Home is Where we Hook-up

May 31, 2007

Border Inspection

Filed under: Travel,Travel in Canada — Heligypsy @ 9:57 am

Ok, all you RVers here’s a great piece of advice for ya – give your plants away to people who will enjoy them before you cross any borders. Ok? Getting into Canada they don’t much care what you bring in with you, oh, except for potatoes, they are VERY concerned about whether or not you have potatoes. We were asked if we had potatoes, the answer was “no”, the border guy leaned closer, looked at me and said “No potatoes?”, still the answer is no and though I felt like he thought I was lying about the spuds, he let us pass into his country.

Getting back to the U.S. was a different sort of event all together. For one thing, we crossed at the Peach Arch, and as we approached the border we were advised by signs that the lane we were in had a 12′ clearance, and over sized vehicles should use the Nexxus lane. Nexxus users have a special pass they flash and just cruise right through, and even though the signs told us to use that lane, the border inspectors don’t take it too kindly when a vehicle comes through the Nexxus without the appropriate expedited paperwork. Pull it over, get out, take the dog, go inside and explain yourself, oh great!

The young lady at the counter was friendly and understanding when we told her how we came to be in the Nexxus lane. But, what was done was done, they were going to search through our stuff – best to declare things now.

I honestly never meant to be deceitful, I really heard “Do you have any plant seeds or cut flowers”, what she really said was “plants, seeds or cut flowers”. Needless to say, when I said “no” Keith got a bit uncomfortable. Next we were talking about the dog food, can’t bring dog food in from Canada – well, we bought it in the U.S. – Ok, it has to be in it’s original packaging, she asks me to tell her where the dog food is, so she can inspect it. I say to her,

“It’s in a plastic tub on a chair in the dining area, underneath the philodendron”.

Her face goes sideways, eyes squint just a tad.

“So you DO have plants??????”

From here it just goes downhill. I say yes, I have plants, I thought she asked me if I had plant seeds…I mean really, sometimes being blonde can be such a hassle, ha ha ha. She makes sure I understand I am going to loose my plant. My Philly – oh, the heartbreak, really. I bought this little guy when we first bought the trailer, and have lovingly cared for it for a year now.

Here it is, brand new one year ago


And here it is again, last month


This picture was taken as part of my “mobile office” portfolio I had created, my hands are gesturing to the computer, not to the little violet – which by the way ALSO ended up in the trash at the U.S. Border. When the inspector returned from our RV, she was carrying a plastic tub (my plastic tub) with Philly in it, and of course, I knew what else was in there. One of the guys in the room hollered out “Salad!” but she didn’t crack a smile – she approached counter, set the tub on top looked into my eyes and said,

“Of course, you didn’t tell me about the OTHER plants you had in there!”

Ashamed, I hung my head and said,

“I know, but you were already out the door when it dawned on me, and by that time I already knew that you would get them.”

Really, I just didn’t have it in me to yell after her “Oh, there’s a violet, two rosemary’s and a lily……” I wasn’t hiding them, they were all in the same area of the trailer. She returned to her friendly self, assured I really wasn’t pulling anything, just to stupid to know better. She offered my pots back to me, and even allowed me to pull all the rosemary from the stems of the plants,

“As long as it can’t grow” she said. I just told her to take good care of the philodendron, and that’s when she told me that all my plants were going to the trash. All of which, really is just true form bureaucracy B.S. – the entire system is worthless for effectively preventing the spread of what ever it is they are concerned with. I will forgo the rant of how ridiculous it is.

The trailer is now in storage in Tumwater, WA for the next 4 or 5 months – so we’ll see what I do plant wise down the road. For now, I am kicking it at my mom’s for a couple of weeks and she has a nice yard with lots of great plants to look after, it’s all good.



  1. Hey, Good story.Yeah the government is worried about some Phytoplasm in Canadian soil. I probably had 20 lbs of Canadian mud on the underside of my truck. It fell off in 4 states as we headed south. Us and about 1 million other vehicles from Canada. B.S. and government waste of time and money.

    Comment by Keith — May 31, 2007 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  2. “Yes we have no Potatoes, we have no po-tat-oes today!’How do RV people get through the no fruit and veggie pull overs in Nevada and California? I’ve been curious about that!
    Keep on Trucking, OH right you are now staying in a fancy Hotel in Athens. Did they ask you at the LA-X if your TB shot was up to date?
    Love you guys

    Comment by Sherryl — June 1, 2007 @ 6:11 am | Reply

  3. PS I’m sorry about your plants!

    Comment by webfey — June 1, 2007 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  4. I have to admit, I always figured you for latent criminal tendencies.

    Smart cookie, distracting them with potted plants; they never saw the real contraband.


    Keep smiling.

    Comment by Laura — June 2, 2007 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  5. What a story! Sorry you lost your plants. When I moved to Calif. I smuggled my plants in (from Florida). I remembered the agriculture peeps searching my cooler and were disappointed to find a bottle of water and bottle of vanilla. And potatoes? Good grief, what will they be taking next? I’m sure Philly is making a nice home for someone, despite what they say.

    Comment by JennH — June 3, 2007 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  6. Hey, I gotta a deal for you guys! when you finally touch US soil again and move back into your home on wheels, my mom has gobs of Philidendrons and I will personally see to it that she plants one in a special pot and grows it just for your and your little trailer! She also has violets! What a coincidence! So you see, you didn’t really lose anything! Better plants are ahead for you! Have a great time in CA and Greece. Love, Bonnie…..I missed seeing you in Tumwater 😦

    Comment by Bonnie ;-) — June 3, 2007 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  7. Sorry about the plants! Hmmm, so odd indeed. Of course, Rich L (Airstream Life) had to eat all his food before coming back into the US from Mexico. Odd stuff indeed!

    Comment by Rich C — June 7, 2007 @ 8:01 am | Reply

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