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Archive for July 14th, 2009

Day 218 – 14th July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 14, 2009

Tuesday – Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

Well, finally after a major effort today, I am now in Canada, let this be a lesson learned, your past will always catch up with you sometime!!!

OK, so the morning started out a tad late, due to my late getting to bed, no worries, I sorted a few things out, had some breaky and found IrfanView, my photo manipulation, watermark and resize program had reset to defaults after yesterdays “repairs”. Hmmm, I had no time now to fix this, so I did not bother to try and write, then post yesterdays effort. Instead I packed up and got away just after 11.30am, this was after buying some NoDoze and some more lithium batteries and of course fuel. I do not normally use NoDoze , but I knew today I needed to be alert especially at the border crossing and as it was I was tired, but I only had an hour to ride, or so I thought. The weather had turned bad, it was sunny when I woke up, now it looked like I was heading into rain, it was also blowing very hard 😦

After an hour or so on a pretty straight road I get into Fortuna(marked 1 on the map), this is the small entry port for Canada which I had chosen, as it was on the way to Saskatoon, where a strommer called Rod had said, come on up. I had had no reply to my pm, so I am hoping he was around sometime soon, otherwise it would be a waste of time.

Here I ran into a bit of a snag, I answered the questions they asked of me, truthfully, but one question was “have you ever been arrested”. I said yes, for a drink driving offence a long time ago, but I did it twice, a few years apart when I was young and silly. Apparently, this is not good. For some reason, Canada has rules which disallow people to enter the country for what they term a criminal offence, especially if it was repeated, but this was over 20 years ago and still an issue. So, I had to wait while they took some details and reported to the immigration people at another entry site. I took a few photos, one of the Duty Free shop, which just happened to be closed for today!! Notice the numbers on the thermometer, they go a bit too low for me!! Over there is the US entry station as well.

Well, it seems I am refused entry to Canada. My previous convictions in Canadian law say I cannot enter. The people here at the border post tried to help as much as possible, I eventually spoke to an immigration officer via phone who said it may be possible to apply for a ‘pardon’, this would entail riding to another border post at Portal, about 80 mile away, then doing some paperwork, paying a fee, non refundable, then I ‘may’ get a ‘pardon’ letter which would negate this problem in the future. Hmmmm, well, I did not come all this way to be thwarted now, if these are the hoops I have to jump through, then so be it. I got a ‘refused entry form’ with an appointment for 2pm, which was in about an hour and a half away, easy as, plenty of time to get there I think, but nope, because I have to re-enter the US. Just a note here, the people at this border post said it was very unusual for inadmissable people to get the opportunity to go to Portal, usually it is ‘too bad, so sad, byebye”, the reason I was given a 2nd chance was because I was truthful and so forthcoming with information required, this is what made the difference to the whole procedure! 🙂

This entails answering some questions, filling out a customs declaration form, just procedures, then they wanted to inspect my bike and gear. That was OK to start with, one chap with leather gloves starts rummaging through my gear, it was when the 2nd guy came out pulling on disposable latex gloves that I became ‘concerned’!!! But, he was just helping look through my bike gear, whew!! Anyway, after about 20 minutes, the procedure was over and I repacked the bike and was on my way. My destination was a small town called Portal(marked 2 on the map) and I had to hot shoe it there to make the appointment time, it would be touch and go. At least the wind was nearly behind me going in this direction 🙂 There were a lot of oil wells around this area, Joe from last night had mentioned that North Dakota had a massive amount of reserves that were not being released, well, there certainly were a lot of these that I saw amongst the crops.

So, I arrive in Portal at 2.05pm, already late thanks to the bike inspection, but I still took the time to grab a bottle of rum, as I would prefer to ‘have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy”. I also took the extra time to fill the tank on cheap US fuel 🙂

Now the paperwork game started. I was assigned a case officer who explained the procedure. Basically, the only way in was to apply for ‘rehabilitation’, this meant I had to fill out a lot of paperwork, pay a fee of $200CN and then I ‘may’ be granted a pardon for the crimes I had committed. This was only if I could prove that I had changed my ways and learned my lesson. Well, I had of course, those things happened over 20 years ago, but I agreed to proceed and started the paperwork. This was hard, most times you have to produce court documents etc to prove your point, but they understood I had no chance of doing that, so they helped me over the humps. The worst parts to fill out were, every address I have ever lived at since I was 18, also every job I had done since 18, including full dates of tenure and addresses, well that was nigh on impossible, but it was explained, I had to fill them out as well as possible. Well, it took me the best part of an hour to do all this, then I had to fork out the cash and then wait while my case officer went in to bat for me with her boss.

As you all realise by now, I have been successful in my application and I now have a letter which I have to carry with my passport which says I have been pardoned for those crimes.

It was a nerve wracking time but eventually I was on my way 2 hours later. All up since arriving at the original port of entry it has taken over 4 hours! I still had to get to Regina, so I got going after a few photos. 😉

Well, it was only 2 hours to Regina, but the shops would no doubt be closed, but I headed off anyway, I tell ya, the wind was atrocious, I was being blown all over the place by at least 50mph side winds. The countryside seemed to be all mining territory, I saw a lot of draglines and what looked to be reclaimed spoil dumps.

I got to the town of Estevan where I stopped at a visitors centre, just to check the map and to get some warmer gloves, it was freezing in this wind.

This is where I made the decision to stay here, I was tired from last night and today has been a bit of a drama, so I found a motel and a room and parked in a place where hopefully the bike would still be upright in the morning as it does not like wind, it has scars to prove it!!

I just want to add a few notes here for those that may follow, about the procedure I went through. For a start I could have lied at the original port of entry, I am sure it gets done all the time, I do not advise this. My goal is to get to Alaska, this means leaving Canada, going into the USA again, then to get back I need to enter Canada again. If I had lied and been let through, who is to say a check was not done on my original answers? It would be another month or so before I would need to come back to Canada and there could be a total refusal from the other side, so it would mean being stuck in Alaska!

That is point one, the second point is if you do have ‘one’ offence, it is not a big deal if it was a long time ago, it is only if you have two when the problems start. To help that procedure, if you do have two, before you come here, bring as many court documents as you can, the original offence info, the period of conviction etc because you will no doubt need it.

On that note, I spent the evening resetting all my programs with registrations that were needed after the cleanup, getting my photo settings back into Irfanview and writing a blog entry of the previous day. I checked my bike a few times, but by leaving it in gear with the side stand down, it may survive the night, I hope. The weather reports for tomorrow are for 30 mph winds, a bit less than today, but still crappy and a tad cool.

Day 173 miles and 278 km
Trip – 24,443 miles and 39,165 km


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