 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #55 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #56 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.
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USA (36)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
Canada (5)= NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #57 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.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 06:59:57 PM by oscar »
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #58 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2016, 06:09:51 PM »

One nice spot on Hwy 17 is Old Woman Bay 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 :)
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #60 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #61 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.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2016, 01:26:01 PM by US 41 »
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USA (36)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
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Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #62 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #63 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! :)
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #64 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #65 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."
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