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Author Topic: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question  (Read 12690 times)

Alps

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #25 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.

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #26 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #27 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.
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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
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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 #28 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #29 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?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 09:24:30 PM by US 41 »
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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 #30 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.   
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J N Winkler

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #31 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #32 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.
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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
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Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

J N Winkler

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #33 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) has something like three levels, and looks like it was transplanted from one of the ejes víales in Mexico City.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #34 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #35 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #36 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) 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
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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

Pete from Boston

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #37 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.
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US 41

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #38 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.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 11:46:37 PM by US 41 »
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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

Pete from Boston

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #39 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.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #40 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).
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vdeane

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

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #42 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.

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #43 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.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #44 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.
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vdeane

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #45 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.
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The Nature Boy

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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #46 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #47 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #48 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.
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Re: Thinking about going back to Canada next week / insurance question
« Reply #49 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.

 


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