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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,438

    Default Border Crossings.

    These have been interesting experiences. Very different from previous years. Not sure if the officers are trained to use small talk, or if they are just curious, or bored to tears with stock standard responses to their questions, but...

    Crossing over into Canada at Buffalo NY, there was a young guy, probably late twenties, early thirties. Having waited for some 10 minutes for the three cars in front of me to pass through, I handed over my passport when I pulled up to the window. Out came the usual questions.

    Where are you going?
    Where did you come from?
    Why are you entering Canada?
    Whose car is this?
    And so on....

    All the while the officer is not looking at me, but leafing through my passport. He then stunned me when he asked about my trip to Antarctica. Seems he is interested in going there. So for the next five minutes or so, we talked about the options and costs, as well as all the sights. And all that while a half dozen or more cars were waiting behind me.

    Crossing back into the US at Detroit, the officer was much the same. He asked the standard questions, and some more, and then wanted to know more about the car. If it belongs to me, how come I bought it in PA and have MT plates? We spent some time discussing how this vehicle was purchased, and the difficulty non-residents have in purchasing their own vehicle. He said he had never heard that, and had no idea.

    Then, deep in thought, he asked, 'What made you purchase such a fuel efficient vehicle?' I smiled, and simply said, 'Next question?' He handed me back my passport, and I was on my way.

    And when I have been asked if I have any firearms on board, I simply said, 'I want to meet people, not shoot them'. It seemed to satisfy.

    There are at least six more border crossings ahead of me. I am looking forward to further discussions with border security. They must get tired of hearing the same old thing and seeing the same passports, day in day out. Maybe I can make their day.

    Lifey

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,363

    Default

    And you got by with that response about guns??? Wow. Here in the US, we've all been trained to answer "yes" or "no" (preferably "no" is what Canada wants to hear), and no jokes. That was cool about the discussion of Antarctica with the border crossing agent! (I had a discussion about road trips with the Wal-Mart cashier this morning when I bought our much needed new Rand McNally Atlas.)


    Donna

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,438

    Default Non-standard.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Here in the US, we've all been trained to answer "yes" or "no" ...
    Yeah! Donna, I gather as much. I have not had such restrictions imposed on me. I have been trained to think outside the box. When I read that quote on forum, I made note, and resolved to use it. Try it, you may be surprised.

    (I had a discussion about road trips with the Wal-Mart cashier this morning when I bought our much needed new Rand McNally Atlas.)
    People are always interested in talking about roadtripping. As am I. Besides the stickers on my car, everyone I meet receives my business card. And they all link to this thread.

    Lifey

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Great to see everything is going well Lifey. And your missing all the rain we are having here. Looking forward to the next report.
    Cheers. Keith

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    8,419

    Default Lumbar support.

    Thanks for the updates Lifey. I'm pleased to know that you are settling in and feeling more comfortable with the vehicle. [Drivers seat aside] If you find a motor accessory store you can actually purchase car seat lumbar support cushion quite reasonably and would make a better fit around your back. This sort of thing.

    Dave.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Orland Park, IL
    Posts
    2

    Default

    So glad to hear you're settled in with the van. It was great to see you. We had a very good time with you. Hope all your border crossings are as interesting. Looking forward to reading more of your adventure.

    Bob

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,438

    Default Joplin.

    On Tuesday 17th, I set off on I-35 south, on my two day journey through three States to Joplin, where glc had already made arrangements for my vehicle to have a thorough check before heading off to Prudhoe Bay.

    Mason City IA sounded like a good place for lunch on that first day. A lovely little place where I spent far too much time. Did some shopping, visited the tourist information centre and generally enjoyed myself looking round this small city. It was only later that I discovered I had not even made it all the way into the city. It is really only the western side I explored.

    Later, on my way to Des Moines, I noticed a window rattling, and then it suddenly sprung open. I pulled over, and tried to close it. Could not get the latch to take, and banged it as close as I could. This did not last long, as it soon popped open again, when I sped up. I tried harder to get the latch completely shut, but to no avail. The next rest area was only two miles away, maybe someone there could help me. No sooner was I on my way, when a sheriff's car passed me. If only I had tried a little longer, he would probably have stopped to help me.

