Canada/U.S. Border – Getting a Semi Size Rig Through Car Lanes

Winkler to Dakota Magic Casino

Compared to Saturday this is a short hop, about 240 miles, but it does include crossing the border into North Dakota. This is a new experience, as on previous trips into the U.S we leave home with no food in the RV. From home, it is only 20 miles to the border, so we shop after crossing the border at the Bellingham Costco.

The lack of Wi-Fi also restricted our ability to thoroughly research what you can bring in, and more importantly, what is prohibited.

Read on to for our crossing the border experience.

Monday 28th July 2014

Summary

Temp – started in the mid-teens and increased to low 20’s

Weather – clear blue skies, but clouded over in early afternoon

Clox – None

Distance – 261 miles

Total Distance – 1,701 miles

Navigation

Another low stress day for Judi, the Ace Navigator, with only 4 roads between campgrounds. Again, the GPS couldn’t find the destination, therefore we reverted to the paper map.

Departure Winkler Tourist Park

We were up bright and early, packed and hooked up by 08:30. Real easy departure, reversed onto the grass behind then pulled ahead onto the road. Within a couple of minutes, we are bound for the U.S.

The Detailed Voyage to Dakota Magic

On clearing the park complex we headed North on Park Street for about ½ mile before turning East on Hwy 14. This is the typical Prairie flat, straight road with crops on both sides. Experienced a couple of curves and crossed the railway twice, otherwise it was 55 mph for about 25 miles to Hwy 75. On Hwy 75 we turned due South towards the border.

Andy had researched it yesterday on Google Street view and Satellite view, so had a good idea of the border layout. RV’s can’t use the bus lane, at this crossing, so we had to join one of the three car lanes. We elected the middle one. The entrance to the booth had a turn, but not too sharp, so with some luck and a good approach we should make it through. To open the approach to the booth we eased over as far to the right as possible, with the row of car to our right also pulling over to accommodate. One chap, noticing our length even asked if we like to join his lane ahead of him. Negative, we replied, just trying to open the approach angle to the middle booth.

About three vehicles from the booth entrance we are in great position to make the turn, then the moron behind us, in a small car we could park in the truck bed, zips ahead and stops beside us. Now we are blocked, fortunately the next driver behind had brains and did not follow. Then the moron’s passenger looks around with the, “What did we do wrong look and expression”. They really are a matched couple, both brain dead and low end of gene pool. Sorry, wee rant is over.

We safely arrived at the booth after greasing the rig through the concrete approach and steel pipes, with 1’ or less clearance on each side. As is normal, in our experience with the RV, the border agent requested we pull over for an Agriculture inspection. Shortly after I parked and got everything open and accessible an agent arrived, nice chap. When he requested, “Anything to declare” I explained our situation. Normally we have no food, but we have been on the road for a week already and couldn’t research due to no Wi-Fi, so welcome them to check and let us know what is acceptable. No problem, so they checked the outside compartments and inside, and on completion advised we are OK. When returning our passports he provided a pamphlet for future reference.

Back on the road again, heading South on I-29 we planned to stop at the first rest area, but it was closed for maintenance. We didn’t see another rest stop; therefore, our first stop was the new Walmart in Grand Forks. Got the dogs out for a walk then headed into the store to purchase an International package and re-activate our U.S. phone. It is $60, but this gives us unlimited calls within U.S. and many other counties, for 30 days. Way cheaper than paying Canadian providers for roaming or their U.S. packages.

With an operational phone and happy wife, we return to I-29 and continue the voyage South, traversing the entire length of North Dakota. When we exit I-29 we are literally on the North & South Dakota state line. The Dakota Magic Casino is in the middle of the country, no civilisation around here for a number of miles. In addition to the casino, it has a hotel, restaurants, golf course and small RV Park. The RV Park consists of concrete pads for the RV’s with grass lawn between each site. Services include water, sewer and 30 Amp power. For about $10 per night, it is excellent value.

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