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Author Topic: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question  (Read 12677 times)

US 41

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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.
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leroys73

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #1 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #2 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.

oscar

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #3 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #4 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.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #5 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?
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #6 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?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 02:19:27 PM by US 41 »
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #7 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.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 02:11:18 PM by AsphaltPlanet »
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #8 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!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 02:21:15 PM by US 41 »
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #9 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.
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cu2010

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #10 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #11 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.
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GaryV

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #12 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #13 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #14 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).

leroys73

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #15 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #16 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #17 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.  :)
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 09:51:05 AM by US 41 »
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leroys73

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #18 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #19 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.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 01:30:02 PM by US 41 »
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #20 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.
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oscar

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #21 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.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #22 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. 

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #23 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.
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Places I've drove in North America

USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, 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 #24 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.
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