Ontario to Yukon, Day Four

Jamestown, North Dakota to Regina, Saskatchewan

666 kms, 8 hours

It was a refreshing change to be off the major highways and onto some back roads today. We made our way from Jamestown to Portal on the border between North Dakota and Saskatchewan. I’m paranoid about customs so I passed some time on the journey quizzing Richard.

"What did we buy in the US?"
"Where are the receipts?"
"When did we leave the US?"
"How much alcohol are we bringing into Canada?"

And that’s where we hit a bit of a snag. I couldn’t bear to leave behind my vodka and kahlua in Canada. I mean, there was like 40 white russians there. So we brought them with us. Nor could I resist buying our allowance of two bottles from duty-free. We have a lot of cold winter nights ahead of us in Whitehorse and Rich got a bottle of single malt whisky for $33. So we were technically over our limit of 1L each.

"Are you prepared to lie and say we don’t have any other alcohol?" I asked Rich.

"Yeah, if they find it I will just say I forgot about it, or I didn’t know it counted," he replied. "They won’t ask anyway."

We pulled up to customs and the customs agent asks what we bought. Rich rattled off the list of things, receipts at the ready, just like we practised.

"Do you have any other alcohol or tobacco with you?" the agent asked.

A pause.

"Pardon?" asked Rich.

He repeated the question.

"Ummmm…." and Rich looked at me. "We might have some kahlua and vodka in the back," he confessed.

Here it comes, I thought, with visions of a warehouse full of the contents of our trailer strewn over the floor, Oscar crying, Maggie wanking on the lead and Rich and I at our wits end snapping at each other and passing innocents.

Maybe the customs agent had the same vision, or perhaps you really are allowed to take booze back into Canada without it counting towards your allowance because he let us go immediately.

"Never be a smuggler!" I snapped at Rich as pulled away while simultaneously feeling a tug of affection towards my husband who is honest to a fault.

Oscar’s only comment was, “Can I have a timbit?” either because he thought the customs window was a Tim Hortons drive through or he had some sense we were back in the land of the double double. Nevertheless we scanned the horizon for a hint of the yellow and brown signage as we set off across the prairie and were soon rewarded for our efforts.

The sign on the Timmie’s window said, “Welcome home” and although I was in a new place and a strange landscape, I did feel like I was coming home.

The prairies from the border to Regina, where we have rested for the night, were stark and beautiful, the roads straight and purposeful like the Roman roads of Europe. This impression might change after hour six of driving tomorrow. Time will tell.