Don't declare a gun at the Canadian border....
Trip Start Jun 05, 2010
69Trip End Aug 13, 2010
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We headed up toward Niagara Falls today. We decided to go to the Canadian side because I had heard from others that it was to have the best views. We approached the border around 2pm. At the crossing inspection booth I answered the normal questions….food, alcohol, tobacco, firearm, etc…. Here we had an issue. I guess I'm an idiot but I was under the impression that I could take my shotgun over the border. I just didn’t think it to be a big deal but apparently it is. When the lady in the booth asked about firearms I answered that I had an unloaded shotgun in the RV. She directed me over to the inspection station where we were met by several fully armed border patrol agents wearing bullet proof vests. We were all instructed to step out of the vehicle. Vonnie and Vi, along with Chula, were seated at a bench and I was escorted back into the RV. These guys were being dicks and basically treating us like criminals. We were cooperating in every way and trying to be real respectful to them. It wasn’t like I was trying to sneak the thing over the border. (which is what a smart person would have done.) They were being real condescending and laughing to each other as I answered their questions. I keep the rifle hidden and as I started to open up a slide on the RV to access it one of the agents started getting all sketched out asking me what I was doing. Everyone was real tense. One dude was asking me "is your cat going to hurt me?" I started laughing, thinking he was messing with me. He did not laugh and he asked me again if my cat was going to harm him in any way?! Remarkable! So, I had specific instructions from these clowns. I was to point out where the rifle was then step away and let the officers remove the rifle. These guys all seemed to have their own idea of how this was to go down. After a couple of minutes they figured out who was to remove the rifle, who was to inspect the RV and who was to escort me to customs. After more questioning and some paperwork these guys decided to confiscate the shotgun and let us enter the country. They said I could pick it back up on my way back into the US. After much ado we were back on the road to check out the Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls is amazing. Our trip into Canada sucked but this place is a must see. From miles away you can see a plume of mist 100 feet into the air. After some confusion (and dealings with more unfriendly Canadians) we finally found a parking lot where we were to catch a shuttle to the falls. It’s in the 80’s here and really humid. The shuttle to the falls was free and we jumped off the bus at the rapids so that we could walk the rest of the way. It is pretty jaw dropping to stand right at the edge of this water fall and see it spill over into this gorge. It is so massive. Check the photos and video.
After a while we decided to take the boat ride out to the base of the falls. It was only about $40 total for all three of us to go and it was worth it. As you can see in the pics you will get soaked here just from the mist. It’s like pouring rain once you get close to the base. Great time.
We spent a few hours at Niagara then headed back to the border to collect my property. This was an annoyance and took over an hour. Vonnie snapped a picture of me being escorted out of customs. 2 patrol started running towards our truck, screaming at her to put the camera down. They approached her and started questioning her to see the pictures. They were extremely concerned that she had captured an officers face in a photo. They were wanting to see the pictures. She explained to them that we just wanted some pics for our travel blog. They wanted the pics deleted and she assured them that they were all deleted. As I was dealing with my escort, Vonnie was somehow able to salvage this photo. Hah!!! I love it!
With gun safely stowed we made our way back into the US. Incidentally…. we were not asked about a firearm at the US border, nor did we declare we had one. As a matter of fact, the guy working the booth just wanted our opinion on whether he should purchase a 5th wheel or a motorhome! Ahhh…. Good to be back in the ol’ US of A.