Crossing Borders – Again
It came as a bit of a shock.
“We have an appointment for you on Tuesday at 11.” The appointment was for our dentist in Rochester NY. We had been hoping for a cancellation for a couple of weeks and here it was. However, Tuesday was tomorrow and we were still in Michigan. After doing some quick calculations, we decided we could make the 400 mile trip in one day instead of 2. “We’ll take it.” So, we were on our way.
If you look at a map, the straightest line between Michigan and New York goes straight through Canada. No problem, we’d been going in and out of Canada all summer. Cathy had already prepped the kitchen to be free of any prohibited meat and vegetables. This would just be one more routine crossing. Or maybe not.
The first difference was the location of the crossing at Port Huron, MI on a busy bridge on I-69 as it changes to Canada 402. As we waited to pay the toll for the bridge, we noticed some oddities. There were uniformed individuals standing just past the toll booths. They were sending an occasional truck to the side for further examination. One semi was directed to turn around – a process so difficult that all lanes of traffic had to be held up while the truck maneuvered itself back and forth to navigate the sharp turn. When it was our turn, we learned that these were US Border Patrol. (What’s with that? We’re leaving the US.) When they asked the standard questions—where are you from and where are you going? -- we should have known the rest of the crossing would be more difficult. When Dave volunteered that we were crossing the border to go to Rochester for a dentist appointment, let’s just say it required a little more explanation. However, the guy let us through.
On the Canadian side, we weren’t so lucky. Our answers to the questions at the booth were unconventional enough that we were directed to pull to the side for an inspection. As several young men rifled through the truck and RV, we stood to the side. Not surprisingly, they didn’t find anything of concern, and in a few minutes we were allowed to proceed.
By mid-afternoon, we were inching our way through the line of cars trying to cross another border bridge at Lewiston, NY. With only one lane allocated for RV’s, it took over half an hour to get to the border guard. We braced ourselves for the inevitable rathole caused by the most basic questions.
But there was no problem. We answered the questions and were sent on our way. Whew! By evening, we were parked next to the canal in Spencerport in the Tops Supermarket parking lot. However we were thinking that maybe we’ll forego any more border crossings for the next few months.
Our unexpected arrival back in our old haunts made it a little more difficult to see friends in the area. Something further complicated by the fact that we didn’t have a convenient place to stay in the Rochester area where we could disconnect from the RV. With our dentist appointments on two successive days, we made it work. We drove the rig to Pittsford Plaza, which was about a 2 mile walk from the dentist. The first day, our friend Carol met Cathy for lunch, and Dave joined us later for some ice cream at Pittsford Dairy. Good stuff!
We opted to park for the night at a Wal-mart in Macedon, east of Rochester, before returning to the previous day’s location for the dentist appointment and a meeting with a financial rep at M&T across the street. However, the obvious advantage of this location was its proximity to Wegman’s, which allowed Dave to get a fix of his favorite donuts.
Our next destination after leaving Massena was Whitehall, PA where Dave’s mom and sister live. It was a little more than we wanted to travel in a day, so we arrived early on Tuesday. After checking with the police, we were assured we could park the rig on the street in front of their house. Of course, that didn’t prevent someone from complaining and the police showing up a couple hours later. All was well and we were assured we could leave it there for the duration of our stay.
Our few days in Whitehall were busy ones as we caught up with financial records and helped arrange visits with some contractors for work to be done. To our surprise, we helped oversee the installation of a water softener system before we headed out on Saturday, one day longer than planned. However sad it was for us to say goodbye, we speculated that the neighbors were celebrating as they saw the rig disappear.
The new generator purchased in August has performed well and made it through the break-in period without problems. There were a couple of days when the generator was barely raising the voltage on the batteries. This made no sense. As the numbers dropped, Dave went out one night to see what was happening. He was disturbed to find a melted fuse. Instead of tripping and severing the circuit, the fuse had overheated. The fuseholder was damaged as well. Dave replaced the fuse, fuseholder and the wires leading to it, which appeared to solve the problem.
However, one of the reasons we purchased the generator was in hopes that it would power our AC when we were not plugged in. With the soaring temperatures in Rochester, we had the perfect opportunity to test it out. Unfortunately, the start-up load was too much for even this heavier-duty generator. We’ll have to look for other ways to stay cool when we are dry camping.