Our trip from Bangor, Maine to St. George, New Brunswick involved crossing the border into Canada! We FINALLY got to use our passports and the many lessons learned watching other RVers on youtube.
The border crossing from Calais, Maine into St. Stephen, New Brunswick is called the “International” border crossing and it was built for large vehicles (semis) crossing the border. We had heard that we should remove our sunglasses and have all paperwork ready to hand over when we pulled up to the border. We should also be ready to give them our license plate #. Common sense advice like; answer all questions politely, don’t joke around, don’t divulge anymore than you are asked, all this was noted and remembered. When we got to the crossing we pulled in and only had to wait a few minutes. We handed our passports, vehicle registration and insurance verification to the border crossing guard. She asked where we were from. We told her our home of record was South Dakota but we were full-time RVers. She asked why so many RVers claimed South Dakota as their home and we explained that South Dakota has no state tax. She wanted to know if we had any guns (no) and did we carry guns in the RV when we were in the states? (The answer was no but Mark was sure if the second answer was a yes, we probably would have been pulled over and inspected) After asking how long we would be in Canada, that was it! We were on our way into Canada!!
We had been told that the best place to exchange U.S. dollars for Canadian would be at the border or just over the border at a Canadian bank. I queried the “RV Tips” facebook group and as usual got multiple and varied answers. The consensus was: exchange currency at a Canadian bank. So the first thing we looked for after crossing into Canada was a Canadian bank. Thanks to a local Canadian police officer we were directed to the closest bank to exchange currency. We got a good rate (1.27 Canadian for every U.S.dollar.)
We have since learned that:
A. Canadian bills look like “play money” and are partially transparent.
B. Canadians do not use pennies- every transaction is rounded.
C. One dollar coins are called Loonies because they have a picture of a loon on them and two dollar coins are called Two-nies.
D. If we go through a self check that does not accept cash we are able to use our debit card- USAA automatically figures the exchange rate (and charges a 1% fee) not too bad .
Some misc. measurements and equations that have come in handy in Canada:
1 litre (as in gasoline) X 3.78 = 1 gallon
When comparing Canadian gas prices to U.S. gas prices:
Canadian cost per liter X 3.78 divided by 1.27(or the current exchange rate) =cost per gallon U.S.$
Old Glory’s height in metres 3.95 (good to know when going under a bridge)
1 mile =1.6 km
1 km =.62 miles
1 metre =3.28 feet
1 foot = .304 meters
$ 1 canadian = approx 73 cents U.S.
$1 U.S.= approx 1.27 canadian $
The dollar exchange rates fluctuate from day to day.
Our next stop was St. George, New Brunswick and Granite Town Farms blueberry farm. Granite Town Farms participates in Harvest Hosts which means they offer free overnight boondocking sites to Harvest Host members. Harvest Host has farms, wineries and museums participating throughout the U.S. and Canada and all they require is that member campers purchase something from the merchant when they stop there.
When we arrived we simply checked in at the small store out front. Behind the store was a large gravel lot – perfect for parking overnight. There was also a river with a walking trail beside it and wild raspberry bushes full of raspberries!
We purchased some blueberries, strawberries and also picked up some local tourism brochures while we were there. The area was very quiet so it was a great place to get a good night’s sleep before heading on to Hopewell Rocks the next day.
Our next post will be about our stay in New Brunswick’s Lower Cape and our visit to Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage!