Friday, August 12, 2011

Back in the USA!

We crossed the Canada-U.S. border at Coutts, Alberta/Sweetgrass, Montana this morning about 10:00 a.m. Of all the times we’ve crossed borders during the last 3 months, this one could have been the tough one, so we made sure to have no more than the allowed amounts of liquor and cash, no fruit (especially citrus), no guns (we don’t own any), etc. All the meat in our freezer was from Alaska, none purchased in Canada. We had our Passports ready, and Shadow’s vaccination records handy. The insurance papers on the motorhome and car were within reach, too. We had to wait in line about 15 minutes before moving up to the agent.


His first question: where had we been? We had actually just discussed this a few minutes earlier, to remember the 3 Canadian Provinces (Alberta, Yukon Territory and British Columbia), as well as Alaska. Tobacco, alcohol and citrus were his other questions. None, a little (more than 2 bottles? No), and none. He asked if we had a good time on the trip – Oh, yes! Then, Welcome Home! Nobody came inside to inspect our refrigerator and cupboards, and there were no other questions. He didn’t even ask if we had any pets, so Shadow was smuggled across the border. We were over-prepared; but we were happy! We were on our way within 20 minutes, including the wait in line!

We stopped for fuel in Shelby, Montana. It was great to pay US $3.859/gallon instead of CAN $1.459/litre (the highest we paid in Pink Mountain, B.C.) or CAN $1.699/litre (the price we avoided paying at Saskatchewan River Crossing, Alberta). Depending on when you purchased, and the value of the U.S. dollar in Canada at the time (or the organization’s own conversion rate), CAN $1.459/litre could be US $5.50 to $5.79 per gallon! And that’s not counting the international fee your credit card provider might charge if you didn’t use cash.

It’s also nice to return to miles on our speedometer (the bigger numbers) instead of trying to figure out where 90 kilometers/hour appears (the small numbers, especially hard to see with sunglasses). And we don’t have so many heavy coins to carry around. Canada doesn’t have one-dollar bills, only coins (called Loonies) and $2 coins (called Twonies or Toonies). When you get change for anything over $5, you get a lot of coins!

I don’t intend to criticize Canada, as we really enjoyed touring through its beautiful scenery and meeting so many wonderful people, but it’s great to return to our own country and the things that are familiar to us.

We reconnected with Dennis and Carol, and Larry and Marilyn this afternoon. Due to a temporary lock-down on Malmstrom AFB, we weren’t able to sponsor the Forbes into the FamCamp, but we’ll get them in tomorrow. We’ll get together tomorrow for a special picnic on base, and several other times during the next week. It will be nice to stay in one place for a week, after traveling for the past 6 days.

And here are a few things we haven’t seen for a while. A sunset. (Followed by darkness!)


A full moon. As a matter of fact, any moon, as it never got dark enough to see it with the sun still shining late at night.


BOTH of our satellite dishes are up and connected to the satellites. We turned on our DirecTV service today (we put it on hold in May), and after a few phone calls to resolve a few glitches, we’re watching programs in High Definition, using our DVR (Digital Video Recorder) with two inputs so we can watch one program and record another at the same time, plus enjoying features such as Pause, Fast Forward, Quick Tune, etc.


Flowers! They were so expensive up north, I insisted that Don save his money and spend it on other things instead, because they were all more expensive, too. So today he surprised me by bringing home a bouquet.


It’s good to be home.


  1. A very welcome back ! How we have enjoyed
    your travels and all your pictures and posts.
    Your efforts in your blog should make you
    proud. Your a good team and thank you again,
    we loved seeing Alaska and Canada with you.
    Guess we will keep following
    ron and linda

  2. Glad to see you made it across the border with no problems - that's always a huge relief.

    I agree with you on getting back home too! It's exactly how we feel about driving back into Canada after our 4 months in the southwest desert. Now, I can't wait to get back!!

  3. It's always good to be "home", wherever that is. I used to get a little vexed with the Canadian coin situation, but then came to Europe, and lo and behold, they have a one and two Euro coin!
    No escape!
    But again, something one eventually gets used to.
    The Netherlands actually stopped using the Euro one cent piece back in 2008, which at least gets those annoying things out of the picture. They're the only ones so far though.
    You've had quite the trip. The memories will last a long time.

  4. Welcome home, kids. Glad to have you back in the 48 States. Good picture of the moon, and delightful that Old Whatshisname brought you flowers.

  5. Welcome back to the good ole USofA! I even feel that way when I cross the border from California back into Oregon. Funny how we like what is familiar but then the longing for new adventures starts creeping back up as soon as we're home.

    Great picture of the moon.

  6. Welcome back and thanks for taking us along.

  7. Welcome home... I know your adventures here will be just as fun to read.
    Have fun & Travel safe

  8. Just curious, how much money are you allowed to take across the border?

  9. Shirley, You're allowed to bring up to $10,000 in cash.

  10. Welcome home, and thank you so much for all the pictures and commentary of your trip - I really enjoyed it!


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