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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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18 Responses to “Day 218 – 14th July 09”

  1. TSV-Strom (Pete) said

    and the past comes to haunt us all once again

    TS, well done on getting into Canada, let’s hope you can get back into the US on your return

    talk soon

    Pete (TSV-Strom)

  2. Okay, I just have to say “Wow” about the hoops you had to jump through. I haven’t been to Canada since I was a small child, but now you’ve got me thinking that I’d better do paperwork now just in case I MIGHT want to head that way in the future.

    As for the high winds? Eh, I live in the Chicago area. We’re pretty used to micro-burst effects, and horizontal rain. Still, it can be rough for those that only occasionally experience it.

    • Yeah, get the paperwork sorted prior to coming up, that is if you tell the truth, that is what got me over the line in the end.

      Winds are crap when it is all day long, today seems to be a better day for riding, I may take a few detours 🙂

      Cheers TS

  3. Art Wallace said

    Just checked your Spot… Holy crap, you’re in Battleford!! Looks like you’ll be on the Alcan sometime tomorrow? We stayed at Pink Mountain the 1st night. Not a bad place to land, at least back in ’02-IMO. Then it was onto Laird (must do!), Whitehorse (don’t stay at Takahini hot springs.. Yuck!), Dawson (try to spend more than one night!), Tok (the Tok River SP is nice!) and then Wasilla.

    Hope the weather holds out for you… You’ve already had enough challenges! ;o)

    • I was going to spend the night in Saskatoon, a chap from Stromtroopers said drop on by, but he has not answered his pm, nor the post on the forum, so when I checked at 5pm, still no response, it has been over 3 days, so he must be busy or a broken computer, but I had no other contact details. So I left town, too expensive. I will be heading to Edmonton, some Vstrommers have invited me and I think these will be there. I need some local knowledge, so hopefully that will happen, but thanks for your input, I just need to find your places on a map, to see where I am in relation to them 🙂

      Cheers Richard

      • Bruce in WA said

        Edmonton? Three words: West Edmonton Mall.

        Water park, including surfing waves, water slides and sand beach; golf courses; ice rink; submarines; pirate ship; shooting range; a European boulevard; Bourbon Street; Chinatown; Fantasyland Hotel — and all these are inside — PLUS over 800 shops and 110+ food stalls/cafes/restaurants. I’m not big on shopping centres, but the scale of this thing is unbelievable.

        Mind-boggling. 😉

        • Sounds great for someone with a family, or a few chaps WITHOUT a motorbike to watch out for. I hope to meet up with some fellow srommers, but really a nice twisty ride then a few beers and bullshit session is more to my liking. A whole town indoors with all the people, sorry not really my cup of tea, thanks for the tip though.

          Cheers TS

    • Hello!

      There is a nice place I’ve just found, they have a lot of cool stuff, please take a look

      Speak to you later, TravellingStrom

  4. ITSecurity said

    One of the important things many visitors to Canada are unaware of is that drunk driving convictions may be misdemeanors elsewhere, but are the equivalent of a felony conviction under Canadian law. Convicted felons face hurdles entering any country outside their own. Thankfully, by referring you to the team at Portal (that area’s largest facility), you got to see the people who know how to meet the legal requirements without being total aggravations 🙂

    By the way, on one point you are not correct – even a single conviction, no matter how long ago, is grounds for refusal of admittance. The gang you worked with were earnestly trying to make it possible for you to enter the country since you dealt with the matter honestly. ANyone having even a single DUI should obtain a pardon or discharge from their government and vet it with their local Canadian consulate before travel to avoid this hassle.

  5. shane said

    If you did not play so hard when you were younger you would not have the problems you have now. Hows the new bike holding out and where is your next location.

    Shane S

    • Well, from memory, you were involved in a few of those ‘fun’ times 🙂

      The bike is fine, a few niggling things I need to sort out, unsure of the cause, the motor is fine though.

      Cheers TS

  6. ybg said

    Portal eh!! When I crossed there in the middle of the night in April of 79, it was a mud trail leading up to it. There was no road. It cost me an exhaust system.

    You did fine with the paperwork. The rules were put into place after a few unsavoury characters crossed north and got involved in some nasty business. A Mr. Ng comes to mind.


  7. Art Wallace said

    Heading towards the Icefields Parkway are ye??

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