Got to Mt. Baker and had a great time
snowboarding, no spectacular wipeouts this time. The next day I got up
and headed towards Canada with the intention of spending a week in Whistler
snowboarding. I got to the border and had a very nice conversation with
the woman at the booth explaining how I had been traveling for 8 months and
what I was planning on doing in Canada etc. She told me to stop in at
immigration and talk to them for a while. So again I explained what I
was up to, what kind of job I had had, where I was from, how I was financing
the trip, that I didn't have any felonies or outstanding arrest warrants.
After I explained it again, the woman looked at me and said "you quit
your job?!?!?" with the same sort of look and intonation one might use if
asking someone "you cut off your hand?!?!?". She asked me how
much money I had on me (about $20), how I would get money in Canada (two ATM
cards, 3 credit cards), how much money total I had in the bank. I've
seen pictures of Canada on TV and it pretty much looks like the US, and I've
met some Canadians and they seem to operate pretty much the same way we do in
regards to banking, so I figured I wouldn't have any problems, and didn't need
to carry $1000 in travelers cheques to travel there. Well, she took my
passport off to check some things out for a while, and came back to tell me
that I didn't have a record (Thank god! I was so worried!), and then she went
off and talked to her supervisor for a while. At this point I was
getting a bad feeling about the whole thing. She came back and told me
that they were worried I didn't have enough money, and did I have any bank
statements to prove how much money I had. Not having any current bank
statements with me, she asked if I had any other way to prove how much money I
had. I was beginning to realize that I should have just told them I was
on vacation for a few weeks. Unable to prove to their satisfaction that
I had did indeed have sufficient financial resources (I mean, $100 is worth
like 5000 Canadian dollars, what's the big deal! Besides, their silly
money has animals and pictures of the Queen of England on it, I think they
should be worried about their money, not mine), she suggested I go back to the
US, get $20 out of an ATM and bring them the receipt showing the balance in
the account, and then they would give me some sort of entrance visa good for a
week. She then gave me a piece of paper to give to US customs on my way
back through. So I got in line to get back in the US, and started
wondering if I was going to have problems getting back in. I had visions
of having to camp in the no man's land DMZ between the two countries while the
diplomats worked it all out. The US customs guy looked at the paper she
had given me and with sort of a chuckle asked me why they wouldn't let me in.
I told him the story and he sent me on my way. Pulling off at the first
exit and looking for a bank, it occurred to me that most of my cash reserves
were sitting in my brokerage account. Having just paid bills out of my
bank account, and not having replenished it yet from my brokerage account, my
balance would appear to be considerably lower than the amount of money that I
told them I had. With no way to get a statement for all my accounts on a
Saturday afternoon, I decided to make some new plans. Simultaneously
disappointed and highly amused at being the only person ever stopped at the
Canadian border I headed South.
After camping for the night, I got up and drove
down to Steven's Pass outside of Seattle to snowboard. I had decided to
head back to Portland and give Mt Hood a try again, and then on to Mt Bachelor
in Bend. Both places the scenes of my latest van towings. After
Steven's Pass, I headed down through Seattle, and stopped in to visit my
friend Tricia and her roommates before heading back to Portland.
This may seem like an innocuous little bridge, but it is a floating bridge.
Supposedly they can't sink, but one did once.
Heading out of Seattle, I had to take a picture of the Toe Truck. I'm
going to request this one the next time I call AAA.
I spent most of the drive to Portland wondering
what my bizarre luck would bring next.....