July 24th 2017: Our route back to the Olympic National Park would avoid Seattle and involve a ferry from Coupeville to Port Townsend (we reserved a ferry crossing time and glad we did as it would have been a long standby wait otherwise). Because of having a timed crossing and also the US border to contend with we also booked a stop off at Deception Pass State Park about 30 minutes from the ferry.
Leaving Burnaby Cariboo RV Park it was around 30 miles to the border. We joined a queue at 11:15 of around 45 minutes to get to the checkpoint. Very pleasant lady who asked us various questions the last of which was “do you have any firewood” to which I replied “yes”. I guess honesty is the best policy but that answer would cost us SIX HOURS. I explained we had bought it in the US, it had left with us and was coming back with us. No matter, we were pulled over, queued to be interviewed and vehicle searched. On our way to Deception Pass a small deceit would have saved a lot of time 😀
We had nothing else of interest to them so I foolishly thought that we would simply dump the wood (rather like you do in the UK with your liquids at the airport) and then carry on our weary way. Oh no! They said Canada should never have let us into their country with US Firewood, we would have to return to Canada, dump the wood somewhere and then come back through the border. They have a special exit so that you don’t drive into the US. Instead you join the queue to go back into Canada. This is another 45 minute queue to get to the booth and what if they ask me if I have any firewood? Would I be caught in a Groundhog Day situation retuning back and forth to the US and Canada, neither wanting my neatly packaged and clearly stamped bug free produce of Oregon firewood?
The lesson, don’t try and cross the border either way with plants, food, seeds or alcohol and plants includes firewood – now we know.
He didn’t ask – that was the good news. The bad news, on entry to Canada the border official had not stamped our passport – how did we get to be retuning to Canada when we had never been there in the first place he would like to know???!!! In the end our explanation was accepted that he simply didn’t do it. We drove up to the local Canadian Walmart thankfully only 4 miles up the road, grabbed something to eat and left our firewood in one of their trolleys. I hope someone made good use of it.
We then turned around and rejoined for the second time the US queue where thankfully we were asked nothing (!) and went straight through. It was now 5:15pm.
We finally arrived at Deception Pass State Park for our overnight. Very pretty site and handy for the ferry next day at 12:30. What a day!
The site was another great State Park site – wooded and secluded pitches, shame we arrived so late and couldn’t enjoy it for longer.