    But then I would never have met truck driver Mark.

    Mark was charging up his computer at the rest area, and waiting for the windows updates to finish installing. I mentioned my predicament to him. He offered to have a look at it, which he did. He did manage to get the latch shut. Going by the effort he had to put into it, it is no wonder I could not get it shut. That window will not be opened again!

    After a comfortable night in Des Moines (at Petro on I-35), I headed straight down the next day, with only short stops, the main one being at the welcome centre in northern Missouri. Once again this is a rest area / welcome centre with a history. It is also the only rest area I have seen which has a microwave oven available for the public... right there with the vending machines.




    To add to the ambiance there are some beautiful murals on the wall. It was a great place to spend some time out of the van, get questions answered, pick up brochures and a State map.

    Late afternoon I arrived at my destination. The new Nuvi did a great job taking me straight there.

    That evening before dinner, I was taken on a tour of Joplin, to see the aftermath of the tornado. I knew what I was going to see, but I was not prepared for what I saw. Eleven months after the disaster there is already a good sprinking of new buildings. But mostly vacant lots with the foundations where once a home or business stood; a few small piles of rubble yet to be removed; and buildings yet to be demolished - in particular the hospital and schools. Without being told, I would not have recognised much of what I had seen on my last visit.

    The van was booked in at the Ford dealer for the following day. It was really great not to have to explain everything myself. That was all done by people who know what they are talking about. I have great confidence in them. The brief was to check hoses, belts, fluids, etc! Everything which would make a trip to Prudhoe Bay as trouble free as possible.

    The van got a clean bill of health, and I was assured it is in great shape. I should be fine now till the next full service... in thousands of miles time. They too were impressed with the condition of this vehicle, as was the man himself. Seems I really got my money's worth.

    During my few days in Joplin, we checked out some of the local attractions, went shopping for the final essentials to make the van a comfortable camper and stocked up on supplies. Upon my arrival, glc had presented me with a spare air filter, which he said I am bound to need sooner or later. He also had some great ideas for the camper, and the equipment to make them happen. (The bungy strap is holding the cabinet securely... it has not moved an inch!) As well as all that, I had all my technology issues sorted out. Thanks mate.

    We ate out several times, mostly at buffets. Donna, you will be pleased to hear there is one place, which is not only new, but was new to both of us, which stood out. It is 'East Buffet' - a Chinese buffet - on Madison in Webb City. We both enjoyed that very much. Great selection of food.

    Soon it was time to bid my host farewell, and hit the road... destination, Prudhoe Bay.

    Lifey

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,438

    Default Welcome.

    Hi Bob, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Glad you are enjoying the report. Will keep it updated as often as I can. And yes, I have great memories of my visits to Orland Park.

    Lifey

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,363

    Default

    Fair winds and following "seas", I guess we should say, as you head off. Take care, Lifey -- and I am looking forward to more of your reports! (On that buffet: YUM!)


    Donna

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,438

    Default Images of Joplin.

    These are some of the images which I took on the several trips we made through the devastated area.



    The snapped off power pole left standing, with the new power pole next to it. The yet to be demolished hospital in the background.



    No matter how many of these pictures you see, they do not have the same affect as when you are there and realise, this was someone's home.



    But mostly it was just the foundations which are left.



    The residential streets were so lovely and green. These are some of the trees which are left. Looks like some of the rebuilding in the background.



    The church is gone. This cross is all that was left standing.

    Another place we visited is the Petro Truck Stop. This place is set up almost as a tourist attraction. And what's more you can get in the truck and have a look. A good place to get fuel and spend some time out of the car.





    The Kenworth, fully decorated.



    ... and again, from the other end..

    They are expecting to have this display for at least a decade - mainly to advertise their extensive truck parts and accessories showroom.




    The Mack is on a rotating base... going around, ever so slowly.




    A bit of nostalgia, along with the merchandise for sale.



    And last, but by no mealns least, we visited the Falls on Shoal Creek.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-05-2012 at 01:42 PM. Reason: make corrections.

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