Still here. Na na na na na na.

Did you know?

When I left College Station, Texas, the night of April 15, 1993, my original intent was to drive straight north to Canada to kill myself. I was too patriotic to do it in the United States. Let Canada deal with an unidentified dead body.

I had taken $5,000 in cash with me, though, and when I got to Canada, I still had $4,854 left. How could I kill myself while I still had $4,854. In cash. In my car. Let’s have a little fun first. So I drove Interstate 94 west from Fargo, North Dakota, looking for things to do, places to spend money.

Still had over $4,500 left when I got to Seattle, so I went to Vancouver, thinking that Canadians would love an American spending a few days and many thousands of American dollars. I was right. After spending just 60 hours in Vancouver, I was down to $3,500.

I’ll never forget the distinct difference between the two countries’ border patrols. Here’s the conversation going into Canada:

Canada Border Patrol: “How long are you planning on being in Canada?”

Texas Boy: “I don’t know. Probably a day or two.”

CBP, while looking at my Texas license plates; customized and lowered Saleen Mustang with blacked-out windows and Flowmaster exhaust making a louder-than-really-necessary rumbling sound: “Are you familiar with the work laws in Canada?”

TB: “No.”

CBP: “You need a permit to do any work. Are you going to be doing any work?”

TB: “No.”

CBP (still looking over my sleek Saleen Mustang): “Are you familiar with the gun laws in Canada?”

TB: “No.”

CBP: “You cannot bring any guns into Canada. Do you have any guns with you?”

TB: “No.

CBP: “Are you familiar with the alcohol laws in Canada?”

TB: “No.”

CBP: “You cannot bring any alcohol into Canada. Do you have any alcohol with you?”

TB: “No.”

CBP: “Are you familiar with the tobacco laws in Canada?

TB: “No.”

CBP: “You cannot bring any tobacco into Canada. Do you have any tobacco with you?”

TB: “No.”

CBP, once again looking at my Texas license plates—probably thinking, “Texas license plates. Customized sports car. No guns. No alcohol. No tobacco. Yeah, right.”—and pointing: “Why don’t you pull into that empty spot right there?”

TB: (Does as requested.)

CBP, five of them, spent four hours going through my car unpacking everything. They searched under my car, over my car, around my car. They found my little TV made to look like a computer monitor.

CBP: “I thought you said you were not going to be doing any work. Why the computer monitor?”

TB: “It’s not a computer monitor. It’s a television.” I showed them how to work it.

CBP, after finding an unopened five-gallon can of peanut butter that I had just bought in Seattle: “What’s in the can?”

TB: “Peanut butter.”

CBP did not believe me. They proceeded to open the can and poke long sticks into the peanut butter. They were checking the length the sticks to see if their depth in the peanut butter matched the height of the can. They did. No false bottom hiding guns, alcohol, tobacco, or anything else. Just a five-gallon can of peanut butter.

CBP then invited me to repack my car, which I did. As soon as I was finished, one CBP said I could go and told me, “Welcome to Canada!”

They did not reimburse me for the five-gallon can of peanut butter. I threw it in their trash can. Why knew where those sticks had been before being poked into my peanut butter?

I spent 60 hours in Canada before reaching the border to return to the United States. Here’s dialogue with the United States Border Patrol:

USBP: “How long you been in Canada?”

TB: “2½ days.”

USBP, waving me through: “Welcome home!”

I drove to Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and San Diego, still trying to spend all my money and figuring that, as far as killing myself, it would be Tijuana or bust.

Well, it was bust. Still here. Na na na na na na.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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13 thoughts on “Still here. Na na na na na na.

      1. Sue W-Nan's Farm

        Are you reading this wrong? Well, I imagine that would depend on your attitude to security. It also shows the expectations of each of these border patrols, one expects to see the worst, from experience perhaps, whereas the other clearly does not.
        And from previous posts, I’m aware that Russel soon got over this inconvenience and had a great time during his stay in Canada.
        Thank you for taking the time to query my comment.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
      2. disperser

        I lived in a suburb of Detroit for 26 years. Visits to Canada were not uncommon, both for work and pleasure, and I don’t recall ever had any such experiences on either side of the border. The most hassle I got was one time crossing back to the US after a drive to Toronto. At the US border, the agent asked me what was in the back of my pickup (I had a cap and there were two containers against the forward wall). I answered that it was a change of clothes and shoes that I always kept in the truck. My wife was with me, and she looks at me and asks: “Really?”

        I then had to pull over and open the containers to show the clothes I kept in there for emergencies. I was on my way in a few minutes.

        Nice comment about the “worst” expectations, but personally, the experience as described didn’t sound a whole lot like security. It sounded like poor training. To each their own, I guess.

        Liked by 2 people

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          I worked in Detroit from April 1, 1994, to October 31, 1994. I was based in Farmington Hills. We used to always go over to Windsor, usually by the bridge but sometimes by the tunnel. Going in both directions didn’t present any problem whatsoever. The Canadians just looked at the license plate and waved us through. American dollars! Coming back, the U.S. agents stopped us because we carpooled to Windsor so I had a car full of people. They simply asked to see ID’s and then waved us on. I had the same customized Saleen Mustang.

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      3. Russel Ray Photos Post author

        What’s interesting is that a week after this Canada/US crossing, I had the exact same incident a thousand miles to the south at the Mexico/US crossing except that where you had the Canada Border Patrol in the post here, replace that with U.S. Border Patrol, and where you have the U.S. Border Patrol in the post here, replace that with the Mexico Border Patrol. So my take-away from those 9 days is that Canada didn’t want U.S. citizens coming across whereas Mexico was thrilled to have them bring those American dollars. The United States didn’t want Mexicans coming across but was thrilled to have Canadians come.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Sue W-Nan's Farm

          Ha ha, In some odd way this reminds me of the story of the three women. The Lady at the big house didn’t want her cleaner to move into the house next door, and the cleaner didn’t want the gypsy from the caravan moving to the house next door to her!

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Since I love science fiction, I often wonder about alternative time lines. I would love to see the alternative time line to make sure Zoey the Cool Cat left the shelter to go to a great home. My following of bloggers, though? So many alternative time lines…………..LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  1. ivor20

    I’m glad your still here, I think you should’ve told the CBP the truth, that you were in Canada to kill yourself, by eating a whole 5 gallon jar of peanut butter all at once without taking a breath !! Thinking that you’re just another crazy Texas Boy, “Enjoy your “Trip” , The bread shop’s just down the road” !!

    Liked by 2 people

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