I've never been through a terrestrial US border crossing, but Travis has and he said every time he's come back into the US by land it's been pretty traumatic. One of my favorite of his stories is how he traveled back to the Lower 48 from Alaska when he was 22. He had gone up to Denali on a family vacation, and being young and dumb he told his mom not to worry and that he would hitchhike back to the States and stay with friends in Portland. I knew Travis when he was 22, but WOW what a different guy than who I'm dating now. Granted, when I was 22 I flew to South America for 6 months without knowing any Spanish without a guidebook. Young and dumb.
Anyway, Travis looks on Craigslist and gets a rideshare with this nurse who is trying to get back to Washington ASAP. Travis takes the first night drive, and she offers him an Aderol. Travis has never taking Aderol before, and initially refused it, but then decided to go for it. He proceeded to drive for the next 36 hours straight, freaking out through the Yukon and Northern Territories looking up at the stars and traveling an endless road. When they finally made it to the border crossing he had been cracked out and sleepless for two days, and he faced border guards who were dressed in full military gear and carrying automatic rifles. They went through EVERY part of their bags, and found a one-hitter that Travis had forgotten in the bottom of his backpack ("I've never smoked anything but tobacco out of that") and they found a single Viagra pill in the nurse's toiletries that belonged to her ex-husband. Since she didn't have a prescription for it, they yelled at her and threatened to take her nursing license away. During this ruckus Travis (young and dumb) asked the guards if them if they would shoot him if he ran back to Canada, and they put him in detention.
The story doesn't even end there! I'm not going to finish it but it involves getting out of detention, meeting a pimp who was just released from jail and hitchhiking with him to Oregon to win back one of his tricks he had fallen in love with. NOT KIDDING.
I faced our present border crossing with some trepidation. We had been seeing signs for the Chief Mountain border crossing for the past couple of days, and had been watching the mountain itself appear large and larger as we got closer. Finally, we made it to the border.
The guard comes out. "Do you guys love bikes or are you just masochists?" he asked. "Don't worry, we take plenty of ice cream breaks," I replied. "Actually, on this trip it's been mostly cinnamon bun breaks." And that was all it took to win over Officer Williams. He was so friendly! And here's the craziest part-- he's from Gainesville, FL. Born and raised. We were instant buds after that. GO GATORS. He asked us if we had any citrus or tropical fruit and then welcomed us back home!
Back in the good old US of A, the land of working cell phones and credit cards!
Aaaaand at the very same time we were crossing back into America around 3:30pm, a massive forest fire had started at the heart of our route through the national park.